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beautiful windows of cathedrals; Quakers| seen but intoxication. Soon, however, plenty riding naked through the market-place; Fifth- teaches discretion; and, after wine has been monarchy men shouting for King Jesus; for a few months their daily fare, they beagitators lecturing from the tops of tubs on come more temperate than they had ever been the fate of Agag; all these, they tell us, were in their own country. In the same manner, the offspring of the Great Rebellion.
the final and permanent fruits of liberty are Be it so. We are not careful to answer in wisdom, moderation and mercy. Its immedithis matter. These charges, were they infi. ate effects are often atrocious crimes, conflictnitely more important, would not alter our ing errors, skepticism on points the most clear, opinion of an event which alone has made us dogmatism on points the most mysterious. to differ from the slaves who crouch beneath It is just at this crisis that its enemies love to despotic sceptres. Many evils, no doubt, were exhibit it. They pull down the scaffolding produced by the civil war. They were the from the half-finished edifice: they point to price of our liberty. Has the acquisition the flying dust, the falling bricks, the combeen worth the sacrifice? It is the nature of fortless rooms, the frightful irregularity of the Devil of tyranny to tear and rend the the whole appearance; and then ask in scorn body which he leaves. Are the miseries of where the promised splendor and comfort is continued possession less horrible than the to be found. If such miserable sophisms were struggles of the tremendous exorcism? to prevail there would never be a good house
If it were possible that a people brought up or a good government in the world. under an intolerant and arbitrary system Ariosto tells a pretty story of a fairy, who, by could subvert that system without acts of some mysterious law of her nature, was coneruelty and folly, half the objections to des- demned to appear at certain seasons in the Dotic power would be removed. We should, form of a foul and poisonous snake. Those in that case, be compelled to acknowledge that who injured her during the period of her disit at least produces no pernicious effects on guise were forever excluded from participathe intellectual and moral character of a na- tion in the blessings which she bestowed. But tion. We deplore the outrages which accom- to those who, in spite of her loathsome aspect, pany revolutions. But the more violent the pitied and protected her, she afterwards reoutrages, the more assured we feel that a vealed herself in the beautiful and celestial revolution was necessary. The violence of form which was natural to her, accompanied those outrages will always be proportioned to their steps, granted all their wishes, filled the ferocity and ignorance of the people; and their houses with wealth, made them happy the ferocity and ignorance of the people will in love and victorious in war. Such a spirit be proportioned to the oppression and degra- is Liberty. At times she takes the form of a dation under which they have been accus- hateful reptile. She grovels, she hisses, she tomed to live. Thus it was in our civil war. stings. But woe to those who in disgust The heads of the church and state reaped only shall venture to crush her! And happy are that which they had sown. The govern- those who, having dared to receive her in her ment had prohibited free discussion: it had degraded and frightful shape, shall at length done its best to keep the people unacquainted be rewarded by her in the time of her beauty with their duties and their rights. The retri. and her glory! bution was just and natural. If our rulers There is only one cure for the evils which suffered from popular ignorance, it was be- newly acquired freedom produces; and that cause they had themselves taken away the cure is freedom. When a prisoner first leaves key of knowledge. If they were assailed with his cell he cannot bear the light of day: he is blind fury, it was because they had exacted unable to discriminate colors, or recognize an equally blind submission.
faces. But the remedy is not to remand him It is the character of such revolutions that into his dungeon, but to accustom him to the we always see the worst of them at first. Till rays of the sun. The blaze of truth and lib. men have been some time free, they know erty may at first dazzle and bewilder nations not how to use their freedom. The natives of which have become half blind in the house of wine countries are generally sober. In cli- bondage. But let them gaze on, and they will mates where wine is a rarity intemperance soon be able to bear it. In a few years men abounds. A newly liberated people may be learn to reason. The extreme violence of compared to a northern army encamped on opinions subsides. Hostile theories correct the Rhine or the Xeres. It is said that, when each other. The scattered elements of truth soldiers in such a situation first find them- cease to contend, and begin to coalesce. And selves able to indulge without restraint in such at length a system of justice and order is a rare and expensive luxury, nothing is to be educed out of the chaos.
Many politicians of our time are in the habit his two daughters. When we reflect on all of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, these things, we are at a loss to conceive how that no people ought to be free till they are the same persons who, on the fifth of Novem. fit to use their freedom. The maxim is wor- ber, thank God for wonderfully conducting his thy of the fool in the old story who resolved servant William, and for making all opposinot to go into the water till he had learnt to tion fall before him until he became our King swim. If men are to wait for liberty till they and Governor, can, on the thirtieth of Janubecome wise and good in slavery, they may ary, contrive to be afraid that the blood of indeed wait forever.
the Royal Martyr may be visited on themTherefore it is that we decidedly approve selves and their children. of the conduct of Milton and the other wise and We disapprove, we repeat, of the execution good men who, in spite of much that was of Charles; not because the constitution exridiculous and hateful in the conduct of their empts the King from responsibility, for we associates, stood firmly by the cause of Pub- know that all such maxims, however excellic Liberty. We are not aware that the poet lent, have their exceptions; nor because we has been charged with personal participation feel any peculiar interest in his character, for in any of the blamable excesses of that time. we think that his sentence describes him with The favorite topic of his enemies is the line perfect justice as "a tyrant, a traitor, a murof conduct which he pursued with regard to derer, and a public enemy;” but because we the execution of the King. Of that celebrated are convinced that the measure was most inproceeding we by no means approve. Still jurious to the cause of freedom. He whom it we must say, in justice to the many eminent removed was a captive and a hostage: his persons who concurred in it, and in justice heir, to whom the allegiance of every Royalmore particularly to the eminent person who ist was instantly transferred, was at large. defended it, that nothing can be more absurd The Presbyterians could never have been perthan the imputations which, for the last hun- fectly reconciled to the father: they had no dred and sixty years, it has been the fashion such rooted enmity to the son. The great to cast upon the Regicides. We have, through body of the people, also, contemplated that out, abstained from appealing to first princi- proceeding with feelings which, however unples. We will not appeal to them now. We reasonable, no government could safely ventrecur again to the parallel case of the Revolu- | ure to outrage. tion. What essential distinction can be drawn But though we think the conduct of the between the execution of the father and the Regicides blamable, that of Milton appears deposition of the son? What constitutional to us in a very different light. The deed was maxim is there which applies to the former done. It could not be undone. The evil was and not to the latter? The King can do no incurred; and the object was to render it as wrong. If so, James was as innocent as small as possible. We censure the chiefs of Charles could have been. The minister only the army for not yielding to the popular opinought to be responsible for the acts of the ion; but we cannot censure Milton for wishSovereign. If so, why not impeach Jefferies ing to change that opinion. The very feeling and retain James? The person of a King is which would have restrained us from comsacred. Was the person of James con- mitting the act would have led us, after it sidered sacred at the Boyne? To discharge had been committed, to defend it against the cannon against an army in which a King is ravings of servility and superstition. For the known to be posted is to approach pretty near sake of public liberty, we wish that the thing to regicide. Charles, too, it should always be had not been done, while the people disapremembered, was put to death by men who proved of it. But, for the sake of public libhad been exasperated by the hostilities of severty, we should also have wished the people eral years, and who had never been bound to to approve of it when it was done. If anyhim by any other tie than that which was thing more were wanting to the justification common to them with all their fellow-citizens. of Milton, the book of Salmasius would furnish Those who drove James from his throne, who it. That miserable performance is now with seduced his army, who alienated his friends, I justice considered only as a beacon to wordwho first imprisoned him in his palace, and catchers, who wish to become statesmen. The then turned him out of it, who broke in upon celebrity of the man who refuted it, the his very slumbers by imperious messages, “ Æneæ magni dextra,” gives it all its fame who pursued him with fire and sword from with the present generation. In that age the one part of the empire to another, who hanged, state of things was different. It was not then drew, and quartered his adherents, and at- fully understood how vast an interval sepatainted his innocent heir, were his nephew and rates the mere classical scholar from the political philosopher. Nor can it be doubted that course which he had marked out for himself a treatise which, bearing the name of so emi- by the almost irresistible force of circumnent a critic, attacked the fundamental prin- stances, though we admire, in common with ciples of all free governments, must, if suf- all men of all parties, the ability and energy fered to remained unanswered, have produced of his splendid adminstration, we are not a most pernicious effect on the public mind. pleading for arbitrary and lawless power, even
We wish to add a few words relative to an- in his hands. We know that a good constituother subject, on which the enemies of Milton tion is infinitely better than the best despot. delight to dwell, his conduct during the ad- But we suspect, that at the time of which we ministration of the Protector. That an en-speak the violence of religious and political thusiastic votary of liberty should accept of- enmities rendered a stable and happy settle fice under a military usurper seems, no doubt, ment next to impossible. The choice lay, not at first sight, extraordinary. But all the cir- between Cromwell and liberty, but between cumstances in which the country was then Cromwell and the Stuarts. That Milton chose placed were extraordinary. The ambition of well, no man can doubt who fairly compares Oliver was of no vulgar kind. He never the events of the protectorate with those of seems to have coveted despotic power. He at the thirty years which succeeded it, the darkfirst fought sincerely and manfully for the est and most disgraceful in the English annals. parliament, and never deserted it, till it had Cromwell was evidently laying, though in an deserted its duty. If he dissolved it by force, irregular manner, the foundations of an adit was not till he found that the few members mirable system. Never before had religious who remained after so many deaths, seces- liberty and the freedom of discussion been ensions, and expulsions, were desirous to appro- joyed in a greater degree. Never had the napriate to themselves a power which they held tional honor been better upheld abroad, or the only in trust, and to inflict upon England the seat of justice better filled at home. And it curse of a Venetian oligarchy. But even when was rarely that any opposition which stopped thus placed by violence at the head of affairs, short of open rebellion provoked the resenthe did not assume unlimited power. He gave ment of the liberal and magnanimous usurper. the country a constitution far more perfect The institutions which he had established, as than any which had at that time been known set down in the Instrument of Government, in the world. He reformed the representative and the Humble Petition and Advice, were system in a manner which has extorted praise excellent. His practice, it is true, too often even from Lord Clarendon. For himself he departed from the theory of these institutions. demanded indeed the first place in the com- But, had he lived a few years longer, it is probmonwealth; but with powers scarcely so great able that his institutions would have sur as those of a Dutch stadtholder, or an Ameri- vived him, and that his arbitrary practice can president. He gave the parliament a would have died with him. His power had voice in the appointment of ministers, and left not been consecrated by ancient prejudices. It to it the whole legislative authority, not even was upheld only by his great personal quali. reserving to himself a veto on its enactments; ties. Little, therefore, was to be dreaded from and he did not require that the chief magis- a second protector, unless he was also a sectracy should be hereditary in his family. ond Oliver Cromwell. The events which folThus far, we think, if the circumstances of the lowed his decease are the most complete vintime and the opportunities which he had of dication of those who exerted themsclves to aggrandizing himself be fairly considered, he uphold his authority. His death dissolved will not lose by comparison with Washington the whole frame of society. The army rose or Bolivar. Had his moderation been met against the parliament, the different corps of with corresponding moderation, there is no the army against each other. Sect raved reason to think that he would have over-against sect. Party plotted against party. stepped the line which he had traced for him- The Presbyterians, in their eagerness to be re self. But when he found that his parliaments venged on the Independents, sacrificed their questioned the authority under which they own liberty, and deserted all their old princimet, and that he was in danger of being de- ples. Without casting one glance on the past, prived of the restricted power which was ab- or requiring one stipulation for the future, solutely necessary to his personal safety, then, they threw down their freedom at the feet of it must be acknowledged, he adopted a more the most frivolous and heartless of tyrants. arbitrary policy.
| Then came those days, never to be recalled Yet, though we believe that the intentions without a blush, the days of servitude without of Cromwell were at first honest, though we loyalty and sensuality without love, of dwarfbelieve that he was driven from the noble ish talents and gigantic vices, the paradise of cold hearts and narrow minds, the golden age surface. He that runs may read them; nor of the coward, the bigot, and the slave. The have there been wanting attentive and maliKing cringed to his rival that he might tram- cious observers to point them out. For many ple on his people, sank into a viceroy of years after the Restoration they were the France, and pocketed, with complacent in-| theme of unmeasured invective and derision. famy, her degrading insults, and her more They were exposed to the utmost licentiousdegrading gold. The caresses of harlots, and ness of the press and of the stage, at the time the jests of buffoons, regulated the policy of when the press and the stage were most licenthe state. The government had just ability tious. They were not men of letters; they enough to deceive, and just religion enough were as a body, unpopular; they could not deto persecute. The principles of liberty were fend themselves; and the public would not the scoff of every grinning courtier, and the take them under its protection. They were Anathema Maranatha of every fawning dean. therefore abandoned, without reserve, to the In every high place, worship was paid to tender mercies of the satirists and dramatists. Charles and James, Belial and Moloch; and The ostentatious simplicity of their dress, England propitiated those obscene and cruel their sour aspect, their nasal twang, their idols with the blood of her best and bravest stiff posture, their long graces, their Hebrew children. Crime succeeded to crime, and names, the Scriptural phrases which they indisgrace to disgrace, till the race accursed troduced on every occasion, their contempt of of God and man was a second time driven human learning, their detestation of polite forth, to wander on the face of the earth, amusements, were indeed fair game for the and to be a by-word and a shaking of the laughers. But it is not from the laughers head to the nations.
alone that the philosophy of history is to be Most of the remarks which we have hitherto learnt. And he who approaches this subject made on the public character of Milton, apply should carefully guard against the influence to him only as one of a large body. We shall of that potent ridicule which has already misproceed to notice some of the peculiarities led so many excellent writers. which distinguished him from his contempo
" Ecco il fonte del riso, ed ecco il rio raries. And, for that purpose, it is necessary
Che mortali perigli in se contiene: to take a short survey of the parties into
Hor qui tener a fren nostro desio,
Ed esser cauti molto a noi conviene." which the political world was at that time divided. We must premise, that our obser- Those who roused the people to resistance, vations are intended to apply only to those who directed their measures through a long who adhered, from a sincere preference, to one series of eventful years, who formed, out of or to the other side. In days of public the most unpromising materials, the finest commotion, every faction, like an Oriental army that Europe had ever seen, who tramarmy, is attended by a crowd of camp-fol-pled down King, Church, and Aristocracy, lowers, an useless and heartless rabble, who who, in the short intervals of domestic sediprowl round its line of march in the hope of tion and rebellion, made the name of England picking up something under its protection, but terrible to every nation on the face of the desert it in the day of battle, and often join to earth, were no vulgar fanatics. Most of their exterminate it after a defeat. England, at absurdities were mere external badges, like the time of which we are treating, abounded the signs of freemasonry, or the dresses of with fickle and selfish politicians, who trans- friars. We regret that these badges were not ferred their support to every government as more attractive. We regret that a body to it rose, who kissed the hand of the King in whose courage and talents mankind has owed 1640, and spat in his face in 1649, who shouted inestimable obligations had not the lofty elewith equal glee when Cromwell was inaugu-gance which distinguished some of the adherrated in Westminster Hall, and when he was ents of Charles the First, or the easy gooddug up to be hanged at Tyburn, who dined breeding for which the court of Charles the on calves' heads, or stuck up vak-branches, as Second was celebrated. But, if we must make circumstances altered, without the slightest our choice, we shall, like Bassanio in the play, shame or repugnance. These we leave out of turn from the specious caskets which contain the account. We take our estimate of parties only the Death's head and the Fool's head, and from those who really deserved to be called fix on the plain leaden chest which conceals partisans.
the treasure. We would speak first of the Puritans, the The Puritans were men whose minds had most remarkable body of men, perhaps, which derived a peculiar character from the daily the world has ever produced. The odious and contemplation of superior beings and eternal ridiculous parts of their charaeter lie on the interests. Not content with acknowledging, in general terms, an overruling Providence, had been rent, that the dead had risen, that they habitually ascribed every event to the all nature had shuddered at the sufferings of will of the Great Being, for whose power her expiring God. nothing was too vast, for whose inspection Thus the Puritan was made up of two difnothing was too minute. To know him, to ferent men, the one all self-abasement, peniserve him, to enjoy him, was with them the tence, gratitude, passion, the other proud, great end of existence. They rejected with calm, inflexible, sagacious. He prostrated contempt the ceremonious homage which himself in the dust before his Maker: but he other sects substituted for the pure worship set his foot on the neck of his king. In his of the soul. Instead of catching occasional devotional retirement, he prayed with conglimpses of the Deity through an obscuring vulsions, and groans, and tears. He was veil, they aspired to gaze full on his intolera- half-maddened by glorious or terrible illuble brightness, and to commune with him sions. He heard the lyres of angels or the face to face. Hence originated their con- tempting whispers of fiends. He caught a tempt for terrestrial distinctions. The differ- gleam of the Beatific Vision, or woke screamence between the greatest and the meanest ing from dreams of everlasting fire. Like of mankind seemed to vanish, when com-Vane, he thought himself intrusted with the pared with the boundless interval which sep- sceptre of the millennial year. Like Fleetarated the whole race from him on whom wood, he cried in the bitterness of his soul their own eyes were constantly fixed. They that God had hid his face from him. But recognized no title to superiority but his when he took his seat in the council, or girt favor; and, confident of that favor, they de-on his sword for war, these tempestuous spised all the accomplishments and all the workings of the soul had left no perceptible dignities of the world. If they were unac- trace behind them. People who saw nothing quainted with the works of philosophers and of the godly but their uncouth visages, and poets, they were deeply read in the oracles of heard nothing from them but their groans and God. If their names were not found in the their whining hymns, might laugh at them. registers of heralds, they were recorded in But those had little reason to laugh who enthe Book of Life. If their steps were not ac-countered them in the hall of debate or in the companied by a splendid train of menials, le- field of battle. These fanatics brought to gions of ministering angels had charge over civil and military affairs a coolness of judgthem. Their palaces were houses not made ment and an immutability of purpose which with hands; their diadems crowns of glory some writers have thought inconsistent with which should never fade away. On the rich their religious zeal, but which were in fact and the eloquent, on nobles and priests they the necessary effects of it. The intensity of looked down with contempt: for they es- their feelings on one subject made them tranteemed themselves rich in a more precious quil on every other. One overpowering sentreasure, and eloquent in a more sublime lan-timent had subjected to itself pity and hatred, guage, nobles by the right of an earlier crea- ambition and fear. Death had lost its terrors tion, and priests by the imposition of a and pleasure its charms. They had their mightier hand. The very meanest of them smiles and their tears, their raptures and was a being to whose fate a mysterious and their sorrows, but not for the things of this terrible importance belonged, on whose slight-world. Enthusiasm had made them Stoics, est action the spirits of light and darkness had cleared their minds from every vulgar looked with anxious interest, who had been passion and prejudice, and raised them above destined, before heaven and earth were creat- the influence of danger and of corruption. It ed, to enjoy a felicity which should continue sometimes might lead them to pursue unwise when heaven and earth should have passed ends, but never to choose unwise means. away. Events which short-sighted politi- They went through the world, like Sir Artecians ascribed to earthly causes, had been or-gal's iron man Talus with his flail, crushing dained on his account. For his sake empires and trampling down oppressors, mingling had risen, and flourished, and decayed. For with human beings, but having neither part his sake the Almighty had proclaimed his will or lot in human infirmities, insensible to faby the pen of the Evangelist, and the harp of tigue, to pleasure, and to pain, not to be the prophet. He had been wrested by no pierced by any weapon, not to be withstood common deliverer from the grasp of no com- by any barrier. mon foe. He had been ransomed by the Such we believe to have been the character sweat of no vulgar agony, by the blood of no of the Puritans. We perceive the absurdity earthly sacrifice. It was for him that the of their manners. We dislike the sullen sun had been darkened, that the rocks gloom of their domestic habits. We acknowl