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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Death of the Protector

By William Hooke (1601–1678)

For the very much honoured Mr. John Winthrope, at Pequot in New-England. These:

MUCH HONOURED SIR!—The remembrance of your many kindnesses shown to me and mine in N. E., calls for a thankful acknowledgment from me in a few lines from Old, for my ill habit as to bodily health will not permit me to write much. I have been settled at the Savoy for the space of twelve months, yet holding my relation still to Whitehall, the same as in the late Protector’s time; for you have heard of his death long since, I suppose, who died, 7br 3d last, upon the day that the great victory was obtained at Dunbar, and likewise at Worcester; and which day hath since been kept in a way of Anniversary Thanksgiving for those two eminent victories. This was the day of his death and glorious triumph, though a day of lamentation to many whom he hath left behind him. His daughter, the Lady Cleypoll, dearly beloved of him, died at Hampton Court, (where then his family was) about a month before him, which made a deep impression upon his heart. There was a most terrible thunder the night before that night wherein she died, which brake a stand in the park near the house into (I suppose) hundreds of shivers; and there was as terrible a wind on that week wherein he died, which did rend many great trees, and tore up some by the roots. Many prayers were put up solemnly for his life, and some, of great and good note, were too confident that he would not die. He had the help of five or six very able physicians, but no help was effectual to save his life. I suppose himself had thoughts that he should have outlived this sickness, till near his dissolution, perhaps a day or two before; which I collect, partly by some words which he was said to speak upon a day of humiliation which we had for him in Whitehall, I take it, about a week before he expired; and partly, from his delaying, almost to the last, to nominate his successor, to the wonderment of many, who began sooner to despair of his life. His funeral pomp was very great, the relation of it enough, I think, to fill half this paper. Multitudes of mourners, and Whitehall hung with blacks, and some rooms underfoot also; some with black velvet, and all things (almost) covered with mourning. His eldest son succeedeth him, being chosen by the council the day following his father’s death, whereof he had no expectation. I have heard him say, he had thought to have lived as a country gentleman, and that his father had not employed him in such a way as to prepare him for such employment; which, he thought, he did designedly. I suppose his meaning was, lest it should have been apprehended, he had prepared and appointed him for such a place; the burden whereof I have several times heard him complaining under since his coming to the government, the weighty occasions whereof, with continual oppressing cares, had drunk up his father’s spirits, in whose body very little blood was found when he was opened; the greatest defect visible was in his heart, which was flaccid and shrunk together; yet he was one that could bear much without complaining, as one of a strong constitution of brain (as appeared when he was dissected) and likewise of body. His son seemeth to be of another frame, more soft and tender, and penetrable with easier cares by much, yet he is of a sweet countenance, vivacious, and candid, as is the whole frame of his spirit, only, naturally, inclined to choler. His reception of multitudes of addresses, from towns, cities, and counties, doth declare, among several other indiciums, more of ability in him, than could ordinarily have been expected from him. He spake also with general acceptation and applause, when he made his speech before the Parliament, even far beyond the Lord Fynes. The Parliament hath now sate about eight weeks, and little, yet, is done. It is a very compound assembly; the parts are especially, cavaliers, commonwealth men, and such as are for the present government; for there are not a few such, who would introduce and uphold the old ways, laws, and worships, and the former monarchy, as ’t is conceived. Sir H. Vane, Sir Arthur Hazelrigg, the Lord Lambert, and very many, not of the least note, are for a commonwealth; and neither of these two sorts do much regard the upper house, as it is now constituted. Great laboring there hath been to nullify the election of the members for Scotland and Ireland, ’t is supposed, to lessen the number of the votes which take to the present government. But the members are now settled, and now, I suppose, they will all fall to advising about transacting with the other house, as they call it, which was constituted by the humble petition and advice, for a balance between the House of Commons and the Protector. If this assembly miss it, we are like to be in an ill condition. The old ways and customs of England, as to worships, are in the hearts of the most, who long to see the days again which once they saw. We have had a very dry and dusty time, and cold, in Febr: and March, hitherto. There hath been a pestilential disease among horses for these many months, and yet it ceaseth not; and a sickly time is feared among men, the small-pox prevailing already and the spotted fever abroad. Sir! I shall be glad to understand of your health, and of all yours, upon all occasions. I with my wife present our humble respects to yourself, Mrs. Winthrope, and all yours. The Lord vouchsafe the manifestations of his favor always to you and them, to whose free and rich grace committing you, I take leave, and rest.
Yours to serve you,
SAVOY, March: 30, 1659.