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Bonaparte and Cromwell.

They lie that say complexions cannot change!
My blood's ennobled, and I am transformed
Into the sacred temper of a king!—
Methinks I hear my noble parasites
Styling me Cæsar or Great Alexander,
Licking my feet," &c.

"Cromwell is said to have felt the whole part so warmly, and more especially the speech now quoted, that it was the first thing which really fired his soul with ambition, and excited him from the possession of an imaginary throne to stretch his views to the conquest of a real one.'

In these characteristic anecdotes of the Protector, the germs of his future religious fanaticism and towering ambition are discernible. He was melancholy and retired in his youth, shunning the society of his equals, as if conscious that one day he would be an object either of their fear or detestation. If we pursue the parallel between him and Napoleon, we find them equally enthusiastic, though their feelings were differently tinged by the prevailing spirit of the times. "In March 1799, Napoleon, the son of Carlo Buonaparte, a lawyer of Corsica, being then in his tenth year, was sent to the school of Brienne in Champagne, which was superintended by some of the holy fathers, called Minims. Of a silent and stern disposition, prone to solitude and meditation, he seemed as if cast by nature for the rigid order of life, imposed by the rules of the establishment, Each pupil was locked up by himself at night in a cell, the whole furniture of which consisted of a girth bed, an iron water-pitcher and basin; yet gloomy as this seclusion was, young Napoleon preferred retiring to it, during the intervals of scholastic exercise, to joining with his schoolmates in their usual sports and amusements. At a later period, he was wont to prosecute his solitary studies in a little garden, which he had contrived to enclose for his own exclusive use, by prevailing on some of the scholars to assign to him the shares allotted to them, and adding these to his own. It has been told of him at this period, that on one occasion when the other school-boys were thrown into great consternation by the explosion of a firework which they were engaged in preparing, and when some of them in their haste to get out of the way of the danger, broke through the territory of the young solitaire, he seized his garden tools, and attacking the invaders, drove them with equal spirit and non-chalance, back into the midst of the peril from which they were seeking to escape. In consequence of these

Bonaparte and Cromwell.

cold and forbidden features in his character, he soon acquired the nickname of the Spartan, which he retained during his residence at Brienne.

"With a book of mathematics or history-Euclid or Plutarch in his hand, his great delight was to shut himself up in his little garden, to walk and to meditate. His mind seemed for a long time to disdain all lower occupations and less important studies; but a desire for action at last broke in upon his repose, and he had no sooner mixed with his school-fellows for this purpose, than he began to act the incipient general among them, taught them the military exercise, and instituted for their usual sports the combats of the Roman circus, and the evolutions of the Macedonian phalanx. His school-fellows began now to testify an uncommon desire of respect and attachment towards him; they felt and were the first to pay tribute to that fascinating or rather commanding influence which was afterwards so principal a means of raising him to empire and renown.

"In the hard winter of 1783, Napoleon conceived the idea of constructing a little fort of snow. With the assistance of some of his most zealous comrades, and with no other instruments than the ordinary garden tools, be perfected a complete quadrangle, defended at the corners by four bastions, the walls of which were three feet and a half high. So well was it executed that some remains of it were in existence many weeks afterwards. While it lasted nothing but sieges and sallies were the order of the day."

We might give many other youthful anecdotes; but these sufficiently indicate the future conqueror of Lodi and Austerlitz, or the bold spirit that could hew a military passage through the Simplon. Cromwell and Napoleon each gradually rose from a station of humility to that of supreme power. They rose through the army by the same steps, and by flattering the inclinations of their powerful instruments were enabled to use them for the destruction of the very liberty they had assembled to establish, and the erection of a despotism, more insolent than that they had overthrown. Each commenced his career as a patriot--each merged the love of freedom in the thirst of dominion. Each founded his power on the ruins of a monarchy, whose ancient establishment seemed to defy the shocks of time. But the projects of Napoleon were more extensive than those of his prototype. Cromwell's designs extended only to Great Britain-Bonaparte with gigantic grasp endeavored to

VOL. II. NO. II.

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Bonaparte and Cromwell.

comprehend the world. The Dutch, the inhabitants of a few provinces, were sufficient to occupy the attention of the Protector-Bonaparte dissolved principalities and erected kingdoms, and held the monarchs of the earth as his tributaries. Their fanatacism was equal, though directed and incited by different objects-the one was a superstitions observer of prayers and fasting--the other a sceptical follower of Christ or Mahomet as it suited his own convenience. The one worked on the religious enthusiasm or rather madness of his countrymen-the other on their aspirations for liberty and renown. Oliver incited his followers by the powerful stimulus of expected grace or future salvation- Napoleon, by the invocation of their country and the promise of glory. Their natural advantages were very dissimilar; for while Oliver's manners were repulsive, those of Napoleon were insinuating; but the temper of the times in which they flourished required a difference in the agents that could rouse it to action. Their acquired advantages were equal, though different. Oliver received only the simple and slight education of a country gentleman, but had the good fortune to be elected to a seat in parliament-Napoleon never had a place among the representatives of his country, but to make up for this deficiency he was a soldier by profession.

Cromwell is personally responsible for the death of his sovereign, and a record of his wish to destroy young Charles remains in his offer of a reward for his head-Bonaparte is absolved from any immediate participation in the murder of Louis; but the fate of D'Enghien will for ever sully his reputation on this score they are therefore equally criminal. And when we accuse Bonaparte of his little regard for the lives of his soldiers, we must recollect that on a minor scale, Cromwell was not less careless of the effusion of human blood; and that the sole distinction between them originates not perhaps from any intrinsic difference of feeling, but from the great inequality of their enterprises. There are a few other points on which they merit comparison. Perhaps that period in the life of each which should most excite our wonder, is not their final attainment of sovereign power, but their first emersion from obscurity; and in their subsequent reten. tion of command, the imposing grandeur of Bonaparte's designs, executed by a devoted army, is more than compensated by the ability with which Cromwell governed a mutinous army by factious and discontented officers. Cromwell realised one of the most visionary projects which ever was

Bonaparte and Cromwell.

the subject of human conception; he erected a kingdom of saints, in which cant and jargon supplied the place of philosophy, and pretended illumination was upheld in preference to established laws:-while Bonaparte, ever attentive to the interests of his friends, raised his generals to the rank of monarchs, and formed around his imperial throne a band of princes whose gratitude should have preserved him from his fate. Most of these rose against him or deserted him in the hour of his calamity; but their infidelity was the mere result of human selfishness, while their loss has been amply compensated to him by the possession of a treasure above the wealth or honors of the world-a friend! The name of Bertrand-the true, the faithful and disinterested Bertrand-will be remembered with the joy we feel at the mention of the good and brave; while the men who deserted their master, or ambiguously defended him, will be forgotten, or at most only classed among those whose stations or iniquity alone rescue their names from oblivion. During the government of Cromwell, Milton was suffered to pine in obscurity, but under Bonaparte the National Institute, formed under his auspices, conferred glory on his name and his country.

In his private character, the Protector has an undoubted advantage over the Emperor. Cromwell was an attentive husband; but no sophistical arguments of political expediency can reconcile us to Bonaparte's ingratitude in divorcing the woman who had been faithful to him in all the chances of his eventful life, whom he had consulted in all his difficulties, and to whom he owed his power.

It has been remarked that Cromwell's death occurred at the very time most propitious for his reputation. His life had been a continued series of successes, and his penetration and activity enabled him to repel the insidious attempts of every foe to his exaltation. Yet when our dormant energies are aroused, it is difficult for the object of our suspicions, though invested with uncontrolled power, to repress them; and it is doubted whether he could much longer have retained possession of his authority. But he did not live to behold the downfall of his house, and even in death his good fortune would not desert him.

Napoleon also is no more:-the eye, whose lustre was intelligence, and whose glance could read the secrets of the soul, is dimmed for ever; his hand is nerveless and his heart is cold, and the fire of genius, that conducted him to glory and sustained him through his reverses, now lives only in our

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Bonaparte and Cromwell.

recollection. Cromwell's successes ceased but with his lifethe tide of fortune ebbed from Napoleon at Moscow, and his grave will in future days be visited in an island, far from the home of his election and the country which he had lived to serve and over which he had ruled to raise it to the highest pinnacle of greatness. Cromwell was buried among kings, but his bones were afterwards dishonoredNapoleon, as he had through life been above competition, was buried in silence and solitude. When we think of his early career, we exclaim with the poet

"I demens et sævas curre per Alpes
Ut pueris placeas."-

And when we think of his exile, we grieve that his ambition was so boundless and his cause so bad. He was once the

idol of his soldiers and the terror of his enemies; but

"Glory is like a circle in the waters

Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself,

Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought.”

His faults have been magnified-his virtues lessened;-his cupidity of power and dominion has been deservedly execrated, but his courage has been questioned! and his patience, the truest mark of real magnanimity, has been styled servility and desponding cowardice! When we contemplate him at the head of his army, we must wish that some "winged messenger of fate" had stopped the career of depopulation, by levelling its Genius with the dust. When we find him giving laws to Europe, ameliorating the condition of the peasantry, and establishing the trial by jury, we forget that he is the leader of destruction, and wonder that philanthropy and tyranny could each in turn possess his soul. But when be asserts his native dignity amid those to whose generosity he had trusted his life and happiness-when we behold him torn from his only child, and cut away from every hope of society- when we find him cool and resigned to every change, indifferent whether it affect his happiness, if his honor is untarnished-then indeed must he challenge our warmest admiration--then must we declare his character above our ideas of mere humanity. In this, at least, he has had the advantage over his competitor. Cromwell feared his friendsNapoleon trusted his enemies!

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