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bear. I will only trespass upon your time for a few remarks, which the mention of this character naturally excites.
The two prevalent and kindred vices in the Waverley novels, are the abuse of Scripture language, and the frequent recurrence of profane expressions. I defend them in neither. But with regard to the first, which prevails more in "Old Mortality" than in the other tales, it should be remembered that it was the fault of the times which the author described. In the debates of the Long Parliament, as frequent and revolting misapplications of Scripture language were made, as in the novel of Scott. It is the common fault of fanatics, and occurs in all ages, and in all countries. We have known a preacher in our own neighbourhood, who, a few years ago, would not suffer his leg to be amputated, till he found a warrant for it in the Book of Psalms: "He delighteth not in the strength of a horse; he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.” As to the use of profane expressions, the common cursing and swearing, which, to the disgrace of the author, is found in all the Waverley novels, I cannot advert to it, without strong indignation. It is mean, gross, vulgar, wicked. When I think of the splendid genius of Scott, his exquisite conception of character and manners, his delicate sense of beauty which seems to riot and revel among the scenes of nature; and then remember his coarse profaneness, which appears to delight in gathering up and recording the wildest and most offensive forms of vulgar blasphemy,-I can think of him only as the "Archangel ruined ";
"his form has lost
All its original brightness."
This most offensive vice occurs less frequently in "Old Mortality,” than in "Guy Mannering." But in the "Pirate ” it is shocking beyond expression. The author almost deserves the fate of the Pirate he describes. But laying out of the question, at present, these vices, which are common to all the tales of this richly-gifted, but unhallowed spirit ; and regarding his works, merely as objects of literary curiosity, I can claim for "Old Mortality" preeminence, not only over "Guy Mannering," but almost over all the novels with which I am acquainted. The action, the narrative, the grouping and contrast of characters, are not inferior, to say the least, to those in "Guy Mannering"; while in the conception of Burley, the author has approached the sublimity of Milton, and in tracing out the features of his character, has attained the life, and animation, and natural grace of Shakspeare. I do not know the book, which is the object of such engrossing and eager attention. "The charm which cannot pass away is there." Read it as often as you will, its lustre is undiminished. It produces the mental excitement which is always occasioned by the view of great powers, called into intense action; and it kindles to a loftier temper, whatever zeal may be found for civil and religious liberty.
DEFENCE OF THE CHARACTER OF
"WAS THE ACCESSION
OF OLIVER CROMWELL TO THE
SOVEREIGN POWER IN ENGLAND JUSTIFIABLE?"
IT has been the fortune of Oliver Cromwell to be the subject alike of the highest eulogies, and of the most bitter execrations. He is designated by the Anabaptists in their address to Prince Charles while in Flanders, as "that grand impostor, that loathsome hypocrite, that detestable traitor, that prodigy of nature, that opprobrium of mankind, that landscape of iniquity, that sink of sin, and that compendium of baseness, who now calls himself our Protector." And even the grave and temperate Clarendon remarks, that
no man with more wickedness ever attempted any thing, or brought to pass what he desired, more wickedly,-more in the face and contempt of religion and moral honesty; yet," he adds, "wickedness as great as his, could never have accomplished those designs, without the assistance of a great spirit, an admirable circumspection and sagacity, and a most magnanimous resolution."
On the other hand, hear his character by Dryden :
"His grandeur he derived from Heaven alone;
And Milton, in a higher strain of poetry:
Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude,
To peace and truth thy glorious way hast ploughed ;
Hast reared God's trophies, and his work pursued ;
And Worcester's laureate wreath."
Nor was this only the language of poetry. In one of the most eloquent of his prose compositions, the Second Defence of the People of England, Milton addresses this animated apostrophe to the Protector. "Proceed then, O Cromwell! and exhibit under every circumstance the same loftiness of mind; for it becomes you, and is consistent with your greatness. The redeemer, as you are, of your country; the author, the guardian, the preserver of her liberty, you can assume no additional character more important, or more august; since not only the actions of our kings, but the fabled exploits of our heroes, are overcome by your achieveReverence then yourself! and suffer not that liberty, for the attainment of which you have encountered so many perils, and have endured so many hardships, to sus
tain any violation from your own hands, or any from those of others."
Nothwithstanding these contradictory opinions,-which, however, concur in admitting Cromwell to have been the greatest man of his age,-I hope to convince you that he was a wise and virtuous man, a sincere Christian, and a true patriot; and that his assumption of the sovereign power was not merely justifiable, was but strictly conformable to his duty. I must beg you however to go back with me to the times in which he lived; and to test his conduct by the opinions which then prevailed. It would be the highest injustice, to bring our present opinions of civil government, as the standard of political morality. If the accumulated light of two centuries were cast back upon the conduct and opinions of any statesman in Europe, they would wither under its brightness, as his ancient portrait would be consumed by the rays of the sun, if poured upon it through the medium of a burning-glass. Let Cromwell be tried by the opinions of his contemporaries, or the conduct of those who preceded and followed him, and his character will remind you of one of those green spots we sometimes see in the present month on the sunny side of a hill,-if not verdant and blooming, at least giving the hope of spring amidst the coldness, barrenness, and desolation of winter, and filling the heart for a moment with vernal delight.
Cromwell was forty-one years old, when he first became known to the public as a member of the Long Parliament. Whatever were the occupations of his early years, it is certain they were such as qualified him for the career he after