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into England, that “ under pretence of “ privacy and retirement, he might “ take occafion of giving notice of the “ posture of things in this nation.”
Soon after his return to London, he was seized by some messengers of the ufurping powers, who were sent out in quest of another man; and being examined, was put into confinement, from which he was not dismissed without the security of a thousand pounds given by Dr. Scarborow.
This year he published his poems, with a preface, in which he seems to have inserted something, suppressed in subsequent editions, which was interpreted' to denote some relaxation of his loyalty. In this preface he declares,
that “ his desire had been for some days ~ past, and did still very vehemently “ continue, to retire himself to some of “ the American plantations, and to for“ fake this world for ever.”
From the obloquy which the appearance of submission to the usurpers brought upon him, his biographer has been very diligent to clear him, and indeed it does not seem to have lefsened his reputation. His with for retirement we can easily believe to be undissembled; a man harrassed in one kingdom, and persecuted in another, who, after a course of business that employed all his days and half his nights in cyphering and decyphering, comes to his own country and steps into a prison, will be willing enough to retire to fome place of quiet, and of safety. Yet let neither our reverence for a genius, nor our pity for a sufferer, dispose us to forget that, if his activity was virtue, his retreat was cowardice.
He then took upon himself the character of Physician, ftill, according to Sprat, with intention “ to dissemble the “ main design of his coming over,” and, as Mr. Wood relates, “ comply“ ing with the men then in power, 66 (which was much taken notice of “ by the royal party) he obtained an « order to be created Doctor of Phy“ fick, which being done to his mind 166 (whereby he gained the ill-will of “ some of his friends), he went into “ France again, having made a copy
of verses on Oliver's death.”
This is no favourable representation, yet even in this not much wrong can be discovered. How far he complied with the men in power, is to be enquired before he can be blamed. It is not said that he told them any secrets, or assisted them by intelligence, or any other act. If he only promised to be quiet, that they in whose hands he was might free him from confinement, he did what no law of society prohibits.
The man whose miscarriage in a just cause has put him in the power of his enemy may, without any violation of his integrity, regain his liberty, or preserve his life by a promise of neutrality : for C 3.
thac the stipulation gives the enemy nothing which he had not before; the neutrality of a captive may be always secured by his imprisonment or death. He that is at the disposal of another, may not promise to aid him in any injurious act, because no power can compel active obedience. He may engage to do nothing, but not to do ill. · There is reason to think that Cowley, promised little. It does not appear that his compliance gained him confidence enough to be trusted without fecurity, for the bond of his bail was never cancelled; not that it made him think himself secure, for at that diffolution of government, which followed the death of Oliver, he returned into