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HE Author of the following Sheets, wlo profesies no
attachment to any party, had often heard Oliver: Cromwell applauded and condemned by the same gentlemen, almost in the same breath; or Spoken of in the words of the noble historian, as a great wicked mon.. This made him inquisitive into the life of f extraordinary a person ; that he might know what was that series of conduct which could? make bim deserve so fingular a character.
As this inquiry demanded forne application, he began to think it might be made more generally useful than just to satisfy himself, and a few private friends, to zhoni be might communicate the result of it. This determined bim to try the judgment of the public, in order to know how far what he pould think truth would take place; and' whether a character so much declaimed againsi, might, at: the diflance of almost an hundred years be differed to: stand the test of a fair examination.
To accomplish this, he found it requisite to.give the matter : a new form, very different from any it bad hitherto appeared in that by throwing together facts of a similar nature, the picture, might be viewd in all possible lights, with the greatest advantage.
The first chapter discovers the origin of the civil war,, which gave those great talents an opportunity to exert them-z selves.. We were then to consider Cromwell in his rije to: authority, and his exercise of it when in full poliefion. In his rife he appears under two different characters, os.a dier, and a politiciano. His actions under the firti fill upi
three remarkable periods, each of them terminated by a triumphant return to his seat in parliament ; which we have therefore divided into fo many chapters. As a politi. cian he had to deal with the king, the parliament, the army, and the predominant parties : bis behaviour to all these is examined in two chapters, which make the fifth and the fixth
The administration at home, and influence abroad, are the two grand criteria of any government. We have furvey'd Cromwell's under both titles, and given a distinet chapter to each. The ninth and last contains some reflections on his characler, with a parallel, which, however ungrateful it may found to some, can be supported from history. Other remarks will be found in the body of the work, all written with an honest freedom, and not intended to give offence.
It seems manifest from the whole, that Cromwell's cha. racter, however it has been misrepresented, is more capable of a vindication, than that of most other invaders of roy. alty, who are now ranked among the heroes of ancient and modern story. Such a chain of events contributed to his advancement, that with such great abilities, and so much ambition, it was hardly poffible for him to be less than he was. Even Cæfar, whom he the most nearly represented, had not so fair a way open to the supreme power, as Cromwell bad when he assumed it. But those very causes which give him fome right to a vindication, remove him intirely out of the reach of imitation. Nothing but such a criss as that wherein he did it (which has never yet had a parallel in hiftory) could either support or justify such an attempt in any other.
As the success of the first impresion of this work was much greater than the author expected, he thought it his duty to give the second, which he is told has been long wanted, fome considerable additions, and other necesary improvements, especially in the article of authorities for what he had advanced. This he has done through the whole, sometimes in the body of the work, and at other times in notes ; but chiefly in the appendix now intirely added. Notwithstanding that the book, by these means,
became more than twice as large as before, he thought it best to keep the old title of “ Short Critical Review," that it might not seem to be a new work'; and because a much larger volume might have been writ upon a subject that affords such an abundance of matter. All be bas farther to say, is, that the proje panegyric at the end of the whole contains only part of that printed in Latin ; and in some places, where the spirit of the original appears, is very little altered from the translation already published.
CHAP. I. Eflections on party prejudices. Effeets of them
with regard to the parties concerned in the