Imágenes de páginas

Then alluding to the death of his own son, he continued, 'You know my own trials this way: but the Lord supported me with this, that the Lord took him into the happiness we all pant after and live for. There is your precious child, full of glory, to know sin nor sorrow any more. He was a gallant young man, exceeding gracious. God give you His comfort. Before his death he was so full of comfort, that to Frank Russell and myself he could not express it, it was so great above his pain. This he said to us. Indeed it was admirable. A little after he said one thing lay upon his spirit. I asked him what that was; he told me it was that God had not suffered him to be no more the executioner of His enemies. At his fall, his horse being killed with the bullet, I am told he bid them open to the right and left that he might see the rogues run. Truly he was exceedingly beloved in the army of all that knew him.'

This letter, with its mingling of tenderness and fanaticism, of praise for the dead and comfort for the living, contains the only reference to Marston Moor by Cromwell which has reached us. * England and the Church of God hath had a great favour from the Lord in this great victory given unto us, such as the like never was since this war began. It had all the evidences of an absolute victory, obtained by the Lord's blessing upon the godly party principally. We never charged, but we routed the enemy. The left wing which I commanded, being our own horse, saving a few Scots in our rear, beat all the Prince's horse. God made them as stubble to our swords. We charged their regiments of foot without horse, and routed all we charged. The particulars I cannot relate now; but I believe of 20,000, the Prince hath not 4,000 left. Give glory, all the glory, to God.'

[ocr errors]

Cromwell's letter has been criticised with some harshness. It has been accused of ungenerously concealing the services of David Leslie, and one modern authority says that he assumes the whole credit of the defeat of the Royalist right, at the expense of both truth and honour.' But a letter of condolence should not be judged as if it were a despatch, or a document written for the information of future historians. The summary of the battle is but an introduction to the story of Captain Walton's death. Cromwell declines to enter into the particulars of the one, and dwells at length on the details of the other. He exults at the completeness of the victory not to magnify his own part, but that the sense of national gain may lessen grief for personal loss.

'Let this public mercy make you forget your private sorrow,' is the keynote of the letter.

Men called Cromwell the saviour of the three kingdoms, but he was angry when he heard the expression, and rightly. An examination shows that the victory was due not to a single leader, but to the harmonious co-operation of Cromwell's heavy cavalry, Leslie's light horse, and Crawford's infantry, and of the three generals who commanded them. Some Scottish regiments fought well, but their army in general, as a Scottish soldier observed, was composed of men who were lusty and well-clothed, but raw, untrained and undisciplined, and their officers for the most part young and inexperienced.' But the army of the Eastern Association was exact in discipline,' and both its training and its temper were mainly Cromwell's work.




IN venturing to accept the Editor's invitation to say a word in the pages of CORNHILL on behalf of the Queen Victoria Clergy Sustentation Fund, I remind myself that once at the dinner-table of the late Master of Balliol, an eloquent dignitary of the Church was inveighing against the apathy of laymen in the matter of Church charities. 'It is degrading that we should have to go round and beg hat in hand for what the charity of laymen should spontaneously supply.' The social barometer had been falling degree after degree during the indictment, and when it was concluded, the small, piping, husky voice of the Master was heard to say: Yes, what is degrading is, that the clergy should have to exaggerate.' The whole company felt that the Master had saved the situation, if he had not indeed turned the tables. The dignitary was silenced, and the social barometer rose again. Then, having done his duty to his guests, the Master recollected that he also was a clergyman, and owed something to his cloth, and so continued: I never exaggerate: but then I never get any money.' Everyone who has endeavoured to raise money for charitable objects will sympathise with the eloquent dignitary of this authentic anecdote, and everyone whose pockets have been attacked will sympathise with the Master's rejoinder. The fact remains that a very good cause may languish for want of support if it cannot be made to appeal vividly to the feelings through the imagination; and that man is wise in his generation who knows how to enlist on the side of conscience such universally responsive emotions as those which the French politely named for us amour propre and esprit de corps. Jowett, it may be mentioned, did himself injustice when he disclaimed success as a collector of subscriptions; it is true he did not exaggerate; his method was to write begging letters to old members of his college with his own hand, a compliment that recognised the market value of an autograph, and was not without its reward.

Of the more important funds that have been opened this year as thank-offerings for the Queen's long and prosperous reign, that for the London Hospitals has been rendered auspicious by the Prince of Wales's inauguration, and that for the nurses by her Majesty's own particular interest; and even apart from such con

[ocr errors]

siderations, everybody feels that nurses and hospitals are necessities of life, about which there cannot be two opinions. But when our alms are solicited for the clergy, the response is not so ready, as the published lists of subscriptions clearly show, although the Church in its corporate capacity has recommended this fund to the charity of its children, and although her Majesty has graciously become its patron. What is the reason?


First of all-it will not of course be admitted, but it is truethe clergy, although they may be individually popular, are not now in England, and perhaps never were here or elsewhere, popular as a class. The popular uniforms are red or blue, hardly black. That touch of antinomianism which exists in everybody, parsons and all, Protestant and Catholic, is ever ready to rebel against an institution which exists to be a check upon our natural instincts. The feeling would not often obtain such vivid expression as in the Berkshire farmer's lament, "Us'll never prosperous till us have fewer of they black parsons, and more o' they black pegs;" it would probably never be expressed at all in higher circles, unless in the smoking-room; but the feeling is real enough to check the first impulse of the fingers towards the purse-strings. And then there comes in to reinforce this feeling another, also rarely expressed, and not easily expressible by the well-to-do, that poverty becomes the clergy. Is there not a beatitude upon the poor-a beatitude to which the clergy are zealous in calling our attention? Is not the danger of riches one of the commonplaces of the pulpit? Well then, let the clergy practise what they preach; an ounce of example is worth a pound of precept.' It is always worth while to examine such general feelings as this, because in the last analysis they usually reveal some saving grain of truth. The contrast between the fishermen of Galilee, who wore no gold on their garments,' and their successors the bishops, whether of Rome or England, has been a text of satire since the dawn of modern literature. And no doubt from time to time the satire has been richly deserved. But satire can never be the last word on any subject, because it must, if it is to be pointed, omit a great many circumstances that a just estimation must take into account. For example, the argument from the apostles to an English clergy cannot be complete until it has weighed differences of climate, differences of work, differences of social organisation.

[ocr errors]

ever it has been found possible to revive again the life of Christ ' after the flesh,' as it was lived beneath the Syrian blue,' it has

been in countries like Italy, where comparatively little food suffices to support life, and a natural shelter is all that is required for the greater part of the year, and further, it has been where the work to be done was of a missionary character, among a simple peasantry, and where mendicancy was an approved mode of subsistence.

In England, however, at least in country places, and with these alone I am here concerned, the work of the clergy is that of a settled pastorate; its circumstances have nothing idyllic about them; there can be little enthusiasm excited by their labours among the objects of them, and there is no disposition to support the clergy by free-will offerings. Those, then, who think it well, in the abstract, that a Christian clergy should be poor have to remember that this poverty must at least be construed as it is understood in England, and in the England of to-day, where a living wage' has become a political term. And then they must, face the further question, whether a peasant clergy is a thing to be desired. The picture of the poorë parson of a town' (i.e. a village), who was brother to the ploughman, smiles at us in the pages of Chaucer, but how would it work in modern England? Is it the best thing even for the peasants to have no point of view presented to them but their own? Do even the peasants desire it? And the peasants are not the only inhabitants of our country villages. There are squires and their families; and if their souls may in this democratic age be disregarded, there are large households of servants, who, from association with their masters and mistresses, have gained more cultivation than would tolerate the ministrations of their own class; there are the yeomen and the farmers, the tradesmen and handicraftsmen, the doctor, and perhaps other gentlefolk. If it be said that a poor clergy need not mean a peasant clergy, I would ask how else can its ranks continue to be supplied? There are, no doubt, at present many of the clergy with private incomes; but by far the greater number of these have not an income large enough to dispense with a stipend some 3001. of private income, with as much from a living, will enable a man to bring up his family as he himself was brought up; without a stipend he could not do so. It might be possible, if the clergy were all celibate, to obtain year by year a certain number of men of birth and education, who would forego in the good cause the life they have been accustomed to, just as there are always volunteers for the mission field. But Englishmen, especially English villagers, prefer a married clergy, and to offer such an artisan's wages is to ask a man who has himself enjoyed the

« AnteriorContinuar »