Third Protectorate Parliament

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Third Protectorate Parliament
Flag of the Commonwealth (1658-1660).svg
  1656 December 1658 – January 16591660 

All 567 seats of the House of Commons
284 seats were needed for a majority
 First partySecond party
 
Leader John Thurloe
John Lambert
Charles Fleetwood
John Desborough
Harry Vane
Edmund Ludlow
Arthur Haselrig
PartyProtectorate FactionCommonwealthsmen
Popular vote--
Percentage--

The Third Protectorate Parliament sat for one session, from 27 January 1659 until 22 April 1659, with Chaloner Chute and Thomas Bampfylde as the Speakers of the House of Commons. It was a bicameral Parliament, with an Upper House having a power of veto over the Commons.

Chaloner Chute English lawyer and politician

Chaloner Chute was an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1654 and 1659. He was Speaker briefly in 1659.

Contents

Events

After the death of Oliver Cromwell his son Richard Cromwell succeeded him as Lord Protector of the Protectorate on 3 September 1658. As a civilian, Richard did not have the full confidence of the Army, particularly as the administration had a perennial budget deficit of half a million pounds and the Army was owed nearly nine hundred thousand pounds in back pay. His only option was to call a Parliament in the hope that it would cement his position by general recognition of the ruling class and by raising new taxes to pay the arrears owed to the Army.

Oliver Cromwell 17th-century English military and political leader

Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader. He served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland "and of the dominions thereto belonging" from 1653 until his death, acting simultaneously as head of state and head of government of the new republic.

Richard Cromwell English politician Lord Protector

Richard Cromwell was an English statesman who was the second Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Lord Protector is a title that has been used in British constitutional law for the head of state. It is also a particular title for the British heads of state in respect to the established church. It is sometimes used to refer to holders of other temporary posts, for example, a regent acting for the absent monarch.

The Third Protectorate Parliament was summoned on 9 December 1658 on the basis of the old franchise, and assembled on 27 January 1659. Richard was recognised as Lord Protector by the Parliament by 223 votes to 134, but over the next month the old divisions re-surfaced. The "Commonwealthsmen" and members of the Rump Parliament (such as Sir Henry Vane, Edmund Ludlow and Sir Arthur Haselrig) wanted to dismantle the Protectorate and return to the Commonwealth which had existed between the regicide of Charles I in January 1649 and the dismissal of the Rump Parliament by Oliver Cromwell in 1653.

Suffrage right to vote

Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise is the right to vote in public, political elections. In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called active suffrage, as distinct from passive suffrage, which is the right to stand for election. The combination of active and passive suffrage is sometimes called full suffrage.

Rump Parliament political body in the time of the English Revolution

The Rump Parliament was the English Parliament after Colonel Thomas Pride purged the Long Parliament, on 6 December 1648, of those members hostile to the Grandees' intention to try King Charles I for high treason.

Henry Vane the Younger Colonial governor of Massachusetts; English Parliamentary leader during the Civil War and Interregnum

Sir Henry Vane, son of Henry Vane the Elder, was an English politician, statesman, and colonial governor. He was briefly present in North America, serving one term as the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and supported the creation of Roger Williams' Rhode Island Colony and Harvard College. A proponent of religious tolerance, he returned to England in 1637 following the Antinomian controversy that led to the banning of Anne Hutchinson from Massachusetts.

The Protectorate faction was led by the Secretary of State John Thurloe, General John Lambert and Major-Generals Charles Fleetwood and Sir John Desborough. These members wished to keep the Protectorate but were divided over who should command the Army and be Lord Protector.

John Thurloe English barrister

John Thurloe of Great Milton in Oxfordshire and of Lincoln's Inn, was a secretary to the council of state in Protectorate England and spymaster for Oliver Cromwell.

Charles Fleetwood English Parliamentarian soldier and politician, Lord Deputy of Ireland

Charles Fleetwood was an English Parliamentarian soldier and politician, Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1652–1655, where he enforced the Cromwellian Settlement. Named Cromwell's Lieutenant General for the Third English Civil War, Fleetwood was thereafter one of his loyalest supporters throughout the Protectorate. After the Lord Protector's death, Fleetwood was initially supportive of his brother-in-law Richard Cromwell, but turned against him and forced him from power. Together with his colleague John Lambert he dominated government for a little over a year before being outmaneuvered by George Monck. At the Restoration he was included in the Act of Indemnity as among the twenty liable to penalties other than capital, and was finally incapacitated from holding any office of trust. His public career then closed.

John Desborough (1608–1680) was an English soldier and politician who supported the parliamentary cause during the English Civil War.

"The proposition of restoring the Parliament met with great opposition from many of those that had tasted the sweetness of power and profit under the late usurpation of the Cromewells, and who feared a more equal distribution of things; and therefore they everywhere affirmed that there was not a sufficient number of members left to make up a Parliament". [1]

An informal committee of key generals and republican parliamentary members met at Henry Vane the Younger's home at Charing-Cross; representing the army were John Lambert, Col John Hones, Col. Kelsey, Col. Berry, and representing Parliament were Sir Henry Vane, Sir Arthur Haslerig, Major Saloway and Edmund Ludlow.

Edmund Ludlow 17th-century English parliamentary politician

Edmund Ludlow was an English parliamentarian, best known for his involvement in the execution of Charles I, and for his Memoirs, which were published posthumously in a rewritten form and which have become a major source for historians of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. After service in the English Civil Wars, Ludlow was elected a Member of the Long Parliament. After the establishment of the Commonwealth in 1649 he was made second-in-command of Parliament's forces in Ireland, before breaking with Oliver Cromwell over the establishment of the Protectorate. After the Restoration Ludlow went into exile in Switzerland, where he spent much of the rest of his life. Ludlow himself spelled his name Ludlowe.

"The things demanded by those of the army were: 1. To be secured by an act of indemnity for what was past; 2. That some provision of power might be made for Mr. Richard Cromwell, as well as for the payment of his debts, and future subsistence in a plentiful manner, they having promised to take care of him in these particulars; 3. That what should stand in need of regulation both in the law and clergy, should be reformed and amended; 4. That the government of the nation should be by a representative of the people, and by a select senate (chosen in part by the military faction)". [2] Difficulties arose from mistrust between Parliament and the army, making effective working between the two houses problematic.

The issues came to a head when Parliament attempted to impeach Major-General William Boteler for actions he had carried out during the Rule of the Major-Generals in 1656. In response to the attempted impeachment, on 6 April 1659 the Grandees in the Army presented Parliament with a declaration calling for soldiers to be granted immunity from prosecution for all actions carried out during Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate. But accepting that the Commonwealthsmen were in the ascendency in Parliament, Desborough and Fleetwood forced a reluctant Richard Cromwell to use his powers as Lord Protector to dissolve Parliament on 22 April 1659.

The Grandees intended to keep Richard Cromwell as Lord Protector under Army control, without calling another parliament. Their position was undermined, however, when it became clear that the Army's rank and file still harboured support for the "Good Old Cause" of the Commonwealth, and still wanted to have their arrears of pay settled. This groundswell of support forced the Grandees to allow Richard Cromwell to re-call the Rump Parliament less than a month after the dissolution of the Third Protectorate Parliament.

There were two Speakers during the Third Protectorate Parliament and two Deputy Speakers. Chaloner Chute served as Speaker from 27 January 1659 until 14 April 1659, with two deputy speakers: Sir Lislebone Long from 9 March 1659 until 14 March 1659, and Thomas Bampfield from 16 March 1659 until 14 April 1659. Thomas Bampfield was Speaker from 15 April 1659 until 22 April 1659.

The Third Protectorate Parliament was preceded by the Second Protectorate Parliament and followed by the return of the Rump Parliament.

Composition

The constituencies and distribution of seats, in England and Wales, for this Parliament reverted to being the same as in the Long Parliament. However the Scottish and Irish constituencies (see list in the First Protectorate Parliament article) remained unchanged.

Constituencies

Abbreviations: Boro' const. – Borough/Burgh constituencies, Shire const. – County/Shire constituencies, Univ. const. or const'ies – University constituencies, Total Const. – Total constituencies, Con. (or Const.) - Constituencies

Table 1: Constituencies and MPs, by type and country

CountryBoro'
const.
Shire
const.
Univ.
const.
Total
const.
Boro'
MPs
Shire
MPs
Univ.
MPs
Total
MPs
England200382240400764480
Wales131326131427
Scotland92029102030
Ireland6131962430
No. of constituencies228842314    
Members returned42913445674291344567

Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country

CountryBorough constituenciesShire constituenciesUniv. const'iesTotal
const.
Total
MPs
1 MP2 MPs4 MPsCon.MPs1 MP2 MPsCon.MPs2 MPsCon.MPs
England41942200400383876224240480
Wales13131312113142627
Scotland819102020202930
Ireland66621113241930
No. of constituencies311952228 345084 22 314 
Members returned313908 42934100 1344 4 567

Notes: (1) Monmouthshire (1 borough and 2 county seats) included in England, not Wales. (2) Dublin City and County treated as a county constituency (2 seats).

See also

Notes

  1. The Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow, Lieutenant-General of the Horse in the Army of the Commonwealth of England 1625-1672 Edited with Appendices of Letters and Illustrative Documents by C. A. Firth, M.A., in two volumes. v. II p. 74. published 1894, Clarendon Press, Oxford
  2. The Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow, Lieutenant-General of the Horse in the Army of the Commonwealth of England 1625-1672 Edited with Appendices of Letters and Illustrative Documents by C. A. Firth, M.A., in two volumes. v. II p. 75. published 1894, Clarendon Press, Oxford

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References