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enchantments reduced the wild beasts to the tameness of domestic cattle, and who harnessed lions and tigers to his chariot, is but an imperfect type of those extraordinary minds which have thrown a spell on the fierce spirits of nations unaccustomed to control, and have compelled raging factions to obey their reins, and swell their triumph. The enterprise, be it good or bad, is one which requires a truly great man. It demands courage, activity, energy, wisdom, firmness, conspicuous virtues, or vices so splendid and alluring as to resemble virtues.
which rose on the ruins of the old system. The admirers of Inigo Jones have always maintained that his works are inferior to those of Sir Christopher Wren onl; because the great fire of London gave to the Latter such a field for the display of his powers as no architect in the history of the world ever possessed. Similar allowance must be made for Cromwell. If he erected little that was new, it was because there had been no general devastation to clear a space for him. As it was, he reformed the representative system in a most judicious manner. He rendered the administration of justice uniform throughout the island. We will quote a passage from his speech to the Parliament in September, 1656, which contains, we think, stronger indications of a legislative mind than are to be found in the whole range of orations delivered on such occasions before or since.
Those who have succeeded in this arduous undertaking form a very small and a very remarkable class. Parents of tyranny, but heirs of freedom, kings among citizens, citizens among kings, they unite in themselves the characteristics of the system which springs from them, and of the system from which they have sprung. Their reigns shine with a double light, the last and dearest rays of departing freedom, mingled with the first and brightest glories of empire in its dawn. Their high qualities lend to despotism itself a charin drawn from the institutions under which they were formed, and which they have destroyed. They resemble Europeans who settle within the tropics, and carry thither the strength and the energetic habits acquired in regions more propitious to the constitution. They differ as widely from princes nursed in the purple of imperial cradles as the companions of Gama from their dwarfish and imbecile progeny, which, born in a climate unfavourable to its growth and beauty, degenerates more and more at every descent from the qualities of the ori-upon this nation a day longer than you have ginal conquerors.
In this class three men stand pre-eminent; Cæsar, Cromwell, and Bonaparte. The highest place in this remarkable triumvirate belongs undoubtedly to Cæsar. He united the talents of Bonaparte to those of Cromwell; and he possessed also what neither Cromwell nor Bonaparte possessed, learning, taste, wit, eloquence, the sentiments and the manners of an accomplished gentleman.
"There is one general grievance in the na tion. It is the law....I think, I may say it, I have as eminent judges in this land as have been had, or that the nation has had for these many years. Truly, I could be particular as to the executive part, to the administration; but that would trouble you. But the truth of it is there are wicked and abominable laws that will be in your power to alter. To hang a man for sixpence, threepence, I know not what-to hang for a trifle and pardon murder, is in the ministration of the law through the ill-framing of it. I have known in my experience abominable murders quitted; and to see men lose theit lives for petty matters! This is a thing that God will reckon for; and I wish it may not lie
an opportunity to give a remedy; and I hope I shall cheerfully join with you in it."
Mr. Hallam truly says, that though it is im possible to rank Cromwell with Napoleon as a general, yet "his exploits were as much above the level of his contemporaries, and more the effects of an original uneducated capacity." Bonaparte was trained in the best military schools; the army which he led to Italy was one of the finest that ever existed. Cromwell Between Cromwell and Napoleon Mr. Hal- passed his youth and the prime of his manhood lam has instituted a parallel scarcely less in- in a civil situation. He never looked on war, genious than that which Burke has drawn be- till he was more than forty years old. He had tween Richard Cœur de Lion and Charles the first to form himself; and then to form his Twelfth of Sweden. In this parallel, however, troops. Out of raw levies he created an army, and indeed throughout his work, we think the bravest and the best disciplined, the most that he hardly gives Cromwell fair measure. orderly in peace, and the most terrible in war, "Cromwell," says he, "far unlike his anti-that Europe had seen. He called his body type, never showed any signs of a legislative mind, or any desire to place his renown on that noblest basis, the amelioration of social institutions." The difference in this respect, we conceive, was not in the characters of the men, but in the characters of the revolutions by means of which they rose to power. The civil war in England had been undertaken to defend and restore; the republicans of France set themselves to destroy. In England the principles of the common law had never been disturbed, and most even of its forms had been held sacred. In France the law and its ministers had been swept away together. In France, therefore, legislation necessarily became the first business of the first settled government
into existence. He led it to conquest. He never fought a battle without gaining a victory. He never gained a victory without annihilating the force opposed to him. Yet his triumphs were not the highest glory of his military system. The respect which his troops paid to property, their attachment to the laws and religion of their country, their submission to the civil power, their temperance, their intelligence, their industry, are without parallel. It was after the Restoration that the spirit which their great leader had infused into them was most signally displayed. At the command of the es tablished government, a government which had no means of enforcing obedience, fifty thou sand soldiers, whose backs no enemy had ever
❤een, either in domestic or continental war, | ed, he was punctilious only for his country. laid down their arms, and retired into the mass His own character he left to take care of itself; 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.
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.
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 be- No sovereign ever carried to the throne so tween one who had sucked only the dregs of large a portion of the best qualities of the mida besotted fanaticism, and one to whom the dling orders, so strong a sympathy with the stores of reason and philosophy were open." feelings and interests of his people. He was These expressions, it seems to us, convey the sometimes driven to arbitrary measures; but highest eulogium on our great countryman. he had a high, stout, honest, English heart. Reason and philosophy did not teach the con- Hence it was that he loved to surround his queror of Europe to command his passions, or throne with such men as Hale and Blake. to pursue, as a first object, the happiness of the Hence it was that he allowed so large a share people. They did not prevent him from risk of political liberty to his subjects, and that, even ing his fame and his power in a frantic contest when an opposition, dangerous to his power against the principles of human nature and the and to his person, almost compelled him to golaws of the physical world, against the rage of vern by the sword, he was still anxious to leave the winter and the liberty of the sea. They did a germ from which, at a more favourable seanot exempt him from the influence of that most son, free institutions might spring. We firmly pernicious of superstitions, a presumptuous fa- believe, that if his first parliament had not comtalism. They did not preserve him from the menced its debates by disputing his title, his inebriation of prosperity, or restrain him from government would have been as mild at home indecent querulousness and violence in adver- as it was energetic and able abroad. He was sity. On the other hand, the fanaticism of a soldier-he had risen by war. Had his amCromwell never urged him on impracticable bition been of an impure or selfish kind, it undertakings, or confused his perception of the would have been easy for him to plunge his public good. Inferior to Bonaparte in inven- country into continental hostilities on a large tion, he was far superior to him in wisdom. scale, and to dazzle the restless factions which The French Emperor is among conquerors he ruled by the splendour of his victories. what Voltaire is among writers, a miraculous Some of his enemies have sneeringly remarkchild. His splendid genius was frequently ed, that in the successes obtained under his clouded by fits of humour as absurdly perverse | administration, he had no personal share; as as those of the pet of the nursery, who quar- if a man who had raised himself from obscurirels with his food, and dashes his playthings to pieces. Cromwell was emphatically a man. He 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 guardroom was blended with the ceremony of the old court of Versailles. Cromwell, by the confession even of his enemies, exhibited in his deineanour the simple and natural nobleness of a man neither ashamed of his origin nor vain of bis elevation; of a man who had found his proper place in society, and who felt secure that he was competent to fill it. Easy, even to fatailiarity, where his own dignity was concern
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 princi
palities for his kinsmen and his generals; he' cuting fires of Rome. Even to the present day, did not, on the other hand, see his country his character, though constantly attacked, and overrun by the armies of nations which his scarcely ever defended, is popular with the ambition had provoked. He did not drag out great body of our countrymen. 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 fuiness of power and fame; and left to his son an authority which any man of ordinary firmness and prudence would have retained.
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 Cromwell seld fifty English gentlenen as slaves in Barbad.es. For making this
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 might now be writing under the government this Highness Oliver the Fifth, or Richard the Fourth, Protector, by the Grace of God, of he 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-statement he has been charged with two high fees 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. Venal 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
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 pos sibly be true, and it happens that neither is so His censors will find, when they take the trou ble 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 anmerited, ren dered the word too odious to be applied even to felons of English origin. These persons B 2
enjoyed the protection of the law during the term 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 vindication; 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.
When 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 the race which they succeeded. In the great civil
war, even the bad cause had been rendered res pectable and amiable, by the purity and elevation of mind which many of 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 inconsist ency, 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 disapproba tion, appear in the present age almost incredi ble. In the age of Charles the First, they would, we believe, have excited as much astonishment.
Man, however, is always the same. when so marked a difference appears between two generations, it is certain that the solution may be found in their respective circum. stances. 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 circum stances, whose presaging instinct, no sign of the times, no incipient change of public feelings, can elude. But it is an unpropitions 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 scat tered; 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 no means seemed to destroy his influence, or even to fix any peculiar stain of infamy on his cha racter. We, 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 scarcely one Frenchman distinguished in the
the members of the two parties oppressed and were oppressed, murdered and were murdered, in their turn. No lucid interval occurred between the frantic paroxysms of two contratradictory illusions.
state or in the army, who had not, according | In a nation proud of its sturdy justice and to the best of his talents and opportunities, plain good sense, no party could be found to emulated the example. It was natural, too, take a firm middle stand between the worst of that this should be the case. The rapidity and oppositions and the worst of courts. When, violence with which change followed change on charges as wild as Mother Goose's tales, in the affairs of France towards the close of on the testimony of wretches who proclaimed the last century, had taken away the reproach themselves to be spies and traitors, and whom of inconsistency, unfixed the principles of everybody now believes to have been also public men, and produced in many minds a liars and murderers, the offal of jails and general skepticism and indifference about brothels, the leavings of the hangman's whip principles of government. and shears, Catholics guilty of nothing but No Englishman who has studied attentively their religion were led like sheep to the Prothe reign of Charles the Second, will think testant shambles, where were the royal Tory himself entitled to indulge in any feelings of gentry and the passively obedient clergy national superiority over the Dictionnaire des And where, when the time of retribution Girouettes. Shaftesbury was surely a far less came, when laws were strained and juries respectable man than Talleyrand; and it packed, to destroy the leaders of the Whigs, would be injustice even to Fouché to compare when charters were invaded, when Jeffries him with Lauderdale. Nothing, indeed, can and Kirke were making Somersetshire what more clearly show how low the standard of Lauderdale and Graham had made Scotland, political morality had fallen in this country where were the ten thousand brisk boys of than the fortunes of the men whom we have Shaftesbury, the members of ignoramus juries, named. The government wanted a ruffian to the wearers of the Polish medal? All powerful carry on the most atrocious system of misgo-to destroy others, unable to save themselves, vernment 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 To the frequent changes of the government looked for a chief to head them in the most during the twenty years which had preceded desperate attacks ever made, under the forms the revolution, this unsteadiness is in a great of the constitution, on any English administra- measure to be attributed. Other causes had tion and they selected the minister who had also been at work. Even if the country had the deepest share in the worst parts of that been governed by the house of Cromwell, or administration; the soul of the cabal; the the remains of the Long Parliament, the excounsellor who had shut up the Exchequer, treme austerity of the Puritans would necesand urged on the Dutch war. The whole sarily have produced a revulsion. Towards political drama was of the same cast. No the close of the Protectorate, many signs indiunity of plan, no decent propriety of character cated that a time of license was at hand. But and costume, could be found in the wild and the restoration of Charles the Second rendered monstrous harlequinade. The whole was the change wonderfully rapid and violent. made up of extravagant transformations and Profligacy became a test of orthodoxy and burlesque contrasts; Atheists turned Puritans; loyalty, a qualification for rank and office. A Puritans turned Atheists; republicans defend-deep and general taint infected the morals of ing the divine right of kings; prostitute cour- the most influential classes, and spread itself tiers clamouring for the liberties of the people; through every province of letters. Poetry judges inflaming the rage of mobs; patriots inflamed the passions; philosophy undermined pocketing bribes from foreign powers; a the principles; divinity itself, inculcating an popish prince torturing Presbyterians into an abject reverence for the court, gave addiEpiscopacy in one part of the island; Pres- tional effect to its licentious example. We byterians cutting off the heads of popish no-look in vain for those qualities which give a blemen and gentlemen in the other. Public charm to the errors of high and ardent natures, opinion has its natural flux and reflux. After for the generosity, the tenderness, the chivala violent burst, there is commonly a reaction. rous delicacy, which ennoble appetites into But vicissitudes as extraordinary as those passions and impart to vice itself a portion of which marked the reign of Charles the the majesty of virtue. The excesses of the Second, can only be explained by supposing age remind us of the humours of a gang of an utter want of principle in the political footpads, revelling with their favourite beauties world. On neither side was there fidelity at a flash-house. In the fashionable libertinism enough to face a reverse. Those honourable there is a hard, cold ferocity, an impudence, a retreats from power, which, in later days, par-lowness, a dirtiness, which can be paralleled ties 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.
only among the heroes and heroines of that filthy and heartless literature which encou raged 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