Matthew Hale (jurist) - Life - Civil War, Commonwealth and Protectorate - Member of Parliament

Member of Parliament

On 3 September 1654, the First Protectorate Parliament was called; of the 400 English members, only two were lawyers — Hooke, a Baron of the Exchequer, and Hale, who was elected Member of Parliament for his home county of Gloucestershire. Hale was an active MP, persuading the Commons to reject a motion to destroy the Tower of London's archives, and introducing several motions to preserve the authority of Parliament. The first was that the government should be "in a Parliament and a single person limited and restrained as the Parliament should think fit", and he later proposed that the English Council of State be subject to re-election every three years by the House of Commons, that the militia should be controlled by Parliament, and that supplies should only be granted to the army for limited periods. While these proposals got support, Cromwell refused to allow any MPs into the Commons until they signed an oath recognising his authority, which Hale refused to do. As such, none of them were passed. Dissatisfied with the First Protectorate Parliament, Cromwell dissolved it on 22 January 1655.

A Second Protectorate Parliament was called on 17 September 1656, which wrote a constitution titled Humble Petition and Advice that called for the creation of an Upper House to perform the job of the former House of Lords. Cromwell accepted this constitution, and in December 1657 nominated the Upper House's members. Hale, as a judge, was called to it. This new House's extensive jurisdiction and authority was immediately questioned by the Commons, and Cromwell responded by dissolving the Parliament on 4 February 1658. On 3 September 1658, Oliver Cromwell died and was replaced by his son, Richard Cromwell. Richard Cromwell summoned a new Parliament on 27 January 1659, and Hale was returned as MP for Oxford University. Richard Cromwell was a weak leader, however, and ruled for only 8 months before resigning. On 16 March 1660 General Monck forced the Parliament to vote for its own dissolution and call new elections. At the same time, Charles II made the Declaration of Breda, and when the Convention Parliament met on 25 April 1660 (with Hale a member from Gloucestershire again) it immediately began negotiations with the King. Hale moved in the Commons that "a committee might be appointed to look into the overtures that had been made, and the concessions that had been offered, by " and "from thence to digest such propositions, as they should think fit to be sent over to " who was still in Breda. On 1 May Parliament restored the King, and Charles II landed in Dover three weeks later, prompting the English Restoration.

Read more about this topic:  Matthew Hale (jurist), Life, Civil War, Commonwealth and Protectorate

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