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4. Heroic stanzas on Oliver Cromwell, written after his
No VII. Substance of a panegyric of the lord-general Oli-
ver Cromwell, as presented to him by the Portuguese am.
A SHORT CRITICAL
R E V I E W
CH A P. I.
Fretions on party prejudices. Effects of them with re.
gard to the parties concerned in the troubles of king Charles. CROMWELL's defcent, alliances, and first surances to popularity; with a view of the motives to the civil war, and the sentiments of Mr. Locke and a Britijh parliament concerning resistance.
UBLICK heats and animosities are
very aptly compared by an * author of 2 the first reputation, to the heat con
tracted by a comet, in its approach to the fun. When a people have been fo
unhappy as to fall into them, it is long before they recover their natural temper. We cannot B
* Mr. Addison, in the Spectator,
judge, with any certainty, either of the merits of a cause, or of the persons engaged in it, from the reprefentations of authors, who write while that fervour continues, by which themselves have been generally affected.' Hence it is, that the characters of men who act in a high capacity, are seldom impartially drawn till a long time after their sphere of action pecially by writers of the
own country. Former concurrence and present approbation on the one hand; contracted prejudice and inveterate enmity on the other ; opinion, interest, and the remains of passion on both, make it a task impoflible, at least too difficult for human nature in general, to enter sincerely on the matter in question. Affection rises into reverence, resentment dwindles into contempt, and histories of the times immediately paft are usually either panegyrick or satire. The common people receive the impressions, made by the party which succeeds in power, and even reason and experience are found too weak, till after many years, co make things appear in their genuine light
From these considerations, which have the experience of all ages to support them, we may account for the different pictures that are left us, of men who acted on the same principles, and with the fame views ; nay more, we may learn, why the villain in design, who has profpered, has been called the father of his country, and the unprosperous hero and patriot neglected or martyr'd. How many brave and virtuous persons, who boldly contended for the liberties of their fellow-citizens, have been branded with publick infamy, and suffered as rebels and traitors, only because they have not succeeded in attempts, which would otherwise have crowned them with, immortal honour ? How many enemies of publick liberty, who had nothing in view but the gratification of their own ambition, and no pretence to superiority but from their wealth and influence, have been coinplimented by those very people, whose rights they had invaded and fubverted, with pompous titles and extravagant conceflions; which have afterwards, by their defcendants, been made the foundation of another fort of claim; that of divine appointment, and hereditary, indefeasible right? It is true, future ages generally do justice to particular merit, where the traces of it are by any means preserved. But when it has been fathionable, for whole centuries together, to insult the memory of any great perfon, it will not be easy for the most impartial writer, who can have only such partial materials, to draw a picture worthy the original. It is therefore neceffary, that we hould be as careful as possible in preserving such lineaments of publick characters, while they can be known, as may enable pofterity to imitate the whole features, when truth shall venture to appear, and party and prejudice
concessions ; while
are no more.
$. 2. The revolutions in England, between the years 1640 and 1660, which, indeed, can hardly be parallelled in history, have been the source of more virulent parties than any other circumstance in our chronicle. We need not wonder, if we are sensible of these divisions, even at the distance of four core years. We need not wonder, if the leading men on the country side, though in reality persons of great abilities and virtue, were represented as a set of hypocritical scoundrels and blind enthusiasts, by the partizans of king Charles II. after that prince was restored to the dignity which he thought his natural inheritance, but which he had long been deprived of by the prevailing party. And, as the notions of divine right, and absolute unlimited power, were afterwards carried to a great height during his and his brother's reign, by the court and the corrupt part of the clergy, it is not strange, that the friends of liberty should fall into contempt, and be ftigmatized as so many enemies to government ; that all the mischiefs of a civil war, which a weak and misguided king had been led into by his ambitious ministers, should be charged on those principles which alone could preserve a harmony between the sovereign and his people. ' Ard B2