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The same year he apprised Cromwell, that the earl of Essex designed to accuse him as an incendiary; for which friendly office he obtained the favour and confidence of that usurper. The year following, he was appointed one of the commissioners of the admiralty, in which situation he was suspected of holding correspondence with the royalists; but the suspicion, it seems, was unfounded. In 1646, he was sent for by Fairfax, when laying siege to Oxford, to be one of his council of war; on which occasion he expressed great reluctance to come to extremity with the university, and proposedan accommodation with the garrison. In 1647-8, he was made one of the four commissioners of the great seal; and soon after, attorney of the duchy of Lancaster. In December of the same year, he retired to the country, that he may have no hand in the king's trial.
He was constituted, in 1648-9, keeper of the king's library and medals. His own account of this appointment is worth transcribing, as it shows how narrowly we escaped the entire loss of those valuable collections*. “ Being informed (says he) of a design in some to have them sold and transported beyond sea, which I
* Memorials, p. 415.
thought would be a dishonour and damage to our nation, and to all scholars therein; and fearing that in other hands they might be more subject to embezzling; and being willing to preserve them for public use, I did accept of the trouble of being library keeper at St. James's, and therein was encouraged and much persuaded to it by Mr. Selden, who swore that if I did not undertake tủe charge of them, all those rare monuments of antiquity, those choice books and MSS. would be lost; and there were not the like of them, except only in the Vatican, in any other library in Christendom.” Whitelocke afterwards went ambassador to Sweden; became one of the commissioners of the exchequer; was chosen, in 1656, speaker of the House of Commons pro tempore; and the year following was summoned by the protector to sit in the upper house, by the title of Bulstrode, lord Whitelocke. In 1659, he was made president of the council of state, one of the committee of safety, and keeper of the great seal pro tempore. The same year, howa ever, he withdrew to the country, from an apprehension of being sent to the Tower by the rump parliament, then newly restored, and continued there, chiefly at Chilton, in Wilt
shire; for the remainder of his life. He died in 1675-6.
1. The work for which chiefly posterity is indebted 10 Whitelocke, is his “ Memorials of the English Affairs; or an Historical Account of what passed from the Beginning of the Reign of King Charles the First to King Charles the Second his happy Restoration; containing the Public Transactions, Civil and Military, together with the private Consultations and Secrets of the Cabinet.” Folio. It was first published in 1682; but the second edition, in 1732, contains many additions, and a better index. The editor of the first edition observes in his preface—“ Our author sometimes writes up to the dignity of an historian, and elsewhere is content barely to set down occurrences diary-wise, without melting down or refining the ore, and improving those hints and rudiments to the perfection and true standard of an history. The truth is, our author never intended this for a book in print; nor meant otherwise by it than as a book for his memory and private use. Yet such was his relation to the public, so eminent his station, and so much Was he upon the stage during all the time of action, that the particulars of his diary go
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, sometimes 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 aré, 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 I 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 wbich afterwards also was added your own declaration, conformable to, and in acceptance of that expedient, whereby you had (though with a