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Pity is perennial : “ Ye have compassion on one another,”-is it not notable, beautiful ? In our days too, there are Polish Balls and such like ; but the pity of the Lord Protector and Puritan England for these poor Protestants among the Alps is not to be measured by ours. The Lord Protector is melted into tears, and roused into sacred fire. This day the French treaty, not unimportant to him, was to be signed : this day he refuses to sign it till the King and Cardinal undertake to assist him in getting right done in those poor Valleys.* He sends the poor exiles 2,0001. from his own purse ; appoints a day of Humiliation and a general Collection over England for that object ;has, in short, decided that he will bring help to these poor men; that England and he will see them helped and righted. How Envoys were sent; how blind Milton wrote Letters to all Protestant States, calling on them for co-operation ; how the French Cardinal was shy to meddle, and yet had to meddle, and compel the Duke of Savoy, much astonished at the business, to do justice and not what he liked with his own : all this recorded in the unreadablest stagnant deluges of old Official Correspondence,t is very certain, and ought to be fished therefrom and made more apparent.
In all which, as we can well believe, it was felt that the Lord Protector had been the Captain of England, and had truly expressed the heart and done the will of England ;-in this, as in some other things. Milton's Sonnet and Six Latin Letters are still readable; the Protector's Act otherwise remains mute hitherto. Small damage to the Protector, if no other suffer thereby! Let it stand here as a symbol to us of his foreign policy in general; which had this one object, testified in all manner of negotiations and endeavors, noticed by us and not noticed, To make England Queen of the Protestant world ; she, if there were no worthier Queen. To unite the Protestant world of struggling Light against the Papist world of potent Darkness. To stand upon God's Gospel, as the actual intrinsic Fact of this Practical Earth; and defy all potency of Devil's Gospels on the strength of that. Wherein, again, Puritan England felt gradually that this Olive)
* Thurloe, ubi supra.
was her Captain ; and in heart could not but say, Long life to him; as we now do.
Let us note one other small private trait of Oliver in these months; and then hasten to the few Letters we have. Dull Bulstrode has jotted down : The Protector feasted the Commissioners for Approbation of Ministers."* Means the Commission of Triers ;t whom he has to dinner with him in Whitehall. Old Sir Francis, Dr. Owen and the rest. "He sat at table with them; and was cheerful and familiar in their company :' Hope you are getting on, my friends : how this is, and how that is ? "By such kind of little caresses,' adds Bulstrode, he gained much upon many persons.' Me, as a piece of nearly matchless law-learning and general wisdom, I doubt he never sufficiently respected; though he knew my fat qua.ities too, and was willing to use and recognize them !
Whitlocke, April, 1655
† Antea, pp. 74, 75.
LETTERS CXXXVI.-CXL. Five Letters of somewhat miscellaneous character; which we must take in mass, and with no word of Commentary that can be spared. Straggling accidental light beams, accidentally preserved to us, and still transiently illuminating this feature or that of the Protector and his business,—let them be welcome in the darkness for what they are.
as a Sea-General. Seet fitted out under "Best Indies,—the Pro
BESIDES the great Sea-Armament that sailed from Portsmouth last December, and went Westward, with sealed orders, which men begin to guess were for the Spanish West Indies,—the Protector had another Fleet fitted out under Blake, already famous as a Sea-General; which has been in the Mediterranean, during these late months; exacting reparation for damages, old or recent, done to the English Nation or to individuals of it, by the Duke of Florence or by others; keeping an eye on Spain too, and its Plate Fleets, apparently with still ulterior objects.
The Duke of Florence has handsomely done justice; the Dey of Tunis was not so well advised, and has repented of it. There are Letters, dated March last, though they do not come till June; · Letters that General Blake demanding at Tunis reparation for the losses of the English from Turkish Pirates, the Dey answered him with scorn, and bade him behold his Castles.' Blake did behold them ; sailed into the Harbor within musket-shot of them; and though the shore was planted with great guns, he se, upon the Turkish ships, fired nine of them,' and brought the Dey to reason, we apprehend.*
* Whitlocke, p. 608 (8 June, 1655).
• To General Blake at Sea.'
Whitehall, 13th June, 1655. SIR,
I have received yours of the 25th of March, which gives account of the late Transactions between yourself and the Governors of Tunis, concerning the losses which the English have sustained by the piracies of that place; and 'of' the success it pleased God to give in the attempt you made upon their shipping, after their positive refusal to give you satisfaction upon your just demands. And as we have great cause to acknowledge the good hand of God towards us in this Action-who, in all the circumstances thereof, as they have been represented by you, was pleased to appear very signally with you; so I think myself obliged to take notice of your courage and good conduct therein; and do esteem that you have done therein a very considerable service to this Commonwealth.
I hope you have received the former Despatches which were sent unto you by the way of Legorne, for your coming into Cadiz Bay with, the Fleet; as also those which were sent by a Ketch immediately from hence; whereby you had also notice of three-months provisions then preparing to be sent, which have since been sent away, under convoy of the Frigates the Centurion and Dragon: and 'I' hope they are safely arrived with you, they sailing from hence about the 28th of April.
With this come farther Instructions concerning your disposing of the Fleet for the future; whereunto we do refer you. Besides which, we, having taken into consideration the present Design we have in the West Indies, have judged it necessary, That not only the King of Spain's Fleets coming from thence be intercepted (which as well your former Instructions as those now sent unto you require and authorize you to do), but that we endeavor also, as much as in us lies, to hinder him from sending any relief or assistance thither. You are therefore, during your abode with the Fleet in those seas, to inform yourself, by the best means you can, concerning the going of the King of Spain's Fleet for the West Indies; and shall, according to such information as you can gain, use your best endeavors to intercept at sea, and fight with and take them, or otherwise to fire and sink them; as also any other of his ships which you shall understand to be bound for the West Indies with provisions of War, for the aid and assistance of his subjects there; carrying yourself towards other of his ships and people as you are directed by your general Instructions.
• Thurloe, iii., 547.
The Sea-Armament was for the West Indies, then : good news of it were welcome!
Here is a short Letter of Blake's to the Protector, dated just the day before ; in cipher ;-which the reader, having never per. haps seen another Letter of Blake's, will not be displeased with Unimportant; but bringing the old Seas, with their Puritan Sea. kings, with their · Plate Fleets,' and vanished populations and traffics, bodily before us for moments.
“George, 12th June, 1655. “MAY IT PLEASE YOUR HIGHNESS,
“The secret Instructions sent by your Highness, referring me to a former Instruction, touching the Silver Fleet of Spain coming from America, I have received ; and shall carefully observe the same. We had information at Cadiz that the Fleet was expected about a month or five weeks hence. We are now off Cape Mary's; intending to spread with our Fleet what we can, and to range this sea, according to the wind and the information we can get plying likewise over towards Cape Sprat, it being their most likely and usual course. They of Cadiz are very distrustful of us; and there being four Galeons designed for the Mediterranean, and six for New Spain, it is doubtful how they may be employed.
“ We shall use our best endeavors to put the Instructions in execu tion, as God shall afford an opportunity ; desiring your Highness to rest assured of our diligence, and of the integrity of,—your most humble and faithful servant,
June 13th is Wednesday. On the morrow is universal FastDay, Humiliation and Prayer, and public Collection of Money for the Protestants of Piedmont. A day of much pious emotion in England ; and of liberal contribution, which continued on the following days. “Clerks come to every man's house,' says a dis. affected witness; come with their papers, and you are forced to contribute.' The exact amount realized I never could very authentically learn. The Dutch Ambassador says 100,0001. The disaffected witness says, “ London City itself gave half-a-million,' -or seemed as it would give. "The Ministers played their part to the full,'—the Ministers and the People and their Ruler. Nc
* Thurloe, iii., 541.