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Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England$
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Blair Worden

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199230822

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199230822.001.0001

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Milton and the Good Old Cause

Milton and the Good Old Cause

(p.326) 14 Milton and the Good Old Cause
Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England

Blair Worden

Oxford University Press

John Milton's explanation was needed, since his proposed solution, the perpetuation of what remained of the Long Parliament, ran contrary to a fundamental premiss of the commonwealthmen, those spokesmen for the ‘good old cause’, and of none of them more than Marchamont Nedham when he took their part. In another respect, however, Milton was now wholly with the commonwealthmen. His hopes of single rulers, however ‘supremely excellent’, had been destroyed by the rule of Oliver Cromwell. The ruler who had seemed to him a bulwark against the Stuarts now appeared of a kind with them. Milton may not have wanted a newly elected parliament in 1659–60, but he did want one with undivided and unlimited power. Nedham, as he worked his way back from the protectorate to the Rump, had to overcome venomous resistance to his own re-employment from among the commonwealthmen, who particularly resented his orchestration and publication of addresses in the Cromwellian interest.

Keywords:   John Milton, Long Parliament, commonwealthmen, good old cause, Marchamont Nedham, Oliver Cromwell, Rump

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