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and his confederates thought that by the impeachment of ten or twelve leaders, and disqualifying their votes, the schemes of the Presbyterians would be made wholly abortive.' - pp. 332–338. : And after all this the discussion of the question is rounded with the conclusion, that, of consequence, Cromwel and his coadjutors had no choice. They must either surrender at once all the prospects of virtue and felicity, which opened before them, and which they seemed called on to realise; or they must, with sobriety and caution, but without hesitation, adopt such measures, and use such instruments, as offered themselves to their hands.'
The character and conduct of Cromwel himself form, it need scarcely be said, not the least curious and important objects for consideration throughout all the history of this period. It appears to us that here Mr. Godwin has refined and speculated overmuch upon the real motives and views of that extraordinary man. Even after the battle of Naseby Mr. Godwin observes of him, at this time we have no reason to think that Cromwel bad any sinister views ;' and he conducts his narrative to the end of this volume, and the execution of the King, without leaving us to suppose that any design of usurpation had corrupted the republican integrity of the future Lord Protector. In fact Mr. Godwin has here to the last distinctly applauded the intentions of Cromwel. The next volume will probably enlighten us with the discovery at what period our author does suspect his hero to have undergone the transition from political sincerity to the selfish and iniquitous project of trampling on the public liberties. But in his eagerness to attribute consistency and principle to the military leader of the Independents, Mr. Godwin has encountered an embarrassing necessity. He cannot blind himself to the fact of Cromwel's repeated negociations and intrigues with the King: he will not allow himself to doubt the sincerity of his republican views; and therefore to screen him from the charge of any dereliction of political honesty, he is content to brand him with infamy of a far deeper dye. He supposes that Cromwel and Ireton negociated with the King only to prevent him by false hopes from closing with the offers of the Presbyterians, and by luring him to the scaffold, to render inevitable the establishment of a republic. And thus it is that Mr. Godwin complacently views so diabolical a scheme of perfidy:
This is one of the consequences of the institution of kingship. Frankness and an unalterable sincerity are republican virtues. Where one man is so far exalted over the heads of the community, there flattery and dissimulation will inevitably grow up. The King who wears the crown will to thousands be the theme of adulation; the exile who pretends to it, will be an object of importance. This was never more strikingly illustrated than in the conjuncture of which we treat. Charles, stripped as he was of the insignia of royalty, was the centre round which the cabals of party memorably exercised themselves. The Presbyterians were satisfied that, if they could win him over to concur with them, they should surmount every obstacle to their views. In this situation
should the Independents do nothing? To expect it, is to expect what is not in the nature of man. Cromwel and Ireton resolved not thus to be defeated. They had fought for political and religious liberty. They abhorred the views, and they despised the persons, of their antagonists. They believed that, if the Presbyterians succeeded, a worse species of tyranny, and a more unmitigated and intolerable subjection, would follow, than that which the leaders of the Long Parliament had conspired to prevent. They placed themselves in the gap, and resolved by whatever means to save the character and the fortune of their country. ?
• It is interesting to observe, when men of high talents and energies have determined to engage in any enterprise, how fully they perform the task they have chalked out for themselves. Ireton, a firm and rigid disciple of the republican school, Cromwel, the undaunted, of whom it was notorious that, whatever he dared to think, that also he dared to speak, had no sooner chosen their part, and determined to fight their adversaries with their own weapons, than they completely threw into shadé the pigmy efforts of the Presbyterians. Having once sworn to deceive, the dimensions of their minds enabled them immediately to stand forth accomplished and entire adepts in the school of Machiavel. They were satisfied that the system they adopted was just ; and they felt no jot of humiliation and self-abasement in the systematical pursuit of it.' - pp. 202–204..
Upon the same principle Mr. Godwin proceeds to account for every action of Cromwel towards the King. We confess we cannot see reason to attribute all this refinement of treachery to the man. It is more natural to suppose that Cromwel was sincere in his professions to the King, until he found Charles was not to be trusted. This supposition indeed would not suit Mr. Godwin's theory, since it would be fatal to the virtuous intentions of Cromwel as a sincere republican. It is more natural to believe, with Hume, that Cromwel was guided by events, and listened seriously to the King's terms of aggrandisement, - a splendid income, an earldom, and the order of the Garter. That Cromwel had ori. ginally been far more enthusiast than hypocrite we cannot entertain a doubt; that he became later, by success and temptation, influenced by selfish ambition alone need not be added. Nor is there any reason why he who consulted his personal aggrandisement at the expense of his principles in 1653 should not have been willing to have made the same sacrifice to ambition, when his hopes and his prospects were more humble some five or six years earlier.
But we may even be said to have Cromwel's own statement of the fact, that he and his associates were once disposed to have closed with the King; and the whole story which was first published in Morrice's Life of Orrery, and has since been reprinted by Carte in his Life of Ormond, by Hume, and now again by Mr. Godwin himself, bears such marks of truth that its authenticity has never been questioned, though an attempt is here made to get rid of it as “a circumstance merely reported in the lightness of a private and inconsequential conversation. This account, given by Cromwel to Lord Orrery, as it will be remembered by most readers, was in substance the intercepting of a letter from Charles to his Queen, in which he acquainted her that he was now courted by both factions, the Scotch Presbyterians and the army, and which bid fairest for him should have him; but he thought he should close with the Scots sooner than the other, &c. Upon this, added Cromwel, we took horse, and went to Windsor; and, finding we were not likely to have any tolerable terms from the King, we immediately from that time forward resolved his ruin.
After Mr. Godwin's view of the preceding conduct of Cromwel and of the army it will surprise no one that he has at least an apology for the purging of the Parliament,' and an eulogy for the Rump or Independent residue of the House.
• Whether the men who at this time presided over public affairs were wrong in supposing it necessary by such means to put an end to the proceedings of Hollis and his allies, and whether their ends might have been accomplished with a less extensive violence, it is the province of impartial men who have fully possessed themselves of the facts to decide. But, whatever judgment we may form on these questions, it is scarcely possible not to admire the courage of the individuals who undertook the conduct of the state under these perilous circumstances, through measures so unprecedented and daring, and finally advanced their country to a glory that no former age of its annals could parallel. Royalists and Presbyterians joined to scoff at the parliament as now constituted, under the name of “ The Rump.” They were not aware that by this representation they in some respects swelled its panegyric. The more it was the Rump of a Parliament, and the more it was in dimension the despicable fragment of the mighty council that began the contest in November, 1640, the more wonderful it is that they accomplished such ends by so inadequate means. They were surrounded with difficulties. Royalists and Presbyterians regarded them with inextinguishable animosity. They looked round on the empty benches which had been prepared for a much more complete and copious assembly, and felt in themselves the energy, the firmness, and the intellectual power, that might well compensate this seeming deficiency.' – pp. 648, 649.
By this party it was, under the guidance of Cromwel, and the other military leaders of the faction, that Charles the First was brought to the block. The character of that extreme and memorable act has been too often examined and canvassed by writers of all parties to render it necessary that we should here enter upon its discussion ; nor are we in any degree disposed to engage in the consideration of Mr. Godwin's reasoning on so disputed and momentous a question. But it may be interesting to our readers to observe the manner in which it is here treated by the apologist of the Republicans; and we accordingly close our notice of this second volume of Mr. Godwin's work with the following extract:
• Respecting the death of Charles it has been pronounced by Fox, that “ it is much to be doubted whether his trial and execution have not, as much as any other circumstance, served to raise the character of the
English nation in the opinion of Europe in general.” And he goes on to speak with considerable favour of the authors of that event.
One of the great authorities of the age having so pronounced, an hundred and fifty years after the deed, it may be proper to consider for a little the real merits of the actors, and the act.: :: It is not easy to imagine a greater criminal than the individual against whom the sentence was awarded. And, when we say this, we will not enter into the metaphysics of crime, or decide in this place how far a man, when he is doing a great mischief, may persuade himself that he is acting virtuously, or even be under the influence of upright and benevolent motives, nor how far it is possible for any man to act otherwise than he does, and consequently how far he who inflicts great evil on his fellow-creature may not be more properly an object of pity than of anger.
• We will understand the terms in their common acceptation, without any thought, while we are considering this portion of history, of changing the judicial dicta which have in almost all instances governed the decisions of communities and states.
Crime, then, is that act of a human being, in possession of his understanding and personal freedom, which diminishes the quantity of happiness and good that would otherwise exist among human beings; and the greatness of a crime consists in the extent to which it produces this effect. Liberty is one of the greatest negative advantages that can fall to the lot of a man : without it we cannot possess any high degree of happiness, or exercise any considerable virtue. Now Charles, to a degree which can scarcely be exceeded, conspired against the liberty of his country. To assert his own authority without limitation was the object of all his desires and all his actions, so far as the public was concerned. To accomplish this object he laid aside the use of a parliament. When he was compelled once more to have recourse to this assembly, and found it retrograde to his purposes, he determined to bring up the army, and by that means to put an end to its sittings. Both in Scotland and England the scheme that he formed for setting aside all opposition was by force of arms. For that purpose he commenced war against the English parliament, and continued it by every expedient in his power for four years. Conquered, and driven out of the field, he did not for that for a moment lose sight of his object and his resolution. He sought in every quarter for the materials of a new war; and, after an interval of twenty months, and from the depths of his prison, he found them. To this must be added the most consummate insincerity and duplicity. He could never be reconciled; he could never be disarmed; he could never be convinced. His was a war to the death, and therefore had the utmost aggravation that can belong to a war against the liberty of a nation.
• The great object of punishment upon the principles of jurisprudence seems to be example, the deterring others from the perpetration of crime. It has been observed, however, that there was no use in this instance in making an example, since the men by whom Charles was tried and condemned had determined that there should be no more kings in England. But this objection is more specious than solid. The persons who had formed this resolution well knew that their will was not omnipotent. They constituted but a small portion of the nation. VOL. II.
The royalists were still numerous, and were more bent on their object than ever. The Presbyterians were probably more numerous than the royalists, to the full as much exasperated against the present government, and fixed upon their scheme of a limited and presbyterian monarchy. It is idle to say, because the present ruling party is resolute for a republic that there never shall be a king in the country. And the example to be made might be fully as effective against an aspirant as against a king in possession. The proper lesson taught by the act of the thirtieth of January was that no person, however high in station, however protected by the prejudices of his contemporaries, must expect to be criminal against the welfare of the state and community without retribution and punishment..
The event, however, sufficiently proved that the condemnation and execution of Charles did not answer the purposes intended by its authors. It did not conciliate the English nation to republican ideas. It shocked all those persons in the country who did not adhere to the ruling party. This was in some degree owing to the decency with which Charles met his fate. He had always been in manners formal, sober, and specious. And the immediate publication of the Eikon Basilike, an event that could not have been foreseen, gave force to these ideas. The first magistrate in England had at all times been placed at a distance above the rest of the community. As Shakespeare expresses it,
16" There's a divinity doth hedge a king,
And treason can but peep to what it would." The notion was every where prevalent, that a sovereign could not be called to account, could not be arraigned at the bar of his subjects. And the violation of this prejudice, instead of breaking down the wall which separated him from others, gave to his person a sacredness which never before appertained to it. Among his own partisans the death of Charles was treated, and was spoken of, as a sort of deicide. And it may be admitted for a universal rule, that the abrupt violation of a deep-rooted maxim and persuasion of the human mind produces a reaction, and urges men to hug the maxim closer than ever. I am afraid, that the day that saw Charles perish on the scaffold rendered the restoration of his family certain.' — pp. 685-692.
ART. VI. Le Pantcha-Tantra ; ou, les Cing Ruses, Fables du Brahme
Vichnou-Sarma ; Aventures de Paramarta, et autres Contes, le tout traduit, pour la première fois, sur les Originaux Indiens. Par M. L'Abbé J. A. Dubois. 8vo. pp. 411. Paris, Merlin; London,
Treuttel and Wurtz. 1826. . It was with some surprise that we lately saw an announcement of an intended translation of this volume ; for half of it already exists in English, and the version is to be found in the works of no obscure writer, — Sir William Jones. * The Fables of Vishnou-Sarma, (whom we absurdly call Pilpay,) which occupy the first half of the
* Works, vol. xiii, 8vo. edition.