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trate, and that dexterity which can shape to their proper uses human character and its multiform varieties. For the attainment of ends far different from those proposed to himself by the holy Apostle, Cromwell was “ all things to all men;" and could act with equal facility, on the demand of the immediate occasion, the commander or the buffoon.
By the resignation of Fairfax, averse from marching against the Presbyterians in Scotland, he was now advanced to the head of the army and, being freed by the death of Ireton“ from the stern and inflexible republicanism of that popular and potent leader,
, he saw no insuperable obstacle between his hand and the sceptre of England. When he returned from the scenes of his triumph at Dunbar and Worcester, the sovereign power was in fact in his possession; and the nation looked up to the Captain General, for with this high title he was now decorated, as to the arbiter of its fortunes and the destined restorer of its tranquillity. His promises were specious and alluring. Of religious to
Ireton died of the plague at Limerick, on the 27th of Nov. 1651. This seems to be the accurate date:- but some writers have placed his death on the 26th of the preceding September. For his steady republicanism, he is likened by Gilbert Burnet to Cassius.
leration he was the sincere friend, and he earnestly professed his desire of convening a free parliament, and of settling the disturbed community either under an equal commonwealth or a limited monarchy. His dismission of the Long Parliament, though effected with some circumstances of violence and contumely, does not seem to have been felt by the nation as an obnoxious act. It appeared to be justified by the principle of self-defence, for, at the crisis to which things had been urged, either the General or the Parliament must have fallen; and to put a period to an usurpation seemed to be allowable, by whatever hand the deed was accomplished. His electing a new legislature, by his own authority' and without any appeal to the people, could not be a measure of the same dubious unpopularity: in its support however might be pretended the distraction of the times, and the consequent
e On the 19th of April, 1653. In this instance certainly the people had nothing to do with the laws but to oley them; and I am rather surprised that the Prelate, (Dr. Horsley at that time bishop of Rochester,) who made this assertion, did not advance in its support the example now before us, of a parliament elected by one man, and that man a victorious general. This parliament was assembled by a summons addressed in the name of the Captain General, &c. to the parti. cular person who was to be a member of the legislature.
plea of political expediency. The puny Parliament, which was thus assembled, and which, from the name of one of its leading members, was called Barebone's Parliament, began its sittings on the fourth of July, but after acting for a few months, as the instrument of Cromwell and with evident incompetency to the task of government, it resigned its power' into the hands of its political creator; and the Captain General, with his inilitary council, found himself the master of a kind of derelict community.
In this emergency the Council of Officers, pretending for their deed a species of parliamentary delegation, undertook to provide for the settlement of the public by placing the government in the hands of their leader Cromwell, with the title of Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England. A provision was made for the convention of a triennial parliament, in the constitution of which some regard was discovered for the people's rights, and the Protector was installed in his high office with great solemnity and magnificence on the 16th of December 1653.
It was immediately after this remarkable
& A leather-seller of Fleet Street.
i On the 13th of Dec. 1653.
occurrence that Milton, as it is probable, composed that part of his “Second Defence," which I am now about to transcribe. He could not be insensible to those egregious mockeries which had been practised on the people; but it was natural for him not to abandon without extreme reluctance the hopes, which he had so long and so fondly cherished, of the Protector's rectitude of intention; and he seems desirous of urging this extraordinary man to a just and a generous use of power, with every motive which could be suggested by wise counsel or by cloquent panegyric. Nilton certainly approaches the master of England with elevated sentiments, and, even in his praises, discovers the equality of an erect and independent spirit. This the reader of the following animated apostrophe, which forms a part only, though the far larger part of the whole masterly address, will not be permitted to doubt. My extract is preceded by a rapid and striking enumeration of those great events which had distinguished the two or three preceding years,—the recovery of Ireland by one decisive blow; the subjugation of Scotland, which had been rainly attempted by the English monarchis during a period of eight hundred years; the great and crowning
victory at Worcester; the dismission of the Long Parliament: the meeting and the subsequent abdication of the succeeding LegisJature. The deserted commonwealth is then represented as leaning for support on Cromwell alone; who by that best of rights, acknowledged by reason and derived from God, the right of superior talents and virtue, is in possession of the supreme power. The relative merits of the several titles of honour are afterwards discussed, and the magnanimity of Cromwell, evinced by his rejection of the name of king, is the topic of praise with which my extract commences.
* Tu igitur, Cromuelle, magnitudine illâ animi macte esto; te enim decet: tu patriæ liberator, libertatis auctor, custosque idem et
* It is remarkable that the magnanimity and high tone of this address of Milton's to the great Protector, struck Morus, and was objected by him to his adversary as an evidence of overweening pride and an imperious spirit: and yet has this very address been adduced in our days by the enemies of our author to prove his
sycophancy and the nean accommodation of his principles!!-Let us attend to the observations made by Morus on the subject. “Quæ quidem omnia spiritus tibi tam altos induerunt, ut proximus a primo censeri concupiveris, adeoque celsissimo Cromuello celsior appareas interdum ; quem sine ullà honoris præfatione familiariter appellas, quem specie laudantis doces, cui leges dictas, titulos circumscribis, munia præscrilis, consilia suggeris, et, si secus fecerit, minas ingeris. Illi arma et imperium concedis, ingenium tibi togamque vindicas. [Alex. Mori Fides Publia, p. 72, 73.]