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England-The Royalists in Virginia


"Barebones Parliament," because one of its members bore the curious name of Praise-God Barebones. It was ridiculed from the first; but it cannot be denied that it did a good work, and that some of the laws originated by it proved very helpful to the country.

A constitution was presented by a council which, on December 16, 1653, made Cromwell Lord Protector of England, Ireland, and Scotland. A few years later a second constitution offered him the crown. Tradition represents

him as desiring to take it, but being withheld by the entreaties of his favorite daughter, Elizabeth Claypole. A more reasonable argument lay in the fact that the army was unlikely to sustain him in such a step. At any rate, Cromwell refused the crown of England. He tried, however, to restore the House of Lords, failing only because the members would not attend. Most of the old forms of the constitution were revived, though they were veiled under other names. Since Ireland and Scotland were at this period added to the English Commonwealth, the representatives of those two countries took seats in the English Parliament, but an army of ten thousand men under General Monk was required to hold the Scots in subjection.

You know that the tyranny of the Stuart kings had sent hundreds of Puritans to Massachusetts and other New England colonies. There was now a reversal of these conditions, and many of the Royalists fled to Virginia, where they founded one of the greatest States of the American Union. It seems singular that these roystering Cavaliers, with their horse-racing, cock-fighting, gambling, and convivial dispositions, should have laid the foundation of a State which until long after the Revolution was the leading member of our Union, and which furnished so many rulers for the nation that it was given the name of the "Mother of Presidents." Such, however, was the fact. From these settlers descended the illustrious George Washington, Patrick Henry, the Lees, and the Randolphs.

Virginia remained true to the King all through the troublous times of the Commonwealth. When Charles I. was beheaded, the Virginians recognized his exiled son as the rightful sovereign, and were the last subjects to submit to the Commonwealth. Cromwell showed both generosity and sagacity in dealing with these rebels across the ocean. In 1652 he sent a strong fleet to Virginia, but at the same time offered such liberal concessions for a simple declaration of allegiance, that the colony reluctantly accepted him as its overlord. When Charles II. came to the throne, he expressed his gratitude for the loyalty of the colony by ordering the arms of the province to be quartered with those of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as an independent member of the kingdom. That is why Virginia is often called the "Old Dominion."

Cromwell was the Commonwealth; for without his tremendous, dominating

personality, the fabric would have collapsed like a house of cards. He had to use the sternest measures to maintain peace at home; but he was neither an oppressor nor a bigot. He was tolerant toward all sects so long as they did not plot against the government. In him the Quakers, who were cruelly persecuted in America as well as in England, found a friend; he helped to send the first Protestant missionaries to this country for the conversion of the Indians; and under him the Jews, who had been excluded for centuries from the kingdom of England, were allowed to return and build a synagogue in London.

Many of his followers, however, were merciless toward the Catholics and Churchmen. You can see to-day in some of the cathedrals and parish churches empty niches from which the image of the Virgin or some saint once beamed, tombs shattered and desecrated because they contained some expression of the old faith, all mute witnesses of the brutal ferocity of men who were able to make themselves believe they pleased God by such sacrilege.

It is wonderful that a man who never turned his attention to war until he was forty years old should have developed so astounding a genius in that direction. The success of Cromwell's foreign policy was amazing, and to him is due the chief glory of England's advance to one of the foremost powers of Europe. He built the navy of which the kingdom hitherto had only dreamed, and, under the mighty Blake, her fleets smote the Dutch, until they took down the brooms from their mastheads and promised forever after to salute the English flag wherever met on the high seas. It was Blake who compelled the Duke of Tuscany to pay for injuries to England's commerce, and who scourged the pirates of Barbary till they cowered before him. The West Indian possessions of Spain were hammered into submission in 1655, and Jamaica has ever since remained the property of Great Britain. Two years later, in the face of a terrific fire from the shore batteries, Blake destroyed the Spanish treasureships in the harbor of Santa Cruz, in Teneriffe. Haying won one of the most illustrious names in naval annals, the grim old veteran lay down and died off Plymouth in the summer of 1657. The following year the allied English and French forces captured Dunkirk from the Spaniards, and the French King, by way of thanks, presented the city to the English, who thus received a consolation for the century-old loss of Calais.

No man can long withstand the prodigious strain to which Cromwell was subjected for ten years. The great Elizabeth succumbed, and her last days were clouded with gloom and despair; Bonaparte broke down when he ought to have been in the prime of his marvellous genius; and the iron frame of Cromwell, which ordinarily would have lasted for yet a score or more of years, was also destined to give way. This man who had been so absolutely fearless in battle

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England-Richard Cromwell


grew so afraid of secret assassination that he wore armor concealed under his clothing. Then came the finishing blow to his strength in the death of his beloved daughter Elizabeth. It is a curious coincidence that the stormy night on which Cromwell passed away-September 3d, 1658-was the anniversary of his two victories at Dunbar and Worcester.

How seldom a great genius is succeeded by one worthy of wearing his laurels! Cromwell left two sons, Richard and Henry, the elder of whom was proclaimed Protector. He had not a spark of the ability of his father, being negative and spiritless, when the need of a strong, directing hand was as great as during the stormiest times of the Commonwealth. He took his place with the contempt of the army, who could respect no one that had never shown valor on the battlefield. The dissatisfaction with him so deepened that the old Rump Parliament was called together at the end of eight months, and demanded his resignation. As gently as a lamb he stepped down and withdrew to private life, whither he was followed by his brother, who had shown considerable capacity in governing Ireland during the Protectorate. Richard was nicknamed "Tumble-down Dick," and caricatures of him were displayed in many public places. He was given a pension, and lived in strict privacy until his death, in 1712, in his eighty-seventh year.

It is said that years after his demission he visited Westminster, and under the guidance of an attendant, who did not recognize him, was shown the throne. He looked at it quizzically for a moment or two, and then remarked: "It is the first time I have seen that since I sat on it, in 1659."

Under Richard Cromwell the Commonwealth existed only in name. The country was placed under the control of the Rump Parliament, which represented only itself. The quarrel between it and the army was immediately renewed, and before long the body was expelled by the military leader, General John Lambert, who hoped to travel in the footsteps of the great Cromwell. General Monk, commander of the English army in Scotland, however, refused to recognize the government thus set up, and advanced with his forces toward England and made his headquarters at Coldstream-on-the-Tweed. It is in memory of this fact that one of the regiments composing his vanguard is still known as the Coldstream Guards.

The people on hearing the news rose against the government, and the fleet, sailing up the Thames, at the same time declared for the Parliament. General Lambert, who had expected to play the rôle of the great Cromwell, moved to the north to check Monk, but his soldiers fell away from him, and the triumphant Monk entered London in February, 1660. He was a grim, silent man, who kept his own counsels, and for several days he gave no sign of his intentions. Then he declared in favor of a free Parliament. The announcement was

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