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EPILOGUE.

XVIII.

CROMWELL'S CONTEMPORARIES:

SIR HARRY VANE.

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CHAPTER XVIII.

CROMWELL'S CONTEMPORARIES : SIR HARRY VANE.

THE

'HE name of Sir Harry Vane is better known

to the greater number of English readers, probably, from Cromwell's well-known ejaculation when he was dissolving the Long Parliament, than from any other association. His life has not been often written, his works have not been reprinted, and, of the great statesmen of the age to which he belonged, his name is perhaps the most seldom pronounced. Wordsworth has indeed included him in his famous sonnet

“Great men have been among us; hands that penned
And tongues that uttered wisdom-better none :
The later Sidney, Marvell, Harrington,

Young Vane, and others who called Milton friend." Especially the lovers of true freedom should treat reverently the name of Vane; it should be had in everlasting remembrance. No character of his times is more consistent; it was elevated by the beauty of holiness. We have no doubt that his views were far too ideal and abstract for practical statesmanship; he demanded too much from human nature beneath the influence of other principles; there was very much of the crochetiness and impossibility of Baxter in him, but no man was more elevated and unselfish in all his aims. It would be difficult to find a character so confessedly unselfish. He was, in an eminent degree, possessed of that virtue we denominate magnanimity; his views were great, his plans were great, and he was prepared to a corresponding self-sacrifice in order to realize and achieve them.

While this was the case—while in a most true and comprehensive sense he was a Christian, and while Christianity was to him not an intellectual system of barren speculative opinions—he was so unfortunate as to be only, in his life, a target for malignity to shoot its sharp arrows at; and since his martyrdom, or murder, men like Drs. Manton and Cotton Mather, who might have been expected to treat his name with tenderness, have been among his maligners. The account of him by Baxter is in that excellent man's usual vein of narrowness and bitterness when writing of those whose opinions were adverse to his own. He is only a “fanatic democrat," almost a papist, and quite a juggler; while Hume, when he comes to touch upon his life and writings, only finds them “absolutely unintelligible" (it is not necessary to suppose that he had ever looked at or attempted to read one of them) “exhibiting no traces of eloquence or common sense." While Clarendon was only able to sneer at him, and at his inemory, as "a perfect enthusiast, and, without doubt, did believe himself inspired." "Anthony Wood,” as Forster

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