« EdellinenJatka »
those about him knew he never had any reason. He himself, in 1657, told a friend at Dalkeith, that the king would be restored before the thirtieth year of his age; and being asked how he came to know it, replied, he had it from one that had cast his nativity. The other rejoined, that he also had heard something of a like nature, about the king's being restored by a Monk. Here some other persons entered the room, and the discourse was dropped.
If nothing but an express declaration in a king's behalf, could be understood to point out a king's friend, then Sir George Booth, whom every body knows to have been one, had no intentions in his majesty's favour, for he declared none. The addresses from the cities and counties made no mention of the king, they were only for a free and full parliament; yet none will question, that they sought this but as the means of his majesty's restoration. In like manner, the general masqued his real intentions, and waited for the proper opportunity to declare that which he had already intended.
Those who deny that the general had a full and constant purpose to restore his majesty, assert, that he was first led to entertain it, in consequence of the Rump's having voted from him his commission. These persons must be content to be better instructed in the passages of those times. The general never had any commission, but was supposed to act as one of the commissioners, being one of the seven. During the interruption, occasioned by the violence of the army, there was, indeed, sent him a kind of paper-commission, from some nine or ten of the council, who had no authority to grant any such commission; and even this became void, on the election of a new council of state. This was long before his arrival in London, and the commission was never renewed. After his retreat into the city, and declaration for a full and free parliament, they reduced by act, (as they called it) the seven commissioners to five, of whom the general was still one. The world must be strangely ignorant, when men dare to avow such gross untruths as have gone abroad in the diurnals. There was no loss of commission in the case, but just and resolute purposes of royalty.
It is supposed by some, that there was an oath taken in Scotland against his majesty's restoration-a falsehood, so boldly affirmed, as to make one marvel at the confidence of some men. During the four years of my residence in Edinburgh, I never heard of this oath; and, for that interval, can answer, that none such was propounded. Besides, what effect would it have had, but to render the Scots his determined enemies, and indispose them to assist him in his undertaking, when he treated with them for aid. It would have displeased,
also, his friends in England, who were in correspondence with him; for, though he maintained a profound silence, yet, as several can testify, he began to bestir himself, at the instigation of Sir John Grenville. There was, indeed, an engagement entered into by some persons upon the Rump's return to power; but many officers were left at liberty, as being thought to be sufficiently engaged by their commissions. As for the oath of abjuration, it was imposed only upon the council of state, of which the general was a member : but he always abhorred that oath, and dissuaded all his friends from taking it. They may, therefore, spare their charity, who, having put the general and his officers in this dilemma, that they must either be perjured, or never have intended the restoration, kindly suppose them guilty of the lesser crime. I commend the wisdom of these people, in disseminating their reports in the dark; otherwise, there are many disbanded Cold-streamers to instruct them in the truth, and teach them to abstain from scandals, reflecting upon the honour and conscience of so many generous persons.
But why should we listen to the testimony of drunkards, who never were worthy of trust in concerns even of the least importance, in opposition to the known services of the general? Their frothy discourse proceeds but from the vapours and foam of wine : for men in their cups will arrogate to themselves that which they never heard of till it was done. The conversion of some great persons is, uncharitably enough, attributed to the happy revolution in his majesty's affairs ; but this could not be the case with the general, who began and concluded this great affair. Surely, his loyalty did not spring from his actions, but his actions from his loyalty.
To ascribe, as some do, the Restoration, which was under debate for years, and took months to execute, to the blind operations of chance, were to deny the divinity, and, like the fate of the Stoics, keep the world ever at a peradventure. To assert that the general took any suggestions from his brother, is to shew an entire ignorance of the characters of the two men. It is an easy
task to collect matter for defamation, even in the case of men the most reserved, for when a victim is to be offered up, any hedge will supply sticks for kindling the fire. The general, by his situation, was exposed to censure much more than other men, for it reduced him to the necessity of disobliging all factions in turn. The pretended purchasers of land, the officers of the disbanded army, dependants who laid claims to rewards on the score of imaginary services, and the poor royalists themselves, not over well pleased at the great favour he enjoyed, all united to assail his reputation, and revenge with their tongues the loss of their hopes. But
it will be found that malice connot plunder him, though dead, of the glory of his services to his king and country. Another age shall admire what this despises, and this age be despised for not admiring what is truly admirable. All truths are not fit for all times, but they will ripen and become easy of digestion.
Another objection urged against the general, is, that he betrayed his trust, and broke his word pledged for the support of a commonwealth, and for liberty of conscience. He could not betray any trust, for he had none. Formerly, indeed, he had held a commission under Oliver Cromwell, but this expired with his son, who allowed himself to be fooled out of the saddle. Afterwards, the Rump sent him down a commission, signed in some blind alehouse in London, when they durst not show their heads in the streets; but this he looked upon only as a letter, and not as any authority under which to act. His only commission, in truth, was that which he derived from the choice and consent of his officers, by whose vote he was determined in every transaction. As for the Rump, he exercised no control over them, gave them no disturbance; and had they been pleased to allow a free and frequent choice of representatives, and not thought fit to sit for ever within those walls, to tyrannize over the good people of England, they might have set up their commonwealth again. But to admit of a free and full parliament, was, they said, to bring in the king, because they knew the people of England were universally so inclined. Now, I would ask these objectors, when the City of London and all the counties of England, and even the very friends of the Rump themselves, made it their continual prayer that they might have such a parliament, else they would nei. ther pay taxes, nor yield obedience, was the general to knock the people of England on the head, in order to keep some twenty regicides in power? It was clear, that nothing would satisfy the latter but to be allowed to rule for ever—which, so far from being the government of a commonwealth, would have been a pure and unmitigated tyranny. But the general came to restore freedom: nor was he then to submit to that which was absolute slavery?
The secluded members had forfeited their seats only by being too honest for their company; and after the force
upon the house, by which those of the Rump had been excluded also, was removed, why were the latter to return without their brethren? He declared, indeed, for the parliament, but it was for a lawful parliament, in which the one had as fair a right to their seats as the other. The end of his appearing was to subject the military to the civil power : and when this was done, all those that had been under constraint naturally
resumed their rights, the secluded members as well as the Rumpers. The general considered that, in restoring to the people their right of freely electing a parliament that might have established what government it pleased, he had made good all his promises in behalf of a commonwealth. And thanks be to God, the English are a free people, who enjoy the liberty of their persons, and the property of their estates; and on whom no laws or taxes can be imposed without their consent in parliament: and what can a commonwealth bestow beyond these privileges? We are bound to remember our kings with love and gratitude, who have shewn this indulgence to their subjects. Liberty is a name and a shadow: none so real as under a good prince-nay, one tyrant is more tolerable than four hundred.
As for the general's declaration in behalf of liberty of conscience, we know well enough what his endeavours were on this head, before the new laws were enacted. So far did he wade in that business, that he was under the necessity either of returning or endangering his own safety. But what liberty would these men have? They may serve God in their families—they may even have several friends to unite with them in their worship. “ If they meant well,” I have often heard the general say, “this was enough.” How thankful to God would the poor Christians of Spain and Italy be for the same privileges! But our people think they have no liberty, unless they can raise tumults, and gather together great numbers of people, to debauch the loyal and obedient. What, I would ask, hath been the cause of the late indulgences but an intolerable insolence on the part of the vulgar towards the magistrates, tending to create new rebellion ? And this was his own sense of the matter. I can see no reason, why these people should be angry with the general, except their own passions and prejudices. He did not contrive the laws against them: as a principal officer of the king, it was his duty to see them executed: but this he did with much tenderness, and they have no right to reproach him on this head.
But, to give a fuller answer—in all his public papers the general declared his intention to uphold the magistracy and ministry : . , and what could be understood by these but the king and bishops, the two sources of all civil and ecclesiastical power? He declared, that he would adhere to the laws and rights that had been purchased by the blood of our ancestors. The very expression that obliged the Lord Fairfax to join with him: and what could be meant by this, but the great Charter of England, which provides for the king's right as well as the subject's. In the declarations, indeed, that issued from the general councils of officers, there might be some
large and lavish expressions against the king's interest and restoration, but the general was not bound by them; and these very officers, afterwards, themselves petitioned the general to do what he did—bring in the secluded members and restore the king, as the only way left to settle the nation.
But grant that the general pretended ill, with the purpose of doing the greatest
good ; did not Hashai, by the direction of the man after God's own heart, deal in like manner with Absalom, without drawing upon himself the displeasure of Almighty God? Did not Abraham, under the necessity of self preservation, fall into the same error, if we may so term the conduct of the Father of the Faithful? To adduce the testimonies of divines who justify officious lies, would be only to trouble you with quotations, without satisfying ourselves, who desire to abstain from even the appearance of evil. Yet that Scripture, which prohibits us from doing evil that good may come, may well be mitigated in the present instance, since to do evil, and to pretend it, are different things; and the general had to do at that time with no rigid divines, but cunning politicians.
I would not be understood, however, to justify the general in all his actions, for we have learned from God himself, that every man is vanity, and a great man is a lie.
ART. VI.-A Dissertation on the Pageants or Dramatic Myste
ries, Anciently performed at Coventry by the Trading Companies of that City, chiefly with reference to the Vehicle, Characters, and Dresses of the Actors. Compiled in a great degree from sources hitherto unexplored. To which are added, the Pageant of the Shearmen and Taylor's Company. And other Municipal Entertainments of a Public Nature. By Thomas Sharp. Coventry: Published by Merridew and Son; sold also by Harding, Triphook, and Lepard; Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green; Nichols and Son, London: and J. Merridew, Warwick. MDCCCXXV. Quarto. pp. 226. Three Guineas. *
* We have, in this instance, and shall, in future, depart from our former practice, of noticing only such books as were printed before the commencement of this century. When the matter is purely Retrospective, and relates to either the literature or history of past times, an adherence to our old rule only narrows the interest of the Review, and cramps its influence over its legitimate province.-ED.