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Friends, though divided A Tale of the Civil War online

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money, confiscated the property of most of those Cavaliers who had now
returned under the Act of Amnesty. Steps were taken against Sir Henry
Furness, but as he had taken no part in the troubles after the close of
the first civil war, Cromwell, on receiving an application from him,
peremptorily quashed the proceedings.

On April 20, 1653, Cromwell went down to the House with a body of
troops, and expelled the Parliament, who were in the act of passing a
bill for their own dissolution, and a new representation. He thus proved
himself as tyrannous and despotic as any sovereign could have been. A
new Parliament was summoned, but instead of its members being elected in
accordance with the customs of England, they were selected and
nominated by Cromwell himself. The history of England contains no
instance of such a defiance of the constitutional rights of the people.
But although he had grasped power arbitrarily and by force, Cromwell
used it well and wisely, and many wise laws and great social reforms
were passed by the Parliament under his orders. Still the fanatical
party were in the majority in this body, and as Cromwell saw that these
persons would push matters further than he wished, he made an
arrangement with the minority, who resigned their seats, thereby leaving
an insufficient number in the House to transact business. Cromwell
accepted their resignation, and the Parliament then ceased to exist.

Four days later, on the 16th of December, Cromwell assumed the state and
title of Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. For the next five years he
governed England wisely and well. The Parliament was assembled, but as
its proceedings were not in accordance with his wishes, he dissolved it,
and for the most part governed England by his own absolute will. That it
was a strong will and a wise cannot be questioned, but that a rising,
which originally began because the king would not yield to the absolute
will of Parliament, should have ended in a despotism, in which the chief
of the king's opponents should have ruled altogether without
Parliaments, is strange indeed. It is singular to find that those who
make most talk about the liberties of Englishmen should regard as their
hero and champion the man who trod all the constitutional rights of
Englishmen under foot. But if a despot, Cromwell was a wise and firm
one, and his rule was greatly for the good of the country. Above all, he
brought the name of England into the highest honor abroad, and made it
respected throughout Europe. Would that among all Englishmen of the
present day there existed the same feeling of patriotism, the same
desire for the honor and credit of their country, as dwelt in the breast
of Oliver Cromwell.

On August 30, 1658, Cromwell died, and his son Richard succeeded him.
The Parliament and the army soon fell out, and the army, coming down in
force, dissolved Parliament, and Richard Cromwell ceased at once to have
any power. The army called together forty-two of the old members of the
Long Parliament, of extreme republican views, but these had no sooner
met than they broke into divisions, and England was wholly without a
government. So matters went on for some time, until General Monk, with
the army of the north, came up to London. He had for weeks been in
communication with the king. For a time he was uncertain of the course
he should take, but after awhile he found that the feeling of London was
wholly averse to the Parliament, and so resolved to take the lead in a
restoration. A Parliament was summoned, and upon the day after its
assembling Monk presented to them a document from King Charles,
promising to observe the constitution, granting full liberty of
conscience, and an amnesty for past offenses. Parliament at once
declared in favor of the ancient laws of the kingdom, the government to
be by King, Lords and Commons; and on May 8, 1660, Charles II. was
proclaimed king, and on the 30th entered London in triumph.

Sir Harry Furness sat in the Parliament which recalled the king, and in
many subsequent ones. His father came to London to see the royal entry,
and both were most kindly received by the king, who expressed a warm
hope that he should often see them at court. This, however, was not to
be. The court of King Charles offered no attractions to pure-minded and
honorable men. Sir Henry came no more to London, but lived quietly and
happily to the end of a long life at Furness Hall, rejoicing much over
the happiness of his son, and in the society of his daughter-in-law and
her children. Herbert Rippinghall sat in Parliament for Abingdon. Except
when obliged by his duties as a member to be in London, Sir Harry
Furness lived quietly at Furness Hall, taking much interest in country
matters. Twenty-eight years later James II fled from England, and
William of Orange mounted the throne. At this time Sir Harry Furness was
sixty-one, and he lived many years to see the freedom and rights for
which Englishmen had so hotly struggled and fought now enjoyed by them
in all their fullness.

A few words as to the other personages of this story. Jacob, three years
after Harry's return to England, married the Spanish girl Zita, and
settled down in a pretty house called the Dower House, on the Furness
property, which, together with a large farm attached to it, Sir Henry
Furness settled upon him, as a token of his affection and gratitude to
him for the faithful services he had rendered to his son.

William Long was made bailiff of the estate, and Mike remained the
attached and faithful body-servant of Sir Harry, until he, ten years
later, married the daughter and heiress of a tradesman in Abingdon, and
became a leading citizen of that town.

Although Harry was not of a revengeful disposition, he rejoiced
exceedingly when he heard, two or three months after the king's
restoration, of the execution of that doubly-dyed traitor, the Earl of


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Online LibraryG.A. HentyFriends, though divided A Tale of the Civil War → online text (page 24 of 24)