The Protectorate

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The Protectorate (1653-58)

Rule by Ordinance

- 82 ordinances were issued before P met. These fell into 4 broad areas:

Maintenance of order

Broadening support

Finacial reform

Religious reform

- Reform of the banking sector was undertaken to appease London bankers.

- Cromwell also reformed the existing system of tax collection, making it more efficient.

- Cromewell's relgious reform concentrated on bringing various Protestant sects together to recognise each other's freedom.

- Cromwell failed to instigate a national scheme to ensure this took place. Consequently, the Anglican Church lost follwers to radical sects.

The 1st Protectorate P

- The 1654 election was the 1st for 14 years. No clear political groupings & many opponents of the Protectorate were elected.

- Opponents questioned the legitimacy of the Instrument of Government, noting that it had been drawn up by unelected military officials.

- 'Four Fundamentals' of government which he refused to compromise on.

- Cromwell informed all MPs that they were obliged to take an Oath of Recognition commiting themselves to rule by a single person & P.

- 100 MPs refused to take the Oath, withdrawing from P. (Commonwealthsmen)

- 22nd January 1655: Cromwell dissolved the 1st Protectorate P.

The Trial of George Cony

- Cromwell wanted to create a stable democracy to whcih all elements of society would be reconciled to.

- Cony was imprisoned & then tried for refusing to pay customs duties on imports.

- Cony's lawyers argued these duties were illegal as they had not been agreed by P.

The Protectorate in crisis?

- Royalist rebellion. Penruddock's Rising, took place in Wiltshire in March 1655.

- 400 rebels marched from Sailsbury, through Dorset & Somerset, in the hope of rasing support from rellow Royalists.

- The rebellion was easily crushed allowing Cromwell to claim God was once more showing support for the P cause.

- The defeat of English fleet by Spanish forces in the Caribbean later in the year was interpreted by Cromwell as a rebuke from God.

The Rule of the Major-Generals (1655-57)

- August 1655: England & Wales were divided into 10 regions, each to be ruled by a Major-General.

- Each was to raise a local malitia paid for by 10% income tax on former royalists known as the Decimation Tax.

- Their role was to supress insurrection & unlawful assembly, as well as enforcing laws regarding 'reformation of manners'.

- The Army enforced laws against drunkeness, profanity & blasphemy.

- Alehouses were regulated more strictly with only those deemed necessary to act as inns allowed to remain open.

- Theatres, brothels, and gaming houses were closed; bear-baiting, ****-fighting…


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