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Here, the spirit of verse beginning a little to fail, I stopped: and his highness,smiling,said," I was glad to see you engaged in the enclosure of metre; for, if you had stayed in the open plain of declaiming against the word tyrant, I must have had patience for half a dozen hours, till you had tired yourself as well as me. But pray, countryman, to avoid this sciomachy, or imaginary combat with words, let me know, Sir, what you mean by the name of tyrant, for I remember that among your ancient authors, not only all kings, but even Jupiter himself (your juvnim pater) is so termed; and perhaps, as it was used formerly in a good sense, so we shall find it, upon better consideration, to Le still a good thing for the benefit and peace of mankind 5 at least, it will appear whether your interpretation of it may be justly applied to the person who is now the subject of our discourse."
"I call him (said I) a tyrant, who either intrudes himself forcibly into the government of his fellowcitizens without any legal authority over them; or who, having a just title to the government of a people, abuses it to the destruction or tormenting of them. So that all tyrants are at the same time usurpers, either of the whole, or at least of a part, of that power which they assume to themselves j and no less are they to be accounted rebels, since no man can usurp authority over others, but by rebelling againt them who had it before, or at least against those laws which were his superiors: and in all these senses, no history can afford us a more evident example of tyranny, or more out of all possibility of excuse or palliation, than that of the person whom you are pleased to defend; whether we consider his reiterated rebellions against all his superiors, or his usurpation of the supreme power to himself, or his tyranny in the exercise of it: and, if lawful princes have been esteemed tyrants, by not containing themselves within the bounds of those laws which have been left them, as the sphere of their authority, by their forefathers, what shall we say of that man, who, having by right no power at all in this nation, could not content himself with that which had satisfied the most ambitious of our princes? nay, not with those vastly extended limits of sovereignty, which he (disdaining all that had been prescribed and observed before) was pleased (out of great modesty) to set to himself; not abstaining from rebellion and usurpation even against his own laws, as well as those of the nation!"
"Hold, friend (said his highness, pulling me by my arm), for I see your zeal is transporting you again; whether the protector were a tyrant in the exorbitant exercise of his power, we shall see anon; it is requisite to examine, first, whether he were so in the usurpation of it. And I say, that not only he, but no man else, ever was, or can be so; and that for these reasons. First, because all power belongs only to God, who is the source and fountain of it, as kings are of all honours in their do*
VOL. III. H
minions. Princes are but his viceroys in the little provinces of this world; and to some he gives their places for a few years, to some for their lives, and to others (upon ends or deserts best known to himself, or merely for his undisputable good pleasure) he bestows, as it were, leases upon them, and their posterity, for such a date of time as is prefixed in that patent of their destiny, which is not legible to you men below. Neither is it more unlawful for Oliver to succeed Charles in the kingdom of England, when God so disposes of it, than it had been for him to have succeeded the lord Strafford in the lieutenancy of Ireland, if he had been appointed to it by the king then reigning. Men are in both the cases obliged to obey him whom they see actually invested with the authority, by that sovereign from whom he ought to derive it, without disputing or examining the causes, either of the removal of the one, or the preferment of the other. Secondly, became all power is attained, either by the election and consent of the people (and that takes away your objection of forcible intrusion); or else by a conquest of them (and that gives such a legal authority as you mention to be wanting in the usurpation of a tyrant) ; so that either this title is right, and then there are no usurpers, or else it is a wrong one, and then there are none else but usurpers, if you examine the original pretences of the princes of the world Thirdly (which, quitting the dispute in general, is a particular justification of his highness), the government of England was totally broken and dissolved, and extinguished by the confusions of a civil war; so that his highness could not be accused to have possessed himself violently of the ancient building of the commonwealth, but to have prudently and peaceably built up a new one out of the ruins and ashes of the former: and he who, after a deplorable shipwreck, can with extraordinary industry gather together the dispersed and broken planks and pieces of it, and with no less wonderful art and felicity so rejoin them, as to make a new vessel more tight and beautiful than the old one, deserves, no doubt, to have the command of her (even as his highness had) by the desire of the seamen and passengers themselves. And do but consider, lastly (for I omit a multitude of weighty things that might be spoken upon this noble argument), do but consider seriously and impartially with yourself, what admirable parts of wit and prudence, what indefatigable diligence and invincible courage, must of necessity have concurred in the person of that man, who, from so contemptible beginnings (as I observed before), and through so many thousand difficulties, was able not only to make himself the greatest and most absolute monarch of this nation, but to add to it the entire conquest of Ireland and Scotland (which the whole force of the world, joined with the Roman virtue, could never attain to) ; and to crown all this with illustrious and heroical undertakings and successes upon all our foreign enemies: do but (I say again) consider this, and you will confess, that his prodigious merits were a better title to imperial dignity, than the blood of an hundred royal progenitors; and will rather lament that he lived not to overcome more nations, than envy him the conquest and dominion of these."
"Whoever you are, said I (my indignation making me somewhat bolder), your discourse, methinks, becomes as little the person of a tutelar angel, as Cromwell's actions did that of a protector. It is upon these principles that all the great crimes of the world have been committed, and most particularly those which I have had the misfortune to see in my own time, and in my own country. If these be to be allowed, we must break up human society, retire into the woods, and equally there stand upon our guards against our brethren mankind, and our rebels the wild beasts. For, if there can be no usurpation upon the rights of a whole nation, there can be none most certainly upon those of a private person ; and, if the robbers of countries be God's vicegerents, there is no doubt but the thieves and banditos, and murderers, are his underofficers. It is true which you say, that God is the source and fountain of all power; and it is no less true, that he is the creator of serpents, as well as angels; nor does his goodness fail of its ends, even in the malice of his own creatures. What power he suffers the devil to exercise in this world, is too apparent by our daily experience; and by nothing