Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

lently and most largely laid open by a whole book written upon that subject, I shall only desire you here to remember the thing in general, and to be pleased to look upon that author, when you would recollect all the particulars and circumstances of the iniquity. The other design, of raising a present sum of money, which he violently pursued, but durst not put in execution, was by the calling in and establishment of the Jews at London; from which he was rebutted by the universal outcry of the divines, and even of the citizens too, who took it ill, that a considerable number at least amongst themselves were not thought Jews enough by their own Herod. And for this design, they say, he invented (oh Antichrist! norajw and S Ilowjgo;!) to sell St. Paul's to them for a synagogue, if their purses and devotions could have reached to the purchase. And this, indeed, if he had done only to reward that nation, which had given the first noble example of crucifying their king, it might have had some appearance of gratitude: but he did it only for love of their mammon; and would have sold afterwards for as much more St. Peter's (even at his own Westminster) to the Turks for a motquito. Such was his extraordinary piety to God, that he desired he might be worshipped in all manners, excepting only that heathenish way of the Common-prayer book. But what do I speak of his wicked inventions for getting money; when every penny, that for almost five years he took every day from every

VOL. III. K

man living in England, Scotland, and Ireland, was as much robbery, as if it had been taken by a thief upon the highways? Was it not so i or can any man think that Cromwell, with the assistance of his forces and moss-troopers, had more right to the command of all men's purses, than he might have had to any one's, whom he had met and been too strong for upon a road? And yet, when this came, in the case of Mr. Coney *, to be disputed by a legal trial, he (which was the highest act of tyranny that ever was seen in England) not only discouraged and threatened, but violently imprisoned the counsel of the plaintiff; that is, he shut up the law itself close prisoner, that no man might have relief from or access to it. And it ought to be remembered, that this was done by those men, who a few years before had so bitterly decried, and openly opposed, the king's regular and formal way of proceeding in the trial of a little ship-money.

"But, though we lost the benefit of our old courts of justice, it cannot be denied that he set up new ones; and such they were, that as no virtuous prince before would, so no ill one durst, erect. What, have we lived so many hundred years under such a form of justice as has been able regularly to punish all men that oflended against it; and is it so deficient just now, that we .must seek out new ways

•Which the reader may see in lord Clarendon, H. R. vol iii. fiiL p. 596. Huai>. . • how to proceed against offenders? The reason, which can only be given in nature for a necessity of this, is, because those things are now made crimes, which were never esteemed so in former ages; and there must needs be a new court set up to punish that, which all the old ones were bound to protect and reward. But I am so far from declaiming (a* you call it) against these wickednesses (which if I should undertake to do, I should never get to the peroration), that you sec I only give a hint of some few, and pass over the rest, as things that are too many to be numbered, and must only be weighed in gross. Let any man shew me (for, though I pretend not to much reading, I will defy him in all history), let any man shew me (I say) an example of any nation in the world (though much greater than ours), where there have, in the space of four years, been made so many prisoners, only out of the endless jealousies of one tyrant's guilty imagination. I grant you, that Marius and Sylla, and the accursed triumvirate after them, put more people to death; but the reason, I think, partly was, because in those times that had a mixture of some honour with their madness, they thought it a more civil revenge against a Roman, to take away his life, than to take away his liberty. But truly, in the point of murder too, we have little reason to think that our late tyranny has been deficient to the examples that have ever been set it in other countries. Our judges and our courts of justice have not been idle: and, to omit

the whole reign of our late king (till the beginning of the war), in which no drop of blood was ever drawn but from two or three ears, I think the longest time of our worst princes scarce saw many more executions than the short one of our blessed reformer. And we saw, and smelt in our open streets (as I marked to you at first), the broiling of human bowels as a burnt-offering of a sweet savour to our idol; but all murdering, and all torturing (though after the subtilest invention of his predecessors of Sicily), is more humane and more supportable, than his selling of Christians, Englishmen, gentlemen; his selling of them (oh monstrous! oh incredible!) to be slaves in America. If his whole life could be reproached with no other action, yet this alone would weigh down all the multiplicity of crimes in any of our tyrants ; and 1 dare only touch, without stopping or insisting upon, so insolent and so execrable a cruelty, for fear of falling into so violent (though a just) passion, as would make me exceed that temper and moderation which I resolve to observe in this discourse with you.

"These are great calamities: but even these are not the most insupportable that we have endured; for so it is, that the scorn, and mockery, and insultings of an enemy are more painful than the deepest wounds of his serious fury. This man was wanton and merry (unwittily and ungracefully merry) with our sufferings: he loved to say and do senseless and fantastical things, only to shew his power of doing or saying any thing. It would ill befit mine, or any civil mouth, to repeat those words which he spoke concerning the most sacred of our English laws, the Petition of Right, and Magna Charta *. To-day, you should see him ranting so wildly, that nobody durst come near him; the morrow, flinging of cushions, and playing at snow-balls, with his servants. This month, he assembles a parliament, and professes himself with hunrble tears to be only their servant and their minister; the next month, he swears by the living God, that he will turn them out of doors, and he does so, in his princely way of threatening, bidding them, 'Turn the buckles of their girdles behind thorn.' The representative of a whole, nay of three whole nations, was in his esteem so contemptible a meeting, that he thought the affronting and expelling of them to be a thing of so little consequence, as not to deserve that he should advise with any mortal man about it. What shall we call this? boldness or brutishness ? rashness or phrensy? There is no name can come up to it; and therefore we must leave it without one. Now a parliament must be chosen in the new manner, next time in the old form, but all cashiered still after the newest mode. Now he will govern by major-generals, now by one house, now by another house, now by no house; now the freak takes him, and he makes seventy

• In the case of Coney, before mentioned.

« PoprzedniaDalej »