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author) unless it was a crime in him not to put it into the power of his enemies, to destroy him with the greater ease. .ilmbition and thirst of glory might sometimes lead the protector aside, for he imagined himself to be a second Phineas, raised up by Providence to be the scourge of idolatry and superstition, and in climbing up to the pinnacle of supreme power, did not always keep within the bounds of law and equity: To this passion some have ascribed his assuming the protectorship, and putting himself at the head of three kingdoms; though others are of opinion, it was owing to hard necessity and self-preservation. I will not venture to decide in this case; possibly there might be a mixture of both. When he was in possession of the sovereign power, no man ever used it to greater public advantage, for he had a due veneration for the laws of his country, in all things wherein the life of his jurisdiction was not concerned : And though he kept a standing army, they were under an exact discipline, and very little burthen to the people. The charge of cruelty, which is brought against him, for having put some men to death for conspiring against his person and government, deserves no confutation, unless they would have had him sit still, till some conspiracy or other had succeeded. Cruelty was not in his nature;| he was not for unnecessary effusion of blood. Lord Clarendon assures us, that when a general massacre of the royalists was proposed by the officers in council, he warmly opposed and prevented it. Dr. Welwood compares the protector to an unusual meteor, which with its surprising influences over-awed not only three kingdoms, but the most powerful princes and states about us. A great man he was, (says he) and posterity might have paid a just homage to his memory, if he had | Such was the sensibility of his spirit, that if an account were given him of a distressed case, the narration would draw tears from his eyes. It o strongly in favor of his temper and his domestic deportment, that the daughter of Sir Francis Russel, married to his second son Henry, who before her marriage had entertained an ill opinion of his father Oliver, upon her coming into the fanlily felt all her rejudice removed and changed into a most affectionate esteem for her ather-in-law, as the most amiable of parents. Gibbons’ Funeral Sernot embrued his hands in the blood of his prince, and trampled upon the liberties of his country. Upon the whole, it is not to be wondered, that the character of this great man has been transmitted down to posterity with some disadvantage, by the several factions of royalists, presbyterians, and republicans, because each were disappointed, and enraged to see the supreme power wrested from them ; but his management is a convincing proof of his great abilities: He was at the helm in the most stormy and tempestuous season that England ever saw ; but by his consummate wisdom and valor, he disconcerted the measures and designs of his enemies, and preserved both himself and the commonwealth from shipwreck. I shall only observe further, with Rapin, that the confusions which prevailed in England after the death of Cromwell, clearly evidence the necessity of this usurpation, at least till the eonstitution could be restored. After his death his great atchievements were celebrated in verse, by the greatest wits of the age, as Dr. Sprat, afterwards bishop of Rochester, Waller, Dryden, and others, who in their panegyrics, out-did every thing, which till that time had been written in the English language. Four divines of the assembly died this year: Dr. John Harris, son of Richard Harris of Buckinghamshire, born in the parsonage-house of Hardwick in the same county, educated in Wickham school near Winchester, and in the year 1606 admitted perpetual fellow of New-college. He was so admirable a Grecian, and eloquent a preacher, that Sir Henry Saville called him a second St. Chrysostom. In 1619 he was chosen Greek professor of the university. He was afterwards prebendary of Winchester, rector of Meonstoke in Hampshire, and in the year 1630, warden of Wickham-college near Winchester; in all which places he behaved with great reputation. In the beginning of the civil wars he took part with the parliament, was chosen one of the assembly of divines, took the covenant, and other oaths, and kept his wardenship till his death ; he published several learned works, and died at Winchester, August 14, 1658, aged seventy years.
mon for William Cromwell, Esq. p. 46. Ed. - § Page 102.
Mr. Sydrach Sympson, a meek and quiet divine, of the independent persuasion, was educated in Cambridge, but forced to fly his country for non-conformity, in the times of archbishop Laud. He was one of the dissenting brethren in the assembly, and behaved with great temper and moderation. Bishop Idennet says, he was silenced for some time from preaching, because he differed in judgment from the assembly in points of church discipline, but was restored to his liberty Oct. 28, 1646. He afterwards gathered a congregation in London, after the manner of the independents, which met in Ab-church near Canon-street. Upon the resignation of Mr. Vines in the year 1650, for refusing the engagement, he was by the visitors made master of Pembroke-hall, Cambridge. He was a divine of considerable learning, and of great piety and devotion. In his last sickness he was under some darkness, and melancholy apprehensions; upon which account some of his friends and brethren assembled in his own house to assist him with their prayers; and in the evening, when they took their leave, he thanked them, and said, he was now satisfied in his soul; and lifting up his hands towards heaven said, He is come, he is come. And that night died.
Dr. Itobert Harris was born at Broad-Campden in Gloucestershire, 1578, and educated in Magdalen-college, Oxon. He preached for some time about Oxford, and settled afterwards at Hanwell, in the place of famous Mr. Dodd, then suspended for non-conformity; here he continued till the breaking out of the civil wars, when by the king's soldiers he was driven to London. He was appointed one of the assembly of divines, and minister of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate. In the year 1646, he was one of the six preachers to the university of Oxford, and next year one of their visitors, when he was created D. D. and made president of Trinity-college, and rector of Garlington near Oxford, which is always annexed to it. Here he continued till his death, governing his college with a paternal affection, being reverenced by the students as a father. The inscription over his grave gives him a great character; but the royalists charge him, and I believe justly, with being a notorious pluralist.* He died December 14, 1658, in the eightieth year of his age.S Mr. William Carter was educated in Cambridge, and afterwards a very popular preacher in London. He was a good scholar, of great seriousness, and though a young man, appointed one of the assembly of divines. After some time he joined the independents, and became one of the dissenting brethren in the assembly. He had offers of mamy livings but refused them, being dissatisfied with the parochial discipline of those times; nevertheless, he was indefatigable in his ministry, preaching twice every Lord’sday to two large congregations in the city, besides lectures on the week days: This wasted his strength, and put an end to his life about Midsummer 1658, in the fifty-third year of his age. His family were afterwards great sufferers by the purchase of bishops lands.
* Against this charge, if the truth of it should be admitted, ought to be set his charity; which, we are told, exceeded the ordinary proportion of his revenues. Ed.
§ Clarke's Lives in his Martyrology, p. 314, 339.
CHAP. IV. ..
The Inter-Regnum from the Death of Oliver Croxtwell. to the Restoration of K'ing CHARLes II. and the reestablishment of the Church of England.
UPON the death of the protector, all the discontented spirits who had been subdued by his administration resumed their courage, and within the compass of one year, revived the confusions of the preceding ten. Richard Cromwell, being proclaimed protector upon his father's decease, received numberless addresses from all parts, * congratulating his accession to the dignity of protector, with assurances of lives and fortunes cheerfully devoted to support his title. He was a young gentleman of a calm and peaceable temper, but had by no means the capacity or resolution of his father, and was therefore unfit to be at the helm in such boisterous times. He was highly caressed by the presbyterians, though he set out upon the princiK. of general toleration, as appears by his declaration of Nov. 25, entitled, A proclamation for the better encouraging godly ministers and others ; and for their enjoying their dues and liberties according to law, without being molested with indictments for not using the common-prayer book.
The young protector summoned a parliament to meet on the 27th of Jan. 1658-9. The elections were not according to the method practised by his father, but according to the old constitution, because it was apprehended that the smaller boroughs might be more easily influenced than
* Of these addresses, Dr. Grey says, “nothing ever exeeeded them in point of flattery, except those eanting addresses of the dissenters to king James upon his indulgence:” and he gives several at lenght, as specimens of the strain of adulation in which they were drawn up, from different corporations: from which the reader will see that mayors, recorders, and aldermen of that day could rival the independent ministers, whom the doctor reproaches as “most foully guilty,” in their effusions of flattery. In truth, all were paying their detoirs to the rising sun. Ed.
Vol. IV. 30