Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and cowardly patience of the remaining company, all was abandoned to his pleasure; with the old hulk, and new mis-shapen and disagreeing pieces of his own, he made up, with much ado, that piratical vessel which we have seen him command, and which, how tight indeed it was, may best be judged by its perpetual leaking.

"First then, (much more wicked than those foolish daughters in the fable, who cut their old father into pieces, in hope by charms and witchcraft to make him young and lusty again) this man endeavoured to destroy the building, before he could imagine in what manner, with what materials, by what workmen, or what architect, it was to be rebuilt. Secondly, if he had dreamt himself to be able to revive that body which he had killed, yet it had been but the insupportable insolence of an ignorant mountebank; and thirdly (which concerns us nearest), that very new thing, which he made out of the ruins of the old, is no more like the original, either for beauty, use, or duration, than an artificial plant, raised by the fire of a chymist, is comparable to the true and natural one which he first burnt, that out of the ashes of it he might produce an imperfect similitude of his own making.

force or policy, but of the divine justice and pre destination; and, though we see a man, like that which we call Jack of the clock-house, striking, as it were, the hour of that fulness of time, yet our reason must needs be convinced, that the hand is moved by some secret, and, to us who stand without, invisible direction. And the stream of the current is then so violent, that the strongest men in the world cannot draw up against it; and none are so weak, but they may sail down with it. These are the spring-tides of public affairs, which we see often happen, but seek in vain to discover any certain causes:

-Omnia fluminis

Ritu feruntur, nunc medio alveo
Cum pace delabentis Etruscum

In mare, nunc lapides adesos,
Stirpésque raptas, & pecus & domos
Volventis unâ, non sine montium
Clamore, vicinæque sylvæ ;
Cùm fera diluvies quietos
Irritat amnes.
Hor. 3 Carm. xxix.

"Your last argument is such (when reduced to syllogism, that the major proposition of it would make strange work in the world, if it were received for truth; to wit, that he who has the best parts in a nation, has the right of being king over it. We had enough to do here of old with the contention between two branches of the same family: what would become of us, when every man in England should lay his claim to the government? And truly, if Cromwell should have commenced his plea, when he seems to have begun his ambition, there were few persons besides, that might not at the same time have put in theirs too. But his deserts, I suppose, you will date from the same term that I do his great demerits, that is, from the beginning of our late calamities (for, as for his private faults before, I can only wish, and that with as much charity to him as to the public that he had continued in them till hisdeath, rather than changed them for those of his latter days); and therefore we must begin the consideration of his greatness from the unlucky era of our own misfortune; which puts me in mind of what was said less truly of Pompey the Great, Nostrâ miseriâ magnus es. But, because the general ground of your augmentation consists in this, that all men who are effecters of ex-stroy or punish one nation, which may be done traordinary mutations in the world, must needs by the worst of mankind, but to exalt and have extraordinary forces of nature, by which bless another, which is only to be effected by they are enabled to turn about, as they please, great and virtuous persons); yet, when God so great a wheel; I shall speak first a few words only intends the temporary chastisement of a upon this universal proposition, which seems so people, he does not raise up his servant Cyrus reasonable, and is so popular, before I descend (as he himself is pleased to call him), or an to the particular examination of the eminences Alexander (who had as many virtues to do of that person which is in question. good, as vices to do harm); but he makes the Massanellos, and the Johns of Leyden, the instruments of his vengeance, that the power of the Almighty might be more evident by the weakness of the means which he chooses to de monstrate it. He did not assemble the serpents and the monsters of Africa, to correct the pride of the Egyptians; but called for his

“And one man then, by maliciously opening all the sluices that he can come at, can never be the sole author of all this (though he may be as guilty as if really he were, by intending and imagining to be so); but it is God that breaks up the flood-gates of so general a deluge, and all the art then and industry of mankind is not sufficient to raise up dikes and ramparts against it. In such a time it was as this, that not all the wisdom and power, of the Roman se. nate, nor the wit and eloquence of Cicero, nor the courage and virtue of Brutus, was able to defend their country, or themselves, against the unexperienced rashness of a beardless boy, and the loose rage of a voluptuous madman. The valour and prudent counsels on the one side are made fruitless, and the errors and cowardice on the other harmless, by unexpect ed accidents. The one general saves his life, and gains the whole world, by a very dream; and the other loses both at once, by a little mis take of the shortness of his sight. And though this be not always so, for we see that, in the translation of the great monarchies from one to another, it pleased God to make choice of the most eminent men in nature, as Cyrus, Alexander, Scipio, and his contemporaries, for his chief instruments and actors in so admirable a work (the end of this being, not only to de

"I have often observed (with all submission and resignation of spirit to the inscrutable mysteries of Eternal Providence) that when the fulness and maturity of time is come, that produces the great confusions and changes in the world, it usually pleases God to make it appear, by the manner of them, that they are not the effects of human

[ocr errors]

armies of locusts out of Ethiopia, and formed new ones of vermin out of the very dust; and because you see a whole country destroyed by these, you will argue from thence they must needs have both the craft of foxes, and the courage of lions?

those who are born for the erection of new empires.

"And, I confess, I find nothing of that kind, no not any shadow (taking away the false light of some prosperity) in the man whom you extol for the first example of it. And "It is easy to apply this general observation to certainly, all virtues being rightly divided into the particular case of our troubles in England: moral and intellectual, I know not how we can and that they seem only to be meant for a better judge of the former, than by men's actemporary chastisement of our sins, and not tions; or of the latter than by their writings for a total abolishment of the old, and introduc- or speeches. As for these latter (which are tion of a new government, appears probable to least in merit, or rather which are only the me from these considerations, as far as we instruments of mischief, where the other are may be bold to make a judgment of the will wanting) I think you can hardly pick out the of God in future events. First, because he name of a man who ever was called great, has suffered nothing to settle or take root in besides him we are now speaking of, who never the place of that, which hath been so un- left the memory behind him of one wise or wisely and unjustly removed, that none of witty apophthegm even amongst his domestic these untempered mortars can hold out against servants or greatest flatterers. That little in the next blast of wind, nor any stone stick to print, which remains upon a sad record for a stone, till that which these foolish builders him, is such, as a satire against him would have refused, be made again the head of the not have made him say, for fear of transcorner. For, when the indisposed and long-tor-gressing too much the rules of probability. mented commonwealth has wearied and spent I know not what you can produce for the jusitself almost to nothing, with the chargeable, tification of his parts in this kind, but his various, and dangerous experiments of several having been able to deceive so many partimounte-banks, it is to be supposed, it will cular persons, and so many whole parties; have the wit at last to send for a true physi- which if you please to take notice of for the cian, especially when it sees (which is the se- advantage of his intellectuals, I desire you cond consideration) most evidently (as it now to allow me the liberty to do so too when I begins to do, and will do every day more and am to speak of his morals. The truth of more, and might have done perfectly long since) the thing is this, that if craft be wisdom, and that no usurpation (under what name or pre- dissimulation wit, (assisted both and improved text soever) can be kept up without open force, with hypocrisies and perjuries) I must not nor force without the continuance of those op- deny him to have been singular in both; but pressions upon the people, which will at last so gross was the manner in which he made tire out their patience, though it be great even use of them, that, as wise men ought not to to stupidity. They cannot be so dull (when pohave believed him at first, so no man was fool verty and hunger begins to wet their under-enough to believe him at last: neither did any standing) as not to find out this no extraor- man seem to do it, but those who, thought dinary mystery, that it is madness in a na- they gained as much by that dissembling, as tion to pay three millions a year for the he did by his. His very actings of godliness maintaining of their servitude under tyrants, grew at last as ridiculous, as if a player by putwhen they might live free for nothing under ting on a gown, should think he represented their princes. This, I say, will not always lie excellently a woman, though his beard at the hid, even to the slowest capacities; and the same time were seen by all the spectators. If next truth they will discover afterwards is, you ask me, why they did not hiss, and exthat a whole people can never have the will, plode him off the stage; I can only answer, that without having at the same time the power, they durst not do so, because the actors and the to redeem themselves. Thirdly, it does not door-keepers were too strong for the company. look (me thinks) as if God had forsaken the I must confess that by these arts (how grossly family of that man, from whom he has raised soever managed, as by hypocritical praying and up five children, of as eminent virtue, and all silly preaching, by unmanly tears and whinother commendable qualities, as ever lived ings, by falsehoods, and perjuries even diaboliperhaps (for so many together, and so young) cal) he had at first the good-fortune (as men in any other family in the whole world. Es- call it, that is, the ill-fortune) to attain his pecially, if we add hereto this consideration, ends; but it was because his ends were so that by protecting and preserving some of unreasonable, that no human reason could forethem already through as great dangers as ever see them; which made them, who had to do were past with safety, either by prince or with him, believe, that he was rather a wellprivate person, he has given them already meaning and deluded bigot, than a crafty and (as we may reasonably hope it to be meant) malicious impostor : that these arts were a promise and earnest of his future favours. helped by an indefatigable industry, (as you And lastly (to return closely to the discourse term it) I am so far from doubting, that I infrom which have a little digressed) because tended to object that diligence, as the worst of his I see nothing of those excellent parts of na- crimes. It makes me almost mad, when I hear ture, and mixture of merit with their vices, in a man commended for his diligence in wickedthe late disturbers of our peace and happi-ness. If I were his son, I should wish to ness, that uses to be found in the persons of God he had been a more lazy person, and that

he might have found him sleeping at the hours when other men are ordinarily waking, rather than waking for those ends of his when other men were ordinarily asleep. How diligent the wicked are, the Scripture often tells us, "Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood," Isai. lix. 7. "He travels with iniquity," Psal. vii. 14. "He deviseth mischief upon his bed," Psal. xxxiv. 4. "They search "It would look (I must confess) like envy,or too out iniquity, they accomplish a diligent search," much partiality, if I should say that personal Psal. Ixiv. 6. and in a multitude of other places.kind of courage had been deficient in the man we And would it not seem ridiculous, to praise a speak of; I am confident it was not: and yet wolf for his watchfulness, and for his inde- I may venture, I think, to affirm, that no man fatigable industry in ranging all night about the ever bore the honour of so many victories, at the country, whilst the sheep, and perhaps the rate of fewer wounds and dangers of his own body; shepherd, and perhaps the very dogs too are all and though his valour might perhaps have given asleep; a just pretension to one of the first charges in an army, it could not certainly be a sufficient ground for a title to the command of three nations.

the empire; it was boldly done, to set the me tropolis of the whole world on fire, and undauntedly play upon his harp whilst he saw it burning; I could reckon up five hundred boldnesses of that great person (for why should not he, too, be called so?) who wanted, when he was to die, that courage which could hardly have failed any woman in the like necessity.

The chartreux wants the warning of a bell
To call him to the duties of his cell;
There needs no noise at all t' awaken sin,
Th' adulterer and the thief his larum has by a sin that is called like it in the scriptures.

"What then shall we say? that he did all this by witchcraft? He did so, indeed, in a great measure,

within.

But, truly, and unpassionately reflecting upon the advantages of his person, which might be thought to have produced those of his fortune, I can espy no other but extraordinary diligence and infinite dissimulation; and believe he was exalted above his nation, partly by his own faults, but chiefly for ours.

>

"And, if the diligence of wicked persons be so much to be blamed, as that it is only an emphasis and exaggeration of their wickedness, I see not how their courage can avoid the same censure. If the undertaking bold, and vast, and unreasonable designs can deserve that honourable name, I am sure, Faux and his fellow gun-powder friends, will have cause to pretend, though not an equal, yet at least the next place of honour: neither can I doubt but if they too had succeeded, they would have found their applauders and admirers. It was bold unquestionably for a man in defiance of all human and divine laws (and with so little probability of a long impunity) so publicly and so outrageously to murder his master; it was bold with so much insolence and affront to expel and disperse all the chief partners of his guilt, and creators of his power; it was bold to violate so openly and so scornfully all acts and constitutions of a nation and afterwards even of his own making; it was bold to assume the authority of calling, anel bolder yet of breaking, so many parliaments: it was bold to trample upon the patience of his own and provoke that of all neighbouring countries; it was bold, I say, above all boldnesses, to usurp this tyranny to himself: and impudent above all impudences, to endeavour to transmit it to his posterity. But all this boldness is so far from being a sign of manly courage, (which dares not transgress the rules of any other virtue) that it is only a demonstration of brutish madness or diabolical possession. In both which last cases there used frequent examples to appear of such extraordinary force as may justly seem more wonderful and astonishing than the actions of Cromwell; neither is it stranger to believe that a whole nation should not be able to govern him and a mad army, than that five or six men should not be strong enough to bind a distracted girl. There is no man ever succeeds in one wickedness, but it gives him the boldness to attempt a greater. It was boldly done of Nero to kill his mother, and all the chief nobility of

"We have brought him thus briefly (not through all his labyrinths) to the supreme usurped authority; and because you say it was great pity he did not live to command more kingdoms, be pleased to let me represent to you, in a few words, how well I conceive he governed these. And we will divide the consideration into that of his foreign and domestic actions. The first of his foreign, was a peace with our brethren of Holland (who were the first of our neighbours that God chastised for having had so great a hand in the encouraging and abetting our troubles at home): who would not imagine at first glimpse that this had been the most virtuous and laudable deed, that his whole life could have made any parade of? but no man can look upon all the circumstances, without perceiving, that it was purely the sale and sacrificing of the greatest advantages that this country could ever hope, and was ready to reap, from a foreign war, to the private interests of his covetousness and ambition, and the security of his new and unsettled usurpation. No sooner is that danger past, but this Beatus Pacificus is kindling a fire in the northern world, and carrying a war two thousand miles off westwards. Two millions a year (besides all the vails of his protectorship) is as little capable to suffice now either his avarice or his prodigality, as the two hundred pounds were, that he was born to. He must have his prey of the whole Indies both by sea and land, this great alligator. To satisfy our Anti-Solomon (who has made silver almost as rare as gold, and gold as precious stones in his new Jerusalein) we must go, ten thousand of his slaves, to fetch him riches from his fantastical Ophir. And, because his flatterers brag of him as the most fortunate prince (the Faustus, as well as Sylla, of our nation, whom God never forsook in any of his undertakings) I desire them to consider, bow,

since the English name was ever heard of, it never received so great and so infamous a blow as un. .der the imprudent conduct of this unlucky Faustus; and herein let me admire the justice of God in this circumstance, that they who had enslaved their country (though a great army, which I wish may be observed by ours with trembling) should be so shamefully defeated by the hands of forty slaves. It was very ridiculous to see how prettily they endeavoured to hide this ignominy under the great name of the Conquest of Jamaica; as if a defeated army should have the impudence to brag afterwards of the victory, because, though they had fled out of the field of battle, yet they quartered that night in a village of the enemy's. The war with Spain was a necessary consequence of this folly; and how much we have gotten by it let the custom-house and exchange inform you; and, if he please to boast of the taking a part of the silver fleet, (which indeed nobody else but he, who was the sole gainer, has cause to do) at least, let him give leave to the rest of the nation (which is the only loser) to complain of the loss of twelve hundred of her ships.

"But because it may here perhaps be answered, that his successes nearer home have extinguished the disgrace of so remote miscarriages, and that Dunkirk ought more to be remembered for his glory, than St. Domingo for his disadvantage; I must confess, as to the honour of the English courage, that they were not wanting upon that occasion (excepting only the fault of serving at least indirectly against their master) to the upholding of the renown of their warlike ancestors. But for his particular share of it, who sate still at home, and exposed them so frankly abroad, I can only say, that, for less money than he in the short time of his reign exacted from his fellow-if subjects, some of our former princes (with the daily hazard of their own persons) have added to the dominion of England, not only one town, but even a greater kingdom than itself. And this being all considerable as concerning his enterprizes abroad, let us examine in the next place, how much we owe him for his justice and good government at home.

"And, first, he found the commonwealth (as they then called it) in a ready stock of about 800,000 pounds; he left the commonwealth (as he had the impudent raillery still to call it) some two millions and an half in debt. He found our trade very much decayed indeed, in comparison of the golden times of our late princes; he left it as much again more decayed than he found it: and yet not only no prince in England, but no tyrant in the world, ever sought out more base or infamous means to raise monies. I shall only instance in one that he put in practice, and another that he attempted, but was frighted from the execution (even he) by the infamy of it. That which he put in practice was decimation 2; which was the most impudent breach of all public faith

that the whole nation had given, and all private capitulations which himself had made, as the nation's general and servant, that can be found out (I believe) in all history, from any of the most barbarous generals of the most barbarous people. Which, because it has been most excellently 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 rebuked 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! Mongòv and Movngos! to sell St. Paul's to them for a synagogue, if their purses and devotions could have reach'd 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 mosquito. 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 man living in England, Scotland, and Ireland, was as much robbery, as

it had been taken by a thief upon the highways? Was it not so? 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.Coney3, 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 a 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.

2

By decimation, is here meant, not the putting to death of every tenth man (which is the usual sense of this term), but the levying of the tenth penny on the estates of the Royalists. The word is so used by sir John Denham. HURD.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

against offenders? The reason, which can only day, you should see him ranting so wildly, that
be given in nature for a necessity of this, is, be- nobody durst come near him: to morrow, linging
cause those things are now made crimes, which of cushions, and playing at snowballs, with his
were never esteemed so in former ages; and there servants. This month, he assembles a parlia
must needs be a new court set up to punish that, ment, and professes himself with humble tears
which all the old ones were bound to protect and to be only their servant and their minister; the
reward. But I am so far from declaiming (as you next month, he swears by the living God, that
call it) against these wickednesses (which if I he will turn them out of doors, and he does so,
should undertake to do, I should never get to the in his princely way of threatening, bidding them,
peroration), that you see I only give a hint of "Turn the buckles of their girdles behind them."
some few, and pass over the rest, as things that The representative of whole, nay of three whole
are too many to be numbered, and must only nations, was in his esteem so contemptible a
be weighed in gross. Let any man show me (for, meeting, that he thought the affronting and ex-
though I pretend not to much reading, I will pelling of them to be a thing of so little conse
defy him in all history) let any man show me quence, as not to deserve that he should advise
(I say) an example of any nation in the world with any mortal man about it. What shall we
(though much greater than ours) where there call this? boldness or brutishness? rashness or
have, in the space of four years, been made phrensy? There is no name can come up to it;
so many prisoners, only out of the endless jea- and therefore we must leave it without one.
lousies of one tyrant's guilty imagination. I Now a parliament must be chosen in the new
grant you, that Marius and Sylla, and the ac- manner, next time in the old form, but all cash-
cursed triumvirate after them, put more peopleiered still after the newest mode. Now he will
to death; but the reason, I think, partly was, govern by major-generals, now by one house,
because in those times that had a mixture of some now by another house, now by no house; now
honour with their madness, they thought it a the freak takes him, and he makes seventy peers
more civil revenge against a Roman, to take away of the land at one clap (extempore, and stans
his life, than to take away his liberty. But truly pede in uno); and, to manifest the absolute
in the point of murder too, we have little reason power of the potter, he chooses not only the
to think that our late tyranny has been deficient to worst clay he could find, but picks up even the
the examples that have ever been set it in other dirt and mire, to form out of it his vessels of
countries. Our judges and our courts of justice honour. It was said anciently of Fortune, that,
have not been idle: and, to omit the whole reign when she had a mind to be merry and to divert
of our late king (till the beginning of the war), herself, she was wont to raise up such kind of
in which no drop of blood was ever drawn but people to the highest dignities. This son of For-
from two or three ears, I think the longest tune, Cromwell, (who was himself one of the
time of our worst princes scarce saw many primest of her jests) found out the true haut goust
more executions, than the short one of our of this pleasure, and rejoiced in the extravagance
blest reformer. And we saw, and smelt in our of his ways, as the fullest demonstration of his
open streets (as I marked to you at first) the uncontroulable sovereignty. Good God! What
broiling of human bowels as a burnt-offering of a have we seen? and what have we suffered? what
sweet savour to our idol; but all murdering, and do all these actions signify? what do they say
all torturing (though after the subtilest invention aloud to the whole nation, but this (even as
of his predecessors of Sicily) is more humane and plainly as if it were proclaimed by heralds through
more supportable, than his selling of Christians, the streets of London), “You are slaves and
Englishmen, gentlemen; his selling of them (oh fools, and so I will use you!"
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 I dare only touch, without stopping or insist-
ing 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 show 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 4, To In the case of Coney, before mentioned.

|

"These are briefly a part of those merits which you lament to have wanted the reward of more kingdoms, and suppose that, if he had lived longer, he might have had them: which I am so far from concurring to, that I believe his seasonable dying to have been a greater good-fortune to him, than all the victories and prosperities of his life. For he seemed evidently (methinks) to be near the end of his deceitful glories; his own army grew at last as weary of him as the rest of the people; and I never passed of late before his palace (his, do I call it? I ask God and the king pardon) but I never passed of late before Whitehall, without reading upon the gate of it, "Mene Mene, Tekel Upharsin 5." But it pleased God to take him from the ordinary courts of men, and juries of his peers, to his own high court of justice; which being more merciful than ours below, there is a little room yet left for the hope of his friends, if he have any; though the outward unrepentance of his death afford but small materials for the work of charity, especially if he designed even then to entail his own injustice upon his children, 5 Dan. v. 25.

« AnteriorContinuar »