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liberty of others must first lose his own, and first feel himself a slave. This indeed is just. But if the very patron and tutelary angel of liberty, if he who is generally regarded as pre-eminent in justice, in sanctity, and virtue; if he should ultimately invade that liberty which he asserted himself, such. invasion must indeed be pernicious and fatal, not only to himself, but to the general interest of piety and virtue. Truth, probity, and religion would then lose the estimation and confidence of mankind, the worst of wounds, since the fall of our first parents, that could be inflicted on the human race. You have taken upon you a burthen of weight inexpressible; it will put to the severest perpetual test the inmost qualities, virtues, and powers of your heart and soul; it will determine whether there really exists in your
character that piety, faith, justice, and moderation, for the sake of which we believe
you raised above others, by the influence of God, to this supreme cha
“ To direct three most powerful nations by your counsel, to endeavour to reclaim
the people from their depraved institutions 10 better conduct and discipline, to send forth into remotest regions your anxious spirit and incessant thoughts, to watch, to foresee, to shrink from no labor, to spurn every allurement of pleasure, to avoid the ostentation of opulence and power, these are arduous duties, in comparison of which war itself is mere sport; these will search and prove you; they require, indeed, a man supported by the assistance of heaven, and almost admonished and instructed by immediate intercourse with God. These and more I doubt not but you diligently revolve in your mind, and this in particular, by what methods you may be most able to accomplish things of highest moment, and secure to us our liberty not only safe but enlarged.”'
If a private individual thus speaking to a man of unbounded influence, whom a powerful nation had idolized and courted to assume the reins of government, can be called a flatterer, we have only to wish that all the flatterers of earthly power may be of
the same complexion. The admonition to the people, with which Milton concludes his second defence, is by no means inferior in dignity and spirit to the advice he bestowed on the protector. The great misfortune of the monitor was, that the two parties to whom he addressed his eloquent and patriotic exhortation, were neither of them so worthy of his counsel as he wished them to be, and endeavoured to make them. For Cromwell, as his subsequent conduct sufficiently proved, was a political impostor with an arbitrary soul; and as to the people, they were alternately the dishonored instruments and victims of licentiousness and fanaticism. The protector, his adherents, and his enemies, to speak of them in general, were as little able to reach the disinterested purity of Milton's principles, as they were to attain, and even to estimate the sublimity of his poetical genius. But Milton, who passionately loved his country though he saw and lamented the various corruptions of his contemporaries, still continued to hope, with the native ardour of a
sanguine spirit, that the mass of the English people would be enlightend and improved. His real sentiments of Cromwell, I am persuaded, were these : he long regarded him as a person not only possessed of wonderful influence and ability, but disposed to attempt, and likely to accomplish, the purest and noblest purposes of policy and religion; yet often thwarted and embarrassed in his best designs, not only by the power and machinations of the enemies with whom he had to contend, but by the want of faith, morality, and sense in the motley multitude, whom he attempted to guide and govern. As religious enthusiasm was the predominant characteristic of Milton, it is most probable that his fervid imagination beheld in Cromwell a person destined by heaven to reduce, if not to annihilate, what he considered the most enormous grievance of earth, the prevalence of popery and superstition. The several humane and spirited letters which he wrote, in the name of Cromwell, to redress the injuries of the persecuted protestants, who suffered in Piedmont, were
highly calculated to promote, in equal degrees, bis zeal for the purity of religion, and his attachment to the protector.
Yet great as the powers of Cromwell were to dazzle and delude, and willing as the liberal mind of Milton was to give credit to others for that pure public spirit,which he possessed himself, there is great reason to apprehend, that his veneration and esteem for the protector were entirely destroyed by the treacherous despotism of his latter days. But however his opinion of Oliver might change, he was far from betraying liberty, according to Johnson's ungenerous accusation, by continuing to exercise his office ; on the contrary, it ought to be esteemed a proof of his fidelity to freedom, that he condescended to remain in an office, which he had received from no individual, and in which he justly considered himself as the servant of the state. From one of his familiar letters, written in the year preceding the death of Cromwell, it is evident that he had no secret intimacy or influence with the protector ; and that instead of engaging in am