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X. indulged the martial spirit of his people by declaring war against Poland. After the death of Sigismond III. (A. D. 1632), his son Ladislaus was elected to the throne, and proved to be a prince of great courage and capacity. He gained several victories over the Russians and the Turks ; he forced the Swedes to resign the places which Gustavus Adolphus had seized in Prussia ; but unfortunately he combined with his nobles in oppressing the Cossacks, and thus drove those uncivilized tribes to a general revolt. In the midst of this war Ladislaus died (A. D. 1648); he was succeeded by his brother John Casimir, who would gladly have entered into terms with the injured Cossacks, but was forced to continue the war by his turbulent nobles. Alexis, czar of Russia, took advantage of these commotions to capture Sinolensko and ravage Lithuania, while Poland itself was invaded by Charles X. The progress of the Swedes was rapid, they obtained two brilliant victories in the field, captured Cracow, and compelled the terrified Casimir to seek refuge in Silesia. But the insulting demeanor of the Swedes, and the cruel massacre perpetrated at the capture of Warsaw, confirmed the Poles in the determined spirit of resistance, of which the burghers of Dantzic set them a noble example ; while the chief powers of the north combined to check the dangerous ambition of Sweden. Attacked at once by the czar of Russia, the emperor of Germany, and the king of Denmark, Charles, though deserted by his ally the elector of Brandenburg, did not lose courage. He led an army over the ice to Funen, subdued that and several other Danish islands, and laid siege to Copenhagen. The city was saved by an insincere peace, which proved to be only a suspension of arms; but when Charles renewed his exertions, he was opposed by the republics of Holland and England. Negotiations for peace were commenced under the auspices of these great naval powers; but ere they were brought to a conclusion, Charles died of an epidemic fever (A.D. 1660). The Swedes, deprived of their active and ambitious monarch, were easily brought to resign their pretensions to Poland of the treaty of Oliva ; and the general desire of preventing the minority of Charles XI. being disturbed by foreign wars, induced the regency to adjust a pacification with Denmark and the other powers.
Section II.-History of England under the Commonwealth. The civil and religious constitution of England was dissolved by the execution of Charles I.; the great body of the nation was dissatisfied with the result of the civil war, but it was overawed by an army of fifty thousand men, entirely devoted to the service of Cromwell ; and the commonwealth parliament, as the inconsiderable remnant of the house of commons was called, found itself in possession of the supreme authority. The state of affairs in Ireland and Scotland soon engaged the attention of the new government, and they were especially interested to maintain the dominion that England claimed over the former country. The revolt of the Irish, like the revolt of the Americans in later days, was regarded as treason against the English people, rather than rebellion against their joint sovereign ; the partial successes of the insurgents were viewed as national wrongs, and the use of the phrase
our kingdom of Ireland” made every Englishman imagine that he would be robbed of some portion of his hereditary rights, were that island to establish its independence. Cromwell, aware of the great celebrity which might be gained in a war so popular as that undertaken for the recovery of Ireland, successfully intrigued to have himself appointed lord-lieutenant and commander-in-chief of the army.
The state of Ireland could not be more favorable to the purposes of an invader. When Charles I. entered into a treaty with his revolted Irish subjects, he disgusted one party without conciliating the other; for he gave both reason to suspect his sincerity. He appointed the marquis of Ormond lord-lieutenant
, a nobleman possessed of many high qualities, but who had imbibed the principles of the unfortunate earl of Strafford, and was bigotedly attached to the support of the royal authority and the episcopal church. Ormond conciliated Inchiquin and some other protestant leaders who had refused to acknowledge the cessation of arms which Charles had granted to the insurgents, but he protracted the negotiations with the catholic confederates until their aid was useless to the royal cause. Alarmed at length by the progress of the parliament, while the confederates were at the same time incensed by the intolerant ordinances of the English commons, he concluded a treaty with the catholic deputies at Kilkenny (A. D. 1646), on the basis of a general pardon and full toleration. The native Irish were dissatisfied with this pacification, which did not restore to them lands of which they deemed themselves unjustly deprived ; the bigoted catholics sought the supremacy, not the toleration of their religion, and many of the more moderate entertained suspicions of Ormond's good faith. Under such circumstances they were influenced by Rinuccini, the papal nuncio, to reject the treaty of Kilkenny, and Ormond at once was deprived of all authority. As the king was unable to assist him, he delivered up the fortified towns to an officer of the English parliament, a fatal measure, which rendered the restoration of the royal power impossible.
The Irish soon grew weary of Rinuccini's pride, bigotry, and incapacity; a powerful body of the catholic nobles, headed by the earl of Clanricarde, expelled the nuncio, and invited Ormond to resume the government. The lord-lieutenant returned, and found the royal authority established everywhere except in the towns which he had himself surrendered to the parliament. His first care was to remedy this blunder; he subdued several important garrisons, but he allowed himself to be surprised near Dublin by an inferior force, and was routed with great loss. At this crisis Cromwell landed with an army of enthusiastic soldiers trained to arms, and flushed by recent victories. He besieged Drogheda, took it by storm, and put all the garrison to the sword. The town of Wexford was next assailed, and its defenders similarly butchered; and this cruelty produced such alarm, that thenceforth every town, before which Cromwell presented himself, surrendered at the first summons. The declining season, a failure of provisions, and epidemic disease, soon reduced the invaders to great distress; but they were relieved by a revolution as sudden as it was unexpected. The protestant royalists in Munster, always jealous of their Irish allies, revolted to the parliament at the instigation of the lords Broghill and Inchiquin, and the gates of all the important garrisons in the south of Ireland were opened to Cromwell's sickly troops. The Irish could no longer be brought to pay obedience to a protestant governor, Ormond quitted the country in despair, and the confederates, having no longer any bond of union, were overpowered in detail. Cromwell freed him self from all future opposition, by permitting the Irish officers and soldiers to engage in foreign service. About forty thousand catholics went on this occasion into voluntary exile.
The young king, Charles II., had intended to place himself at the head of the Irish royalists ; but when their cause was ruined, he entered into negotiations with the Scottish covenanters, and submitted to terms the most ignominious that ever a people imposed upon its prince. He was forced to publish a proclamation, banishing all malignants, excommunicated persons from his court—that is, the royalists who had perilled their lives and fortunes in the service of his family; to pledge his word that he would take the covenant and support the presbyterian form of government; and promise, that in all civil affairs, he would conform to the direction of the parliament, and submit all ecclesiastical matters to the general assembly of the kirk. Charles did not consent to these disgraceful conditions, until the royal cause in Scotland was rendered desperate by the overthrow of its greatest supporter, the marquis of Montrose. This gallant nobleman, immediately after the execution of Charles I., renewed the war in Scotland, but was made prisoner by the covenanters, and ignominiously put to death as a traitor (A. D. 1650).
Soon after this tragical event, Charles landed in Scotland, and found himself a mere pageant of state in the hands of Argyle and the rigid covenanters, at whose mercy lay his life and liberty. The intolerance of these bigots was not assuaged by the approach of an English army under the command of Cromwell, whom the parliament of England had recalled from the Irish war, so soon as the treaty between Charles and the covenanters was published. Cromwell entered Scotland, but found a formidable competitor in General Leslie, the head of the covenanters. The English were soon reduced to great distress, and their post, at Dunbar, was blockaded by a Scottish army on the heights that overlook tha çown.
Cromwell was saved by the fanatical and ignorant preachers in the hostile camp ; they pretended that a revelation had descended to them, promising a victory over the sectarian host of the English, and forced Leslie, in despite of his urgent remonstrances, to quit his advantageous position. Cromwell took advantage of their delusion; he attacked the Scotch, disordered by their descent from the hills, before they could form their lines, and in a brief space gained a decided victory. Edinburgh and Leith were abandoned to the conquerors, while the remnant of the Scottish army fled to Stirling.
This defeat was by no means disagreeable to Charles ; it so far diminished the pride of the bigoted party, that he was permitted to accept the aid of the episcopal royalists, the hereditary friends of his family. Still the king felt very bitterly the bondage in which he was held, and when Cromwell crossed the Forth, he embraced a resolution worthy of his birth and cause, and disconcerting that general by a hasty march, he boldly entered England at the head of fourteen ihousand
But the result disappointed his expectations; the English royalists disliked the Scotch, and detested the covenant; the presbyterians were not prepared to join him, and both were overawed by the militia which the parliament raised in the several counties. At Worcester the king was overtaken by Cromwell with thirty thousand men (Sept. 3, 1651). The place was attacked on all sides : Charles, after giving many proofs of personal valor, saw his cause totally ruined, and sought safety in flight; the Scots were all killed or taken, and the prisoners, eight thousand in number, were sold as slaves to the American plantations. Charles wandered about for forty-five days in various disguises and amid the greatest dangers : more than fifty persons were intrusted with his secret, but they all preserved it faithfully, and he finally escaped to France. In Scotland the presbyterian clergy, formerly all-powerful, found themselves treated with scorn by the English army. Their assembly at Aberdeen was dispersed by a military force, their persons were paraded through the town in insulting mockery, and they were forbidden to assemble in greater numbers than three at a time.
In the meantime, the English republic was engaged in a foreign war. The increase of the naval and commercial power of the Dutch had been viewed with great jealousy by the English nation ; but the common interests of religion, and afterward the alliance between the Stuart family and the house of Orange, had prevented a rupture. After the death of William II., prince of Orange, the Dutch abolished the office of stadtholder; and this advance toward a purely republican constitution induced the English parliament to seek a closer alliance with Holland. Their ambassador, however, met but an indifferent reception at the Hague,* and on his return to London it became obvious that the mutual jealousies of the two commonwealths would soon lead to open hostilities.
The English parliament passed the celebrated Act of Navigation, which enacted that no goods from Asia, Africa, or America, should be imported into England, except in English vessels; and the prohibition was extended to European commodities not brought by ships belonging to the country of which the goods were the growth or manufacture. This, though apparently general, particularly affected the Dutch, whose commerce consisted chiefly in the carrying trade, their own country producing but few commodities. The war commenced in a dispute on a point of naval etiquette : the English required that all foreign vessels in the British seas should strike their flags to English ships-of-war; Van Tromp, a Dutch admiral, with a fleet of forty sail, met Blake, the commander of the British fleet, in Dover road. Conscious of his superior force, he refused to conform to the degrading ceremony, and answered the demand by a broadside. Though Blake had only fifteen ships, he immediately commenced an engagement, and being reinforced during the battle by eight more, he gained a glorious, though not a very valuable victory. fierce naval war ensued between the two repub
* Mr. St. John, the English plenipotentiary, was a stern republican, and a haughty man. He had the presumption to take precedency of the duke of York who was then at the Hague, in a public walk. The prince-palatine, happening to be present, struck off the ambassador's hat, and bade him respect the son and brother of his king. St. John put his hand to his sword, refusing to recognise either the king or the duke of York; but the populace, compassionating fallen royalty, took part with the prince, and forced the stern republican to seek refuse in his lodgings.
lics; it was, on the whole, disadvantageous to the Dutch, though they were commanded by such excellent admirals as De Ruyter and Van Tromp. The death of the latter in an engagement that lasted three days (A. D. 1654), decided the contest, and the Hollanders were forced to beg peace from Oliver Cromwell, who had, in the meantime, dissolved the parliament and usurped the government of England.
When Scotland and Ireland were subdued, the parliament became jealous of Cromwell's power, and resolved to diminish it by disbanding a portion of the army. But the parliament, if such a name could fairly be given to a minority of the house of commons, had lost its sole strength, the confidence of the people, by its obstinacy in retaining the power with which it had been invested by circumstances; it would not dissolve itself, but seemed determined to perpetuate its sovereignty.* An angry remonstrance from the army was rejected, and the soldiers reproved for interfering in public affairs. This brought affairs to a crisis : on the nineteenth of April, 1653, Cromwell turned out the members with military force, locked the doors, put the key in his pocket, and retired to his lodgings at Whitehall. The council of state was similarly dismissed, and so weary were the people of their late rulers, that addresses were sent to Cromwell from almost every part of Eng. land, thanking him for his boldness and courage.
It was necessary still to preserve the forms of the constitution, but Cromwell could not venture on an appeal to the people, and allow them their ancient liberty of election, much less a more extended franchise; he therefore adopted a middle course, and by the advice of his officers, nominated one hundred and sixty persons on his own authority, to form a new parliament. This extraordinary body was named the Barebones parliament, from one of its fanatic members, named Praise-God Barebones, who rendered himself conspicuous by his affectation of superior sanctity. Cromwell, finding this convention not so pliant as had been expected, contrived, by his creatures, that a majority should vote for an immediate dissolution, and when about thirty members continued to meet, they were unceremoniously ejected by a file of musqueteers.
A new constitution was formed, by which the legislative power was granted to a lord protector and parliament, and the executive to the protector and a council of state. On the 16th of December, 1653, Croinwell took the oath of fidelity to the new form of government, and was invested with the dignity of lord protector. On the 3d of the following September, the new parliament assembled, but though the strictest regulations consistent with the forms of election had been devised to exclude all but partisans of the government, the protector's authority was menaced on the very first day of debate, and it was resolved, by a majority of five, to refer the examination of the new constitution to a select committee. Cromwell first excluded half the members for refusing to take an oath of allegiance to the protector, and finding that the house, even after this mutilation, continued refractory, he dissolved
* Ludlow asserts, without a shadow of proof, that the parliament was about to dissolve itself, and give the nation a free general election on a reformed plan, when Cromwell interfered. Such a project, indeed, was discussed, but there ap. pear no proofs of its being intended to put it into execution.