« PreviousContinue »
flagitious Cromwell in every change of government; and continued to sit for Northamptonshire in the three Parliaments which he summoned ; in the little or Barebones' Parliament, which met in 1653; and in those which were assembled in 1654 and 1656. The manner in which he was chosen a member for Northamptonshire in the Parliament of 1656, as related by an eye-witness, is worthy of particular notice : “ The freeholders, by the appointment of Major-General Butler, were assembled at Kettering Heath, and the Sheriff having read the writ, the Major-General named himself and the five following gentlemen ; Sir Gilbert Pickering, Mr. Crewe the younger, the Lord Cleypole, James Langham, Esq. and Major Blake. Having first named Sir Gilbert, he rode round the heath, crying-A PICKERING, A PICKERING; and coming to the Sheriff, he ordered him to set him down duly elected. The other five were successively returned in the same manner. At the same time Colonel Benson, with a large body of electors, was on the Heath, and proposed, without any notice being taken of his nomination, Mr. Knightley and other considerable gentlemen of the county."-Such was the liberty enjoyed under the domination of those men, who for fourteen years had clamourously asserted, that they had no other object in view but the maintenance and security of the ancient fundamental rights of the people of England
7 Bridges's Hist. of NorthAMPTONSHIRE, vol. ij. p. 383
A modern writer has stated that Sir Gilbert Pickering was also a military commander of considerable reputation in those unhappy tiines; but this is a mistake. The person who very highly distinguished himself as an officer in various eni gagements,-at the battle of Naseby, in the storming of Bristol, and at the taking of Basing-house, was Colonel John Pickering, a younger brother of Sir Gilbert, who raised a regiment in Northamptonshire, (which was called by his name,) and, after many gallant actions, died of what was then called the new disease, at St. Mary Autre or Ottery, a town in Devonshire, in November 1645.? : Sir Gilbert himself, though without doubt he assisted his brother in raising his regiment, moved only in a civil sphere. He was so closely connected with Cromwell, that he was constantly invested with such authority as that Usurper permitted his partisans to exercise. He was one of the thirty-eight Counsellors of State named by the Rump Parliament, to supply the place of the executive power after the murder of the King. When the little Parliament surrendered the government into the hands of Cromwell in December 1653, and it was resolved, “ after several days seeking the
& ENGLAND'S RECOVERY, &c. by Joshua Sprigge ; folio, 1647, p. 155. Colonel John Pickering, like several of the eminent men of that time, (Lord Falkland, Chillingworth, John Hales, &c.) was a very little man, but much distinguished for his bravery.
Lord, in order to a settlement and sweet composure, that his Excellency the Lord General should be appointed Lord Protector, with a Council of twentyone godly, able, and discreet persons to assist him,”! Sir Gilbert Pickering was appointed one of that body; and he continued a member of the Usurper's Council to the time of Oliver's death, with a salary of £.1000 a year. He was also Lord Chamberlain of his mock court, and High Steward of Westminster, with emoluments annexed to each of those offices ; and, in 1658, was a member of his other House, or House of Lords.'
9 * Copy of the Letter from his Excellency the Lord General Cromwell, sent to the Members of Parliament called to take upon them the trust of the government of this Commonwealth, which began on Monday the 4th of June 1653 :- -- with the several transactions from that time.” 4to. 1656, p. 16.
' In a very scarce pamphlet in my Collection, entitled -“ A Second Narrative of the late Parliament, &c.” 4to. - 1658, which was evidently written by one of the FifthMonarchy men, who were extremely enraged at Cromwell's having formed a House of Lords, I find (p. 13,) the following description of this gentleman :
" Sir Gilbert Pickering, Knight of the old stamp, and of considerable revenue in Northamptonshire; one of the long Parliament, and a great stickler in the change of the Government from Kingly to that of a Commonwealth : -helped to make those laws of treason against Kingship; has also changed with all changes that have been - since. He was one of the little Parliament, and helped to break it, as also of all the Parliaments since ; is one of
Under the countenance and protection of this near and powerful kinsman, our author made his first entrance into the metropolis, and is said by one of his adversaries to have been his clerk or secretary, and also a member of one of the nume
the Protector's Council, (his salary £. 1000 per annum, besides other places,) and as if he had been pinned to this slieve, was never to seek: is become High Steward of Westminster; and being so finical, spruce, and like an old courtier, is made Lord Chamberlain of the Pro. tector's Houshold or Court ; so that he may well be counted fit and worthy to be taken out of the House to have a negative voice in the other House, though he helped to destroy it in the King and Lords. There are more besides him, that make themselves transgressors by. building again the things which they once destroyed."
Cromwell's House of Lords consisted of sixty-two persons, but not more than forty-five sat ; among whom were Pride the Drayman, and Hewson the Cobler.
? As the pamphlet containing the particulars here noticed is now seldom met with, it may be proper, instead of referring to it, to transcribe a few lines from it:
“ The next step of advancement you began
THE MEDAL OF John BAYES, 4to. 1682.' rous Committees appointed in various counties for the detection and punishment of those loyal persons who were then denominated MALIGNANTS, and for the purpose of sequestring their estates, and the benefices of such of the Clergy as refused to take the Covenant, or to comply with the injunctions of the Directory.' Another of his opponents, Villiers,
It is not quite clear whether the words—“A sequestrator and Committee-man,” were intended to be applied to Dryden, or to Noll's Lord Chamberlain; but I think the former was the author's meaning.
Again, in another poem, (which seems to have originally appeared in 1687, and is re-printed in a Miscellane. ous Collection by R. Cross, 8vo. 1747,) entitled “ The PROTESTANT SATIRE, or some Reason, not all Rhyme,” &c.
“ He honest kept as long as e'er he could,
“ And Bayes was of Committee-man's flesh and blood." Here also there is some ambiguity; for the last line may relate either to his father or himself.
The couplet alluded to in the first of the foregoing extracts, is in our author's Verses on Cromwell :
“ He fought, to end our fighting, and essay'd
3 “ Those factious and puritannical Ministers, (says Walker in his “ Attempt towards recovering an Account of the Number and Sufferings of the Clergy,” &c. fol. 1715. Pref.) who had revolted to the Parliament, and were by them thrust into as many pulpits as they could fill, had it in their instructions to traduce the Episcopal Ministers as papists, or popishly affected, and to represent