Friday, April 22, 1659.
Prayers. (fn. 1)
The House taking notice, that some of the members of the
House went out of the House; it was
Resolved, that those gentlemen, members of this House,
who now went out of the House, be called in again, to give
their attendance in the House.
Resolved, that none of the members of the House, do
depart out of the House, without the leave of the House.
Resolved, that all strangers be commanded forthwith to
depart out of the lobby, or outward room, before the Parliament-door; and that none but such as are members of the
House be suffered to come in; and the door of the said outward room be kept shut.
Resolved, that this House be adjourned until Monday
The House adjourned itself until Monday morning next, at
Westminster, April 22.
This day, by a commission under the great Seal of
England, the Parliament was dissolved. (fn. 2)
"By the Lord Protector,
"A Proclamation about dissolving the Parliament.
"Whereas, we summoned our high court of Parliament, to
assemble and meet together at our City of Westminster, the
twenty-seventh day of January last, which hath continued until
this present day: And, whereas, we did, by our commission
under our great seal of England, bearing date at Westminster,
this present twenty-second day of April, for divers weighty
reasons, declare our pleasure and resolution to dissolve the
said Parliament, and to that end did thereby constitute and
appoint our right trusty and right well-beloved counsellor,
Nathaniel Lord Fiennes, one of the Lords Keepers of our
Great Seal of England, and others, our commissioners in our
name, this said present twenty-second day of April, to dissolve
our said Parliament, which was by them done according to the
tenor, of the said commission, in the usual place; and by virtue
thereof our said Parliament is absolutely dissolved. Nevertheless, we have thought it necessary, with the advice of our
Privy Council, by this our proclamation, to publish and make
known the same, to the end all persons whom it may concern,
may take notice thereof.
"Given at Whitehall, the twenty-second of April, in the
year of our Lord; 1659." (fn. 3)
This exertion of prerogative, on the policy of which his
counsellors had disagreed, (fn. 4) was almost the last public transaction during the Protectorate of Richard Cromwell. He
removed, in a few weeks, from, the palace of Whitehall; and
returned, probably with little reluctance, to a private condition. (fn. 5)
The interval which now elapsed, previous to the re-establishment of regal Government, is beyond the design of this
undertaking, which proposes to preserve and connect what
may still be recovered of Parliamentary History, during the
Protectorates. That interval, varied and tumultuous, was yet
highly important for its inauspicious termination, in the restoration of the Stuart race, (fn. 6) the bitter bane of England during
the larger part of a century. It will, I trust, soon be illustrated in the interesting and instructive manner, to be expected,
from the patient research and discriminating judgment, already
discovered in "The History of the Commonwealth."
Richard Cromwell was only in his thirty-second year, when
he assumed the Protectoral authority. After the Restoration,
he passed several years on the Continent; till released from
pecuniary embarrassments, the high price of his transient elevation, he returned to England. There he survived, for many
years, in the enjoyment of a competent estate, and the security
of a private station, another and a final expulsion of the
The second Protector, placed for a few months in the seat
of government, which his father's administration had rendered illustrious, especially to the observation of foreign
states, has been sometimes described as a weak man, (fn. 7) for no
reason that appears, but because he was happily free from
the selfish, and, too often, sanguinary ambition of sovereign
authority. Yet those rare talents, requisite, at once to
occupy and to adorn a public station; such qualifications
as make the place a candidate for the man, he neither possessed nor affected. But for his connexion, by the accident of
birth, with the fame and fortunes of his father, the life of
Richard Cromwell might have passed, uninterruptedly; as,
after an extended and vigorous old age, it calmly concluded; (fn. 8)
honourably and usefully sustaining the character, which a
disciplined ambition might learn to envy, of an educated,
independent, private gentleman.