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that the historians of a future period may have other themes to recordthe peaceful progress of improvement, the bloodless triumphs of mechanic skill, the interchange of good offices, and that international policy which consists in an amicable rivalship to promote the general welfare. The sums hitherto lavished on expensive wars, had they been devoted to purposes of public benefit, might have converted not England only, but Europe, into a garden, and covered the country with comfortable abodes for the poor, as well as with splendid mansions for the rich.

Passing from these reflections, we may remark, that, while many regions of the globe are still unexplored, not a few of those that are discovered, are without any notice in the historic page. For instance, of China we possess no account whatever, unless it be that of Du Halde, compiled from the journals of the Jesuit missionaries, and, of course, *imperfect enough. Now, suppose a writer were to aim at giving a history of China, how is he to proceed? The materials are, probably, scanty, and the Chinese chronology is confessedly incorrect and absurd. The dynasties of emperors, like those of Egyptian kings, are involved in much obscurity. The sources of information must be such as these. Wherever oral tradition has preserved, and that uniformly, a certain class of facts, these must be carefully noted. The ballads and poetry of the country must also be inquired into, since it is well known that ancient records were often preserved in the poetical form, on purpose to assist the memory of past transactions ; and the battle of Otterburn, in our own country, is more distinctly remembered by the ballad of Chevy Chase, than by any prose description that has been given. The pillars and monuments, that is, the remains of ancient architecture, especially if covered with inscriptions, will furnish valuable information. What is the great wall of China, to repel the incursions of the Tartars, but a historical monument? Medals and coins, if any exist, will assist research, and lead to further inquiries. The public institutions of a country, when traced to their origin, cannot fail to afford the means of ascertaining an earlier or later civilisation. Their code of national and municipal law must throw additional light; even their games and festivals illustrate the character of a people. If records exist, that are at once legible and translateable, even if those records amount only to state papers, royal edicts, and the like, much information must be obtained from them. The very formation of their language, and its successive changes, form no mean part of a nation's his. tory. And above all, their system of religion and morality, their modes of worship, their mythology and sacred books, Jay the foundation for an intimate acquaintance with the shades of opinion and belief that have passed over the minds of a people ; to which add the narratives of former travellers, and of those who have made a temporary abode in the country; and from this mass of materials, a man of judgment and

N. S. VOL. VIII.

6 A

perseverance might be enabled to compile enough to satisfy the curiosity of inquirers, though, perhaps, not all that might be required by a thorough antiquary. Even astronomy lends her aid to such investigations ; for, where eclipses of the sun and moon are mentioned as connected in date with remarkable national occurrences, it may be possible to give more precision to the period of these occurrences, by reverting to those changes in the heavenly bodies, as has been done in other instances.

It need not be observed, that those historians are the most to be rehed on, who were eye-witnesses of the scenes they describe ; but as a man's opportunities for ocular observation can rarely extend beyond a very limited period, much of what he records must necessarily be collected from hearsny. Josephus was an eye-witness of the siege of Jerusalem and the wars of Titus; but for almost every other portion of his Jersh history, he was indebted, of course, to the narrative of Moses, or the extant records of his own country. Herodotus, as we are told, travelled to collect his materials ; but the question is, did he always receive bis information from credible and impartial persons ? Those historials who are naturally credulous, become the dupes of every impostor; and those who aim at minuteness of narration, are too apt to lose sight of the most important topics, and to neglect the general results. Sipplicity, perspicuity, brevity, dignity, seem to be the principal requisites for an acceptable history. As to entire freedom from prejudice, it is too much to expect from poor human nature.

Perhaps the best method of reading history is to commence with that of the four great empires of antiquity, of which we have a good summary in the well-known work of Rollin ; and having despatched the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Grecian empires, to follow out that of the Roman, by a perusal of Hooke, Gibbon, Ferguson, and Vertot, till we arrive at the rise of the Popedom. The next important study will be the narrative of the appearance of Mahomet, the propagation of Islamise, and the conquests of the Saracens, who for a time exercised an induence over Europe. The empire of the Franks under Charlemagne ma next claim attention, and then we descend gradually to the modern European kingdoms, of which France and England soon become promnent, while Russia and Sweden lag behind in the march of civilisation. At the close of the fifteenth century, we are called off unexpectedly to the discovery of a new hemisphere, under the adventurous Columbus, the voyages of Vasco di Gama to the East, and the other additions that were made to our knowledge of foreign geography. The Reformation under Luther, and the invention of printing, introduced a dew serbe; and the world settles gradually down into certain political arrange ments, when on a sudden the whole are disturbed by the volcano of the French Revolution, and the general discomfiture of the continental sovereigns. Since then, history may be said to be merged in the pers

papers and pamphlets of the passing day; nor can any man arise to describe properly the prodigies of the last forty years, till forty years more shall have fully elapsed. The historian of a future day will certainly have no reason to complain of the paucity of materials; he will rather find fault with their superabundance. Indeed, it would be desirable if every civilised state would employ suitable persons to be the regular historiographers of national transactions, that posterity may not have to wade amidst a sea of conflicting statements, where the difficulty of arriving at truth might appal the most energetic minds.

What Providence may have in store for the generations that succeed us, no human sagacity can foretel. Let us hope the best from the Divine goodness; and amidst the glimmerings of light and knowledge that mark the dawn of a brighter era, may it be our wisdom to perform the duties of our individual sphere, with that active fidelity which belongs to those who form, even in their meanest capacity, a part of the mysterious scheme of God!

CONGREGATIONALISM IN NORFOLK TWO HUNDRED YEARS

AGO.

It was intimated at the close of a former article, that there exist some curious documentary illustrations of the social influence of the Congregational churches in Norfolk, towards the close of the Commonwealth. We now proceed to present them to the reader, and shall only give those historical facts, which are necessary to explain the occasions on which they were penned. Of their authenticity there can be no reasonable doubt,* and if they betray a spirit of coquetry with the rulers of the state, it must not be forgotten that those rulers professed above all things to be gratified by the approbation and the prayers of the churches of Christ, and had used every artifice to induce those societies to regard them as the only friends of their liberties. Mrs. Hutchinson records, in the charming memoirs of her admirable husband, Colonel Hutchinson, that Cromwell and Lambert were contemplating the overthrow of the parliament, “but finding themselves not strong enough alone, they took to them Major-General Harrison, who had a great interest both in the army and the churches ; and these pretending a pious trouble that there were such delays in the administration of justice, and such perverting of rights, endeavoured to bring all

* They are found in a thin folio volume published in 1743, entitled“ Original Letters and Papers of State, addressed to Oliver Cromwell, concerning the Affairs of Great Britain, from the year 1649 to 1658. Found amongst the Political Collections of Mr. John Milton. Now first published from the originals, by John Nickolls, Jun. member of the Society of Antiquaries, London."

good men into dislike of the parliament, pretending that they would perpetuate themselves in their honours and offices, and had no care to bring in those glorious things for which they had so many years contended in blood and toil.” When, therefore, Cromwell dared, on the 20th of April, 1653, by one bold act of military despotism, to dissolve the long parliament, the Congregational churches were prepared by these artifices to hail that fatal act as the dawn of their liberties. Consequently there were sent from all parts of the kingdom, addresses of congratulation, of which the following, intrusted to the hands of the Rev. William Bridge, to be presented to the lord-general, is a fair specimen.

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CHURCHES OF NORFOLKE TO THE LORD GENERAL CROMWELL. May it please your ExcellencyWee, the churches of Christ, in the county of Norfolk, with humble thankfulnesse to the Lord of hosts, affected and stirred up in the beholding of his allmighty and most gracious arme stretched out with your excellency, and those other his chosen instruments under your command ; as also professing our speciall relation, wherein wee are called to observe and attend upon the goeings of our God for the exalting of the Lord Jesus; doe herewith unanimously, and in his holy name, acknowledge and embrace the signall fruites of his everlasting covenant-mercy, so plentifully reaped for his poore people in your excellency's late proceedings; the which as lively answeares of our instant groanes to Heaven, wee doe all take up as engagements never to be forgotten for the knitting up of our hearts to our gracious Father, and his precious instruments; still further entreating the King of saints for your excellency, that, as your love to his testimonies and to his churches, hath made your name as a precious ointment among the faithfull; soe may your wayés ever flourish under the dew of that good Spirit in the midst of your most important agitations, that all the thowsands of Israel may call you blessed. Yea againe, with joynt hearts and mouthes, we say, blessed be you in the name of the Lord.

“ Subscribed in the name of the churches, who doe intrust the Reverend Mr. William Bridge to waite upon your excellency. For the church at Norwich.... {Timothy Armitage.

s Tho. Dunne. For the church at Yarmouth .. {

Sam. Shipeham.

Edward Wale.
For the church at Hapton

Thomas Wetherell.

Will. Sheldrake.
For the church at Allby {Nathaniel Brewster.

Samuell Prentice.
For the church at Pulham {

Walter Reyner. “For his Excellencie the Lord Oliver Cromwell, Captain General of all the Forces raysed by the Commonwealth of England.”

When a new legislative assembly was to be set up, it would seer that private instructions were sent to the churches in various counties, to nominate persons from whom Cromwell and his council of officers might select members to serve in the new representative body, and it is highly probable that addresses like the preceding, indicated to the council the parties who were ready to nominate gentlemen for that service.

ADDRESS OF THE CHURCHES IN NORFOLK TO THE LORD GENERAL AND

THE COUNCELL OF STATE.

To his Excellency the Lord Generall and the Counsell of State of the

Commonwealth of England. “ Right Honourable,—We, whose names are underwritten, in the name of the respective churches of Christ, in the county of Norfolk, here under-mentioned, doe humbly nominate and present to your honours these persons on the behalfe of the saide county, viz. :

“ Major-Gen. Philip Skippon, Hen. King, Esq., Tobias Freere, Esq., Capt. Roger Harper, Major Ralfe Woolmer,

“ As men truely fearing God, experienced to be faithfull, and such as it is desired, (on the behalfe of the godly and well affected in the said county and elsewhere,) may be elected members of the succeeding Government, and keepers of the liberties of the saide Commonwealth.

} In the name of the church at Norwich. }

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John Tofte ..
Daniel Bradford
Samuell Prentice

In the name of the church at Pulham.
Thomas Benton
Nath. Brewster

In the name of the church at Alby.
John Miller
Christopher Pooly

1 In the name of the church at Windham.
Thomas Manfield
Richard Breviter In the name of the church at No.-
Anthony Playfordes . ] Walsham.
Richard Worts

1 In the name of the church at GlistEdward Gay

wyck. Christopher Cutting ] In the name of the church at TunWilliam Beane

steade."

}

..

On consulting the “ List of Members nominated, and for what places, in the Parliament, 1653,” at the close of Burton's Diary, it

appears that five members sat for this county, and three of them, Messrs. Freere, Woolmer, and King, as nominated in this address.

They met at the Council Chamber, at Whitehall, on the 4th of July, 1653, in number about one hundred and forty. The room was crowded, the day extremely hot; and Cromwell, on addressing the new parliament, said, Seeing you sit here somewhat uneasily, by reason of the scantiness of the room and heat of the weather ; I shall contract myself with respect thereto.” But he did not keep his promise, for the report of his speech fills eight closely-printed folio pages, and in many parts is so occupied with citations and expositions of Scripture texts, that it is more like a sermon than a senatorial oration.

It is unnecessary to give any extracts beyond the following, which throw light upon the constitution of the assembly :-You are called to be faithful with the saints, who have been somewhat instrumental to

“ We have not allowed ourselves in the choice of one person in whom we had not this good hope, that there was love, that there was faith in Jesus Christ, and love towards his people.” “ I desire you to be faithful with his saints—to be touched with them, and

your call.”

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