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a merely passive resistance to the designs of the King and the hierarchy, not to speak of the opposition given by the celebrated John Hampden and others, to illegal exactions. This was the active period of enlightening the public mind by means of the lectureship before adverted to,—to the value and snccess of these the first extant letter of Cromwell's refers ; its date is January 1636. Writing in that year to a pious and wealthy citizen of London, he says :-“ Amongst the catalogue of those good works which your fellow citizens and our countrymen have done, this will not be reckoned the least, that they have provided for the feeding of souls. Such a work as this was your erecting the lecture in our country, in the which you placed Dr Wells, a man of goodness and industry, and ability, to do good every way, not short of any I know in England, and I am persuaded that since his coming the Lord hath by him wrought much good among us."
Through these and other means, England was fast ripening for the contest now at hand. During the following year, the schemes of Laud to impose the deadening and unscriptural forms of the English ritual on Scotland were upset, by the firm and unanimous spirit of our countrymen ; and the primate was greeted in the palace by the King's jester, with the -“Who's fool now, my Lord ?" Next year the attention of England was still more intensely drawn towards the events transacting in Scotland ; the National Covenant, the complete overthrow of the bierarchy by the General Assembly at Glasgow, and the total defeat of King's attempts to avert or even mitigate the doom of his favourite system. 1639 and 1640 saw two royal armies recoil from a contest with the armed covenanters of Scotland, and the King involved in perplexities and dangers from which he saw no possibility of relief, except in once more sisting himself—for such in truth it was- and the late measures of his government, before that justly dreaded tribunal, an English Parliament.
At this point the public life of Cromwell properly begins, his character and actions henceforth belong to history; opinion becomes divided in regard to his motives and his conduct; he comes to be an object of vehement attack, and not less vehement defence; and he continues to this day the centre of a conflict of which there is no prospect of an end. In the view of the broad sea of action which here opens, we feel exceedingly oppressed by the limits which the compass of a brief review imposes, and having been led to extend our reading on the subject somewhat beyond the works named at the head of the article, we feel strongly, with the author of the second of them, that the Protector and his times demands not a review bat a volume. It is then but the merest fragment of an immense and varied subject we are able in this form to present. In the Parliament which met November 1640, Cromwell was returned for Cambridge. The influence which he speedily attained and preserved was in no degree owing to any charm in his manners, appearance, or talents for oratory or debate; a courtly historian represents him as almost rude in his general bearing; another noble memorialist, as making a near approach to the sloven in bis dress-in form, large, approaching to the uncouth. In a poem lately published, “ The modern Timon,” his “make”—to use an expressive colloquialism-is held to corroborate a theory of the poet, that all, or almost all the men who have carried the world before them, were distinguished by great amplitude of chest. After citing Cæsar, Mabommed, and others, he adds.
“ So large limbed Cromwell pressed broad-shouldered on,
So burly Luther breasted Babylon.” The written compositions of Cromwell though upon the whole clear, vigorous, and full of thought, are altogether devoid of the graces of composition, while his spoken addresses are obscure, involved, and often almost, if not quite unintelligible; but, notwithstanding exterior disadvantages, his weight of character was speedily felt and acknowledged, and even then, so clearly did the future Lord Protector of England stand revealed to the penetrating eye of his friend Hampden, that he is said to have given the following reply to the enquiry of an aristocratic member of Parliament, who demanded, Who is that sloven to whom the house seems to listen so attentively? That sloven, said Hampden, if we should ever come to a breach with the King, (which God forbid), in such a case, I say that sloven will be the greatest man in England.
That breach, however, could not be averted. It soon became manifest that the people's branch of the legislature had formed a resolution to fix determinately and conclusively the bounds of the royal prerogative,—to secure the uniform ascendancy of the laws, and to abate, if not abolish, the powers of the hierarchy. The latter, however, in the estimation of the King, was an essential support to the throne, and royalty, he thought, little more than a name, if it involved uniform submission to constitutional rules and rigid enactments. Curbed, however, to use an expression of the collector of the letters, “ by innumerable straps and considerations," he made a show of yielding to a power which he was not able to resist, and made concessions with the fixed purpose to recall and disregard them so soon as he should be able to resume the exercise of what he deemed his rightful and legitimate powers : but success in this game of dishonest policy required more talents than Charles possessed ; —he wanted self-command to retain the disguise till bis schemes were ripe. In a rash moment he attempted to seize the leading men in the House of Commons,—he failed ; this was the crisis. He left London in January - 1642; set up at Nottingham the standard of rebellion against his people, and constituted the sword the umpire between conflicting principles. The true state of England was now disclosed ;—two nations were found to be contained within its limits, the one the progeny of the Reformation, embracing the piety, patriotism, and intelligence of the kingdom ; the other, the spawn of Rome and the dark ages : the armies of the latter were marshalled and led by the King and the Episcopacy. The genius of Cromwell soon placed him at the head of the former. Till then he had not wielded a sword in any conflict, nor wore one except in obedience to the fashion of his age. His commands in the army were at first humble, but in these bis success was uniform. Still the Parliament's affairs, as a whole, were not prosperous.
The force of argument and the force of arms do not always lie on the same side : the campaigns of the first year left the King's star in the ascendant, and had not allies to the cause of liberty been found elsewhere than among the populace of England, history would have had to add
another to the long roll of instances in which right had been foiled and trampled down in its contest with might. The Church and people of Scotland watched the conflict in England with trembling interest ; if prerogative prevailed, they knew on what fields the royal armies would next display their discipline; yet withheld by a respectful
, but perhaps mistaken loyalty, they did not offer to the struggling patriots of England an assistance which had not been asked. But the peril of the cause in which the Parliament was embarked was now imminent. The King was expected to advance on London with his united and victorious armies, and help could be expected from Scotland alone. In August 1643, commissioners from the English Parliament, and from the Assembly of Divines lately convened at Westminister, arrived at Edinburgh. Scotland and England, of that age, teemed with good and great men ; but they contained one man only equal to the emergency, and this was neither Cromwell, nor Milton, nor even John Hampden, though he had survived. The one mind possessed of the penetration and enlargement equal to the crisis was Alexander Henderson ; he saw that what England required was not simply a regulated monarchy, but a reformed and well regulated Church; the moment seemed now to bave arrived when this inestimable boon might be conferred on all the British kingdoms; it was proposed to the commissioners that the three nations should join in a mutual league and covenant, to secure rational liberty in the state, and complete reformation, and, if possible, uniformity in the outward aspect and profession of the Church ; that if this were agreed to, the whole moral influence and military force of Scotland would be at the service of the Parliament of England; the terms were accepted. In September 1643, this Solemn League was sworn and subscribed by the English House of Commons220 members signed. Among the early and conspicuous names affixed to that deed was that of Oliver Cromwell. The Assembly of Divines gave their unanimous adherence; it was accepted and sworn with great unanimity and readiness by all the friends of religion and liberty throughout England. Scotland made no delay in implementing her part in this stipu. lation : in a few months after, and in the depth of winter, the broken and disorganized forces of the English Parliament found themselves reinforced by 21,000 well-disciplined and enthusiastic Scotsmen. The tide of battle at once turned. At Marston-moor near York, the King's forces were utterly broken and dispersed ; at this battle“ the Scots," says an eye-witness, "delivered their fire with such constancy and swiftness, it was as if the whole air had become an element of fire.” Cromwell was present, but he does not witness to this effect. In his account of the victory he makes but a brief and somewhat depreciatory allusion to the services of his northern allies ; he seems to take the credit of the victory chiefly to himself. “The left wing,” he says, “which I commanded, being our own horse, saving a few Scots in our van, beat all the Prince's horse--God made them as stubble to our swords." Perhaps this shyness on the part of Cromwell to acknowledge the services of the Scots may be considered as the first glimpse of that "rent" between the leaders of the army and the House of Commons, which widened day by day, and finally rendered abortive, so far as England was concerned, the wise and patriotic labours of the Parliament and the Assembly of Divines for the settlement
of religion and liberty, on a solid and scriptural basis. The independent view of Church government, then rising into strength, was adopted by Cromwell and others of great influence, both in the army, in the country, and in Parliament. How this theory, which never found any great acceptance among the better informed and more thoughtful people of Scotland, found such favour in England, it is not difficult to explain : In the former country, Presbytery was at once reduced to practice, and the nation speedily felt its beneficial effects ; its ministers were the teachers and councillors of the people; its courts were the bulwark which stood between them and the tyrannical spirit and proceedings of the civil government ; they saw its scriptural foundation, and they experienced its results. The only practical conception which the people of England, on the other hand, could form of Church government, was derived from the proceedings of Laud, and of his brethren on the Episcopal bench, and from the cruel persecutions of the Star Chamber ; and when the proposal was announced to set up an Ecclesiastical court, though called a Presbytery, in every district in England, not a few, in their ignorance and inexperience, dreaded a new hierarchy, and in this groundless alarm Cromwell did or pretended to participate. The entire ruin of the King's affairs which soon after followed: the ascendancy of the Independent leaders in the army, and the feeling that aid was no longer needed from Scotland, all tended in a disastrous direction, so far as carrying into effect the purpose of the Solemn League in England was concerned. That the friends of Presbytery always presented their views in the most engaging aspect, we will not venture to say ; that they laid down in so many words the true theory of forbearance with brethren who differed with them, cannot perhaps with truth be affirmed, but they acted on the true principle of forbearance with almost unbroken uniformity, which is much more than can be said for their Independent opponents.
But another scene in this strange drama now demands some notice. The King a captive in the Scottish camp, betook himself to a dishonest and equally unsuccessful diplomacy, and lost the confidence of all good men -of all men, indeed; the following may be taken as a specimen of the whole character of his negotiations throughout this quarrel. It is addressed to the Bishop of London :
MY LORD,— I need not tell you the many persuasions and threatenings that have been used to me for making me change Episcopal into Presbyterial government—which absolutely to do is so directly against my conscience, that, by the grace of God, no misery shall ever make me--but I hold myself obliged, by all honest means, to eschew the evil of this too visible storm, and, I think, some kind of compliance with the iniquity of the times may be fit, as my case is, which, at another time were unlawful. I conceive the question to be, whether I may with a safe conscience give way to this proposed temporary compliance, with the resolution to recover and maintain that doctrine and discipline wherein I have been bred ? The duty of my oath is herein chiefly to be considered, I flattering myself, that this way I better comply with it, than being constant to a flat denial, considering how unable I am by force to obtain that which this way there wants not probability to recover if accepted; for my regal authority, if once settled, I make no question of recovering Episcopal government.
The meaning of this letter is, that his Majesty felt no scruple of conscience in deceiving and betraying the Presbyterians, but that he felt his conscience deeply affected with the remotest idea of even appearing to desert his beloved Episcopacy. This letter was made public only a few years since, but discoveries of moral baseness, scarcely less flagrant, came to light in his own day, and tended to shock and exasperate every honourable and well-principled mind in his dominions. In an interview which Charles had with Cromwell and other leaders of the army in 1647, some advance was made to a settlement of the differences subsisting between himself and his people, and in view of the successful issue of this negotiation, the honour of the Garter was held out to Cromwell, and similar honours to other eminent men in the popular ranks. The auspi. cious and longed for moment of a final adjustment of the respective claims of the King and Parliament seemed at hand, when the following letter from the King to his Queen, then in France, was intercepted by an allowable artifice of Cromwell and another of the Parliamentary leaders.—“My time," writes the King, “ is come at last; I am now the man whose favour they court; I incline rather to treat with the Scots than with the English. For the rest, I alone understand my position; be quite easy as to the concessions I may grant; when the time comes I shall know very well how to treat these rogues, and instead of a silken garter I will fit them with a hempen balter.”
This armed against Charles the great law of self-preservation. Two years afterwards he was subjected to a solemn judicial trial, and publicly beheaded on the 29th January 1649; the death-warrant being signed by Cromwell and above fifty other leaders in Parliament and in the army; and two years more saw Cromwell the conqueror of Scotland and Ireland, and the irresponsible dictator of the English Commonwealth.
A far more extended narrative would be required as a basis on which to conduct an examination into the real character of this extraordinary individual. The history of the world supplies, perhaps, only three other men between whom and Cromwell a comparison can be instituted as to their outward fortunes, viz., Julius Caesar, Napoleon Buonaparte, and George Washington; the circumstances in which the last acted were so dissimilar as nearly to destroy the parallel ; and, in regard to the other two, the circumstances of similarity are confined almost to the single fact that they each rose, by the force of their peculiar genius, from private life to the supreme authority in the army and in the state; in all other aspects we are presented rather with contrasts than with resemblances. 'Between their private character and Cromwell's the disparity is immense, and altogether in his favour. Over them moral and religious consideration had no perceptible influence; in the Protector's mind these took the lead of all other considerations; his public grows out of his private character; and it is impossible to deny that an unbroken harmony of sentiment pervades his published correspondence. nor a sentence can be quoted on which to found a charge of innate or sustained hypocrisy; the sentences quoted a few pages back were written at a period when he could have entertained no more prospect of being supreme ruler of Britain and Ireland than the most obscure and unambitious reader of these lines. Ten years later, when he had become,
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