A Cloak for Knavery: Kingship, the Army and the First Protectorate Parliament 1654-55

Porter, Eric
October 2002
Seventeenth Century;Autumn2002, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p187
Academic Journal
Current research on kingship during the Interregnum (1649-1660) concentrates on the offer of the crown to Cromwell in 1657. Arguing instead that kingship was a major concern earlier in the decade, this article focuses on the 1st Protectorate Parliament (September 1654 to January 1655). Though scarcely mentioned in records of that parliament, kingship attracted lively interest in the contemporary pamphlet literature. The central issue of this analysis is thus the silence of the parliamentary record. Rather than establishing kingship's insignificance at that time, this silence is shown to be strategic, serving to cloak strained relations between the parliament, Cromwell and the army. Reading parliamentary records in this context and drawing parallels with other sources - including pamphlets, newsbooks and letters written or authorised by parliamentary members themselves - the article demonstrates the centrality of kingship to an understanding of early Protectorate politics.


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