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THE LORD PROTECTOR
Less than three months after Cromwell had turned the Parliament out of doors he called another. This time he and his
friends chose all
 the members, and they hoped that things would now be done as they wished. But soon it was seen that this new
Parliament was not much better than the last. In six months the Little Parliament, as it was called, was
dismissed. It is sometimes called Praise-God Barebones Parliament, from the name of one of the members.
It was now almost five years since King Charles had been beheaded. Yet the country had chosen no ruler. Oliver
indeed by the strength of his own character and will had become the foremost man. He was Commander-in-Chief of
the Army and Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, but he was not, in name, governor of Great Britain.
Now it was resolved that he should really be acknowledged as ruler.
CROMWELL AS LORD PROTECTOR.
Dressed in black velvet, and wearing a gold band round his hat, Oliver received in state the Lord Mayor,
judges, and magistrates of the city of London. With his hand on the Bible, he promised to keep the liberties of
the people. Then with the sword of office carried before him, and all around him bareheaded, he only wearing
his hat, he was led to Whitehall, which was henceforth to be his house of state.
Oliver was now King in all but name. Indeed had he so chosen he might have been crowned as King. But he knew
that the army hated the name of King, so he chose instead the title of Lord Protector. He kept great state and
 himself Oliver P., just as King he would have written Oliver R.
The triumph of Oliver's life had come. But to him it brought no rest. He had laid down the sword only to take
up the sceptre. The next five years were years of ceaseless toil. He fought his Parliaments as he had fought
his enemies in the field. Not for the last time were the doors of the House locked. Not for the last time had
the tramp of armed men sounded in the lobby and upon the staircase. Oliver was a tyrant such as no Tudor or
Stewart had ever been. Yet he was a man of so great mind that he used his power, not for his own pleasure, but
for the good of the people.
He brought order out of hopeless confusion. The country settled to rest and quiet. Trade and commerce returned.
Evil was punished, justice was done, and not only that, learning was encouraged and a life of quiet culture
became once more possible in England.
In Scotland, one writes, "we always reckon those eight years of the usurpation a time of great peace and
prosperity." In Ireland, alas, it was different, and the bitterness of Cromwell's rule there has never been
But great though Oliver was at home he was greater still abroad. Never since the days of Elizabeth had England
stood so high. Her ships were victorious on every sea. The Protestant
 nations of all the world looked to Oliver as their protector, and kings and princes were glad of his friendship
and in fear of his anger.
Yet in the midst of all his grandeur Oliver was humble. Once he said, "I can say in the presence of God, in
comparison with whom we are but poor creeping ants upon the earth, that I would have been glad to have lived
under my woodside, to have kept a flock of sheep, rather than undertake such a government as this."
Oliver, like all strong men, had his enemies. There were many who hated him, and during the years of his rule
there were constant plots to murder him. But the plots were always discovered.
Milton, one of our great poets, lived at the same time as Oliver, and was his friend. He wrote a poem about him
at this time:—
"Cromwell, our chief of men, who through the cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude,
To peace and truth thy glorious way hast ploughed,
And on the neck of crowned fortune proud
Hast reared God's trophies, and his work pursued,
While Darwen's stream, with blood of Scots imbrued,
And Dunbar field, resounds thy praises loud,
And Worcester's laureate wreath: yet much remains
To conquer still; Peace hath her victories
No less renowned than War: new foes arise,
Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains.
Help us to save free conscience from the paw
Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw."
 In the midst of his greatness and splendour Oliver had his own sorrows and troubles too. Many of his friends
died, some forsook him, and now, in the summer of 1658, his best loved daughter Elizabeth died, after suffering
Her death struck like a blow at the heart of Oliver, for he had always been a loving father. All through his
letters we find tender words and messages about his children. Sometimes it is "Dick "he speaks of, sometimes
his little "wenches," his "little girls" and their "brats." In all his greatness he never lost his simple love
of wife and children.
Now, broken with sorrow and bowed with many labours, the great Protector lay dying. The hearts of his friends
were filled with sadness, and the churches were thronged with praying multitudes. But his hour had come.
One night a fearful storm burst over land and sea. A wild wind howled and shrieked around the stately palace
where Oliver lay. It lashed the sea into white, cruel foam, shattering ships and strewing the shores with
wreckage. It tore through forest and town, uprooting mighty trees, and unroofing houses, until at last its fury
And in the calm which followed, the great Protector sank to rest. "My work is done," he said.
He died upon the 3rd of September, the day of Dunbar and Worcester, his lucky day.