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transpiring elsewhere. An accident by which Cromwell was thrown from his seat, when driving a team of horses in Hyde Park, presented to him by the Duke of Oldenburg, while it endangered his life, also revealed the fact that he carried a loaded pistol on his person ; a sufficiently significant fact, but not greatly to be wondered at in an old soldier, whose life had already been set as a mark to the assassin's dagger. Of very different import is another private incident thus touchingly alluded to by Carlyle: “What a glimpse into the interior domesticities of the Protector household have we in the following brief note ! Amid the darkness and buzzard dimness, one light beam, clear, radiant, mournfully beautiful, like the gleam of a sudden star, disclosing for a moment many things to us. On Friday, Secretary Thurloe writes incidentally : “My Lord Protector's mother, of ninety-four years old, died last night. A little before her death she gave my Lord her blessing in these words : The Lord cause His face to shine upon you, and comfort you in all your adversities ; and enable you to do great things for the glory of your Most High God, and to be a relief unto His people. My dear son, I leave my heart with thee. A good night ! and therewith sank into her long sleep. Even so. Words of ours are but idle. Thou brave one, mother of a hero, farewell !-Ninety-four years old : the royalties of White.

Ludlow very credibly, were of small moment to her: at the sound of a musket she would often be afraid her son was shot; and could not be satisfied unless she saw him once a day at least. She, old, weak, wearied one, she cannot help him with his refractory Pedant parliaments, with his Anabaptist plotters, royalist assassins, and world-wide confusions ; but she bids him, be strong, be comforted in God. And so good night! And in the still eternities and divine silences—Well, are they not divine ? "*

* Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, vol. i. p. 308.

hall, says

CHAPTER XVII.

THE PROTESTANTS OF THE VALLEYS OF PIEDMONT.

The proceedings of the first protectorate parliament filled every enemy of the Commonwealth with hope. Royalist, republican, and leveller plottings, army plottings, and the strangest combinations of levellers and cavaliers against the Protectorate, all showed how greatly the enemies of the government rejoiced in the wayward proceedings of parliament; and how fast new difficulties were gathering to impede the brave and indomitable energy of Cromwell. Charles Stuart had advanced to the Dutch coast ready to return to England. Hyde, his future Lord Chancellor, declared the restoration already as good as settled. But Cromwell was equal to the emergency. Firmly and patiently he strangled each successive plot as it ripened under his keen eye, and lodged the chief firebrands in the Tower and elsewhere, safe from further power of mischief and distraction. Insurrections of the most alarming and contradictory nature demanded of Cromwell some new and effective instrument for their suppression, and this he speedily devised by the appointment of major-generals, a kind of general rural magistracy and police, possessed of very extensive powers, and which Forster stigmatizes as a scheme of “atrocious despotism." Like a good many of Cromwell's proceedings, it was undoubtedly little sanctioned by any use-and-wont precedents. Nevertheless it worked no little good in that distracted time. By it all England was divided into ten districts, with a major-general to each. Each of them a man carefully selected for his known probity and courage, as well as for such sagacity as pointed him out as worthy of trust in such an emergency. “ Their powers are un

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known to the English constitution I believe; but they are very necessary for the English Puritan nation at this time. With men of real wisdom, who do fear God and hate covetousness, when you can find such men, you may to some purpose intrust considerable powers !" Carlyle. It was in truth somewhat of Cromwell's method all along; and proved in his hands frequently one of the best methods that the people of England in that had any experience of.

“If not good, yet best,” might indeed very often be said of Cromwell's measures. It was no ideal scheme of abstract perfection in the art of government that he aimed at bringing into play; no piece of pure ideal republicanism, admirably adapted to the kingdom of Utopia, which he was striving to force into fitness for the English nation. No such good, indeed! But its far better substitute, a practical governing scheme that really would work in good working-day fashion, in the strange clash of party creeds and opinions that united to form that English nation of the seventeenth century. It is not to be overlooked or concealed, that such a system was a wide departure in theory from what many in England had been contending for, in opposition to Charles. But the reader will judge very rashly if he conclude, with some writers, that “after the gallantest fight for liberty that had ever been fought by any nation in the world, England found herself trampled under foot by a military despot.” Some acts of individual oppression did undoubtedly flow from this system. When assassination had been proclaimed as a virtue among royalists, and the readiest road to honour and rewards; when royalists and republicans were daily devising new schemes of treason against the existing government; and at a time, moreover, when the whole bonds by which society is ordinarily held together, had been rent asunder and thrown into dire confusion ;-a stringent executive became indispensable under whatever form of government it acted. Nevertheless, in wilful forgetfulness that the system was one of those inevitable results following in the train of nearly every revolution, Forster exclaims :—“All the vices of old kingly rule were nothing to what was now imposed upon her. Some restraint had still been kept on the worst of her preceding sovereigns; now she found herself hopeless and helpless, her faith in all that she once held noblest broken, and her spirits unequal to any further struggle. Besides this, there was stealing upon her, in gradual but certain progress, a vile hypocrisy and habit of falsehood, which even good men found it necessary to sanction and endure, that some semblance of: the mere pretences of a better nature might still be left to them, were it only to redeem the name of their sad degradation. Let royalty revisit them as speedily as it would, it could bring nothing back for which they might not gladly exchange all that they now endured. What was the innocent and partial tax of ship-money to an all but universal decimation? What were agonies and mutilations by the Star Chamber to wholesale murders and executions by high courts of justice? What was an open profligacy worse than a secret lie? What the arrest of five members of the House of Commons to the utter violation and destruction of every privilege parliament possessed, and even of the very form and name of its rights and its immunities? The true cause of the death of Charles I. was his resistance to the sacred principle of popular representation. He laid down his head upon the block, because he broke violently, and in succession, three English parliaments. Oliver Cromwell had now merited, far more richly, that self-same doom; for he had committed in circumstances of greater atrocity, the self-same sin."*

Royalty did revisit England speedily enough, and brought back with it what should have silenced such a course of reasoning in one who freely acknowledges

• Forster's Life of Cromwell, vol. ii. p. 305.

the errors and wrongs heaped by Charles I. on England. With more justice Vaughan remarks:—"Concerning the domestic government of Cromwell, it may, in brief, be said, that arbitrary and severe as it sometimes was towards those who were influenced by a fixed hostility to his power, it was, on the whole, as just and humane as would have been found practicable in circumstances retaining so little of the regularity belonging to ordinary times. It is easy to show that Cromwell, as Protector, did not always act according to those great provisions of the constitution which the civil war had been prosecuted to secure; but there is a great want of intelligence, or of honesty, in the reasoning which represents his altered conduct, in times so altered, as so much clear proof of his apostacy from the cause of freedom."*

The difference between the despotism of Charles and that of Cromwell, was this very simple, but altogether fundamental one.

The course of government which Charles attempted to pursue, inevitably tended to effect the complete subjugation of the constitution to the prerogative of the crown, anå if unchecked for a single generation must have blotted out every relic of the liberty of Englishmen, rendering the King of England as absolute, and the people as abject, as the ruler and subjects of Spain; while it had already sufficed to degrade both beneath the contempt of every European rival. The government of Cromwell, on the contrary, while it won the honour or the fear, of its most powerful and despotic foes, and made itself the head and the champion of Protestant Europe, established principles of toleration and liberty of conscience in England, which were before unknown, and have never since been eradicated. Charles, in a word, legislated for himself ; Cromwell for the people; and the gradual change in the estimation of each, proves already the power of great and noble principles to work out their results.

* Vaughan's Protectorate, p. xcvii

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