Front Page Titles (by Subject) APPENDIX C: An account of the Fall of the Protector, Richard Cromwell, in a letter from Nehemiah Bourne. - The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 3
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APPENDIX C: An account of the Fall of the Protector, Richard Cromwell, in a letter from Nehemiah Bourne. - Sir William Clarke, The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 3 
The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, Secretary to the Council of the Army, 1647-1649, and to General Monck and the Commanders of the Army in Scotland, 1651-1660, ed. C.H. Firth (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899). 4 vols.
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An account of the Fall of the Protector, Richard Cromwell, in a letter from Nehemiah Bourne.
[This letter comes from the ‘Massachusetts State Archives,’ vol. 242, pp. 460-466. It appears to have been saved from the collections of Governor Hutchinson when his house was plundered in 1765. The Society is indebted to Mr. W. W. Dodge, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a copy of it. The contractions of the original have been extended.]
London 20 3 mo. 1659
I know your soule longeth earnestly to heare how matters goe with the people and caws of god, and alsoe the condition of this pore conflicting tossed nation; and therefore though at this Juncture I have my hands and thoughts ful, and I hope you may have better intelligence from clearer heads, and such who have more leisure to give yow their particuler observations, yet I can not be altogether silent at such a day as this, wherein the lord Jehouah hath most eminently and signally once more appeared for his owne greate name, And hath soe farre owned the Interest of his sonne, And his pore servants in this Nation, who hath bene praying and waiting for him, yet little exspecting his soe suddaine manifestation. In soe much that we are like men in A dreame, and almost Amazed at his unexspected appearans, in this late greate Revolution, And change of the whole Ciuill Gouerment of these Nations. The manner of which if I had time to lay before yow in al the strange Circumstances thereof, I know your harte, yea all that loue the lord, would wonder and Ascribe glory to him alone; for there hath bene the clearest hand of god there in, that euer was seene, since the beginning of our laite trials And Conflicts, in soe much as there is not a man liuing who can in the least Challeng a share herein. For Although many worthy and Renowned persons haue bene labouring, yet that all Confes the halfe of this which is now brought abought was not in their thoughts to obtaine at this season. I presume yow had by the last ships an Account of the siting of the laite Parlement, and of what A Mixture and Complextion they were of, they Consisting of thre sortes, (viz) the old caualier, the new cortier, And the Commanwelth partie, who by very much were the most Inconsiderable as to Number Compared with either of the other. I doubte not but yow had an accompt of what they did at there entrance, And what great debates were Aboute A thing called the other hows. Therefore in a worde I shal onely hinte what more espetially conserns the late Counterplott, whos contriuer and Acter was onely the lord ‘who as he is deepe in Counsell soe alsoe is wonderful in working.’ About 28 days since the harts of most of the lords people (who were upon there watche both in the Nation, and esspetially in the Citty), being greatly awakened and alarumed by the post hast that was made by the majority of the howse to Introdus Kingship, and with it al maner of Tirriny and oppression, both upon the Ciuill and Spiritual Liberties of the Saints, soe dearely purchased longe since by the pretious blood of our lord Jesus, And of late by the vast treasure and blood of soe many choyse Saints. And perceauing plainely that there Cause was desperat as to all human hopes, the honest party in the howse not being able to carry one voate, though neuer soe much Reason was on there side, which the other party Confessed they could not ouerthrow; I say when things looked with this darke vissage, many of the good people (whose harts and hands the lord had in some measure kept cleane, And Innocent as to the laite general Apostacy),—pardon the expression for its two manifest—they began together to seeke the face of god, And consult what might be there duty at such a time. The lord was pleased to stirre up many of them to apply to the officers of the Armie (who were many of them about the Citty, but there forces scattered about the Countries), And several serius debates were had Amongst them, yet there harts generally down as to any greate exspectations, many tender soules, both in the Armie as also In other publick Imployments, ready to give up their places, as not able to stand under there trusts, but Rather had there harts upon the winge, and were thinking of noe thing but suffering or quiting the place. But in a shorte time the generallity of the officers of the army (who had not soe farre debauched there prinsiples and spirits as to lick up there vomit without Reluctensy) began to gather blood and spirits, and came up to the superior officers, And began to worke upon them alsoe, who by this time were themselves Inclinable to here, and Resolved to mete together, and whet up one anothers spirits, and Revive the good ould Cause for which they had bene ingaiged soe deeply. And accordingly they came together to Wallingford Hows, which is the Lord Fleetwoods Quarters, where was a general counsel held, and al things carried with much tendernes and sobernes, not haueing it in the least in there thoughts at this time (I am very confident being witnes) soe much as to cause the least interruption to the Parliament; but findeing a concurans of spirit unanimusly in the Armie to looke backe to what they had sworne And promised, And to take shame for there owne preuarications, they alsoe agreed to Represent there desires to the late Protector, and therein thought it Incumbent on them at this Juncture to asserte there ould cause, the Rather that it was become a matter of scorne and Reproach euen to the members of Parlament. And noe wonder when as a greate number of them were scarse come from the nurs at the time when god brought us at first out of Egipt, and neuer understood his wonders there, nor at the Red Sea, and soe open were many of the Cauilers of Parlament that they said they would haue a Kinge And Lords before they [left] the howse. And what Kinge thinke yow? I can tell because I haue good Authority for it; this Gentleman, who they would have made soe much hast to dresse And set on horsebacke, was but to warme the sadle for another whome they better loued and liked, which now is unRidled more plainly. But to winde up this bottome. The Officers meeting as also ther Representations, did soe much truble and anger the two first parties In the Howse, yea the Protector (then soe called) was not pleased herewith, howeuer he kept his Countenans for the present upon the[m]. The Parlement in greate hast past the Inclosed voats, and satt about it til 9 or 10 aclocke at night, And would here no deswation from those that desented, but in greate heate and displeasure shut it up. The offisers of the Armie, though very quiet in language, and Carriages, yet not wthout sens how much the safety of the nation, as alsoe there owne, was in exstreme danger (the King of Scotts haueing at this time about 2000 offisers commissionated in and aboute London, who kept there meeteings, greate preparations both for sea and land on the other side of the water, and he himselfe in disguise both in Flanders and Holland), they now Judged it the time to consulte there duty to god And the pore people of these nations, who were not like to be sould for Bondmen, but there very lives like to be at the mercy of there cruil and implacable Enimies, the designe of the Parlament being uncouered, (viz) to vote Richard laite Protector General of the Armies, and soe giue him the sworde who had suffitiently before appeared to discountenans the fathful offisers, and imbrace flatterers, and creatuers of his owne, soe that he would soone have modeled (or Rather deformed) the Armie to his best purpos, A number alredy prepared to owne him as there general, who had assured him of a considerable interest in the armie. This voate being passed, the Protector the same time knowing wel that the armie were awakened, he sends for the offisers to come to him; unto whom when they were come, he gave his Comand to conforme to the Parlament voate, to departe and meete noe more, And threatened them if they shold disobay him who was there General; which titel he had seuerall times before Assumed, And once esspetially A few daies before when he caused them to be drawne up in the Parke, where he presented himselfe to them under such a notion, and gave the souldiers mony (to small purpos, for they in there harts disauowed him). This being done he grew Jelus of the offisers, though they soe far obayed him as they forbore any general meeting, And used al means to obtaine A right understanding; for which purpos Fleetwood and Disborow and others went to him, and deswaded him from urging the Generalship by his Courtiers in the Parlament, which he promised them he would, And that there should be noe thing donne in it; neuer the lesse the same hower or very little more, used al his Intrest, And his whole party joyned with the ould Cauiler to carry it on to make him General, which thinge soe hiely dissatisfied the whole Armie that the very Coman Soulger cried out against it, and urged there officers to remember the cause for which they had soe many times bled. And now it began to worke to purpos. I was a witnes of most of thes things, and speake what I know, And I am sertainly informed And believe it, That Fleetwood, And Disborow, and some others were appointed to be Seized on, but by prouidens escaped that plott. The evening before that breaking up these with some other offisers held a counsel at Jameses House, to which place the protector sent, Requiring the two persons before mentioned to come to him to White Hall, where were assembled wth him, Coll. Goff, Coll. Whalley, Coll. Inglesby, Coll. Mills, and Lego, with seueral of his new created lords, and his greate Seacritary, and the Lord Broghill. But the Gentlemen had soe timely warning of his designe, And having somewhat else under consideration that they excused there denial and appeared not. He at the same time had sent for his life guard, which was there with him, and a few broken companies, And two broken troops that were sedused by these offisers; And al the force his 7 Colinels could raise for him out of all there Regiments of horse and ffoott were not 3 Companies nor 2 troops, but there whole Regiments marched away, yea the Protectors owne Regiment went away cleare from him to the Armie, who about midnight without sounde of Drum or Trumpet were at Randevoos, unanimusly crieing up the good ould cause, And A Comanwealth, and noe single person. This night was the Brightest apperans of the lord that hath bene in our age, hazerd was exstreame greate, none knowing how the thing would take with the Souldiers til trial, And noe thinge but A poize upon there spirits could possibly have kept them soe quiet and Right, not withstanding all means possible was used to draw them to sheath there swords in there Fellows bowels, And could those offisers with him have made a party he would doubtles have put al into a flame. But in the morneing there was a cleare dissition and discouery of the lords hand, to Admiration of al; for I am bould to say we were neuer in such a Crisis, neither could any man beleue such a thinge had bene possible as was now made practicable. And that night messages past betwixt White Hall and Jameses, there being two distant parties, neuertheless al means was used to perswade the Protector to Accomodate the Busines, And not to put al to Hazard. But he was hightened by false Suggestions, And hopes he had conceaued which he found to faile him, And in the Issue against his will he consented to breake up the Parlament, And for that cause sealed an Instrument and sent to the two Howses, And withal put forth a declaration hereinclosed; all which was accordingly donne, which caused noe small stirre in the minds not onely of the broken Parlament but of the whole nation, yet through gods wonderful providens not a dropp of Blood shed, which is maruelus in our eies who beheld al. The Parlament being thus desolued, yow may Judge In what a condition affairs stood, the Protector, in a manner insignificant, haueing not lost onely the harts, But the name of an Armie, Noe power then visible, neither was any prouition made beforehand, nor Resolues taken what to declare for sum days after. I am suer all indeauours were made by the principal offisers in the Armie to pece and mende up that crakt Gouerment; And I am suer what I say is truth, (haueing opertunity enough to know there debaits) the utmost they had in vew when this was first entered upon was, to Settle the Malitia in safe hands, take away his Negative, And Remove his Sicophants, and Parasits, And fill up the Counsel wth good and able men. But none of all these would be granted, noe there must not one haire be touched, but rather Adventure the peace and safety of the nation. Now whilst for diuers days the things were under a close debate And consideration, The Malitia of the Citty and many considerable honest persons wel affected out of seuerall parts made their addres to the generall Counsel of officers, then siting dayly at Wallingford Howse, And with vnanimus Consent declared against touching the late made gouerment, or new strunge Instrument and Aduise, And were zelus to lay it wholly asside, and call the ould Parlament (as being the onely visible way and means of our Setlement And safety). Besides this all the Inferior offisers of the Armie, yea whole Regiments of Soulgers gave in there petitions for it, And almost al persons well affected Centered therein (though they had there fears, yet this was the best that could be found). I know this mett with much opposetion, And yet at length the prouidens of god brought it abought By means of A Comittie of the Armie, who mett A number of the old parlament men, Amongst which Sir Henery Vaine and Sir Arther Haselrigg, our two eminent good Instruments for the accomodating things betwixt them. And accordingly on the 7th of May they Satt, And there ould Speaker in the Chaire, which was to the reioyseing of the generality of honest harts, And the confution and Astonishment of the Enemy, yea of al strangers, And the Imbasaudors And Agents in Towne, who are scarce come to them selues to this day, But are filled wth wonderment to see such a total subuertion of A gouerment, And Behould all shops open, Tradesmen in there calings, And not a broken patte, as sum of them have exspresed. Yea, and let me tel yow, This is noe lesse Admirable in the eyes of the most sober And godly, both within and without the Armie, considering what means was vsed to sett al in A flame both in Citty and Cuntry, But al proued vneffectual (the lord preuenting al such attempts). Dureing the Consults aboute the Gouerment to be Establisht yow will Imagin what spirit ronne thorow the nation. I shal onely minde yow againe, That there was labouring and Indeauouring to patch And Amend the broken Image (esspetially by the greate ones), But the meaner sorte of the offisers, together with the honest people that flocked in to them, Caried it cleare for this Parlament. Immediately after they were Sat, divers of the Secluded members of 1647 Indeauours to presse into the howse, And chalanged there places; And some small contest was betwixt them and others who had that care and charge under there hands, But at last they withdrew, seeing what was Resolued, that none should sitt Butt such as were in 48, And had gonne alonge wth them in change of gouerment, In takeing of the Kinge and howse of Peers, vnles they would take the Ingaigment. Sins there Siting they chose a comittie of saifety about 12 days agoe: Lord Fleetwood, Lord Lambert, Sir Henery Vaine, Sir Arther Haselrige, Major Saleway, Mr Scott, Left-General Lodlow, Coll. Sidenham; And on Satterday last they chose A counsel of Staite, which being Setled the Comittie of Saifety determined. The General counsel of Offisers haue likewise made a beginning to purge there owne body, By discarding some, And Restoreing others, who for contiens sake quited there comands under the old Protector, or were by him turned of as not seruing his turne, yea some of his ouldest and best freinds, (viz) Lord Lambert, Coll. Okey, Coll. Sanders, Major Packer, Capt. Gladman. And since have restored Sir Arther Haselricke, And diuers others alsoe are under Consideration to be Reinuested with there Comands, Amongst which is Coll. Whithham, Gouernor at Portsmouth. Of al which yow may here more particulerly hereafter, for they are now but beginning to worke. I have Inclosed sent yow some papers which may better informe yow then this scribled confused Naratiue, onely by this yow may gesse at things. And take this from my hand, that the Lord is present eminently In the Armie, with A sober, Serious, yet warme and lively Spirit of Zeale and Curage for him and his cause; And if yow had seene them in all this laite agitations, you would Rather have judged them Lambs then Lions by there deportment and carrage, which much inlarges my Soule to hope that the lorde is abought to doe some greate worke by them. I am much conuersent with them in there meetings, And haue had optunity to know there spirits In this Juncture, which I reioyse in, and yet am not with out my fears. But I know the lord lives and reins, And his purposes and promises shal stand good to al Intents in all generations; though we Are A backsliding and sinneful people, that have shamefully blotted out his name to set up our owne, yet he remains faithful and ful of compassion, And knowes how to recouer and heale vs, as alsoe to pardon vs freely for that names sake of his which we have profaned.
As for Scotland we have a ful and an Ample concurans of the Comanders in cheefe And al the Armie, who fully adhere to the Armie here; And as if there had bene a Counsel held betwixt them In coniunction, they alsoe vnanimusly crie up the ould Parlament And A Comanwelth, though they could not possibly know the thinge that was in debaite.
As for Ireland they are quiet alsoe, the General of that Armie concuring with thes here, though there hath bene of laite A new Model begun After a patterne of what was first attempted here. And the Lord Henery Cromwel, there Comander, hath written his letters to the Lord Fleetwood that he shal aquies In the issue of what shal be donne here, soe that the fears of some upon that accounte are taken away very much.
As for our fleete now in the sounde, cossisting of 40 Ships of warr Comanded by Lord Mountague, we haue noe feare of them, because the generality of the Comanders are such who haue served A Comanwealth heretofore, And have tasted the differens betwixt one And other gouerment. In the narrow Seas and downes my Brother1 is Comander In cheefe, Being Reare Admiral of England, who hath with his Squadron acknowledged And gladly Imbraced the change. Thus I have in breefe given yow A Rough Draught of the staite of affairs at this day, to the ende you may have your harte drawne forth to seeke in the behalfe of these poor nations that are thus frequently emptied from vessel to vessel, And Turned, yea overturned.
As for forraine newes, I beleeve the unexpected change of this gouerment from monarkie to A free state And Comanwealth doth amaze our nighbors, And put them upon new Counsels, of which we shal suddanly be Informed.
The peace betwixt france and spaine is Reported by some to be Concluded, by others to be doubtful. And by al it is questioned, that if in caise it be not far gonne Already, It wil be now Impeded, there being greate desier on both sides to Attaine a peace betwixt Spaine and England.
The Hollander hath made very greate preparations for warre, and is gonne to the Sounde with a fleete of men of warr; we are in doubt what the Issue wil be when our Fleete and thers meete, we hope an expedent may be found to preserve peace, unles the Hollander be two deepe in the Confederacy betwixt spaine, France, And the Austrian faction, which is much susspected, for doubtles at this Juncture there is A coniunction of Counsels And forces of al the professed Enemies of Christ, And there designs are laide aganst him and his interest very deepely and strongly. But truly we are in some measure Raised in our hopes that the lord hath begunne to breath a spirit of life in deade bones, which he is gathering together to declare his power in them. Wherefore I beseech yow strive togeather earnestly with the lord that he wil Arise and have mercy upon Sion, for we hope the time is comeing wherein he will be Jealus for his people, and wil thrash the mountains of the world. And in parteculer pray for me and my family, that by all the winnowings and Siftings we may find the frute of his spirit, as it is a spirit of Judgment and burning.
If oppertunity offer, And that I can Redeem soe much time, I shal Indeauour to comunicate what shal come to my knowlidge worthy of your vew, for certainly very greate things are upon the wheele.
END OF VOL. III.
spottiswoode and co., new-street square
[1 ]Rear-Admiral John Bourne.