« PreviousContinue »
His own name was Octavius or Octavianus. Augustus, which means Venerable, was a surname given him by the Roman Senate and People to express their veneration for him. The expression with which the Roman actors left the stage was plaudite, “We ask your applause, or favourable verdict on our performance.”
DISMISSAL OF THE RUMP.
[The Long Parliament or rather the “rump” of it was determined that it should not be dissolved. When a bill for “a New Representative” was discussed, it came out that all the members of the present rump proposed to sit in the new parliament without re-election, and that they were to have power to say to every member, “Thou art dangerous, thou shalt not enter; go!” On the 20th of April the House of Commons met, and in spite of a promise that no decisive action should be adopted, advantage was taken of the absence of the leading members to attempt to hurry the bill through the house.]
1. Wednesday, 20th April, 1653. My Lord General accordingly is in his reception-room this morning, in plain black clothes and gray worsted stockings;' he, with many Officers: but few Members have yet come, though punctual Bulstrode and certain others are there. Some waiting there is; some impatience that the Members would come. The Members do not come: instead of Members, comes a notice that they are busy getting on with their Bill in the House, hurrying it double-quick through all the stages.
2. Possible? New message that it will be Law in a little while, if no interposition take place! Bulstrode hastens off to the House: My Lord General, at first incredulous, does now also hasten off-nay orders that a Company of
1 From Cromwells Letters and Speeches, by Thomas Carlyle, inserted by permission of Messrs. Chapman & Hall.
Musketeers of his own regiment attend him. Hastens off, with a very high expression of countenance, I think;saying or feeling: Who would have believed it of them ? “It is not honest; yea, it is contrary to common honesty!” My Lord General, the big hour is come!
3. Young Colonel Sidney, the celebrated Algernon, sat in the House this morning; a House of some Fifty-three. Algernon has left distinct note of the affair; less distinct we have from Bulstrode, who was also there, who seems in some points to be even wilfully wrong. Solid Ludlow was far off in Ireland, but gathered many details in afteryears; and faithfully wrote them down, in the unappeasable indignation of his heart. Combining these three originals, we have, after various perusals and collations and considerations, obtained the following authentic, moderately conceivable account:
4. "The Parliament sitting as usual, and being in debate upon the Bill with the amendments, which it was thought would have been passed that day, the Lord General Cromwell came into the House, clad in plain black clothes and gray worsted stockings, and sat down, as he used to do, in an ordinary place. For some time he listens to this interesting debate on the Bill; beckoning ce to Harrison, who came over to him, and answered dubitatingly. Whereupon the Lord General sat still, for about a quarter of an hour longer. But now the question being to be put, That this Bill do now pass, he beckons again to Harrison, says, “This is the time; I must do it!'”—and so śrose up, put off his hat, and spake.
5. “At the first, and for a good while, he spake to the commendation of the Parliament for their pains and care of the public good; but afterwards he changed his style, told them of their injustice, delays of justice, self-interest, and other faults,'-rising higher and higher, into a very
aggravated style indeed. An honourable Member, Sir Peter Wentworth by name, not known to my readers, and by me better known than trusted, rises to order, as we phrase it; says, “It is a strange language this; unusual within the walls of Parliament this! And from a trusted servant too; and one whom we have so highly honoured; and one”—“'Come, come!”” exclaims my Lord General in a very high key, "we have had enough of this,”-and in fact my Lord General now blazing all up into clear conflagration, exclaims, “I will put an end to your prating,”” and steps forth into the floor of the House, and
clapping on his hat' and occasionally stamping the floor with his feet,' begins a discourse which no man can report!
6. He says-he is heard saying: “It is not fit that you should sit here any longer!' You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing lately. You shall now give place to better men!—Call them in!”” adds he briefly, to Harrison, in word of command: and some twenty or thirty' grim musketeers enter, with bullets in their snaphances; grimly prompt for orders; and stand in some attitude of Carry-arms there. Veteran men: men of might and men of war, their faces are as the faces of lions, and their feet are swift as the roes upon the mountains;—not beautiful to honourable gentlemen at this moment!
7. "You call yourselves a Parliament," continues my Lord General in clear blaze of conflagration: “You are no Parliament; I say you are no Parliament! Some of you are drunkards, ?" and his eye flashes on poor Mr. Chaloner, an official man of some value, addicted to the bottle; some of you are- "" and he glares into Harry Marten, and the poor Sir Peter who rose to order, “living in open contempt of God's Commandments. Following
your own greedy appetites, and the Devil's commandments. Corrupt unjust persons,” and here, I think he glanced at Sir Bulstrode Whitlocke, one of the Commissioners of the Great Seal, giving him and others very sharp language, though he named them not;'“Corrupt unjust persons; scandalous to the profession of the Gospel:' how can you be a Parliament for God's People ? Depart, I say; and let us have done with you."
8. The house is of course all on its feet,—uncertain almost whether not on its head; such a scene as was never seen before in any House of Commons. History reports with a shudder that my Lord General, lifting the Sacred Mace itself, said, “What shall we do with this bauble ? Take it away!” and gave it to a musketeer. And now,—"Fetch him down!” says he to Harrison, flashing on the Speaker. Speaker Lenthall, more an ancient Roman than anything else, declares, He will not come till forced. “Sir," said Harrison, “I will lend you a hand;” on which Speaker Lenthall came down, and gloomily vanished. They all vanished; flooding gloomily clamorously out, to their ulterior businesses, and respective places of abode; the Long Parliament is dissolved!
9. “It's you that have forced me to this,'” exclaims my Lord General; “I have sought the Lord night and day, that He would rather slay me than put me upon the doing of this work.'” “At their going out, some say the Lord General said to young Sir Harry Vane, calling him by his name, That he might have prevented this; but that he was a juggler and had not common honesty.' “O Sir Harry Vane,' thou with thy subtle casuistries and abstruse hair-splittings, thou art other than a good one, I think! The Lord deliver me from thee, Sir Harry Vane!” ‘All being gone out, the door of the House was locked, and the Key with the Mace, as I heard, was
carried away by Colonel Oatley;'—and it is all over, and the unspeakable Catastrophe has come, and remains.
- Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881.)
Questions on the lesson:—Where was Cromwell on that morning? How dressed? Waiting for whom? What news was received? What hastened Cromwell's departure to the House? Who followed him? What did he say about the proceedings? How did he act in the House for a time? What kind of speech did he make when he rose? What did he say of the Parliament's recent doings? How did he effect the expulsion? How are the musketeers described? What happened as regards the Mace—the Speaker? How did Cromwell designate Sir Harry Vane?
Lord General, Cromwell was captain-general of the forces.
Ludlow, General, after the death of Ireton completed the conquest of Ireland in the time of Cromwell's Protectorate.