All 567 seats of the House of Commons
284 seats were needed for a majority
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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.
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.
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.
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.
"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".
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.
"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)".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.
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.
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
|No. of constituencies||228||84||2||314|
Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country
|Country||Borough constituencies||Shire constituencies||Univ. const'ies||Total|
|1 MP||2 MPs||4 MPs||Con.||MPs||1 MP||2 MPs||Con.||MPs||2 MPs||Con.||MPs|
|No. of constituencies||31||195||2||228||34||50||84||2||2||314|
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).
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The Commonwealth was the political structure during the period from 1649 to 1660 when England and Wales, later along with Ireland and Scotland, were governed as a republic after the end of the Second English Civil War and the trial and execution of Charles I. The republic's existence was declared through "An Act declaring England to be a Commonwealth", adopted by the Rump Parliament on 19 May 1649. Power in the early Commonwealth was vested primarily in the Parliament and a Council of State. During the period, fighting continued, particularly in Ireland and Scotland, between the parliamentary forces and those opposed to them, as part of what is now referred to as the Third English Civil War.
The Long Parliament was an English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660. It followed the fiasco of the Short Parliament, which had convened for only three weeks during the spring of 1640 after an 11-year parliamentary absence. In September 1640, King Charles I issued writs summoning a parliament to convene on 3 November 1640. He intended it to pass financial bills, a step made necessary by the costs of the Bishops' Wars in Scotland. The Long Parliament received its name from the fact that, by Act of Parliament, it stipulated it could be dissolved only with agreement of the members; and, those members did not agree to its dissolution until 16 March 1660, after the English Civil War and near the close of the Interregnum.
Richard Cromwell was an English statesman who was the second Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland and son of the first Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.
The Protectorate was the period during the Commonwealth when England and Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and the English overseas possessions were governed by a Lord Protector as a republic. The Protectorate began in 1653 when, following the dissolution of the Rump Parliament and then Barebone's Parliament, Oliver Cromwell was appointed Lord Protector of the Commonwealth under the terms of the Instrument of Government. In 1659, the Protectorate Parliament was dissolved by the Committee of Safety as Richard Cromwell, who had succeeded his father as Lord Protector, was unable to keep control of the Parliament and the Army. This marked the end of the Protectorate and the start of a second period of rule by the Rump Parliament as the legislature and the Council of State as the executive.
John Lambert was an English Parliamentary general and politician. He fought during the English Civil War and then in Oliver Cromwell's Scottish campaign (1650–51), becoming thereafter active in civilian politics until his dismissal by Cromwell in 1657. During this time he wrote the Instrument of Government, one of only two codified constitutions ever adopted in Britain, and was influential in bringing about the Protectorate.
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.
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. Ludlow was elected a Member of the Long Parliament and served in the Parliamentary armies during the English Civil Wars. 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 Committee of Safety, established by the Parliamentarians in July 1642, was the first of a number of successive committees set up to oversee the English Civil War against King Charles I, and the Interregnum.
The English Council of State, later also known as the Protector's Privy Council, was first appointed by the Rump Parliament on 14 February 1649 after the execution of King Charles I.
The Second Protectorate Parliament in England sat for two sessions from 17 September 1656 until 4 February 1658, with Thomas Widdrington as the Speaker of the House of Commons. In its first session, the House of Commons was its only chamber; in the second session an Other House with a power of veto over the decisions of the Commons was added.
John Desborough (1608–1680) was an English soldier and politician who supported the parliamentary cause during the English Civil War.
Colonel Sir Richard Ingoldsby was an English officer in the New Model Army during the English Civil War and a politician who sat in the House of Commons variously between 1647 and 1685. As a Commissioner (Judge) at the trial of King Charles I, he signed the king's death warrant but was one of the few regicides to be pardoned.
The Interregnum was the period between the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649 and the arrival of his son Charles II in London on 29 May 1660 which marked the start of the Restoration. During the Interregnum, England was under various forms of republican government.
Henry Cromwell was the fourth son of Oliver Cromwell and Elizabeth Bourchier, and an important figure in the Parliamentarian regime in Ireland.
Carrickfergus and Belfast was a constituency in Ireland, that returned a single Member of Parliament to sit in the House of Commons of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Events from the year 1659 in England.
Lislebone Long (1613–1659), was a supporter of the Parliamentary cause during the English Civil War, but he was a Presbyterian and he resisted Pride's Purge and although not secluded by Pride, he shortly afterwards absented himself for a short while from the House. After the regicide of Charles I, in which he took no part, he was an active member of the three Protectorate parliaments and was knighted by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.
William Sydenham (1615–1661) was a Cromwellian soldier; and the eldest brother of Thomas Sydenham. He fought for Parliament and defeated the Royalists in various skirmishes in Dorset. He was member of the various parliaments of the Commonwealth, avowal conservative principles, and defended the liberties of Englishmen. In 1654 made councillor and commissioner of the treasury by Oliver Cromwell. Took the side of the army against Parliament. In 1660, after the Protectorate, and before the Restoration, he was expelled from the Long Parliament. After the Restoration, he was perpetually incapacitated from holding office by the Indemnity and Oblivion Act.
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 most loyal 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.
The Wallingford House party was a group of senior officers (Grandees) of the New Model Army who met at Wallingford House, the London home of Charles Fleetwood. Their intention was to overthrow the Protectorate of the Lord Protector, Richard Cromwell.