Imágenes de páginas



In the general spirit and character of his administration, we think Cromwell far superior to Napoleon. 'In civil government,' says a recent historian,* 'there can be no adequate parallel between one who had sucked only the dregs of a besotted fanaticism, and one to whom the stores of reason and philosophy were open.' These expressions, it seems to us, convey the highest eulogium on our great countryman. Reason and philosophy did not teach the conqueror of Europe to command his passions, or to pursue, as a first object, the happiness of his people. They did not prevent him from risking his fame and his power in a frantic contest against the principles of human nature and the laws of the physical world; against the rage of the winter and the liberty of the sea. They did not exempt him from the influence of that most pernicious of superstitions, a presumptuous fatalism. They did not preserve him from the inebriation of prosperity, or restrain him from indecent querulousness and violence in adversity.

On the other hand, the fanaticism of Cromwell never urged him on impracticable undertakings, or confused his perception of the public good. Inferior to Bonaparte in invention, he was far superior to him in wisdom. The French Emperor is among conquerors

* Mr. Hallam,


what Voltaire is among writers, a miraculous child. His splendid genius was frequently clouded by fits of humor as absurdly perverse as those of the pet of the nursery, who quarrels with his food, and dashes his play things to pieces. Cromwell was emphatically a He possessed, in an eminent degree, that masculine and full-grown robustness of mind, that equally diffused intellectual health, which, if our national partiality does not mislead us, has peculiarly characterized the great men of England. Never was any ruler so conspicuously born for sovereignty. The cup which has intoxicated almost all others, sobered him. His spirit, restless from its buoyancy in a lower sphere, reposed in majestic placidity, as soon as it had reached the level congenial to it. He had nothing in common with that large class of men who distinguish themselves in lower posts, and whose incapacity becomes obvious as soon as the public voice summons them to take the lead. Rapidly as his fortunes grew, his mind expanded more rapidly still. Insignificant as a private citizen, he was a great general; he was a still greater prince.

The manner of Napoleon was a theatrical compound, in which the coarseness of a revolutionary guard-room was blended with the ceremony of the old court of Versailles. Cromwell, by the confession even of his enemies, exhibited in his demeanor the simple and natural nobleness of a man neither ashamed of his origin, nor vain of his elevation; of a man who had found his proper place in society, and who felt secure that he was competent to fill it. Easy, even to familiarity, where his own dignity was concerned,

he was punctilious only for his country. His own character he left to take care of itself; he left it to be defended by his victories in war, and his reforms in peace. But he was a jealous and implacable guardian of the public honor. He suffered a crazy Quaker to insult him in the midst of Whitehall, and revenged himself only by liberating him and giving him a dinner. But he was prepared to risk the chances of war to avenge the blood of a private Englishman.

No sovereign ever carried to the throne so large a portion of the best qualities of the middling orders— so strong a sympathy with the feelings and interests of his people. He was sometimes driven to arbitrar measures, but he had a high, stout, honest, English heart. Hence it was that he loved to surround his throne with such men as Hale and Blake. Hence it was that he allowed so large a share of political liberty to his subjects, and that, even when an opposition dangerous to his power and to his person, almost compelled him to govern by the sword, he was still anxious to leave a germ from which, at a more favorable season, free institutions might spring.

We firmly believe, that if his first Parliament had not commenced its debates by disputing his title, his government would have been as inild at home as it was energetic and able abroad. He was a soldier ;— he had risen by war. Had his ambition been of an impure or selfish kind, it would have been easy for him to plunge his country into continental hostilities on a large scale, and to dazzle the restless factions which he ruled by the splendor of his victories. Some of his enemies have sneeringly remarked, that in the

successes obtained under his administration, he had no personal share; as if a man, who had raised himself from obscurity to empire solely by his military talents, could have any unworthy reason for shrinking from military enterprise. This reproach is his highest glory. In the success of the English navy he could have no selfish interest. Its triumphs added nothing to his fame; its increase added nothing to his means of overawing his enemies; its great leader was not his friend. Yet he took a peculiar pleasure in encouraging that noble service, which, of all the instruments employed by an English government, is the most impotent for mischief, and the most powerful for good.

His administration was glorious, but with no vulgar glory. It was not one of those periods of overstrained and convulsive exertion, which necessarily produce debility and languor. Its energy was natural, healthful, temperate. He placed England at the lead of the Protestant interest, and in the first rank of Christian powers. He taught every nation to value her friendship, and to dread her enmity. But he did not squander her resources in a vain attempt to invest her with that supremacy which no power, in the modern system of Europe, can safely affect, or can long retain.

This noble and sober wisdom had its reward. If he did not carry the banners of the Commonwealth in triumph to distant capitals; if he did not adorn Whitehall with the spoils of the Stadthouse and the Louvre; if he did not portion out Flanders and Germany into principalities for his kinsmen and his generals; he did not, on the other hand, see his country overrun by

the armies of nations, which his ambition had provoked. He did not drag out the last years of his life an exile and a prisoner, in an unhealthy climate and under an ungenerous gaoler; raging with the impotent desire of vengeance, and brooding over visions of departed glory. He went down to his grave in the fulness of power and fame; and left to his son an authority, which any man of ordinary firmness and prudence would have retained.



The various uses of the elements, enumerated throughout this essay, contribute largely to the force and elegance of utterance. They must be employed. The question is, whether they should be learned from an assemblage, in current discourse, or from a separate and iterated practice on their individual forms.

I need not propose arguments in favor of the analytic and elementary system to those, who, from the habit of acquiring the sciences, have formed for themselves economical and effective plans of education. It is well for all others to take opinion in this matter, for a while at least, upon faith; and to know that the only reason why elocutionists have never employed this mode, is because they have been ignorant of the subdivided functions of speech. There are too many examples in science, of the useful application of analysis to the pur

« AnteriorContinuar »