Offering the Crown to Cromwell

Patrick Little asks why Parliament offered the infamous regicide the crown of England, to what extent he was tempted to take it – and why he finally turned it down.

If his highness can be moved to accept of it [the crown], the services he hath done the nations have abundantly deserved it; but if he who hath so much merited it do judge it fit to continue his refusal of it, the contempt of a crown – which can not proceed but from an extraordinary virtue – will render him, in the esteem of all whose opinion is to be valued, more honourable than any that wear it.
When the ambassador to France, Sir William Lockhart, wrote this in April 1657, it had been nearly two months since the first formal offer by Parliament to make Oliver Cromwell king, and in England people were waiting anxiously for the Lord Protector to make up his mind. Would he choose to become King Oliver or not?

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