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deal with a man whom no tie couli bind, a man accustomed to hear prayers at six o'clock in who made and broke proinises with equal faci- the morning! It is to such considerations as lity, a man whose honour had been a hundred these, together with his Vandyke dress, his cimes pawned—and never redeemed.
handsome face, and his peaked beard, that he Here, indeed, the Long Parliament stands owes, we verily believe, most of his popularity on still stronger ground than the Convention with the present generation. of 1688. No action of James can be compared For ourselves, we own that we do not underfor wickedness and impudence to the conduct stand the common phrase-a good man, but a of Charles with respect to the Petition of Right. bad king. We can as easily conceive a good The lords and commons present him with a man and an unnatural father, or a good man bill in which the constitutional limits of his and a treacherous friend. We cannot, in estia power are marked out. He hesitates; he evades; mating the character of an individual, leave at last he bargains to give his assent, for five out of our consideration his conduct in the subsidies. The bill receives his solemn assent. most important of all human relations. And The subsidies are voted. But no sooner is the if in that relation we find him to have been tyrant relieved, than he returns at once to all selfish, cruel, and deceitful, we shall take the the arbitrary measures which he had bound liberty to call him a bad man, in spite of all himself to abandon, and violates all the his temperance at table, and all his regularity clauses of the very act which he had been at chapel. paid to pass.
We cannot refrain from adding a few words For more than ten years, the people had respecting a topic on which the defenders of seen the rights, which were theirs by a double Charles are fond of dwelling. If, they say, he claim, by immemorial inheritance and by re- governed his people ill, he at least governed cent purchase, infringed by the perfidious king them after the example of his predecessors. If who had recognised ihem. At length circum- he violated their privileges, it was because those stances compelled Charles to summon another privileges had not been accurately defined. No parliament; another chance was given them act of oppression has ever been imputed to for liberty. Were they to throw it away as him which has not a parallel in the annals of they had thrown away the former? Were the Tudors. This point Hume has laboured they again to be cozened' by le Roi le vend? with an art which is as discreditable in an hisWere they again to advance their money on torical work as it would be admirable in a pledges, which had been forfeited over and forensic address. The answer is short, clear, over again? Were they to lay a second Peti- and decisive. Charles had assented to the tion of Right at the foot of the throne, to grant | Petition of Right. He had renounced the opanother lavish aid in exchange for another un-pressive powers said to have been exercised meaning ceremony, and then take their de- by his predecessors, and he had renounced parture, till, after ten years' more of fraud and them for money. He was not entitled to set oppression, their prince should again require up his antiquaied claims against his own rea supply, and again repay it with a perjury? cent release. They were compelled to choose whether they These arguments are so obvious that it may would trust a tyrant or conquer him. We think seem superfluous to dwell upon them. But that they chose wisely and nobly.
those who have observed how much the events The advocates of Charles, like the advocates of that time are misrepresented and misunder. of other malefactors against whom overwhelm- stood, will not blame us for stating the case ing evidence is produced, generally decline all simply. It is a case of which the simplest controversy about the facts, and content them- statement is the strongest. selves with calling testimony to character. He The enemies of the parliament, indeed, rarehad so many private virtues! And had James | ly choose to take issue on the great points of II, no private virtues ? Was even Oliver the question. They conteni themselves with Cromwell, his bitterest enemies themselves exposing some of the crimes and follies of being judges, destitute of private virtues? which public commotions necessarily gave And what, after all, are the virtues ascribed to birth. 'They bewail the unmerited fate of Charles ? A religious zeal, not more sincere Strafford. They execrate the lawless violence than that of his son, and fully as weak and of the army. They laugh at the scriptural narrow-minded, and a few of the ordinary names of the preachers. Major-generals fleec. household decencies, which half the tomb- ing their districts; soldiers revelling on the stones in England claim for those who lie be-spoils of a ruined peasantry; upstarts, enrichneath them. A good father! A good husband! ed by the public plunder, taking possession of --Ample apologies indeed for fisteen years of the hospitable firesides and hereditary trees persecution., tyranny, and falsehood.
of the old gentry; boys smashing the beautiful We charge him with having broken his co-windows of cathedrals; Quakers riding naked ronation vath--and we are told that he kept through the market-place; Fifth-monarchyhis marriaye-vow! We accuse him of having men shouting for King Jesus; agitators lecgiven up his people to the merciless inflictions turing from the tops of tubs on the fate of of the inost hot-headed and hard-hearted of Agag ;-all these, they tell us, were the offprelates—and the defence is, that he took his spring of the Great Rebellion. little son on his knee and kissed him! We
Be it so. We are not careful to answer ia cerisure him for having violated the articles this matter. These charges, were they infiniteof the Petition of Right, after having, for good ly more important, would not alter our opinion and valuable consideration, promised to ob- of an event, which alone has made us to differ serve them and we are informed that he was from the slaves who cronch beneath the scep
tres of Brandenburg and Braganza. Many form of a foul and poisonous snake. Those evils, no doubt, were produced by the civil war, who injured her during the period of her disThey were the price of our liberty. Has the guise, were forever excluded from participaacquisition been worth the sacrifice? It is the tion in the blessings which she bestowed. But nature of the devil of tyranny to tear and rend to those who, in spite of her loathsome aspect, the body which he leaves. Are the miseries pitied and protected her, she afterwards reof continued possession less horrible than the vealed herself in the beautiful and celestial struggles of the tremendous exorcism?
form which was natural to her, accompanied If it were possible that a people, brought up their steps, granted all their wishes, filled their under an intolerant and arbitrary system, could houses with wealth, made them happy in love, subvert that system without acts of cruelty and and victorious in war.* Such a spirit is folly, half the objections to despotic power Liberty. At times she takes the form of a 1 would be removed. We should, in that case, hateful reptile. She grovels, she hisses, she be compelled to acknowledge that it at least stings. But wo to those who in disgust shall produces no pernicious effects on the intellec- venture to crush her! And happy are those tual and moral character of a people. We de- who, having dared to receive her in her deplore the ouirages which accompany revolu- graded and frightful shape, shall at length be tions. But the more violent the outrages, the rewarded by her in the time of her beauty and more assured we feel that a revolution was ne- her glory. cessary.
The violence of those outrages will There is only one cure for the evils which always be proportioned to the ferocity and ig- newly acquired freedom produces—and that norance of the people: and the ferocity and cure is freedom! When a prisoner leaves his ignorance of the people will be proportioned cell, he cannot bear the light of day ;-he is to the oppression and degradation under which unable to discriminate colours, or recognise they have been accustomed to live. Thus it faces. But the remedy is not to remand him was in our civil war. The rulers in the church into his dungeon, but to accustom him to the and state reaped only that which they had rays of the sun. The blaze of truth and liberty sown. They had prohibited free discussion-may at first dazzle and bewilder nations which they had done their best to keep the people un- have become half blind in the house of bondage acquainted with their duties and their rights. But let them gaze on, and they will soon be able The retribution was just and natural. If they to bear it. In a few years men learn to reason. suffered from popular ignorance, it was be- The extreme violence of opinion subsiiles. cause they had themselves taken away the key Hostile theories correct each other. The scatof knowledge. If they were assailed with blindtered elements of truth cease to conflict, and fury, it was because they had exacted an begin to coalesce. And at length a system of equally blind submission.
justice and order is educed out of the chaos. It is the character of such revolutions that Many politicians of our time are in the habit we always see the worst of them at first. Till of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, men have been for some time free, they know that no people ought to be free till they are fil not how to use their freedom. The natives of to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy wino countries are always sober. In climates of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to where wine is a rarity, intemperance abounds. go into the water till he had learnt to swim ! A newly liberated people may be compared to if men are to wait for liberty till they become a northern army encamped on the Rhine or wise and good in slavery, they may indeed the Xeres. It is said that, when soldiers in wait forever. such a situation first find themselves able to Therefore it is that we decidedly approve indulge without restraint in such a rare and of the conduct of Milton and the other wise expensive luxury, nothing is to be seen but in- and good men who, in spite of much that was toxication. Soon, however, plenty teaches dis- ridiculous and hateful in the conduct of their cretion; and after wine has been for a few associates, stood firmly by the cause of public months their daily fare, they become more liberty. We are not aware that the poet has temperate than they had ever been in their been charged with personal participation in own country. In the same manner the final any of the blamable excesses of that time. and permanent fruits of liberty are wisdom, The favourite topic of his enemies is the line moderation, and mercy. Its immediate effects of conduct which he pursued with regard to are often atrocious crimes, conflicting errors, the execution of the king. Of that celebrated scepticism on points the most clear, dogma- proceeding we by no means approve. Still tism on points the most mysterious. It is just we must say, in justice to the many eminent at this crisis that its enemies love to exhibit persons who concurred in it, and in justice it. They pull down the scaffolding from the more particularly to the eminent person who half-finished edifice; they point to the flying defended it, that nothing can be more absurd dust, the falling bricks, the comfortless rooms, than the imputations which, for the last hun the frightful irregularity of the whole appear- dred and sixty years, it has been the fashion to ance; and then ask in scorn where the pro- cast upon the regicides. We have throughout mised splendour and comfort are to be found? abstained from appealing to first principles If such miserable sophisms were to prevail, we will not appeal to them now. We recur there would never be a good house or a good again to the parallel case of the Revolution. government in the world.
What essential distinction can be drawn beAriosto tells a pretty story of a fairy, who, tween the execution of the father and the by some mysterious law of her nature, was condemned to appear at certain seasons in the
* Orlando Furioso, Canto 43.
deposition of the son? What constitutional had not been done, while the people dismaxim is there, which applies to the former approved of it. But, for the sake of public and not to the latter? The king can do no 'liberty, we should also have wished the people wrong. If so, James was as innocent as to approve of it when it was done. if any Charles could have been. The minister only thing more were wanting to the justification ought to be responsible for the acts of the of Milton, the book of Salmasius would furnish sovereign. If so, why not impeach Jeffries it. That miserable performance is now with and retain James? The person of a king is justice considered only as a beacon to wordsacred. Was the person of James considered catchers who wish to become statesmen. The sacred at the Boyne? To discharge cannon celebrity of the man wno refuted it, the “ Æncæ rgainst an army in which a king is known to magni dextra,” gives it all its fame with the be posted, is to approach pretty near to regi- present generation. In that age the state of ciile. Charles too, it should always be re. things was different. It was not then fully membered, was put to death by men who had understood how vast an interval separates the been exasperated by the hostilities of several mere classical scholar from the political philoyears, and who had never been bound to him sopher. Nor can it be doubted, that a treatise by any other tie than that which was common which, bearing the name of so eminent a to them with all their fellow-citizens. Those critic, attacked the fundamental principles of who drove James from his throne, who seduced all free governments, must, if sutiered to rehis army, who alienated his friends, who first main unanswered, have produced a most perimprisoned him in his palace, and then turned nicious effect on the public mind. him out of it, who broke in upon his very We wish to add a few words relative to slumbers by imperious messages, who pursued another subject on which the enemies of him with fire and sword from one part of the Milton delight to dwell—his conduct during empire to another, who hanged, drew, and the administration of the Protector. That an quartered his adherents, and attainted his enthusiastic votary of liberty should accept innocent heir, were his nephew and his two office under a military usurper, seems, no daughters! When we reflect on all these doubt, at first sight, extraordinary. But all the things, we are at a loss to conceive how the circumstances in which the country was then same persons who, on the fifth of November, placed were extraordinary. The ambition of thank God for wonderfully conducting his ser- Oliver was of no vulgar kind. He never seems vant King William, and for making all opposi- to have coveted despotic power. He at first tion fall before him until he became our King fought sincerely and manfully for the parliaand Governor, can, on the thirtieth of January, ment, and never deserted it, till it had deserted contrive to be afraid that the blood of the Royal its duty. If he dissolved it by force, it was Martyr may be visited on themselves and their not till he found that the few members, who children.
remained after so many deaths, secessions, We do not, we repeat, approve of the execu- and expulsions, were desirous to appropriate tion of Charles; not because the constitution to themselves a power which they held only exempts the king from responsibility, for we in trust, and to inflict upon England the know that all such maxims, however excellent, curse of a Venetian oligarchy.
But even have their exceptions; nor because we feel when thus placed by violence at the head any peculiar interest in his character, for we of affairs, he did not assume unlimited power. think that his sentence describes him with He gave the country a constitution far more perfect justice as a “tyrant, a traitor, a mur- perfect than any which had at that time been derer, and a public enemy;" but because we known in the world. He reformed the repreare convinced that the measure was most in- sentative system in a manner which has exjurious to the cause of freedom. He whom it torted praise even from Lord Clarendon. For removed was a captive and a hostage. His himself, he demanded indeed the first place in heir, to whom the allegiance of every royalist the commonwealth ; but with powers scarcely was instantly transferred, was at large. The so great as those of a Dutch stadtholder, or an Presbyterians could never have been perfectly American president. He gave the parliament reconciled to the father. They had no such root- a voice in the appointment of ministers, and ed enmity to the son. The great body of the left to it the whole legislative authority-not people, also, contemplated that proceeding with even reserving to himself a veto on its enactfeelings which, however unreasonable, no go- ments. And he did not require that the chief vernment could safely venture to outrage. magistracy should be hereditary in his family.
But, though we think the conduct of the Thus far, we think, if the circumstances of the regicides blamable, that of Milton appears to time, and the opportunities which he had of us in a very different light. The deed was aggrandizing himself, be fairly considered, he done. It could not be undone. The evil was will not lose by comparison with Washington incurred; and the object was to render it as or Bolivar. Had his moderation been met bs small as possible. We censure the chiefs corresponding moderation, there is no reason rif the army for not yielding to the popular to think that he would have overstepped the opinion: but we cannot censure Milton for line which he had traced for himself. But wishing to change that opinion. The very when he found that his parliaments questioned jeeling, which would have restrained us from the authority under which they met, and that he committing the aci, would have led us, after it was in danger of being deprived of the restricts had been committed, to defend it against the ed power which was absolutely necessary to his ravings of servility and superstition. For the personal safety, then, it must be acknowledged. Jako of public liberty, we wish that the thing he adopted a more arbitrary policy.
Yet, though we believe that the intentions / vernment, which had just ability enough w of Cromwell were at first honest, though we deceive, and just religion enough to persecute. believe that he was driven from the noble The principles of liberty were the scoff of every course which he had marked out for himself grinning courtier, and the Anathema Maranaby the almost irresistible force of circum- tha of every fawning dean. In every high siances, though we admire, in common with place, worship was paid to Charles and James all men of all parties, the ability and energy --Belial and Moloch; and England propitiated of his splendid administration, we are not those obscene and cruel idols with the blood pleading for arbitrary and lawless power, even of her best and bravest children. Crime suc. in his hands. We know that a good constitu- ceeded to crime, and disgrace to disgrace, till tion is infinitely better than the best despot. the race, accursed of God and man, was a But we suspect, that, at the time of which we second time driven forth, to wander on the speak, the violence of religious and political face of the earth, and to be a by-word and a enmities rendered a stable and happy settle- shaking of the head to the nations. ment next to impossible. The choice lay, not Most of the remarks which we have hitherto between Cromwell and liberty, but between made on the public character of Milton, aprly Cromwell and the Stuarts. That Milton chose to him only as one of a large body. We shall well, no man can doubt, who fairly compares proceed to notice some of the peculiarities the events of the protectorate with those of the which disunguished him from his contempothirty years which succeeded it—the darkest raries. And, for that purpose, it is necessary and most disgraceful in the English annals. to take a short survey of the parties into which Cromwell was evidently laying, though in an the political world was at that time divided. irregular manner, the foundations of an ad- We must premise, that our observations are mirable system. Never before had religious intended to apply only to those who adhered, liberty and the freedom of discussion been from a sincere preference, to one or to the enjoyed in a greater degree. Never had the other side. At a period of public commotion, national honour been better upheld abroad, or every faction, like an Oriental army, is attendea the seat of justice better filled at home. And by a crowd of camp followers, a useless and it was rarely that any opposition, which stopped heartless rabble, who prowl round its line of short of open rebellion, provoked the resent- march in the hope of picking up something ment of the liberal and magnanimous usurper. under its protection, but desert it in the day of The institutions which he had established, as battle, and often join to exterminate it after a sct down in the Instrument of Government, defeat. England, at the time of which we are and the Humble Petition and Advice, were treating, abounded with such fickle and selfish excellent. His practice, it is true, too often politicians, who transferred their support to departed from the theory of these institutions. every government as it rose,--who kissed the But, had he lived a few years longer, it is hand of the king in 1640, and spit in his face probable that his institutions would have sur- in 1649,—who shouted with equal glee when vived him, and that his arbitrary practice Cromwell was inaugurated in Westminster would have died with him. His power had Hall, and when he was dug up to be hanged at not been consecrated by any ancient preju. Tyburn—who dined on calves' heads or on dices. It was upheld only by his great per- broiled rumps, and cut down oak branches or sonal qualities. Little, therefore, was to be stuck them up as circumstances altered, with. dreaded from a second Protector, unless he out the slightest shame or repugnance. These were also a second Oliver Cromwell. The we leave out of the account. We take our events which followed his decease are the estimate of parties from those who really most complete vindication of those who exert deserved to be called partisans. ed themselves to uphold his authority. For We would speak first of the Puritans, the his death dissolved the whole frame of society. most remarkable body of men, perhaps, which The army rose against the Parliament, the the world has ever produced. The odious and different corps of the army against each other. ridiculous parts of their character lie on the Sect raved against sect. Party plotted against surface. He that runs may read them; nor party. The Presbyterians, in their eagerness have there been wanting a tentive and mali. io be revenged on the Independents, sacrificed cious observers to point them out. For many their own liberty, and deserted all their old years after the Restoration, they were the theme principles. Without casting one glance on the of unmeasured invective and derision. They past, or requiring one stipulation for the future, were exposed to the utmost licentiousness of they threw down their freedom at the feet of the press and of the stage, at the time when the most frivolous and heartless of tyrants. the press and the stage were most licentieus.
Then came those days, never to be recalled They were not men of letters; they were, as a without a blush-the days of servitude without body, unpopular; they could not defend thenloyalty, and sensuality without love, of dwarf- selves; and the public would not take them ish talents and gigantic vices, the paradise of under its protection. They were therefore cold hearts and narrow minds, the golden age abandoned, without reserve, to the tender merof the coward, the bigot, and the slave. Thecies of the satirists and dramatists. The king cringed to his rival that he might trample ostentatious simplicity of their dress, their on his people, sunk into a viceroy of France, sour aspect, their nasal twang, their stiff pos. and pocketed, with complacent infamy, her ture, their long graces, their Hebrew names degrading insults and her more degrading the Scriptural phrases which they introduced gold. The caresses of harlots and the jests on every occasion, their contempt of humar of buffoons regulated the measures of a go-' learning, their detestation of polite amus
ments, were indeed fair game for the laughers. I with hands: their diadems crowns of glory But it is not írom the laughers alone that the which should never fade away! On the rich philosophy of history is to be learnt. And he and the eloquent, on nobles and priesis, they who approaches this subject should carefully looked down with contempt: for they esteemed guard against the influence of that potent ridi-themselves rich in a more precious treasure, cule, which has already misled so many excel and eloquent in a more sublime language, lent writers.
nobles by the riglit of an earlier creation, and “Ecco il fonie del riso, ed ecco il rio
priests by the imposition of a mighțier hand. Che mortali perigli in se contiene:
The very meanest of them was a being lo
whose fate a mysterious and terrible importThose who roused the people to resistance- ance belonged-on whose slightest actions the who directed their measures through a long, spirits of light and darkness looked with series of eveniful years—who formed, out of anxious interest—who had been destined, bethe most unpromising materials, the finest fore heaven and earth were created, to enjoy army that Europe had ever seen-who tram- and earth should have passed away. Events
a felicity which should continue when heaven pled down King, Church, and Aristocracy, which short-sighted politicians ascribed to who, in the short intervals of domestic sedition rible to every nation on the face of the earth, Aourished, and decayed. For his sake the and rebellion, made the name of England ter- earthly causes had been ordained on his ac
count. For his sake empires had risen, and were no vulgar fanatics. Most of their absurdities were mere external badges, like the Almighty had proclaimed his will by the pen signs of freemasonry or the dresses of friars. He had been rescued by no common deliverer
of the evangelist and the harp of the prophet. We regret that these badges were not more from the grasp of no common foe. He had attractive. We regret that a body, to whose
been ransomed by the sweat of no vulgar courage and talents mankind has owed inestimable obligations, had not the lofty elegance agony, by the blood of no earthly sacrifice.
It was for him that the sun had been darkened, which distinguished some of the adherents of Charles I., or the easy good breeding for which that the rocks had been rent, that the dead had the court of Charles II. was celebrated. But, arisen, that all nature had shuddered at the sufif we must make our choice, we shall, like ferings of her expiring God ! Bassanio in the play, turn from the specious
Thus the Puritan was made up of two differ. caskets which contain only the Death's head ent men, the one all self-abasement, penitence, and the Fool's head, and fix our choice on the gratitude, passion; the other proud, calm, inplain leaden chest which conceals the treasure the dust before his Maker; but he set his foot
flexible, sagacious. He prostrated himself in The Puritans were men whose minds had derived a peculiar character from the daily tirement, he prayed with convulsions, and
on the neck of his king. In his devotional recontemplation of superior beings and external interests. Not con’ent with acknowledging, in groans, and tears. He was half maddened by general terms, an overruling Providence, they glorious or terrible illusions. He heard the habitually ascribed every event to the will of lyres of angels or the tempting whispers of the Great Being, for whose power nothing was Vision, or woke screaming from dreams of
fiends. He caught a gleam of the Beatific too va: t, for whose inspection nothing was too everlasting fire. Like Vane, he thought him. minute To know him, to serve him, to enjoy self intrusted with the sceptre of the millennial him, was with them the great end of existence. They rejected with contempt the ceremonious year. Like Fleetwood, he cried in the bitterhomage which other sects substituted for the ness of his soul that God had hid his face from
him. But when he took his seat in the counpure worship of the soul. Instead of catching cil, or girt on his sword for war, these temoccasional glimpses of the Deity through an obscuring veil, they aspired to gaze full on the pestuous workings of the soul had left no intolerable brightness, and to commune with perceptible trace behind them. People who him face to face. Hence originated their con
saw nothing of the godly but their uncouth tempt for terrestrial distinctions. The differ visages, and heard nothing from them but their ence between the greatest and meanest of man. at them. But those had little reason to laugh,
groans and their whining hymns, might laugh kind seemed to vanish, when compared with who encountered them in the hall of debate or the boundless interval which separated the in the field of battle. These fanatics brought whole race from him on whom their own eyes to civil and military affairs a coolness of judg. were constantly fixed. They recognised no title to superiority but his favour; and, confi
ment and an immutability of purpose which dent of that savour, they despised all the ac- their religious zeal, but which were in fact the
some writers have thought inconsistent with complishments and all the dignities of the world. If they were unacquainted with the necessary effects of it. The intensity of their works of philosophers and poets, they were
feelings on one subject made them tranquil on deeply read in the oracles of God. if their every other. One overpowering sentiment had wames were not found in the registers of he- and fear. Death had lost its terrors and plea
subjected to itself pity and hatred, ambition ralds, they felt assured that they were recorded sure its charms. They had their smiles and in the Book of Life. If their steps were not their tears, their raptures and their sorrows, accompanied by a splendid train of menials, but not for the things of this world. Enthusiasm legions of ministering angels had charge over had made them stoics, had cleared their minds nem Their palaces were houses not made from every vulgar passion and prejudice, and Gerusalemme Liberata, xv. 57. raised them above the influence of