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an affliction this was to both their Highnesses, and how sad a family she left behind her; which sadness was truly very much increased by the sickness of his Highness, who at the same time lay very ill of the gout, and other distempers, contracted by the long sickness of my lady Elizabeth, which made great impression upon him; and since that, whether it were the retiring of the gout out of his foot into his body, or from some other cause, I am not able to say, he hath been very dangerously sick, the violence whereof lasted four or five days; but, blessed be God, he is now reasonably well recovered, and this day he went abroad for an hour, and finds himself much refreshed by it, so that this recovery of his Highness doth much allay the sorrow for my lady Elizabeth's death. Your excellency will easily imagine what an alarm his Highness' sickness gave us, being in the posture we are

now in."

It was indeed alarming enough. The few wise men who knew the value of this Protector to England, saw, in no uncertain future, what awaited her if deprived of him at such a time. England, while bound together into one, by such an encompassing power, was as the faggot-heap which could not be broken; but that tie once severed, royalists, republicans, or whoever after chose to try it, might bend and break its dissevered fragments at their pleasure. Even in these fourteen days of loving solicitude and sorrow, many things threatened to go wrong ; and some few learned better the worth of the leader who for more than fourteen years had been her guide through so many dangers, and promised yet to be their guide—should providence permit—to a haven of rest.

CHAPTER XXI.

DEATH OF THE PROTECTOR.

OLIVER CROMWELL, in the year 1658, was in his sixtieth year, with all his old energy and fire within him, and still with an iron frame, that seemed to bid defiance to the shocks it had to bear. What might not his country still anticipate from him ? “ Ten years more of life,” says Carlyle,* “would have given another history to all the centuries of England. But it was not to be so, it was to be otherwise. Oliver's health, as we might observe, was but uncertain in late times; often indisposed the spring before last. His course of life had not been favourable to health! 'A burden too heavy for man !' as he himself with a sigh, would sometimes say. Incessant toil: inconceivable labour, of head, and heart, and hand; toil, peril, and sorrow manifold, continued for near twenty years now, had done their part : these robust life-energies, it afterwards appeared, had been gradually eaten out. Like a tower strong to the eye, but with its foundations undermined; which has not long to stand, the fall of which, on any shock, may be sudden.”

Shocks enough it surely had in these last days of his. Intractable politicians, men greedy of change, to whom any vague poetic theory, or any old constitutional fiction of law, seemed preferable to the practical blessings of a firm and stable government,—these all lent their puny help, now in divided groups, and anon with passing unanimity, to batter down the strong tower that stood between them and the floods. In one of our English painter Hogarth's well-known pictures, an over-zealous demagogue and hater of kings appears, mounted astride on the sign of the crown, which has long creaked and swung from its projecting beam, in front of an hospitable inn. With saw in hand, he is busily engaged cutting through the beam, close to the wall, altogether heedless of his inevitable share in its downfall. It is an apt illustration of anarchy at all times; and very specially applies to the republican opponents of the Protectorate. The royalists, as it chanced, had their own of it for a time, with a restoration-government; though whether altogether to the satisfaction of the honest men among them, admits of very grave question. But these honest impracticable republicans, whom no reason nor practical demonstration could convince, they surely owed their very existence to him who stood between England and her hereditary Stuarts, and who was no sooner laid in his last resting place, than they brought themselves to the gallows and the block.

* Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, vol. ii p. 658.

The shocks of such assailants, however, were trifling, when compared with the death of his loved child. How green and fresh had all these affections remained ! No sere upon their leaf; though the rough bark be gnarled and scarred by many a winter's storm! Therein lay the strength of England's Samson, enshrined where no profane Philistine could reach. In freshness of feeling, his heart was ever young; and this it was that with genial influence, sunned him on his way, and nerved the bravehearted one to dare his mighty task. These lines of Barton are very simple, yet their admission here may be pardoned for their truthfulness, as no inappropriate adaptation of sentiment at such a time:

“O smile not! nor think it a worthless thing,

If it be with instruction fraught;
That which will closest and longest cling

Is alone worth a serious thought!
Should aught be unlovely which thus can shed
Grace on the dying, and leaves on the dead.
“Now, in thy youth beseech of Him

Who giveth, upbraiding not

That his light in thy heart become not dim,

And his love be unforgot!
And thy God in the darkest of days will be

Greenness, and beauty, and strength to thee." It was even so. The freshness of genial affections budded and bloomed to the last, and His light who "giveth, upbraiding not,” waxed not dim, when the conqueror, who had so often met death in the field of carnage, _“the battle of the warrior, with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood,” — was to descend alone into the dark valley.

An interesting and most valuable record of the incidents which marked the Protector's closing hours has happily been preserved to us by the pious hand of one, whose intimacy with the great leader of the Commonwealth only made him love and venerate his memory

the more. It is entitled “A Collection of Several Passages concerning his late Highness Oliver Cromwell, in the time of his Sickness. Wherein is related many of his expressions upon his deathbed, together with his prayers within two or three days before his death. Written by one that was then groom of his bedchamber." The faithful attendant of the Protector was no doubt known to many of his contemporaries as the author of this pious memorial, though he modestly concealed his name.* It is well worthy of note by those who begin to doubt the infallıbility of royalist slanderers, with their vague exaggeration of every lie that rumour or sycophancy set afloat, to prejudice the memory of “the Huntingdon Brewer,” and tickle the ears of “the

* Carlyle corrects “Noble's bad authority," who had called him Maida ston, adding, "we must warn the reader that Maidston was steward of the household,' not.groom of the bedchamber,' and that the authorship of this pamphlet remains uncertain for the present." (Letters and Speeches, vol. ii. p. 659.) Forster, however, had long before corrected Noble, and stated, (vol. ii. p. 389.) "The author was Underwood, groom of the bedchamber, and was present at the scene;" a scene which we have also quoted, as one of the most valuable glimpses now recoverable, of the last days of Cromwell.

Merry Monarch !" The value attached to such cheap slander at the restoration-court must not be forgot by the reader, who wishes to estimate at their true value either the facts and narrations of Heath and other courtly flagellators of the Protectorate, of every rank and degree; or the affectionate tribute of the faithful Underwood, and the enthusiastic admiration of Milton, with whom language seems insufficient for his disinterested praise. Let one passage from the Sermons of Dr. South suffice as an example—the same Dr. South, who in 1655, signalized his accession to the rank of an Oxford Master of Arts, by a Latin panegyric on the Protector, congratulating him on the triumphant close of the Dutch war! In 1681, Dr. South had found it convenient to forget his youthful admiration of the Protectorate, and indeed to take his view from a very different point of sight. His pliant and courtly disposition had been appreciated sufficiently to win him the appointment of one of the chaplains to the King, and the well-bred divine understood the duties of his office too well to intrude on his Majesty's ear any un. palatable doctrine, or unpleasant reminiscence. Preaching in the latter year before his royal patron, he selected as his text these words : “ The lot is cast into the lap, but the disposing of it is of the Lord,” in illustration of which the sermon contains the following singular piece of pulpit eloquence: “Who that had beheld such a bankrupt, beggarly fellow as Cromwell, first entering the Parliament House, with a threadbare torn cloak, and greasy hat, (perhaps neither of them paid for,) could have suspected that in the space of so few years, he should by the murder of one king, and the banishment of another, ascend the throne, be invested in the royal robes, and want nothing of the state of a king, but the changing of his hat into a crown !" “ 'Ods fish, Lory !” exclaimed the delighted monarch to Lord Rochester, after his violent fit of laughter had somewhat subsided, “'Ods fish, your chaplain

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