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had been permitted by Cromwell and the fanatic army to continue its sittings, and which, in derision, was called the Rump Parliament, had conducted the political vessel with great ability and effect. It had lately been augmented by many of its old members who, having seceded in consequence of their opposition to the trial of the king, were now on their subscribing TIIE ENGAGEMENT re-admitted to their seats; and with their presence they imparted a more imposing speciousness of aspect to the Legislative Assembly. If some of its laws betrayed the severity and narrowness of the presbyterian priesthood, the greater number of them discovered much political ability and were formed on a wide view of the public interest. The famous Navigation act, which has contributed so essentially to our present naval pre-eminence, was the offspring of its wisdom; and, both in the field and in the cabinet its talents for government were alike attested by success. By its prudent manage
• The form of this test, of the submission of the subject to the existing government, was simple and concise: it was nothing more than a solemn promise " to be true and faithful to the government established without king or house of peers." The “ Engagement” was substituted, on the death of the king, for the famous “ Solemn League and Covenant."
ment of the revenues of the state, it possessed the means not only of paying its army and the servants of its civil establishment with punctuality, but of liberally rewarding their merils. If it were entitled however to the respect, it was either unable or not solicitous to conciliate the affection of the nation. Many of its measures had, in a high degree, been reprehensible and offensive. Besides the murder of the king, which its vote had ostensibly induced and of which it offered the pretended sanction, ils frequent appointment of High Courts of Justice, and its consequent disuse of Juries, for the trial of statecriminals, could not fail to excite the popular odium, whoever were the victims of these irregular tribunals; while the shameless vivaciousness with which it refused to remit ils grasp of political existence, without any reference to its just source of being in the people, laid its private ambition open to the inost common observation, and exposed the futility of its pretensions to public virtue. The execution of Mr. Love, a leading presbyterian clergyman, who, till the ascendency of the Independents and the death of the king, had actively promoted and had suffered in the republican cause, largely contributed to the unpopularity of this exhausted and self
dependent parliament. The crime, of which he stood convicted, was that of having corresponded with the exiled king and conspired against the commonwealth: but so great had been his merits to the parliamentary party, and so strong was the interest now exerted to save him, that the unrelenting severity, which conducted him to the block, was the subject of general reprobation.
While it was thus declining in the favour of the nation, this usurping assembly beheld with increasing apprehension the power of its army, and the ascendency of its victorious general.
However open to censure might have been the measures of the parliament, those of the army were fully as culpable and far more extraordinary. Its conduct indeed seems to be without precedent or consequent, standing insulated and alone in the annals of the world. Well paid,
Well paid, highly disciplined, enthusiastic in the cause of liberty, under the strong controll of religious principle, it abandons its principle, betrays its cause, and revolts against the power for whom it had assumed arms, by whose able management it had been cherished, and by whose superior counsels it had been directed to victory. But the intolerance of the Presbyterians was become
the leading object of resentment and of terror to the sectarists, who forined the body of the army; and the religious phrenzy of these heated spirits was insusceptible of any long views of policy,or of any violent and self-abandoning system of patriotism. If the influence of such enlightened and liberal politicians as Selden and Whitelocke had prevailed in the Parliament over that of the Assembly of Divines, the concession of an unlimited toleration would have preserved the army from those alarms, which alone shook it from its duty and, converting it immediately to the overthrow of the government, made it eventually subservient to its own ruin.
Aware of the advantages which would probably result from it to his own cause, Cromwell carefully watched and fomented the general agitation. In the diminished popularity of the Parliament, in the mutual jealousies of that assembly and the army, in the prevailing lassitude and discontent of the harassed people he saw and welcomed the means of his own personal aggrandisement. He had now reached a situation cond tiguous to that greatness which, only a short time before, had perhaps been removed from his most romantic and visionary expectation. Unlike to the first Cæsar, who, aspiring to
empire from the commencement of his political career, seems to have advanced by regular and measured steps to the possession of his object, Cromwell, floating loosely on the tide of events, was brought near to a throne which he had the boldness to seize and the ability to retain. Enthusiasm, which at first was the great moving spring of his conduct, became in the succeeding stages of his progress the instrument with which he worked; and from being the dupe of his own feelings, he grew to be the controller of those of other men. He never entirely indeed ceased to be the enthusiast: but, ambition for a time obtaining the ascendency in his bosom over the religious passion, he united in himself at last, with an inconsistency not uncommon in our poor nature, the opposite characters of the zealot and the impostor. When he performed his devotions with the common soldiers, and thus conciliating their affections essentially promoted his own purposes and influence, he was not, as I am satisfied, wholly insincere; but had persuaded himself that he could thus allowably convert an act of religious duty into a mean of worldly interest.
No man perhaps ever possessed in a higher degree that rapid and searching glance which can pene