« AnteriorContinuar »
In the morning before the battle, as always upon action, he was very cheerful, and put himself into the first rank of the lord Byron's regiment, then advancing upon the enemy, who had lined the hedges on both sides with musketeers; from whence he was shot with a musket, in the lower part of the belly, and in the instant falling from his horse, bis body was not found till the next morning; till when, there was some hope he might have been a prisoner; though his nearest friends, who knew his temper, received small comfort from that imagination. Thus fell that incomparable young man, in the four-andthirtieth year of his age, having so much dispatched the true business of life, that the eldest rarely attain to that immense knowledge, and the youngest enter not into the world with more innocency : whosoever leads such a life, needs be the less anxious upon how short warning it is taken from him.
He was one of those men, quos vituperare ne initntci quidem posrunt, nisi vt simul laudcnt; whom his very enemies could not condemn without commending him at the same time: for he could never have done half that mischief, without great parts of cou
rage, industry, and judgment. He must have had a wonderful understanding in the natures and humours of men, and as great a dexterity in applying them; who from a private and obscure birth, (though of a good family) without interest or estate; alliance or friendship, could raise himself to such a height, and compound and knead such opposite and contradictory tempers, humours, and interests into a consistence, that contributed to his designs, and to their own destruction; whilst himself grew insensibly powerful enough to cut off those by whom, he had climbed, in the instant that they projected to demolish their own building. What was said of Cinua may very justly be said of him: Ausum earn qute nemo auderet bonus, perfecisse quce d nullu, nisi fortissimo, perJici possent. He attempted those things which no good man durst have ventured on; and atchieved those in which none but a valiant and great man could have succeeded. Without doubt, no man with more wickedness ever attempted any thing, or brought to pass what he desired more wickedly, more in the face and contempt of religion, and moral honesty; yet wickedness as great as his could never have accomplished those designs, without the assistance of a great spirit, an admirable circumspection. and sagacity, and a most magnanimous resolution.
When he appeared first in the parliament, he seemed to have a person in no degree gracious, no ornablent bf discourse, none of those talents which use to conciliate the affections of the Rtander by: yet as he grew into place and authority, his parts seemed to be raised, as if he had had concealed faculties, till he had occasion to use them; and when he was to act the part of a great man, he did it without any in" decency, notwithstanding the want of custom.
After he was confirmed and invested protector by the humble petition and advice, he consulted with very few upon any action of importance, nor communicated any enterprise he resolved upon, with more than those who were to have principal parts in the execution of it; nor with them sooner than was absolutely necessary. What he once resolved, in which he.was not rash, he would not be dissuaded from, nor endure any contradiction of his power and authority; but extorted obedience from them who were not willing to yield it. * * * *
To conclude his character, Cromwell was not so far a man of blood, as to follow Machiavel's method; which prescribes, upon a total alteration of government, as a thing absolutely necessary, to cut off all the heads of those, and extirpate their families, who are friends to the old one. It was confidently reported, that in the council of officers, it was more than once proposed, "That there might be a general massacre of all the royal party, as the only expedient to secure the government, but that Cromwell
VOl. III. K
would never consent to it;" it may be, out of too great a contempt of his enemies. In a word, as he was guilty of many crimes, against-which damnation is denounced, and for which hell-fire is prepared, so he had- some good qualities which have caused the memory of some men in all ages to be celebrated; and he will be looked upon by posterity as a brave wicked man.
2. Clarendon wrote also a Survey of Hobbes'a Leviathan. This was likewise composed at Moulins.
It is remarked by Hume as a singularity, how much English history is indebted to four great men who possessed the highest dignity in the law—More, Bacon, Whitlocke, and Clarendon.
James Howel, the son of a clergyman in Caermarthenshire, was born about 1596. He was initiated in grammar-learning at the Freeschool of Hereford, whence he removed to Jesus College, Oxford, of which his elder brother was a fellow. After taking his batchelor's degree, he quitted the university for .London, where, by the interest of sir Robert Mansel, he was appointed steward to a patent-glass manufactory; and in 1619, was sent abroad by the company as their agent. He had thus an opportunity of visiting many commercial towns in Holland, Flanders, France,
* Howel should have come in somewhat before perhaps; but it is of little consequence, as he is in the teign in which he most distinguished himself.