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seen, either in domestic or continental war, laid down their arms, and retired into the mass of the people; thenceforward to be distinguished only by superior diligence, sobriety, and regularity in the pursuits of peace, from the other members of the community which they had saved. In the general spirit and character of his administration we think Cromwell far superior to Napoleon. “In civil government,” says Mr. "Hallam, “there can be no adequate parallel between one who had sucked only the dregs of a besotted fanaticism, and one to whom the stores of reason and philosophy were open.” These expressions, it seems to us, convey the highest eulogium on our great countryman. Reason and philosophy did not teach the conqueror of Europe to command his passions, or to pursue, as a first object, the happiness of the people. They did not prevent him from risking his fame and his power in a frantic contest against the principles of human nature and the laws of the physical world, against the rage of the winter and the liberty of the sea. They did not exempt him from the influence of that most pernicious of superstitions, a presumptuous fatalism. They did not preserve him from the inebriation of prosperity, or restrain him from indecent querulousness and violence in adversity. On the other hand, the fanaticism of Cromwell never urged him on impracticable undertakings, or confused his perception of the public good. Inferior to Bonaparte in invention, he was far superior to him in wisdom. The French Emperor is among conquerors what Voltaire is among writers, a miraculous child. His splendid genius was frequently clouded by fits of humour as absurdly perverse as those of the pet of the nursery, who quarrels with his food, and dashes his playthings to #. Cromwell was emphatically a man. e possessed, in an eminent degree, that masculine and full-grown robustness of mind, that equally diffused intellectual health, which, if our national partiality does not mislead us, has peculiarly characterized the great men of England. Never was any ruler so conspicuously born for sovereignty. The cup which has intoxicated almost all others, sobered him. His spirit, restless from its buoyancy in a lower sphere, reposed in majestic placidity as soon as it had reached the level congenial to it. He had nothing in common with that large class of men who distinguished themselves in lower posts, and whose incapacity becomes obvious as soon as the public voice summons them to take the lead. Rapidly as his fortunes grew, his mind expanded more rapidly still. Insignificant as a private citizen, he was a great general; he was a still greater prince. The manner of Napoleon was a theatrical compound, in which the coarseness of a revolutionary guardrocm was blended with the ceremony of the old court of Versailles. Cromwell, by the confessior, even of his enemies, exhibited in his deuneanour the simple and natural nobleness of a man neither ashamed of his origin nor vain of his elevation; of a man who had found his proso place in society, and who felt secure that e was competent to fill it. Easy, even to familiarity, where his own dignity was concern
ed, he was punctilious only for his country. His own character he left to take care of itself; he left it to be defended by his victories in war and his reforms in peace. But he was a jealous and implacable guardian of the public honour. He suffered a crazy Quaker to insult him in the midst of Whitehall, and revenged himself only by liberating him and giving him a dinner. But he was prepared to risk the chances of war to avenge the blood of a private Englishman. No sovereign ever carried to the throne so large a portion of the best qualities of the middling orders, so strong a sympathy with the feelings and interests of his people. He was sometimes driven to arbitrary measures; but he had a high, stout, honest, English heart. Hence it was that he loved to surround his throne with such men as Hale and Blake. Hence it was that he allowed so large a share of political liberty to his subjects, and that, even when an opposition, dangerous to his power and to his person, almost compelled him to govern by the sword, he was still anxious to leave a germ from which, at a more favourable season, free institutions might spring. We firmly believe, that if his first parliament had not commenced its debates by disputing his title, his government would have been as mild at home as it was energetic and able abroad. He was a soldier—he had Îlsen by war. Had his ambition been of an impure or selfish kind, it would have been easy for him to plunge his country into continental hostilities on a large scale, and to dazzle the restless factions which he ruled by the splendour of his victories. Some of his enemies have sneeringly remarked, that in the successes obtained under his administration, he had no personal share; as if a man who had raised himself from obscuri. ty to empire, solely by his military talents, could have any unworthy reason for shrinking from military enterprise. This reproach is his highest glory. In the success of the English navy he could have no selfish interests. Its triumphs added nothing to his fame; its increase added nothing to his means of overawing his enemies; its great leader was not his friend. Yet he took a peculiar pleasure in encouraging that noble service, which, of all the instruments employed by an English government, is the most impotent for mischief, and the most powerful for good. His administration was glorious, but with no vulgar glory. It was not one of those periods of overstrained and convulsive exertion which necessarily produce debility and languor. Its energy was natural, healthful, temperate. He placed England at the head of the Protestant interest, and in the first rank of Christian powers. He taught every nation to value her friendship and to dread her enmity. But he did not squander her resources in a vain attempt to invest her with that supremacy which no power, in the modern system of Europe, can safely affect, or can long retain. This noble and sober wisdom had its reward. If he did not carry the banners of the Commonwealth in triumph to distant capitals; if he did not adorn Whitehall with the spoils of the Stadthouse and the Louvre; if he did not portion out Flanders and Germany into principalities for his kinsmen and his generals; he did not, on the other hand, see his country overrun by the armies of nations which his ambition had provoked. He did not drag out the last years of his life in exile and a prisoner, in an unhealthy climate and under an ungenerous jailor; raging with the impotent desire of vengeance, and brooding over visions of departed glory. He went down to his grave in the fulness of power and fame; and left to his son an authority which any man of ordinary firmness and prudence would have retained. But for the weakness of that foolish Ishbosheth, the opinions which we have been expressing would, we believe, now have formed the orthodox creed of good Englishmen. We light now be writing under the government to his Highness Oliver the Fifth, or Richard the Fourth, Protector, by the Grace of God, of one Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging. The form of the great founder of the dynasty, on horseback, as when he led the charge at Naseby, or on foot, as when he took the mace from the table of the Commons, would adorn all our squares, and overlook our public of. fices from Charing-Cross; and sermons in his praise would be duly preached on his lucky day, the third of September, by court-chaplains, guiltless of the abominations of the surplice. But, though his memory has not been taken under the patronage of any party, though every device has been used to blacken it, though to praise him would long have been a punishable crime, yet truth and merit at last prevail. Cowards, who had trembled at the very sound of his name, tools of office, who, like Downing, had been proud of the honour of lacqueying his coach, might insult him in loyal speeches and addresses. Wenal poets might transfer to the king the same eulogies, little the worse for wear, which they had bestowed on the Protector. A fickle multitude might crowd to shout and scoff round the gibbeted remains of the greatest Prince and Soldier of the age. But when the Dutch cannon startled an effeminate tyrant in his own palace, when the conquests which had been made by the armies of Cromwell were sold to pamper the harlots of Charles, when Englishmen were sent to fight, under the banners of France, against the independence of Europe and the Protestant religion, many honest hearts swelled in secret at the thought of one who had never suffered his country to be ill-used by any but himself. It must indeed have been difficult for any Englishman to see the salaried Viceroy of France, at the most important crisis of his fate, sauntering through his harem, yawning and talking nonsense over a despatch, or beslobbering his brothers and his courtiers in a fit of maudlin affection," without a respectful and tender remembrance of him, before whose genius the young pride of Louis, and the veteran craft of Mazarin, had stood rebuked ; who had humbled Spain on the land, and Holland on the sea; and whose imperial voice had arrested the victorious arms of Sweden, and the perse
* These particulars, and many more of the same kind, are recerded by Pepys. Wor... I.-12
| cuting fires of Rome. Even to the present day, his character, though constantly attacked, and scarcely ever defended, is popular with the great body of our countrymen. The most questionable act of his life was the execution of Charles. We have already strongly condemned that proceeding; but we by no means consider it as one which attaches any peculiar stigma of infamy to the names of those who participated in it. It was an unjust and injudicious display of violent party spirit; but it was not a cruel or perfidious measure. It had all those features which distinguish the errors of magnanimous and intrepid spirits from base and malignant crimes. We cannot quit this interesting topic without saying a few words on a transaction, which Mr. Hallam has made the subjec of a severe accusation against Cromwe, and which has been made by others the subject of a severe accusation against Mr. Hallam. We conceive that both the Protector and the historian may be vindicated. Mr. Hallam tells us that Cremwell sold fifty English gentlemen as slaves in Darbad.es. For making this statement he has been charged with two high literary crimes. The first accusation is, that, from his violent prejudice against Oliver, he has calumniated him falsely. The second, preferred by the same accuser, is, that from his violent fondness for the same Oliver, he has hidden his calumnies against him at the fag end of a note, instead of putting them into the text. Both these imputations cannot possibly be true, and it happens that neither is so His censors will find, when they take the trouble to read his book, that the story is mentioned in the text as well as in the notes; and they will also find, when they take the trouble to read some other books, with which speculators on English history ought to be acquainted, that the story is true. If there could have been any doubt about the matter, Burton's Diary must have set it at rest. But, in truth, there was abundant and superabundant evidence, before the appearance of that valuable publication. Not to mention the authority to which Mr. Hallam refers, and which alone is perfectly satisfactory, there is Slingsby Bethel's account of the proceedings of Richard Cromwell's Parliament, published immediately after its dissolution. He was a member: he must therefore have known what happened: and violent as his prejudices were, he never could have been such an idiot as to state positive falsehoods with respect to public transactions which had taken place only a few days before. It will not be quite so easy to defend Cromwell against Mr. Hallam, as to defend Mr. Hallam against those who attack his history, But the story is certainly by no means so bad as he takes it to be. In the first place, this slavery was merely the compulsory labour to which every transported convict is liable. Nobody acquainted with the language of the last century can be ignorant that such con victs were generally termed slaves; until discussions about another species of slavery, far more miserable and altogether unmerited, ren dered the word too odious to be applied even to felons of English origin. These persons
enjoyed the protection of the law during the trrm of their service, which was only five years. The punishment of transportation has been inflicted, by almost every government that England has ever had, for political offences. After Monmouth's insurrection, and after the rebellions in 1715 and 1745, great numbers of the prisoners were sent to America. These considerations ought, we think, to free Cromwell from the imputation of having inflicted on his enemies any punishment which in itself is of a shocking and atrocious character. To transport fifty men, however, without a trial, is bad enough. But let us consider, in the first place, that some of these men were taken in arms against the government, and that it is not clear that they were not all so taken. In that case, Cromwell or his officers might, according to the usages of those unhappy times, have put them to the sword, or turned them over to the provost-marshal at once. This, we allow, is not a complete windication; for execution by martial law ought rever to take place but under circumstances which admit of no delay; and, if there is time to transport men, there is time to try them. The defenders of the measure stated in the House of Commons, that the persons thus transported not only consented to go, but went with remarkable cheerfulness. By this, we suppose, it is to be understood, not that they had any very violent desire to be bound apprentices in Barbadoes, but that they considered themselves as, on the whole, fortunately and leniently treated, in the situation in which they had placed themselves. hen these considerations are fairly estimated, it must, we think, be allowed, that this selling into slavery was not, as it seems at first sight, a barbarous outrage, unprecedented in our annals, but merely a very arbitrary proceeding, which, like most of the arbitrary proceedings of Cromwell, was rather a violation of positive law than of any great principle of justice and mercy. When Mr. Hallam declares it to have been more oppressive than any of the measures of Charles the Second, he forgets, we imagine, that under the reign of that prince, and during the administration of Lord Clarenden, many of the Roundheads were, without any trial, imprisoned at a distance from England, merely in order to remove them beyond the reach of the great liberating writ of our law. But, in fact, it is not fair to compare the cases. The government of Charles was perfectly secure. The “res dura et regni novitas” is the great apology of Cromwell. From the moment that Cromwell is dead and buried, we go on in almost perfect harmony with Mr. Hallam to the end of his book. The times which followed the Restoration peculiarly require that unsparing impartiality which is his most distinguishing virtue. No part of our history, during the last three centuries, presents a spectacle of such general dreariness. The whole breed of our statesmen seem to have degenerated; and their moral and intellectual littleness strikes us with the more disgust, because we see it placed in immediate contrast with the high and majestic qualities of
war, even the bad cause had been rendered respectable and amiable, by the purity and elevation of mind which manyof its friends displayed. Under Charles the Second, the best and noblest of ends was disgraced by means the most cruel and sordid. The rage of faction succeeded to the love of liberty. Loyalty died away into servility. We look in vain among the leading politicians of either side for steadiness of principle, or even for that vulgar fidelity to party, which, in our time, it is esteemed infamous to violate. The inconsistency, perfidy, and baseness, which the leaders constantly practised, which their followers defended, and which the great body of the people regarded, as it seems, with little disapprobation, appear in the present age almost incredible. In the age of Charles the First, they would, we believe, have excited as much astonishment. Man, however, is always the same. And when so marked a difference appears between two generations, it is certain that the solution may be found in their respective circumstances. The principal statesmen of the reign of Charles the Second were trained during the civil war, and the revolutions which followed it. Such a period is eminently favourable to the growth of quick and active talents. It forms a class of men, shrewd, vigilant, inventive, of men whose dexterity triumphs over the most perplexing combinations of circumstances, whose presaging instinct, no sign of the times, no incipient change of public feelings, can elude. But it is an unpropitious season for the firm and masculine virtues. The statesman who enters on his career at such a time, can form no permanent connections—can make no accurate observations on the higher parts of political science. Before he can attach himself to a party, it is scattered; before he can study the nature of a government, it is overturned. The oath of abjuration comes close on the oath of allegiance. The association which was subscribed yesterday, is burned by the hangmen to-day. In the midst of the constant eddy and change, self-preservation becomes the first object of the adventurer. It is a task too hard for the strongest head, to keep itself from becoming giddy in the eternal whirl. Public spirit is out of the question; a laxity of principle, without which no public man can be eminent, or even safe, becomes too common to be scandalous; and the whole nation looks coolly on instances of apostasy, which would startle the " foulest turncoat of more settled times. The history of France since the revolution “affords some striking illustrations of these remarks. The same man was minister of the republic, of Bonaparte, of Louis the Eight. eenth, of Bonaparte again after his return from Elba, of Louis again after his return from Ghent. Yet all these manifold treasons by na means seemed to destroy his influence, or even to fix any peculiar stain of infamy on his character. e, to be sure, did not know what to make of him; but his countrymen did not seem to be shocked; and in truth they had little right to be shocked: for there was
the race which they succeeded. In the great civil
scarcely one Frenchman distinguished in the
state or in the army, who had not, according to the best of his talents and opportunities, emulated the example. It was natural, too, that this should be the case. The rapidity and violence with which change followed change in the affairs of France towards the close of the last century, had taken away the reproach of inconsistency, unfixed the principles of public men, and produced in many minds a general skepticism and indifference about principles of government. No Englishman who has studied attentively the reign of Charles the Second, will think himself entitled to indulge in any feelings of national superiority over the Dictionnaire des Girouettes. Shaftesbury was surely a far less respectable man than Talleyrand; and it would be injustice even to Fouché to compare him with Lauderdale. Nothing, indeed, can more clearly show how low the standard of political morality had fallen in this country than the fortunes of the men whom we have named. The government wanted a ruffian to carry on the most atrocious system of misgovernment with which any nation was ever cursed—to extirpate Presbyterianism by fire and sword, the drowning of women, and the frightful torture of the boot. And they found him among the chiefs of the rebellion, and the subscribers of the Covenant! - The opposition looked for a chief to head them in the most desperate attacks ever made, under the forms of the constitution, on any English administration: and they selected the minister who had the deepest share in the worst parts of that administration; the soul of the cabal; the counsellor who had shut up the Exchequer, and urged on the Dutch war. The whole political drama was of the same cast. No unity of plan, no decent propriety of character and costume, could be found in the wild and monstrous harlequinade. The whole was made up of extravagant transformations and burlesque contrasts; Atheists turned Puritans; Puritans turned Atheists; republicans defending the divine right of kings; prostitute courtiers clamouring for the liberties of the people; judges inflaming the rage of mobs; patriots pocketing bribes from foreign powers; a opish prince torturing Presbyterians into piscopacy in one part of the island; Presbyterians cutting off the heads of popish noblemen and gentlemen in the other. Public opinion has its natural flux and reflux. After a violent burst, there is commonly a reaction. But vicissitudes as extraordinary as those which marked the reign of Charles the Second, can only be explained by supposing an utter want of principle in the political world. On neither side was there fidelity enough to face a reverse. Those honourable retreats from power, which, in later days, parties have often made, with loss, but still in good order, in firm union, with unbroken spirit and formidable means of annoyance, were utterly unknown. As soon as a check took place, a total rout followed; arms and colours were thrown away. The vanquished troops, like the Italian mercenaries of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, enlisted, on the very field of battle, in the service of the conquerors.
In a nation proud of its sturdy justice and plain good sense, no party could be found to take a firm middle stand between the worst of oppositions and the worst of courts. When, on charges as wild as Mother Goose's tales, on the testimony of wretches who proclaimed themselves to be spies and traitors, and whom everybody now believes to have been also liars and murderers, the offal of jails and brothels, the leavings of the hangman's whip and shears, Catholics guilty of nothing but their religion were led like sheep to the Protestant shambles, where were the royal Tory gentry and the passively obedient clergy? And where, when the time of retribution came, when laws were strained and juries packed, to destroy the leaders of the Whigs, when charters were invaded, when Jeffries and Kirke were making Somersetshire what Lauderdale, and Graham had made Scotland, where were the ten thousand brisk boys of Shaftesbury, the members of ignoramus juries, the wearers of the Polish medal? All powerful to destroy others, unable to save themselves, the members of the two parties oppressed and were oppressed, murdered and were mur. dered, in their turn. No lucid interval occurred between the frantic paroxysms of two contratradictory illusions.
To the frequent changes of the government during the twenty years which had preceded the revolution, this unsteadiness is in a great measure to be attributed. Other causes had also been at work. Even if the country had been governed by the house of Cromwell, or the remains of the Long Parliament, the extreme austerity of the Puritans would necessarily have produced a revulsion. Towards the close of the Protectorate, many signs indicated that a time of license was at hand. But the restoration of Charles the Second rendered the change wonderfully rapid and violent. Profligacy became a test of orthodoxy and loyalty, a qualification for rank and office. A deep and general taint infected the morals of the most influential classes, and spread itself through every province of letters. Poetry inflamed the passions; philosophy undermined the principles; divinity itself, inculcating an an abject reverence for the court, gave additional effect to its licentious example. We look in vain for those qualities which give a charm to the errors of high and ardent natures, for the generosity, the tenderness, the chivalrous delicacy, which ennoble appetites into passions and impart to vice itself a portion of the majesty of virtue. The excesses of the age remind us of the humours of a gang of footpads, revelling with their favourite beauties at a flash-house. In the fashionable libertinism there is a hard, cold ferocity, an impudence, a lowness, a dirtiness, which can be paralleled only among the heroes and heroines of that filthy and heartless literature which encouraged it. One nobleman of great abilities wanders about as a Merry-Andrew. Another harangues the mob stark-naked from a window. A third lays an ambush to cudgel a man who has offended him. A knot of gentlemen of high rank and influence combine to push their fortunes at court. by circulating stories intended to ruin an innocent girl, stories which had no foundation, and which, if they had been true, would never have passed the lips of a man of honour." A dead child is found in the palace, the offspring of some maid of honour, by some courtier, or perhaps by Charles himself. The whole flight of panders and bussoons pounce upon it, and carry it in triumph to the royal laboratory, where his majesty, after a brutal jest, dissects it for the amusement of the assembly, and probably of its father among the rest! The favourite duchess stamps about Whitehall, cursing and swearing. The ministers employ their time at the council-board in making mouths at each other, and taking off each other's gestures for the amusement of the king. The peers at a conference begin to pommel each other, and to tear collars and periwigs. A speaker in the House of Commons gives offence to the court. He is waylaid by a gang of bullies, and his nose is cut to the bone. This ignominious dissoluteness, or rather, if we may venture to designate it by the only proper word, blackguardism of feelings and manners, could not but spread from private to public life. The cynical sneers, the epicurean sophistry, which had driven honour and virtue from one part of the character, extended their influence over every other. The second generation of the statesmen of this reign were worthy pupils of the schools in which they had been trained, of the gaming-table of Grammont, and the tiring-room of Nell. In no other age could such a trisler as Buckingham have exercised any political influence. In no other age could the path to power and glory have been thrown open to the manifold infamies of Churchill. The history of that celebrated man shows, more clearly perhaps than that of any other individual, the malignity and extent of the corruption which had eaten into the heart of the public morality. An English gentleman of family attaches himself to a prince who has seduced his sister, and accepts rank and wealth as the price of her shame and his own. He then repays by ingratitude the benefits which he has purchased by ignominy, betrays his patron in a manner which the best cause cannot excuse, and commits an act, not only of private treachery, but of distinct military desertion. To his conduct at the crisis of the fate of James, no service in modern times has, as far as we remember, furnished any parallel. The conduct of Ney, scandalous enough no doubt, is the very fastidiousness of honour in comparison of it. The perfidy of Arnold approaches it most nearly. In our age and country no talents, no services, no party attaghments, could bear any man up under such mountains of infamy. . Yet, even before Churchili had performed those great actions, which in some degree redeem his character with posterity, the load lay very lightly on him. He had others in abundance to keep him counterance. Godolphin, Oxford, Danby, the trim
* Time manner in which Hamilton relates the circuin
stances of the atrocious plot against poor Ann Hyde
f possible, more disgraceful to the court, of which h oney be considered as a specimen, than the plot itself.
mer Halifax, the renegade Sunderland, were
all men of the same class. Where such was the political morality of the noble and the wealthy, it may easily be conceived that those professions which, even in the best times, are peculiarly liable to corruption, were in a frightful state. Such a bench and such a bar England has never seen. . Jones, Scroggs, Jeffries, North, Wright, Sawyer, Williams, Shower, are to this day the spots and blemishes of our legal chronicles. Differing in constitution and in situation, whether blustering or cringing, whether persecuting Protestants or Catholics, they were equall unprincipled and inhuman. The part "...; the church played was not equally atrocious; but it must }. been exquisitely diverting to a scoffer. Never were principles so loudly professed, and so flagrantly abandoned. The royal prerogative had been magnified to the skies in theological works; the doctrine of passive obedience had been preached from innumerable pulpits. The University of Oxford had sentenced the works of the most moderate constitutionalists to the flames. The accession of a Catholic king, the frightful cruelties committed in the West of England, never shook the steady loyalty of the clergy. But did they serve the king for naught? He laid his hand on them, and they cursed him to his face. He touched the revenue of a college and the iiberty of some prelates, and the whole profession set up a yell worthy of Hugh Peters himself. Oxford sent its plate to an invader with more alacrity than she had shown when Charles the First requested it. Nothing was said about the wickedness of resistance till resistance had done its work, till the anointed vicegerent of heaven had been driven away, and it had become plain that he would never be restored, or would be restored at least under strict limitations. The clergy went back, it must be owned, to their old theory, as soon as they found that it would do them no harm. To the general haseness and profligacy of the times, Clarendon is principally indebted for his high reputation. He was, in every respect, a man unfit for his age, at once too good for it and too bad for it. He seemed to be one of the statesmen of Elizabeth, transplanted at once to a state of society widely different from that in which the abilities of such statesmen had been serviceable. In the sixteenth century, the royal prerogative had scarcely been called in question. A minister " who held it high was in no danger, so long as he used it well. The attachment to the crown, that extreme jealousy of popular encroachments, that love, half religious, half political, for the church, which, from the beginning of the Long Parliament, showed itself in Clarendon, and which his sufferings, his long residence in France, and his high station in the government, served to strengthen, would, a hundred years earlier, have secured to him the favour of his sovereign without rendering him odious to the people. His probity, his correctness in private life, his decency of deportment,
# and his general ability, would not have misbe. come a colleague of Walsingham and Bur.