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Milton thus expresses his approbation of Cromwell's dissolution of the Long Parliament:
“When you saw them studious only of delay, and perceived each one more attentive to private advantage than public welfare; when you found the nation lamenting over their deluded hopes, which were successively baffled and disappointed by the power of a few, you at length did that which they had been frequently warned and instructed to do, and put an end to their sittings."
He bears this witness to Cromwell's religious character: "Such was the discipline of his mind, moulded not merely to military subordination, but to precepts of Christianity, sanctity, and sobriety, that all the good and valiant were irresistibly drawn to his camp, not only as to the best school of martial science, but also of piety and religion; and those who joined it were necessarily rendered such by his example.”
Milton next proceeds animatedly and strikingly to group the remarkable events which had sprinkled Cromwell's path with the stars of glory since his appointment to the Captain
generalship of the army. He enumerates the complete reconquest of Ireland, the definitive subjugation of Scotland, the great and crowning victory at Worcester, the dissolution of the Long Parliament, the meeting and subsequent abdication of the “Barebone's” Parliament.
” He pictures the deserted Commonwealth as leaning on the single arm of the Protector, who, "by that best of rights, acknowledged by reason and given by God, the right of superior talents and virtue, is in possession of the supreme power.” Then resting from his masterly résumé, he speaks of Cromwell's magnanimous rejection of the title of king, which had been pressed upon him, and adds this panegyric:
"Proceed then, Oh Cromwell, and exhibit, under every circumstance, the same loftiness of mind; for it well becomes you, and is consistent with your greatness. The redeemer, as you are, of your country, the author, the guardian, the preserver of her liberty, you can assume no additional character more important or more august; since not only the actions of our kings, but the fabled exploits of our heroes
are overcome by your achievements. Reflect then frequently—how dear alike the trust, and the Parent from whom you received it—that to your hands your country has commended and confided her freedom; that what she lately expected from her choicest representatives, she now hopes only from you. Oh reverence this high confidence, this hope of your country, relying exclusively upon yourself: reverence the countenances and the wounds of those brave men who have so nobly struggled for liberty under your auspices, as well as the manes of those who have fallen in the conflict: reverence also the opinion and the discourse of foreign communities; their lofty anticipation with respect to our freedom so valiantly obtained, to our republic so gloriously established, of which the speedy extinction would involve us in the deepest and the most unexampled infamy: reverence, finally, yourself; and suffer not that liberty, for the attainment of which you have endured so many hardships, to sustain any violation from your hands, or any from those of others. Without our freedom, in fact, you cannot yourself be free; for it is justly ordained by nature, that he who invades the liberty of others, shall, in the very outset, lose his own, and be the first to feel that servitude which he has induced. But if the very patron, the tutelary deity as it were, of freedom-if the man the most eminent for justice and sanctity, and general excellence, should assail that liberty which he has asserted, the issue must necessarily be pernicious, if not fatal, not only to the aggressor, but to the entire system and interests of piety herself: honor and virtue would, indeed, appear to be empty names; the credit and character of religion would decline and perish, under a wound more deep than any which, since the first transgression, has been inflicted on the race of man.
“You have engaged in a most arduous undertaking, which will search you to the quick; which will scrutinize you through and through ; which will bring to the severest trial your. spirit, your energy, your stability ; which will ascertain whether you are really actuated by that living piety and honor and equity and moderation, which seem, by the favor of God, to have raised you to your present high dignity.
"To rule with your counsels three mighty realms; in the place of their erroneous institutions to substitute a sounder system of doctrine and of discipline; to pervade their remotest provinces with unremitting attention and anxiety, vigilance and foresight; to decline no labors, to yield to no blandishments of pleasure, to spurn the pageantries of wealth and of
power—these are difficulties in comparison with which those of war are mere levities of play; these will sift and winnow you; these demand a man sustained by the divine assistance—tutored and instructed almost by a personal communication with his God.
“These and more than these you often, as I doubt not, revolve and make the subjects of your deepest meditation, greatly solicitous how, most happily, they may be achieved, and your country's freedom be strengthened and secured: and these objects you cannot, in my judgment, otherwise effect than by admitting, as you do, to an intimate share in your counsels, those men who have already participated your toils and dangers—men of the utmost moderation, integrity, and valor ; not rendered savage or