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of two domestic wars their right to civil and religious liberty
With respect to the character of Oliver Cromwell, this great man (says Granger) whose genius was awakened by the distractions of his country, was looked upon as one of the people, till he was upward of forty years of age. He is an amazing instance of what ambition, heated by enthusiasm, restrained by judgement, disguised by hypocrisy, and aided by natural vigour of mind can do. He was never oppressed with the weight, or perplexed with the intricacy, of affairs; but his deep penetration, indefatigable activity, and invincible resolution, seemed to render him a master of all events. He persuaded without eloquence; and exacted obedience, more from the terror of his name, than the rigour of his administration. He appeared as a powerful instrument in the hand of Providence, and dared to appeal to the decisions of Heaven for the justice of his cause. man of abilities in the three kingdoms, and endeavoured to avail himself of their respective talents. He has always been regarded by foreigners, and of late years by the generality of his countrymen, as the greatest man this nation ever produced. It has been disputed which he deserved most, a halter or a crown;' and there is no less disparity betwixt the characters drawn of him, and the reports propagated, by his enemies and his friends. Colonel Lindsey affirmed, that he saw him enter into a formal contract with the devil ;' and Dawbeny has drawn a parallel betwixt Moses the Man of God, and Oliver the. Protector! The French court went into mourning for him; but the famous Mademoiselle de Montpensier
He knew every
disdained to pay that respect to the memory of an usurper.
Cromwell exercised what he called the sword of the spirit,' upon every occasion, where he thought the military sword would be ineffectual. He well knew that the people were ever more disposed to be led by preachers than captains, and to extend his influence over them, he united both characters. There is a Sermon, said to have been preached by him on Rom. xiii. 1. 'the last Lord's Day in April, 1649, at Sir P. T's house in Lincoln's Inn Fields. It was published in 1680. As it abounds with low ribaldry and egregious nonsense, it carries with it no
* Cromwell's nose, which was remarkably red and shining, was the subject of much ridicule. Cleaveland, in his character of a London Diurnal, says,
6 This Cromwell should be a bird of prey, by his bloody beak; his nose is able to try a young eagle, whether she be lawfully begotten: but all is not gold that glitters. Again : “ Cromwell's nose wears the dominical letter.” Another writer calls it, “ A comet in grain.” This nose Noble ascribes to the liquor, which he had drank to great excess when young, and with great freedom afterward.'
A witty portrait of him, though strongly overcharged, as being ascribed to Butler and printed in his . Posthumous Works,' is here subjoined: “ But Cromwell wants neither wardrobe nor armour; his face was naturally buff, and his skin may furnish him with a rusty coat of mail; you would think he had been christened in a lime-pit, tanned alive, and his countenance still continues mangy. We cry out against superstition, and yet worship a piece of wainscot, and idolise an unbleached almond : certainly it is no human visage, but the emblem of a mandrake; one scarce handsome enough to have been the progeny of Hecuba, had she whelped him when she was a bitch. His soul, too, is as ugly as his body, for who can expect a jewel in the head of a toad ? Yet this basilisk would king it, and a brewer's horse must needs be a lion."
internal evidence of it's being genuine. Harrison, Vane, and Peter Pett were also lay preachers in the time of the inter-regnum: the first of these persons was head of a rebaptised congregation in London.
Cromwell was not one of those men, the Abbé Raynal observes, who have appeared unworthy of empire, as soon as it was attained. He had a genius adapted to all places, all seasons, all business, all parties, all governments. He was always what he ought to be: at the head of the army, the bravest; in council the wisest ; in business, the most diligent; in debates, the most eloquent; in enterprises, the most active; in devotion, the most fanatic; in misfortune, the most firm; in an assembly of divines, the most learned ; in a conspiracy, the most factious. He never made any mistake, never let slip an opportunity, never left an advantage incomplete, never contented himself with being great when he had it in his power to be very great. Chance and natural temper, which determine the conduct of other men, did not influence the most inconsiderable of his actions.
Born with an absolute indifference to all that is praiseworthy or blameable, honest or dishonest, he never considered virtue as virtue, crimes as crimes ; he regarded only the relation, which the one or the other might have to his elevation. This was his idol: he sacrificed to it his king, his country, his religion; which he would have defended with the same zeal, had he had the same interest in protecting as in destroying them. The system of his ambition was conducted with an art, an order, a boldness, a subtilty, and a firmness, of which I believe history can show no example.
All sects, all ranks, all nations; peace, war, negotiations, revolutions, miracles, prophecies; all advanced the fortune of this hypocritical usurper. He was à man born to decide the fate of nations, empires, and ages. The splendor of his talents hath almost made the horror of his outrages to be forgotten ; posterity at least will question, whether Oliver Cromwell de served execration or admiration.
These celebrated men (Montrose and Cromwell) he adds, turned upon themselves the eyes of all Europe ; Montrose had an integrity of heart, which fixed him in the interest of his King and country; Cromwell a superiority of genius, which gave an air of equity to the most criminal actions. Vanity, properly, made the character of the first; ambition was the ruling passion of the second.
With the first, one had great hopes of conquering; with the second, one was sure not to be beaten : if the crown could have been kept on Charles' head, it was by Montrose; if it was ordained to be torn from it, it must be by Cromwell. The republican was as much superior to the royalist in depth of judgement, as he was inferior to him in goodness of heart. word, Cromwell was an illustrious villain, who can neither be praised without horror, nor despised without injustice; whom we are at once forced to admire, and to detest.
With the life of the Protector, observes Mr. Fox in his History of James II.,' almost immediately ended the government which he had established. The great talents of this extraordinary person had supported, during his life, a system condemned equally by reason and by prejudice-by reason, as wanting freedom; by prejudice, as an usurpation : and it must:
be confessed to be no mean testimony to his genius, that notwithstanding the radical defects of such a system, the splendor of his character and exploits render the æra of the Protectorship one of the most brilliant in English history. It is true, his conduct in foreign concerns is set off to advantage by a comparison of it with that of those who preceded, and who followed him. If he made a mistake in
espousing the French interest instead of the Spanish, we should recollect that in examining this question we must divest our minds entirely of all the considerations, which the subsequent relative state of those two empires suggest to us, before we can become impartial judges in it: and, at any rate, we must allow his reign, in regard to European concerns, to have been most glorious, when contrasted with the pusillanimity of James I., with the levity of Charles I., and the mercenary meanness of the two last Princes of the House of Stuart. Upon the whole, the character of Cromwell must ever stand high in the list of those, who raised themselves to supreme power by the force of their genius; and among such, even in respect of moral virtue, it would be found to be one of the least exceptionable, if it had not been tainted with that most odious and degrading of all human vices, hypocrisy.
Odious as his sway had been, many marks of public approbation were bestowed upon his memory.
The Poems of Waller, Sprat, and Dryden, though the authors lived to change their sentiments, give a very high idea of him ; but allowance must be made for poetical evidence. In his life-time his actions had been celebrated by the learned abroad, as