صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

wed; ut to devote ns the dwelted to the so

[ocr errors]

The partition of this rich booty raised a quarrel among them; and while their attention was thus engaged, she took the opportunity of making her escape with her son into the thickest of the forest, where she wandered for some time, over-spent with hunger and fatigue, and funk with terror and affliction. While in this wretched condition, the saw a robber approach with his naked sword ; and finding that she had no means of escape, the suddenly embraced the resolution of trusting entirely for protection to his faith and generosity. She advanced towards him, and presenting to him the young prince, called out to him, Here, my friend, I commit to your care the safety of your King's fon. The man, whose humanity and generous spirit had been obscured, but not entirely loft, by his vicious course of life, was struck with the fingularity of the event, and charmed with the confidence reposed in him; and he vowed, not only to abstain from all injury against the prin- ' cess, but to devote himself entirely to her safety and protection. By his means the dwelt some time concealed in the forest, and was at last conducted to the sea-coast, whence she. made her escape into Flanders. She passed thence into her father's court, where she lived several years in privacy and retirement. Her hulband was not so fòrtunate or so dextrous in finding the means of his escape. Some of his friends took him under their protection, and conveyed him into LancaThire, where he remained concealed during a twelvemonth; but he was at last detected, delivered up to Edward, and thrown into the Tower. The safety of his person was owing less to the generosity of his enemies, than to the contempt which they had entertained of his courage and his understanding."

Distress, like this, must move our' pity, even though the sufferers were in the meanest station. But when we consider it as the lot of an unfortunate pair, accustomed to the pomp of royalty, and softened by all the blandishments of ease and luxury, then our compassion increases in proportion as the extreme reverse of fortune must make their sense of misery the stronger.

The unfortunate Henry, however, was afterwards restored, and in a short time fell again into the hands of Edward, to experience ftill farther calamities, which not long after put an end to the days of this weak but pious prince; though some incline to think that he died a violent death.

All the glories of Edward's reign, Mr. Hume observes, terminated with the civil wars, where his laurels too were extremely fullied with blood, violence, and cruelty. His spirit


seems afterwards to have been funk in indolence and pleasure, or his measures were frustrated by imprudence and want of foresight. His character is summed up in these few words : He was “ a prince more splendid and showy, than either prudent or virtuous; brave, though cruel ; addicted to pleasure, though capable of activity in great emergencies ; and less fita ted to prevent ills by wise precautions, than to remedy them after they took place by his vigour and enterprize.” *

We shudder as we pass through the short reign of Edward V. which is full of the butcheries of that inhuman monfter the Duke of Gloucester, who murdered the young King with his brother the Duke of York, and stepped to the throne through the blood of his slaughtered kinsmen, under the title of Richard III. Happily, however, this stain to humanity did not long disgrace the diadem; he was killed at the battle of Bos. worth, and fell by too mild a fate. Mr. Hume, who by many, perhaps, will be thought to have been too indulgent to the characters of our weak and wicked princes, does not attempt to palliate that of Richard. “ The Historians (says he) who favour Richard, (for even he has met with partizans among the late Writers) maintain that he was well qualified for government, had he legally obtained it; and that he committed no crimes but such as were necessary to procure him possession of the crown : but this is a very poor apology, when it is confessed that he was ready to commit the most horrid crimes, which appeared necessary for that purpose. And it is certain that all his courage and capacity, qualities in which he really seems not to have been deficient, would never have made compensation to the people for the danger of the precedent, and for the contagious example of vice and murder, exalted upon the throne."

“ Thus (says our Historian) we have pursued the Hiftory of England through a series of many barbarous ages, till we have at last reached the dawnings of civility and science, and have the prospect, both of greater certainty in our historical narrations, and of being able to present to the Reader a spec

• Mr. Hume seems to be mistaken, when he says that the Benèvelence attempted to be levied by this prince, was “a fort of exaction, which, except during the reign of Henry III. had scarce ever been practised in former times." They appear to have been more frequently raised than he supposes: they were even levied in the preceding reign; and the instructions to the commissioners employed in procuring a benevolence in the 20th of Henry VI. speak the language of an arbitrary prince.

tacle tacle more worthy of his attention.” Mr. Hume concludes with a kind of recapitulation, wherein he gives an abstract of the antient system of government, and its successive changes in these remote times : but our limits will not allow us to extend our exftracts any farther.

Upon the whole, we do not scruple to commend these Volumes, as containing the most just and masterly account of the reigns of our early Kings, that has hitherto been penned. The attentive Reader will find that philosophy and jurisprudence constantly go hand in hand with History: and we hope that as Mr. Hume has with such success gone backwards as far as probability can warrant relation, that he will now continue the History of this kingdom, from the period at which he left off, on the publication of the first two Volumes,


tive Kecarly Rings, not just and mo. comine

An Historical and Critical Account of the Life of Oliver Cromwell,

Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland,

and Ireland, after the Manner of Mr. Bayle. Drawn from ..original Writers and State Papers. To which is added, an Ape

pendix of original Papers, now first published. By William Harris. 8vo. 7s. bound. Millar.

IN our Review of the last production * of this industrious | Biographer, we took occafion to observe that his business had been chiefly that of a Compiler ; that he had shewn great care and accuracy in his Compilation, and had in general summed up the evidence on both sides, with great judgment and impartiality. On perusing the Volume now before us, we find no reason for altering our opinion of Mr. Harris's care and accuracy, but we are sorry to confess that we cannot entertain the same respect for his judgment and impartiality. We are nevertheless still persuaded that he has too much hónefty 'to be guilty of wilful misrepresentation ; but zealous prejudice insensibly gives a wrong bias to the mind, and diverts it from the most obvious deductions. His generous detestation of the oppressive and arbitrary principles by which Charles attempted to govern, was a just ground for the severe censures, which he has passed on the political character of that ill-fated monarch: but when he endeavours to throw a favourable gloss on the conduct of Cromwell, who only

nefty are neverthelerespect for his try to confess;

• The Life of Charles. For an account of which, see Review, Vol. XVIII. p. 452.


firmerent, and becomes whence it ariinwell. Wherent the

destroyed an irresolute tyrant, that he himself might take a former grasp of the sceptre of tyranny, he certainly errs in his judgment, and becomes, we trust, involuntarily partial.

It is difficult to say whence it arises that the enemies of Charles, all rank as partizans of Cromwell. Where parties have taken such opposite directions, manifestly against the guidance of reason, it is a hard task for a Reviewer to expose their deviations, without giving offence to the zealots on both sides. But whatever hazard we may incur, we do not scruple to affirm, that they who express their deteftation of Charles, must, upon the same principles, if they are consistent, hold Cromwell in still greater abhorrence. If we regard Cromwell as a man, he was inferior to Charles in respect of pri:. vate virtues ; if we consider him as a sovereign, for such he was, under the title of Protector, he far exceeded Charles in every circumstance of absolute sway and tyranny: and what greatly aggravates the guilt of Cromwell is, that he usurped that lovereignty, which he so wantonly abused, to the oppression of the public.

We desire no better authority, in support of our principles, than the Life of the Protector now before us ; wherein the facts indeed are stated with candor, and the comments are frequently liberal and just. All that we shall take occasion to dispute, will be our Author's reflections and inferences upon the whole.

We pass over Cromwell's birth and parentage, with all the uninteresting minute particulars, in which Mr. Harris is tediously circumstantial, and proceed to the account here given of his principles and chara&er. It is confessed that Cromwell had but a moderate share of learning; that he was vicious in his vouth, but that he afterwards reformed, and became a professor of religion even to a degree of enthusiasm. Here our Author has a long note of more than a dozen pages to prove the reality of Cromwell's enthusiasm. For this purpole, he chiefly relies on some extracts from Cromwell's letters, which, he says, will better tha: any thing else illustrate this part of his character. The extracts recited are replete with cant and fanaticism ; and, in truth, it seems to be a strange method of examination, to try the reality of a man's principles, by letters of his own penning on public concerns. The more certain way of determining his fincerity, is to at-' tend to his behaviour in the private hours of social converse. It must be confeffed, however, that Mr. Harris has not sup-. pressed evidence of this nature, for he has very fairly stated


elfoo will reveal, thehere he could oved rife, and toond fuch

the following anecdotes, which seem to indicate Cronwell a hypocrite. “ His rude cant and spiritual fimplicity were downright affectation ; than which nothing can be more evident from Mr. Waller's observation, and his confeflion to him. Mr. Waller often took notice, that in the midst of their discourse a servant has come in to tell them such and such attended; upon which Cromwell would rise, and stop them, talking at the door, where he could over-hear them say, The Lord will reveal, The Lord will help, and several such expressions; which when he returned to Mr. Waller he excused, saying, Cousin Waller, I must talk to these men after their own way: and would then go on where they left off. This created in Mr. Waller an opinion that he secretly despised those whom he seemed to court.

" And the author of the Political History of the Age, thinks the enthusiasm of Cromwell entirely assumed and politic, quoting the following anecdote from Oliver St. John, in proof of it, viz. That being one day at table with his friends, and looking for the cork of a bottle of champaign which he had opened, on being informed that some person attended for admittance to see him, Tell him, says Cromwell, we are in search of the Holy Spirit.”

« But (fays cur Author) what do these anecdotes prove, but that Cromwell sometimes talked inconsistently with his principles ? Or being at times less under their power, he indulged himself in jefting and raillery, to which he was naturally prone?” This is indeed acting the part of a thorough paced apologist: nevertheless Mr. Harris, we apprehend, will find it difficult to persuade his Readers, that a real enthufiaft in religion, however at times he may relax from the severity of his principles, will ever be fo extremely inconsistent, as o treat points, held sacred, with such profane and impious ra llery. It may be allowed, that Cromwell was, in one sen'e, an enthusiast; for he certainly had that ardour and vehemence of disposition, or, if Mr. Harris will have it so, that afflatis divinus, which overlooks all difficulties, and often cxalts min to heights of fortune, to which cool deliberation and Luer judgment would never have advanced them. Rash ambition and lawless usurpation, are never without a tincture of this, for the moft part, fortunate frenzy. But that Cromwell was a real enthusiast in religion, there is not the least foundazion to believe. Nay, our Author himself, in the subsequent pures, is obliged to confess that Cromwell was a hypocrite ; for e tells us, that " he got the better of some powerful oppone 119 Rev. Feb. 1762.


« السابقةمتابعة »