Chapter 209: Aftermath
Chapter 209: Aftermath
“Please be seated!” The Speaker of the Commons called out. Silence fell over the house ever so briefly and Oliver prepared for what was to come.
Ever since word had come of the defeat of Nottingham and his men, and of Nottingham’s death, The King and the Council had been preparing for the inevitable blowback. It hadn’t come initially, but it was sure to come. Indeed, as Oliver surveyed the room, he fully expected it to come now.
“Sir Oliver Cromwell.” The Speaker called.
Oliver stood up. “Thank you, Mr Speaker.” He took a deep breath then spoke. “His Majesty has announced an enquiry into what happened against Spain, and what lessons can be learned from it. His Majesty has also decided to order to a complete and thorough investigation into the fitting of ships and the management of the Naval Dockyards.”
There were some murmurs at that. Oliver continued. “I hope that the House will join me in offering condolences to those who lost their loved ones fighting against the Spanish.”
Everyone bowed their heads for a moment, and allowed the thoughts of remembrance wash over themselves. Oliver found himself wondering who it would be who would rise to the attack to begin with and whether or not there would be any sense in their attacks or not. Sometimes, there was, but as of late the House had seemed incredibly inward looking.
After the moment, had passed, the Speaker called out. “John Pym, Knight of the Shire for Gloucester.”
This should be good. Oliver thought to himself.
“Thank you, Mr Speaker.” Pym said, his voice soft, his face expressionless. “The Right Honourable Gentleman says that there is to be an enquiry into what happened against Spain. I can tell him what happened. We saw the result of decades of neglect and corruption inflict a humiliating defeat on our Navy.”
There were murmurs at that, Pym continued. “Firstly, the greatest mistake that was made was believing that the former Earl of Nottingham-God rest his soul-could stand a chance against the newly reformed Spanish navy. Much as he was a hero of the past, Nottingham was also stuck in that same past, as the testimony from naval officers who served has shown.”
Oliver frowned, that sounded like Warwick’s words. The man had argued in front of the Privy Council upon his return that Nottingham was a fool and that he should have been given command. Something he hadn’t said anything about before the battle.
Pym continued. “Finally, an investigation into the Royal Dockyards is welcome but long overdue. How can we be sure that it will be carried out properly?”
There were murmurs at that, and Oliver felt the urge to either blush or scowl. There was an insult there, and he knew it and judging by the barely concealed grin on his face, Pym knew it as well.
Pym sat down, and at a nod from the Speaker, Oliver rose.
“The Knight for the Shire raises interesting points; however, I will say that his comments sound more like an afterthought than properly judged analysis.” Oliver said. He saw Pym grimace and continued. “Furthermore, he speaks of naval matters, but I was not sure if he has had any experience on a ship let alone in a war.”
Pym was scowling now.
Oliver continued. “He speaks of naval matters and reform as if he is a seasoned expert, but he is not. And as such I think it mightily impudent of him to question whether there will be actual reform or if investigations will be carried out properly.”
Oliver sat down, and waited. Oliver St John-a former client of Buckingham’s-leaned in to whisper. “I think you’ve got him there.”
Oliver smiled but waited. Pym seemed to be in conference with William Strode-a most detestable man as Oliver had found-and as he continued talking, the silence stretched on, until the Speaker had to speak.
“Mr Pym are you going to reply, to the Right Honourable gentleman?”
Pym looked at the Speaker with such ill-disguised loathing that Oliver was surprised the man didn’t rot there and then. When he replied, his voice was harder. “With your leave, Mr Speaker.”
The Speaker waved a hand indicating that Pym could reply. Pym rose and cleared his throat and said. “The Right Honourable gentleman says that I know nothing of naval affairs, and that may be so, but I also know that I have a duty, a duty to those who voted for me, and I intend to make sure that I do that duty.” He sat down then.
“Sir Oliver?” The Speaker asked looking at him. Oliver shook his head, he had nothing more to say on the matter, and neither did Pym it seemed. “Very well, we shall move onto discussing the Means and Ways Bill for the continuance of funding for roads and the dealing with bandits.”
Oliver tuned that conversation out and whispered to St John. “Did you find out what I asked you to?”
St John nodded. “I did.”
“And?” Oliver asked.
“I think your initial guess was right, Sir.” St John said. “Pym has been meeting with several more radical groups all of which have started taking influence from Venice.”
“So, he’s a traitor.” Oliver murmured.
“Yes, Sir.” St John said.
Oliver nodded. “Very well, keep digging, let us see what else we can find.” If they could find a compelling case, then Pym and his associates could all be done for, and a potential headache would be well resolved. It was a win-win scenario as far as Oliver was concerned. They just needed to make sure that they had enough evidence.
Oliver tuned back in to listen as Henry Vane, the Knight for Hull gave a speech decrying the state of the road leading into his town and he wanted to snort. Hull, Hull, Hull, there was nothing half as bad as someone from Hull complaining about Hull. At least Vane spoke properly. That was an improvement.