Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

rage, industry, and judgment. He must have had a wonderful understanding in the natures and humours of men, and as great a dexterity in applying them ; who from a private and obscure birth, (though of a good family) without interest or estate, alliance or friendship, could raise himself to such a height, and compound and knead such opposite and contradictory tempers, humours, and interests into a consistence, that contributed to his designs, and to their own destruction; whilst himself grew insensibly powerful enough to cut off those by whom he had climbed, in the instant that they projected to demolish their own building. What was said of Cinna may very justly be said of him : Ausum eum quæ nemo auderet bonus, perfecisse quæ à nullo, nisi fortissimo, perfici possent. He attempted those things which no good man durst have ventured on; and atchieved those in which none but a valiant and great man could have succeeded. Without doubt, no man with more wickedness ever attempted any thing, or brought to pass what he desired more wickedly, more in the face and contempt of religion, and moral honesty ; yet wickedness as great as his could never have accomplished those designs, without the assistance of a great spirit, an admirable circumspection and sagacity, and a most magnanimous resolution. : '

Wheu he appeared first in the parliament, he seemed to have a person in no degree gracious, no orna

ment of discourse, none of those talents which use to conciliate the affections of the stander by: yet as he grew into place and authority, his parts seemed to be raised, as if he had had concealed faculties, till he had occasion to use them; and when he was to act the part of a great man, he did it without any indecency, notwithstanding the want of custom.

After he was confirmed and invested protector by the humble petition and advice, he consulted with very few upon any action of importance, nor communicated any enterprise he resolved upon, with more than those who were to have principal parts in the execution of it; nor with them sooner than was absolutely necessary. What he once resolved, in which he was not rash, he would not be dissuaded from, nor endure any contradiction of his power and authority; but extorted obedience from them who were not willing to yield it. ' * * * *

To conclude his character, Cromwell was not so far a man of blood, as to follow Machiavel's method ; which prescribes, upon a total alteration of governa ment, as a thing absolutely necessary, to cut off all the heads of those, and extirpate their families, who are friends to the old one. It was confidently reported, that in the council of officers, it was more than once proposed, “ That there might be a general massacre of all the royal party, as the only expedient to secure the government, but that Cromwell VOL. III.

R

would never consent to it;" it may be, out of tou: great a contempt of his enemies. In a word, as he was guilty of many crimes, against which damnation is denounced, and for which hell-fire is prepared, so he had some good qualities which have caused the memory of some' men in all ages to be celebrated; and he will be looked upon by posterity as a brave wicked man.

2. Clarendon wrote also a Survey of Hobbes's Leviathan. This was likewise composed at Moulins.

It is remarked' by Hume as a singularity, how much English history is indebted to four great men who possessed the highest dignity in the law-More, Bacon, Whitlocke, and Clarendon.

HOWEL.

JAMES Howel, the son of a clergyman ini Caermarthenshire, was born about 1596. He was initiated in grammar-learning at the Freeschool of Hereford, whence he removed to Jesus College, Oxford, of which his elder brother was a fellow. After taking his batchelor's degree, he quitted the university for London, where, by the interest of sir Robert Mansel, he was appointed steward to a patent-glass manufactory ; and in 1619, was sent abroad by the company as their agent. He had thus an opportunity of visiting many commercial towns in Holland, Flanders, France,

* Howel should have come in somewhat before perhaps; but it is of little consequence, as he is in the reign in which he most distinguished himself.

he

Spain, and Italy; and his mind was enlarged by the observation of new objects, and by the acquisition of many of the modern languages.

Soon after his return to London, in 1621, he ' was elected fellow of Jesus College, and after a short interval, accepted an offer to attend Mr. Richard Altham, son of baron Altham, in the tour of France. About 1624, being then in England, he obtained the office of secretary to lord Scrope (afterwards earl of Sunderland) when president of the north. Residing now at York, the corporation of Richmond chose him for one of their representatives in the parliament of 1627. In 1630, he accompanied Robert, earl of Leicester, appointed ambassador extraordinary to the court of Denmark, in quality of secretary. His next appointment of any consequence was that of clerk of the council. He was finally reduced however to the necessity of writing for bread; and by his writings rendered him. self an object of suspicion both to the parliamentarians and royalists. He has had the credit of great loyalty; though from his quaint remark on the death of the king, this supposition is rendered somewhat question

« ElőzőTovább »