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very far towards a perfect history of those times."
The Speech of Oliver Cromwell on his dissolving the
Gentlemen, I perceive you are here as the house of parliament, by your speaker, whom I see here, and by your faces, which are in a great measure known to me.
When I first met you in this room, it was, to my apprehension, the hopefullest day that ever mine eyes saw, as to considerations of this world; for I did look at (as wrapt up in you, together with myself,) the hopes and happiness of (though not of the greatest, yet a very great, and) the best people in the world; and truly and unfeignedly I thought so; as a people that have the highest and the clearest profession among them, of the greatest glory, (to wit) religion; as a people that have been like other nations, some times up and sometimes down, in our honour in the world, but yet never so low but we might measure with other nations; and a people that have had a stamp upon them from God, God having (as it were) summed all our former glory and honour, in the things that are of glory to nations, in an epitome
within these ten or twelve years last past; so that we knew one another at home, and are well known abroad.
I came with very great joy, and contentment, and comfort, the first time I met you in this place; but we and these are, for the present, under some disappointment.' If I had purposed to have played the orator, which I did never affect, nor do, nor I hope shall, I doubt not but upon easy suppositions, which 1 am persuaded every one among you will grant, we did not meet upon such hopes as these.
I met you a second time here, and I confess, at that meeting, I had much abatement of my hopes, though not a total frustration. I confess, that that which damped my hopes so soon was somewhat that did look like a parricide. It is obvious enough unto you, that the management of affairs did savour of a not-owning, too, too much savour, I say, of a notowning the authority that called you hither; but God left us not without an expedient that gave a second possibility; shall I say, a possibility. It seemed to me a probability of recovering out of that dissatisfied condition we were all then in, towards some mutuality of satisfaction, and therefore, by that recognition, suiting with the indenture that returned you hither, to which afterwards also was added your own declaration, conformable to, and in acceptance of that expedient, whereby you had (though with a little check) another opportunity renewed unto you to have made this nation as happy as it could have been, if every thing had smoothly run on from that first hour of your meeting:
And indeed (you will give me liberty of my thoughts and hopes) I did think, as I have formerly found in that way, that I have been engaged as a soldier, that some affronts put upon us, some disasters at the first; have made way for very great and happy
And I did not at all despond; but the stop put upon you, would in like manner have made way for a blessing from God; that that interruption being, as I thought, necessary to divert you from destructive and violent proceedings, to give time for better deliberations; whereby leaving the government as you found it, you might have proceeded to have made those good and wholesome laws, which the people expected from you; and might have answered the grievances, and settled those other things proper to you as a parliament, and for which you would have thanks from all that intrusted you.
If I have had any melancholy thoughts, I have sat down by them; why might it not have been very lawful to me, to think that I was a person judged unconcerned in all these businesses ? I can assure you, I have not reckoned myself, nor did I reckon myself unconcerned in you; and so long as any just patience
could support my expectation, I would have waited to the uttermost to have received from
the issues of your
consultations and resolutions. I have been careful of your safety, and the safety of those that you represented, to whom I reckon myself a servant. I
say I have been caring for you, your quiet sitting, caring for your privileges, (as I said before) that they might not be interrupted; have been seeking of God, from the great God, a blessing upon you, and a blessing upon these nations; I have been consulting, if possibly I might in any thing promote, in my place, the real good of this parliament, of the hopefulness of which I have said so much unto you.
I will tell you somewhat, that (if it be not news to you) I wish
serious consideration of; if it be news, I wish I had acquainted you with it
sooner; and yet if any man will ask me why I did not, the reason is given already, because I did make it my business to give no interruption.
There be some trees that will not grow under the shadow of other trees; there be some that choose (a man may say so by way of allusion) to thrive under the shadow of other trees ; I will tell you what hath thriven ; I will not say what you have cherished under your shadow, that were too hard. Instead of the peace and settlement, instead of mercy and truth
being brought together, righteousness and peace kissing each other, by reconciling the honest people of these nations, and settling the woful distempers that are amongst us, (which had been glorious things, and worthy of christians to have proposed) weeds and nettles, briars and thorns, have thriven under your shadow; dissettlement and division, discontentment and dissatisfaction, together with real dangers to the whole, have been more multiplied within these five months of your sitting, than in some years before.
Foundations have been also laid for the future renewing the troubles of these nations by all the enemies of it, abroad and at home. Let not these words seem too sharp, for they are true as any matheniatical demonstrations are or ean be; I say, the enemies of the peace of these nations, abroad and at home, the discontented humours throughout these nations, which I think no man will grudge to call by that name, or to make to allude to briars and thorns, they have nourished themselves under
shadow. And that I may be clearly understood, they have taken the opportunities from your sitting, from the hopes they had, which, with easy conjecture, they might take up, and conclude that there would be no settlement, and therefore they have framed their designs, preparing for the execution of them accordingly.