Abbildungen der Seite

bury; who has been living these six or seven years past in a repentant wholesomely secluded state. Cousin Dunch' is young Mrs. Dunch of Pusey, once Ann Mayor of Hursley; she lives within visiting distance of Blackbourton, when at Pusey; does not forget old neighbours while in Town, - and occasionally hears gloomy observations from them. “ Your Lord General is become a great man now!”— From the An. swer to which we gather at least one thing : That the offer of a very great Proposition as to Son Richard's marriage, which we once obscurely heard of, was, to all appearance, made by this Anthony Hungerford, -perhaps in behalf of his kinsman Sir Edward, who, as he had no Son,2 might have a Daughter that would be a very great Proposition to a young man. Unluckily there was not that assurance of Godliness' that seemed to warrant it: however, the nobleness of the Overture is never to be forgotten.

For my honoured Friend, Anthony Hungerford,

Esquire : These.


Cockpit, 10th December, 1652.

I understand, by my Cousin Dunch, of so much trouble of yours, and so much unhandsomeness (at least seeming so) on my part, as doth not a little afflict me, until I give you this account of my innocency.

She was pleased to tell my Wife of your often resorts to my house to visit me, and of your disappointments. Truly, Sir, had I but once known of your being there, and “had concealed myself,” it had been an action so below a gentleman or an honest man, so

Antea, vol. i. p. 390. Epitaph in Collinson's Somersetshire.

full of ingratitude for your civilities I have received from you, as would have rendered me unworthy of human society! Believe me, Sir, I am much ashamed that the least colour of the appearance of such a thing should have happened; and I'could not take satisfaction but by this plain-dealing for my justification, which I ingenuously offer you. And although Providence did not dispose other matters to our mutual satisfaction, yet your nobleness in that Overture obligeth me, and I hope ever shall whilst I live, to study upon all occasions to approve myself your Family's and your Most affectionate and humble servant,


My Wife and I desire our service be presented to your Lady and Family.*


SEEMINGLY belonging to the same neighbourhood is the following altogether domestic Letter to Fleetwood; which still survives in Autograph ; but has no date whatever, and no indication that will enable us to fix its place with perfect exactness. Fleetwood's Commission for Ireland is dated 10th July, 1652 ;' the precise date of his marriage with Bridget Ireton, of his departure for Ireland, or of any ulterior proceedings of his, is not recoverable in those months. Of

* Oliver Cromwell's Memoirs of the Protector (3d edition, London, 1822), ii. 488 ; see Collinson's History of Somersetshire, iii. 357 (Note).

| Thurloe, i, 212.

Henry Cromwell, too, we know only that he sat in the Little Parliament; and, indisputably therefore, was home from Ire. land before summer next. From the total silence as to Public Affairs, in this Letter, it may be inferred that nothing decisive had yet been done or resolved upon ;—that through this strange old Autograph, as through a dim Horn-Gate (not of Dreams but of Realities), we are looking into the interior of the Cromwell Lodging, and the Cromwell heart, in the Winter of 1652.

For the Right Honourable Lieutenant-General Fleet

wood, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Ireland : These.


Cockpit, -- 1652.' I thank you for your loving Letter. The same hopes and desires, upon your planting into my Family, were much the same in me that you express in yours towards me. However, the dispensation of the Lord is, to have it otherwise for the present; and therein I desire to acquiesce ;—not being out of hope that it may lie in His good pleasure, in His time, to give us the mutual comfort of our relation: the want whereof He is able abundantly to supply by His own presence; which indeed makes up all defects, and is the comfort of all our comforts and enjoyments.

Salute your dear Wife from me. Bid her beware of a bondage spirit.1 Fear is the natural issue of such a spirit;— the antidote is, Love. The voice of Fear is : If I had done this; if I had avoided that, how well it

TA Secretary has written hitherto ; the Lord General now begins, himself, with a new pen.

had been with me! I know this hath been her vain reasoning: 'poor Biddy!'

Love argueth in this wise: What a Christ have I; what a Father in and through Him! What a Name hath my Father : Merciful, gracious, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth ; forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin. What a Nature hath my Father: He is LOVE;— free in it, unchangeable, infinite ! What a Covenant between Him and Christ,-for all the Seed, for every one: wherein He undertakes all, and the poor Soul nothing. The new Covenant is Grace,– to or upon the Soul; to which it, the Soul,' is passive and receptive: I'll do away their sins; I'll write my Law, &c.; I'll put it in their hearts : they shall never depart from me, &c.

This commends the Love of God: it's Christ dying for men without strength, for men whilst sinners, whilst enemies. And shall we seek for the root of our comforts within us,— What God hath done, what He is to us in Christ, is the root of our comfort: in this is stability; in us is weakness. Acts of obedience are not perfect, and therefore yield not perfect Grace. Faith, as an act, yields it not; but 'only' as it carries us into Him, who is our perfect rest and peace; in whom we are accounted of, and received by, the Father,— even as Christ Himself. This is our high calling. Rest we here, and here only.

1 Has been crowding, for the last line or two, very close upon the bottom of the page ; finds now that it will not do; and takes to the margin.

? Even so, my noble one! The noble soul will, one day, again come to understand these old words of yours.

Commend me to Harry Cromwell: I pray for him, That he may thrive, and improve in the knowledge and love of Christ. Commend me to all the Officers. My prayers indeed are daily for them. Wish them to beware of bitterness of spirit; and of all things uncomely for the Gospel. The Lord give you abundance of wisdom, and faith and patience. Take heed also of your natural inclination to compliance. Pray for me. I commit you to the Lord; and rest,

Your loving father,


The Boy and Betty are very well. Shew what kindness you well may to Colonel Clayton, to my nephew Gregory, to Claypole's Brother. *

And so the miraculous Horn-Gate, not of Dreams but of Realities and old dim Domesticities, closes again, into totally opaque ;—and we return to matters public.

December 1652March 1653. The Dutch War prospers and has prospered, Blake and Monk beating the Dutch in tough seafights ; Delinquents, monthly Assessments, and the lead of Cathedrals furnishing the sinews: the Dutch are about sending Ambassadors to treat of Peace. With home affairs, again, it goes not so well. Through winter, through spring,

1 Has exhausted the long broad margin ; inverts now, and writes atop.

* Ayscough ass, no. 4165, f. 1. On the inner or blank leaf of this curious old Sheet are neatly pasted two square tiny bits of Paper; on one of them, “Fairfax' in autograph; on the other these words: God blesse the now Lord Protector ;' and crosswise, “Marquis Worcester writt it;' -concerning which Marquis, once • Lord Herbert,' see antea, p. 163.

« ZurückWeiter »