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liberal-minded men would not persuade themselves to entertain, even for the prevention of all the mischief the others intend. And whosoever observes the ill arts by which these men use to prevail upon the people in general; their absurd, ridiculous lying, to win the affections, and corrupt the understandings of the weak; and the bold scandals to confirm the wilful; the boundless promises they presented to the ambitious; and their gross, abject flatteries and applications to the vulgar-spirited, would hardly give himself leave to use those weapons for the preservation of the three king
By such means a civil war was brought on ; by such weapons the civil and religious establishments of the kingdom were for a season overthrown. The wisest of men has said, “ the thing which hath been, it is that which shall be :” and the same means will produce a recurrence of the same evils unless right-minded men learn wisdom from the past. There is no historian, ancient, or modern, with whose writings it so much behooves an Englishman to be thoroughly conversant, as Lord Clarendon.
One day when Cromwell had spoken warmly in the house, Lord Digby asked Hampden who he was; and Hampden is said to have replied, “ That sloven whom you see before you, hath no orna
(* Clar. Hist., vol. ii., p. 57, ed. 1826.]
ment in his speech ; that sloven, I say, if we should ever come to a breach with the king (which God forbid !) in such a case, I say, that sloven will be the greatest man in England.” Baxter has said of Hampden, that he was a man whom “friends and enemies acknowledged to be the most eminent for prudence, piety, and peaceable councils.” That he was a man of consummate abilities is certain ; that he was eminently pious may be believed, the darkest political intrigues being perfectly compatible with the eminent piety of that age ; but no man even in that age had less pretension to be praised for his peaceable councils. Had Hampden died soon after the meeting of the Long Parliament, when he possessed more power to do good or hurt than any person of his rank had ever possessed before him, he would have left a character unimpeached and unimpeachable, and have deservedly held in the hearts of all good and wise men that place which he holds now with those only who know him by name alone, or who avow their attachment to the cause for which he bled in the field, without being more explicit than is convenient concerning the nature of that cause. His noble stand against an illegal exertion of the prerogative would have entitled him to the everlasting gratitude of his country; and if he could have been contented with defining that prerogative, limiting it within just bounds, redressing the existing grievances,
and giving the constitution that character which it obtained after the Revolution, he would have left a memorable name. And this was in his power.
What his views were can only be inferred from the course of his conduct; for he was cut off before the time arrived for openly declaring them. The probable inference is, that like Ireton, Algernon Sidney, and Ludlow, he was a stern republican. Having read of no constitution so happily balanced as that which this country has enjoyed since the Revolution, and seeing nothing like it in our previous history, he may have believed such a balance of power to be unattainable, and therefore have resolved upon endeavoring to introduce a simpler and severer form. On the supposition that the alternative was an absolute monarchy (such as, till his time, the sovereign of this kingdom had claimed, and the parliaments had acknowledged) or a commonwealth, he may have properly and uprightly preferred that polity under which the most security had been enjoyed, the greatest talents had been called forth, and the most splendid exploits had been achieved. But if, upon this fair ground, they who reasoned thus may be justified in wishing for the end at which they aimed, nothing can justify the means by which it
[* He was mortally wounded in a skirmish on Chalgrove Field, 18th June, 1643.]
was pursued ; and in those means no more deeply implicated than Hampden. The catholics never more boldly avowed the principle, that any means are lawful for compassing a necessary end, than the puritans acted upon it: even good men of feeble understandings or weak characters, were too easily inveigled into that conclusion ; whereas, as their great contemporary historian has justly observed," the true logic is, that the thing desired is not necessary, if the ways are unlawful which are proposed to bring it to pass.”
One set of men were bent upon pulling down episcopacy, though it should occasion as bloody a war as any with which England had ever been afflicted. There were others who knew these men to be knaves, but were willing to act in concert with them, for the purpose of destroying the monarchy, meaning, when that object should have been effected, to deal with them as they had dealt with others. From the hour of Strafford's arrest they felt their strength, and saw that, by the means which they were prepared to use, success was certain. His arrest had been carried with an overwhelming power, because the great majority *of members dreaded the influence of a minister so resolute, so able, and so arbitrary; and therefore with the best intentions voted for it by acclamation. But when that illustrious victim was to be destroyed by measures more flagrantly illegal, and more tyrannical, than the worst actions of which he stood accused, they who had taken upon themselves to raise and to direct the storm well knew that the co-operation of no upright man could be expected. But they knew also where to look for other allies, and how to force most even of those who abhorred their purpose, to act in subservience to it.
“Craft, go thou forth!
Fear, make it safe for no man to be just !
Keep down the best, and let the worst have power !" They proceeded upon a deliberate system of deceit and intimidation. Free license was given to a libellous press; the pulpits were manned with seditious preachers: they got the management of the city into their hands, by ousting from the common council the grave and substantial citizens, of whom till then it had been composed, and filling their places with men for whom factious activity was deemed sufficient qualification ; and by choosing a demagogue lord-mayor, who was ready for any act of rebellion and treason. How easily the populace were to be duped they well understood, and how justly characterized by a dramatist of their own age, —
“Good silly people ; souls that will