The Lord Protector: Religion and Politics in the Life of Oliver Cromwell

By Robert S. Paul | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIFTEEN
FROM WORCESTER TO THE EXPULSION OF THE RUMP (September 1651--April 1653)

I

To the majority of Cromwell's contemporaries the battle of Worcester meant far more than the climax of a brilliant military career, it foreshadowed an end to all the chaos and uncertainty of civil war; but the general relief needed a figurehead round which it could be expressed, and however much Oliver Cromwell might with due humility give thanks to God, the great mass of Englishmen found it easier to give thanks to Oliver.1 "Cromwell came to London in great Solemnity and Triumph", wrote Whitelocke, "and he was entertained all the way as he passed to his House with Vollies of great and small Shot, and loud Acclamations and Shouts of the People."2 In the first flush of its enthusiasm, and in reaction from the fear it had felt during the Scots' march south, Parliament showered honours on him: he was immediately voted estates worth £4,000 per annum, Hampton Court was prepared to be his official residence, and he was invited to select some suitable house near the capital, so that he could give Parliament the benefit of his advice regarding the future settlement of the country.3

This problem was exceedingly complex. Not only was there the task of imposing a new constitution upon a society which had its roots in monarchy, and the difficulty of providing a national "Representative" that would be sympathetic to the objects of the rebellion, but there was the further problem of the large

____________________
1
In this chapter we are concerned principally with the steps by which Cromwell expelled the Rump and assumed power in 1653, and the war with Holland and the financial situation of the Commonwealth--both matters of paramount importance to the course of English history at this time--are touched upon only in so far as they are likely to have affected our main subject.
2
Whitelocke, 509.
3
C.J., VII, 13 f.

-249-

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