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history as "Pride's Purge," from its being carried out by a body of soldiers under Colonel Pride. The fifty Members who remained were his passive tools, and readily voted to bring the King to trial. A High Court of Justice was improvised, and Charles was brought before it. He denied its jurisdiction, but was summarily sentenced to death.

Charles had for months suffered contumely and illtreatment, but his equanimity never forsook him. On his trial, his conduct was intrepid and dignified, but resigned.* Insults were heaped on him, to provoke some intemperate word or act. The soldiers were ordered to spit on him as he proceeded to the Court. He bore all without a murmur. He slept soundly the night before his execution, and died with sublime composure--January, 1649—forgiving his enemies with his last breath. "I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown,” exclaimed the unfortunate Monarch, as he laid his head on the block. Cromwell is said to have witnessed the scene from a window, and made merry over it; but soon discovering the Nation was shocked at the decapitation of the King, he affected to consider it a sad necessity.f

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* When the names of the Court were read by the crier, that of Fairfax was called, when a voice among the spectators said, "He has more wit than to be here." When the indictment was read, "In the name of the people of England," the same voice exclaimed, "Not a tenth part of them." The disturber was ordered to be seized, and it turned out to be Lady Fairfax, wife of the Parliamentary General. She was, of course, released. A soldier was struck down by his officer for praying for the King. "The punishment exceeds the offence," exclaimed the compassionate Charles.

†The following anecdote from Guizot's "History of the English Revolution" is strikingly characteristic of Cromwell's grim insensibility under the most tragical circumstances: "The body of the King was already enclosed in the coffin when Cromwell wished to see it; he considered it attentively, and, taking up the head in his hands, as if to make sure that it was severed from the body; "This," he said, "was a wellconstituted frame and promised a long life."

The House of Lords had now dwindled to a shadow. The Vote of the Commons for the King's trial had been rejected unanimously by the Lords, then only sixteen in number. This enraged Cromwell, and a week after the execution, the Commons, at his command, voted that the House of Lords was "useless, dangerous, and therefore abolished."

The old Firm, as it may be called, of the Nobles and Middle Class, whose co-operation had given birth to liberty, and who had striven for five hundred years to preserve it, was now dissolved by force. A Military despotism succeeded, which destroyed the ancient organization of England, and ignored the rights and privileges of all alike. The upper, middle, and lower classes lost the protection of the old laws, and were at the mercy of an armed force in the hands of a man of genius, bent on his own aggrandisement. Of course the suspension of the Nation's vitality could only be temporary. The struggle of centuries against tyranny, whether of King or Usurper, was sure to be renewed, and Cromwell if not blinded by ambition must have foreseen this.

After the King's death, a Council of State of thirtyeight members, with John Milton as Secretary, was organized as the Executive Government. This body was composed of Cromwell's partisans, and obeyed his wishes.

Ireland was in arms for the Monarchy. The Council of State and the mock Parliament desired Cromwell, at his own suggestion, to take measures to reduce it to submission. He embarked at once for that country, where his disciplined troops and fearless strategy overcame all resistance. He gave no quarter, and the wholesale. massacres at Drogheda and Wexford struck all with terror.

He returned from Ireland-May, 1650—to find that Scotland had proclaimed Charles II. King. He set out forthwith for the North. The contest in Scotland lasted over a year, and ended with the battle of Worcester, 1651, where the Scots, under Charles II., were completely routed. The young King, after numberless perils, escaped from England. "The numerous prisoners were driven," says a contemporary, "like cattle to London, where many perished for want of food in the prisons, and the rest were sold as slaves to the Plantations." Cromwell was so elated by this victory that he proposed to knight some of his officers on the field, but abandoned this idea on being reminded that Knighting was a Royal usage.

The three Kingdoms now lay at his feet, and Cromwell, conscious that he was the sole depositary of Absolute Power, became more imperious in manner, and dealt less in that extraordinary dissimulation and religious cant which all the writers of the time have described. Though the Executive and Legislative power was in his hands, for the Council of State and the Commons were composed of his dependents, still he was embarrassed. It would have been better if he had carried out his darling project at once, and assumed the Crown; but he dreaded the opposition of his officers, who professed Republicanism, and, above all, the ridicule of the Nation, For eighteen months he coquetted and intrigued with his political and military allies as to the form of the Government and his own position,

At last his hesitation led to insubordination amongst his creatures in the Commons, the Independents; but he put a sudden end to the growing discontent, in April, 1653, by going down to the House one day with

a regiment of soldiers; and after vilifying the members in violent language, he turned them all into the street and locked the doors.* It was rough treatment for the men who pretended to represent "the people of England,” and who had voted the King's death and the abolition of the House of Lords at his bidding. This decided act of despotism, however, was applauded, for this paltry remnant of the Long Parliament was so steeped in crime that its overthrow by the man who had prostituted it was considered just retribution.

Thus the war begun in 1642 by Parliament seeking to become absolute over the King, ended in the disappearance of both Parliament and King. King, Lords, and Commons-all were gone. Nothing was now left but Oliver Cromwell at the head of his army. Since William the Conqueror, no King had wielded a power so unmasked, so absolute. With extraordinary genius. he had played one faction against the other till all were overthrown.

Yet Cromwell knew that the Nation would not tamely submit to such unmitigated despotism. He desired to retain his omnipotence, but felt it necessary to conceal

* Hearing that the Commons were not disposed to dissolve, as he desired, Cromwell went down to the House with a body of soldiers, whom he placed at the door. Then entering, he sat down for a time, when, suddenly starting up, he loaded the members with the vilest reproaches for their tyranny, oppression, and robberies. Then, stamping his foot, a signal for the soldiers to enter, "For shame," he cried, "get you gone; you are no longer a Parliament. The Lord has done with you; he has chosen other instruments for carrying on his work." Taking hold of Martin by the cloak, he exclaimed, "Thou art a whoremaster." Then to another, "Thou art an adulterer." To another, “And thou an extortioner." To a fourth, "Thou art a drunkard and a glutton." He commanded a soldier to seize the mace. "What shall we do with this bauble?" he said. "Take it away." Ordering the soldiers to clear the House, he went out the last, directing the doors to be locked. Sir Harry Vane protested. "O Sir Harry Vane!" cried Cromwell; "the Lord deliver me from Sir Harry Vane!"

it under the forms and usages so long established. Accordingly, he determined to call another House of Commons, but took care to fill it with his retainers. It consisted of 156 Members, and met in July, 1653. It was composed of men of the lowest condition, the "very dregs of the fanatics," remarks Hume, and was nicknamed the "Barebones Parliament," after one of its conspicuous Members, Barebone, a leather-dresser. It was the policy of Cromwell to employ as his military and political agents individuals of low condition, for they readily carried out his illegal acts, whilst men of capacity would have refused.* The Barebones Parliament soon fell into ridicule as Cromwell intended; and upon his hint a majority of its Members, with the Speaker, came to him one day with their resignations. Hearing that some of the minority were not willing to depart, he sent one of his Colonels with a party of soldiers to disperse them. "What are you doing here?" asked Colonel White. "We are seeking the Lord," responded the recalcitrants. "Then you may go elsewhere," returned the Colonel, "for to my certain knowledge he has not been here these many years."

Having brought Parliamentary Government into contempt, which was his object, Cromwell thought the time had come to throw aside disguise, and make him

* Buckle gives the following account of the original vocations of Cromwell's officers. Colonel Pride, who expelled a part of the Commons, known as "Pride's Purge," was a drayman; Admiral Deane, a servant; General Whalley, an apprentice to a draper; Colonel Goffe, ditto; Skippon, commander-in-chief in Ireland, a private soldier. Berkstead, a pedlar, and Selway, apprentice to a grocer, were Councillors of State; as also Berners, a servant, and Holland, a link-boy, Bond, a draper, Colonel Okey, a stoker, Colonel Horton, a servant, Colonel Hooper, a haberdasher, Major Rolfe, a cobbler, Colonel Fox, a tinker, Colonel Hewson, a cobbler, Colonel Jones, brother-in-law of Cromwell, a servant, &c. &c.

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