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the last ten years, through different classes of society in England, Scotland, and Europe. Cromwell the execrated has in this time become Cromwell the extolled; and, from being a man of whom nonconformist historians wrote charily, and church historians vituperatively, has become a name held in universal, nay, fashionable admiration in all cultivated circles.
This change in public opinion is very noteworthy. It could not have taken place if the tendencies of the age had not been favourable to it. Royalty, aristocracy, and ecclesiastical authority, have all been losing their hold on the minds of the generation which has come into action, of late years, and hence, many of them, and indeed most of them, are well prepared to receive with favour vindications of the man whose name was, of all British ones, most completely identified with hostility to them all. The believers in the Divine right of kings have all passed away. If any of them still linger in Europe, they are living reliques of the past, and have as much to do with actual affairs as the mail armour in the Tower with the suppression of the Irish rebellion. The superstition which Oliver Cromwell mortally wounded is gone. After the establishment of an American republic, and the struggles of three French revolutions, justice comes to be generally rendered to the memory of the chief of the regicides. The reduction of the aristocratic power is now demanded by the millions of the people; the separation of church and state is approaching; and therefore men are less and less prepossessed against the military dictator, the first ruler in the world whose policy was intolerance only of intolerance. As a consequence of this progress of opinion, the characters of men have come to be regarded less in relation to conventional maxims, and more in accordance with the eternal tests of manhood and virtue. Evangelism, which a dozen years ago was scoffed at, in the manner of the Rev. Sydney Smith, by all the fashionable journals of any pretension, has come to be treated respectfully and sympathetically. This feature, for many years confined exclusively to the Eclectic Review, has spread itself over nearly all our journals of character.
With these influences, the pens of several of our public writers have co-operated, in producing the contrast between the opinions of the generation who are dying away and the generation who are coming into action, respecting the character of Oliver Cromwell. A character combining considerable fanaticism with considerable hypocrisy, and great ability, profound dissimulation and vast military genius :' such, in brief, was the general opinion of the puritan ruler. This view was taught by nearly all our biographers and historians, from Hume, Godwin, and Guizot, down to Forster. Prior to the year 1837, the most generous appreciation which had appeared of the character of Cromwell was in an article by Dr. Southey, in the Quarterly Review. Mr. Forster's · Life of Cromwell,' and Dr. Vaughan's ' Protectorate,' then recently published, were reviewed in the number of the London and Westminster Review for October, 1839; and in this article, while the literary merits of these writers were duly honoured, their views of the character of the Protector were elaborately examined, and, as it appears, most successfully refuted. This was the first thorough vindication of Oliver Cromwell which had appeared since the Restoration. Though appearing in the anonymous and fugitive shape of a review, this paper attracted notice enough to enable it to unsettle, if not to change, the generally received notions of the characteristics of Cromwell. Mr. Horace Smith, in his introduction to the reprint of an American novel, by Mr. Herbert, entitled Oliver Cromwell,' briefly repeated the character of the Protector, with ample acknowledgments, as drawn by the London and Westminster reviewer. Eighteen months after the publication of this vindication, Mr. Carlyle made known his adherence to the new appreciation, in his sketch of Cromwell, in his lectures on Heroes and Heroworship. When Mr. Carlyle devoted himself to the elucidation of the biography of Cromwell, he knew well that the brunt of the battle of vindication had already been borne, and that he had only to confirm an opinion already very extensively received.
The writers before us, Mr. Clarke, Mr. Wilson, and Dr. Merle D'Aubigné, attach great importance to the revolution of opinion which has occurred in regard to the character of the great soldier of religious liberty. Dr. Merle D'Aubigné says justly, the Cromwellian 'epoch is one of the most important in modern times, so far as concerns the new development of nations,' and characterizes the vindication of Cromwell as an undertaking, in his judgment, of the greatest service to the Protestant interest. The three works before us are all devoted to the dissemination of this vindication. Mr. Wilson and Mr. Clarke diffuse it in a cheap form, accessible to the most numerous classes of readers. Dr. Merle D’Aubigné took up his pen, and wrote his book, to make the vindication known all over the Continent. The subject, therefore, which these volumes open for us is not the character of Cromwell, but the history of the recent appreciation of it. In these circumstances, we should be guilty of the suppression of a fact in literary history of acknowledged importance, and acquiesce in an injustice to a gentleman who has frequently contributed to our pages, if we did not record that the first of the recent vindications of Cromwell, known to us, appeared in the London and Westminster Review for October, 1839, and is well known to have been from the pen of Mr. John Robertson,
We know, on the best authority, that no one has rejoiced more than Mr. Robertson, in the great success with which the view he was the first to teach has been spread by the bonest research and picturesque eloquence of his friend. But every man has a right to his own in this world, and, in regard to the Cromwellian appreciation, the merit of Mr. Carlyle was to be among the first to hold it, and to surpass all others in the completion and diffusion of it.
The hypocritical interpretation of the character of Oliver Cromwell is a thing of the past. However, a thorough understanding of the character of Cromwell, a portrait of him to the life, and in relation to the affairs of his time, is still a desideratum. His piety, sincerity, worth, and heroism, have been abundantly established; nobody can henceforth dispute them. Enough of the rubbish which covered this statue of the seventeenth century has been removed, to shew its lofty and noble characteristics. But the rubbish still hides its pedestal, and covers still the scene it adorned and the figures by which it was surrounded. Though Southey has said, 'there is no period of history in which it so much behoves an Englishman to be versed as that of Cromwell's age,' there is none more covered with confusion and contradiction, and in which, if any living man is thoroughly versed, he has yet to shew himself in the fields of historical literature. There is no one knows it. The age of Cromwell is the unexplored Pompeii of English history.
Of the compilations on our table, it is not necessary to write minutely. They are all works of ability, and fitted for usefulness. The work by Dr. Merle d'Aubigné is not likely to raise the reputation of its author. It abounds in mistakes and misapprehensions, and seems to have been too hasty a performance to be worthy of its subject. A work, of the portable and convenient size of Dr. Merle's volume, which should condense the essence of the biography of the Protector in a clear and brilliant style, would equal Southey's Life of Nelson in interest, if there were a Southey to write it. Mr. Edmund Clarke has done successfully what he attempted. He has written a clear and brief statement of the chief events from the accession of Charles to the death of Cromwell. Few of our readers, we presume, require to master the contents of these volumes ; but to those who have not time to make themselves acquainted with the subject, in the bulky volumes of Mr. Carlyle, these works will afford instruction indispensable to every Englishman who pretends to average intelligence.
Mr. Daniel Wilson censures the royal commission for the adornment of the new Houses of Parliament, for refusing the statue of Cromwell a place among the kings of England, between
Charles I. and Charles. 11. Upon this theme there has been a loud outcry. "The Puritan King' was the greatest of our kings, urges Mr. Wilson; and his exclusion is a wrong done far more to us than to him. We took no part in this fuss when it was loudest. We have no sympathy with it. The question was not worth a straw. Oliver Cromwell was not a king. Of all historical personages, no one could be more out of place among the Tudors, Stuarts, or Guelphs. He was not one of them. He was not the least like them. The reasons which cause statues to be erected in memory of kings and queens have no connection, relation, or application in reference to this man. A statue of Joan of Arc among the beauties of the second Charles would not be more out of place than the statue of Oliver Cromwell among the Stuarts. As a mere matter of taste, the group would have been as incongruous as if La Pieta of Michael Angelo were placed between a Mercury and a Silenus.
Oliver Cromwell was a brewer of Huntingdon, a farmer of St. Ives. He was a puritan layman of the seventeenth century. Protestant nonconformity kindled within him a heroic devotion to civil and religious liberty, the genius of a great general, the wisdom of a great ruler. He was the successful soldier and statesman of liberty of conscience. Brewer, soldier, puritan, there was not a particle of royalty about him. He is not in the least like a king. John Bunyan among the archbishops, Martin Luther among the popes, St. Thomas of Assissi in a corps de ballet, rather than Oliver Cromwell among the kings, unless the selection has been made by the royal commission expressly to defy the maxim of Horace
* Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam
Jungere si velit, et varias inducere plumas,
Desinat in piscem mulier formosa superne.'
cannot raise genius by a subscription; and marble pared to order cannot teach the children of our children the saintly heroism of an Oliver Cromwell.
However, we have promised to suggest a spot for the future monument, a site for the statue which is sure to be erected, some time. Near where Hyde Park bursts upon the view from Oxford Street, opposite the end of the Edgware Road, the reader may observe, in passing, a small metal pillar, on which is inscribed, “Here stood Tyburn Gate. Looking into the park from this spot, the observer may trace, by a hollow in the grassy sward, the covered course towards the Serpentine of Tyburn,the Tye Burn. At this spot, we are standing in the near vicinity of the dust of Oliver Cromwell. Tyburn Tree, the famous gibbet of the olden time, had its site here. At the Restoration, the Royalists took the body of Oliver Cromwell out of the vaults of Westminster Abbey, and hung it in chains on the gibbet at Tyburn. Credible witnesses, who saw the body swinging here, have left behind them on record their testimony that they also saw it interred in a deep hole beneath the gibbet. Whether the precise site of the gibbet was within the park, and under the drive over which the equipages and horses of the aristocracy prance in pride, or under the road to Bayswater, on which the ocean-like roar of street traffic never ceases, certain it is that hereabout moulders the dust of the conqueror at Naseby, the soldier of the Puritans, the hero of liberty. Here, we suggest, ought his statue to be.
ART. VII. — Analogies and Contrasts; or, Comparative Sketches of
France and England. By the Author of Revelations of Russia,' • The White Slave, Eastern Europe, and the Emperor Nicholas.'
2 Vols., 8vo. London : Newby. 1848. THESE volumes, which the author assures us were nearly completed before the outbreak of the recent French revolution, and which bear every trace of that being the fact, afford striking proof that the convulsion which has arrived was clearly seen in its approach, by thinking men, as an inevitable certainty. Had the author only issued his work from the press a few months earlier, he might have claimed as singular a prescience as any that can be pointed to in the history of letters, and would have produced as vivid a sensation as he did by his ‘Revelations of Russia,' which threw a wholly new light on the condition
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