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ment to the Scotch ; it was in the highest ginal Covenant was, if not discarded, at degree desirable that this inducement least retained for exclusive use in Scotshould not be a promise to import Scotch land. A new instrument, the distinction Presbyterianism, pure and simple, into between which and the preceding has, I England. Clarendon, with the page of think, been much overlooked by historisucceeding history spread before him, did ans, entitled The Solemn League and not realize that, at the time of the nego- Covenant, formed the basis of the new tiation, that page was sealed from the eye treaty. It provided for the establishment of Vane. It is so difficult for historians in England, not of the system of the Scotto remember that what is to them a blaze tish church, but of a system in harmony of light was thick darkness to the actors with “the Word of God” and the pracof whom they speak! True of all times, tice of “the best Reformed Churches." it is pre-eminently true of times of revo- It contained stipulations for the preserlution, that men know only the foot of vation of the monarchy and the safety of land on which their own feet rest. Great the monarch. The cunning and duplicity men have done much to make history attributed by Clarendon to Vane are supand to shape the course of events ; but I posed to have played their part in the indoubt whether the greatest practical gen- sertion of expressions which would pracius that ever lived could, in revolutionary tically leave the whole question between times, predict his own career for six Presbyterians and Independents, and bemonths. “Is thy servant a dog that he tween Monarchists and anti-Monarchists, should do this thing ?” He did it. The open. The reference to “the Word of squeamish and tender-hearted advocate of God” was intended, it is said, to give inArras, so fearful of blood that he must definite scope to ecclesiastical diverresign his judicial post rather than con- gence; and the reference to “laws" and demn a man to death, and whose one pas- "liberties” prepared for the suggestion sion is limitless and consuming love for that the preservation of these might be mankind, becomes the Robespierre of the more important than keeping the King's Reign of Terror. Oliver Cromwell's con- crown on his head or even his head on temporaries, when they saw how things his shoulders. But both parties were fell out, exclaimed, “ Look, the vile trai- bent upon getting to work; the essential tor, he planned the whole affair that he thing was to arrange a basis for present might make a throne for himself !” And action ; and the Scots may have thought they called up spectres, apparitions, as well as Vane that it would be time to witch-women, to show how it had been all cross the bridge when they reached the foreseen and expected. The moderns river. Vane and Cromwell signed the rushed full cry after the Ludlows and Solemn League and Covenant, and both Catherine Macaulays, quite clear that maintained to their last breath that, in its Cromwell had wakened the Puritan vol- | true meaning, in strict accordance with cano with a view to warming his own its spirit and not in express contradiction hands. Clarendon makes essentially the to its letter, they kept it. At all events same mistake when he writes of Vane's Vane accomplished the object of his misnegotiation with the Scots in 1643, as if sion. The war was to be conducted unVane had foreseen the subsequent rup- der the supervision of a Committee of ture between the Independents and the Both Kingdoms, sitting in London. In Presbyterians. To speak the truth, no January, 1644, marching through kneecozening was required. The Scots were deep snow, twenty-one thousand Blue fully convinced that, if Charles triumphed Bonnets, led by Alexander Leslie, an old over the English Puritans, he would take soldier of Gustavus Adolphus, famous for fiery vengeance upon the Scotch Cove- having held Stralsund against the utmost nanters. They stipulated with Vane for efforts of Wallenstein, crossed the borwhat, to Cromwell, Milton, and himself, der. Acting in conjunction with the still appeared the most reasonable ar- Puritan forces in the East, Leslie was rangement that could be made, the estab- able to coop up Newcastle in York; and lishment in England of an ecclesiastical when Prince Rupert relieved him and ofsystem corresponding to that of Scotland. fered the Roundheads battle, Manchester, An identical system they did not want. Leslie, and Cromwell annihilated the comHenderson, Argyle and their other lead-bined army of the Royalists, and won the ers were too large-minded for such a de- first decisive victory of the Parliament, on sign. And the treaty they concluded Marston Moor. It was fought on a July with Vane, unfortunate as was the issue, evening, 1644. The Parliament was does discredit to neither party. The ori. henceforward able to deal with the King, and the Scots soon began to find that they | Milton apostrophizes the allied nations were no longer wanted. One of the first could never have been addressed to them to let his opinion to this effect be known so appropriately as when Pym, Vane, and was Oliver Cromwell, and in closest sym- Cromwell were putting their hands to pathy with Cromwell was Vane.
the Solemn League and Covenant, and No one who has looked into the early the Parliament of Scotland was calling pamphlets of Milton, or who gives due out all the fencible men of the realm to consideration to some of the most im- march to the help of the Commons of portant public transactions of the time, England. “Go on both hand in hand, o will fail to realize that English Presbyte-nations, never to be disunited ; be the rianism had a strong root and an exten- praise and the heroic song of all postersive growth in England, independently of ity; merit this, but seek only virtue, not any influence from Scotland. A large to extend your limits ; (for what needs to majority of the Puritan party in the Long win a fading triumphant laurel out of the Parliament at its commencement were tears of wretched men ?) but to settle the Presbyterians; active steps for the abo- pure worship of God in His Church, and lition of Episcopacy were taken in 1641 ; justice in the State: then shall the hardwhat is now universally characterized as est difficulties smooth out themselves bethe Scotch version of the Psalms was the fore ye; envy shall sink to hell, craft and work of the English M.P. for Truro, who, malice be confounded, whether it be so far as I know, was never in Scotland ; home-bred mischief or outlandish cunand the Westminster Assembly of Di- ning: yea, other nations will then covet vines, which drew up the formularies that to serve ye, for lordship and victory are have since defined the doctrine, worship | but the pages of justice and virtue. Comand discipline of the Presbyterian Church- mit securely to true wisdom the vanguishes of Scotland and America was a ing and uncasing of craft and subtlety, thoroughly English Congress. The cir- which are but her two runagates; join cumstance that Pym was appointed a your invincible might to do worthy and member of the Westminster Assembly is godlike deeds; and then he that seeks to one among many such which evidence break your union, a cleaving curse be his and illustrate the close union in this Rev- inheritance to all generations !” olution of political and religious impulses. The prospect was soon overcast ; the I could not undertake to say which estrangement between Presbyterians and impulse was the stronger in Pym. He Independents, at first a rift within the could have died either for the constitu-lute so slight that even the eye of Pym, tional liberties or for the religious liber- | as he sank overwearied and died in the ties of England ; and he did die, not on end of 1643, may not have detected it, the battle-field, but worn out by civic toil, changed the music of Puritan harmony in what was with him a struggle for both. into loud discord; and the ancient hatred Pym lived to set his name, along with between Scot and Englishman, which, every other member sitting in the Long since the days of Elizabeth, had been Parliament, to the Covenant, in Septem- softening, and at this point passed for a ber, 1643 ; Hampton had fallen in Chal- moment into the ardour of friendship, grove field in the preceding June.
became once more as rancorous as it had Those splendours of morning hope been in those darkest days of Scottish which encompass all revolutions never history between the death of Wallace and shone more brilliantly on the Puritan the rise of Bruce. English PresbyterianRevolution than at the moment when, ism, which, in 1643, was intellectually through the energy, tact, and eloquence more imposing and numerically stronger of Vane, the Parliament of England and than any Presbyterianism in the world, the people of Scotland found themselves and which furnished the constitutional linked together in a league of amity and machinery of Churches numbering at this mutual defence. The enthusiasm of the hour twenty or thirty millions of adheperiod burns in Milton's two books on rents, vanished from history. I make this Reformation in England with an inten- statement advisedly, although I know that sity which, to adapt his own imagery to it requires qualification. The native Presthe occasion, like the light, flashed from byteranism of England has continued to a mirror of diamond, pierces and almost live, but in an unrecognizable and invisipains the unimpassioned eyeballs of a ble state. Its rare intellectual quality has coldly scientific generation. That work been attested by such recruits to the clerwas written before Vane went to Scot-ical ranks of the Establishment as Bishop land, but the magnificent words in which Butler, and, in a different line, by a succession of strenuous and original thinkers | not excluding those of the French Revofrom Priestley to Martineau. But even lution, but only the base and brainless when the Presbyterian name was clung spawn of Jacobinism now infesting the to with reverent fondness, the old machin- capitals of Europe, Vane held liberty to ery of Church sessions, Presbyteries, and.be identical with right law. If I were Synods, and the formularies drawn up at asked to specify one thing which, more Westminster, were abandoned. The Eng-than any other, distinguished this Puritan lish Presbyterian Church of to-day has Revolutionist, I should say it was a specboth the constitutional framework and ulative passion for law. Absolute submisthe doctrinal standards of old English sion to the law of Christ we found to be Presbyterianism, is entirely independent his conception of perfect liberty both for of any Church beyond the English fron- Church and State. Many voluble persons tier, and is a vigorous and promising in- will be ready to pronounce this a thestitution. It is English in every sense in ory of slavishness rather than a theory which a Dunbar potato, growing vigor- of freedom. But Vane would not have ously in Surrey, is English. Historically agreed with Dr. Strauss that the expresit is not English.
sion, “the service of God," is insulting The reason which Cromwell and Vane to humanity, and Calvinistic thinkers assigned for obstructing Presbyterian as- have not been alone in holding that racendency was that, as they alleged, the tional and possible liberty is the same Presbyterians insisted upon erecting a thing with rational and willing submission system of persecuting intolerance hardly to necessity. The highest liberty for less objectionable than that of Laud. Vane was intelligent and willing submisCromwell, a great field preacher (in more sion to the law of God, as the highest libsenses than one), could not reconcile him-erty for Mr. Huxley, Mr. Spencer, and self to an ecclesiastical discipline which Mr. Bain is intelligent submission to the permitted no man to exercise his gifts, at law of Evolution. The ordinances of the the head of his regiment or elsewhere, universe are contemplated, alike in both unless he had been ordained to the office cases, as unalterable by man. Vane, howof the ministry. Vane, who went as di- ever, held expressly that “God is in His rectly to first principles in matters of being the highest reason.” These are his speculation as Cromwell in matters of words, quoted from his treatise, “ Conpractice, had made his way to the doctrine cerning Eternal Life." If it is the blasthat Church forms are comparatively of phemy of blasphemies, as Vane would small consequence, and declared that all have affirmed, to deny that the Almighty the Churches of his time agreed in over- must, by necessity of nature, proceed" in valuing them as compared with the spirit such manner as is exactly consistent with and the life. Papists, Anglicans, Presby- the wisdom and justice of a most holy terians, Congregationalists, were of one God," the greatest happiness of the greatmind, said Vane, in “preferring the est number throughout the universe seems Church in name, show, and outward or- likely enough to be brought about by His der, before what it is in spirit and truth government. The will of the Infinite as it is the living body of Christ.” A man Reason must be reasonable, of the Infinite who held this doctrine which belongs to Justice just, of the Infinite Love loving. the nineteenth rather than the seven- If, as has been maintained by some, Vane teenth century, was likely to be a thorn held the theory of universal salvation as in the side of any ecclesiastical party held by Origen, no theory of the universe whose conception of toleration embraced, could have been either more sublime or as one of its inseparable ingredients, more joyous than his ; but I have seen power to refuse toleration to every one no evidence under his own hand or from else.
his own lip to this effect, and I have seen It may seem surprising to modern read-writing of his which appears to be inconers, but it was exquisitely characteristic sistent with Origen's opinion. Like the of Vane, that, with all this latitude of rest of the Puritans, he was over-shadview, he had absolutely no sympathy with owed, in his entire mental structure, in anarchy, and to the last resented it as a his entire speculative activity, by the misrepresentation that he was willing to reigning idea of the age that it is irrevertolerate “sectaries.” By this word I take ent and sinful in the finite being to scan, him to have meant those who were tainted with frank, honest, open intelligence, the with such licentious notions as pass for laws purporting to be given him by the doctrines of liberty now-a-days. Like the Creator. Those laws, Vane and his Puriheroes and martyrs of freedom in all ages, I tan contemporaries believed, had been infallibly revealed, and had been summed / retirement. “This," he says, referring up in the Bible. If we discard this be to the violation, “made me forbear to lief, we shall find a good deal in the come to the Parliament for the space of thinking of Vane which is obsolete and ten weeks (to wit, from the 3rd of Decemuntenable ; but if we want to understand ber, 1648, till towards the middle of Febour ancestors, we must guard against ruary following) or to meddle in any pubsubstituting the inferences and prepos- lic transactions." He expressly adds, sessions of modernism for what they “neither had I, in the least, any consent thought and felt. Discipline strict as in, or approbation to," the death of the that of Sparta was, to their minds, con- king ; “but on the contrary, when resistent with liberty, but license they quired by the Parliament to take an oath deemed as unlike it as a drunk Helot was to give my approbation ex post facto to unlike Leonidas. The mutinous fool, what was done, I utterly refused and who fancied himself an apostle of liberty I would not accept of sitting in the Council and proceeded to act on the persuasion, of State upon these terms, but occasioned had a pistol bullet through his head. a new oath to be drawn, wherein that was
In the business of remodelling the omitted.” During his absence Charles army, Vane acted with Cromwell, and was beheaded. when the king got his finishing defeat at Vane's temporary withdrawal from pubNaseby, and throughout the tiresome and lic life at this crisis was characteristic. fruitless negotiations between Charles He was, as he said, “tender of blood.” and the Parliament, the two friends con- | He was intensely regardful of constitutinued of one mind. What sealed the tional regularity. Speculatively he had doom of Charles, as we saw in treating of gone step for step with Cromwell, and Cromwell, was that, after Montrose's now the question had been whether a Highlanders had been cut to pieces by Parliamentary majority should be allowed David Leslie's horsemen at Philipaugh, to sacrifice, or at least to imperil, all that after Alexander Leslie's army had re- Cromwell had won in internecine quarrel crossed the Tweed, when the Parliament at the pike-point with that very party of anxiously desired to come to terms with | Presbyterian Royalists with which the the King, and Cromwell was willing to Presbyterians of the House were believed undertake what would have been even for by Vane as well as Cromwell to be in him the difficult problem of securing the sympathy. There are Revolutions and consent of the army to the arrangement, Revolutions. Those of the highest order Charles deliberately ordered the veins of have in all countries a revolutionary England to be opened for new blood-let-method; and Cromwell perceived that ting. When Cromwell returned victo- the necessity which legitimizes the revorious from the campaign of Preston, he lutionary method had in this instance and his army were inflexibly resolved that arisen. Even if we pronounce Vane right Charles should die. They were not care-in withdrawing from the House when he ful to answer the Presbyterians as to the caught sight of Pride's musqueteers, we political consequences of their act, but shall have made out for him but half an they were certain that it was their duty to apology. Had he stood on the defensive ; execute the Lord's vengeance on this had he proclaimed to England that, man. The Presbyterian majority in Par- though he had opposed the Presbyterian liament stood fast by the King, demand members to the utmost, he would join ing that the interminable treatying should them in vindicating the privileges of Parbe resumed. Vane headed the minority liament; his conduct would have been and tried hard to get a vote, not that consistent and bold. But to flit away in Charles should be brought to trial, but the hour of peril and difficulty, and to fit that the Parliament should no longer back when the central agony was past, negotiate with him. Vane was defeated. must be pronounced the part of a secondThen he paused, for his imperious in- rate man. stincts of constitutionalism and order Let us, however, avoid the mistake of forbade him to quell by the sword the supposing that because a man is not abrepresentatives of the people. Cromwell solutely of the first order, is not a Cæsar did not pause. About a hundred mem- or a Cromwell, he cannot be highly rebers were violently excluded from the markable or worthy of admiration. At House. Vane long after described this all events, let us understand Vane's poas a “great violation of privileges.” He sition. His purpose, says Godwin, “was did not resist or protest, but he could not a Republic." Vane never, to my knowlapprove. He fitted off into temporary edge, made such an admission. His own
words on the subject are explicit. “ That when the scuppers spouted Dutch blood which I have had in my eye hath been to shed by the guns of Blake. preserve the ancient, well-constituted gov- Mr. Carlyle has an exceedingly clever ernment of England on its own basis and sketch of Vane, executed on the principrimitive righteous foundations.” Pow-ple uniformly observed by that great liter, he held, resides primarily in the whole erary artist, of throwing every other fig. people ; by the constitution of England ure on his canvas into shade and subthis power is vested in three estates, ordination, as compared with his hero. King, Lords, Commons: “ when these | The perfect justice of Shakespearian art, cannot agree, but break one from anoth-in which the Brutus is not exalted at the er, the Commons in Parliament assem- expense of the Cæsar, or the Cæsar at bled are ex officio the keepers of the liber- the expense of the Brutus,- the perfect ties of the nation.” Accordingly, “when, beauty of Turnerian art of which the by the inordinate fire of the times, two of highest light is white, and the shade, says the three estates were for a season melt- Mr. Ruskin, is not black, but crimson ed down, they did but retire into their have not been attained by Mr. Carlyle. root, and were not thereby destroyed but His sketch of Vane is just in attributing rather preserved." He thought it his to him exquisite intellectual subtlety, and duty “to preserve the Government, at denying him the regal strength of Cromleast in its root, whatever changes and well ; it is unjust in leaving the final imalterations it might be exposed unto in pression that Vane was but a thin intelits branches." After an interval which lectualist, capable of nothing better than he variously describes as of six weeks splitting dialectical hairs. "I want and of ten weeks duration, he returned to twisted cordage.” And could not Blake his place in Parliament, and became a have mentioned a kind of cordage not member of the Council of State under the spun from moonshine, which Vane unCommonwealth.
derstood the twisting of ? “A man of It was now the spring of 1649, and endless virtues, and of endless intellect; nearly three eventful years were still to but you must not very specially ask, pass before the sword of civil war was How or Where? Vane was the friend sheathed. The first was the year of Tre- of Milton : that is almost the only andah and Wexford, the second the year of swer that can be given.” Vane's life for Dunbar, the third the year of Worcester. ten years was a continual doing of things During this time we are to conceive which only one man in a thousand could Vane as incomparable in administrative have done ; specifically take three items energy and in financial resource. We in answer to the How or Where? He picture him also as of antique heroism in managed the negotiations with the King refusing to be enriched for his public as the Parliamentary head of that party services, and of a beautiful Christian ten- / which was in concert with Cromwell ; he derness in dealing with delinquents. formed the alliance which brought the The sure way to provoke his opposition Scots into England in 1644 and saved to any scheme was to attempt to bribe the cause on Marston Moor; and he him. 'Any hint of such a thing put him made the navy invincible under Blake. on his guard, and he was likely to be a True, he was Milton's friend ; and the far more dangerous opponent than he man to whom Milton addressed a sonnet might otherwise have been. The inter- was likely to be something more than ested and rapacious members - and“ an amiable, devoutly zealous, very there were several such — had no more pretty man :” but Vane was for fifteen formidable antagonist. When a mean or years, and such years as Mr. Carlyle harsh thing was attempted he rushed to knows, the friend of another besides Milthe front to defeat the cruelty or to baf- ton, to wit, Oliver Cromwell. “A man, fle the job. He was consummate, now one rather finds, of light fibre this Sir and afterwards, in the discharge of every | Harry Vane.” On the eve of the battle Parliamentary and administrative duty. of Dunbar, at the darkest moment he had All writers admit that it was his superla-ever experienced, Cromwell wrote aptive management of naval affairs that prising Sir Arthur Haselrig of his extaught Van Tromp, “the best captain in treme peril. He named one man in Parthe world,” says exultant Algernon Syd- liament, and but one to whom the gravity ney, to take down from his mast-head the of the situation was to be laid bare. broom with which he had been metaphor- “Let H. Vane know what I write.” The ically sweeping the English Channel, and man of whom Oliver Cromwell wrote to use it for sweeping his own decks this, on the end of September, 1650, was