Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

that man whom I suppose you commend by that he should have broke into a violent passion irony.

in behalf of his favourite : but he on the contrary “There would be no end to instance in the par- very calmly, and with the dove-like innocency ticulars of all his wickedness; but, to sum up a of a serpent that was not yet warined enough to part of it briefly, What can be more extraordina- sting, thus replied to me; rily wicked, than for a person, such as yourself, " It is not so much out of my affection to that qualify him rightly, to endeavour not only to person whom we discourse of, (whose greatness is exalt himself above, but to trample upon, all his too solid to be shaken by the breath of an oratory) equals and betters to pretend freedom for all as for your own sake (honest countryman) men, and under the help of that pretence to make whom I conceive to err, rather by mistake than all men his servants? to take arms against taxes as out of malice, that I shall endeavour to reform scarce two hundred thousand pounds a year,and to your uncharitable and unjust opinion. And, in raise them himself to above two millions? to quar- the first place, I must needs put you in mind of rel for the loss of three or four ears, and to strike a sentence of the most ancient of the heathen dioff three or four hundred heads ? to fight against vines, that you men are acquainted withal, an imaginary suspicion of I know not what? two thousand guards to be fetched for the king, I know ούχ' όσιαν καλαμένοισιν επ' ανδράσιν ευχέλαάσθαι. not from whence and to keep up for himself no less than forty thousand ? to pretend the defence of 'Tis wicked with insulting feet to tread parliaments, and violently to dissolve all, even of Cpon the monuments of the dead. his own calling, and almost choosing to undertake the reformation of religion, and to rob it even And the intention of the reproof there, is no less to the very skin, and then to expose it naked to the proper for this subject; for it is spoken to a perrage of all sects and heresies ? to set up counsels son who was proud and insolent against those of rapine, and courts of murder ? to fight against dead men, to whom he had been humble and the king under a commission for him ; to take obedient whilst they lived." him forcibly out of the hands of those for whom “ Your highness may please (sajd I) to add he had conquered him; to draw him into his the verse that follows, as no less proper for this net, with protestations and vows of fidelity, and subject : when he had caught him in it, to butcher him, with as little shame, as conscience or humanity, Whom God's just doom and their own sins bare in the open face of the whole world ? to receive

sent à commission for the king and parliament, to Already to their punishment. murder (as I said) the one, and destroy no less impudently the other? to fight against monar “But I take this to be the rule in the case, that, chy when he declared for it, and declare against when we fix any infamy upon deceased persons, it it when he contrived for it in his own person ? to should pot be done out of hatred to the dead, but abase perfidiously and supplant ingratefully his out of love and charity to the living: that the own general: first, and afterwards most of those curses, which only remain in men's thoughts, officers, who, with the loss of their honour, and and dare not come forth against tyrants (because hazard of their souls, had lifted him up to the top they are tyrants) whilst they are so, may at of his unreasonable ambitions ? to break his faith least be for ever settled and engraven upon tbeir with all enemies and with all friends equally ; and memories, to deter all others from the like wickto make no less frequent use of the most solemn edness; which else, in the time of their foolish perjuries, than the looser sort of people do of prosperity, the flattery of their own hearts, and customary oaths ? to usurp three kingdoms with of other men's tongues, would not suffer them to out any shadow of the least pretensions, and to perceive. Ambition is so subtile a tempter, and govern them as unjustly as he got them ? to set the corruption of human nature so susceptible of himself up as an idol (which we know, as St. the temptation, that a man can hardly resist it, Paul says, in itself is nothing), and make the be he never so much forewarned of the evil consevery streets of London like the valley of Hinnon, quences ; much less if he find not only the conby burning the bowels of men as a sacrifice to his currence of the present, but the approbation too Molochship? to seek to entail this usurpation of following ages, which have the liberty to judge upon his posterity, and with it an endless war more freely. The mischief of tyranny is too great upon the nation and lastly, by the severest even in the shortest time that it can continue; it judgment of Almighty God, to die hardened, and is endless and insupportable, if the example be mad, and unrepentant, with the curses of the to reign too; and if a Lambert must be invited to present age, and the detestation of all to suc- follow the steps of a Cromwell, as well by the ceed ?"

voice of honour, as by the sight of power and Though I had much more to say, (for the life riches. Though it may seem to some fantastiof man is so short, that it allows not time enough cally, yet was it wisely, done of the Syracusans, to speak against a tyrant) yet, because I had to implead with the forms of their ordinary jusa mind to hear how my strange adversary would tice, to condemn and destroy, even the statues behave himself upon this subject, and to give of all their tyrants: if it were possible to cut them even the devil (as they say) bis right and fair out of all history, and to extinguish their very play in a disputation, I stopped here, and ex- names, I am of opinion that it ought to be done; pected (not without the frailty of a little fear) but, since they have left behind them too deep

wounds to be ever closed up without a scar, at Sir Thomas Fairfax. least let us set such a mark upon their memory,

What men of the same wicked inclinations may be How has it snatch'd our flocks and herds away! ho less affrighted with their lasting ignominy, And made even of our sons a prey! than enticed by their momentary glories. And, What croaking sects and vermin has it sent, that your highness may perceive, that I speak The restless nation to torment! not all this out of any private animosity against What greedy troops, what armed power the person of the late protector, I assure you, Of Dies and locusts, to devour tipon my faith, that I bear no more hatred to his The land, which every where they fill! name, than I do to that of Marius or Sylla, who | Nor fly they, Lord ! away; no, they devour Drver did me, or any friend of mine, the least

it still. injury ;” and with that, transported by a holy fury, I fell into this sudden rapture:

Come the eleventh plague, rather than this

should be ; Curst be the man (what do I wish? as though Come sink us rather in the sea. The wretch already were not so;

Come rather pestilence, and reap us down; Bat curst on let him be) who thinks it brave Come God's sword rather than our own. And great, his countrey' to enslave ;

Let rather Roman come again, Who seeks to overpoise alone

Or Saxon, Norman, or the Dane: The balance of a nation;

In all the bonds we ever bore, Against the whole but naked state,

We griev'd, we sighd, we wept; we never Who in his own light scale makes up with arms

blush'd before. the weight:

If by our sins the divine justice be Who of his nation loves to be the first,

Call'd to this last extremity, Though at the rate of being worst;

Let some denouncing Jonas first be sent, Who would be rather a great monster, than

To try, if England can repent. A well-proportion'd man.

Methinks, at least, some prodigy, The son of Earth with hundred hand

Some dreadful comet from on high, l'pon his three-pil'd mountain stands,

Should terribly forewarn the Earth, Till thunder strikes him from the sky;

As of good princes death, so of a tyrant's birth." The son of Earth again in his Earth's womb | does lie:

Here, the spirit of verse beginning a little to

fail, I stopt: and his highness, smiling, said, What bloud, confusion, rnin, to obtain “I was glad to see you engaged in the enclosure A short and miserable reign!

of metre; for, if you had staid in the open plain In what oblique and humble creeping wise of declaiming against the word tyrant, I must, Does the mischievous serpent rise !

have had patience for half a dozen hours, till But even his forked tongue strikes dead: you bad tired yourself as well as me. But pray, When he has rear'd up his wicked head, countryman, to avoid this sciomacy, or imagiHe murders with his mortal frown;

nary combat with words, let me know, sir, what A basilisk he grows, if once he get a crown. you mean by the name of tyrant, for I remember

that, among your ancient authors, not only all But no guards can oppose assaulting fears, kings, but even Jupiter himself (your juvans Or undermining tears,

pater) is so termed; and perhaps, as it was used No more than doors or close-drawn curtains formerly in a good sense, so we shall find it, keep

upon better consideration, to be still a good thing The swarming dreams out, when we sleep. for the benefit and peace of mankind; at least, it That bloody conscience, too, of his

will appear whether your interpretation of it may (For, oh, a rebel red-coat 'tis)

be justly applied to the person, who is now the Does bere his early Hell begin,

subject of our discourse." He sees his slaves without, his tyrant feels “I call him (said I) a tyrant, who either inwithin.

trudes himself forcibly into the goverrment of

his fellow-citizens without any legal anthority Let, gracious Gud! let never more thine hand over them; or who, having a just title to the goLift up this rod against our land!

vernment of a people, abuses it to the destruction A tyrant is a rod, and serpent too,

or tormenting of them. So that all tyrants are And brings worse plagues than Egypt knew. ) at the same time usurpers, either of the whole, What rivers stain'd with blood have been! or at least of a part, of that power which they What storm and hail-shot have we seen' | assume to themselves; and no less are they to be What sores deform'd the ulcerous state! accounted rebels, since no man can usurp anWhat darkness, to be felt, has buried us of thority over others, but by rebelling against them late!

who had it before, or at least against those laws

which were his superiors : and in all these senses * Countrey.) This word, in the sense of patria, no history can afford us a more evident example a as including in it the idea of a civil constitution, of tyranny, or more out of all possibility of excuse is always spelt by Mr. Cowley, I observe, with or palliation, than that of the person whom you an e before y, -countrey ;- in the sense of rus, are pleased to defend; whether we consider his without an e,-country; and this distinction, for reiterated rebellions against all his superiors, or the sake of perspicuity, may be worth preserving. his usurpation of the supreme power to himself,

or his tyranny in the exercise of it: and, if lawVOL VIL

[ocr errors]

HERD.

ful princes have been esteemed tyrants, by not serves, no doubt, to have the command of her containing themselves within the bounds of those (even as his highness had) by the desire of the laws which have been left them, as the sphere of seamen and passengers themselves. And do but their authority, by their fure-fathers, what shall consider, lastly,(for I omit a multitude of weighty we say of that man, who, having by right no things, that might be spoken upon this noble arpower at all in this nation, could not content him- gument) do but consider seriously and impartiself with that which had satisfied the most ambi- ally with yourself, what admirable parts of wit tious of our princes ? nay, not with those vastly and prudence, what indefatigable diligence and extended limits of sovereignty, which he (dis- invincible courage, must of necessity have condaining all which had been prescribed and obser. 'curred in the person of that man, who, from so ved before) was pleased (out of great modesty) contemptible beginnings (as I observed before) tu set to himself; not abstaining from rebellion and through so many thousand difficulties, was and usurpation even against his own laws, as well able not only to make himself the greatest and as those of the nation?

most absolute monarch of this nation, but to add “ Hold, friend, (said his highness, pulling me to it the entire conquest of Ireland and Scotland by my arm) for I see your zeal is transporting (wbich the whole force of the world, joined with you again ; whether the protector were a tyrant the Roman virtue, could never attain to); and in the exorbitant exercise of his power, we shall to crown all this with illustrious and heroical see anon; it is requisite to examine, first, undertakings and successes upon all our foreign whether he were so in the usurpation of it. And enemies: do but (I say again) consider this, and I say, that not only he, but no man else, ever you will confess, that his prodigious merits were was, or can be so; and that for these reasons. a better title to imperial dignity, than the blood First, because all power belongs only to God, who of an hundred royal progenitors; and will rather is the source and fountain of it, as kings are of lament that he lived not to overcome more nations all honours in their dominions. Princes are but than envy him the conquest and dominion of his viceroys in the little provinces of this world; these." and to some he gives their places for a few years, “Whoever you are,” said I, (my indignation to some for their lives, and to others (upon ends making me somewhat bolder) “ your discourse, or deserts best known to himself, or merely for methinks, becomes as little the person of a tutelar his undisputable good pleasure) he bestows, as angel, as Cromwell's actions did that of a protece it were, leases upon them, and their posterity, tor. It is upon these principles, that all the great for such a date of time as is prefixed in that pa crimes of the world have been committed, and tent of their destiny, which is not legible to you most particularly those which I have had the mismen below. Neither is it more unlawful for fortune to see in my own time, and in my own Oliver to succeed Charles in the kingdom of Eng- country. If these be to be allowed, we must land, when God so disposes of it, than it had break up human society, retire into the woods, been for him to have succeeded the lord Strafford and equally there stand upon our guards against in the lieutenancy of Ireland, if he had been ap- our brethren mankind, and our rebels the wild pointed to it by the king then reigning. Men beasts. For, if there can be no usurpation upon are in both the cases obliged to obey him whom the rights of a whole nation, there can be none they see actually invested with the authority, by most certainly upon those of a private person; that sovereign from whom he ought to derire it, and, if the robbers of countries be God's vicegewithout disputing or examining the causes, either rents, there is no doubt but the thieves and banof the removal of the one, or the preferment of ditos, and murderers, are his under-officers. It the other. Secondly, because all power is at- is true which you say, that God is the source and tained, either by the election and consent of the fountain of all power; and it is no less true, that people (and that takes away your objection of he is the creator of serpents, as well as angels; forcible intrusion); or else by a conquest of them nor does his goodness fail of its ends, even in the (and that gives such a legal authority as you malice of his own creatures. What power he mention to be wanting in the usurpation of a suffers the Devil to exercise in this world, is too tyrant); so that either this title is right, and then apparent by our daily experience; and by nothere are no usurpers, or else it is a wrong one, i thing more than the late monstrous iniquities and then there are none else but usurpers, if wbich you dispute for, and patronize in England: you examine the original pretences of the princes but would you infer from thence, that the power of the world. Thirdly, (wbich, quitting the dise of the Devil is a just and lawful one; and that all pute in general, is a particular justification of his ' men unght, as well as most men do, obey him? highness) the government of England was totally God is the foumlain of all powers; but some flow broken and dissolved, and extinguished by the from the right hand (as it were) of his goodness, confasions of a civil war; so that his highness and others from the left band of his justice; and could not be accused to have possessed bimself | the world, like an island between these two rivers, violently of the ancient building of the common- l is sometimes refreshed and nourished by the one wealth, but to have prudently and peaceably and sometimes over-run and ruined by the other; built up a new one out of the ruips and ashes of and to continue a little farther the allegory) the former; and he, who after a deplorable ship- we are never overwhelmed with the latter, till, wreck, can with extraordinary industry gather either by our malice or negligence, we have together the dispersed and broken planks and stopred and dammed up the former. pieces of it, and with no less wonderful art and / “But to come a little closer to your argument felicity so rejoin them, as to make a new vessel or rather the image of an argument, your similimore tight and beautiful than the old one, de- tude. If Cromwell bad come to command in Ire

land, in the place of the late lord Strafford, I | miserable conquest remain then in his majesty ; should have yielded obedience, not for the equi- and didst thou suffer him to be destroyed, with page, and the strength, and the guards which he more barbarity than if he had been conquered brought with him, but for the commission which even by savages and canibals? Was it for king he should first have showed me from our common and parliament that we fought ; and has it fared sovereign that sent him; and, if he could have with them just as with the army which we fought done that from God Almighty, I would have obey- against, the one part being slain, and the other ed him tou in England ; but that he was so far fled? It appears therefore plainly, that Cromwell from being able to do, that, on the contrary, I was not a conqueror, but a thief and robber of read nothing but commands, and even public the rights of the king and parliament, and an proclamations, from God Almighty, not to admit usurper uprn those of the people. I do not here

deny conquist to be sometimes (though it be * Your second argument is, that he had the very rarely) a true title; but I deny this to be a saine right for his authority, that is the foundation true conquest. Surel am, that the race of our of all others, even the right of conquest. Are princes came not in by such a one. One nation we then so unhappy as to be conquered by the may conquer another sometimes justly; and if person whom we hired at a daily rate, like a it be unjustly, yet still it is a true conquest, and labourer, to conquer others for us ? Did we fur- they are to answer for the injustice only to God nish him with arms, only to draw and try upon Almighty (having nothing else in authority above our enemies (as we, it seems, falsely thought them) and not as particular rebels to their counthem) and keep them for ever sheathed in the try, which is, and ought always to be, their supebowels of his friends ? Did we fight for liberty rior and their lord. If perhaps we find usurpaagainst our prince, that we might become slaves tion instead of conquest in the original titles of to our servant? This is such an impudent pre- some royal families abroad, (as no doubt there tence, as neither he nor any of his flatterers for have been many usurpers, before ours, though: him had ever the face to mention. Though it none in so impudent and execrable a manner) can hardly be spokea or thought of withont pas- all I can say for them is, that their title was very sion, yet I shall, if you please, argue it more weak, till, by length of time, and the death of all calmly than the case deserves.

juster pretenders, it became to be the true, be* The right, certainly, of conquest can only because it was the only one. exercised upon those against whom the war is de “ Your third defence of his highness (as your clared, and the victory obtained. So that no highness pleases to call him) enters in most seawhole nation can be said to be conquered, but by sonably after his pretence of conquest; for then foreign force. In all civil wars, men are so far a man may say any thing. The government was. from stating the quarrel against their country, broken ; who broke it? It was dissolved; who that they do it only against a person or party, dissolved it? It was extinguished; who was it, which they really believe, or at least pretend, to but Cromwell, who not only put out the light, but be pernicious to it; neither can there be any cast away even the very snuff of it? As if a man just cause for the destruction of a part of the should murder a whole family, and then possess body, but when it is done for the preservation and himself of the house, because it is better that he, safrty of the whole. It is our country that raises than that only rats, should live there. Jesus men in the quarrel, our country that arms, our God! (said I, and at that word I perceived my country that pays, them, our country that autho- pretended angel to give a start and trembled, but rizes the undertaking, and by that distinguishes I took no notice of it, and went on) this were a it from rapine and murder ; lastly it is our coun- wicked pretension, even though the whole fatry that directs and commands the army, and is mily were destroyed; but the heirs (blessed be indeed their general. So that to say, in civil God !) are yet surviving, and likely to out-live wars, that the prevailing party conquers their all heirs of their dispossessors, besides their infacountry, is to say, the country conquers itself. my. Rode, caper, vitem, &c. There will And, if the general only of that party be the con- be yet wine enough left for the sacrifice of those queror, the army, by which he is made so, is wild beasts, that have made so much spoil in the no less conqnered than the army which is beaten, vineyard. But did Cromwell think, like Nero, and have as little reason to triumph in that vic to set the city on fire, only that he might have tory, by which they lose both their honour and the honour of being founder of a new and more liberty. So that, if Cromwell conquered any beautiful one? He could not have such a shadow party, it was only that against which he was of virtue in his wickedness; he meant only to rob sent; and what that was must appear by bis more securely and more richly in midst of the commission. It was (says that) against a com- combustion ; he little thought then that he should pany of evil counsellors, and disaffected persons, ever have been able to make himself master of who kept the king from a good intelligence and the palace, as well as plunder the goods of the conjunction with his people. It was not then commonwealth. He was glad to see the public against the people. It is so far from being so, vessel (the sovereign of the seas) in as desperate that even of that party which was beaten, the a condition as his own little canoe, and thought conquest did not belong to Cromwell, but to the only, with some scattered planks of that great parliament which employed him in their service, shipwreck, to make a better fisherboat for himar rather indeed to the king and parliament, for self. But when he saw that, by the drowning of whose service (if there bad been any faith in the master, (whom he himself treacherously men's vows and protestations) the wars were un- knocked on the head, as he was swimming for dertaken. Merciful God! did the right of this his life) by the flight and dispersion of others,

and cowardly patience of the remaining com- | force or policy, but of the divine justice and pres pany, all was abandoned to his pleasttre ; with destination ; and, though we see a man, like that the old hulk, and new mis-shapen and dis- which we call Jack of the clock-house, striking, agreeing pieces of his own, he made up, with as it were, the hour of that fulness of time, yet much ado, that piratical vessel which we have our reason must needs be convinced, that the seen him coinmand, and which, how tight indeed hand is moved by some secret, and, to us who it was, may best be judged by its perpetual leak- stand without, invisible direction. And the stream ing.

of the current is then so violent, that the strongFirst then, (much more wicked than those foolest men in the world cannot draw up against it; ish daughters in the fable, who cut their old father and none are so weak, but they may sail down into pieces, in hope by charms and witchcraft to with it. These are the spring-tides of public make him young and lusty again) this man en-affairs, which we see often happen, but seek in deavoured to destroy the building, before he vain to discover any certain causes a could imagine in what manner, with what materials, by what workmen, or what architect, it

-Omnia fluminis was to be rebuilt. Secondly, if he had dreamt Ritu feruntur, nunc medio alveo himself to be able to revive that body which he Cum pace delabentis Etruscum had killed, yet it had been but the insupportable In mare, nunc lapides adesos, insolence of an ignorant mountebank; and third Stirpésque raptas, & pecus & domos ly (which concerns us ncarest), that very new Volventis unâ, non sine montium thing, which he inade out of the ruins of the old, Clamore, vicinæque sylvæ ; is no more like the original, either for beauty, use,

Cùm fera diluvies quietos or duration, than an artificial plant, raised by Irritat amnes.

Hor. 3 Carm. wixi the fire of a chymist, is comparable to the true and natural one which he first burnt, that out of “And one man then,by maliciously opening all the ashes of it he might produce an imperfect si- the sluices that he can come at, can never be militude of his own making

the sole author of all this (though he may be as “Your last argument is such (when reduced to guilty as if really he were, by intending and syllogism, that the major proposition of it would imagining to be so); but it is God that breaks make strange work in the world, if it were receiv- up the Hood-gates of so general a deluse, ed for truth; to wit, that he who has the best and all the art then and industry of mankind parts in a nation, has the right of being king over is not sufficient to raise up dikes and rampart: it. We had enough to do here of old with the against it. In such a time it was as this, that contention between two branches of the same fa- not all the wisdom and power, of the Ronan somily: what would become of us, when every man nate, nor the wit and eloquence of Cicero, 1** in England should lay his claim to the govern- the courage and virtue of Brutus, was able to ment? And truly, if Cromwell should have com- defend their country, or themselves, against menced his plea, when he seems to have begun the unexperienced rashness of a beardless boy, his ambition, there were few persons besides, that and the loose rage of a voluptuous madman. might not at the same time have put in theirs too. The valour and prudent counsels on the one But his deserts, I suppose, you will date from the side are made fruitless, and the errors and same term that I do his great demerits, that is, cowardice on the other harmless, by unexpects from the beginning of our late calamities (for, ed accidents. The one general saves his life, as for his private faults before, I can only wish, and gains the whole world, by a very dream; and that with as much charity to him as to the and the other loses both at once, by a little mispublic that he had continued in them till hisdeath, take of the shortness of his sigbt. Anal though rather than changed them for those of his latter this be not always so, for we see that, in the days); and therefore we must begin the consi- translation of the great monarchies from one tv deration of his greatness from the unlucky era another, it pleased God to make choice of the of our own misfortune ; which puts me in mind most eminent men in nature, as Cytus, Alerof what was said less truly of Pompey the Great, ander, Scipio, and his contemporaries, for bis Nostra miseriâ magnus es. But, because chief instruments and actors in so admirable the general ground of your augmentation con- a work (the end of this being, not only to de sists in this, that all men who are effecters of ex-stroy or punish one nation, which may be done traordinary mutations in the world, must needs by the worst of mankind, but to exalt and have extraordinary forces of nature, by which bless another, which is only to be effected by they are enabled to turn about, as they please, great and virtuous persons); yet, whien Gul 80 great a wheel; I shall speak first a few words only intends the temporary chase isement of : upon this universal proposition, which seems so people, he does not raise up his servant Cyrus reasonable, and is so popular, before I descend (as he himself is pleased to call him), or an to the particular examination of the eminences Alexanter (who had as many virtnes to do of that person which is in question.

good, as vices to do harm); but he makes “I have often observed (with all submission and the Massanellos, and the Johns of Leyden, the resignation of spirit to the inscrutable mysteries instruments of his vengeance, that the power of Eternal Providence) that when the fulness and of the Almighty might be more evident by the maturity of time is come, that produces the great weakness of the means which he chooses to de confusions and changes in the world, it usually monstrate it. He did not assemble the serpleases God to make it appear, by the manner pents and the monsters of Africa, to correct of them, that they are not the effects of human the pride of the Egyptians; but called for his

« PoprzedniaDalej »