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the British dominions were brought wholly to submit to their sovereignty, they passed an act of (oo) oblivion, to quiet the minds
< who had taken up arms, the first from an attachment < to their kings, the other to efface the horror of their < treachery, were unhappily fubdued. The Dutch, who • had taken advantage of the calamities of England, to i usurp the empire of the seas, were humbled. France 6 and Spain, who had been always rivals, always ene• mies, meanly courted the friendship of the ulurpers. « The sovereigns, who ought to have united to revenge 'n outrage, to which all kings were exposed, either " through fear or interest, applauded the injustice. All • Europe debased itself, was filent, or admired (1).'
(oo) They passed an act of oblivion.] On the twenty-fourth of February, one thousand fix hundred and fifty-one, the government passed an act, intitled, “A « general pardon and amnestie.' The preamble deserves notice, and is as follows: • The parliament of England, « having had good experience of che affection of the
people to this present government, by their ready as• fistance in the defence thereof against Charles Stuart, "fon of the late tyrant, and the forces lately invading ' under his command; and being much afflicted with • the sense of the miserable and fad effects which the • late unnatural war hath produced; and resolving, next
to the glory of God, and the advancement of the • kingdom of Jesus Chriit, to make no other use of the
many victories the Lord, in mercy, hath vouchsafed • unto them, than a juft seedling of the peace and free(dom of this commonwealth ; and being most defirous
that the minds, persons and estates of all the people • of this nation might be composed, fetiled and secured, « and that all rancour and evil will, occasioned by the
O Abbe Raynal's Hiftory of the Parliament of England, p. 200. 8vo. Lond. 1751. See also the quotations from Sydney and Trenchard, at the end of note (o).
of their subjects, as they before had the na
« Jate differences, may be buried in perpetual oblivion, • that so the government, now established in the way • of a free ftate, might be complied with, and all the « members of it enjoy their just and ancient rights and - liberties, and the former commotions and troubles < end in a quiet, calm and comfortable peace, have re• solved to do what in them lies for the obtaining and
effecting thereof, leaving the success and their endea• vours unto the blessing of God, and his working upon " the spirits of those that are concerned herein: Be it • therefore enacted,' & C. (m) Mr. Ludlow attributes(m) Scobe
collections. the passing this act at that time to the ambitious views of Cromwell in part, and his defire of ingratiating himself with new friends ; "the parliament, says he, were pre
vailed with by the importunities of some of their own « members, and in particular of general Crimwell, that
so he might fortify himself by the addition of new • friends, for the carrying on his designs, to pass an act o of general pardon and amnesty : whereby, though it • had thirty-eight several exceptions, many persons, " who deserved to pay towards the reimbursement of " the publick, no less than those that had been already « fined, escaped the punishment due to their milde
meanors, and the commonwealth was defrauded of « great sums of money, by which means they were • rendered unable to discharge many just debts owing to
such as had served them with diligence and fidelity (n).'(n) Vol. i. In another place, speaking of the general's visible change P. 402 of temper and behaviour after the battle of Worcester, he says, “ He now began to despise divers members of
the house, whom he had formerly courted, and grew
aversion to; endeavouring to oblige the royal party, • by procuring for them more favourable conditions than • consisted with the justice of the parliament to grant, un• der colour of quieting the spirits of many people, and • keeping them from engaging in new disturbances to
rescue themselves out of those fears which many who had acted for the King, yet lay under; tho', 'at the • same time, he designed nothing, as, by the success, « was most manifest, but to advance himself by all man(ner of means, and to betray the great trust which the
parliament and the good people of England had re(0) Vol. ii.
s posed in him. To this end he pressed the act of obliP. 448.
• vion ().' That the passing an act of oblivion in itself was right, is manifest from the conduct of all wise princes and states after civil commotions; that it is better, on all these occafions, to incline to mercy chan severity, cannot well be called in question I think; and therefore Mr. Ludlow's censure on the act is not, perhaps, the most juftly founded. That Cromwell pressed the act is probable. It became him as a good politician, considered meerly as a member of the parliament: as a man of ambition and great designs, it was wise and well judged ; nothing so easily procuring friends as generosity and forgiveness: though 'tis not at all unlikely
that natural temper had a good share in all this trani() See action. For he was naturally humane and benevolent, Thurloe,
as appears from his procuring the liberty of those who vol. i. po 765.
were imprisoned on account of Love's plot (); by his endeavouring to free the estate of the Countess of Arun. dell and Surry from sequestration, and from his using his
power for the , obliging such as stood in need of proBo Milton's tection and assistance, which was so well known, that State pa- we find the Marchioness of Ormonde addrelling herself pers, by, to him for favour (9), though her lord had publicly Nickols, 20. 86.
Po treated his character but Icurvily. His sentiments,
who are not very well pleased with the present ccndi« tion of things, and may be apt to shew their discon
tent, as they have opportunity; but this should not • make too great impressions on you. Tyme and pa6 tience may worke them to a better frame of spirit,
and bring them to see that, which, for the present, scemes to be bid from them; especially if they fall
vigation (PP) act to increase their wealth and power.
see your moderation and love towards them, whilst
they are found in other ways towards you ; which < I earnestly desire you to studye and endeavour all that • lyes in you, whereof both you and I too shall have I the comfort, whatsoever the issue and event thereof,
(r) Thurloe, • be (r).' These seem to be the sentiments of a hu
vol.i. po mane heart, and, probably, induced him, and the par- 2250 liament in general, to give ease and rest to their enemies by the act here spoken of, so much to their honour.
(PP) The navigation aël.] The parliament, from its first sitting, had been constantly engaged in great affairs. But they shewed themselves equal to them, though of different kinds. We have seen them direct the wars in which they were engaged with wisdom and prudence. The arts of peace they cultivated, and struve to raise the nation to the pinnacle of glory. How industrious they were their journals and public acts yet remaining abundantly testify. We may from them conclude, that levees were neither so frequent, or of so long continuance, as in other periods of time since, when the important business of the nation has been forced to wait till the minister has been at leisure to give his attendance in the house. But this by the way. As a maritime people, trade and commerce claim the chief attention of the legislature of Britain. This the parliament were sensible of, and therefore passed the act, intitled, Goods from foreign parts, by whom to be • imported,' October 9, 1651. The preamble is short, but expressive. For the increase of the shipping and • encouragement of the navigation of this nation,
which, under the good providence and protection of God, is so great a means of the welfare and safety of
this commonwealth, Be it enacted, &c.' The chief clauses in this famous act are, that no goods shall be imported from Asia, Africa, or America, but in English
If to these we add the projection of an
Thips, under the penalty of forfeiture of the said goods and ships :- nor from any part of Europe, except in such vessels as belong to the people of that country, of which the goods are the growth or manufacture, under the like penalty : that no falt-fish, whale-fin, or oil, should be imported, but what were caught or made by the people of England; nor no falt fich to be exported, or carried from one port to another in this nation, but in English vessels, under the like penalty : but commodities from the Levant seas, the East Indies, the ports of Spain or Portugal, might be imported from the usual ports or places of trading used heretofore, though the said commodities were not the very growth of the said places. This act did not extend to bullion or prize goods, nor to filk or silk wares brought by land from Italy to O/lend, Amsterdam, Newpori, Kotterdam, Middleburgh, provided the owners and proprietors, being of the English commonwealth, first made oath by them.
felves, or other credible witness, that the goods were
, bought with the proceed of English commodities, sold (s) Scobel's collections, either for money or in barter (1).
Ludlow tells us, that Mr. St. John was the principal
instrument to prevail with the council of state to move (1) Vol. i. the parliament to pass this act (t). If so, his memory P. 345. ought to be dear to Englishmen; for its utility was so
apparent, that, with some additions and explanations,
it had the sanction of the three estates, at a time when 12 Car. 11.' men's prejudices were at the height against the framers c. 18, 19. of it (u). The greatest possible proof of its excellency. and 13. C. Mr. C ke indeed censures this act in the severest terms: 14.
he says, “it was the second step to the French grandeur
by sea ;' and observes, that the ratio finalis, or < end for which laws are made, are usually set down in 6 the preamble of other acts of parliament, whereas • there is none in the act of navigatiort. On the con
trary,' continues he, 'the Rump were so hasty in • making this act, designed in spight to the Dutch, that