Slides in this set
The two most important officers were...
Charles Fleetwood, who was generally compliant to the
wishes of the soldiers
John Disbrowe, who openly disliked Richard.
The 13-man Council of State, which Richard had
inherited from Oliver, was divided between a military
group headed by Fleetwood and Disbrowe and a civilian
group headed by John Thurloe.
The army officers were suspicious of Thurloe's influence
over Richard and there were clashes over the possible
appointment of new councillors, though in fact Richard
made no new appointments to the Council during his
The crisis deepens
Army discontent was made worse because pay had fallen into
Richard met senior army officers and attempted to win them
over. Although he insisted upon retaining supreme command
and the power to issue commissions.
He appointed Fleetwood lieutenant-general and pledged that
he would do all he could to clear arrears of pay.
Richard's tactful yet firm stance quietened the army for a time
and won him the support of several senior officers, including
Major-Generals Whalley, Goffe and Howard. To strengthen
his position further, Richard cultivated the friendship of
General Monck in Scotland and secretary of state Thurloe. He
appointed his brother Henry Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with
full authority over the army there.…read more
In order to raise much-needed finances, Richard was obliged to call
a new parliament.
The Third Protectorate Parliament assembled in January 1659.
Richard gave an impressive opening speech and, after several weeks'
debate, MPs endorsed the authority of the Protectorate. By early
April 1659, it appeared that Richard Cromwell was firmly
established as Oliver's successor.
However, the Protectorate régime was vehemently opposed by
republican "Commonwealthsmen" who worked to spread
disaffection against Richard amongst the soldiers. Antagonism
between army officers and the conservative majority in Parliament
came to a head when the former Major-General William Boteler was
threatened with impeachment for actions carried out under Oliver
Cromwell's jurisdiction.…read more
mid rumours of an army plot to seize Richard at Whitehall, Major-
General Howard offered to arrest the leading conspirators, but once
again, Richard succeeded in calming the situation at a face-to-face
meeting with senior officers.
However, Parliament insensitively began debating the re-
organisation of the army and the formation of a new militia.
Fleetwood and Disbrowe demanded Parliament's dissolution. When
Richard refused to comply, the Grandees called the soldiers
stationed around London to a rendezvous at St James's. Richard
called upon the army to rally to him at Whitehall, but the soldiers
unanimously followed their officers.
On 21 April, Major-General Disbrowe confronted Richard at
Whitehall and insisted that he dissolve Parliament and entrust
himself to the army, to which Richard reluctantly agreed. The Third
Protectorate Parliament was dissolved on 22 April 1659, leaving the
Council of Officers in control of the government…read more