Home  »  Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson  »  The Life of John Hutchinson: 1651–58

Lucy Hutchinson (1620–1681). Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson. 1906.

The Life of John Hutchinson: 1651–58

After the colonel had bought my lady’s land, some that were extremely vexed at her having that sum of money, dealt with the colonel to permit them to sequester it in his hands, and offered him he should have it all himself; which, he told them, he would be torn to pieces before he would do, and that it was a treachery and villainy that he abhorred. Though, notwithstanding this, he was much pressed yet he would not yield, and to prevent force, which they threatened, after moving in the house, how dangerous it was to suffer such a sum of money to be in the hands of the daughter of an excepted person, especially at such a time (for now the king was crowned in Scotland, and the Scots ready to invade, and the presbyters to join with them), the colonel put the money out of his own hands, to preserve it for my lady. All that time both she and her brother, and other friends, made all the acknowledgments of obligation that was possible. Not to confound stories, I finish the memorial of this here.

After the parliament was broken up by Cromwell, and after that my lady, seeing her project of marrying with my lord Dorchester would not take, had embraced an offer of Mr. Henry Howard, second son to the Earl of Arundel; and when, in the protector’s time, the papists wanted not patrons, she began to repent the selling of her land, which before she thought such a blessing, and told her husband false stories, as he alleged, though his future carriage made it justly suspicious he was as unworthy as she.

The colonel, presently after he had that land, had very much improved it, to a fourth part more than it was at when he bought it, and they, envying his good bargain, desired to have it again out of his hands, nor dealt fairly and directly in the thing, but employed a cunning person, Major Wildman, who was then a great manager of papists’ interests, to get the land again, which he was to have four hundred pounds for, if he could do it. Whereupon he presently got money and came to the gentleman who had a mortgage upon it for three thousand pounds taken up to pay my lady, and tendered it. But Mr. Ash, a great friend of the colonel’s, was so faithful that he would not accept it, and then Wildman began a chancery suit, thinking that the colonel, being out of favour with the present powers, would be necessitated to take any composition. When he had put the colonel to a great deal of vain charge, and found he could do no good, at last they desired to make up the business, and the lady and Mr. Howard passed a new fine to confirm the title, and the colonel was delivered from further trouble with them, till after the change and the return of the king. Then, when the parliament men began to come into question for their lives, my Lord of Portland and Mr. Howard came to Mrs. Hutchinson’s lodgings three or four times, while she was out soliciting for her husband, and my lord left her a message, that he must needs speak with her, upon a business of much concernment; whereupon she sought out my lord, knowing that he had professed much kindness and obligation to her husband, and thinking he might have some design now to acknowledge it by some real assistance. But when she came to him, he told her, her husband was in danger of his life, and that if he would resign back Loseby to Mr. Howard, he would help him to a good sum of money to fly, and Mr. Howard would stand to the hazard of buying it; but she being vexed that my lord should interrupt her with this frivolous proposition, told my lord that she would hazard it with the rest of her estate, rather than make up such desperate bargains. When Mr. Howard saw this would not do, he prepared a petition to get it excepted out of the act of oblivion, pretending that his wife being under age, the colonel had by power and fraud wrested her out of her estate. But when he showed this petition to his friends, they being informed of the falseness of the allegations, would none of them undertake either to deliver or back it. Only one Sir Richard Onslow was a violent man, railing against the colonel concerning this, but he not long after died by a blast of lightning. Others of his friends, when they understood that he himself had joined in the confirmation of the fine, after the colonel was retired, in the protector’s reign, bade him for shame to make no more mention of his lady’s being fooled or frightened to an act which he had voluntarily done. Many told the colonel how unsafe it was to displease a person who had so many powerful allies that might mischief him, but the colonel would neither be frighted nor flattered to give away his estate, which when Mr. Howard found, he let fall his purpose, and made no more vain endeavours.

And now to return to his story where I left it. I shall not mention every particular action of his in the employment of a senator and councillor of the realms but only some which were more remarkable, to show the honour and excellency of his nature, among which this was one. When his old opposites and enemies of the Nottingham committee had entered into the presbyterian conspiracy so deep, that their lives were forfeit to the law, had they been brought to public trial, and this was discovered to him, and also that Colonel Pierrepont was the chief of them, he took care to have the business so managed, that Colonel Pierrepont was passed by in the information, and others so favourably accused, that they were only restrained from the mischief they intended, and kept prisoners till the danger was over, and afterwards, through his mediation released, without any further punishment on their persons and estates, though Chadwick’s eldest son was one of these. For Colonel Pierrepont, he only privately admonished him, and endeavoured to reclaim him, which the man, being good-natured, was infinitely overcome with; insomuch, that ever after, to his dying day, all his envy ceased, and he professed all imaginable friendship and kindness to the colonel. Indeed, his excellent gentleness was such, that he not only protected and saved these enemies, wherein there was some glory of passing by revenge, but was compassionately affected with the miseries of any poor women or children, who had been unfortunately, though deservedly, ruined in the civil war; and without any interest of his own in the persons, whenever any ruined family came to seek relief, where he was in power, he was as zealous in assisting all such, as far as it might be done with the safety of the commonwealth, as if they had been his brothers. As it was a misery to be bewailed in those days, that many of the parliament party exercised cruelty, injustice, and oppression to their conquered enemies, wherever he discovered it he violently opposed it, and defended even those enemies that were by might oppressed and defrauded of the mercies of the parliament. Upon this account he had contests with some good men, who were weak in these things, some through too factious a zeal, and others blinded with their own or their friends’ interests. Among these Colonel Hacker’s father, having married my Lady Biron’s mother, was made a trustee for the estate of her son, which she had by Strelley her first husband. He had about £1,800 of the estate of young Strelley in his hands, which, he dying, his eldest son and heir, Colonel Francis Hacker, was liable and justly ought to pay. Young Strelley died in France, and left his estate to his half-brother, the son of Sir Richard Biron, who, all the time of the first war, was at school in Colonel Hutchinson’s garrison at Nottingham, and after was sent into France. Being there, an infant, when this estate fell to him, he returned and chose Colonel Hutchinson for his guardian, who overcame Colonel Hacker in the right of his pupil, and recovered that money out of his hands, which he would not have paid, if the infant had not found a friend that was heartily zealous to obtain his just right. Sir Arthur Haslerig was a great patron of Colonel Hacker’s, and laboured to bear him out against justice and the infant’s right in this thing; and when the colonel had overcome him, they were both displeased; for Hacker, on the other side, was such a creature of Sir Arthur’s, that without questioning justice or honesty, he was more diligent in obeying Sir Arthur’s than God’s commands. Sir Allen Apsley had articles at the rendition of Barnstaple, whereof he was governor, and contrary to these he was put to vast expense and horrible vexation by several persons, but especially by one wicked woman, who had the worst and the smoothest tongue that ever her sex made use of to mischief. She was handsome in her youth, and had very pretty girls for her daughters, whom, when they grew up, she prostituted to her revenge and malice against Sir Allen Apsley, which was so venomous and devilish, that she stuck not at inventing false accusations, and hiring witnesses to swear to them, and a thousand other as enormous practices. In those days there was a committee sent up, for relief of such as had any violation of their articles, and of this Bradshaw was president; into whose easy faith this woman, pretending herself religious, and of the parliament’s party, had so insinuated herself, that Sir Allen’s way of relief was obstructed. Colonel Hutchinson, labouring mightily in his protection, and often foiling this vile woman, and bringing to light her devilish practices, turned the woman’s spite into as violent a tumult against himself; and Bradshaw was so hot in abetting her, that he grew cool in his kindness to the colonel, yet broke it not quite: but the colonel was very much grieved that a friend should engage in so unjust an opposition. At last it was manifest how much they were mistaken that would have assisted this woman upon a score of being on the parliament’s side, for she was all this while a spy for the king, and after his return, Sir Allen Apsley met her in the king’s chamber waiting for recompense for that service. The thing she sued Sir Allen Apsley for, was for a house of hers in the garrison of Barnstaple, which was pulled down to fortify the town for the king, before he was governor of the place. Yet would she have had his articles violated to make her a recompense out of his estate, treble and more than the value of the house; pretending she was of the parliament’s party, and that Sir Allen, in malice thereunto, had without necessity pulled down her house. All which were horrible lies, but so maliciously and so wickedly affirmed and sworn by her mercenary witnesses, that they at first found faith, and it was hard for truth afterwards to overcome that prepossession.

The colonel, prosecuting the defence of truth and justice in these and many more things, and abhorring all councils for securing the young commonwealth by cruelty and oppression of the vanquished, who had not laid down their hate, in delivering up their arms, and were, therefore, by some cowards, judged unworthy of the mercy extended to them—the colonel, I say, disdaining such thoughts, displeased many of his own party, who in the main, we hope, might have been honest, although through divers temptations guilty of horrible slips, which did more offend the colonel’s pure zeal, who detested these sins more in brethren than in enemies.

Now was Cromwell sole general, and marched into Scotland, and the Scots were ready to invade, and the presbyters to assist them in it. The army being small, there was a necessity of recruits, and the council of state, soliciting all the parliament-men that had interest to improve it in this exigence of time, gave Colonel Hutchinson a commission for a regiment of horse. He immediately got up three troops, well armed and mounted, of his own old soldiers, that thirsted to be again employed under him, and was preparing the rest of the regiment to carry after them himself, when he was informed, that as soon as his troops came into Scotland, Cromwell very readily received them, but would not let them march together, but dispersed them, to fill up the regiments of those who were more his creatures. The colonel hearing this, would not carry him any more, but rather employed himself in securing, as much as was necessary, his own country, for which he was sent down by the council of state, who at that time were very much surprised at hearing that the king of Scots was passed by Cromwell, and entered with a great army into England. Bradshaw himself, as stout-hearted as he was, privately could not conceal his fear; some raged and uttered sad discontents against Cromwell, and suspicions of his fidelity, they all considering that Cromwell was behind, of whom I think they scarce had any account, or of his intention, or how this error came about, to suffer the enemy to enter here, where there was no army to encounter him. Both the city and country (by the angry presbyters, wavering in their constancy to them and the liberties they had purchased) were all amazed, and doubtful of their own and the commonwealth’s safety. Some could not hide very pale and unmanly fears, and were in such distraction of spirit, as much disturbed their councils. Colonel Hutchinson, who ever had most vigour and cheerfulness when there was most danger, encouraged them, as they were one day in a private council raging and crying out on Cromwell’s miscarriages, to apply themselves to counsels of safety, and not to lose time in accusing others, while they might yet provide to save the endangered realm; or at least to fall nobly in defence of it, and not to yield to fear and despair. These and such like things being urged, they at length recollected themselves, and every man that had courage and interest in their countries, went down to look to them. Colonel Hutchinson came down into Nottinghamshire, and secured those who were suspicious to make any commotion, and put the country into such a posture of defence as the time would permit. But it was not long before the king chose another way, and went to Worcester. Cromwell following swiftly after with his army, and more forces meeting him from several other parts, they fought with the king and his Scots, totally routed and subdued him, and he, with difficulty, after concealment in an oak, and many other shifts, stole away into France.

When the colonel heard how Cromwell used his troops, he was confirmed that he and his associates in the army were carrying on designs of private ambition, and resolved that none should share with them in the commands of the army or forts of the nation, but such as would be beasts, and ridden upon by the proud chiefs. Disdaining, therefore, that what he had preserved, for the liberty of his country, should be a curb upon them, and foreseeing that some of Cromwell’s creatures would at length be put in, to exercise him with continual affronts, and to hinder any man from standing up for the deliverance of the country, if the insolence of the army (which he too sadly foresaw) should put them upon it; for this reason, in Cromwell’s absence, he procured an order for the remove of the garrison at Nottingham, which was commanded by his kinsman Major Poulton, into the marching army, and the demolishing of the place; which accordingly was speedily executed.

When Major Poulton, who had all along been very faithful and active in the cause, brought his men to the army, he was entertained with such affronts and neglects by the general, that he voluntarily quitted his command, and retired to the ruined place, where the castle was which he had bought with his arrears. When Cromwell came back through the country and saw the castle pulled down, he was heartily vexed at it, and told Colonel Hutchinson, that if he had been there when it was voted, he should not have suffered it. The colonel replied, that he had procured it to be done, and believed it to be his duty to ease the people of charge, when there was no more need of it.

When Cromwell came to London, there wanted not some little creatures of his, in the house, who had taken notice of all that had been said of him when he let the king slip by; how some stuck not in their fear and rage to call him traitor, and to threaten his head. These reports added spurs to his ambition, but that his son-in-law, Ireton Deputy of Ireland, would not be wrought to serve him, but hearing of his machinations, determined to come over to England to endeavour to divert him from such destructive courses. But God cut him short by death, and whether his body or an empty coffin was brought into England, something in his name came to London, and was to be, by Cromwell’s procurement, magnificently buried among the kings at Westminster. Colonel Hutchinson was, after his brother, one of the nearest kinsmen he had, but Cromwell, who of late studied him neglects, passed him by, and neither sent him mourning, nor particular invitation to the funeral, only the Speaker gave public notice in the house, that all the members were desired to attend him; and such was the flattery of many pitiful lords and other gentlemen, parasites, that they put themselves into deep mourning; but Colonel Hutchinson that day put on a scarlet cloak, very richly laced, such as he usually wore, and coming into the room where the members were, seeing some of the lords in mourning, he went to them to inquire the cause, who told him they had put it on to honour the general; and asked again, why he, that was a kinsman, was in such a different colour? He told them, that because the general had neglected sending to him, when he had sent to many that had no alliance, only to make up the train, he was resolved he would not flatter so much as to buy for himself, although he was a true mourner in his heart for his cousin, whom he had ever loved, and would therefore go and take his place among his mourners. This he did, and went into the room where the close mourners were; who seeing him come in, as different from mourning as he could make himself, the alderman came to him, making a great apology that they mistook and thought he was out of town, and had much injured themselves thereby, to whom it would have been one of their greatest honours to have had his assistance in the befitting habit, as now it was their shame to have neglected him. But Cromwell, who had ordered all things, was piqued horribly at it, though he dissembled his resentment at that time, and joined in excusing the neglect; but he very well understood that the colonel neither out of ignorance nor niggardise came in that habit, but publicly to reproach their neglects.

After the death of Ireton, Lambert was voted Deputy of Ireland, and commander-in-chief there, who being at that time in the north, was exceedingly elevated with the honour, and courted all Fairfax his old commanders, and other gentlemen; who, upon his promises of preferment, quitted their places, and many of them came to London and made him up there a very proud train, which still exalted him, so that too soon he put on the prince, immediately laying out five thousand pounds for his own particular equipage, and looking upon all the parliament-men, who had conferred this honour on him, as underlings, and scarcely worth the great man’s nod. This untimely declaration of his pride gave great offence to the parliament, who having only given him a commission for six months for his deputyship, made a vote that, after the expiration of that time, the presidency of the civil and military power of that nation should no more be in his nor in any one man’s hands again. This vote was upon Cromwell’s procurement, who hereby designed to make way for his new son-in-law, Colonel Fleetwood, who had married the widow of the late Deputy Ireton. There went a story that as my Lady Ireton was walking in St. James’s park, the Lady Lambert, as proud as her husband, came by where she was, and as the present princess always hath precedency of the relict of the dead prince, so she put my Lady Ireton below; who, notwithstanding her piety and humility, was a little grieved at the affront. Colonel Fleetwood being then present, in mourning for his wife, who died at the same time her lord did, took occasion to introduce himself, and was immediately accepted by the lady and her father, who designed thus to restore his daughter to the honour she was fallen from. His plot took as himself could wish; for Lambert, who saw himself thus cut off from half his exaltation, sent the house an insolent message, ‘that if they found him so unworthy of the honour they had given him as so soon to repent it, he would not retard their remedy for six months, but was ready to surrender their commission before he entered into his office’. They took him at his word, and made Fleetwood Deputy, and Ludlow commander of the horse; whereupon Lambert, with a heart full of spite, malice, and revenge, treated to his palace at Wimbledon, and sat there watching an opportunity to destroy the parliament.

Cromwell, although he chiefly wrought this business in the house, yet flattered with Lambert, and, having another reach of ambition in his breast, helped to inflame Lambert against those of the parliament who were not his creatures, and to cast the odium of his disgrace upon them, and profess his own clearness in it, and pity of him, that should be drawn into such an inconvenience as the charge of putting himself into equipage, and the loss of all that provision; which Cromwell, pretending generosity, took all upon his own account, and delivered him of the debt. Lambert dissembled again on his part, and insinuated himself into Cromwell, fomenting his ambition to take the administration of all the conquered nations into his own hands; but finding themselves not strong enough alone, they took to them Major-general Harrison, who had a great interest both in the army and the churches; and these, pretending a pious trouble that there were such delays in the administration of justice, and such perverting of right, endeavoured to bring all good men into dislike of the parliament, pretending that they would perpetuate themselves in their honours and offices, and had no care to bring in those glorious things for which they had so many years contended in blood and toil. The parliament, on the other side, had now, by the blessing of God restored the commonwealth to such a happy, rich, and plentiful condition, as it was not so nourishing before the war, and although the taxes that were paid were great, yet the people were rich and able to pay them: they (the parliament) were in a way of paying all the soldiers’ arrears, had some hundred thousand pounds in their purses, and were free from enemies in arms within and without, except the Dutch, whom they had beaten and brought to seek peace upon honourable terms to the English: and now they thought it was time to sweeten the people, and deliver them from their burthens. This could not be but by disbanding the unnecessary officers and soldiers, and when things were thus settled, they had prepared a bill to put a period to their own sitting, and provide for new successors. But when the great officers understood that they were to resign their honours, and no more triumph in the burthens of the people, they easily induced the inferior officers and soldiers to set up for themselves with them; and while these things were passing, Cromwell with an armed force, assisted by Lambert and Harrison, came into the house and dissolved the parliament, pulling out the members, foaming and raging, and calling them undeserved and base names; and when the Speaker refused to come out of his chair, Harrison plucked him out. These gentlemen having done this, took to themselves the administration of all things, and a few slaves of the house consulted with them and would have truckled under them, but not many. Meanwhile they and their soldiers could no way palliate their rebellion, but by making false criminations of the parliament-men, as that they meant to perpetuate themselves in honour and office, that they had gotten vast estates, and perverted justice for gain, and were imposing upon men for conscience, and a thousand such like things, which time manifested to be false, and truth retorted all upon themselves that they had injuriously cast at the others.

At the time that the parliament was broken up Colonel Hutchinson was in the country, where, since his going in his course out of the Council of State, he had for about a year’s time applied himself, when the parliament could dispense with his absence, to the administration of justice in the country, and to the putting in execution those wholesome laws and statutes of the land provided for the orderly regulation of the people. And it was wonderful how, in a short space, he reformed several abuses and customary neglects in that part of the country where he lived, which being a rich fruitful vale, drew abundance of vagrant people to come and exercise the idle trade of wandering and begging; but he took such courses that there was very suddenly not a beggar left in the country, and all the poor in every town so maintained and provided for, as they were never so liberally maintained and relieved before nor since. He procured unnecessary alehouses to be put down in all the towns, and if any one that he heard of suffered any disorder or debauchery in his house, he would not suffer him to brew any more. He was a little severe against drunkenness, for which the drunkards would sometimes rail at him; but so were all the children of darkness convinced by his light, that they were in awe more of his virtue than his authority. In this time he had made himself a convenient house, whereof he was the best ornament, and an example of virtue so prevailing, as metamorphosed many evil people, while they were under his roof, into another appearance of sobriety and holiness.

He was going up to attend the business of his country above, when news met him upon the road, near London, that Cromwell had broken the parliament. Notwithstanding, he went on and found divers of the members there, resolved to submit to this providence of God, and to wait till he should clear their integrity, and to disprove those people who had taxed them of ambition, by sitting still, when they had friends enough in the army, city, and country, to have disputed the matter, and probably vanquished these usurpers. They thought that if they should vex the land by war among themselves, the late subdued enemies, royalists and presbyterians, would have an opportunity to prevail on their dissensions, to the ruin of both: if these should govern well, and righteously, and moderately, they should enjoy the benefit of their good government, and not envy them the honourable toil; if they did otherwise, they should be ready to assist and vindicate their oppressed country, when the ungrateful people were made sensible of their true champions and protectors. Colonel Hutchinson, in his own particular, was very glad of this release from that employment, which he managed with fidelity and uprightness, but not only without delight, but with a great deal of trouble and expense, in the contest for truth and righteousness upon all occasions.

The only recreation he had during his residence at London was in seeking out all the rare artists he could hear of, and in considering their works in paintings, sculptures, gravings, and all other such curiosities, insomuch that he became a great virtuoso and patron of ingenuity. Being loth that the land should be disfurnished of all the rarities that were in it, whereof many were set to sale from the king’s and divers noblemen’s collections, he laid out about two thousand pounds in the choicest pieces of painting, most of which were bought out of the king’s goods, which were given to his servants to pay their wages: to them the colonel gave ready money, and bought so good pennyworths, that they were valued at much more than they cost. These he brought down into the country, intending a very neat cabinet for them; and these, with the surveying of his buildings, and improving by inclosure the place he lived in, employed him at home, and, for a little time, hawks abroad; but when a very sober fellow, that never was guilty of the usual vices of that generation of men, rage and swearing, died, he gave over his hawks, and pleased himself with music, and again fell to the practice of his viol, on which he played excellently well, and entertaining tutors for the diversion and education of his children in all sorts of music, he pleased himself in these innocent recreations during Oliver’s mutable reign. As he had great delight, so he had great judgment, in music, and advanced his children’s practice more than their tutors: he also was a great supervisor of their learning, and indeed himself a tutor to them all, besides all those tutors which he liberally entertained in his house for them. He spared not any cost for the education of both his sons and daughters in languages, sciences, music, dancing, and all other qualities befitting their father’s house. He was himself their instructor in humility, sobriety, and in all godliness and virtue, which he rather strove to make them exercise with love and delight than by constraint. As other things were his delight, this only he made his business, to attend to the education of his children, and the government of his own house and town. This he performed so well that never was any man more feared and loved than he by all his domestics, tenants, and hired workmen. He was loved with such a fear and reverence as restrained all rude familiarity and insolent presumptions in those who were under him, and he was feared with so much love that they all delighted to do his pleasure.

As he maintained his authority in all relations, so he endeavoured to make their subjection pleasant to them, and rather to convince them by reason than compel them to obedience, and would decline even to the lowest of his family to make them enjoy their lives in sober cheerfulness, and not find their duties burthensome.

As for the public business of the country, he could not act in any office under the protector’s power, and therefore confined himself to his own, which the whole country about him were grieved at, and would rather come to him for counsel as a private neighbour than to any of the men in power for greater help.

He now being reduced into an absolute private condition, was very much courted and visited by all of all parties, and while the grand quarrel slept, and both the victors and vanquished were equal slaves under the new usurpers, there was a very kind correspondence between him and all his countrymen. As he was very hospitable, and his conversation no less desirable and pleasant, than instructive and advantageous, his house was much resorted to, and as kindly open to those who had in public contests been his enemies, as to his continued friends; for there never lived a man that had less malice and revenge, nor more reconcilableness and kindness and generosity in his nature, than he.

In the interim Cromwell and his army grew wanton with their power, and invented a thousand tricks of government, which, when nobody opposed, they themselves fell to dislike and vary every day. First he calls a parliament out of his own pocket, himself naming a sort of godly men for every county, who meeting and not agreeing, a part of them, in the name of the people, gave up the sovereignty to him. Shortly after he makes up several sorts of mock parliaments, but not finding one of them absolutely for his turn, turned them off again. He soon quitted himself of his triumvirs, and first thrust out Harrison, then took away Lambert’s commission, and would have been king but for fear of quitting his generalship. He weeded, in a few months’ time, above a hundred and fifty godly officers out of the army, with whom many of the religious soldiers went off, and in their room abundance of the king’s dissolute soldiers were entertained; and the army was almost changed from that godly religious army whose valour God had crowned with triumph, into the dissolute army they had beaten, bearing yet a better name. His wife and children were setting up for principality, which suited no better with any of them than scarlet on the ape; only, to speak the truth of himself, he had much natural greatness, and well became the place he had usurped. His daughter Fleetwood was humbled, and not exalted with these things, but the rest were insolent fools. Claypole, who married his daughter, and his son Henry, were two debauched, ungodly cavaliers. Richard was a peasant in his nature, yet gentle and virtuous, but became not greatness. His court was full of sin and vanity, and the more abominable, because they had not yet quite cast away the name of God, but profaned it by taking it in vain upon them. True religion was now almost lost, even among the religious party, and hypocrisy became an epidemical disease, to the sad grief of Colonel Hutchinson, and all truehearted Christians and Englishmen. Almost all the ministers everywhere fell in and worshipped this beast, and courted and made addresses to him. So did the city of London, and many of the degenerate lords of the land, with the poor-spirited gentry. The cavaliers, in policy, who saw that while Cromwell reduced all the exercise of tyrannical power under another name, there was a door opened for the restoring of their party, fell much in with Cromwell, and heightened all his disorders. He at last exercised such an arbitrary power, that the whole land grew weary of him, while he set up a company of silly, mean fellows, called major-generals, as governors in every country. These ruled according to their wills by no law but what seemed good in their own eyes, imprisoning men, obstructing the course of justice between man and man, perverting right through partiality, acquitting some that were guilty, and punishing some that were innocent as guilty. Then he exercised another project to raise money, by decimation of the estates of all the king’s party, of which action it is said Lambert was the instigator. At last he took upon himself to make lords and knights, and wanted not many fools, both of the army and gentry, to accept of and strut in its mock titles. Then the Earl of Warwick’s grandchild and the Lord Falconbridge married his two daughters; such pitiful slaves were the noble of those days. At last Lambert, perceiving himself to have been all this while deluded with hopes and promises of succession, and seeing that Cromwell now intended to confirm the government in his own family, fell off from him; but behaved himself very pitifully and meanly, was turned out of all his places, and returned again to plot new vengeance at his house at Wimbledon, where he fell to dress his flowers in his garden, and work at the needle with his wife and his maids, while he was watching an opportunity to serve again his ambition, which had this difference from the protector’s; the one was gallant and great, the other had nothing but an unworthy pride, most insolent in prosperity, and as abject and base in adversity.

The cavaliers, seeing their victors thus beyond their hopes falling into their hands, had not patience to stay till things ripened of themselves, but were every day forming designs, and plotting for the murder of Cromwell, and other insurrections, which being contrived in drink, and managed by false and cowardly fellows, were still revealed to Cromwell, who had most excellent intelligence of all things that passed, even in the king’s closet; and by these unsuccessful plots they were only the obstructors of what they sought to advance, while, to speak truth, Cromwell’s personal courage and magnanimity upheld him against all enemies and malcontents. His own army disliked him, and once when sevenscore officers had combined to cross him in something he was pursuing, and engaged one to another, Lambert being the chief, with solemn promises and invocations to God, the protector hearing of it, overawed them all, and told them, ‘it was not they who upheld him, but he them’, and rated them, and made them understand what pitiful fellows they were; whereupon, they all, like rated dogs, clapped their tails between their legs, and begged his pardon, and left Lambert to fall alone, none daring to own him publicly, though many in their hearts wished him the sovereignty. Some of the Lambertonians had at that time a plot to come with a petition to Cromwell, and, while he was reading it, certain of them had undertaken to cast him out of a window at Whitehall that looked upon the Thames, where others would be ready to catch him up in a blanket, if he escaped breaking his neck, and carry him away in a boat prepared for the purpose, to kill or keep him alive, as they saw occasion, and then to set up Lambert. This was so carried on that it was near the execution before the protector knew anything of it. Colonel Hutchinson being at that time at London, by chance came to know all the plot. Certain of the conspirators coming into a place where he was, and not being so cautious of their whispers to each other before him but that he apprehended something; which making use of to others of the confederates, he at last found out the whole matter, without having it committed to him as a matter of trust, but carelessly thrown down in pieces before him, which he gathered together, and became perfectly acquainted with the whole design; and weighing it, and judging that Lambert would be the worse tyrant of the two, he determined to prevent it, without being the author of any man’s punishment. Hereupon, having occasion to see Fleetwood (for he had never seen the protector since his usurpation, but publicly declared his testimony against it to all the tyrant’s minions), he bade Fleetwood wish him to have a care of petitioners, by whom he apprehended danger to his life. Fleetwood desired more particular information, but the colonel was resolved he would give him no more than to prevent that enterprise which he disliked. For indeed those who were deeply engaged rather waited to see the cavaliers in arms against him, and then thought it the best time to arm for their own defence, and either make a new conquest, or fall with swords in their hands. Therefore, they all connived at the cavaliers’ attempts, and although they joined not with them, would not have been sorry to have seen them up upon equal terms with the protector, that then a third party, which was ready both with arms and men, when there was opportunity, might have fallen in and capitulated, with swords in their hands, for the settlement of the rights and liberties of the good people: but God had otherwise determined of things; and now men began so to flatter with this tyrant, so to apostatise from all faith, honesty, religion, and English liberty, and there was such a devilish practice of trepanning grown in fashion, that it was not safe to speak to any man in those treacherous days.

After Colonel Hutchinson had given Fleetwood that caution, he was going into the country, when the protector sent to search him out with all the earnestness and haste that could possibly be, and the colonel went to him; who met him in one of the galleries, and received him with open arms and the kindest embraces that could be given, and complained that the colonel should be so unkind as never to give him a visit, professing how welcome he should have been, the most welcome person in the land, and with these smooth insinuations led him along to a private place, giving him thanks for the advertisement he had received from Fleetwood, and using all his art to get out of the colonel the knowledge of the persons engaged in the conspiracy against him. But none of his cunning, nor promises, nor flatteries, could prevail with the colonel to inform him more than he thought necessary to prevent the execution of the design, which when the protector perceived, he gave him most infinite thanks for what he had told him, and acknowledged it opened to him some mysteries that had perplexed him, and agreed so with other intelligence he had that he must owe his preservation to him: ‘But’, says he, ‘dear colonel, why will not you come in and act among us?’ The colonel told him plainly, because he liked not any of his ways since he broke the parliament, being those which would lead to certain and unavoidable destruction, not only of themselves, but of the whole parliament party and of cause; and thereupon took occasion, with his usual freedom, to tell him into what a sad hazard all things were placed, and how apparent a way was made for the restitution of all former tyranny and bondage. Cromwell seemed to receive this honest plainness with the greatest affection that could be, and acknowledged his precipitateness in some things, and with tears complained how Lambert had put him upon all those violent actions, for which he now accused him and sought his ruin. He expressed an earnest desire to restore the people’s liberties, and to take and pursue more safe and sober councils, and wound up all with a very fair courtship of the colonel to engage with him, offering him anything he would account worthy of him. The colonel told him, he could not be forward to make his own advantage, by serving to the enslaving of his country. The other told him, he intended nothing more than the restoring and confirming the liberties of the good people, in order to which he would employ such men of honour and interest as the people would rejoice, and he should not refuse to be one of them. And after with all his art he had endeavoured to excuse his public actions, and to draw in the colonel, who again had taken the opportunity to tell him freely his own and all good men’s discontents and dissatisfactions, he dismissed the colonel with such expressions as were publicly taken notice of by all his little courtiers then about him, when he went to the end of the gallery with the colonel, and there, embracing him, said aloud to him, ‘Well colonel, satisfied or dissatisfied, you shall be one of us, for we can no longer exempt a person so able and faithful from the public service, and you shall be satisfied in all honest things’. The colonel left him with that respect that became the place he was in; when immediately the same courtiers, who had some of them passed by him without knowing him when he came in, although they had been once of his familiar acquaintance, and the rest, who had looked upon him with such disdainful neglect as those little people use to those who are not of their faction, now flocked about him, striving who should express most respect, and, by an extraordinary officiousness, redeem their late slightings. Some of them desired he would command their service in any business he had with their lord, and a thousand such frivolous compliments, which the colonel smiled at, and quitting himself of them as soon as he could, made haste to return to the country. There he had not long been before he was informed, that notwithstanding all these fair shows, the protector, finding him too constant to be wrought upon to serve his tyranny, had resolved to secure his person, lest he should head the people, who now grew very weary of his bondage. But though it was certainly confirmed to the colonel how much he was afraid of his honesty and freedom, and that he was resolved not to let him longer be at liberty, yet before his guards apprehended the colonel death imprisoned himself and confined all, his vast ambition and all his cruel designs into the narrow compass of a grave. His army and court substituted his eldest son, Richard, in his room, who was a meek, temperate, and quiet man, but had not a spirit fit to succeed his father, or to manage such a perplexed government.

The people, being vexed with the pocket-parliaments and the major-generals of the counties, like bashaws, were now all muttering to have a free parliament, after the old manner of elections, without engaging those that were chosen to any terms. Those at Richard’s court, that knew his father’s counsels to prevent Colonel Hutchinson from being chosen in his own country, counselled Richard to prick him for sheriff of the county of Nottingham, which as soon as he understood, he writ him a letter, declaring his resentment in such a civil manner as became the person. Richard returned a very obliging answer, denying any intention in himself to show the least disfavour to him for former dissents, but rather a desire to engage his kindness. And soon after, when the colonel went himself to London and went to the young protector, he told him, that since God had called him to the government, it was his desire to make men of uprightness and interest his associates, to rule by their counsels and assistance, and not to enslave the nation to an army; and that if by them he had been put upon anything prejudicial or disobliging to the colonel in pricking him for sheriff, he should endeavour to take it off, or to serve him any other way, as soon as he had disentangled himself from the officers of the army, who at present constrained him in many things; and therefore if the colonel would please, without unkindness, to exercise this office, he should receive it as an obligation, and seek one more acceptable to him after. The colonel, seeing him herein good-natured enough, was persuaded by a very wise friend of his to take it upon him, and returned well enough satisfied with the courteous usage of the protector. This gentleman, who had thus counselled the colonel, was as considerable and as wise a person as any was in England, who did not openly appear among Richard’s adherents or counsellors but privately advised him, and had a very honourable design of bringing the nation into freedom under this young man; who was so flexible to good counsels, that there was nothing desirable in a prince which might not have been hoped in him, but a great spirit and a just title: the first of which sometimes doth more hurt than good in a sovereign; the latter would have been supplied by the people’s deserved approbation. This person was very free to impart to the colonel all the design of settling the state under this single person, and the hopes of felicity in such an establishment. The colonel, debating this with him, told him, that if ever it were once fixed in a single person, and the army taken off, which could not consist with the liberty of the people, it could not be prevented from returning to the late ejected family; and that on whatever terms they returned, it was folly to expect the people’s cause, which with such blood and expense had been asserted, should not utterly be overthrown. To this the gentleman gave many strong reasons, why that family could not be restored, without the ruin of the people’s liberty and of all their champions; and thought that these carried so much force with them, that it would never be attempted, even by any royalist that retained any love to his country, and that the establishing this single person would satisfy that faction, and compose all the differences, bringing in all of all parties, that were men of interest and love to their country. Although the business was very speciously laid, and the man such a one whose authority was sufficient to sway in any state, the colonel was not much opiniated of the things he propounded, but willing to wait the event; being in himself more persuaded that the people’s freedom would be best maintained in a free republic, delivered from the shackles of their encroaching slaves the army. This was now not muttered, but openly asserted by all but the army: although of those who contended for it, there were two sorts; some that really thought it the most conducible to the people’s good and freedom; others, that by this pretence, hoped to pull down the army and the protectorian faction, and then restore the old family. It is believed that Richard himself was compounded with, to have resigned the place that was too great for him; certain it is that his poor spirit was likely enough to do any such thing. The army, perceiving they had set up a wretch who durst not reign, and that there was a convention met, by their own assent, who were ready, with a seeming face of authority of parliament, to restore the Stewarts, they were greatly distressed; finding also that the whole nation was bent against them, and would not bear their yoke; having therefore no refuge to save themselves from being torn in pieces by the people, or to deliver themselves from their own puppets who had sold and betrayed them, they found out some of the members of that glorious parliament which they had violently driven from their seats with a thousand slanderous criminations, and untrue. To these, they counterfeited repentence, and that God had opened their eyes to see into what a manifest hazard of ruin they had put the interest and people of God in these nations, so that it was almost irrecoverable; but if any hope were left, it was that God would sign it, with his wonted favour, in those hands out of which they had injuriously taken it. Hereupon they opened the house doors for them; and the Speaker, with some few members, as many as made a house, were too hasty to return into their seats, upon capitulation with those traitors who had brought the commonwealth into such a sad confusion. But after they were met, they immediately sent summons to all the members throughout all England, among whom the colonel was called up, and much perplexed, for now he thought his conscience, life, and fortunes were again engaged with men of mixed and different interests and principles; yet in regard of the trust formerly reposed in him, he returned into his place, infinitely dissatisfied that any condescension had been made to the army’s proposals, whose necessity rather than honesty had moved them to counterfeit repentance and ingenuity. This they did by a public declaration, how they had been seduced and done wickedly in interrupting the parliament, and that God had never since that time owned them and their counsels as before, and that they desired to humble themselves before God and man for the same, and to return to their duty in defending the parliament in the discharge of their remaining trust. According to this declaration the army kept a day of solemn humiliation before the Lord; yet all this, as the event after manifested, in hypocrisy.