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Letter of Lord Lovett's Son,
To the Editor of the Dublin Inquisitor.
THE following curious document is worthy of insertion in your valuable publication. It is a letter from a son of the celebrated Lord Lovett, written during his confinement in Edinburgh castle, about the year 1747. The circumstances of his case are pretty generally known, but it maynot be uninteresting to some of your readers to observe:
That Lord Lovett was one of the firmest adherents and supporters of the Pretender, and one of the promoters of the Scotch rebellion of 1745; being an old man, and unfit for active service, he sent his son in his place into the field, who was taken prisoner at the memorable battle of Culloden, and thrown into prison at Edinburgh castle, from which place the following letter was written. Lord Lovett was beheaded in 1746, shortly after that decisive engagement, together with four or five other Scotch lords. His son was ultimately exiled, and his estates confiscated.
The tone of resignation and religion which is preserved throughout the letter, affords a beautiful picture of fortitude; and when we consider it to be the production of a young man under the most trying and awful circumstances, the prospect of death, we cannot sufficiently admire it. I am, Sir, &e.
"Mrs. C was so good as to have your letter conveyed to me some time ago. But as my confinement is so close, I had no opportunity till now of telling you how much I reckon myself obliged to your friendship: I want words to express my obligations to you, and my present melancholy situation affords me no other way of doing it. I thank you, dear Sir, for all your kind offers, though at present I have occasion for one only, which I willingly accept of; that is, your endeavors to do me service in my unhappy circumstances: and as I am quite ignorant whether or not I shall be brought to a trial, or when,-the only way I know you can contribute to this, is, by your own interest, or that of your friends, with some of the great men at court.
It is certain, my present situation has a very gloomy aspect, though in one respect I reckon it a happy one, as it introduces me to a train of thinking, I might otherwise perhaps have been long unacquainted with.
Bonaparte and Cromwell.
Misfortunes never are messengers without an errand. They either come to correct past errors, reform the present, or prevent the future; and I hope, I shall be directed to look on them in that light, and find the proper use of them.
I have in a short life, seen so much of its vanity and folly, that death, though terrible to my nature, is hardly more so to my reason, than launching again into the stormy sea of life: my small knowledge of this life affords but a disagreeble prospect; and though I am ignorant of the next, reason and religion encourage me to hope for happiness.
My misfortunes I look upon as a blessing, because they warn me to prepare for death, and if a short life should be my lot, convince me how vain it would be to employ it, but as a nursery for another and a better state.
In short I hope to live, but do not fear to die. But I wander insensibly, without thinking this is a letter. Adieu, my dear Friend; be assured whilst I am myself, I will be
BONAPARTE AND CROMWELL.
O place and greatness, millions of false eyes
Measure for Measure.
No subject has afforded more room for the delivery of commonplace reflection or the effusion of those mere truisms that have been the favorite language of the moralist in all ages, than the capricious and unjust distribution of fortune's favors. every dull and heartless man, whose narrowness of soul and dearth of genius have forced on him that gravity which entitles him to shine among his associates as a pattern of cold perfection-Every sententious and dogmatic pretender to the prostituted title of philosopher-nay every schoolboy who has been taught to honor with more than idolatrous reverence the names of Juvenal and Horace, will lament the blindness of the Goddess, and repeat the stale maxims which have been handed down through successive generations-and look around for that applause which he professes to despise,
Bonaparte and Cromwell.
yet evidently hopes to gain. A spirit of detraction, supported and nourished by these constantly recurring topics of conver sation, pervades almost all ranks of society. In the humblest sphere, the envy of a little mind will calumniate the efforts of that loftier soul which dares aspire above his fellows; but if success should crown his exertions-should he attain that pre-eminence which is the object of his ambition, every mouth is opened in his dispraise, every pen employed against him. The man who is unsophisticated by the pernicious example of the world, and singular enough to regulate his opinion of others by their intrinsic qualities, without reference to any scale but his own experience-who is regardless whether the subject of his enquiry has been depressed by the frowns or elated by the smiles of fortune-who is free from the delusions of a selfish vanity, and just in his awards; such a man is seldom more than the creature of theoretical speculation; while the many unanimously endeavor to sink the fame of genius to their own degrading level, and attack every reputation whose lustre can invite their envy, and whose frailty can admit their approach.
Times of anarchy and confusion are favorable for the developement of human energy, for the feeble soul will shrink from the post of danger, and yield a tame submission to him whose talents entitle and whose courage enables him to sway the multitude. The herd of mankind, the modest, the simple, the domestic, the virtuous, are born for subjection, and bear the yoke with quiet submission; they are unwilling to exchange the possession of a certain good, though attended with many disadvantages, for a state of which the evils are numerous, and the result involved in darkness; but when a sense of loyalty is lost, and a country abandoned to disorder, every distinction but that of courageous and too often villainous talent is totally disregarded.
In the respective histories of the two great rival monarchies of England and France, the revolution of 1650 in the one, and that of 1793 in the other, have, more than other periods, brought forward genius from obscurity, and depressed the insolence of hereditary power. Many men in each country were elevated to command and honor; but among all the adventurers, OLIVER CROMWELL and NAPOLEON BONAPARTE are the most prominent. As their fortune was in many respects the same, it may, perhaps, be worth our while to enquire in what points their characters bear the closest resemblance, and to what intrinsic qualities they owed the difference of their destinies.
Bonaparte and Cromwell.
No being who holds life on the frail tenure of humanity can be totally hardened to the finer sensibilities of his nature, or elevated above its weakness. A perfect villain is the mere creature of romance, and a blameless model of virtue finds existence only in the imagination of the young and ardent, whose hopes are not damped by their experience. Our favorers or our enemies are thus enabled to represent our characters in different lights, according as they would excite for us the admiration or the hatred of those whom they can influence; and when the humblest peasant witnesses so many instances of strained eulogy or undeserved reproach within his own narrow sphere, can we wonder that the mighty of the earth, whose names are on every tongue, and whose minutest act is the subject of investigation and remark, should be veiled in the obscurity of wilful and prejudiced misrepresentation. Cromwell and Bonaparte have shared the common lot of the illustrious, and their deeds have been assigned to motives as distinct and numerous as there have been passions in the human breast to gratify or arouse. The breath of envy sullies every object, and renders it a task of more than common difficulty to form a correct estimate of human character; but to deprive genius of its praise reflects back the discredit on the calumniator, with which he meant to asperse his victim.
Hume says, Cromwell's character is as strongly marked as the schemes of his conduct were dark and inexplicable. "His extensive capacity enabled him to form the most enlarged projects; his enterprising genius was not dismayed with the boldest and most dangerous. Carried by his natural temper to magnanimity, to grandeur, and to an imperious and domineering policy; he yet knew, when necessary, to employ the most profound dissimulation, the most oblique and refined artifice, the semblance of the greatest moderation and simplicity. A friend to justice, though his public conduct was one continued violation of it: devoted to religion, though he perpetually employed it as the instrument of his ambition; he was engaged in crimes from the prospect of sovereign power, a temptation which is, in general, irresistible to human nature, and by using well that. authority which he had attained by fraud and violence, he has lessened, if not overpowered our detestation of his enormities by our admiration of his success and genius."
Many paarts of this picture are not more applicable to Cromwell than to Bonaparte, and to trace the character of
Bonaparte and Cromwell.
the latter would perhaps scarcely allow a change of expressions. "With a head to conceive and a hand to execute" the wildest and most visionary schemes of an almost boundless ambition, he stood undaunted at opposition and fearless of every obstacle which nature or human artifice interposed between him and glory-and with an obstinate firmness, he pursued the track which his powerful genius suggested, careless of the peace and happiness of millions when they interfered with his hopes, and indifferent to the promiscuous carnage of his friends or foes, when the only object of his desires, his own fame, was proposed as the reward of victory. In this particular, his portrait is more dark than that of our countryman, who cannot be so deeply stigmatized as the destroyer of the human race, but in each we can trace their crimes and cruelties to a thirst of empire. If we look to the periods of their youth, we find a striking resemblance in their prevailing tempers. An obstinate firmness, and the pride of conscious superiority distinguished them above their companions. One or two extracts from the Percy collection will serve to illustrate this assertion.
"When this extraordinary personage (Oliver Cromwell) was a boy at school, he was much subject to fits of hypochondria. One day when lying melancholy upon his back in bed, a spectre, as he thought, approached him, and told him that he would live to be the greatest man in the kingdom. Old Mr. Cromwell, when informed of this fantasy of his son's, was very angry, aud desired his master to correct him severely. This, however, produced no effect. Oliver persisted in the truth of his story, and would often mention it, though his uncle told him it was too traitorous a thing to be repeated.'
"From school he was sent to Sydney College, Cambridge, where Winstanly tells us he met with an incident which gave great strength to his boyish prepossession. The play of Lingua, by Anthony Brewer, happened to be acted, and Oliver performed a part in it. The substance of the piece is a contention among the senses for a crown which Lingua had concealed in order that they might exercise their respective powers in finding it. The part allotted to young Cromwell was that of Tactus or Touch; who having obtained the contested coronet; makes this spirited speech :
"Roses and bays, pack hence! this crown and robe