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the British dominions were brought wholly to fubmit to their fovereignty, they paffed 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 ufurp the empire of the feas, were humbled. France and Spain, who had been always rivals, always enemies, meanly courted the friendship of the ufurpers. The fovereigns, who ought to have united to revenge an outrage, to which all kings were expofed, either through fear or intereft, applauded the injuftice. All Europe debafed itfelf, was filent, or admired (/).'
(oo) They passed an act of oblivion.] On the twenty-fourth of February, one thousand fix hundred and fifty-one, the government paffed an act, intitled, A
general pardon and amnestie.' The preamble deferves notice, and is as follows: The parliament of England, having had good experience of the affection of the people to this prefent government, by their ready af fiftance 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 fenfe of the miserable and fad effects which the ⚫late unnatural war hath produced; and refolving, next
to the glory of God, and the advancement of the kingdom of Jefus Chrift, to make no other ufe of the · many victories the Lord, in mercy, hath vouchfafed unto them, than a juft fettling of the peace and freedom of this commonwealth; and being moft defirous that the minds, perfons and eftates of all the people of this nation might be compofed, fettled and fecured, < and that all rancour and evil will, occafioned by the
(Abbe Raynal's Hiftory of the Parliament of England, p. 200. 8vo. Lond. 1751. See alfo the quotations from Sydney and Trenchard, at the end of note (o).
of their subjects, as they before had the na
⚫ late differences, may be buried in perpetual oblivion,
vours unto the bleffing of God, and his working upon the spirits of those that are concerned herein: Be it ⚫ therefore enacted,' &c. (m) Mr. Ludlow attributes (m) Scobel's the paffing this act at that time to the ambitious views of collections. Cromwell in part, and his defire of ingratiating himself with new friends; the parliament, fays he, were pre
vailed with by the importunities of fome of their own. • members, and in particular of general Cromwell, that fo he might fortify himself by the addition of new friends, for the carrying on his designs, to pass an act of general pardon and amnefty: whereby, though it had thirty-eight feveral exceptions, many perfons, who deferved to pay towards the reimbursement of the publick, no less than those that had been already fined, efcaped the punishment due to their mifde'meanors, and the commonwealth was defrauded of
great fums of money, by which means they were ⚫ rendered unable to discharge many juft debts owing to ⚫ fuch as had ferved them with diligence and fidelity (n).' (n) Vol. i. In another place, speaking of the general's vifible change P. 402. of temper and behaviour after the battle of Worcester,
he fays, He now began to defpife divers members of
• rescue themselves out of those fears which many whe had acted for the King, yet lay under; tho', at the fame time, he defigned nothing, as, by the fuccefs, was most manifeft, but to advance himself by all manner of means, and to betray the great truft which the parliament and the good people of England had repofed in him. To this end he preffed the act of oblivion ().' That the paffing an act of oblivion in itself was right, is manifeft from the conduct of all wife princes and states after civil commotions; that it is better, on all thefe occafions, to incline to mercy than feverity, cannot well be called in queftion I think; and therefore Mr. Ludlow's cenfure on the act is not, perhaps, the most juftly founded. That Cromwell preffed the act is probable. It became him as a good politician, confidered meerly as a member of the parliament: as a man of ambition and great defigns, it was wife and well judged; nothing fo eafily procuring friends as generofity and forgivenefs: though 'tis not at all unlikely that natural temper had a good fhare in all this tranfaction. For he was naturally humane and benevolent, as appears from his procuring the liberty of thofe who were imprisoned on account of Leve's plot (p); by his endeavouring to free the eftate of the Countefs of Arundell and Surry from fequeftration, and from his ufing his power for the obliging fuch as flood in need of pro(9) Milton's tection and affiftance, which was fo well known, that we find the Marchionefs of Ormonde addreffing herself to him for favour (9), though her lord had publicly treated his character but fcurvily. His fentiments, with respect to the manner of dealing with his adverfaries, cannot be fo well reprefented as by a letter written to his fon Henry at Dublin, Nov. 21, 1655.————
I do believe there may be fome particular perfons, who are not very well pleafed with the prefent condition of things, and may be apt to fhew their difcontent, as they have opportunity; but this fhould not make too great impreflions on you. Tyme and patience may worke them to a better frame of spirit, and bring them to fee that, which, for the prefent, feemes to be hid from them; efpecially if they fhall
(o) Vol. ii. P. 448.
(p) See Thurloc, vol. i. p.
State papers, by Nickols, P. 20. 86.
vigation (PP) act to increase their wealth and power.
fee your moderation and love towards them, whilft they are found in other ways towards you; which I earnestly defire you to ftudye and endeavour all that lyes in you, whereof both you and I too fhall have the comfort, whatsoever the iffue and event thereof (r) Thurloe, be (r).' These feem to be the fentiments of a huvol. i. p. mane heart, and, probably, induced him, and the par- 725. liament in general, to give ease and rest to their enemies by the act here fpoken of, fo much to their ho
(PP) The navigation at.] The parliament, from its first fitting, had been conftantly engaged in great affairs. But they fhewed themselves equal to them, though of different kinds. We have feen them direct the wars in which they were engaged with wisdom and prudence. The arts of peace they cultivated, and ftrove to raise the nation to the pinnacle of glory. How induftrious they were their journals and public acts yet remaining abundantly teftify. We may from them conclude, that levees were neither fo frequent, or of fo long continuance, as in other periods of time fince, when the important bufinefs of the nation has been forced to wait till the minifter has been at leifure to give his attendance in the houfe.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 fenfible of, and therefore paffed the act, intitled, Goods from foreign parts, by whom to be 'imported,' October 9, 1651. The preamble is fhort, but expreffive. For the increase of the shipping and 'encouragement of the navigation of this nation,
which, under the good providence and protection of God, is fo great a means of the welfare and fafety of this commonwealth, Be it enacted, &c.' The chief claufes in this famous act are, that no goods fhall be imported from Afia, Africa, or America, but in English
ships, under the penalty of forfeiture of the faid goods and fhips-nor from any part of Europe, except in fuch veffels as belong to the people of that country, of which the goods are the growth or manufacture, under the like penalty:that no falt-fifh, whale-fins, or oil, fhould be imported, but what were caught or made by the people of England; nor no falt fish to be exported, or carried from one port to another in this nation, but in English veffels, under the like penalty: but commodities from the Levant feas, the Eaft-Indies, the ports of Spain or Portugal, might be imported from the ufual ports or places of trading ufed heretofore, though the faid commodities were not the very growth of the faid places. This act did not extend to bullion or prize goods, nor to filk or filk wares brought by land from Italy to Ofend, Amfterdam, Newport, Kotterdam, Middleburgh, provided the owners and proprietors, being of the English commonwealth, firft made oath by themfelves, or other credible witnefs, that the goods were bought with the proceed of English commodities, fold collections. either for money or in barter (5).
Ludlow tells us, that Mr. St. John was the principal inftrument to prevail with the council of ftate to move () Vol. i. the parliament to pass this act (t). If fo, his memory ought to be dear to Englishmen; for its utility was fo apparent, that, with fome additions and explanations, it had the fanction of the three estates, at a time when men's prejudices were at the height against the framers of it (u). The greateft poffible proof of its excellency. Mr. Coke indeed cenfures this act in the fevereft terms: he fays, it was the fecond ftep to the French grandeur by fea;'-and obferves, that the ratio finalis, or end for which laws are made, are usually set down in the preamble of other acts of parliament, whereas there is none in the act of navigation On the contrary,' continues he, the Rump were fo hafty in making this act, defigned in fpight to the Dutch, that
(*) Statutes, 12 Car. II. c. 18, 19.
and 13. c.
If to these we add the projection of an