Page:Behemoth 1889.djvu/201

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B. Did Cromwell come in upon the only title of salus populi?

A. No. For this is a title that very few men understand. His way was to get the supreme power conferred upon him by Parliament. Therefore he called a Parliament, and gave it the supreme power, with condition that they should give it to him.[1] Was not this witty? First, therefore, he published a declaration of the causes why he dissolved the Parliament. The sum whereof was: that instead of endeavouring to promote the good of God’s people, they endeavoured, by a bill then ready to pass, to recruit the House and perpetuate their own power. Next he constituted a council of state of his own creatures, to be the supreme authority of England; but no longer than till the next Parliament should be called and met. Thirdly, he summoned 142 persons, such as he himself or his trusty officers made choice of; the greatest part of whom were instructed what to do; obscure persons, and most of them fanatics, though styled by Cromwell men of approved fidelity and honesty. To these the council of state surrendered the supreme authority, and not long after these men surrendered it to Cromwell. July the 4th this Parliament met, and chose for their Speaker one Mr. Rous, and called themselves from that time forward the Parliament of England. But Cromwell, for the more surety, constituted also a council of state: not of such petty fellows as most of these were, but of himself and his principal officers. These did all the business, both public and private; making ordinances, and giving audiences to foreign ambassadors. But he had now more enemies than before. Harrison, who was the head of the Fifth-monarchy-men, laying down his commission, did nothing but animate his party against him; for which afterwards he was imprisoned. This little Parliament in the meantime were making of acts so ridiculous and displeasing to the people, that it was thought he chose them on purpose to bring all ruling Parliaments into contempt, and monarchy again into credit.

  1. power, to the end … to him again.