ePub 版


would fain have me die; Lord, pardon them; like a king. The pendants and guerdons were and pardon thy foolish people; forgive their sins, carried by the officers of the army; the imperial and do not forsake them ; but love and bless them; banners, achievements, &c., by the heraulds in and give them rest, and bring them to a consistency, their coates; a rich-caparisoned horse, embroiand give me rest, for Jesus Christ's sake.” There dered all over with gold; a knight of honour armis but one more anecdote relating to this, the last ed cap-d-pie; and after all, his guards and soulscene in Cromwell's drama, which we venture to diers, and innumerable mourners.

In this equigive. Throughout life he had ever professed him- page they proceeded to Westminster ; but it was self a high Calvinist; and, as a necessary conse. the joyfullest funeral I ever saw; for there was quence, a believer in the doctrine called the final

none that cried but dogs, which the souldiers bootperseverance of the saints. In a moment of more ed away with a barbarous noise, drinking and than usual depression, he begged of one of his chap- taking tobacco in the streets as they went.” lains to say, whether the doctrine were really The remains of Cromwell were deposited for a sound; and whether he who had once been in a season in Henry VII.'s chapel, amid the dust of state of grace could ever fall back into reproba- the kings of England, being enclosed in a superb tion. The divine assured him that no such event coffin, which bore the following inscription could occur.

Then,” exclaimed he, “I am safe ; “Oliverus Protector Reipublicæ Angliæ, Scotiæ, et for I am sure I was once in a state of grace.” . Hiberniæ ; natus 25° Aprilis, anno 1599 ; inau

In the midst of these ravings, and while his guratus 16o Decembris, 1653; mortuus 30 Sepspiritual attendants predicted a speedy recovery, tembris, 1658, hic situs est.” Of the contumelies the hand of death fell heavy upon Cromwell. On afterwarde offered to them we are not called upon to the 3d of Sept. 1658, a day considered by himself say more, than that they have covered with disas particularly fortunate, he gave up the ghost, grace those only by whom they were commanded having, in a voice scarcely audible, named his son and executed. Richard as his successor in the protectorial chair. It has been our great object in the foregoing But as if nature herself had taken an interest in sketch to regard Oliver Cromwell in the single the fate of this extraordinary person, he breathed light of a distinguished military commander. In not his last as other men do. A furious tempest adhering to this design we have not unfrequentswept from one side of the island to the other. ly been compelled to suppress details full both of The largest trees in St. James's park were torn interest and instruction, and to impose serious reup by the roots; houses were unroofed or thrown straints upon our own opinions touching the true down, and men, even of strong minds, seriously end even of professional biography. The plan, doubted, whether the strife of the elements were however, which we had chalked out for ourproduced by ordinary causes. His adherents, of selves arbitrarily requiring these sacrifices, they course, spoke of the occurrence as manifesting have without hesitation been made ; nor in drav. the interest taken by the Deity himself in the cha- ing up a general estimate of his character as a racter and services of the deceased, while the public man shall we permit ourselves to indulge royalists ascribed it to a dispute among the evil in greater liberties. To some other pen will spirits which rule the air, as to which should en- doubtless be intrusted the task of determining, joy the honour of conducting the usurper's soul the niche which Cromwell must fill among the to the place of punishment. These speculations statesmen of England. Let it be our business were, no doubt, equally absurd; yet was there to give, as far as some little knowledge of such less of impiety in them than in the conduct of his matters will allow, a brief estimate of his qualififavourite chaplain, Stury.--"Dry up your tears," cations as the leader of an army. said he to the protector's relatives and attendants ; Oliver Cromwell belonged to that limited num“ye have more reason to rejoice than to weep. ber of mortals, of whom it may with justice be He was your protector here, he will prove a still said, that they came from the hands of nature reamore powerful protector now that he is with dy-made soldiers. Bold, active, robust in frame, Christ at the right hand of the Father.”

with nerves of the firmest texture, no dangers Cromwell's condition of body at his decease could affright, nor any accidents deprive him of was not such as to permit bis being laid out, as it self-command, while a thorough confidence in his is called, in state; but a waxen image, made to own resources sufficed in every emergency to carrepresent him, received all the honours usually ry him through difficulties, under which a more bestowed upon royal clay. His funeral, likewise, modest man would have given way. The great was performed amid a greater display of pageantry, quality, however, which distinguished him from and at an expense far exceeding that lavished almost every other general of his day, was his inupon the obsequies of any monarch. “He was timate acquaintance with human nature, and the carried,” says Evelyn,“ from Somerset House on a consequent readiness with which he selected fitvelvet bed of state, drawn by six horses, harness- ting instruments, and moulded them on all occaed with the same; the pall was held up by his sions to his own purposes. Of this, the mode new lords ; Oliver lying in effigie in royall robes, which he adopted to fill up the ranks of his first and crowned with a crown, sceptre, and globe, regiment affords the most satisfactory proof; and


nis treatment of these very men after they were Of all the campaigns which Cromwell conductmixed up with others, and so formed a portion ed, that against the Scots in 1650—1 deserves to of a large body, amply confirms it. No man be considered as the most regular and the most knew better than he where to draw the line be- scientific. When he reached the border, instead tween proper indulgence and its excess; no man of a raw army in his front, he beheld a scene of could better temper familiarity with respect, easy devastation and loneliness around him ; for the and kind treatment, with the most rigid discipline. people were driven from their houses ; the corn The consequence was, that his soldiers, however and cattle were removed, and such measures stubborn with others, were to him pliant and trac- adopted as would, even now, when the mode of table ; not only because they reposed in his abili- maintaining a mountainous country is better unties the most absolute confidence, but because they derstood, he approved. It would appear that personally loved and respected himself.

Cromwell had not omitted from his calculations Undaunted bravery, however, the capability of the possible occurrence of these events. A fleet more than common bodily exertions, and a pre- of victuallers and store-ships moved along the sence of mind which is never to be taken by sur- coast, from which supplies might be derived ; and prise, though each and all necessary ingredients, trusting to these, he pushed boldly forward to the do not suffice, even when accompained by a tho- attack of the capital. It has been said that Cromrough knowledge of human nature, to complete well was out-generalled here by Leslie. We have the character of a great general. There must, in no wish to detract from the merits of that able ofaddition, be the power of rapid, and, at the same ficer, whose system of defence was exactly such time, accurate calculation ; a judgment clear, and as the circumstances of the case required. Trained profound ; a foresight to imagine all probable dif- in the Belgic school, he was not ignorant that raw ficulties, in order that they may be anticipated ; levies, however individually brave, cannot, with and a moral courage which shall not pass over any chance of success, be opposed to veterans on any, whether it be great or small. If, again, to what is termed a fair field; he, therefore, selected these be added the principle of order by which a position naturally strong, entrenched it on every masses of men are moved like the pieces on a weak point, and having devastated the country in chess-board, then is the structure of a great mili- its front, waited patiently to be attacked. In all tary mind complete. Such men were Hannibal, this, however, the single quality displayed was Cæsar, Marlborough, and, for a time at least, firmness ; for there was no manæuvring on either Napoleon Bonaparte; and such a man is the duke side, as there was no occasion for it. Cromwell, of Wellington ; how far the like assertion may be therefore, is as little to be accused of a deficiency hazarded with respect to Cromwell we entertain in skill, because he failed to penetrate the lines serious doubts.

in front of Edinburgh, as Massena deserves to be Cromwell lived in an age when the art of war, accounted a weak man, because the lines of Torproperly so called, was very little understood; res Vedras arrested his march into Lisbon. and, with one exception, he never measured him- Having exhausted every device to turn this po self against an officer either of talent or experience. sition, Cromwell determined on a retreat; and His early career, therefore, though very brilliant, here again he has been accused of improvidence, was that of an active partisan rather than of a ge- because he preferred the coast to the inland road.

while it was not till the year 1649 that he It is very true that the position at Dunbar was a ever enjoyed the opportunity of commanding a perilous one; but let the perils attending the adoplarge army in person. His first campaigns in the tion of a different plan be considered. Whence capacity of general in chief were in Ireland, where was Cromwell, in the event of his falling back he certainly gained many and important advan- through the interior, to derive his supplies. There tages : yet when it is recollected that he fought was no food in the country; he depended on his against men disheartened, and at variance among ships for every thing: had he suffered his commuthemselves ; that there was no army in the field nications with them to be interrupted, his destructo oppose him ; and that the war was one of tion was inevitable. In a choice of difficulties, he sieges only, our admiration of his genius will ne- accordingly selected that course which seemed to cessarily degenerate into an admission that he was be the leasi encumbered with them: what man active, resolute, and ruthless. The terrible execu- in his senses would act otherwise? Again, it is tions which he sanctioned in the first towns at- urged, that his retreat was disorderly; and that he tacked intimidated the garrisons of other places ; ran himself into a snare, from which the flagrant and hence the terror of his name did more towards mismanagement of his enemies could alone desecuring their surrender than the skill of his dis- liver him. To a certain extent there is truth in positions, or the vigour of his assaults. In Ireland, both assertions. His retreat was not conducted therefore, we see only the indefatigable guerilla with all the steadiness which might have been chief enlarged into the leader of a band of fero- exhibited; yet was it the reverse of disastrous : cious veterans, from whose cruelty the royalists for as often as the Scots hazarded an attack, they were glad to take shelter, by abandoning the posts were repulsed with a loss more heavy than they which they had been appointed to hold.



neral ;

In the description already given of the relative Respecting the dispositions made, so soon as positions of the two armies at Dunbar, it will be the truth became known, for a rapid and effective seen, that the prospects of Cromwell must have pursuit, only one opinion can be formed. They been for a time exceedingly gloomy. Hemmed were all of them excellent; whether we look to in between a range of hills and the sea, a more the prompt detaching of the cavalry by the great desponding general would have given up all for north road, to the calling out of the militias, or to lost, yet Cromwell's confidence never forsook the close and tenacious chase undertaken by him. He calculated upon the possible occurrence Cromwell himself. It may be that the king loiof one of those lucky chances to the operations tered a little by the way; and it is certain that, of which all military movements are liable, and having determined to risk all upon a single mathe event demonstrated that he had not erred in næuvre, he ought to have pushed it to the exso doing. Far be it from us to recommend his treme ; yet the very slackness of his friends to conduct here as worthy of universal adoption; join, which caused these delays, bears the best yet were it folly to talk of carrying on war in testimony to the prudence with which Cromwell every situation by rule. War is a game of chance, had taken his measures. Finally, the battle of the broad principles of which are alone matters Worcester, though undertaken with very superior for disquisition, its minuter details being much numbers, might of itself suffice to place Cromwell more frequently swayed by accident than by pre- high upon the list of military commanders. To vious consideration. And it is by the promptitude pass even one deep river in the face of an enemy with which he takes advantage of such accidents, is not an easy matter : Cromwell passed two, and more than by any other proceeding, that the great the royalists were totally destroyed. general is distinguished from the mere theorist. Were we to set up a comparison between OliHow Cromwell contrived to extricate himself from ver Cromwell and any of the renowned generals the toils, and to defeat the army which encircled of modern times, we should do flagrant injustice him, we have already shown: we can now only to both parties. A man can be fairly estimated repeat, that his doing so more than redeemed any only when brought into contrast with those who errors which he may have previously committed. were his personal rivals in the art which they se

We come now to his march westward, and its verally practised, because in all arts, and in the consequences. The plan of operations pursued art of war more, perhaps, than in others, such by the king manifestly indicated, that of his com- changes occur from age to age, that between those munications with the more northern and western who were accounted masters in each, few points counties he was peculiarly jealous; and it became, of resemblance are to be found. There may be of course, the object of Cromwell to dissever great activity displayed by both, great foresight and these. And here it was, that the greatest dis- prudence; yet the instruments which they respecplays of generalship were exhibited on both sides. tively wielded are in their nature so dissimilar, that Leslie's position in the Tor-wood was admirably you cannot place the artists themselves in legitichosen. His movement to the right, by which he mate contrariety. No man would think of comblocked up the road to Lanarkshire, was prompt paring the ship-builder of Charles I.'s time with and able; it may be questioned whether he dis- the ship-builder of the 19th century; and as little played equal alacrity afterwards. His information may the military leader in the civil wars be conbeing excellent he was not long left in ignorance trasted with the late emperor of the French, or the that the English had detached largely into Fife- duke of Wellington. But if we confine our atshire. Had he advanced upon the corps in his tention to the times in which he lived,-if we comfront, and forced it to give battle, the chances are, pare Cromwell with prince Rupert, with Charles that he would have overthrown it. This, how- himself, with Massey, and even with Leslie,-it ever, he neglected to do; either because his own will be found that he far excelled them all in every genius was rather passive than active, or because point necessary to the formation of a great milihis troops were not sufficiently manageable, and tary character. He was not less brave than the the consequence was, that Cromwell turned him bravest of them; he fell short of none in activity; with his whole army. It is true that the march he was more vigilant than any; calculated more of Cromwell upon Perth laid open the road justly; and, above all, surpassed them in an exto England; but on a southward movement, in traordinary degree in his powers of reading the such a crisis, no human being could have calcu- workings of men's passions. Yet we do not hesilated. Nay, so little was that movement approv- tate to avow our persuasions that nature, though ed at the head-quarters of the royal army, that a she gave to him all the qualifications required to threat of desertion by the English cavaliers alone produce a soldier, intended Cromwell for a politiinduced Leslie to consent to it. There is, there- cian or a statesman, rather than for a generd. fore, no blame justly attributable to Cromwell, as Cromwell's personal appearance is so well if he had left England exposed to invasion ; be- known, that we shall not waste much time in decause the invasion itself was a rash and a despe- scribing it. To a figure which conveyed the idea rate step, which men disposed to cast all upon the rather of strength than of symmetry, he united a hazard of a die would alone have taken.

countenance full indeed of expression, but exhi

biting none of the lines of beauty. His nose, un- in his character lies beyond our present province, commonly large and red, became the subject of as does the review of his general policy, both much low wit among his adversaries; and his foreign and domestic. Nevertheless, he who exweatherbeaten and sallow complexion has been amines these subjects will find in them strong commemorated in more than one ribald epigram. corroborative proofs, that the mind of the protector His manners, again, varied according to the soci- was more that of a politician than of a warrior. It ety into which he chanced to be thrown, and the is, indeed, true, that no man can attain to the high circumstances which surrounded him. Among renown of a general of the first order unless he be his soldiers he was generally familiar and easy, at the same time largely endowed with those seizing the men by their buttons, and, like Napo- qualities which are supposed to belong exclusiveleon indicating his good humour by a slight tap on ly to the statesman, because the guidance of an the ear; yet could he draw himself up in a moment, army, and especially of an English army, requires and even assume an air of excessive haughtiness. much more than an intimate acquaintance with In like manner, it was with him no unusual prac- strategy. But as we have already hinted, it is tice to intermingle, in the most extraordinary de- with us a matter of considerable doubt, whether gree, levity with seriousness, In the midst of Cromwell can be classed in the very first rank of the grave discussions of his council he would sud- military commanders ; and it is of men belonging denly play off some practical joke; either pulling to that rank, and to that rank alone, that we would off the wigs of such as sat next him, or throwing be understood as asserting that they have been a cushion at their heads. One or two instances found ever to unite the sagacity of the politician of such conduct have been given in the course of

with the skill of the general. this narrative; and there are many besides which Cromwell's wife survived him, as did five of his rest on evidence not•less satisfactory.

children, two sons, and three daughters. His We abstain from noticing the ability with which dying wish was immediately carried into effect, Cromwell wielded the army, for the purpose first and Richard, the elder of his sons, held for a brief of securing, and afterwards of preserving, his own space, and with a feeble hand, the reins of governcivil greatness. The consideration of that point ment.




It is said by general Foy, in his history of the Peninsular war, that the condition of the British soldier never retrogrades ; but that, retaining all the good qualities which his predecessors had acquired, he superadds to these, from generation to generation, whatever of improvement each may have happened to produce. The history of the British army, from its establishment as a recognised body under Cromwell, down to the present times, fully bears out the assertion of the French writer ; but, perhaps, at no period was the great truth more fully illustrated than in the age immediately succeeding that of the protector.

At Cromwell's decease, the ranks of almost all the regiments in the service were filled by practised veterans,—by men inured to war, and confident alike in themselves and in their leaders. These were gradually weeded out after the restoration ; yet were the raw levies brought in to supply their places far from exhibiting any falling off in the qualities which gave a professional character to the victors of Marsden Moor and Worcester field. There was the same steadiness under arms, the same indomitable intrepidity, the same moral courage, which, though exhibiting itself under different aspect, was not less influential in the soldier of the king, than in the guardian of the commonwealth. It is true, that the reigns of Charles and James afforded little opportunity for the display of great military skill in their generals ; yet that even in this particular there was no real deficiency, it needed but the lapse of a few years to demonstrate.

The man, who raised the glory of the British arms to a height never till now surpassed, lived under both the princes of the restored line, though the field of action was not prepared for him till after the accession of the prince of Orange.

John Churchill, afterwards duke of Marlborough, was born at Ashe, in Devonshire, on the 24th of June, 1650. He was the second son of sir Winston Churchill, a gentleman of good family, and high tory principles, whose zeal in the cause of royalty was displayed both by personal exertions in the field, and the ruin of his fortunes under the usurpation of the commonwealth. His mother's name was Elizabeth Drake. She was the daughter of sir John Drake, the proprietor of the mansion in which the subject of this memoir was born ; sir John Drake being connected not remotely with the noble houses of Boteler Leigh, and Villiers.

It has been generally asserted, and not less generally believed, that the education of the duke nf Marlborough was grossly neglected. His early entrance on the stage of active life, as well as the peculiar style and orthography observable in his correspondence, furnish strong ground for assert. ing that the opinion is correct; yet his father's taste for literature would induce a persuasion, that the circumstance originated not in carelessness, but in necessity. The truth, indeed, appears to be, that sir Winston Churchill, like many other cavaliers, found his loyalty of small avail towards the re-establishment of pecuniary affairs, which an excess of the same principle had embarrassed. Though gratified by an especial grant of an augmentation to his arms, and advanced to the honour of knighthood, he obtained from the restored monarch little besides the favour of a personal regard, and the temporary enjoyment of certain offices, from which a slender revenue accrued.* The consequence was, that he found himself in no condition to incur heavy expense in the education of his children ; for whom, on the contrary, he was glad to accept the protection of such patrons as appeared willing to provide for them. Hence his son John, who received the first rudiments of knowledge from a worthy clergyman in the neighbourhood of Ashe, was, after a brief sojourn in St. Paul's School, sent to court, where, at the green age of twelve years, he was appointed page of honour to James duke of York.

There are a variety of rumours extant touching the more immediate causes of the favour in which the young page was undeniably held by his master; of these, one, to which the spirit of party has given a wide circulation, assigns the fact to the personal charms of his sister Arabella, at that time lady of the bedchamber to the duchess. It is by no means impossible that there may truth in the insinuation ; for Arabella Churchill became, in the end, the avowed mistress of the

be some

* Sir Winston Churchill was, indeed, restored to the enjoyment of his paternal property, but found the lands so encumbered with debts and mortgages as to produce a very slender revenue. He acted as one of the commissioners of the Court of Claims in Ireland in 1664, and was, on his return, constituted a clerk controller of the Board of Green Cloth. The publication of his “ Divi Britannici,” however, a sort of historical essay, inculcative of the highest monarchical tenets raised against him a host of enemies, whom it was found expedient to gratify by his dismissal. He died in 1688, exceedingly poor, though honoured to the last with the friendship of his royal master.

« 上一頁繼續 »