ページの画像
PDF
ePub

which a skilful Newspaper Reporter takes with every speech ho commits to print in our day.

A certain Critic, whom I sometimes cite from, but seldom with. out some reluctance, winds up his multifarious Commentaries on the present Speech in the following extraordinary way:

• Intelligent readers,' says he, have found intelligibility in this Speech of Oliver's : but to one who has had to read it as a painful Editor, reading every fibre of it with magnifying-glasses, has to do,-it becomes all glowing with intelligibility, with credi. bility; with the splendor of genuine Veracity and heroic Depth and Manfulness;—and seems, in fact, as Oliver's Speeches generally do, to an altogether singular degree, the express image of the soul it came from Is not this the end of all speaking, and wagging of the tongue in every conceivable sort, except the false and accursed sorts ?. Shall we call Oliver a lad Speaker, then; shall we not, in a very fundamental sense, call him a good Speaker ?

Art of Speech? Art of Speech? The Art of Speech, I take it, will first of all be the art of having something genuine to speak! Into what strange regions has it carried us, that same sublime “ Art,” taken up otherwise! One of the saddest bewilderments, when I look at all the bearings of it, nay properly the fountain of all the sad bewilderments, under which poor mortals painfully somnambulate in these generations. “I have made an excellent Speech about it, written an excellent Book about it," -and there an end. How much better, hadst thou done a mode. rately good deed about it, and not had anything to speak at all ! He who is about doing some mute veracity has a right to be heard speaking, and consulting of the doing of it; and properly no other has. The light of a man shining all as a paltry phosphorescence on the surface of him, leaving the interior dark, chaotic, sordid, dead-alive,—was once regarded as a most mourn. ful phenomenon!

• False Speech is probably capable of being the falsest and most accursed of all things. False Speech; so false that it has not even the veracity to know that it is false,-as the poor commonplace liar still does! I have heard Speakers who gave rise to thoughts in me they were little dreaming of suggesting ! Je man then no longer an “Incarnate Word,” as Novalis calls him,—sent into this world to utter out of him, and by all means to make audible and visible what of God's Message he has; sent hither and made alive even for that, and for no other definable object? Is there no sacredness, then, any longer, in the miracu. lous tongue of man? Is his head become a wretched cracked pitcher, on which you jingle to frighten crows, and make bees hive? He fills me with terror, this two-legged Rhetorical Phantasm! I could long for an Oliver without Rhetoric at all. I could long for a Mahomet, whose 'persuasive-eloquence, with wild-flashing heart and scimitar, is : “ Wretched mortal, give up that; or by he Eternal, thy Maker and mine, I will kill thee! Thou blasohemous scandalous Misbirth of Nature, is not even that the kindest thing I can do for thee, if thou repent not and alter in the name of Allah ?"

LETTERS CXXVIII., CXXIX.

CONJERNING this Puritan Convention of the Notables, whicn in English History is called the Little Parliament, and derisively Barebones's Parliament, we have not much more to say. They are, if by no means the remarkablest Assembly, yet the Assembly for the remarkablest purpose who have ever met in the Moderni World. The business is, No less than introducing of the Christian Religion into real practice in the Social Affairs of this Nation. Christian Religion, Scriptures of the Old and New Testament: such, for many hundred years, has been the universal solemnly recognized Theory of all men's Affairs; Theory sent down out of Heaven itself: but the question is now that of reducing it to Practice in said Affairs ;-a most noble, surely, and most necessary attempt; which should not have been put off so long in this Nation! We have conquered the Enemies of Christ ; let us now, in real practical earnest, set about doing the Commandments of Christ, now that there is free room for us! Such was the purpose of this Puritan Assembly of the Notables, which History calls the Little Parliament, or derisively Barebones's Parliament.

It is well known they failed: to us, alas, it is too evident they could not but fail. Fearful impediments lay against that effort of theirs : the sluggishness, the slavish half-and-halfness, the greediness, the cowardice, and general opacity and falsity of some ten million men against it ;-alas, the whole world, and what we call the Devil and all his angels against it ! "Considerable angles, human and other : most extensive arrangements, investments, to be sold off at a tremendous sacrifice;—in general the entire set of luggage-traps and very extensive stock of mer. chant-goods and real and floating property, amassed by that assiduous Entity above-mentioned, for a thousand years or more! For these, and also for other obstructions, it could not take effect at that time ;-and the Little Parliament became a Barebones's I'arliament, and had to go its ways again.

Read these two Letters, of small or no significance as to it or its affairs; and then let us hasten to the catastrophe.

LETTER CXXVIII.

In the Commons Journals,* while this Little Parliament sat, we find that, among other good services, the arrangement of the Customs Department was new-modelled ; that instead of Farmers of the Customs, there was a 'Committee of the Parliament appointed to regulate and levy that impost; Committee appointed on the 23d of September, 1653 : among whom we recognize ‘Alderman Ireton,' the deceased General's Brother; "Mr. Mayor,' of Hursley, Richard Cromwell's Father-in-law; ‘Alderman Titchborne ;'Colonel Montague,' afterwards Earl of Sandwich; and others. It is to this Committee that Oliver's Letter is addressed. It has no date of time: but as the Little Parliament ended, in Self-dissolution and Protectorship, on the 12th of December, the date of the Letter lies between the 230 September and that other limit. My Lord General,—who is himself a Member of the Parliament, he and his chief Officers having been forthwith invited to sit,-feels evidently that his recommendations, when grounded in justice, ought to be attended to. ,

For my honored Friends, the Committee for Regulating the
Customs : These present.

"Whitehall, October, 1653.' GENTLEMEN,

I am sorry after recommendation of a Friend of mine the Bearer hereof,considering him in relation to his poor Parents an object of pity and commiseration, yet well deserving and not less qualified for employment,-he should find such cold success amongst you.

His great necessities and my love once more invite me to write unto

* vii., 323, 23 September, 1653

you, in his behalf, To bestow on him, if it may not be in the City by reason of multiplicity of suitors, a place in the Out-ports: and I doubt not but his utmost abilities will be improved to the faithful discharging of such trust as you shall impose on him, for the good of the Cornmon. wealth. And thereby you will engage him who remains,

Your affectionate friend,

OLIVER CROMWELL.*

LETTER CXXIX.

WHO · Henry Weston' is, or his · Brother Ford,' or whether 'his House' is in the Rutlandshire • Oakham' or another, I do not in the least know. Neither has · Mr. Draper elsewhere come across me. Happily we can hope he officiates well in Kent; and read this. Letter without other light than its own..

For my honored Friend, Henry Weston, Esquire, at his House

in Oakham: These.

“Whitehall,' 16th November, 1653. SIR, MY NOBLE FRIEND,

Your Brother Ford was lately with me, acquainting me with my presumption in moving for, and your civility in granting, the Advowson of Speldhurst to one Mr. Draper, who is now incumbent there, and who, it seems, was there for three or four years before the death of the old incumbent, by virtue of a sequestration.

Sir, I had almost forgot upon what account I made thus bold with you; but now have fully recollected. I understand the person is very able and honest, well approved of by most of the good Ministers thereabout; and much desired by the honest people who are in a Religious Association in those parts thereabouts. Wherefore I now most heartily own and thank you for your favor showed Mr. Draper for my sake ; be. seeching the continuance of your respects to the Gentleman,—who shall be very much tied to pay you all service; and so shall, in what lieth in his power

Your affectionate friend to serve you,

OLIVER CROMWELL.

• Letter genuine, teste me ; reference unfortunately lost. + Additional Ayscough mss , no. 12,098. A Copy, in an old hand, with

« 前へ次へ »