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Experiments in Government. How did England run itself after execution of Charles I ?. Influence of Cromwell. Did Oliver Cromwell really seek power – or did it ambush and eventually destroy him as he tried to create his ‘godly’ nation ?

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experiments in government

Experiments in Government

How did England run itself after execution of Charles I ?

influence of cromwell
Influence of Cromwell
  • Did Oliver Cromwell really seek power – or did it ambush and eventually destroy him as he tried to create his ‘godly’ nation ?
  • Cromwell certainly not influential enough at the time to have started the Civil War.
  • During the war he was impatient with the leadership of Earl of Essex (Robert Deveraux III) – remember his Dad?
  • Cromwell stuck btw rock and hard place – couldn’t deny his army roots and their radical ideas but couldn’t make a deal with the King either as he didn’t trust him.
What could Cromwell do?
  • If the Levellers and others got their way – they could remove his social status as a country gentleman.
  • If Charles was to outwit Parliament, then Cromwell’s head would have been on the block !!
  • Cromwell’s seeming lack of a plan to replace the monarchy once he had removed it – and his subsequent inability to find one adds weight to the idea that he landed in this situation rather than planned it.
  • The fact that he turned down the offer of the Crown made in the Humble Petition and Advice in 1657 shows that he was aware of the hypocrisy of that situation.
different experiments
Different Experiments
  • Rump PMT – 1649 – 1653
  • Barebones PMT – 1653
  • The Protectorate – 1653 – 1658
  • Richard Cromwell and the Restoration – 1658 – 1660.
rump parliament
Rump Parliament
  • Made after Pride’s Purge of 1648.
  • Named Rump in a derisory fashion (almost made fun of)
  • All functions of govt given to Council of State – 40 members (31 of whom were MP’s)
  • Because they were the ‘leftovers’ – could not claim to represent the people. In reality it depended on the army and MOST people did not like being ruled by the sword.
  • Essentially it became a choice btw large army paid for by taxes, or paid bureaucracy. Neither very favourable.
  • As army more successful they removed their own reason for existence.
rump continued
Rump continued…
  • Militarily, Rump govt very successful – bout they didn’t achieve anything else of note.
  • Council of State could not agree on religious reform; completed no legal reforms because lawyers wouldn’t agree to them.
  • Little social reform because Rump represented traditional governing class.
  • Rump refused to hold elections and in the end Cromwell led a group of soldiers into PMT in April 1653 to disband it by force. This action exactly the same as Colonel pride and Charles I before him.
barebones pmt 1653
Barebones PMT 1653
  • After he dissolved Rump PMT, Cromwell needed to find a new solution.
  • Barebones PMT a compromise between Cromwell and General Lambert a conservative, and major General Harrison, a 5th Monarchist.
  • Cromwell selected 140 ‘godly’ people – no lawyers, and not as many gentry as usual. Given nickname ‘Barebones’ after one of its members, a London leather seller named Praise-God Barbon.
  • Can it have been that bad? They did choose 5 people to represent Scotland and 6 to represent Ireland.
  • Was also known as Nominated parliament, or PMT of Saints (because they were godly)
barebones cont
Barebones cont…
  • The Barebones PMT actually managed to get some reform through.
    • Introduced civil marriage ceremonies; state registration of births, deaths and marriage.
    • Tried to simplify law and abolish expensive court procedures.
  • Radicals in Barebones PMT not happy with this – wanted even more reform.
  • Moderates finally ran out of patience and arrived early to PMT before the Radicals on 12 Dec 1653 – voted to disband and gave powers back to Cromwell
the protectorate
The Protectorate
  • Cromwell and his officers produced England’s first written constitution, the Instrument of Government.
  • Cromwell given role of Lord Protector – assisted by a Council of State.
  • Protectorate PMT elected on new rules about land ownership (had to be 200 pounds worth) and combined seat so Eng / Ire / Sco. Was to be called every 3 years and sit for at least 5 months.
  • Anglicans excluded from first 4 PMT’s called – Catholics excluded forever (part of deal to institute Presbyterianism across Britain)
protectorate cont
Protectorate cont..
  • Cromwell had trouble immediately – many members not happy about influence of army.
  • Cromwell agreed to compromise on some things but the following were to be ‘recognised as fundamentals’
    • Govt led by one man
    • No PMT to be perpetual
    • There was to be religious toleration
  • Ninety members walked out rather than sign this ‘recognition’
  • Cromwell ran out of patience again as PMT dragged on trying to get agreement on anything – Charles would have loved it !!!
rule by the army
Rule by the Army
  • In 1655 the Interregnum was plagued by plots to assassinate Cromwell and a Royalist rising in Wiltshire (South-West England)
  • England at this time divided into 12 military districts – each run by a Major General.
  • They had wide-ranging duties and powers to run their districts but many of them went too far trying to enforce a strict moral code on ordinary people.
  • They collected a widely-despised decimation tax (10%) to cover cost of the army – and they even tried to ban the celebration of Christmas.
rule by army cont
Rule by Army cont…
  • Having the Major-Generals in charge was supposed to be a temporary measure, with the decimation tax covering the military costs of the army but it didn’t cover it and so the M-J’s tried to impose it on a wider range of people.
  • Initially it was only supposed to be put on Royalist estates, but once it spread its popularity declined rapidly. With the M-J’s representing direct military rule, they were hugely resented by the gentry.
  • Eventually the rule by the army became known as the most hated form of government in all of English history.
rule by army cont1
Rule by Army cont…
  • Cromwell was forced to call an emergency PMT (the 2nd Protectorate PMT) to get some money for the war effort vs Spain.
  • He did his best to influence elections in this PMT – excluding over 100 members he thought were opposed to the Protectorate (any better than Charles?)
  • PMT voted a subsidy of 400,000 pounds to help fund the war, but would not maintain decimation tax = end of rule by Army.
  • A dispute over the Nayler case then saw Cromwell suggesting that PMT had exceeded its authority – sound familiar?
humble petition and advice
Humble Petition and Advice
  • PMT put forward this motion to Cromwell in 1657.
  • They asked him to be King; to restore a second chamber to PMT (like the Lords); to let each chamber control its own membership and to let PMT control formation of a new privy Council.
  • Clear attempt to get back to the traditional form of govt that had been replaced in 1649. Also – was cheaper to run the country under old governing class system than it was to run it by the army and a paid bureaucracy.
Cromwell accepted parts of the Petition but refused to be King – probably under pressure from the army, but also with doubts in his own mind – he still thought the Civil War was a punishment for the previous ‘evil’ monarchy.
  • In 1658 PMT met for the second session as 2nd Prot. PMT.
  • Didn’t have full support – only 36 / 64 of governing class summoned actually turned up.
  • Cromwell had given up the right to purge PMT, but the radicals went too far with their requests and after 14 days Cromwell dissolved PMT again.
  • He died in 1658, not having achieved any permanent settlement.
richard cromwell and the restoration
Richard Cromwell and the Restoration
  • Oliver’s 2nd son Richard became L.P – BUT he did not have the support or the prestige to carry it off – also he didn’t actually want the job !
  • The English Republic had not developed a clear idea on how to replace the monarchy they had destroyed.
  • Richard Cromwell had nothing to fight for unless Charles II was stupid enough to give him something – he wasn’t.
  • Richard Cromwell was forced to resign in April 1659.
restoration begins
Restoration begins
  • Succession of govts followed the deposing of Richard Cromwell.
    • Recalled Rump – May-Oct 1659
    • Committee of Safety – Oct-Dec 1659
    • Recalled Rump again – Dec 1659-Feb 1660
    • Re-convened Long PMT – Feb-Mar 1660.
  • During this time the army fought amongst themselves about the type of govt for England. General Monck, head of English forces in Scotland, marched to London and proclaimed that he was there to “assist and maintain the liberty and being of parliaments,…”
convention pmt april may 1660
Convention PMT April-May 1660
  • Monck forced Rump PMT to recall ALL excluded members since start of Civil War.
  • The full membership met and dissolved themselves – they decided to hold new elections.
  • These elections brought back MP’s who shared the view of Charles II – in the Declaration of Breda April 1660 – Charles II promised to;
    • Pardon past actions against his father – excluding 30 regicides
    • Pay arrears of wages for soldiers
    • Offer a degree of religious toleration
    • Submission of property disputes to PMT for settlement
charles ii of england
Charles II of England
  • Charles II’s promises hit the mark
  • He had something for every group
    • Army wanted to be paid
    • Governing class wanted to army’s rule
    • Generally – people wanted a return to religious, political and economic stability
  • The Convention PMT took these promises and invited Charles to return to England on 14 May 1660.
  • Legislation in this PMT and the Cavalier PMT of 1661 found solutions to those problems that Cromwell could not solve.