Persis F Chase.

The British Plutarch, containing the lives of the most eminent statesmen, patriots, divines, warriors, philosophers, poets, and artists, of Great Britain and Ireland, from the accession of Henry VIII. to the present time. Including a complete history of England from that area (Volume 4) online

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Online LibraryPersis F ChaseThe British Plutarch, containing the lives of the most eminent statesmen, patriots, divines, warriors, philosophers, poets, and artists, of Great Britain and Ireland, from the accession of Henry VIII. to the present time. Including a complete history of England from that area (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 21)
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3 3433 08253733 7






LAND, from the Acceflion of HENRY VIII. to
the prefent Time. Including, a Compendious
View of the Hiftory of England dunng that

n j



VOL. IV. (


Revifed, correfted, and confiderably enlarged,
by the Addition of New Lives.

Trinted for C H A K L ^ S D I L L T. in the Poultry.






; .

- *




Life of Oliver Cromwell, including Me-
moirs of Fairfax and Ludlow page i

.Life of Admiral Blake 57

The Life of Gen. Monk, Duke of Albermarle 74.
The I4fe of Edward Montague, Earl of Sandwich

9 r

The Life of Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, and

Lord High Chancellor of England - IOI

The Life of Sir Matthew Hale, 'Lord Chief Juflice

of the Court of King's Bench - 115

The Life of Andrew Marvell 125

The Life of Anthony Alhley Cooper, Earl of

Shaftefbury, Lord High Chancellor of England

The Life of Algernon Sydney, including Memoirs

of Wil]iam>,LordRulTelI -\ 146

The Life of Ja^ies Butler, Diik'e of Ormond 160

The Life of George. .Villjers, the Younger, fecond

Duke of BuckirlgKaus cfthn: Name 187

C O N T E N T S.


The Life of John Selden . page aoo

The Life of Dr. William Harvey 207

Memoirs of Samuel Cooper, Painter 213

The Life of John Milton 215

The Life of fcamuel Butler 248

The Life of Edmund Waller 255

1 he Life of Sir William Petty 263

. .

e ,c c ,






(A. D. 1599, to 1658.)
Includin Memoirs of FAIRFAX and LUDLOW.

H E biilory of no modern nation furnifhes
any example of fo extraordinary a revolution,
as that which was fuccefsfully accomplifhed in Eng-
land, by the perfonal bravery, political abilities, and
general knowledge of mankind, united in the charac-
ter of the private individual whole life we are now
to prefent to our readers. Nor can any apology be
made for omitting it in the firft edition of THE
BRITISH PLUTARCH ; for however we may con-
demn Cromwell as a bafe ufurper of the inpreme
power of his country, and as a deferter of the prin-
ciples of true patriot! fm , by which he firft gained
VOL. IV. B credit

& T H'E LI F E O F

credit and efleem with his fellow-fubje&s, this can
be no j unification for fuch an omiffion ; feme of the
greateil heroes of .antiquity being involved in the
fame crime of ambition, whofe glorious military
exploits, and. wjfe adminiflration of the governments
they illegally obtained, have effaced, -in a great de-
gree, -their treafon in obtaining them, and immor-
talifed their names.

Plutarch has not omitted a fingle circumflance of
any moment in the life of Julius Gsfar, and pof-
terity feems to have forgotten his crimes, in the re-
rnembrance ohis public.and private virtues. With
much greater reafon.mav we, at this difhnce of time,
throw a veil over the usurpation of Cromwell, ftnce
its confequences became glorious by his wife admi-
niilration, which made his country formidable both
by fea and land, and procured her forne territorial
acquisitions, and many important commercial ad-
vantages, which file enjoys to this very hour. The
^unprejudiced reader, therefore, will not be difpleafed
to find an ample life of Oliver Cromwell fubilituted
in the place of imperfect memoirs of Fairfax and
Ludlow, whofe public tranfaftions are fo blended
-with the hiftory of Cromwell, that they cannot, with
-any propriety, be detached from it, and, for this rea-
jfon, are now included in it.

.Oliver Cromwell was born at Huntingdon in the
year 1599. and was defcended from an. ancient fa-
mily of Welfh extraction, originally of the name of
Williams ; but one of his anceflors marrying the
-filler of Thomas Cromwell, erl of Eilex, a fon by
that marriage aiTumed his mother's- maiden name,
and tranfmitted it to his fon Sir Henry Cromwell
,of Hinchinbrooke, grandfather to Oliver. Mr. Ro-
bert Cromwell, his father, was the fecond fon of
Sir Henry ; and his mother was a daughter of Sir
Richaid Stewart of the ifle of Ely. It appears, that



no extraordinary foh'citude was fhewn about his
education during his juvenile years ; for he conti-
nued as a day -fcholarat the free-fchool of Hunting-
clou till he was feventeen. It is pretended, however,
that even in this fir ft ilage of his life, many ftrange
circum ftances occurred which were prefages of his
future greatnefs. At about the age of feventeen,
Cromwell was fent to Sidney- college in Cambridge,
to purfue his ftudies ; but without any determination
of choice, that we know of, either on the part of his
father or hi mfelf, of his future defoliation in life;
which accounts for his not applying hi mfelf clofely
either to divinity, law, or phyfic ; but, on the con-
trary, devoting more of his time to manly, robuit
exerciies, while he remained at the univerfity, than
could pofiibly have been fpared, if he had applied
himfelf to the iludy of either of the three learned
profelftons, with a view of fixing upon one of them
for his fupport. An active, rather than a fedentary
life, fcemed to be his choice, and polite, rather than
abftrufe learning, his favourite itudy ; by which
means he acquired a competent knowledge of the
<Jreek and Roman hi lory.

Oliver's father being a younger brother, the fcanty
income of his eftate was not fufficient for the de-
cent fupport of his family, coniifting of a fon and
four daughters, on which account his mother en
Eao;ed in fome branch of the brewing trade, without

O O _ O '

the participation or afti nance of her huiband, ap-
plying the profits to the railing portions for her
daughters, whom Ihe married into good families.
Tins was the fituation of the family, when Mr.
"Cromwell, the father, died, about two years after
his ion bad been at the univerfity, and, upon this
event, he was called home by his mother ; but the
irregularity of his conduct giving her great uneafi-
nets, (he was advifed to bring him up to the law,


T II E L I r E O F

, in confequence, fent him to Lincoln's -inn.
However, as ihe continued her bulinets, this fhort
refidence at home furhifhed an opportunity to the
cavaliers to flyle him a brewer, and the ion of a

A fortunate incident focn took him off from the
ftudy of the law, which by no means fuited his in-
clination. Sir Richard Stewart, his maternal uncle,
died, who had bequeathed him an cib.te worth five
.."hundred pounds per annum : and, having now ieen
the folly of diflipation and riot, he very prudently
.retired into the country, and became as remarkably
fober and religious as he had been vicious and ex-
travagant. For fome time after he was a devout
member of the Church of England, but, upon pax -
ing his addrefles to Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir
Tames Bouchier, of EiTex, whom he afterwards mar-
Vied, he became acquainted with fome eminent Pu-
ritan minifters and gentlemen, intimate in that fa-
mily, whole religious fentiments be iuiothed, and
his lady being of that perfuaiion, he \vas foon pre-
vailed upon to adhere to their party, now growing
very powerful ; and, by their intereft, he was elected
to ferve in the third parliament of Charles I. which
jnet on the iyth cay of March, 1628. The king,
as ufual, wanted this parliamentto proceed upon his
lupplies before they entered into any consideration of
the many grievances complained of in the adminif-
tration of government : but this the patriotic party
would not admit, inMing, that the fupply fhould
go hand in hand with the redrefs of grievances : and.,
upon this plan, they prepared a petition of right to
'-be preferred to the king, before the fupply, which
they voted, ihould receive the royal affent ; that if
he granted the prayer of the petition, both might pafs
into a law at one and the fame time. The fubjedrs
of the petition were, " 'That no loan, or tax, might



be levied on the fubject but by cowfent of parlia~
ment. That no man might be impriibned, but
by legal procefs. ! hat fokiiers might not be quar-
tered on people sgainft their \vil!s. That no com-
millions be granted for executing martial law."
To which the' kincr anfwered, " 1 will that rHit

O ' O

be done, according to the laws and cuitoms of the
realm." The commons apprehending fome ftatc-
trick, or fubterfuge, couched in this anfwer, be-
caufe it was not exprefied in the ufual terms de-
noting the roval avfent, refoived to addrefs his ma-
jefty for a fuller anfwer ; and, both in the debate
upon the fir ft queilion for proceeding to a redrefs
of grievances betore voting the fupply, and in that
for a fuller anfwer to the petition. Oliver Cromwell
was a fpeaker ; but did not at this lime diitinguifa
himfelf, as fome hiilorians relate, any farther than
as a member in the opposition.

The king perceiving that no fupply could be ob-
tained, though he had threatened to difTolve thepar~ u
lianient, without paffing the petition of right, came
tb the houfe of peers on the yth of Juiie, and palled"
it in the ufual form of words. " Soit droit fait
comme il eft delire." The commons having carried
this great point, readily granted a very ample f ap-
ply, but this by no means fatisfied the court ; for
a fcheme was now fet on foot by the opposition to
remonftrate againft an ancient branch of the royal
revenues, tonnage and poundage, a duty on the
importation of wine and merchandife ; and to pre-
vent this violent attack on what the king confidered
as his prerogative, the parliament was prorogued
on the 26th of the fame month to the soth of Oc-
tober, and then by proclamation to the 21 ft of Ja-
nuary, 1629. This long recefs only gave an op-
portiKiity to the king's enemies to foment animo-
iitics and discontents, and to form ftrong parties

B 3 through-


throughout the kingdom ; fo that, upon the meet-
ing of parliament, new grievances were added to
the old, and as heavy a complaint made of the re-
ligious as of the civil ftate of the nation. His
majefly, however, adhered to the affair of tonnage
and poundage, endeavouring to make it the firit
bufinefs of the fefTion, by requiring, in his fpeech
from the throne, that it might be fettled on him
for life, as it had been on his anceitors. The com-
mons, on the contrary, refolved to preceed upon
the ftate of religion, previous to any other matter,
on account of the increafe of Arminianilm, and the
encouragement given to Popery. To this they
were inftigated by that celebrated and active pa-
triot Mr. John Pym, whofe integrity and public
virtue endeared him to his country, and whofe op-
pofition to the arbitrary meafures of admi nift ration
was not founded either on ambition or felfimnefs,
but on a perfect knowledge of, and a zealous at-
tachment to, the confiitution : with fuch a cha-
racter, and the advantages of a powerful elocution,
his influence in the houfe was unrivalled, and Oli-
ver Cromwell clofely trod in his fteps with relpedt
to his political conduit. Mr. Pym moved, that a
covenant might be taken by the houfe, binding the
members to maintain their religion and rights.
Cromwell (imported the motion, in a fpeech com-
plaining, in direct terms, of Neile bilhop of Win-
chefler, for countenancing Popery. r \ his bold pro-
ceeding, joined to an incident which had happened
during the recefs, which was his oppofmg and pre-
venting the execution of a plan concerted by the
king and the earl of Bedford fur draining the fens
in Lincolnfhire and the ifle of Ely, attracted the
notice of the people, and he began to be talked of
as a riiing patriot, of whom great hopes might be
conceived. From this time he was diftinsuifhed


in the honfe, by being chofen upon mefl com-
mittees refpefting the flate of the nation: the fir ft
in which he.afted was the committee on religion
in this parliament ; but the officers of the cuftoms
having leized the merchandife of Mr. Rolles, a
merchant of the city of London, and a member of
the houfe, and detained it for the duties of tonnage
and poundage, he complained of a breach of pri-
vilege ; and the confederation of this bufinefs ab-
forbed all others. For the houfe was thrown into
a name by a meflage from the king, who avowed
that the cuftom-houfe-officers had only obeyed his
commands.. This raili innovation on the part of
the ciown was immediately voted a breach of pri-
vilege; and a proteiration was drawn up, by the
patriotic party, declaring, " That whoever mould
bring in innovations in religion, or-feek to intro-
duce Popery or Arminianifm ; and whoever fhould
advife the taking of tonnage and poundage, not
granted by parliament, or mould pay the fame,
liiould be accounted enemies to the kingdom."
The fpeaker, who was a^ainir this proceeding. a;\d
had refuied to put the queftkm whether it ihould
be read was held by force in the chair, and the
doors were locked while it'was read and voted; af-
ter which the houfe adjourned to a certain day,
though it was known that tiu gentleman -ulher of
the black-rod was in waning with a mevTage from
the king. The miniftry now took a meafare, which
widened the breach between his majefty and the
houfe of commons , for the members who had
been moil aclive in drawing up the protell, and
obliging the fpeaker to flay in the chair while it
was read, were illegally taken into cuftody by war-
rants from the privy-council; and, refuting to be
refponfible for what they had faid or done in the
houfe, they were committed to the Tower. In-

B 4 formations


formations were afterwards exhibited agaiivft them
for a riot, in the Star-Chamber-Court ; but to the
jurifdiction of this court they refufed to fubmit ;
and the informations being removed to the King's-
Bench, they agreed by their council to plead ; but
the motion was over-ruled. They were adjudged
to be imprifoned during the king's pleafure, and
Sir John Elliot died in prifon. This ihould be
confidered as the firft declaration of war on the part
of Charles, and as a direct violation of his coro-
nation-oath ; from this time, therefore, imce he
offered no indemnification to his fubjedts, we may
account the civil compact as diffolved ; and though
the fword was not drawn till fome years after, that
neither due protection on the part of the. king, nor
true allegiance on the part of the fubjects, any
longer fubfifled. But it mufl be obferved, that
neither Pym nor Cromwell were among the impri-
foned members.

The king now took the fatal refolution to govern
without parliaments, the foul of the conilitution ;
and having contrived various ways to levy money as
well for the fupport of his houlhold as for the ad-
miniftration of his civil government, all equally il-
legal and oppreffive, fuch as monopolies of lalt,
foap, leather, coals, pins, &c. and by arSffments
for (hip-money, the payment of which was exacted
under the penalty, in cafe of refufal, of fine and
imprifonment ; many gentlemen of landed pro-
perty refolved to fell their efcates, and others to
difpofe of their perfonal effects, and leave the king-
dom. They were farther induced to meditate this-
voluntary exile, by the fevere proceedings of the
Courts of Star-Chamber, and the Ecclefiaftical
High-Commiflion Court, the fentences of which
were fo infamous, and the fines fo heavy, that men
were liable to the moil difgraceful punishments,



and to ruin in their fortunes, for non-conformity
to the rites and ceremonies and doctrines of the
Church of England. To prevent this" emigration,
as if Charles had determined that his fubjects ihould
have no rcfource left, a proclamation was iflued in
the year 1637, laying an embargo on all mips out-
ward bound, having paflengers on board, till the
pafiengers mould obtain a licence for leaving the
kingdom, from fuch of the lords of the privy-coun-
cil as \vere appointed for the buimefs of foreign
plantations ; and amongft other perfons of note
found on board the!e mips, were the famous John
Hampden and Oliver Cromwell; his relation. The
intention of the Puritan noblemen and gentlemen
who planned the propofed emigration was, to fettle
in New- England, there to enjoy, in a private, re-
tired manner, their religious opinions, and their
perlbnal freedom, without any deiign of drfturbing
government at home ; which they thought would
be reformed in time, either by experience of the
inconveniencies of its prefent excefies, by the na-
tural death of the king, or by forne other unfo re-
fee n revolution : but it is evident they had no in-
tention of taking any active part in, much lefs of
concert] ;ig fuch a revolution. Of this party ivis
Oliver Cromwell, who, from the fmallnefs of his
fortune, and his middle rank in life, could have
no other pro! peel: in the wilds of America tb in
that of peaceable retirement. Yet this man, whom
we find thus embarked, fome writers of his life
have afferted, was born to empire, and conceived
hopes of a. crown from the time that he acted the
character of TACTTJS, at Huntingdon fchool, in a
play intituled LTNGUA, in which the hero is. iup-
pofed to have {tumbled accidentally againit a crown
and robe. The emphatical lines are,
Was ever man fo fortunate as I,
To break his fhins at fuch a {tumbling block ?

B 5. It


It redounds more to the honour of Oliver Crom-
well, and it will be found nearer to the truth, by
the fequel, to fuppofe that he acted upon true pa-
triotic principles for many years after the period
when he was prevented leaving the kingdom. The
afcendancy of ambition over thefe principles was
perhaps as fudden and adventitious as the unforefeen
incidents which gave birth to it ; and if this be
made apparent from the annals of his life, it will
place his charter in a new and in a more impar-
tial light, than if lie is confidered as the long-
concealed prcmeditator of ufurpation.

Oliver, out of parliament, feems to have adled
with great prudence and caution ; and, though the
jiation was in a general ferment, and we may rea-
dily conceive that he looked upon this embargo as
a freih infringement of perfonal liberty, he parTed
his time quietly in the ifle of Ely, and devoted him-
felf to religious, "rather than to political {Indies, fre-
quenting the meetings of the non-conformitts, and
diftinguiihing himfelf only by his gifts, as they were
then called, of praying, preaching, and expound-
ing. But when the mifguiced monarch, having
exhaufled every expedient for levying money on his
fnbjefts without the confent of parliament, faw
himfelf under a neceility of calling one, CrornweH
ingratiated himfelf with a leading man in the cor-
poration of Cambridge, and was chofen to repre-
lent that city, in the parliament which was fum-
moned to meet on the 2ilt of April, 1640. The
king now offered to give up his claim to {hip-mo-
ney, and to redrefs the grievances of the nation,
provided the commons would grant him a fupply to
carry on a war he had commenced againft Scotland ;
and this condefceniion being highly acceptable, an.
accommodation was likely to enlue ; when, by a
ilrange miftake of Sir Henry Vane, in delivering a


mefiage'from his majefty, he demanded twelve, in-
Head of fix fubiidies ; and this error, which fome
charge him with committing defignedly, threw the
houfe into an ill humour ; and, before the con-
fuiion fubfided, he went to the king, and told him
no money would be granted againft the Scots ;
whereupon Charles abruptly diffolved the parlia-
ment, and contented himfelf with the fubfidies
granted to him by the convocation of the clergy,
and the voluntary contributions of fome of the
nobility and gentry, with which he raifed an army
of 20,000 men. But a detachment being defeated
by the Scots at Newcaftle, and the king's magazines
of arms and ammunition falling into the enemy's
hands, a council of peers, whom he fummoned to
meet him at York, advifed him to enter into a
treaty, and loon after a celTation of arms took place.
The unfettled (late of the kingdom occalioned
petitions from the city of London, and other cor-
porations, for a new parliament ; to which the
king confented ; and the memorable long parlia-
ment met on the 3d of November, when Oliver
Cromwell was again chofen for Cambridge. His
attendance in parliament now became very clofe,
his fpeeches frequent, and his warmth and activity
in opposition to the meafures of the court, re-
markably confpicuous. Nor was he lefs zealous in
promoting petitions againft the biihops, for their'
levere profecutions, and inhuman puniiliments, in
the ecclefiafcical courts. He had likewiie a prin-
cipal ihare in the remonfuance of the itate of the
nation, in which the enormities of the king's go-
vernment were iirongly pointed out. This remon-
ilrance was carried after very warm debates, and
ordered to be printed on -the I5th of December,
3641 : upon this occaikm he again renewed his de-
iign of leavinc; England for ever, if it had not paiTed.

B 6 , '

12 T H E L I F E O F

At length, when the difTentions between the king
and the parliament came to an open rupture, and
the civil war broke out, Cromwell exhibited a new
character ; for having obtained a captain's com-
mifiion from the commons, he immediately raifed
a troop of horfe in the country; and, both in the
choice of his men, and his manner of disciplining
them, difplayed the flrongeft evidences of uncom-
mon military genius. His men were remarkable
for their fobriety, indnftry, and bravery ; they were
moft of them the fons of freeholders, who were
taught to believe they were fighting for the defence
of their own property; and being religioufly dif-
pofed, they aled upon principles of conference.
Such foldiers could not fail of fubduing common
mercenaries, who fight only for pay, and there-
fore, whenever they engaged them, they were vic-

Cromwell's flrft military exploit of any confe-
rtuence, was his fecuring the town of Cambridge
for the parliament, and flopping the univerlity plate,
ready packed up to be lent to the king. Not long
after, he feized Sir Thomas Connelby, high-fheriff
of Hertfordihiie, on the road to St. Albans, where
he was going to proclaim the parliament- officers
traitors. For thefe fervices he received the thanks
of the houfe, and was promoted to the rank of a
colonel. Invefted with this honour, he enlarged
his plan of operations, and, by the flrength of his
increaiing intereft, ibon raifed a regiment of icoo
liorfe, with which he prevented the exertions of re-
cruiting parties of the royalifts in feveral counties ;
and, by his activity and fuccefs, recommended him-
felf to farther promotion. He was next appointed
lieutenant-general under the earl of Manchefler ;
and, in different fkirmifhes, he gave frefh proofs
of his valour and flulful conduft, always coming



off victorious ; but his military reputation was
eftabliihed in fuch a manner, that he was dreaded
by the royalifts, after he had fo eminently fignalized
himfelf at the battle of Marflon-moor, by recover-
ing the day againfl prince Rupert, after it had been
loft by Manchefter, Fairfax, and Leven. He now
became the general fubjedt of converfation, and the
eyes of all men were fixed upon him ; but as he was
greatly envied by his brother officers, it was not
yet his time to aim at the generalfhip. The earls
of Eflex and Manchefter were his molt powerful
adverfaries, and the latter vowed his dcitruction
for having accufed him of cowardice ; yet luch was
the general good opinion conceived of Cromwell by
the parliament, and by the people without doors,
that he foon perceived his own ftrength, and
turned the tables upon his opponents, by complain-
ing in the houfe of the mifcondu& of the war,
which he- imputed to the venality of the then com-
manders, who, for their own intereft, wanted to
protract it. In confequence of a very bold fpeech
upon this occaiion, it was refblved to new- model
the army, and to pats an ordinance called, <<k The
felf-denyir-g Ordinance," by which all members of
parliament were excluded from civil or military
employments ; and the earls of Effex and Man-
chefter, with feveral other general officers, were
thereby difmifled,

Sir Thomas Fairfax was now appointed com-
mander in chief of all the parliament's forces ;

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Online LibraryPersis F ChaseThe British Plutarch, containing the lives of the most eminent statesmen, patriots, divines, warriors, philosophers, poets, and artists, of Great Britain and Ireland, from the accession of Henry VIII. to the present time. Including a complete history of England from that area (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 21)