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question, he whispered to Harrison, " This
is the time ; I must do it ;" and rising, put
off his hat to address the House. At first his
language was decorous, and even laudatory.
Gradually he became more warm and ani-
mated ; at last he assumed all the vehemence
of passion, and indulged in personal vitupe-
ration. He charged the members with self-
seeking and profaneness, with the frequent
denial of justice, and numerous acts of op-
pression ; with idolizing the lawyers, the
constant advocates of tyranny ; with neglect-
ing the men who had bled for them in the
field, that they might gain the Presbyterians
who had apostatized from the cause ; and
with doing all this in order to perpetuate
their own power and to replenish their own
purses. But their time was come ; the
Lord had disowned them ; He had chosen
more worthy instruments to perform His
work. Here the orator was interrupted by
Sir Peter Wentworth, who declared that he
had never heard language so unparlia-
mentary language, too, the more offensive,
because it was addressed to them by their
own servant, whom they had too fondly
cherished, and whom, by their unprecedented
bounty, they had made what he was. At
these words Cromwell put on his hat, and,
springing from his place, exclaimed : " Come,
come, sir, I will put an end to your prating."
For a few seconds, apparently in the most
violent agitation, he paced forward and
backward, and then, stamping on the floor,
added : " You are no parliament ; I say you
are no parliament ; bring them in, bring
them in." Instantly the door opened, and
Colonel Worsley entered, followed by more
than twenty musketeers. u This," cried Sir
Henry Vane, " is not honest ; it is against
morality and common honesty." " Sir
Henry Vane," replied Cromwell, " 0, Sir
Henry Vane ! The Lord deliver me from
Sir Henry Vane 1 He might have prevented
this. But he is a juggler, and has not
honesty himself!" From Vane he directed
his discourse to Whitelock, on whom he
poured a torrent of abuse ; then pointing to
Chaloner, " There," he cried, " sits a drunk-
ard ;" next to Marten and Wentworth,
" There are two whoremasters ;" and after-
wards selecting different members in suc-
cession, described them as dishonest and
corrupt livers, a shame and scandal to the
profession of the gospel. Suddenly, how-
ever, checking himself, he turned to the
guard and ordered them to clear the House.



At these words Colonel Harrison took the
Speaker by the hand and led him from the
chair ; Algernon Sidney was next compelled
to quit his seat ; and the other members,
eighty in number, on the approach of the
military, rose and moved towards the door.
Cromwell now resumed his discourse. " It
is you," he exclaimed, " that have forced
me to do this. I have sought the Lord
both day and night that He would rather
slay me than put me on the doing of this
work." Alderman Allan took advantage of
these words to observe that it was not yet
too late to undo what had been done ; but
Cromwell instantly charged him with pecu-
lation, and gave him into custody. When
all were gone, fixing his eye on the mace,
<4 What," said he, " shall we do with this fool's
bauble ? Here, carry it away." Then,
taking the act of dissolution from the clerk,
he ordered the doors to be locked, and, ac-
companied by the military, returned to

That afternoon the members of the coun-
cil assembled in their usual place of meet-
ing. Bradshaw had just taken the chair,
when the Lord-general entered and told them
that if they were there as private individuals
they were welcome ; but if as the Council of
State, they must know that the parliament
was dissolved, and with it also the council.
" Sir," replied Bradshaw, with the spirit of
an ancient Roman, " we have heard what
you did at the House this morning, and be-
fore many hours all England will know it.
But, sir, you are mistaken to think that the
parliament is dissolved. No power under
heaven can dissolve them but themselves,
therefore, take you notice of that." After
this protest they withdrew. Thus, by the
parricidal hands of its own children, perished
the Long Parliament, which, under a variety
of forms, had, for more than twelve years,
defended and invaded the liberties of the
nation. It fell without a struggle or a groan,
unpitied and unregretted. The members
slunk away to their homes, where they
sought by submission to purchase the for-
bearance of their new master ; and their
partisans, if partisans they had, reserved
themselves in silence for a day of retribu-
tion. The royalists congratulated each other
on an event which they deemed a prepara-
tory step to the restoration of the king ; the
army and navy, in numerous addresses, de-
clared that they would live and die, stand
and fall, with the Lord-general ; and in every
part of the country the congregations of the

saints magnified the arm of the Lord, which
had broken the mighty, that in lieu of the
sway of mortal men, the fifth monarchy,
the reign of Christ might be established on

It would, however, be unjust to the mem-
ory of those who exercised the supreme
power after the death of the king, not to ac-
knowledge that there existed among them
men capable of wielding with energy the
destinies of a great empire. They governed
only four years ; yet, under their auspices,
the conquests of Ireland and Scotland were
achieved, and a navy was created, the rival
of that of Holland, and the terror of the
rest of Europe. But there existed an essen-
tial error in their form of government.
Deliberative assemblies are always slow in
their proceedings ; yet the pleasure of par-
liament, as the supreme power, was to be
taken on every subject connected with the
foreign relations or the internal adminis-
tration of the country ; and hence it hap-
pened that, among the immense variety of
questions which came before it, those com-
manded immediate attention which were of
immediate necessity ; while the others,
though often of the highest importance to
the national welfare, were first postponed,
then neglected, and ultimately forgotten.
To this habit of procrastination was perhaps
owing the extinction of its authority. It
disappointed the hopes of the country, and
supplied Cromwell with the most plausible
arguments in defence of his conduct.




lish statesman, (1708-1778), entered Parliament .at the
age of twenty-^even, where he opposed the Walpole
government. In 1755, he became the head of the
Cabinet, vigorously administering the government
through the French war. Chatham was the most elo-
quent and powerful opponent of the measures for sub-
jugating the American colonies in 1775-78, and in this
cause made some of his noblest speeches. His magnetic
eloquence joined to his magnificent presence, rendered
him one of the most influential men that ever sat in
Parliament. His speeches, however, have been but im-
perfectly preserved.]

I cannot, my lords, I will not, join in
congratulation on misfortune and disgrace.



This, my lords, is a perilous and tremend-
ous moment ; it is not a time for adula-
tion ; the smoothness of flattery cannot save
us in this rugged and awful crisis. It is
now necessary to instruct the throne in the
language of truth. We must, if possible,
dispel the delusion and darkness which en-
velop it, and display, in its full danger and
genuine colours, the ruin which is brought
to our doors. Can ministers still presume
to expect support in their infatuation ? Can
parliament be so dead to their dignity and
duty, as to give their support to measures
thus obtruded and forced upon them ; mea-
sures, my lords, which have reduced this
late flourishing empire to scorn and con-
tempt? But yesterday, and England might
have stood against the world : now, none so
poor to do her reverence ! The people
whom we at first despised as rebels, but
whom we now acknowledge as enemies, are
abetted against you, supplied with every
military store, have their interest consulted,
and their ambassadors entertained, by your
inveterate enemy ; and ministers do not, and
dare not, interpose with dignity or effect.
The desperate state of our army abroad is
in part known. No man more highly es-
teems and honours the English troops than
I do ; I know their virtues and their valour ;
I know they can achieve anything but im-
possibilities ; and I know that the conquest
of English America is an impossibility.
You cannot, my lords, you cannot conquer
America. What is your present situation
there ? We do not know the worst ; but
we know that in three campaigns we have
done nothing and suffered much. You may
swell every expense, accumulate every as-
sistance, and extend your traffic to the
shambles of every German despot ; your
attempts will be for ever vain and impotent
doubly so, indeed, from this mercenary
aid on which you rely ; for it irritates, to an
incurable resentment, the minds of your
adversaries, to overrun them with the mer-
cenary sons of rapine and plunder, devoting
them and their possessions to the rapacity
of hireling cruelty. If I were an American,
as I am an Englishman, while a foreign
troop was landed in my country, I never
would lay down my arms : Never, never,
never f But, my lords, who is the man that,
in addition to the disgraces and mischiefs
of the war, has dared to authorize and as-
sociate to our arms the tomahawk and
scalping-knife of the savage ; to call into
civilized alliance the wild and inhuman in-

habitants of the woods ; to delegate to the
merciless Indian the defence of disputed
rights, and to wage the horrors of his bar-
barous war against our brethren ? My lords,
these enormities cry aloud for redress and
punishment. But, my lords, this barbarous
measure has been defended, not only on the
principles of policy and necessity, but also
on those of morality; "for it is perfectly
allowable," says Lord Suffolk, "to use all
the means which God and nature have put
into our hands." I am astonished, I am
shocked, to hear such principles confessed ;
to hear them avowed in this house or in this
country. My lords, I did not intend to en-
croach so much on your attention ; but I
cannot repress my indignation I feel my-
self impelled to speak. My lords, we are
called upon as members oi this house, as
men, as Christians, to protest against such
horrible barbarity ! That God and nature
have put into our hands! What ideas of
God and nature that noble lord may enter-
tain, I know not ; but I know that such de-
testable principles are equally abhorrent
to religion and humanity. What ! to attri-
bute the sacred sanction of God and nature
to the massacres of the Indian scalping-
knife ! to the cannibal savage, torturing,
murdering, devouring, drinking the blood
of his mangled victims ! Such notions
shock every precept of morality, every feel-
ing of humanity, every sentiment of honour.
These abominable principles, and this more
abominable avowal of them, demand the
most decisive indignation. I call upon that
right reverend, and this most learned bench,
to vindicate the religion of their God, to
support the justice of their country. I call
upon the bishops to interpose the unsullied
sanctity of their lawn ; upon the judges to
interpose the purity of their ermine, to save
us from this pollution. I call upon the
honour of your lordships, to reverence the
dignity of your ancestors, and to maintain
your own. I call upon the spirit and hu-
manity of my country to vindicate the
national character. I invoke the Genius of
the Constitution. From the tapestry that
adorns these walls, the immortal ancestor of
this noble lord frowns with indignation at
the disgrace of his country. In vain did he
defend the liberty and establish the religion
of Britain against the tyranny of Rome, if
these worse than popish cruelties and in-
quisitorial practices are endured among us.
To send forth the merciless cannibal, thirst-
ing for blood I against whom ? your Protea-



tant brethren ! to lay waste their country,
to desolate their dwellings, and extirpate
their race and name by the aid and instru-
mentality of these horrible hell-hounds of
war! Spain can no longer boast pre-emi-
nence in barbarity. She armed herself with
blood-hounds to extirpate the wretched
natives of Mexico ; we, more ruthless, loose
these dogs of war against our countrymen
in America, endeared to us by every tie
that can sanctify humanity. I solemnly call
upon your lordships, and upon every order
of men in the state, to stamp upon this in-
famous procedure the indelible stigma of
the public abhorrence. More particularly I
call upon the holy prelates of our religion
to do away this iniquity ; let them perform
a lustration, to purify the country from this
deep and deadly sin. My lords, I am old
and weak, and at present unable to say
more ; but my feelings and indignation
were too strong to have said less. I could
not have slept this night in my bed, nor
even reposed my head upon my pillow,
without giving vent to my eternal abhor-
rence of such enormous and preposterous

The last public appearance and death of
Lord Chatham are thus described by WIL-
LIAM BELSHAM (1753-1827), essayist and
historian, in his History of Great Britain :

The mind feels interested in the minutest
circumstances relating to the last day of the
public life of this renowned statesman and
patriot. He was dressed in a rich suit of
black velvet, with a full wig, and covered
up to the knees in flannel. On his arrival
in the house, he refreshed himself in the
lord chancellor's room, where he stayed till
prayers were over, and till he was informed
that business was going to begin. He was
then led into the house by his son and son-
in-law, Mr. William Pitt and Lord Viscount
Mahon, all the lords standing up out of re-
spect, and making a lane for him to pass to
the earl's bench, he bowing very gracefully
to them as he proceeded. He looked pale
and much emaciated, but his eye retained
all its native fire ; which, joined to his gen-
eral deportment, and the attention of the
house, formed a spectacle very striking and

When the Duke of Richmond had sat
down, Lord Chatham rose, and began by
lamenting "that his bodily infirmities had
so long and at so important a crisis pre-
vented his attendance on the duties of par-
liament. He declared that he had made

an effort almost beyond the powers of his
constitution to come down to the house on
this day, perhaps the last time he should
ever be able to enter its walls, to express
the indignation he felt at the idea which he
understood was gone forth of yielding up
the sovereignty of America. 'My lords',
continued he, ' I rejoice that the grave has
not closed upon me, that I am still alive to
lift up my voice against the dismemberment
of this ancient and noble monarchy. Pressed
down as I am by the load of infirmity, I am
little able to assist my country in this most
perilous conjuncture ; but, my lords, while I
have sense and memory, I never will con-
sent to tarnish the lustre of this nation by
an ignominious surrender of its rights and
fairest possessions. Shall a people so lately
the terror of the world, now fall prostrate
before the house of Bourbon? It is impos-
sible ! In God's name, if it is absolutely
necessary to declare either for peace or war,
and if peace cannot be preserved with
honour, why is not war commenced without
hesitation? I am not, I confess, well in-
formed of the resources of this kingdom,
but I trust it has still sufficient to maintain
its just rights, though I know them not.
Any state, my lords, is better than despair.
Let us at least make one effort, and if we
must fall, let us fall like men.' "

The Duke of Richmond, in reply, declared
himself to be " totally ignorant of the means
by which we were to resist with success the
combination of America with the house of
Bourbon. He urged the noble lord to point
out any possible mode, if he were able to do
it, of making the Americans renounce that
independence of which they were in posses-
sion. His Grace added, that if he could
not, no man could ; and that it was not in
his power to change his opinion on the noble
lord's authority, unsupported by any reasons
but a recital of the calamities arising from
a state of things not in the power of this
country now to alter."

Lord Chatham, who had appeared greatly
moved during the reply, made an eager
effort to rise at the conclusion of it, as if
labouring with some great idea, and impa-
tient to give full scope to his feelings ; but
before he could utter a^word, pressing his
hand on his bosom, he fell down suddenly
in a convulsive fit. The Duke of Cumber-
land, Lord Temple, and other lords near
him, caught him in their arms. Th house
was immediately cleared ; and his lordship
being carried into an adjoining apartment,



the debate was adjourned. Medical assist-
ance being obtained, his lordship in some
degree recovered, and was conveyed to his
favourite villa of Hayes, in Kent, where,
after lingering some few weeks, he expired,
May 11, 1778, in the seventieth year of his

Grattan, the Irish orator (1750-1820) has
drawn the character of Lord Chatham with
felicity and vigour of style. The glittering
point and antithesis of the sketch are united
to great originality and force :

Character of Lord Chatham by Grattan.

The secretary stood alone. Modern de-
generacy had not reached him. Original
and unaccommodating, the features of his
character had the hardihood of antiquity.
His august mind overawed majesty; and
one of bis sovereigns thought royalty so im-
paired in his presence, that he conspired to
remove him, in order to be relieved from
his superiority. No state chicanery, no
narrow system of vicious politics, sunk him
to-the vulgar level of the great; but, over-
bearing, persuasive, and impracticable, his
object was England, his ambition was fame.
Without dividing, he destroyed party ; with-
out corrupting, he made a venal age unani-
mous. France sunk beneath him. With
one hand he smote the house of Bourbon,
and wielded in the other the democracy of
England. The sight of his mind was in-
finite : and his schemes were to affect, not
England, not the present age only, but
Europe and posterity. Wonderful were the
means by which these schemes were accom-
plished ; always seasonable, always ade-
quate, the suggestions of an understanding
animated by ardour and enlightened by

The ordinary feelings which make life
amiable and indolent were unknown to him.
No domestic difficulties, no domestic weak-
ness, reached.him ; but aloof from the sordid
occurrences of life, and unsullied by its in-
tercourse, he came occasionally into our
system to counsel and to decide.

A character so exalted, so strenuous, so
various, so authoritative, astonished a cor-
rupt age, and the treasury trembled at the
name of Pitt through all the classes of ve-
nality. Corruption imagined, indeed, that
she had found defects in this statesman, and
talked much of the inconsistency of his
glory, and much of the ruin of his victories ;
but the history of his country, and the cala-
mities of the enemy, answered aud refuted

her. Nor were his political abilities his
only talents : his eloquence was an era in
the senate, peculiar and spontaneous, famil-
iarly expressing gigantic sentiments and in-
stinctive wisdom ; not like the torrent of
Demosthenes, or the splendid conflagration
of Tully ; it resembled sometimes the thun-
der, and sometimes the music of the spheres.
Like Murray, he did not conduct the under-
standing through the painful subtlety of
argumentation ; nor was he, like Townsend,
for ever on the rack of exertion ; but rather
lightened upon the subject, and reached the
point by the flashings of the mind, which,
like those of his eye, were felt, but could
not be followed. Upon the whole, there
was in this man something that should
create, subvert, or reform ; an understanding,
a spirit, an eloquence to summon mankind
to society, or to break the bonds of slavery
asunder, and to rule the wilderness of free
minds with unbounded authority, something
that could establish or overwhelm empire,
and strike a blow in the world that should
resound through the universe.



[JABED SPARKS, LL. D., an industrious historical
writer and compiler, born in Connecticut 1789, died at
Cambridge, Mass., 18G6. Educated to the pulpit, Mr.
Sparks became a Unitarian preacher at Baltimore in
1819, chaplain in Congress, 1831, editor of the North
American Beview during about seven years, and pub-
lished two series known as "Sparts's American Biogra-
phy," (25 vols., 1834-48,) by various writers, including
himself. He edited the writings of Washington with a
Life (12 vols., 1834-37,) the "Works of Franklin" (10 vols.,
1836-40,) several series of the Diplomatic Corrcspon-
dsnce of the United States, and wrote a "Life of Goucer-
neur .Morris" (3 vols.) Dr. Sparks was professor of his-
tory at Harvard ten years, and President of the college
from 1849 to 1853].

The causes of the revolution, so fertile a
theme of speculation, are less definite than
have been imagined. The whole series of
colonial events was a continued and accu-
mulating cause. The spirit was kindled in
England ; it went with Robinson's congre-
gation to Holland ; it landed with them at
Plymouth ; it was the basis of the first con-
stitution of these sage and self-taught legis-
lators ; it never left them nor their descend-
ants. It extended to the other colonies,



where it met with a kindred impulse, was
nourished in every breast, and became rooted
in the feelings of the whole people.

The revolution was a change of forms, but
not of substance ; the breaking of a tie, but
not the creation of a principle ; the establish-
ment of an independent nation, but not the
origin of its intrinsic political capacities.
The foundations of society, although un-
settled for the moment, were not essentially
disturbed ; its pillars were shaken, but never
overthrown. The convulsions of war sub-
sided, and the people found themselves, in
their local relations and customs, their im-
mediate privileges and enjoyments, just
where they had been at the beginning. The
new forms transferred the supreme autho-
rity from the King and Parliament of Great
Britain to the hands of the people. This
was a gain, but not a renovation ; a security
against future encroachments, but not an
exemption from any old duty, nor an impo-
sition of any new one, farther than that
of being at the trouble to govern them-

Hence the latent cause of what has been
called a revolution was the fact, that the po-
litical spirit and habits in America had
waxed into a shape so different from those
in England, that it was no longer convenient
to regulate them by the same forms. In
words, the people had grown to be kings,
and chose to exercise their sovereign pre-
rogatives in their own way. Time alone
would have effected the end, probably with-
out so violent an explosion, had it not been
hastened by particular events, which may be
denominated the proximate causes.

These took their rise at the close of the
French war, twelve years before the actual
contest began. Relieved from future appre-
hensions of the French power on the front-
iers, the colonists now had leisure to think
of themselves, of their political affairs, their
numbers, their united strength. At this
juncture, the most inauspicious possible for
the object in view, the precious device of
taxing the colonies was resorted to by the
British ministry, which, indeed, had been
for some time a secret scheme in the cabi-
net, and had been recommended by the same
sagacious governor of Virginia, who found
the people in such a republican way of act-
ing, that he could not manage them to his

The fruit of this policy was the Stamp
Act, which has been considered a primary
eause ; and it was so, in the same sense that

a torch is the cause of a conflagration,
kindling the flame, but not creating the
combustible materials. Effects then became
causes, and the triumphant opposition to
this tax was the cause of its being renewed on
tea and other articles, not so much it
was avowed, for the amount of revenue it

Online LibraryUnknownThe library of choice literature : poetry and prose selected from the most admired authors (Volume 4) → online text (page 27 of 75)