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private soldier, interrupted his reverie by asking what government they should have now? “ The same that there was,” he replied hastily; and turning again to the body of the King, composedly remarked that it appeared sound and well-made for a long life.
While these momentous proceedings were being carried into execution, Cromwell found time, amid all the cares of state, to carry on domestic negotiations which also had their just importance in his estimation, showing, as Carlyle somewhat quaintly remarks, “how a lieutenant-general's mind, busy pulling down idolatrous kingships, and setting up religious commonwealths, has, withal, an idle eldest son to marry !" An idle, indeed, and
very Richard Cromwell; into whose incapable hands the Commonwealth fell in due course, and was set down again in much quicker time than it now took to set it up. These "small family matters," indeed, occurring as they do in *he very heart of the momentous transactions we have been relating, afford very valuable help in forming our judgment of Cromwell. The reader will find them in Carlyle's “ Letters and Speeches of Cromwell,” as well as in Forster, and elsewhere; and if he keep in mind all the circumstances by which Cromwell was environed at the period, it will be strange if he discover no new light in them by which to judge of the man. On the 30th of January, 1649, as we have already narrated, Charles I. perished on the block. Kingly power was at an end for a time in England, and to the believers in Cromwell's baby-dreams of crowns, and his long-headed hypocrisy and ambition, here was one master-stroke struck home, one great obstacle removed, and the very moment come for deeper scheming and loftier aims; yet what is the very next work in which we find Cromwell engaged? On the 1st of February, only the second day after the consummation of that world-famous sentence and doom of Charles Stuart, King of England, Cromwell writes to "his very loving friend, Mr. Robinson, preacher at Southampton,” replying to the renewal of an old-proposed alliance, between Richard, eldest son and heir of the great General, and Dorothy, daughter of Mr. Mayor of Hursley, a zealous Puritan, the representative of an old family of good estate in Hampshire. “Upon your testimony,” says he, "of the gentlewoman's worth, and the common report of the piety of the family, I shall be willing to entertain the renewing of the motion, upon such conditions as may be to mutual satisfaction.” The reader of these letters might imagine, from the complicated discussions that follow, that Cromwell had been an idle country squire, with no other thought in his mind from morning to night than the fit wedding of his heir, and the due settlement of jointures, “pin-money," and all the important petty details of such family matters; yet what mighty events were transacting under his guidance and counsel at the moment! It was the very crisis of the revolution, so hardly achieved. English cavaliers, horror-struck and indignant-Scots Presbyterian royalists scarcely less infuriate-Irish Papist royalists and insurrectionists raging in demonaical fury, and even continental powers threatening to step in and crush the infant Commonwealth ;-itself in a state of perilous transition. Do we not see in this the calm selfpossession, the iron nerve, of the man, who at this very crisis, (and while, as we discover, he was acting as President of the Council of State,) carried through these homely matrimonial negotiations with all the minuteness of a professional conveyancer, and saw his eldest son married to Dorothy Mayor a modest, unobtrusive, kind-hearted woman, in every way worthy to join the family circle presided over by Cromwell's noble mother and wife,-though surely no match to tempt the ambition of one who already grasped at the throne of England as an inheritance for his son! Judge, reader, if this man has really sold his soul to the tempter, and sees before him no other goal than a despot's crown, for which he has plotted dark schemes, achieved bloody victories, coerced parliaments, cajoled politicians, and finally murdered a king ? believe this, if they can ; for my part, I find it impossible.
THE IRISH CAMPAIGN.
On the 1st of May, 1649, Richard Cromwell and Dorothy Mayor were married in Hursley Church. On the 19th of the same month the following brief, but emphatic act, announced to the English nation what the wisdom of its councillors had devised for the time being as aptest and most expedient :-“Be it declared and enacted by this present parliament, and by the authority of the same: That the people of England, and of all the dominions and territories thereunto belonging, are and shall be, and are hereby constituted, made, established and confirmed to be, A Commonwealth or Free-State; and shall from henceforth be governed as a Commonwealth and Free-State,– by the supreme authority of this nation the representatives of the people in parliament, and by such as they shall appoint and constitute officers and ministers under them for the good of the people; and that without any King or House of Lords."*
The Commonwealth of England thus established, Cromwell was once more selected as the man fittest to cope with, and strangle at once, its most formidable antagonist. Charles II., as he was already called by his own adherents, had proved as pliable in an alliance with the Papists of Ireland, as he did very speedily after with the Covenanting Presbyterians of Scotland ; and a formidable Irish insurrection and army of resistance, called for measures of
• Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, vol. i. p. 408.
the very promptest kind to put an end to it. Before Cromwell proceeded to his new field of action, however, he had another, and perhaps still more formidable insurrection to nip in the bud. Just while the LieutenantGeneral was settling the disputed points of his son's marriage-settlement, and Dorothy Mayor was discussing with her bride’s-maids her wedding dresses, intelligence is received of certain ominous extremes of republican excesses breaking out in the very heart of the Commonwealth's own army. The Levellers, as they were styled, aimed at community of goods, a paradisaical state of simplicity, and an immediate preparation for the beginning of the millennium-believed by them to be at hand ;—one of the wildest off-shoots of the revolution. A sort of “ Calvinistic Sans-culottism,” as Carlyle styles it; or rather a sort of belligerent Quakerism ; most inopportune and formidable at such a crisis. Cromwell set off in hot haste after these levellers, now headed by officers of some note, and spreading disaffection and mutiny through the army; by marches of forty and fifty miles a-day he pushed on through the midland counties; pounced unexpectedly on these levellers while some hundreds of them were quietly asleep in bed, fancying perhaps the General scarcely out of London yet; and this threatening mutiny was effectually levelled; rigorous court-martials, tempered by well-timed clemency, rooting out every vestige of the noxious weed. This done, Cromwell proceeded on his warlike visit to Ireland, where a horrible plot had been organized for blotting out the very name of Protestantism, and erasing every trace of English rule or occupation from the Irish soil. While England was busied with her own life-struggles, these plotters had found abundant opportunity for perpetrating their horrible schemes of vengeance. It was not as armies, but as hordes of savages, ever growing more maddened by the blood they spilled, that that wretched land was overrun. English Protes