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en the canvass of Reynolds. There are the spectacles of Burke and the tall thin form of Langton; the courtly sneer of Beauclerlt and the beaming' smile of Garrick; Gibbon tapping his snjiff-box, and Sir Joshua with his trumpet in his ear. In the foreground is that strange figure which is as familiar to us as the figures of those among whom we have been brought up—the gigantic body, the huge massy face, seamed with the scars of disease; the brown coal, the black worsted stockings, the gray wig with a scorched foretop; the dirty hands, the nails bitten and pared to the quick. We see the eyes and mouth moving with convulsive twitches; we see the heavy form rolling; we hear it puffing; and then comes the "Why, sir!" and the "What then, sir?" and the "No, sir!" and the "You dont see your way through the question, sir!"
What a singular destiny has been that of this remarkable man! To be regarded in his own age as a classic, and in ours as a companion—to receive from his contemporaries that full homage which men of genius have in general received only from posterity—to be more intimately known to posterity than other men are known to their contemporaries! That kind of fame which is commonly the most transient, is, in his case, the most durable. The reputation of those writings, which he probably expected to be immortal, is every day fading; while those peculiarities of manner, and that careless table-talk, the memory of which, he probably thought, would die with him, are likely to be remembered as long as the English language is spoken in any quarter of the globe.
LOW) NUGENT'S MEMORIALS OF HAMPDEN.
[edinburgh Review, 1831.]
Wi have read this book with great pleasure, Ihough not exajctly with that kind of pleasure which we had expected. We had hoped that Lord Nugent would have been able to collect, from family papers and local traditions, much new and interesting information respecting the life and character of the renowned leader of the Long Parliament, the first of those great English commoners, whose plain addition of Mister, has, to our ears, a more majestic sound than the proudest of the feudal titles. In this hope we have been disappointed; but assuredly not from any want of zeal or diligence on the part of the noble biographer. Even at Hampden, there are, it seems, no important papers relative to the most illustrious proprietor of that ancient domain. The most valuable memorials of him which still exist, belong to the family of his friend, Sir John Eliot. Lord Eliot has furnished the portrait which is engraved for this work, together with some very interesting letters. The portrait is undoubtedly an original, and probably the onb original now in existence. The intellectual forehead, the mild penetration of the ejC, and the inflexible resolution expressed hr the lines of the mouth, sufficiently guarc»ty the likeness. We shall probably mat* some extracts from the letters. They con*"" almost all the orw information that Lord Nugent has been able to procure, respecting the private pursuits of the great man whose memory he worships with an enthusiastic, but not an extravagant, veneration.
The public life of Hampden is surrounded by no obscurity. His history, more particularly from the boginning of the year 1640 to his death, is the history of England. These me
moirs must be considered as Memoirs of the history of England; and, as such, they well deserve to be attentively perused. They contain some curious facts, which, to us at least, are new, much spirited narrative, many judicious remarks, and much eloquent declamation.
We are not sure that even the want of information respecting the private character of Hampden is not in itself a circumstance as strikingly characteristic as any which, the most minute chronicler—O'Meara, Las Cases, Mrs. Thrale, or Boswell himself—ever recorded concerning their heroes. The celebrated Puritan leader is an almost solitary instance of a great man who neither sought nor shunned greatness; who fo»'id glory only because glory lay in the pla>" path of duty. During more than forty j-ears, he was known to his country neighbors as a gentleman of cultivated mind, of b<gh principles, of polished address, happy \a his family, and active in the discharge of local duties; to political men, as an honest, industrious, and sensible member of Parlia ment, not eager to display his talents, stanch to his party, and attentive to the interests of his constituents. A great and terrible crisis came. A direct attack was made, by an arbitrary government, on a sacred right of Englishmen, on a right which was the chief security for all their other rights. The nation looked round for a defender. Calmly and unostentatiously the plain Buckinghamshire Es quire placed himself at the head of his countrymen, and right before the face, and across the path of tyranny. The times grew darker and more troubled. Public service, perilous, arduous, delicate, was required; and to every service, the intellect and the courage of this , wonderful man were found fully equal. H* I became a debater of the first order, a mo»l
dexterous manager of the House of Commons, a negotiator, a soldier. He governed a fierce and turbulent assembly, abounding in able men, as easily as he had governed his family. He showed himself as competent to direct a campaign as to conduct the business of the petly sessions. We can scarcely express the admiration which we feel for a mind so great, and, at the same time, so healthful and so well proportioned; so willingly contracting itself to the humblest duties; so easily expanding itself to the highest; so contented in repose; so powerful in action. Almost every part of this virtuous and blameless life, which is not hidden from us in modest privacy, is a precious and splendid portion of our national history. Had the private conduct of Hampden a (lorded the slightest pretence for censure, he would have been assailed by the same blind malevolence which, in defiance of the clearest proofs, still continues to call Sir John Eliot an assassin. Had there been even any weak ffarl in the character of Hampden, had his-manners been in any respect open to ridicule, we may be sure that no mercy would have been shown to him by the writers of Charles's faction. Those writers have carefully preserved every li I tie circumstance which could tend to make their opponents cdious or contemptible. They have told us that Pym broke down in a speech that Ireton had his nose pulled by Hollis, that the Earl of Northumberland cudgelled Henry Martin, that 8t. John's manners were sullen, that Vane had an ugly face, that Cromwell had a red nose. They have made themselves merry with the canting phrases of injudicious •zealots. But neither the artful Clarendon nor the scurrilous Denham could venture to throw the slightest imputation on the morals or the manners of Hampden. What was the opinion entertained respecting him by the best men of his time, we learn from Baxter. That eminent persons-eminent not only for his piety and his fervid devotional eloquence, but for his moderation, his knowledge of political affairs, and his skill in judging of cV„racters—declared in the Saint's Rest, that one of rs<. pleasures which he hoped to enjoy in Heaven w^ me society of Hampden. In the editions printed gtitT the restoration, the name of Hampden was omitted. "But I must tell the reader," says Baxter, ■ that I did blot it out, not as changing my
opinion of the person Mr. John
Hampden was one that friends and enemies acknowledged to be most eminent for prudence, piety, and peaceable counsels, having the most universal praise of any gentleman that I remember of that age. I remember a moderate, prudent, aged gentleman, far from him, but acquainted with him, whom I have heard saying, that if he might choose what person he would be then in the world, he would be John Hampden." We cannot but regret that we have not fuller memorials of a man, who, after passing through the most severe temptations by which human virtue can be .ried, after acting a most conspicuous part in » revolution and a civil war, could yet deserve tuch praise as this from such authority. Yet 'ho want of memorials is surely the best proof
that hatred itself could find no -blemish on his memory.
The story of his early life is soon told. He was the head of a family which had been settled in Buckinghamshire before the Conquest. Part of the estate which he inherited had been bestowed by Edward the Confessor on Baldwyn de Hampden, whose name seems to indicate that he was one of the Norman favourites of the last 8axon king. During the contest between the houses of York and Lancaster, the Hampdens adhered to the party of the Red Rose, and were consequently persecuted by Edward the Fourth, and favoured by Henry the Seventh. Under the Tudors, the family was great and flourishing. Griffith Hampden, high sherifT of Buckinghamshire, entertained Elizabeth with great magnificence at his seat. His son, William Hampden, sate in the Parliament which that queen summoned in the year 1593. William married Elizabeth Cromwell, aunt of the celebrated man who afterwards governed the British islands with more than regal power; and from this marriage sprang John Hampden.
He was born-in 1594. In 1597 his father died, and left him heir to a very large estate. After passing some years at the grammar school of Thame, young Hampden was sent, at fifteen, to Magdalen College, in the University of Oxford. At nineteen, he was admitted a student of the Inner Temple,-where he made himself master of the principles of the English law.' In 1B19 he married Elizabeth Symeon, a lady to whom he appears to have been fondly attached. In the following year he was returned to Parliament by a borough which has in our time obtained a miserable celebrity, the borough of Grampound.
Of his private life during his early years, little is known beyond what Clarendon ha» told us. "In his entrance into the world," says that great historian, "he indulged himself in all the license in sports, and exercises, and company, which were used by men of the most jolly conversation." A remarkable change, however, passed in his character. "On a sudden," says Clarendon, "from a life of great pleasure and license, he retired to extraordinary sobriety and strictness, to a more reserved and melancholy society." It is probable that this change took place when HampQ«n was about twenty-five years old. At that af?e Ve was united to a woman whom he loved and es^emed. At that age he entered in.o political 1K«. A mind so happily constituted as his, woulfc naturally, under such circumstances, relinquHh the pleasures of dissipation for domestic enjoyments and public duties.
His enemies have nllowed that he was a man m whom virtue showed itself in its mildest and least austere form. With the morals or a Puritan, he had the manners of an accomplished courtier. Even after the change in his habits, ■ he preserved," says Clarendon, "his own natural cheerfulness and vivacity, and, above all, a flowing courtesv to all men." These qualities distinguished him from most of the members of his sect and his party; and, in the great crisis in which he afterwards took
a principal part, were of scarcely less service to the country than his keen sagacity and his dauntless courage.
On the 30th of January, 1621, Hampden took Ms seat in the House of Commons. His mother was exceedingly desirous that her son should obtain a peerage. His family, his possessions, and his personal accomplishment's were such as would, in any age, have justified him in pretending to that honour. But, in the reign of James the First, there was one short cm to the House of Lords. It was but to ask, to pay, and to have. The sale of titles was carried on as openly as the sale of boroughs in our times. Hampden turned away with contempt from the degrading honours with which his family desired to see him invested, and attached himself to the party which was in opposition to the court.
It was about this time, as Lord Nugent has justly remarked, that parliamentary opposition began to take a regular form. From a very early age, the English had enjoyed a far larger share of liberty than had fallen to the lot of any neighbouring people. How it chanced that a country conquered and enslaved by invaders, a country of which the soil had been portioned out among foreign adventurers, and of which the laws were written in a foreign tongue, a country given over to that worst tyranny, the tyranny of caste over caste, should have become the seat of civil liberty, the object of the admiration and envy of surrounding stales, is one of the most obscure problems in the philosophy of history. But the fact is certain. Within a century and a half after the Norman Conquest, the Great Charter was conceded. Within two centuries after the Conquest, the first House of Commons met Froissart tells us, what indeed his whole narrative sufficiently proves, that of all the nations of the fourteenth century, the English were the least disposed to endure oppression. "C'est le plus perilleuz peuple qui soit au monde, et plus oatrageux et orgueilleux." The good Canon probably did not perceive that all the prosperity and internal peace which this dangerous people enjoyed were the fruits of the spirit which he designates as proud and outrageous. He has, however, borne ample testimony to the effect, though he was not sagacious enough to trace it to its cause. "En le royaume d'Angleterre," says he, "toutes gens, laboureurs et marchands, ont appris de vivre en pays, et a mener leurs marchandises paisiblement, et les laboareurs labourer." In the fifteenth century, though England was convulsed by the struggle between the two-branches of the royal family, the physical and moral condition of the people continued to improve. Villanage almost wholly disappeared. The calamities of war were little felt, except by those who bore arms. The oppressions of the government were little felt, except by the aristocracy. The institutions of thi country, when compared with the institutions of the neighbouring kingdoms, seem to bare been not undeserving of the praises of FoneSvCue. The government of Edward the Foanh, though we call it cruel and arbitrary, was humane and liberal, when compared with that of Louis the Eleventh, or that of Charles
the Bold. Comines, who had lived amidst tn wealthy cities of Flanders, and who had visited Florence and Venice, had never seen a pcopl so well governed as the English. "Or selon mon advis,"says he, "cntre toutes les seigneuries du monde, dont j'ay connoissance, ou la chose publique est mieux traitee, et ou regne moins de violence sur le peuple, el ou il n'y a nuls edifices abbatus n'y demolis pour guerre, c'est Angleterrc; et lombe le sort et le malheur sur ceux qui font la guerre."
About the close of the fifteenth and the commencement of the sixteenth century, a great portion of the influence which the aristocracy had possessed passed to the crown. No English king has ever enjoyed such absolute power as Henry the Eighth. But while the royal prerogatives were acquiring strength at the ejpense of the nobility, two great revolutions took place, destined to be the parents of many revolutions—the discovery of printing and the reformation of the Church.
The immediate effect of the Reformation in England was by no means favourable to political liberty. The authority which had been exercised by the Popes was transferred almoM entire to the king. Two formidable powers which had often served to check each other, were united in a single despot. If the system on which the founders of the Church of England acted could have been permanent, the Reformation would have been, in a political sense, the greatest curse that ever fell on our country. But that system carried within it the seeds of its own death. It was possible to transfer the name of Head of the Church from Clement to Henry, but it was impossible to transfer to the new establishment the veneration which the old establishment had inspired. Mankind had not broken one yoke in pieces only in order to put on another. The supremacy of the Bishop of Rome had been for ages considered as a fundamental principle of Christianity. It had for it every thing that could make a prejudice deep and strong— venerable antiquity, high authority, general consent. It had been taught in the first lessons of the nurse. It was taken for granted in all the exhortations of the priest. To remove it was to break innumerable associations, and to give a great and perilous shock to the mind. Yet this prejudice, strong as it' was, could not stand in the great day of the deliverance of the human reason. And as it was not to be expected that the public mind, just after fret ing itself, by an unexampled effort, from a bondage which it had endured for ages, would patiently submit to a tyranny which could plead no ancient title. Rome had at least pre scription on its side. But Protestant intole ranee, despotism in an upstart sect, infallibility claimed by guides who acknowledged that they had passed the greater part of their lives in error, restraints imposed on the liberty tf private judgment by rulers who could vindicate their own proceedings only by asserting the liberty of private judgment—these things could not long be borne. Those who had pullH down the ciucifix could not long continue tc persecute for the surplice. It required uogteai sagacity to percaive the inconsistency and di»
honesty of men who, dissenting from almost all Christendom, would suffer none to dissent from themselves; who demanded freedom of conscience, yet refused to grant it; who execrated persecution, yet persecuted; who urged reason against the authority of one opponent, and authority against the reasons of another. Bonner at least acted in accordance with his own principles. Cranmer could vindicate himself from the charge of being a heretic, only by arguments which made him out to be a murderer.
Thus the system on which the English princes acted with respect to ecclesiastical affairs for some time after the Reformation, was a system too obviously unreasonable to be lasting. The public mind moved while the government moved; but would not stop where the government stopped. The same impulse which had carried millions away from the Church of Rome, continued to carry them forward in the same direction. As Catholics had become Protestants, Protestants became Puritans; and the Tudors and Stuarts were as unable to avert the latter change as the Popes had been to avert the former. The dissenting party increased, and became strong under every kind of discouragement and oppression. They were a sect The government persecuted the,;\ and they became an opposition. The old constitution of England furnished to them the means of resisting the sovereign without breaking the laws. They were the majority of the House of Commons. They had the power of giving or withholding supplies; and, by a judicious exercise of this power, they might hope to take from the Church its usurped authority over the consciences of men; and from the Crown some part of the vast prerogative which it had recently acquired at the expense of the nobles and of the Pope.
The faint beginnings of this memorable contest may be discerned early in the reign of Elizabeth. The conduct of her last Parliament made it clear that one of those great revolutions which policy may guide, but cannot slop,'was in progress. It was on the question of Monopolies that the House of Commons gained its first great victory over the throne. The conduct of the extraordinary woman who then governed England is an admirable study for politicians who live in unquiet times. It shows how thoroughly she understood the people Whom she ruled, and the crisis in which she was called to act. What she held, she held firmly. What she gave, she gave graciously. She saw that it was necessary to make a concession to the nation: and she made it, not grudgingly, not tardily, not as a matter of bargain and sale, not, in a word, as Charles the First would have made it, but promptly and cordially. Before a bill could be framed or an address presented, she applied a remedy to the evil of which the nation complained. She expressed in the warmest terms her gratitude to her faithful Commons for detecting abuses which interested persons had concealed from her If her successors had inherited her wisdom with her crown, Charles the First might nave died of old age, and James the Second vruld never have seen St. Gennains.
She died; and the kingdom passed to on* who was, in his own opinion, the greatest master of kingcraft that ever lived; who was, in truth, one of those kings whom God seems to send for the express purpose of hastening revolutions. Of all the enemies of liberty whom Britain has produced, he was at once the most harmless and the most provoking. His office resembled that of the man who, in a Spanish bull-fight, goads the torpid savage to fury, by shaking a red rag in the air, and now and then throwing a dart, sharp enough to sting, but too small to injure. The policy of wise tyrants has always been to cover their violent acts with popular forms. James was always obtruding his despotic theories on his subjects without the slightest necessity. His foolish talk exasperated them infinitely more than forced loans or benevolences would have done. Yet, in practice, no king ever held his prerogatives less tenaciously. He neither gave way gracefully to the advancing spirit of liberty, nor took vigorous measures to slop it, but retreated before it with ludicrous haste, blustering and insulting as he retreated. The English people had been governed for nearly a hundred and fifty years by princes who, whatever might be their frailties or their vices, had all possessed great force of character, and who, whether beloved or hated, had always been feared. Now, at length, for the first time since the day when the sceptre of Henry the Fourth dropped from the hand of his lethargic grandson, England had a king whom she despised.
The follies and vices of the man increased the contempt which was produced by the feeble policy of the sovereign. The indecorous gallantries of the Court, the habits of gross intoxication in which even the ladies indulged, were alone sufficient to disgust a people whose manners were beginning to be strongly tinctured with austerity. But these were trifles. Crimes of the most frightful kind had been discovered; others were suspected. The strange story of the Gowries was not forgotten. The ignominious fondness of the king for his minions, the perjuries, the sorceries, the poisonings, which his chief favourites had planned within the walls of his palace, the pardon which, in direct violation of his duty, and of his word, he had granted to the mysterious threats of a murderer, made him an object of loathing to many of his subjects. What opinion grave and moral persons residing at a distance from the court entertained respecting him, we learn from Mrs. Hutchinson's Memoirs. England was no place, the seventeenth century no lime, for Sporus and Locusta.
This was not all. The most ridiculous weaknesses seemed to meet in the wretched Solomon of Whitehall; pedantry, buffoonery, garrulity, low curiosity, the most contemptible personal cowardice. Nature and education had done their best to produce a finished specimen of all that a king ought not to be. His awkward figure, his rolling eye, his rickety walk, his nervous tremblings, his slobbering mouth, his broad Scotch accent, were impe fections which might have been found in In* best and greatest man. Their effect, however, was to make James and his office objects of contempt; and to dissolve those associations which had been created by the noble bearing of preceding monarchs, and which were in themselves no inconsiderable fence to royalty.
The sovereign whom James most resembled was, we think, Claudius Caesar. Both had the same feeble and vacillating temper, the same childishness, the same coarseness, the same poltroonery. Both were men of learning; both wrote and spoke—not, indeed, well—but still in a manner in which it seems almost incredible that men so foolish should have written or spoken. The follies and indecencies of James are well described in the words which Suetoniu? nses respecting Claudius: "Multa talia, etiam privatis deformia, necdum principi, neque infacundo, neque indocto, immo etiam pertinaciter liberalibus studiis dedito." The description given by Suetonius of the manner in which the Roman prince transacted business, exactly suits the Briton. "In cognoscemlo ac decernendo mira varietate animi fuit, raodo circumspectus et sagax, modo inconsultus ac proeceps, non nunquam frivolus amentique similis." Claudius was ruled successively by two bad women; James successively by two bad men. Even the description of the person of Claudius, which we find in the ancient memoirs, might, in many points, serve for that of James. "Ceterum et ingredientem destituebant poplites minus firmi, et remisse quid vel serio agentem multa dehoneitabant: risus indecens; ira turpior, spumante "jctu, praHerca lingua; titubantia."
The Parliament which James had called icon after his accession had been refractory. rlis second Parliament, called in the spring at 1314, had been more refractory still. It had »ecn dissolved after a session of two months; and during six years the king had governed without having recourse to the legislature. During those six years, melancholy and disgraceful events, at home and abroad, had followed one another in rapid succession;—the divorce of Lady Essex, the murder of Overbury, the elevation of Vil!i."rs, the pardon of Somerset, the disgrace of Coke, the execution of Raleigh, the battle of Pragoe. the invasion of the Palatinate by 8pinoia, iho ignominious flight of the son-in-law of the English king, the depression of the Protestant interest all over the Continent. All the extraordinary modes by ■which James could venture to raise money bad been tried. His necessities were greater than ever; and he was compelled to summon tbe Parliament in which Hampden made his first appearance as a public man.
This Parliament lasted about twelve months. During that time it visited with deserved punishment several of those who, during the preceding six years, had enriched themselves by peculation and monopoly. Michell, one of those grasping patentees, who had purchased of tbe favourite the power of robbing the nation, was fined and imprisoned for life. Mompefscn, the original, it is said, of Massinger's •Overreach," was outlawed and deprived of hts ill-gotten wealth. Even 8ir Edward Vildm. the brother of Buckingham, found it
convenient to leave England. A greater name is to be added to the ignominious list. By this Parliament was brought to justice that illustrious philosopher, whose memory genius has half redeemed from the infamy due to servility, to ingratitude, and to corruption.
After redressing internal grievances, the Commons proceeded to take into consideration the state of Europe. The king flew into a rage with them for meddling with such matters, and, with characteristic judgment, drew them into a controversy about the origin of the House and of its privileges. When he found that he could not convince them, he dissolved them in a passion, and sent some of the leaders of the Opposition to ruminate on his logic in prison.
During the time which elapsed between this dissolution and the meeting of the next Parliament, took place the celebrated negotiation respecting the Infanta. The would-be despot was unmercifully browbeaten. The would-be Solomon was ridiculously overreached. "Steenie," in spite of the begging and sobbing of his dear "dad and gossip," carried off " baby Charles" in triumph to Madrid. The sweet lads, as James called them, came l>ack safe, but without their errand. The great master of kingcraft, in looking for a Spanish match, found a Spanish war. In February, ld'-M, a Parliament met, during the whole sitting of which James was a mere puppet in the hands of his "baby," and of his "poor slave and dog." The' Commons were disposed to support the king in the vigorous policy which his son and his favourite urged him to adopt. But they were not disposed to place any confidence in their feeble sovereign and his dissolute courtiers, or to relax in their efforts to remove public grievances. They therefore lodged the money which they voted for the war in the hands of parliamentary commissioners. They impeached the treasurer, Lord Middlesex, for corruption, and they passed a bill by which patents of monopoly were declared illegal.
Hampden did not, during the reign of James, take any prominent part in public affairs. It is certain, however, that he paid great attention to the details of parliamentary business, and to the local interests of his own county. It was in a great measure owing to his exertions, that Wendover and some other boroughs, on which the popular party could depend, recovered the elective franchise, in spite of the opposition of the court.
The health of the king had for some time been declining. On the 27th of March, 1626, he expired. Under his weak rule, the spirit of liberty had grown strong, and had become equal to the great contest. The contest was brought on by the policy of his successor. Charles bore no resemblance to his father He was not a driveller, or a pedant, or a buf foon, or a coward. It would be absurd to deny that he was a scholar and a gentleman, a man of exquisite taste in the fine arts, a man of strict morals in private life. His talents for business were respectable; his demeanour was kingly. But he was false, imperious, oostinate, narrowminded, ignorant of the temper of his people, unobservant of the signs of his