His working rule was that of Marchamont Needham ; government was “an art or artifice found out by man’s wisdom and occasioned by necessity,” and not a deduction from “principles and natural right and freedom.” He had as deep a contempt for the compact and riveted logic of the republican and the leveller as for the fantasies of the Fifth Monarchy men. His mind was wholly unspeculative, and he never felt the compulsion which others have felt to weave his views into an harmonious system of thought.
It was impossible for him, being the man he was, to leave any permanent construction behind him, any more than he could leave a code of principles. He was the creature of emergencies, and he died while still feeling his way. England, let it be remembered, blundered and sidled into modern parliamentaryism.
Text: John Buchan, Oliver Cromwell, 1934.