Page images

80 affable and sweet-natured, that all had free access to him at all times; by which he came to be most universally beloved, and all the high things that could be devised, were said by the people, to express their esteem of him.—He was tender and compassionate in a high measure : so that he was much against the taking away the lives of heretics; and therefore, when Cranmer persuaded him to sign the warrant for the burning of Joan of Kent, he said to him with tears in his eyes, that he was not willing to do it, because he thought that was to send her quick to hell, and that if he did wrong, since it was in submission to his authority, he should answer for it to God. He took particular care of the suits of all poor persons; and gave Dr Cox special charge to see that their petitions were speedily answered, and used oft to consult with him, how to get their matters set forward. He expressed great tenderness to the miseries of the poor in his sickness. He considered there were three sorts of poor; such as were so by natural infirmity or folly, as impotent persons, and madmen, or idiots; such as were so by accident, as sick or maimed persons; and such as, by their idleness, did cast themselves into poverty. So he ordered the Greyfriars Church near Newgate, with the revenues belonging to it, to be a house for orphans ; St Bartholomew's near Smithfield, to be an hospital ; and gave his own house of Bridewell to be a place of correction and work for such as were wilfully idle. He also confirmed and enlarged the grant for the hospital of St Thomas in Southwark, which he had erected and endowed some months before. And, when he set his hand to these foundations, he thanked God, that had prolonged his life, till he had finished that design.—The king had, above all things, a great regard to religion. He took notes of such things as he heard in sermons, which more specially concerned himself; and made his measures of all men by their zeal in that matter. He expressed, in the whole course of his sickness, great submission to the will of God, and seemed glad at the approaches of death; only the consideration of religion and the church touched him much; and upon that account, he said, he was desirous of life. Among his last words were, " Lord God, deliver me out of this miserable and wretched life, and take me among thy chosen ; howbeit not my will but thine be done. Lord, I commit my spirit to thee. O Lord, thou knowest how happy it were for me to be with thee; yet for thy chosen's sake send me life and health, that I may truly serve thee. O my Lord God, bless my people and save thine inheritance; O Lord God save thy chosen people of England.” Soon after, the pangs of death coming on him, he said while Sir Henry Sidney was holding him in his arms, “ I am faint: Lord have mercy on me, and receive my spirit,” and so he breathed out his innocent soul. All men, who saw and observed his excellent qualities, looked on him as one raised by God for most extraordinary ends; and, when he died, concluded, that the sins of England must needs be very great, that had provoked God to take from thema prince, under whose government they were likely to have seen such blessed times.



[To those who are dazzled with the glory and imaginary happiness of successful ambition, the following description of the latter part of Cromwell's life cannot be destitute of instruction.] The protector reaped little satisfaction from the success of his arms abroad : the situation, in which he stood at home, kept him in perpetual uneasiness and inquietude. His administration, so expensive both by military enterprises and secret intelligence, had exhausted his revenue, and involved him in a considerable debt. The Royalists, he heard, had renewed their conspiracies for a general insurrection. Even the army was infected with the general spirit of discontent: and some sudden and dangerous irruption was every moment to be dreaded from it. Of assassinations, likewise, he was apprehensive, from the zealous spirit which actuated the soldiers.He might better have supported those fears and apprehensions, which the public distempers occasioned, had he enjoyed any domestic satisfaction, or possessed any cordial friend of his own family, in whose bosom he could safely have unloaded his anxious and corroding cares. But Fleetwood, his son-in-law, actuated by the wildest zeal, began to discover, that Cromwell, in all his enter. prises, had entertained views of promoting his own grandeur, more than of'encouraging piety and religion, of which he made such fervent professions. His eldest daughter, married to Fleetwood, had adopted republi. can principles so vehement, that she could not with patience behold power lodged in a single person, even in her indulgent father. His other daughters were no less prejudiced in favour of the royal cause, and regretted the violence and iniquities, into which they thought their family had so unhappily been transported. Above all, the sickness of Mrs Claypole, his peculiar favourite, a lady endued with many humane virtues and amiable accomplishments, depressed his anxious mind, and poisoned all his enjoyments. She had entertained a high regard for Dr Huet, lately executed; and, being refused his pardon, the melancholy of her temper, increased by her distempered body, had prompted her to lament to her father all his sanguinary measures, and urge him to compunction for those heinous crimes, into which his fatal ambition had be. trayed him. Her death, which followed soon after, gave new edge to every word, which she had uttered. All composure of mind was now for ever fled from the Protector. He felt that the grandeur, which he had attained with so much guilt and courage, could not ensure him that tranquillity, which it belongs to virtue alone and moderation fully to ascertain. Overwhelmed with the load of public affairs,--dreading perpetually some fatal accident in his distempered government,seeing nothing around him but treacherous friends, or enragedenemies,-possessing theconfidence of no party, -resting his title on noprinciple, civil or religious,-he found his power to depend on so delicate a poise of actions and interests, as the smallest event was able, without any preparation, in a moment to overturn. Death, too, which, with such signal intrepidity, he had braved in the field, being incessantly threatened by the poniards of fanatical or interested assassins, was ever present to

his terrified apprehension, and haunted him in every scene of business or repose. Each action of his life betrayed the terrors, under which he laboured. The aspect of strangers was uneasy to him : with a piercing and anxious eye he surveyed every face, to which he was not daily accustomed. He never moved a step without strong guards attending him: he wore armour under his clothes, and further secured himself by offensive weapons, a sword, falchion, and pistols, which he always carried about him. He returned from no place by the direct road, or by the same way which he went. Every journey he performed with hurry and precipitation. Seldom he slept above three nights together in the same chamber: and he never let it be known beforehand what chamber heintended to choose, nor intrusted himself in any, which was not provided with back-doors, at which sentinels were carefully placed. Society terrified him, while he reflected on his numerous, unknown, and implacable enemies; solitude astonished him, by withdrawing that protection, which he found so necessary for his security.-His body, also, from the contagion of his anxious mind, began to be affected; and his health seemed sensibly to decline. He was seized with a slow fever, which changed into a tertian ague. For the space of a week no dangerous symptoms appeared; and, in the intervals of the fits, he was able to walk abroad. At length the fever increased, and he himself began to entertain some thoughts of death, and to cast his eye towards that future existence, whose idea had once been intimately present to him; though since, in the hurry of affairs, and in the shock of wars and factions, it had, no doubt, been considerably obliterated. His physicians were sensible of the perilous condition, to which his distemper had reduced him; but his chaplains so buoyed up his hopes, that he began to believe his life out of all danger. Meanwhile, all the symptoms began to wear a more fatal aspect, and, on the 3d of September (1658), that very day which he had always considered as the most fortunate for him, he expired.



[In a former article of this Collection, on the subject of the component parts of air, reference was made to the melancholy catastrophe which took place in the Black-hole at Calcutta, of which the following is a more particular detail.] The old Suba or Viceroy of Bengal, dying in the month of April, in the year 1756, was succeeded by his adopted son, Sur Raja al Dowlat, & young man of violent passions, without principle, fortitude, or good faith, who began his administration with acts of perfidy and violence. In all probability, his design against the English settlements was suggested by his rapacious disposition, on a belief that they abounded with treasure: as the pretences, which he used for commencing hostilities, were altogether inconsistent, false, and frivolous. In the month of May, he caused the English factory at Cassimbuzzar to be invested, and inviting Mr Watts, the chief of the factory, to a conference, under the sanction of a safe conduct, detained him as prisoner ; then, by means of fraud and force intermingled, made himself master of the factory. This exploit being achieved, he made no secret of his design to deprive the English of all their settlements. With this view, he marched to Calcutta, at the head of a numerous army, and inVested the place, which was then in no posture of defence. The governor, intimidated by the number and power of the enemy, abandoned the fort, and, with some principal persons residing in the settlement, took refuge on board a ship in the river, carrying along with them their most valuable effects, and the books of the company. Thus the defence of the place devolved on Mr Holwell, the second in command, who, with the assistance of a few gallant officers, and a very feeble garrison, maintained it with uncommon courage and resolution against several attacks, until he was overpowered by numbers, and the enemy

had forced their way into the castle. Then he was obliged to submit; and the Suba or Viceroy promised, on the

« PreviousContinue »