Page images

Duke of Lancaster, no Prince of Orange, no became an instrument of despotism? Was great and eminent person, near in blood to it not possible that the soldiers might forget the throne, yet attached to the cause of the that they were also citizens, and might be ready people. Charles was then to remain king; to serva their general against their country ! and it was therefore necessary that he should Was it not vertain that, on the very first day be king only in name. A William the Third, on which Charles could venture to revoke his or a George the First, whose title to the crown concessions, and to punish his opponents, he was identical with the title of the people to would establish an arbitrary government, and their liberty, might safely be trusted with ex- exaet a bloody revenge? tensive powers. But new freedom could not Our own times furnish a parallel case. Supexist in safety under the old tyrant. Since he pose that a revolution should take place in was not to be deprived of the name of king, Spain, that the Constitution of Cadiz should the only course which was left was to make be re-established, that the Cortes should meet him a mere trustee, nominally seised of pre-again, that the Spanish Prynnes and Burtons, rogatives, of which others had the use, a Grand who are now wandering in rags round Lei. Lama, a Roi Fainéant, a phantom resembling cester Square, should be restored to ther counthose Dagoberts and Childeberts who wore the try, Ferdinand the Seventh would, in that case, badges of royalty, while Ebroin and Charles of course, repeat all the oaths and promises Martel held the real sovereignty of the state. which he made in 1820, and broke in 1823.

The conditions which the Parliament pro- But wonld it not be madness in the Cortes, pounded were hard; but, we are sure, not even if they were to leave him the name of harder than those which even the Tories in king, to leave him more than the name? the Convention of 1689 would have imposed Would not all Europe scoff at them, if they on James, if it had been resolved that James were to permit him to assemble a large aruny should continue to be king. The chief con- for an expedition to America, to model that army dition was, that the command of the militia at his pleasure, to put it under the command and the conduct of the war in Ireland should of officers chosen by himself? Shonld we not be left to the Parliament. On this point was say, that every member of the constitutional that great issue joined whereof the two parties party, who might concur in such a measure, put themselves on God and on the sword. would most richly deserve the fate which he

We think, not only that the Commons were would probably meel-the fate of Riego and justified in demanding for themselves the of the Empecinado? We are not disposed to power to dispose of the military force, but that pay compliments to Ferdinand; nor do we it would have been absolute insanity in them conceive that we pay him any compliment, to leave that force at the disposal of the king. when we say, that, of all sovereigns in history, From the very beginning of his reign, it had he seems to us most to resemble King Charles evidently been his object to govern by an the First. Like Charles, he is pious after å army. His third Parliament had complained, certain fashion; like Charles, he has made in the Petition of Right, of his fondness for large concessions to his people after a certain martia. law, and of the vexatious inanner in fashion. It is well for him that he has had to which he billeted his soldiers on the people. deal with men who bore very little resem. The wish nearest the heart of Strafford was, blance to the English Puritans. as his letters prove, that the revenue might be The Commons would have the power of the brought into such a state as would enable the sword, the king would not part with it; and king to support a standing military establish-nothing remained but to try the chances of war. ment. In 1640, Charles had supported an army | Charles still had a strong party in the country. in the northern counties by lawless exactions. His august office, his dignified manners, his In 1641, he had engaged in an intrigue, the solemn protestations that he would for the object of which was to bring that army into time to come respect the liberties of his subLondon, for the purpose of overawing the jects, pity for fallen greatness, fear of violent Parliament. His late conduct had proved that, innovation, secured to him many adherents. if he were suffered to retain even a small body. He had the Church, the Universities, a majority guard of his own creatures near his person, of the nobles and of the old landed gentry. The the Commons would be in dange, of ontrays, austerity of the Puritan manners drove most pernaps o. massacre. The Houses were still of the gay and dissolute youth of that age to deliberating under the protection of the militia the royal standard. Many good, brave, and of London. Could the command of the whole moderate men, who disliked his former conarmed force of the realm have been, under duct, and who entertained doubts touching his these circumstances, safely confided to the present sincerity, espoused his cause unwill. king? Would it not have been frenzy in the ingly, and with many painful misgivings; Parliament to raise and pay an army of fifteen because, though they dreaded his tyranny or twenty thousand men for the Irish war, and much, they dreaded democratic violence more. to give !o Charles the absolute control of this On the other side was the great body of the army, and the power of selecting, promoting, middle orders of England-the merchants, the and dismissing officers at his pleasure? Was shopkeepers, the yeomanry, headed by a very it not possible that this army might become, large and formidable minority of the peerage what it is the nature of armies to become, and of the landed gentry. The Earl of Essex, what so many armies formed under much more a man of respectable abilities, and of some favourable circumstances have become, what military experience, was appointed to the Como the army of the English Commonwealth be- mand of the parliamentary army. came, what the army of ine French Republic Hampden spared neither bis fortune nor his person in the cause. He subscribed two thou- do more to make a general than all the dia sand pounds to the public service. He took a grams. of Jomini. This, however, is certain, colonel's commission in the army, and went that Hampden showed himself a far better ofliinlo Buckinghamshire to raise a regiment of cer than Essex, and Cromwell than Lesley. infantry. His neighbours eagerly enlisted The military errors of Essex were probably under his command. His men were known in some degree produced by political timidity. by their green uniform, and by their standard, He was honestly, but not warmly, attached to which bore on one side the watchword of the the cause of the Parliament; and next to a Parliament, “ God with us," and on the other great defeat, he dreaded a great victory. Hamp. the device of Hampden, “ Vestigia nulla reiror- den, on the other hand, was for vigorous and sam." This molto well described the line of decisive measures. When he drew the sword, conduct which he pursued. No member of as Clarendon has well said, he threw away the his party had been so temperate, while there scabbard. He had shown that he knew better remained a hope that legal and peaceable than any public man of his time, how to value measures might save the country. No mem- and how to practise moderation. But he knew ber of his party showed so much energy and that the essence of war is violence, and that vigour when it became necessary to appeal to moderation in war is inbecility. On several arms. He made himself thoroughly master of occasions particularly during the operations his military duty, and “performed it,” to use in the neighbourhood of Brentford, he remon. the words of Clarendon, "upon all occasions strated earnestly wh Essex. Wherever he most ponctually." The regiment which he had commanded separate y, the boldness and rapi. raised and trained was considered as one of dity of his movements presented a striking the best in the service of the Parliament. He contrast to the sluggishness of his superior. exposed his person in every action, with an in the Parliament he possessed boundless intrepidity which made him conspicuous even influence. His employments towards the close amoag thousands of brave men. “He was," of 1642 have been described by Denham in says Clarendon, "of a personal courage equal some lines, which, though intended to be sar. to his best parts; so that he was an enemy not castic, convey in truth the highest eulogy. to be wished wherever he might have been Hampden is described in this satire, as per. made a friend, and as much to be apprehended petually passing and repassing between the where he was so as any man could deserve to military station at Windsor and the House of be." Though his military career was short, Commons at Westminster; overawing the and his military situation subordinate, he fully general, and giving law to that Parliament proved that he possessed the talents of a great which knew no other law. It was at this time general, as well as those of a great statesman. that he organized that celebrated association


We shall not attempt to give a history of the of counties, to which his party was principally war. Lord Nugent's account of the military indebted for its victory over ihe king. operations is very animated and striking. Ouri In the early part of 1643, the shires lying in abstract would be dull, and probably unintel- the neighbourhood of London, which were deligible. There was, in fact, for some time, no voted to the cause of the Parliament, were ingreat and connected system of operations on cessantly annoyed by Rupert and his cavalry. either side. The war of the two parties was Essex had extended his lines so far, that like the war of Arimanes and Oromazdes, almost every point was vulnerable. The neither of whom, according to the Eastern young prince, who, though not a great general, theologians, has any exclusive domain, who was an active and enterprising partisan, freare equally omnipresent, who equally pervade quently surprised posts, burned villages, swept all space, who carry on their eternal strife away caitle, and was again at Oxford, before a within every particle of matter. There was a force sufficient to encounter him could be as. petty war in almost every county. A town sembled. furnished troops to the Parliament, while the The languid proceedings of Essex were manor house of the neighbouring peer was loudly condemned by the troops. All the ar. garrisoned for the king. The combatants were dent and daring spirits in the parliamentary rarely disposed to march far from their own party were eager to have Hampden at their homes. It was reserved for Fairfax and Crom- head. Had his life been prolonged, there is weit o ierminaie !his desa.cry varfare. bv leverv reasog to believe that the supreme cuin. moving one overwhelming force successively mand would have been intrusted to him But


land should lose the only man who uriced per he is a remarkable circumstance, that the feci disinterestedness to eminent talents-he officers who had studied tactics in what were only man who, being capable of gaining the considered as the best schools—under Vere in victory for her, was incapatie of abusing that the Netherlands, and under Gustavus Adol- victory when gainer.. phus in Germany-displayed far less skill than in the evening of the 17th of June. Ruperi those commanders who had been bred to daried out of Oxford with his cavalry on a peaceful employments, and who never saw predatory expedition. At three in the morning even a skirmish till the civil war broke out of the following day, he attacked and dispersed An unlearned person ignt hence be inclined a few parliamentary soldiers who were quar to suspect tha: ine military art is no very pro- tered at Postcombe. He then flew to Chinnor, fogol .ystery; that its principles are the burned the village, killed or took all the trcaps principles of plain good sense; and that a who were posted there, and prepared to hurry quick eye, a cool head, and a stout heart will back with bis booty and his prisoners to Oxtorsi

VOL. II.-22

to none but the general himself in the obser

... enemy lay in that direction. He turned his

Hampden had, on the preceding day, strongly represented to Essex the danger to which this part of the line was exposed. As soon as he received intelligence of Rupert's incursions, he sent off a horseman" with a message to the general. The Cavaliers, he said, could return only by Chiselhampton Bridge. A force ought to be instantly despatched in that direction, for the purpose of intercepting them. In the mean time, he resolved to set out with all the cavalry that he could muster, for the purpose of impeding the march of the enemy till Essex could take measures for cutting off their retreal. A considerable body of horse and dragoons volunteered to follow him. He was not their commander. He did not even belong to their branch of the service. But “he was,” says Lord Clarendon, “second

vance and application of all men." On the field of Chalgrove he came up with Rupert. A fierce skirmish ensued In the first charge, Hampden was struck in the shoulder by two bullets, which broke the bone, and lodged in his body. The troops of the Parliament lost heart and gave way. Rupert, aftgr pursuing them for a short time, hastened to cross the bridge, and made his retreat unmolested to Oxford. Hampden, with his head drooping, and his nands leaning on his horse's neck, moved feebly out of the battle. The mansion which had been inhabited by his father-in-law, and from which in his youth he had carried home his bride, Elizabeth, was in sight. There still remains an affecting tradition, that he looked for a moment towards that beloved house, and made an effort to go thither to die. But the

horse towards Thame, where he arrived almost fainting with agony. The surgeons dressed his wounds. But there was no hope. The pain which he suffered was most excruciating. But he endured it with admirable firmness and resignation. His first care was for his country. He wrote from his bed several letters to London concerning public affairs, and sent a last pressing message to the head-quarters, recommending that the dispersed forces should be concentrated. When his last public duties were performed, he calmly prepared himself to die. He was attended by a clergyman of the Church of England, with whom he had lived in habits of intimacy, and by the chaplain of the Buckinghamshire Green-coats, Dr.Spurton, whom Baxter describes as a famous and excellent divine. A short time before his death, the sacrament was administered to him. He declared that, though he disliked the government of the Church of England, he yet agreed with that Church as to all essential matters of doctrine. His intellect remained unclouded. When all

was nearly over, he lay murmuring faint prayers for himself and for the cause in which he died. “Lord Jesus,” he exclaimed, in the rooment of the last agony, “receive my soul—

O Lord, save my country—0 Lord, be merciful to .” In that broken ejaculation passed away his noble and fearless spirit. He was buried in the parish church of Hampden. His soldiers, bareheaded, with reversed arms and muffled drums and colours, escorted his body to the grave, singing, as they marched, that lofty and melancholy psalm, in which the fragility of human life is contrasted with the immutability of Him, in whose sight a thousand years are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. The news of Hampden's death produced as great a consternation in his party, according to Clarendon, as if their whole army had been cut off. The journals of the time amply prove that the Parliament and all its friends were filled with grief and dismay. Lord Nugent has quoted a remarkable passage from the next Weekly Intelligencer. “The loss of Colonel Hampden goeth near the heart of every man that loves the good of his king and country, and makes some conceive little content to be at the army now that he is gone. The memory of this deceased colonel is such, that in no age to come but it will more and more be had in honour and esteem;-a man so religious, and of that prudence, judgment, temper, valour, and integrity, that he hath left few his like behind him.” He had indeed left none his like behind him. There still remained, indeed, in his party, many acute intellects, many eloquent tongues, many brave and honest hearts. There still remained a rugged and clownish soldier, half. fanatic, half-buffoon, whose talents, discerned as yet only by one penetrating eye, were equal to all the highest duties of the soldier and the prince. But in Hampden, and in Hampden alone, were united all the qualities which, at such a crisis, were necessary to save the state —the valour and energy of Cromwell, the discernment and eloquence of Vane, the humanity and moderation of Manchester, the stern integrity of Hale, the ardent public spirit of Sidney. Others might possess the qualities which were necessary to save the popular party in the crisis of danger; he alone had both the power and the inclination to restrain its excesses in the hour of triumph. Others could conquer; he alone could reconcile. A heart as bold as his brought up the cuirassiers who turned the tide of battle on Marston Moor. As skilful an eye as his watched the Scotch army descending from the heights over Dunbar. But it was when, to the sullen tyranny of Laud and Charles, had succeeded the fierce conflict of sects and sactions, ambitious of ascendency and burning for revenge: it was when the vices and ignorance which the old tyranny had generated, threatened the new freedom with destruction, that England missed that sobriety, that selfcommand, that perfect soundness of judgment, that perfect rectitude of intention, to which the history of revolutions furnishes no parallel, or furnishes a parallel in Washington alone


[Edinburgh Review, 1832.]

Tur work of Doctor Nares has filled us with astonishment similar to that which Captain Lemuel Gulliver felt, when first he landed in Brobdignag, and saw corn as high as the oaks in the New Forest, thimbles as large as buckets, and wrens of the bulk of turkeys. The whole book, and every component part of it, is on a gigantic scale. The title is as long as an ordinary preface. The prefatory matter would furnish out an ordinary book; and the book contains as much reading as an ordinary library. We cannot sum up the merits of the stupendous mass of paper which lies before us, better than by saying, that it consists of about two thousand closely printed pages, that it occupies fifteen hundred inches cubic measure, and that it weighs sixty pounds avoirdupois. Such a book might, before the deluge, have been considered as light reading by Hilpa and Shallum. But unhappily the life of man is now threescore years and ten; and we cannot but think it somewhat unfair in Doctor Nares to demand from us so large a portion of so short an existence. Compared with the labour of reading through these volumes, all other labour—the labour of thieves on the tread-mill, of children in factories, of negroes in sugar plantations—is an agreeable recreation. There was, it is said, a criminal in Italy, who was suffered to make his choice Letween Guicciardini and the galleys. He chose the history. But the war of Pisa was too much for him. He changed his mind, and went to the oar. Guicciardini, though certainly not the mostamusingos writers, is an Herodotus, or a Froissart, when compared with Doctor Nares. It is not merely in bulk, but in specific gravity also, that these memoirs- exceed all other human compositions. On every subject which the professor discusses, he produces three times as many pages as another man; and one of his pages is as tedious as another inan's three. His book is swelled to its vast dimensions by endiess repetitions, by episodes which have nothing to do with the main action, by quotations from books which are in every circulating library, and by reflections which, when they happen to he just, are so obvious that they must necessarily occur to the mind of every reader. He employs more words in expounding and defending a truism, than any other writer would employ in supporting a pa* Memoirs of the Life and Administration of the Right Honourable William to ril Lord Burehley, secretary of State in the Reign of King Edward the Sirth, and Lord High Trea-ur r of England in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. Conraining an Historical Pier of the Times in rhich he fired. and of the many eminent and illustrious Persions with rhom he trus connected ; trith erfracts from his Prirate and Official Correspondence and other Tapers, note first blished from the Originals. By the Reverend Edward

A REs, Ij.D. Regius Professor of Modern History in the university of Oxford. 3 vols. 4to. London. 1828, 1832.

radox. Of the rules of historical perspective he has not the faintest notion. There is neither foreground nor background in his delineation. The wars of Charles the Fifth in Germany are detailed at almost as much length as in Robertson's Life of that prince. The troubles of Scotland are related as fully as in M'Crie's Life of John Knox. It would be most unjust to deny that Doctor Nares is a man of great industry and research; but he is so utterly incompetent to arrange the materials which he has collected, that he might as well have left them in their original repositories. Neither the facts which Doctor Nares has discovered, nor the arguments which he urges, will, we apprehend, materially alter the opinion generally entertained by judicious readers of -history concerning his hero. Lord Burghley can hardly be called a great man. He was not one of those whose genius and energy change the sate of empires. He was by nature and habit one of those who follow, not one of those who lead. Nothing that is recorded, either of his words or of his actions, indicates intellectual or moral elevation. But his talents, though . not brilliant, were of an eminently useful kind; and his principles, though not inflexible, were not more relaxed than those of his associates and competitors. He had a cool temper, a sound judgment, great powers of application, and a constant eye to the main chance. In his youth he was, it seems, fond of practical jokes. Yet even out of these he contrived to extract some pecuniary profit. When he was studying the law at Gray's Inn, he lost all his furniture and books to his companion at the gaming-table. He accordingly bored a hole in the wall which separated his chambers from those of his associate, and at midnight bellowed through his passage threats of damnation and calls to repentance in the ears of the victorious gambler, who lay sweating with fear all night, and refunded his winnings on his knees next day. “Many other the like merry jests,” says his old biographer, “I have heard hin, tell, too long to be here noted.” To the last, Burghley was somewhat jocose; and some of his sportive sayings have been recorded by Bacon. They show much more shrewdness than generosity; and are, indeed, neatly expressed reasons for exacting money rigorously, and for keeping it carefully. It must, however, be acknowledged, that he was rigorous and careful for the public advantage, as well as for his own. To extol his moral character, as Doctor Nares has extolled it, would be absurd, It would be equally absurd to represent him as a corrupt, rapacious, and bad-hearted man. He paid great attention to the interest of the state, and great attention also to the interest of his own family. He never deserted his friends till

it was very inconvenient to stand by them: was an excellent Protestant when it was not very advantageous to be a Papist; recommended a tolerant policy to his mistress as strongly as he could recommend it without hazarding her favour; never put to the rack any person from whom it did not seem probable that very useful information might be derived; and was so moderate in his desires, that he left only unree hundred distinct landed estates, though he might, as his honest servant assures us, have left much more, “if he would have taken money out of the exchequer for his own use, as many treasurers have done.” Burghley, like the old Marquess of Winchester, who preceded him in the custody of the White Staff, was of the willow, and not of the oak. He first rose into notice by defending the supremacy of Henry the Eighth. He was subsequently favoured and promoted by the Duke of Somerset. He not only contrived to escape unhurt when his patron fell, but became an important member of the administration of Northumberland. Doctor Nares assures us over and over again, that there could have been nothing base in Cecil's conduct on this occasion; for, says he, Cecil continued to stand well with Cranmer. This, we confess, hardly satisfies us. We are much of the mind of Falstaffs tailor. We must have better assurance for Sir John than Bardolph's. We like not the security. Through the whole course of that miserable intrigue which was carried on round the dying bed of Edward the Sixth, Cecil so demeaned himself as to avoid, first, the displeasure of Northumberland, and afterwards the displeasure of Mary. He was prudently unwilling to put his hand to the instrument which changed the course of the succession. But the furious Judley was master of the palace. Cecil, therefore, according to his own account, excused himself from signing as a party, but consented :o sign as a witness. It is not easy to describe his dextero is conduct at this most perplexing crisis, in language more appropriate than that which is employed by old Fuller: “His hand wrote it as secretary of state,” says that quaint writer; “but his heart consented not thereto. Yea, he openly opposed it; though at last yielding to the greatness of Northumberland, in an age when it was present drowning not to swim with the stream. But as the philosopher tells us, that, though the planets be whirled about daily from east to west, by the motion c" he primum mobile, yet have they also a contrary proper motion of their own from west to east, which they slowly, though surely, move at their leisure; so Cecil had secret counterendeavours against the strain of the court herein, and privately advanced his rightful intentions against the foresaid duke's ambition.” This was undoubtedly the most perilous conjuncture of Cecil's life. Wherever there was a safe course, he was safe. But here every conrse was full of danger. His situation rendered it impossible for him to be neutral. If he acted on either side, if he refused to act at all, he ran a fearful risk. He saw all the difficulties of his position. He sent his oney and plate out of London, made over his

estates to his son, and carried arms about his person. His best arms, however, were his sagacity and his self-command. The plot in which he had been an unwilling accomplice, ended, as it was natural that so odious and absurd a plot should end, in the run of its contrivers. In the mean time, Cecil quietly extricated himself, and, having been successively patronised by Henry, Somerset, and Northumberland, continued to flourish under the protection of Mary. He had no aspirations after the crown of martyrdom. He confessed himself, therefore, with great decorum, heard mass in Wimbledon church at Easter, and, for the better ordering of his spiritual concerns, took a priest into his house. Doctor Nares, whose simplicity passes that of any casuist with whom we are acquainted, vindicates his hero by assuring us, that this was not superstition, but pure unmixed hypocrisy. “That he did in some manner conform, we shall not be able, in the face of existing documents, to deny; while we feel in our own minds abundantly satisfied, that, during this very trying reign, he never abandoned the prospect of another revolution in favour of Protestantism.” In another place, the doctor tells us, that Cecil went to mass “with no idolatrous intention.” Nobody, we believe, ever accused him of idolatrous intentions. The very ground of the charge against him is, that he had no idolatrous intentions. Nobody would have blamed him if he had really gone to Wimbledon church, with the feelings of a good Catholic, to worship the host. Doctor Nares speaks in several places, with just severity, of the sophistry of the Jesuits, and with just admiration of the incomparable letters of Pascal. It is somewhat strange, therefore, that he should adopt, to the full extent, the jesultical doctrine of the direction of intentions. We do not blame Cecil for not choosing to be burned. The deep stain upon his memory is, that, for differences of opinion for which he would risk nothing himself, he, in the day of his power, took away without scruple the lives of others. One of the excuses suggested in these Memoirs for his conforming, during the reign of Mary, to the Church of Rome, is, that he inay have been of the same mind with those German Protestants who were called Adiaphorists, and who considered the popish rites as matters indifferent. Melancthon was one of Inese moderate persons, and “appears,” says Doctor Nares, “to have gone greater lengths than any imputed to Lord Burghley.” We should have thought this not only an excuse, but a complete vindication, if Burgh!ey had been an Adiaphorist for the benefit of others, as well as for his own. If the popish rites were matters of so little moment, that a good Protestant might lawfully practise them for his safety, how could it be just or humane that a Papist should be hanged, drawn, and quartered, for practising them from a sense of duty. Unhappily, these non-essentials soon became matters of life and death. Just at the very time at which Burghley attained the highest point of power and favour, an act of Parliament was passed, by which the penalties of high treason were detounced against persons

« PreviousContinue »