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CHAPTER VI.

1655—1658.

This seems to be the proper place to introduce the history of that noble zeal, which the Protector Cromwell manifested in defending the protestant religion ; especially as it will afford the opportunity of introducing all the let. ters written in Latin by Milton in the name of his noble Master, to the Popish and Protestant Potentates on the continent. The intrepid and humane conduct of Cromwell on this sad occasion advanced his character to an unparalleled height, even in the estimation of the Popish monarchs themselves. “ The duke of Savoy raised,” says the author of the Critical History of England, “ a new persecution of the Vaudois, massacreing many, and dria ving the rest from their habitations. Wherefore Crom. well sent to the French court, demanding of them to oblige that duke, (of Alva,] whom he knew to be in their power, to put a stop to his unjust fury, or otherwise he must break with them. The cardinal [Mazarini] objected to this as unreasonable ; he would do good offices, he said, but could not answer for the effects. However, nothing would satisfy the Protector, till they obliged the duke to restore all that he had taken from his protestant subjects, and to renew their former privileges. Cromwell wrote on this occasion to the duke of Alva himself, and by mis. take omitted the title of Royal Highness on his letter, upon which the major part of the council of Savoy were for returning it unopened; but one representing that

Cromwell would not pass by such an affront, but would certainly lay Villa Franca in ashes, and set the Swiss Cantons upon Savoy, the letter was read, and with the [French] Cardinal's influence had the desired success. The Protector also raised money in England for the poor sufferers, and sent over an agent to settle their affairs,*

* As the following remarkable anecdote mentions MILTON probably as the Secretary of the Protector, it may not be unsuitable to introduce it; especially as it is so characteristic of the decision both of Cromwell and Milton, who were in that respect kindred spirits. It is from a printed speech made to the house of commons by a Mr. Poultney, in a debate on the complaints of the West India merchants, two sessions before the war against Spain was declared :-"This was what Oliver Cromwell did in a like caee that happened during his government, and in a case where a more powerful nation was concerned than ever Spain could pretend to be. In the histories of this time, we are told that an English merchant ship was taken in the chops of the channel, carried into St. Maloes, and there confiscated upon some groundless pretence. As soon as the master of the ship, who was an honest quaker, got home, he presented a petition to the protector in council, setting forth his case, and praying for redress. Upon hearing the petition, the protector told his council, he would take that affair upon himself, and ordered the man to attend him next morning. He examined him strictly as to all the circumstances of this case, and finding by his answers that he was a plain honest man, and that he had been concerned in no unlawful trade, he asked him if he would go to Paris with a letter? The man answered he would. "Well then,' says the protector,

prepare for your journey, and come to me to-morrow morning.' Next morning he gave him a letter to cardinal Mazarini, and told him he must stay but three days for an answer. "The answer I mean,' says he is the full value of what you might have made of your ship and cargoe : and tell the cardinal, that if it is not paid you in three days, you have express orders from me to return home. The honest, blunt quaker, we may suppose, followed his instructions to a tittle; but the cardinal, according to the manner of ministers when they are any way pressed, began to shuffle: therefore, the quaker returned, as he was bid. As soon as the Protector saw him, he asked, "Well, friend, have you got your money ?' and upon the man answering him he did not, the Protector said, 'Then leave your direction with my Secretary, and you sha!) soon hear from me. Upon this occasion that great man did not stay to negociate, or to explain by long tedious memorials the reasonableness of his demand; no, though there was a French minister residing here, he did not so much as acquaint him with

By an order of Cromwell, a collection for this object was made throughout all the parish churches in England, Wales, and Ireland: it amounted to £38,241. 10s. 6d., the Protector himself commencing the subscription with £2000.* The ambassador which he sent to. Piedmont was Sir Samuel Morland, who afterwards published the history of this most murderous crusade, illustrating it with engravings of some of the most revolting and disgusting scenes that can possibly affect the heart or meet the eye.

The following inimitable lines of Milton are founded upon these horrible representations :

"ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEDMONT.
"Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold;
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worship'd stocks and stones,
Forget not; in thy book record their groans
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piedmontese, that roll'd
Mother with infants down the rocks.t Their moans

the story, but immediately sent a man of war or two to the channel, with orders to seize every French ship they could meet with. Accordingly they returned in a few days with two or three prizes, which the Protector ordered immediately to be sold, and out of the produce, he paid the quaker what he had demanded for the ship and cargo. Then he sent for the French minister, gave him an account of what had happened, and told him there was a balance, which, if he pleased, should be paid into him, to the end he might deliver it to those of his countrymen who were the owners of the French ships that had been so taken and sold.”_" Review of the Political life of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland. By the late John Bankes, Esq.; with an Appendix, containing some curious pieces relating to the Lord Protector. A new edition." London. Suld by A. Thompson, and others : without a date. This work ought to be re-printed.

* Morland's History of the Evangelical Churches in the Valleys of Piedmont, 1658, p. 584, 593.

+ Morland relates, that "a mother was hurl'd down a mighty rock. with a little infant in her arms; and three days after was found dead with

The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To heaven. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow
O'er all the Italian fields where still doth grow
A hundred fold, who have learn'd thy way,

Early may fly the Babylonian woe.', The compassion and liberality of the Lord Protector were most remarkably exemplified on this occasion. In a narrative, published by special order of the Lord Pro. tector and his Council, preserved by Morland, p. 385, it is said of Cromwell : “Having upon his spirits a deep sense of their calamities, which were occasioned by the faithful adherence to the profession of the Reformed re. ligion, was pleased not only to mediate by most pathetic letters on their behalf to the King of France and Duke of Savoy, but did also seriously invite the people of this na. tion to seek the Lord, by prayer and humiliation, in re. ference to their thus sad condition and future life.”

It is pleasing to be informed, by the same historian, of “the notable effects of the intercession of His High. ness for the poor distressed Protestants of the Valleys of Piedmont, upon the spirits of the neighbouring princes and states of the Protestant profession ;'* it was an high honour to have been the instrument in the hand of Di. vine Providence, of delivering the prey from the fang of the oppressor.

“ There was,” says Mr. Banks, “yet a farther design, very advantageous to the Protestant cause with which Cromwell intended to have begun his kingship, had he taken it upon him; and that was, the instituting a coun. cil for the Protestant religion, in opposition to the congre. gation de propaganda at Rome. This body was to consist of seven counsellors, and four secretaries for differ. ent provinces. The secretaries were to have £500. a year salary a piece, to keep correspondence every where; £10,000. a year was to be a fund for ordinary emergencies : further supplies were to be provided as occasions required; and Chelsea College, then an old ruinous building, was fitted up for their reception : this was a great design, and worthy of the man who had formed it."*

the little child alive, but fast clasped between the arms of the dead mother, which were cold and stiff, insomuch that those who found them had much ado to get the young child out.”-History of the Valleys of Piedmont, folio, London, 1655, with plates.

* Morland's History, p. 597.

The following letters, written by Milton to the poten. tates of Europe, entreating their assistance to put a stop to the cruelties of the Duke of Savoy, show the senti. ments and feelings of the Lord Protector, who appears in the most amiable light as an enlightened and pious Protestant, and ought certainly to find a place in a Life of Milton, as they doubtless exhibit, in a strong point of light, the characteristic features of his spiritual and ar. dent mind in the cause of pure and undefiled religion, of oppressed and suffering humanity.t

“ OLIVER, Protector of the Republick of ENGLAND, Scot. LAND, and IRELAND, To the niost Illustrious Prince of TARENTUM, greeting :

“Your love of religion, apparently made known in your letters to us delivered, and your excelling piety and singular affection to the Reformed Churches, more especially considering the nobility and splendour of your character, and in a kingdom too, wherein there are so

* Political Life of Cromwell, p. 229. + These letters are printed from Philips's Life of Milton, published 1694.

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