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Council of State

Council of State, 1649–60. After the execution of Charles I and the abolition of the monarchy, the Rump Parliament in February 1649 gave executive power to a Council of State of 41 members. It contained three peers, a number of lawyers including Bradshaw, and senior army officers such as Cromwell, Fairfax, and Skippon. Cromwell dissolved the council in 1653 immediately after he had dismissed the Rump and appointed an interim Council of State in April. When Cromwell became lord protector in December 1653 he was given a council of 21 under the Instrument of Government. Though it had less power than its predecessor, it was far from negligible and Cromwell complained that he was in toils. In the Humble Petition and Advice, adopted in 1657, it was referred to as the Privy Council. When the Rump was recalled in 1659, another Council of State was appointed, but it was swept away at the Restoration. Charles II held a meeting of a much truncated Privy Council at Canterbury as soon as he landed in 1660.

J. A. Cannon

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