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the battle, while yet on the field, so tender a line as the following—so unaffected, no boasting, scarce an allusion to the difficulty or the deliverance, but a simple gleam of affection playing forth from the heart of the strong man. “For my beloved wife, Elizabeth Cromwell, at the
“4th September, 1650. “ MY DEAREST,
“I have not leisure to write much. But I could chide thee that in many of thy letters thou writest to me, that I should not be unmindful of thee and thy little ones. Truly, if I love thee not too well, I think I err not on the other hand much. Thou art dearer to me than any other creature : let that suffice.
“ The Lord hath showed us an exceeding mercy; who can tell how it is! My weak faith has been upheld. I have been in my inward man marvellously supported, though, I assure thee, I grow an old man, and feel infirmities of age marvellously creeping on me. Would my corruptions did as fast decrease! Pray on my behalf in the latter respect. The particulars of our late success Harry Vane or
1 'The Cockpit was then and long afterwards a sumptuous royal lodging in Whitehall : Henry VIII.'s place of cockfighting. Cromwell's family removed thither, by vote of the Commons, during the Irish campaign. The present Privy Council office is built on its site,
Gilbert Pickering will impart to thee. My love to all dear friends. I rest thine,
“ OLIVER CROMWELL.” The letters on that 4th of September are various pious words hastily penned. Here are some of his words to Ireton in Ireland :
“I remember you at the throne of grace. I heard of the Lord's good hand with you in reducing Waterford, Duncannon, and Carlow : His name be praised.
“We have been engaged upon a service fullest of trial ever poor creatures were upon. We made great professions of love, knowing we were to deal with many who were godly, and who pretended to be stumbled at our invasion. We were rejected again and again."
By letters like these we are admitted into the most inner sanctuary of Cromwell's life ; and nowhere do we more clearly see its beauty. Beauty! To many this term will seem strange, applied to this man; but does not beauty ever dwell with strength ?—and tenderness, is it not the companion of power ? The weak and luxurious Charles could not write such letters. It is very charming to find such fresh and beautiful feelings playing round and through the spirit of a man who was faded and worn down with the burden of overwhelming power, who had ascended to the very highest height of earthly authority. Here is another letter to his wife, bearing nearly the same date :
“I praise the Lord that I have increased in strength in my outward man ; but that will not satisfy me, except I get a heart to love and serve my heavenly Father better, and get more of the light of His countenance, which is better than life, and more power over my corruptions. In these hopes I wait, and am not without expectation of a gracious return. Pray for me; truly I do daily for thee and the dear family; and God Almighty bless you all with His spiritual blessings.
“Mind poor Betty of the Lord's great mercy. Oh, I desire her not only to seek the Lord in her necessity, but in deed and in truth to turn to the Lord, and to keep close to Him, and to take heed of a departing heart, and of being cozened with worldly vanities, and worldly company, which I doubt she is too subject to. I earnestly and frequently pray for her, and for him. Truly they are dear to me, very dear; and I am in fear lest Satan should deceive them, knowing how weak our hearts are, and how subtle the adversary is, and what way the deceitfulness of our hearts and the vain world make for his temptations. The Lord give them truth of heart to Him. Let them take Him in truth, and they shall find Him.
“My love to the dear little ones; I pray for them. I thank them for their letters ; let me have them often.
Beware of my Lord Herbert's resort to your house. If he do so, it may occasion scandal, as if I
were bargaining with him. Indeed, be wise; you know my meaning. Mind Sir Harry Vane of the business of my estate; Mr. Floyd knows my mind in that matter.
“If Dick Cromwell and his wife be with you, my dear love to them. I pray for them. They shall, God willing, hear from me. I love them very dearly. Truly I am not able as yet to write much; I am weary, and rest thine,
" OLIVER CROMWELL."
We have also another short epistle sent to the same lady next month.
• I could not satisfy myself to omit this post, although I have not much to write ; yet, indeed, I love to write to my dear, who is very much in my heart. It joys me to hear thy soul prospereth. The Lord increase His favours to thee more and more. The greatest good thy soul can wish is, that the Lord lift upon thee the light of His countenance, which is better than life. The Lord bless all thy good counsel and example to all those about thee, and hear thy prayers, and accept thee always.
“I am glad to hear thy son and daughter are with thee. I hope thou wilt have some good opportunity of good advice to him. Present my duty to my mother, my love to all the family. Still pray for thine,
“ OLIVER CROMWELL,"
Indeed, at this point in Cromwell's history, we might pause long, and notice many touches—traces of his love for the various members of his family. We might run back through the several past years of his life, and notice the combination of affection, piety, and purity developed in his correspondence.
He never writes to his daughters without guiding them to the best life. He never writes to his son without an effort to lead him to the best thoughts and noblest actions, and this with no spirit of acrimony or sternness, but with real cheerfulness. This is very notice
. able, among other things, the real kindliness of the man, the homeliness of his feelings, the play of sunny good humour through his thoughts, and through his pen also. Here is a letter which it may be interesting to read :"For my beloved daughter, Bridget Ireton, at Cornbury, the General's Quarters: These.
“25th October, 1646. "DEAR DAUGHTER,
"I write not to thy husband; partly to avoid trouble, for one line of mine begets many of his, which I doubt makes him sit up too late ; partly because I am myself indisposed [i.e. not in the mood] at this time, having some other considerations.
“Your friends at Ely are well; your sister Claypole is, I trust in mercy, exercised with some perplexed thoughts. She sees her own vanity and carnal mind -bewailing it. She seeks after (as I hope also) what