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Oliver Cromwell

      And now a new and alarming class of symptoms began to appear in the distempered body politic. There had been, from the first, in the Parliamentary party, some men whose minds were set on objects from which the majority of that party would have shrunk with horror. These men were, in religion, Independents. They conceived that every Christian congregation had, under Christ, supreme jurisdiction in things spiritual; that appeals to provincial and national synods were scarcely less unscriptural than appeals to the Court of Arches or to the Vatican; and that popery, prelacy, and Presbyterianism were merely three forms of one great apostasy. In politics they were, to use the phrase of their time, Root and Branch men, or, to use the kindred phrase of our own time, Radicals. Not content with limiting the power of the monarch, they were desirous to erect a commonwealth on the ruins of the old English polity. At first they had been inconsiderable both in numbers and in weight; but, before the war had lasted two years, they became, not indeed the largest, but the most powerful faction in the country. Some of the old Parliamentary leaders had been removed by death, and others had forfeited the public confidence. Pym had been borne, with princely honors, to a grave among the Plantagenets. Hampden had fallen, as became him, while vainly endeavoring, by his heroic example, to inspire his followers with courage to face the fiery cavalry of Rupert. Bedford had been untrue to the cause. Northu...

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