The office of the sovereign, be it a monarch or an assembly, consisteth in the end for which he was trusted with the sovereign power, namely the procuration of the safety of the people, to which he is obliged by the law of nature... (Thomas Hobbes, The Leviathan, The Second Part, Chapter 30: Of the Office of the Sovereign Representative.)
The Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland is the title of the head of state of the Commonwealth.
Introduction and history
The 1653 Instrument of Government (republican constitution) stated that
- Oliver Cromwell, Captain-General of the forces of England, Scotland and Ireland, shall be, and is hereby declared to be, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging, for his life.
The replacement constitution of 1657, the Humble Petition and Advice, gave 'His Highness the Lord Protector' the power to nominate his successor. Cromwell chose his son Henry. This was a non-representative and de facto dynastic mode of succession, with royal connotations in both styles awarded, even a double invocation 16 December 1653 "By the Grace of God and Republic Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland" and many other monarchic prerogatives, such as awarding knighthoods.
The Humble Petition and Advice also gave the Lord Protector to choose up to twenty-one Councillors of the Commonwealth Council of State.
The office and powers of the Protector were reformed by the Constitutional Framework.
The Lord Protector, head of State of the Commonwealth, holds office for life, but is not hereditary. He is the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, land and sea, of England, Scotland and Ireland. He can dissolve the House of Commons and immediately call for elections, can grant pardons to convicted persons, present bills and money bills for consideration and vote to the Parliament, regulate the armed forces and appointments. The Protector appoints the judges of the high courts on proposal of the Lord Chancellors.
Names the Lord President and candidates members to the Council, whom the House of Commons votes to approve or reject. Chairs the sessions of the Council and exercises his authority on advice of the Council, signs the Orders in Council and Commonwealth Charters. The Protector directs foreign relations along the Secretary of State and the Council of State and appoints ambassadors and receives foreign envoys. Names part of the members of the Senate for a six year term.
Names the Lord President of Scotland, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Governors and Lieutenant Governors of the former crown dependencies and of colonies, dominions and territories. Names the Chancellors of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall and the Lord of Man and the Isles. The Protector grants honours, knighthoods and peerage.
Election of the Protector
The Lord Protector had the power to nominate his successor until 1736. However after the Constitutional Framework he can still nominate his successors or in case of absence the Senate names his successor or candidate to the Protectorship. In either case and following custom the House of Commons after the first address of the Protector to the Parliament votes to accept or reject the nomination and proceeds to call for the formal installation and oath.
The Act on the Election of Lord Protector by Parliament (1736) established that the whole Commonwealth Parliament (House of Commons and Senate) assembled as an electoral assembly elects the Lord Protector on a candidate or list of candidates provided by the Commonwealth Council of State or by the Senate. The rules of election are to be decided by a joint commission of the House of Commons and the Senate. The Lord Protector serves for a mandate of seven years with no limits for the reelection of another mandate.
Lord Protectors of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland
|Portrait||Name||(Born-Died)||Mandate (Start-End)||Political affinity/faction/party|
|Oliver Cromwell||April 1599 – September 1658||December 1653 - September 1658||Cromwellian|
|Henry Cromwell||January 1628 – March 1696||September 1658- March 1696||Cromwellian|
|James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth||April 1649 – July 1718||March 1696- July 1718||Whig|
|William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire||1672 – 4 June 1729||July 1718 - June 1729||Whig Junto|
|Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend||April 1674 – June 1738||June 1729 - June 1738||Whig Junto|
Official residences of the Lord Protector and family are
|Hampton Court Palace and Manor|
|Manor near the city of York||Former King's Manor|
- ↑ Instrument of Government (1653) and Humble Petition and Advice (1657)