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or Louisa de Coligny might have done the same had it been possible for their natures also to descend to such
depths of guile. 14 His enemies have been able to find few flaws in
his nature, and therefore have denounced it in gross. It is not that his character was here and there defective, but that the eternal jewel was false. The patriotism was counterfeit; the self-abnegation and the generosity were counterfeit. He was governed only by ambition—by a desire of personal advancement. They never attempted to deny his talents, his industry, his vast sacrifices of wealth and station; but they ridiculed the idea that he
could have been inspired by any but unworthy motives. 15 God alone knows the heart of man. He alone can un
weave the tangled skein of human motives, and detect the hidden springs of human action, but, as far as can be judged by a careful observation of undisputed facts, and by a diligent collation of public and private documents, it would seem that no man—not even Washington-has ever been inspired by a purer patriotism. At any rate, the charge of ambition and self-seeking can only be answered by a reference to the whole picture which these volumes have attempted to portray. The words, the deeds of the man are there. As much as possible, his inmost soul is revealed in his confidential letters, and he who looks in a right spirit will hardly fail to find
what he desires. 16 Whether originally of a timid temperament or not,
he was certainly possessed of perfect courage at last. In siege and battle, in the deadly air of pestilential cities, in the long exhaustion of mind and body which comes from unduly protracted labor and anxiety, amid the countless conspiracies of assassins, he was daily exposed to death in every shape. Within two years five different attempts
against his life had been discovered. Rank and fortune were offered to any malefactor who would compass the murder. He had already been shot through the head, and almost mortally wounded. Under such circumstances even a brave man might have seen a pitfall at every step, a dagger in every hand, and poison in every cup. On the contrary, he was ever cheerful, and hardly took more precaution than usual. “God, in his mercy,” said he, 17 with unaffected simplicity, “will maintain my innocence and my honor during my life and in future ages. As to my fortune and my life, I have dedicated both, long since, to his service. He will do therewith what pleases him for his glory and my salvation.” Thus his suspicions were not even excited by the ominous face of Gérard, when he first presented himself at the dining-room door. The Prince laughed off his wife's prophetic apprehension at the sight of his murderer, and was as cheerful as usual to the last.
He possessed, too, that which to the heathen philoso- 18 pher seemed the greatest good—the sound mind in the sound body. His physical frame was after death found so perfect that a long life might have been in store for him, notwithstanding all which he had endured. The desperate illness of 1574, the frightful gunshot wound inflicted by Jaureguy in 1582, had left no traces. The physicians pronounced that his body presented an aspect of perfect health. His temperament was cheerful. At table, the pleasures of which in moderation were his only relaxation, he was always animated and merry, and this jocoseness was partly natural, partly intentional. In the darkest hours of his country's trial he affected a serenity which he was far from feeling, so that his apparent gayety at momentous epochs was even censured by dullards, who could not comprehend its philosophy, nor applaud the flippancy of William the Silent.
19 He went through life, bearing the load of a people's
sorrows upon his shoulders, with a smiling face. Their name was the last word upon his lips, save the simple affirmative with which the soldier, who had been battling for the right all his lifetime, commended his soul in dying“ to his great captain, Christ.” The people were grateful and affectionate, for they trusted the character of their “ Father William," and not all the clouds which calumny could collect ever dimmed to their eyes the radiance of that lofty mind, to which they were accustomed in their darkest calamities to look for light. As long as he lived he was the guiding-star of a whole brave nation, and when he died the little children cried in the streets.
JOHN HAMPDEN-HIS CHARACTER.--HIS DEATH.
John Hampden was one of the first martyrs in the great civil war that ended in the temporary overthrow of the English monarchy, the death of Charles I, and the rise of Cromwell to absolute power. This period is one of the most instructive in modern history, and one exceedingly difficult to estimate properly. The student may consult with advantage Masson's “Life and Times of Milton,” Greene's “Short History of the English People,” Macaulay's “Essay on Hallam’s Constitutional History of England," Von Ranke's “ History of England, principally in the Seventeenth Century.”
1 In the evening of the seventeenth of June Rupert
darted out of Oxford with his cavalry on a predatory expedition. At three in the morning of the following day he attacked and dispersed a few parliamentary sol
diers who lay at Postcombe. He then flew to Chinnor, burned the village, killed or took all the troops who were quartered there, and prepared to hurry back with his booty and his prisoners to Oxford.
Hampden had, on the preceding day, strongly rep-2 resented to Essex the danger to which this part of the line was exposed. As soon as he received intelligence of Rupert's incursion, he sent off a horseman with a message to the General. The cavaliers, he said, could return only by Chiselhampton Bridge. A force ought to be instantly dispatched in that direction for the purpose of intercepting them. In the mean time he resolved to set out with all the cavalry that he could muster, for the purpose of impeding the march of the enemy till Essex could take measures for cutting off their retreat. A considerable 3 body of horse and dragoons volunteered to follow him. He was not their commander. He did not even belong to their branch of the service. But "he was,” says Lord Clarendon,“ second to none but the General himself in the observance and application of all men.” On the field of Chalgrove he came up with Rupert. A fierce skirmish ensued. In the first charge Hampden was struck in the shoulder by two bullets, which broke the bone and lodged in his body. The troops of the Parliament lost heart, and gave way. Rupert, after pursuing them for a short time, hastened to cross the bridge, and made his retreat unmolested to Oxford.
Hampden, with his head drooping and his hands lean- 4 ing on his horse's neck, moved feebly out of the battle. The mansion which had been inhabited by his father-inlaw, and from which in his youth he had carried home his bride Elizabeth, was in sight. There still remains an affecting tradition that he looked for a moment toward that beloved house, and made an effort to go thither to
die. But the enemy lay in that direction. He turned his horse toward Thame, where he arrived almost fainting with agony. The surgeons dressed his wounds. But there was no hope. The pain which he suffered was most excruciating. But he endured it with admirable firmness 5 and resignation. His first care was for his country. He wrote from his bed several letters to London concerning public affairs, and sent a last pressing message to the headquarters recommending that the dispersed forces should be concentrated. When his public duties were performed, he calmly prepared himself to die. He was attended by a clergyman of the Church of England, with whom he had lived in habits of intimacy, and by the chaplain of the Buckinghamshire Green-coats, Dr. Spurton, whom Baxter describes as a famous and excellent
divine. 6 A short time before Hampden's death the sacrament
was administered to him. He declared that, though he disliked the government of the Church of England, he yet agreed with that Church as to all essential matters of doctrine. His intellect remained unclouded. When all was nearly over, he lay murmuring faint prayers for himself and for the cause in which he died. “Lord Jesus,” he exclaimed, in the moment of the last agony,“ receive my soul! O Lord ! save my country! O Lord ! be merciful to-" In that broken ejaculation passed away
his noble and fearless spirit. ng He was buried in the parish church of Hampden.
His soldiers, bareheaded, with reversed arms and muffled drums and colors, escorted his body to the grave, singing as they marched that lofty and melancholy psalm in which the fragility of human life is contrasted with the immutability of him to whom a thousand years are as yesterday when it is passed, and as a watch in the night.