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temporary popularity, appear to have suspended his projects. Their jealousy of Cromwell, which prompted them to attempt his destruction, accelerated his measures, and their own dissolution. On such a firm foundation was built the credit of this extraordinary man, that though so great a master of fraud and dissimulation, he judged it superfluous to employ any disguise in conducting this bold enterprize. With every mark of contempt and disgust, he annihilated that famous assembly which had filled all Europe with the renown of its actions, and with astonishment at its crimes; and whose commencement was not ,more ardently desired by the people, than was its final dissolution. From that momenfall the power, civil and military, of the three kingdoms, was lodged in the hand* of Cromwell, who established a military government, and was himself solemnly inaugurated as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England.
When the ambitious desires of Cromwell were thus finally gratified, and he had seated himself in the vacant throne with the power, though not accompanied with the title of a monarch, his public conduct assumes an air of grandeur, which imposes on the reader; and though we -cannot detail the events which signalized his government, we must acknowledge that they exalted his character, and dignified his usurpation. His administration was active, vigilant, and bold. His magnanimity undervalued danger; 'his restless disposition and avidity of extensive glory made him incapable of repose. The success of his measures, the number of his alliances, and the awe which he inspired among the nations of the Continent, gave a weight to ,England which it had seldom enjoyed under the reigns of "her hereditary sovereigns. The great mind of this successful usurper was perpetually intent on spreading the renown of his country; and while he struck mankind with astonishment at his extraordinary fortunes, he seemed to ENGLANd.] CROMWELL.
ennoble, instead of debasing, the people whom he had enslaved. It was his boast, that he would render the name of an Englishman as much dreaded and revered as that of a Roman was. It must also be acknowledged, that in his civil and domestic administration, he displayed as much regard to justice and clemency, as bis u>urped authority, founded on no law, and depending only on the sword, could possibly admit. The seats of judicature were filled with men of integrity; the decrees of the judges, amid all the virulence of faction, were upright and impartial; and to every man but to himself, the law was the great rule of conduct. And, what is more extraordinary, considering his birth, and the obscurity of his early life, his personal deportment corresponded with his elevation, and was not unworthy the greatest monarch. He maintained dignity without affectation, and supported, before strangers, the high idea which his great exploits and prodigious fortune had impressed them with. He was generous, without profusion, to those who served him; and he knew how to find out, and engage in his interests, every man possessed of those talents which any particular employment demanded. His generals, his admirals, his judges, his ambassadors, were persons who contributed all of them, in their several spheres, to the security of the protector, and to the honour and interest of the nation. In religion only he continued to act with the same hypocrisy to which he owed his elevation. With the pretended saints he laid aside the state of a sovereign; with them he sighed, he wept, he canted, he prayed.
Such was the conduct of Cromwell in the few splendid years of his administration. It is well known, that to the arbitrary power and more than regal privileges which he enjoyed, he ardently desired to add the title of king; and it is not a little remarkable, that the principal opposi tion which was made to this his favourite design, proceeded from his own family. Fleetwood and Desborough, who were connected with him by marriage, and were actuated by principle alone, could not be induced to consent that their friend and patron should assume the royal dignity. After the agony and perplexity of a long and tedious hesitation, he was obliged to refuse the crown, which the representatives of the nation, in the most solemn manner, had tendered to him. But the grandeur which he had attained with so much guilt and courage, could not ensure him that tranquillity which virtue alone and moderation can give. His constant dread of assassination, the measures he took for the security of his person, his apprehensions, perhaps his remorse, and the domestic calamities which embittered his latter days, are too well known to be repeated here. His health, hitherto robust and good, sunk under the anxiety of his mind, and he expired of a tertian ague, on the 3d of September, 1658, happy only in this, that he died at a crisis when it was thought that all his courage and dexterity could not much longer have protracted his usurped administration.
It has been the object of these few pages rather to review the character of this extraordinary man, than to give a chronological list of his actions. We need therefore only add, that his moral character was perhaps not so exceptionable as it has been generally represented. On the contrary, it is truly surprising that he should unite so much violent ambition and enraged fanaticism with such regard to justice and humanity. Even the murder of the king, his most atrocious measure, was to him covered under a cloud of republican and fanatical illusions; for it is the peculiar characteristic of fanaticism to give a sanction to any measure, however cruel and unjust, that tends to promote its own interests, which are supposed to be the same with those of the Deity, and to which, consequently, all moral obligations are expected to give way.