Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 1, July 1653 - April 1657. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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March 7, 1666–7.
Passages between the Protector and the hundred Officers of the Army touching Kingship.
I suppose you have heard of the Address made by one hundred officers, to his Highness, yesterday se'nnight, that his Highness would not hearken to the title (King) because it was not pleasing to his army, and was matter of scandal to the people of God, of great rejoicing to the enemy; that it was hazardous to his own person, and of great danger to the three nations; such an assumption making way for Charles Stewart to come in again.
His Highness returned answer presently to this effect,— that the first man that told him of it, was he, the mouth of the officers then present, (meaning Colonel Mills); that, for his part, he had never been at any cabal about the same, (hinting by that, the frequent cabals that were against Kingship by certain officers). He said, the time was, when they boggled not at the word, (King), for the Instrument by which the Government now stands, was presented to his Highness with the title (King) in it, as some there present could witness, pointing at a principal officer, then in his eye, and he refused to accept of the title. (fn. 1) But, how it comes to pass that they now startle at that title, they best knew. That, for his part, he loved the title, a feather in a hat, (fn. 2) as little as they did. That they had made him their drudge, upon all occasions; to dissolve the Long Parliament, who had contracted evil enough by long sitting; (fn. 3) to call a Parliament, or Convention of their naming, (fn. 4) who met; and what did they ? fly at liberty and property, insomuch as if one man had twelve cows, they held another that wanted cows ought to take share with his neighbour. Who could have said any thing was their own, if they had gone on ? (fn. 5) After their dissolution, how was I pressed by you (said he) for the rooting out of the ministry; nay, rather than fail, to starve them out.
A Parliament was afterwards called; they sat five months; (fn. 6) it is true we hardly heard of them in all that time. They took the Instrument into debate, and they must needs be dissolved; and yet stood not the Instrument in need of mending ? Was not the case hard with me, to be put upon to swear to that which was so hard to be kept ?
Some time after that, you thought it was necessary to have Major-Generals; (fn. 7) and the first rise to that motion (then was the late general insurrections) was justifiable; and you, Major-Generals, did your parts well. You might have gone on. Who bid you go to the House with a Bill, and there receive a foil.
After you had exercised this power a while, impatient were you till a Parliament was called. I gave my vote against it; but you [were] confident, by your own strength and interest, to get men chosen to your heart's desire. (fn. 8) How you have failed therein, and how much the country hath been disobliged, is well known.
That it is time to come to a settlement, and lay aside arbitrary proceedings, so unacceptable to the nation. And by the proceedings of this Parliament, you see they stand in need of a check, or balancing power, (meaning the House of Lords, or a House so constituted) for the case of James Naylor (fn. 9) might happen to be your own case. By their judicial power they fall upon life and member, and doth the Instrument enable me to control it ?
These were some of the heads insisted on in his speech, though perhaps not the same words, yet the full sense; and the officers since that time are quieted, (fn. 10) and many fallen from the rest."
Three Major-Generals are come about for a second House, and a successor; and the Parliament having passed a previous vote, that no part of this writing or Remonstrance, which shall be passed, shall be binding, till all be done and postponed, the word (King) to be last of all.
They have gone on with much unity, and have voted, 1. That the Supreme Magistrate that now is, shall nominate the successor.
2. That his Highness will, for the future, be pleased to call a Parliament, consisting of two Houses, in such manner and way as shall afterwards be agreed and declared in this Remonstrance, once in three years at the furthest, or oftener, if the affairs of this nation shall require it, that being his great Council, in whose affections and advice, himself and this nation will be most happy.
This vote was carried without any division, (fn. 11)