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the other side, as far as life is concerned, I doubt CHAPTER whether a single instance can be found, where liberty has been granted to a deposed monarch. Among the modes of destroying persons in such a situation, there can be little doubt but that adopted by Cromwell and his adherents is the least dishonourable. Edward the Second, Richard the Second, Henry the Sixth, Edward the Fifth, had none of them long survived their deposal; but this was the first instance, in our history at least, where, of such an act, it could be truly said, that it was not done in a corner.
As to the second question, whether the advantage to be derived from the example was such as to justify an act of such violence, it appears to me to be a complete solution of it to observe, that with respect to England, (and I know not upon what ground we are to set examples for other nations, or in other words, to take the criminal justice of the world into our hands,) it was wholly needless, and therefore unjustifiable, to set one for kings, at a time when it was intended the office of King should be abolished, and consequently, that no person should be in the situation to make it the rule of his conduct. Besides, the miseries attendant upon a deposed monarch, seem to be sufficient to deter any prince, who thinks of consequences, from running the risk of being
CHAPTER placed in such a situation; or, if death be the only evil
that can deter him, the fate of former tyrants deposed by their subjects, would by no means encourage him to hope he could avoid even that catastrophe. As far as we can judge from the event, the example was certainly not very effectual, since both the sons of Charles, though having their father's fate before their eyes, yet feared not to violate the liberties of the people even more than he had attempted to do.
If we consider this question of example in a more extended view, and look to the general effect produced upon the minds of men, it cannot be doubted but the opportunity thus given to Charles, to display his firmness and piety, has created more respect for his memory than it could otherwise have obtained. Respect and pity for the sufferer on one hand, and hatred to his enemies on the other, soon produce favour and aversion to their respective causes ; and thus, even though it should be admitted, (which is doubtful,) that some advantage may have been gained to the cause of liberty, by the terrour of the example operating upon the minds of princes, such advantage is far outweighed by the zeal which admiration for virtue, and pity for sufferings, the best passions of the human heart, have excited in favour of the royal cause. It has
been thought dangerous to the morals of mankind, CHAPTER even in fiction and romance, to make us sympathize with characters whose general conduct is blameable ; but how much greater must the effect be, when in real history our feelings are interested in favour' of a monarch with whom, to say the least, his subjects were obliged to contend in arms for their liberty? After all, however, notwithstanding what the more reasonable part of mankind may think upon this question, it is much to be doubted whether this singular proceeding has not, as much as any other circumstance, served to raise the character of the English nation in the opinion of Europe in general. He who has read, and still more he who has heard in conversation, discussions upon this subject by Sentiments of foreigners, must have perceived, that, even in the the act. minds of those who condemn the act, the impression made by it has been far more that of respect and admiration, than that of disgust and horrour. The truth is, that the guilt of the action, that is to say, the taking away of the life of the King, is what most men in the place of Cromwell and his associates would have incurred; what there is of splendour and of magnanimity in it, I mean the publicity and solemnity of the act, is what few would be capable of displaying. It is a degrading fact to human
CHAPTER nature, that even the sending away of the Duke of
Gloucester was an instance of generosity almost unexampled in the history of transactions of this
From the execution of the King to the death of Cromwell, the government was, with some variation of forms, in substance monarchical and absolute, as a government established by a military force will almost invariably be, especially when the exertions of such a force are continued for any length of time. If to this general rule our own age, and a people whom their origin and near relation to us would almost warrant us to call our own nation, have afforded a splendid and perhaps a solitary exception, we must reflect not only, that a character of virtues so happily tempered by one another, and so wholly unalloyed with any vices, as that of Washington, is hardly to be found in the pages of history, but that even Washington himself might not have been able to act his most glorious of all parts, without the existence of circumstances uncommonly favourable, and almost peculiar to the country which was to be the theatre of it. Virtue like his depends not indeed upon time or place ; but although in no country or time would he have degraded himself into a Pisistratus, or a Cæsar, or a Cromwell, he
might have shared the fate of a Cato, or a De Witt; CHAPTER or, like Ludlow and Sidney, have mourned in exile the lost liberties of his country.
With the life of the Protector almost immediately His characended the government which he had established. The great talents of this extraordinary person had supported, during his life, a system condemned equally by reason and by prejudice ; by reason, as wanting freedom ; by prejudice, as an usurpation; and it must be confessed to be no mean testimony to his genius, that, notwithstanding the radical defects of such a system, the splendour of his character and exploits render the æra of the Protectorship one of the most brilliant in English history. It is true his conduct in foreign concerns, is set off to advantage, by a comparison of it with that of those who preceded, and who followed him. If he made a mistake in espousing the French interest instead of the Spanish, we should recollect, that in examining this question we must divest our minds entirely of all the considerations which the subsequent relative state of those two empires suggest to us, before we can become impartial judges in it; and at any rate, we must allow his reign, in regard to European concerns, to have been most glorious when contrasted with the pusillanimity of James the First, with the