- Third Protectorate Parliament
The Third Protectorate Parliament sat for one session, from
27 January 1659until 22 April 1659, with Chaloner Chuteand Thomas Bampfyldeas the Speakers of the House of the Commons. It was a bicameral Parliament, with an Upper House having a power of veto over the Commons.
Composition of the House of Commons
The constituencies and distribution of seats, in England and Wales, for this Parliament reverted to being the same as in the
Long Parliament. However the Scottish and Irish constituencies (see list in the First Protectorate Parliamentarticle) were left unchanged.
ummary of Constituencies and Members of Parliament
"Key to categories: BC - Borough/Burgh constituencies, CC - County/Shire constituencies, UC - University constituencies, Total C - Total constituencies, BMP - Borough/Burgh Members of Parliament, CMP - County/Shire Members of Parliament, UMP - University Members of Parliament, Total MPs - Total Members of Parliament."
Table 1: Constituencies and MPs, by type and country
Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country
"Notes: (1) Monmouthshire (1 borough and 2 county seats) included in England, not Wales. (2) Dublin City and County treated as a county constituency (2 seats)."
Events of the Parliament
After the death of
Oliver Cromwellhis son Richard Cromwellsucceeded him as Lord Protectorof the Protectorateon 3 September 1658. As a civilian, Richard did not have the full confidence of the Army, particularly as the administration had a perennial budget deficit of half a million pounds and the Army was owed nearly nine hundred thousand pounds in back pay. His only option was to call a Parliament in the hope that it would cement his position by general recognition of the ruling class and by raising new taxes to pay the arrears owed to the Army.
The Third Protectorate Parliament was summoned on
9 December 1658on the basis of the old franchise, and assembled on 27 January 1659. Richard was recognised as Lord Protector by the Parliament by 223 votes to 134, but over the next month the old divisions re-surfaced. The "Commonwealthsmen" and members of the Rump Parliament(such as Sir Henry Vane, Edmund Ludlowand Sir Arthur Haselrig) wanted to dismantle the Protectorate and return to the Commonwealth which had existed between the regicideof Charles I in January 1649and the dismissal of the Rump Parliament by Oliver Cromwell in 1653.
The Protectorate faction was led by the Secretary of State
John Thurloe, General John Lambert and Major-Generals Charles Fleetwoodand Sir John Desborough. These members wished to keep the Protectorate but were divided over who should command the Army and be Lord Protector.
The issues came to a head when Parliament attempted to impeach Major-General
William Botelerfor actions he had carried out during the Rule of the Major-Generalsin 1656. In response to the attempted impeachment, on 6 April 1659the Grandees in the Army presented Parliament with a declaration calling for soldiers to be granted immunity from prosecution for all actions carried out during Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate. But accepting that the Commonwealthsmen were in the ascendency in Parliament, Desborough and Fleetwood forced a reluctant Richard Cromwell to use his powers as Lord Protector to dissolve Parliament on 22 April 1659.
The Grandees intended to keep Richard Cromwell as Lord Protector under Army control, without calling another parliament. Their position was undermined, however, when it became clear that the Army's rank and file still harboured support for the "Good Old Cause" of the Commonwealth, and still wanted to have their arrears of pay settled. This swell of ground support forced the Grandees to allow Richard Cromwell to re-call the
Rump Parliamentless than a month after the dissolution of the Third Protectorate Parliament.
There were two Speakers during the Third Protectorate Parliament and two Deputy Speakers. Chaloner Chute served as Speaker from
27 January 1659until 14 April 1659, with two deputy speakers: Sir Lislebone Longfrom 9 March 1659until 14 March 1659, and Thomas Bampfield from 16 March 1659until 14 April 1659. Thomas Bampfield was Speaker from 15 April 1659until 22 April 1659.
The Third Protectorate Parliament was preceded by the
Second Protectorate Parliamentand followed by the Rump Parliament.
List of Parliaments of England
* [http://www.british-civil-wars.co.uk/glossary/protectorate-parliament-2.htm The British Civil Wars & Commonwealth website: Third Protectorate Parliament 1659]
* [http://www.archontology.org/nations/england/commonwealth/01_parl_1640.php www.archontology.org: England: Parliament 1640-1660]
* [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=24685 Journal of the House of Commons on the British History website]
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