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 prayer was rejected. Application was then made to Cromwell, who addressed a letter to the Speaker of the House, inquiring into the affair, protesting an ‘abhorrence and detestation of giving or occasioning the least countenance to such opinions and practices’ as were imputed to Nayler; ‘yet we, being intrusted in the present government on be half of the people of these nations, and not knowing how far such proceeding entered into wholly without us may extend in the consequence of it, do hereby desire the House may let us know the grounds and reasons whereon they have proceeded.’ From this, it is not unlikely that the Protector might have been disposed to clemency, and to look with a degree of charity upon the weakness and errors of one of his old and tried soldiers who had striven like a brave man, as he was, for the rights and liberties of Englishmen; but the clergy here interposed, and vehemently, in the name of God and His Church, demanded that the executioner should finish his work. Five of the most eminent of them, names well known in the Protectorate, Caryl, Manton, Nye, Griffith, and Reynolds, were deputed by Parliament to visit the mangled prisoner. A reasonable request was made, that some impartial person might be present, that justice might be done Nayler in the report of his answers. This was refused. It was, however, agreed that the conversation should be written down and a copy of it left with the jailer. He was asked if he was sorry for his blasphemies. He said he did not know to what blasphemies they alluded; that he did believe in Jesus Christ; that He had taken
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