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love-servitude, without loyalty,-foulness of speech-dis. honesty of dealing-grinning contempt of all things good and generous. The throne is surrounded by men whom the former Charles would have spurned from his footstool. The altar is served by slaves whose knees are supple to every being but God. Rhymers, whose books the hangman should burn, panders, actors, and buffoons, these drank a health and threw a main with the king; these have stars on their breasts and gold sticks in their hands; these shut out from his presence the best and bravest of those who bled for his house. Even so doth God visit those who know not how to value freedom. He gives them over to the tyranny which they have desired, Iνα παντες επαυξωνται βασιληος.”
"I will not,” said Mr. Cowley,“ dispute with you on this argument. But if it be as you say, how can you maintain that England hath been so greatly advantaged by the rebellion ?" “ Understand me rightly, sir,” said Mr. Milton.
« This nation is not given over to slavery and vice. We tasted, indeed, the fruits of liberty before they had well ripened. Their flavour was harsh and bitter, and we turned from them with loathing to the sweeter poisons of servitude. This is but for a time. England is sleeping on the lap of Dalilah, traitorously chained, but not yet shorn of strength. Let the cry be once heard—the Philistines be
and at once that sleep will be broken, and those chains will be as filax in the fire. The great Parliament hath left behind it in our hearts and minds a hatred of tyrants, a just knowledge of our rights, a scorn of vain and deluding names; and that the revellers of Whitehall shall surely find. The sun is darkened, but it is only for a moment: it is but an eclipse; though all birds of evil omen have begun to scream, and all ravenous beasts have gone forth to prey, thinking it to be midnight. Wo to them if they be abroad when the rays again shine forth.
“ The king hath judged ill. Had he been wise he would have remembered that he owed his restoration only to confusions which had wearied us out, and made us eager for repose. He would have known that the folly and perfidy of a prince would restore to the good old cause many hearts which had been alienated thence by the turbulence of fac. tions; for, if I know aught of history, or of the heart of man, he will soon learn that the last champion of the peo.
ple was not destroyed when he murdered Vane, nor seduced when he beguiled Fairfax.”
Mr. Cowley seemed to me not to take much amiss what Mr. Milton had said touching that thankless court, which had indeed but poorly requited his own good service. Ho only said, therefore, “Another rebellion ! Alas! alas! Mr. Milton. If there be no choice but between despotism and anarchy, I prefer despotism.”
“ Many men,” said Mr. Milton, “have floridly and ingeniously compared anarchy and despotism; but they who so amuse themselves do but look at separate parts of that which is truly one great whole. Each is the cause and the effect of the other;—the evils of either are the evils of both. Thus do states move on in the same eternal cycle, which, from the remotest point, brings them back again to the same sad starting-post: and till both those who govern and those who obey shall learn and mark this great truth, men can expect little through the future, as they have known iittie through the past, save vicissitude of extreme evils, alternately producing and produced.
“When will rulers learn, that where liberty is not, security and order can never be? We talk of absolute power, but all power hath limits, which, if not fixed by the moderation of the governors, will be fixed by the force of the governed. Sovereigns may send their opposers to dungeons; they may clear out a senate-house with soldiers; they may enlist armies of spies; they may hang scores of the disaffected in chains at every cross-road; but what power shall stand in that frightful time when rebellion hath become a less evil than endurance? Who shall dissolve that terrible tribunal, which, in the hearts of the oppressed, denounces against the oppressor the doom of its wild justice ? Who shall repeal the law of self-defence ? What arms or discipline shall resist the strength of famine and despair? How often were the ancient Cæsars dragged from their golden palaces, stripped of their purple robes, mangled, stoned, defiled with filth, pierced with hooks, hurled into the Tiber! How often have the Eastern Sultans perished by the sabres of their own Janissaries, or the bow-strings of their own mutes ! For no power which is not limited by laws can ever be protected by them. Small, therefore, is the wisdom of those who would fly to servitude as if it
were a refuge from commotion; for anarchy is the sure con. sequence of tyranny. That governments may be safe, nations must be free. Their passions must have an outlet provided, lest they make one.
“When I was at Naples, I went with Signor Manso, a gentleman of excellent parts and breeding, who had been the intimate friend of that famous poet Torquato Tasso, to see the burning mountain Vesuvius. I wondered how the peasants could venture to dwell so fearlessly and cheerfully on its sides, when the lava was flowing from its summit, but Manso smiled, and told me that when the fire descends freely they retreat before it without haste or fear. They can tell how fast it will move, and how far; and they know, moreover, that though it may work some little damage, it will soon cover the fields over which it hath passed with rich vineyards and sweet flowers. But when flames are pent up in the mountain, then it is that they have reason to fear; then it is that the earth sinks and the sea swells; then cities are swallowed up, and their place knoweth them no more. So it is in politics : where the people are most closely restrained, there it gives the greatest shocks to peace and order; therefore would I say to all kings, let your demagogues lead crowds, lest they lead armies ; let them bluster, lest they massacre; a little turbulence is, as it were, the rainbow of the state; it shows indeed that there is a passing shower, but it is a pledge that there shall be no deluge."
“This is true,” said Mr. Cowley : “yet these admonitions are not less needful to subjects than to sovereigns.”
“Surely,” said Mr. Milton, “and, that I may end this long debate with a few words in which we shall both agree,
I hold that as freedom is the only safeguard of governments, so are order and moderation generally necessary to preserve freedom. Even the vainest opinions of men are not to be outraged by those who propose to themselves the happiness of men for their end, and who must work with the passions of men for their means. The blind reverence for things ancient is indeed so foolish that it might make a wise man laugh, if it were not also sometimes so mischievous that it would rather make a good man weep. Yet, since it may not be wholly cured, it must be discreetly indulged, and therefore those who would amend evil laws should consider rather how much it may be safe to spare, than how much it
may be possible to change. Have you not heard that men who have been shut up for many years in dungeons shrink if they see the light, and fall down if their irons be struck off? And, so, when nations have long been in the house of bondage, the chains which have crippled them are necessary to support them, the darkness which hath weakened their sight is necessary to preserve it. Therefore release them not too rashly, lest they curse their freedom and pine for their prison.
“I think, indeed, that the renowned Parliament of which ve have talked so much did show, until it became subject to the soldiers, a singular and admirable moderation, in such times scarcely to be hoped, and most worthy to be an example to all that shall come after. But on this argument I have said enough; and I will therefore only pray to Almighty God that those who shall, in future times, stand forth in defence of our liberties, as well civil as religious, may adorn the good cause by mercy, prudence, and soberness, to the glory of his name and the happiness and honour of the English people."
And so ended that discourse ; and not long after we were set on shore again at the Temple Gardens, and there parted company: and the same evening I took notes of what had been said, which I have here more fully set down, from regard both to the fame of the men, and the importance of the subject-matter.
ON MITFORD'S HISTORY OF GREECE.
This is a book which enjoys a great and increasing popularity; but, while it has attracted a considerable share of the public attention, it has been little noticed by the critics. Mr. Mitford has almost succeeded in mounting, unperceived by those whose office it is to watch such aspirants, to a high place among historians. He has taken a seat on the dais without being challenged by a single seneschal. To oppose the progress of his fame is now almost a hopeless enterprise. Had he been reviewed with candid severity, when he had published only his first volume, his work would either have deserved its reputation, or would never have obtained it. “Then," as Indra says of Kehama, “then was the time to strike.” The time was neglected; and the consequence is, that Mr. Milford, like Kehama, has laid his victorious hand on the literary Amreeta, and seems about to taste the prozious elixir of immortality. I shall vcuture to emulate the courage of the honest Glendoveer-
66 When now
In that extremity,
Forward he sprung to tempt the unequal fray." In plain words, I shall offer a few considerations, which may tend to reduce an overpraised writer to his proper
level. The principal characteristic of this historian, the origin of his excellencies and his defects, is a love of singularity. He has no notion of going with a multitude to do either good or evil. An exploded opinion, or an unpopular person, has an irresistible charm for him. The same perversenes! may be traced in his diction. His style would never have