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he rode at the head of his life-guard, I saw and felt a waft of death go forth against him; and when I came to him he looked like a dead man." On August 24 the Protector moved to Whitehall. The ague from which he suffered increased in violence. On Sunday, August 29, prayers were offered up in the churches for his recovery. The following day was the day of that great storm which fixed itself in the memory of that generation. The devil, said the Cavaliers, had come to fetch home the soul of the murderer and tyrant. Around the bedside of the dying potentate more friendly eyes were keeping watch. "The doctors," wrote Thurloe to Henry Cromwell far away in Ireland," are yet hopeful that he may struggle through it, though their hopes are mingled with much fear." Twenty-four hours later the hopeful signs were still dwelt on. "The Lord," wrote Fleetwood, " is pleased to give some little reviving this evening; after a few slumbering sleeps, his pulse is better." Scriptural words of warning and comfort were constantly on the sick man's lips. "It is a fearful thing," he three times repeated, "to fall into the hands of the living God." The anxious questioning was answered by his strong assurance of mercy. "Lord," he muttered, as the evening drew in, "though I am a miserable and wretched creature, I am in covenant with Thee through grace, and I may, I will come to Thee for Thy people. Thou hast made me, though very un
worthy, a mean instrument to do them some good, and Thee service, and many of them have set too high a value upon me, though others wish, and would be glad of my death. Lord, however Thou do dispose of me, continue and go on to do good for them. Give them consistency of judgment, one heart, and mutual love; and go on to deliver them, and with the work of reformation, and make the name of Christ glorious in the world. Teach those who look too much on Thy instruments to depend more upon Thyself. Pardon such as desire to trample upon the dust of a poor worm, for they are Thy people too. And pardon the folly of this short prayer; even for Jesus Christ's sake. And give us a good night, if it be Thy pleasure. Amen."
Before long hope ceased to be possible. Oliver himself knew that his life was rapidly drawing to an end. "I would," he said, "be willing to be further serviceable to God and His people, but my work is done." A few more prayers, a few more words, and on September 3, the anniversary of Dunbar and Worcester, as well as of the hopeful meeting of his first Parliament, the tried servant of God and of his country entered into the appointed rest from all his labours.
The man—it is ever so with the noblest—was greater than his work. In his own heart lay the resolution to subordinate self to public ends, and to subordinate material to moral and spiritual objects of desire. His work was accomplished under the conditions to which all human effort is subject. He was limited by the defects which make imperfect the character and intellect even of the noblest and the wisest of mankind. He was limited still more by the unwillingness of his contemporaries to mould themselves after his ideas. The blows that he had struck against the older system had their enduring effects. Few wished for the revival of the absolute kingship, of the absolute authority of a single House of Parliament, or of the Laudian system of governing the Church. In the early part of his career Oliver was able to say with truth of his own position : " No one rises so high as he who knows not whither he is going". The living forces of England—forces making for the destruction of those barriers which he was himself breaking through, buoyed him up—as a strong and self-confident swimmer, he was carried onward by the flowing tide. In the latter portion of the Protector's career it was far otherwise. His failure to establish a permanent Government was not due merely to his deficiency in constructive imagination. It was due rather to two causes: the umbrage taken at his position as head of an army whose interference in political affairs gave even more offence than the financial burdens it imposed on a people unaccustomed to regular taxation; and the reaction which set in against the spiritual claims of that Puritanism of which he had become the mouthpiece. The first cause of offence requires no further comment. As for the second, it is necessary to lay aside all sectarian preoccupations, if ever a true historic judgment is to be formed. It was no reaction against the religious doctrines or ecclesiastical institutions upheld by the Protector that brought about the destruction of his system of government. It is in the highest degree unlikely that a revolution would ever have taken place merely to restore episcopacy or the Book of Common Prayer. So far as the reaction was not directed against militarism, it was directed against the introduction into the political world of what appeared to be too high a standard of morality, a reaction which struck specially upon Puritanism, but which would have struck with as much force upon any other form of religion which, like that upheld by Laud, called in the power of the State to enforce its claims.
^ Nor is this all that can be said. Even though Oliver was in his own person no sour fanatic, as Royalist pamphleteers after the Restoration falsely asserted; it is impossible to deny that he strove by acts of government to lead men into the paths of morality and religion beyond the limit which average human nature had fixed for itself. In dealing with foreign nations his mistake on this head was more conspicuous, because he had far less knowledge of the conditions of efficient action abroad than he had at home. It may fairly be said that he knew less of Scotland than of England, less of Ireland than of Great Britain, and less of the Continent than of any one of the three nations over which he ruled. It has sometimes been said that Oliver made England respected in Europe. It would be more in accordance with truth to say that he made her feared^
It is unnecessary here to pursue this subject further. The development of this theme is for the historian of England^rather than for the biographer of the Protector. Oliver's claim to greatness can be tested by the undoubted fact that his character receives higher and wider appreciation as the centuries pass by. The limitations on his nature—the one-sidedness of his 'religious zeal, the mistakes of his policy—are thrust out of sight, the nobility of his motives, the strength of his character, and the breadth of his intellect, force themselves on the minds of generations for which the objects for which he strove have been for the most part attained, though often in a different fashion from that which he placed before himself. Even those who refuse to waste a thought on his spiritual aims remember with gratitude his constancy of effort to make England great by land and sea; and it would be well for them also to be reminded of his no less constant efforts to make England worthy of greatness, .JOf the man himself, it is enough to repeat the words of one who knew him well: "His body was