Humble Petition and Advice

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Humble Petition and Advice
Introduced by Christopher Packe
Territorial extent
Commencement 25 May 1657
Other legislation
Amended by The removal of the "monarchy" clause
Repealed by Declaration of Breda
Indemnity and Oblivion Act
Relates to Instrument of Government
Status: Repealed

The Humble Petition and Advice was the second, and last, codified constitution of England after the Instrument of Government.

On 23 February 1657, during the sitting of the Second Protectorate Parliament, Sir Christopher Packe, a Member of Parliament and former Lord Mayor of London (chosen by those supporting Kingship as he was a less controversial character than the leaders of the Kingship party), presented the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell with a remonstrance which became known as the Humble Petition and Advice.[1] Although he presented it, Packe was not the author.[2][3]

The remonstrance came about largely as a result of the rise of the New Cromwellians. They in themselves were an expression of strong latent support for monarchy and the English traditional constitutional limits on its power, a desire to lose the military overtones of the earlier Protectorate and the increasingly small level of control Cromwell was able to exert due to ill health and frustration with a lack of revolutionary ideology amongst his subjects.

The Humble Petition and Advice wanted to offer hereditary monarchy to Oliver Cromwell, assert Parliament's control over issuing new taxation, provide an independent council to advise the king, safeguard 'Triennial' meetings (every three years) of Parliament and reduce the size of the army in order to save money, amongst other things. These had the effect of limiting, not increasing, Cromwell’s power.

Cromwell refused the Crown, on 8 May 1657. This may have been because he feared disaffection in the Army, especially considering the proposed reduction in the size of the army, was distressed by allegations of dynastic/personal ambition, did not genuinely accept that a monarchy was necessary in England, or because he feared reinstating the monarchy on the basis that he believed it had been judged by God in the period following the English Civil War.

The Humble Petition was modified to remove the clause on kingship and due to the Naylor case the Humble Petition and Advice was also modified to include a second chamber.

On 25 May, Cromwell ratified a modified Humble Petition and Advice, saying he would nominate his successor as Lord Protector.


  1. Lee, p. 991. (see also DNB xliii 30)
  2. Coward, p. p87
  3. Fritze, p. 237


  • Coward, Barry, The Cromwellian Protectorate New frontiers in history, Manchester University Press, 2002 0719043174, 9780719043178
  • Fritze, Ronald H. & Robison, William B. Historical dictionary of Stuart England, 1603-1689, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996. ISBN 0-313-28391-5, ISBN 978-0-313-28391-8
  • Lee, Sidney (1903), Dictionary of National Biography Index and Epitome
  • Noble, Mark. Memoirs of the protectoral-house of Cromwell: deduced from an early period, and continued down to the present time; ... collected chiefly from original papers and records, ... together with an appendix: ... Embellished with elegant engravings. Volume 1, The third edition, Printed for G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1787. page 416.