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tions, (his opposition to the draining (n) of the fens, projected by a powerful nobleman, excepted) till the parliament summoned,

through

jects by reafore and enjoy theendant on the

< the business of foreign plantations. Nothing could be more barbarous than this ! To impose laws on men which in conscience they thought they could not comply with ; to punish them for their non-complyance, and continually revile them as undutiful and disobedient subjects by reason thereof, and yet not permit them peaceably to depart and enjoy their own opinions in a distant part of the world, yet dependant on the sovereign: to do all this, was base, barbarous and inhuman. But persecutors of all ages and nations are near the same : they are without the feelings and without the understandings of men. Cromwell or Hampden could have given little opposition to the measures of Charles in the wilds of North America. In Eygland they engag'd with fpirit against him, and he had reason to repent bis hindring their voyage. May such at all times be the reward of those who attempt to rule over their fellow men with rigour: may they find that they will not be saves to Kings or prielis! But that they know the rights, by nature conferr’d on them, and will affert them! This will make princes cautious how they give themselves up to arbitrary counsels, and dread the consequences of them. And may every minister, who forgets or tramples on the laws of humanity, have his character at least as much branded as are Strafforde's and Laud's.

(N) He opposed the draining of the fen', &c.) The fenny country reaches fixty eight miles from the borders of Suffolk, to Wainfleet in Lincolnshire, and contains some millions of acres in the four counties of Cambridge, Huntingion, Northampton and Lincoln. The draining of it had frequently been considered and debated in Parliament in former times; but, though deem'd useful, 'was laid aside, through fear that it would soon return to its old Itate, like the Pontinc marshes in Italy, after their drain

through necessity, by Charles I. in November, one thousand six hundred and forty; a parliament ever memorable in the British an

nals!

amb.

ing (D). "The Earl of Bedford, and divers of the prin

cipal gentlemen, whose habitations confined upon den's Bri6 the fens, and who, in the heat of summer, raw vast tannia quantities of lands, which the fresh waters overflowed by

s by Gibron,

vol, i. c. ? in the winter, lie dry and green, or drainable: wbe- 489, 490. • ther it was publick spirit, or private advantage, which Fol. Lond. • led them thereunto, a stranger cannot determine; they 1721 I make propofitions unto the King to issue out commis

sions of sewers to drain those lands, and offer a pro' portion freely to be given to the crown for its coun

tenance and authority therein: and as all these great

and publick works must necessarily concern multitudes 6 of persons, who will never think they have exact jus6 tice done to them for that small pretence of right they ! have unto some commons; so the commissioners, let " them do what they can, could never satisfy such a

body of men. And now the King is declared the : o principal undertaker for the draining ; and by this s time the vulgar are grown clamorous against these

first popular lords and undertakers, who had joined ? with the King in the second undertaking, though they « had much better provisions for them than their inte! rest was ever before : and the commißioners must by

multitudes and clamours be with tood; and, as a head • of this faction, Mr. Cromwell, in the year 1639, at Huntington, appears; which made his activity lo well • known to his friend and kinsman, Mr. Hampden, that che, in this parliament, gave a character of Cromwell, • of being an active person, and one that would fit well (o Was

at the mark (7):'- Dugilale tells us, ' his boldness wick, p. « and eloquence in this business gained him so much 250. • credit, as that, soon after, being necessitated, through

his low condition, to quit a country farm, which he • held at St. Ives, and betake himself to mean lojg• ings in Cambridge, the schismatical party there chose

nals ! ever to be celebrated and admired by the lovers of liberty, for its resolution, firm

ness

View, pe

« him a burgess, for their corporation, in that unhappy

• long parliament, which began at Westminster the third () Short of November 1640 (r). What were Cromwell's mo460.

tives to oppose the drainings of the fens is hard, at this distance of time, to say. Ignorance of its utility, suppos'd injury to the common people, who pastured their cattle there, or a desire of ingratiating himself with the country to whom this project was odious, may separately or jointly have occasioned it. However his successful opposition gave his enemies an

occasion afterwards to dignify him with the title of (1) Mercu- « Lord of the Fenns (s). The reader may perhaps be TIUS Aucus, pleased to hear, that, long since the times I am now Nov. 5. 1643. writing of, the county of Cambridge hath received

"a very considerable improvement, by draining the « fens in the isle of Ely, a work that was carried on at 6 a vast expence, but has at last turned to double ac

count, both in gaining much ground, and mending

• the rest; and allo in refining and clearing the air of ( Gibson's - this country (t).' It were to be wished we had more Cambden,

d' of such improvements. Since writing the above, 479. I find an act of parliament, passed in the year 1649, for

draining the great level of the fens. In the preamble of this act it is said, “That whereas the said great le« vel, by reason of frequent overflowings of the rivers I have been of small and uncertain profit, but • (if drained) may be improved and made profitable,

and of great advantage to the commonwealth, and the I particular owners, &c. And whereas Francis, late • Earl of Bedford, did undertake the said work, and • had ninety-five thousand acres, parcel of the said great « level, decreed and set forth, in Elpier, in the thir• teenth year of the reign of the late King Charles, in

recompense thereof; and he and his participants, and • their heirs and assigns, have made a good progress " therein, with expence of great and vast sums of mo

'ney;

vol. 1. D.

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obel's

inces,

ness and public spirit! In this memorable period Oliver joined the glorious band (0) of

paoney; but by reason of some late interruptions, the works s there made have fallen into decay: Be it therefore enactsed and ordained, that William, now Earl of Bedford, • Sc. in recompence of the aforesaid charge and ad6 venture, and for bearing the charge of draining, and • maintaining the works from time to time, shall have « and enjoy the said whole ninety-five thousand acres.' Oliver Cromwell, Lieutenant-General, is appointed one of the commissioners, to hear, determine, order, adjudge and execute all such things as are prescribed by this act. Another act passed May 26, 1654, under ons the protectorship of Cromwell, for the same purpose (u). collection of From these acts of parliament it plainly appears, that, acts and orwhatever oppofition was made to Lord Bedford, and the un

e May 1649, other undertakers, yet it hindered not their proceedings; and May that the parliament of the commonwealth of England 1654. Fol. was attentive to the publick utility; and that Cromwell Lond. 1 was wise enough to overcome his prejudices, and join in promoting the common good.

(0) He joined the glorious band of patriots] 'Tis well known how hateful the measures of the court were at the meeting of this parliament. Every thing unpopular, unjust and odious had been put in practice, in order to be able to do without parliaments, and to rule by will and pleasure. Those who had suffered for their opposition to injustice and tyranny, were now the favourites of the people. They were applauded and caressed every where; nor could any, with safety, open their mouths against them. In this temper were the people when Charles, by dire necessity, was compelled to call this ever-memorable parliament. The people rejoiced; they hoped the time was now come when they might utter their grievances with impunity, and expect redress. Accordingly they, for the most part, took great care in the choice of their representatives, às esteeming it of the utmost importance to their religion and liberties. Whoever hoped for the honour of a . 8

feat

patriots, who wished well to their king, their country, their religion and laws. Here, ale

most

feat in parliament must, at least, have promised fair, and appeared hearty in the cause of his country. Men of this character were not wanting ; and, though fome friends to tyranny, and future apoftates, found means to enter, the majority were honest and upright, of fair intentions and firm resolutions. Lord Clarendon, speaking of them; says, “In the house of commons i were many persons of wisdom and gravity, who be

ing possessed of great and plentiful fortunes, though " they were undevoted enough to the court, had all ima“ ginable duty for the King, and affection for the go(vernment established by law or antient custom; and, • without doubt, the major part of that body confifted • of men who had no mind to break the peace of the ' kingdom, or to make any considerable alteration in

the government of church and state; and therefore s all inventions were set on foot from the beginning to I work on them and corrupt them, by suggestions of the į dangers which threatened all that was precious to the < subject in their liberty and their property, by over{ throwing or overmastering the law, 'and subjecting • it to an arbitrary power, and by countenancing pope

ry to the subversion of the protestant religion;" and

then, by infusing terrible apprehensions into some, and ! so working upon their fears « of being called in

question for somewhat they had done, by which

they would stand in need of their protection;" and ? raising the hopes of others, “ that, by concurring with " them, they should be sure to obtain offices, and ho« nours, and any kind of preferment." Though there " were too many corrupted and misled by these seve?ral temptations, and others who needed no other ( temptations than from the fierceness of their own na

tures, and the malice they had contracted against the church and against the court; yet the number was not great of those in whom the government of the

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