Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

epistle before my book of Crucifying the World,' I had spoken a few words against this innovation and opposition to monarchy; and having especially touched upon Oceana' and 'Leviathan,' Mr. Harrington seemed in a Bethlehem rage; for by way of scorn he printed half a sheet of foolish jeers, in such words as idiots or drunkards use, railing at ministers as a pack of fools and knaves; and by his gibberish derision persuading men that we deserve no other answer than such scorn and nonsense as beseemeth fools. With most insolent pride he carried it, as if neither I nor any ministers understood at all what policy was, but prated against, we knew not what, and had presumed to speak against other men's art, which he was master of, and bis knowledge, to such idiots as we, incomprehensible. This made me think it fit, having given that general hint against his Oceana,' to give a more particular charge, and withal to give the world and him an account of my political principles, to show what I held as well as what I denied; which I did in that book called . Holy Commonwealth,' as contrary to his heathenish commonwealth. In which I pleaded the cause of monarchy as better than democracy and aristocracy; but as under God the universal monarch. Here Bishop Morley hath his matter of charge against me, of which one part is that I spake against unlimited, monarchy, because God himself hath limited all monarchs. If I had said laws limit monarchs, I might, amongst some men, be thought a traitor and inexcusable ; but to say that God limiteth monarchs, I thought had never before been chargeable with treason, or opposed by any that believed that there is a God. If they are indeed unlimited in respect of God, we have many Gods or no God. But now it is dangerous to meddle with these matters, most men say, Let God defend himself.

“In the end of this book is an appendix concerning the cause of the parliament's first war.” “And this paper it is that containeth all my crimes. Against this, one Tomkins wrote a book called the “The Rebel's Plea. But I wait in silence till God enlighten us."*

For this book the author was reproached and vilified through all

* Narrative, Part II. pp. 118, 119.

the remainder of his life. It was honored by a decree of the University of Oxford, which consigned it to the fire in company with other defenses of British freedom.

35. “A Treatise of Death, the last Enemy to be destroyed : showing wherein its enmity consisteth, and how it is to be destroyed. Part of it was preached at the funeral of Elizabeth, the late wife of Mr. Joseph Baker, Pastor of the church of St. Andrews in Worcester. With some passages

of the life of the said Mrs. Baker observed.” 8vo. This is a work of nearly a hundred pages, first published in 1659.

36. “A Treatise of Self-denial.” 410. published in 1659. This is a work of nearly four hundred pages, “which,” he says, “ found better acceptance than most of my other books, but yet prevented not the ruin of church, and state, and millions of souls by the sin of selfishness."

37. “Catholic Unity: or the only way to bring us all to be of one religion. To be read by such as are offended at the differences in religion, and are willing to do their part to heal them.” 12mo. published in 1659.

38. “The True Catholic, and Catholic Church described ; and the vanity of the papists, and all other schismatics, that confine the catholic church to their sect, discovered and shamed.” 12mo. published in 1659.

These two works were sermons which he had formerly preached, one in London, and the other in Worcester. They came out at a time when the nation was in a revolutionary state. The byterians were hoping to regain their political ascendency. Baxter probably thought it a favorable time to speak once more in behalf of those truly catholic principles, for which he had so zealously labored. These pamphlets were published in December; in the April following (1660) he came to London, and his labors with his beloved flock he was never permitted to resume.

The presPART FOURTH.

The death of Oliver Cromwell, which took place on the third of September 1658, was soon followed by great and amazing changes in the commonwealth which he had so long and prosperously governed. His eldest son, Richard, succeeded to the vacant throne, as peaceably, and received the congratulations of the nation on bis accession as unanimously as if he had traced back his title through a line of kings, even to the age of William the conqueror. But Richard had little of the talent and less of the spirit of his father. The hopes of the disappointed republicans began to revive. A parliament was summoned, the majority of which, with the presbyterian part of the army, was friendly to the young protector. The principal officers of the army however, some from disappointed ambition, and some from principle as republicans, soon began to enter into cabals against him. In an unfortunate moment he was persuaded to consent to the meeting of a “general council of officers;" and from that moment the military aristocracy wbich bad governed before Oliver concentrated the power into his own hands, was revived. The parliament, alarmed at this movement, made an ineffectual resistance. The heads of the army demanded of the protector the dissolution of the parliament. Richard saw that his refusal would immediately involve the nation in another civil war; he felt himself unequal to such a conflict; his kind and peaceful temper shrunk from the prospect of bloodshed; and the parliament was instantly dissolved. A few days afterwards he formally abdicated his authority, and retired to private life, probably without a sigh over his fallen grandeur. In the obscurity for which his nature fitted him, he lived, respected for his private virtues, and unmolested, through several succeeding reigns.

The " council of officers” found themselves once more at the head of the British empire. By them, the remnant of the old Long Parliament, the despised and hated Rump, was revived and reinstated in its authority, as it existed immediately before its dissoJution by Oliver Cromwell. No movement could have had more effect in wakening universal alarm and indignation. The presbyterians, though they might been contented under the administration of Richard, were many of them loyalists upon principle, and were all opposed to every thought of such a commonwealth as either the military republicans of the army, or the political enthusiasts of the Rump, would have erected. An extensive conspiracy was entered into between the cavaliers and the presbyterians; and the restoration of the old monarchy was secretly agreed upon, as the only refuge from the anarchy in which the nation seemed likely to be involved. On an appointed day the conspirators were to rise in all parts of England, and Charles bad already arrived at Calais, with the intention of immediately passing over and putting himseif at the head of the insurrection. But that contemptible and profligate prince was always surrounded by associates as unprincipled as himself, who supported their profligacy by betraying all his counsels to his enemies. Thus this projected effort was disclosed, just in time to prevent that unanimous and simultaneous movement which alone could be successful. The cavaliers, Baxter says, failed to perform their part of the engagement. Sir George Booth and Sir William Middleton, two presbyterian officers of the old parliamentary armies, succeeded in raising about five thousand men in North Wales and the adjoining counties, and took possession of the city of Chester, declaring for a "free parliament.” This rising was soon suppressed by a detachment of the standing army; but it was immediately followed by a rupture between the military leaders and the Rump, which ended in another dissolution of that body. The council of officers again took it upon themselves to settle the nation ; and by them a committee of safety was appointed with ample powers for the temporary administration of the government. This was in October 1659.

General Monk was a man in whose military talents and fidelity, Cromwell seems to have reposed much confidence ; and he had

for many years commanded the army in Scotland. He had peaceably and submissively acknowledged not only the government of Richard, but that of the restored parliament. When that parliament was again dissolved by the same military usurpation which had revived it, Monk, urged by the solicitations of the various discontented parties, made arrangements to march into England, and wrote to the military usurpers there, chiding them for the violence which they had put upon parliament. As he advanced, men of every party looked to him with strong hope. He had been an independent; and the independents, while they were not without fear in regard to his designs, hoped for the establishment of a republic on the foundation of civil and religious freedom. He purged his army of all those officers whom he suspected of any sympathy with the men he was going to encounter; and as these officers were generally anabaptists, the presbyterians began to hope that covenant uniformity would come again out of Scotland in its former glory. The parliament hoped for another restoration of their power; for he had acknowledged their recent authority, and now he seemed to espouse their quarrel. The cavaliers hoped that either by negotiation he might be persuaded, or by the force of circumstances he might be compelled, to declare for their cause. Lambert, who in talent and influence was the head of the new government, marched with a great part of the army to repel this invasion. But every where he found the passions and hopes of the people against him. His own soldiers soon began to desert him. The regiments left in London revolted ; and supported by them, the Rump once more assumed the government of the three nations.

But after the ostensible object with which Monk commenced his march into England was already attained, he still continued to advance with all his forces, not waiting for any orders from the restored parliament. The Rump, though not fully assured of his fidelity to them, could not venture to order back their deliverer into his own province. They therefore only expressed their desire that a good part of his forces might be sent back into Scotland. He complied with that request ; but still continued his progress with about five thousand men on whom he knew he could depend. The people were generally in his favor; and he encountered no

« ZurückWeiter »