Guibon Goddard's Journal: December 1653 and commentary

Pages xiv-xvi

Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 1, July 1653 - April 1657. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.

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December 1653 and commentary

Thursday, December 1. Mr. Lawrence reported from the Council of State, letters of safeguard, to the Prince Frederic, Heir of Norway, Duke of Sletia, Holstein, &c. which were now read in Latin and English, and agreed; and Mr. Speaker ordered to sign the same, and that it be sealed with the seal of the Parliament.

Ordered, that Sir William Roberts, and Mr. Squib, examine the person who stood at the door with a naked knife.

Friday 2. Mr. Speaker acquainted the House, that he had received a letter from the Proconsul and Consuls of the city of Dantzic. Read, and referred to the Council of State.

Monday 12. It being moved in the House this day, that the sitting of this Parliament any longer, as now constituted, will not be for the good of the Commonwealth, and that therefore it was requisite to deliver up unto the Lord General Cromwell, the powers which they received from him; and that motion being seconded by several other members, the House rose.

And the Speaker, with many members of the House, departed out of the House to Whitehall, where they, being the greater number of the members sitting in Parliament, did, by a writing under their hands, resign unto his Excellency their said powers; and Mr. Speaker, attended with the members, did present the same unto his Excellency, accordingly. (fn. 1)

This surrender of the Parliament's authority, by whatever management it had been produced, the Lord General accepted with becoming expressions of surprise and regret; even at that time, probably, not ill understood. For this unexpected event, he was so fully prepared, that four days after, a complete and comprehensive Instrument of Government, (fn. 2) indebted, no doubt, to his skill and contrivance, was ready for his acceptance. Amidst a grand ceremonial, the Lord General was inaugurated Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland; and thus proclaimed, by sound of trumpet, in the metropolis, and throughout England. (fn. 3)

Addresses to " the powers that be," were now abundant; and the Corporation of London, ever ready to improve their vicinity to a Court, flattered and feasted the Sovereign Protector; (fn. 4) as if again blessed with the presence of royalty.

A more powerful aid to his reputation, was the conclusion of a peace which the Dutch had solicited. (fn. 5) This event, which naturally tended to conciliate the people, while reviving the energies of the merchant and the artizan, was recorded by the medallists of Holland, (fn. 6) and celebrated by Oxford's learned sons. (fn. 7)

The Protector had now ruled for several months, by a Council, which emanated from his will, and was little more than a register of his edicts. He next prepared to call a Parliament, as directed by the Instrument; thus submitting to the discussions of a representative assembly, the authority and the administration of the new Government.


  • 1. See Dr. Bates's Elenchus, (1676,) p. 271; Ludlow's Memoirs, (1698,) ii. 474, 475.
  • 2. See Parl. Hist. (1763,) xx. 248–262.
  • 3. Ibid. p. 265.
  • 4. " Feb. 8. His Highness, very nobly attended by his Council and the officers of the army, his own life-guard, and many persons of honour, was met by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, his brethren, at Temple-bar, where his Highness, alighting out of his coach, took horse. "The Recorder presented the sense and duty of the City in an eloquent speech. The streets were railed all along from the Temple with seats, wherein sate all the companies of the City, in their liverygowns, as far as Grocers' Hall, which was the place appointed to feast his Highness. Being come in, the Recorder made another speech, but more brief, to let his Highness understand, how happy the City were in the enjoyment of his person. "After he had done, his Highness, having retired himself awhile above-stairs, came down to dine in the great hall, where he sate in the middle of a long table; his son, the Lord Henry on the left hand, and the Lord Mayor on the right; and on each side of them the Council, with General Monk, Commissary-general Whalley, and Mr. Claypole, Master of the Horse to his Highness; being entertained, besides cheer, with music, voices, drums, and trumpets. After this, his Highness was conducted up-stairs again, by my Lord Mayor, to a noble banquet. This being done, his Highness departed, being played out by hautboys and other loud music." Mercurius Politicus, No. 191. "8 Feb. Ash-Wednesday. In contradiction to all costome and decency," says Mr. Evelyn, " the usurper, Cromwell, feasted at the Lord Maiors, riding in triumph thro the citty." Diary, (1827,) ii, 67, 68.
  • 5. See vol. iii. pp. 391, 484; Mercurius Aulicus, No. i. p. iii.
  • 6. See Raquenet's Histoire D'Olivier Cromwel, (1691,) ii. 146–153.
  • 7. South, not yet privileged to insult, now sang: "Tu poteras solus motos componere fluctus, Solus Neptunum sub tua vincla dare. You only could the swelling waves restrain, And lay your fetters on the conquer'd main." Another student of Christchurch, who never sang his palinodia, besides English verses, thus complimented the Protector:— "Pax regit Augusti, quem vicit Julius, orbem Ille sago factus clarior, ille togâ. Hos sua Roma vocat magnos, et numina credit, Hic quod sit mundi victor, et ille quies. Tu bellum ut pacem populis das, unus utrisque Major es: ipse orbem vincis, et ipse regis. Non hominem è cœlo missum te credimus; unus Sic potens binos qui superare Deos !"—J. Lock, ex Æde Christi. See State-Poems, (1697,) pp. 6–8, 12, 13. Augustus in pacific glory sway'd The world, that Julius' conquering arms obey'd. One by his sword achiev'd a mighty name; And one the meed acquir'd of civic fame. Applauding Rome proclaim'd them deities: This for wise rule; and that for victories. Thou, sovereign Prince, to both superior far, Guiding in peace the world thou'st gain'd by war! From Heav'n we hail thee, of no mortal race, Who canst alone two deities surpass!