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No one will pretend that such an occasion was within the reach of human foresight; of course the only remedy then attainable was applied to the disorder of the state. Upon a fair review of the contest it will be seen that what the Tory and the Courtier of the present day, the friend or even the flatterer of kingly power, admits as axioms, were the grand desiderata of the Whig and the Patriot of those times, and that what were then cried out upon as daring encroachments now pass as the most moderate and unquestioned claims. Not to deceive ourselves then with words, nor attach our minds to names instead of things, although the government under which we prosper be termed Imperial; yet the greater part of the legislative power resting with the people, and the executive being vested in a chief magistrate, who is under so many limitations that he seems placed in that situation very much more for the common weal, the public benefit, than his own ease or advantage, it must be allowed to come up to Col. Hutchinson's favourite idea of a republic for all beneficial purposes, and would assuredly be not less acceptable to him, for that the hereditary succession would be found to repress that effervescence of individual ambition which it was the study and the labour of his life to keep down. Possessing himself, but finding not in others, the virtue worthy of and essential to a republic, he would gladly have taken shelter under a well-limited monarchy, and of such a one he would unquestionably have been a loyal subject, a vigorous assertor.

The Puritanism which appears in the story, and actuated the conduct of Col. Hutchinson all through life, may be accounted for on almost a similar ground with his predilection for a republic.

The puritanic turn of thought and stile of expression had been adopted by the vindicators of religious freedom and right of enquiry, with whom the champions of civil liberty naturally made common cause. Divinity as a science was a study then in vogue, and seems to have tinctured the conversation and writings of the greater part


of society. In this Mr. Hutchinson had been encouraged by his father, whose library subsisted at his family seat of Owthorpe till about the year 1775, and contained a vast number of folio volumes of polemical divinity. A study environed with many dangers! and which led Col. Hutchinson into whatever errors he was guilty of. On another hand the ministers of the established church in those times preached up the prerogative in all its extravagance, and endeavoured to establish jointly and inseparably implicit faith in, and unqualified obedience to, the church and king (still giving the church the precedency); whilst the laymen of their party practised, and even professed, a total dissoluteness of life: so that those who were slaves in principle were libertines in practice; while those who were deemed rebels by the court, and latitudinarians by the hierarchy, were rigorists in religion and morality.

This contrariety produced a constant and incessant opposition, augmented the vehemence of antipathy, fortified prejudice, and seemed almost to justify bigotry. But from this (bigotry) we are bound to exculpate Col. Hutchinson. The Independents, to whose party, if a man of so much candour and liberality can be said to be of any party, he belonged, proceeded upon that principle, which, however general soever it ought to be, is however unfortunately very uncommon, of allowing to all that liberty of conscience they de manded for themselves. Accordingly they began by desiring only an act to be passed" for taking away all coercive power, authority,

• From the practice of dragging religion or religious phraseology into the service of politics none, not even the king, was exempt, who, making a speech to his small army in the year 1642, to animate them, tells them they will have none to encounter but rebels, most of them Brownists, Anabaptists, and Atheists! who would destroy both church and commonwealth.

a The flower of the French democrates avoided all such inconsistency and paradox by discarding at once their king, their God, and their morality.

Articles of the army, Rushworth, vol. vii. p. 731.

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"and jurisdiction, from bishops, extending to civil penalties, &c." It was not till after they saw the extreme pertinaciousness of the king to retain the bishops as instruments at a future opportunity for remounting his system of arbitrary sway, and that "the prelatical "party about him prevailed with him to refuse an accommodation, "and hazard his crown and life, rather than diminish their great"ness and power to persecute others," that they insisted on the abolition of the order. It was quite a different party, that of the rigid Presbyterians, and peculiarly their ministers, "who cried out against the tyranny of the bishops only that they might get the power into their own hands, and, without the name, might exer"cise the authority of popes." That, instead of this power being irrevocably and immoveably established over us, we are now governed by the mildest church discipline in the universe, we owe to these Independents! Col. Hutchinson in particular, if he had lived in times like ours, "when bishops and ministers desire only to "be helpers," not lords over the consciences of God's people," would either have been a conforming member of the church of England, or at most have only dissented from it in few things, and that with modesty and moderation. For it is well worthy of notice that, after having suffered provocation and persecution from catholic, episcopalian, and presbyterian, when power came into his own hands, he treated all with lenity, and to the worthy persons of all sects and parties extended his protection.

We have next to consider a part of the conduct of Col. Hutchinson which will be the most generally blamed, and is the least capable of defence, the condemnation of Charles the First. To

The words of Whitelock, p. 340, where he regrets that the king's chaplains prevailed with him beyond the parliament's commissioners or his own judgment. * Vide Letter of Irving laird of Drum, and his appeal to Col. Overton; Whitelock, p. 526.

Words of Cromwell in his letter to Scots ministers, Whitelock, p. 473.

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speak of the justice of such a measure in a legal point of view would be a mockery; nothing but the breaking up of the very foundations of the state, and a war of its elements, could let in the possibility of such a procedure. Amidst the tempest and darkness which then involved the whole political horizon, it savours of presumption to decide what measures were right, expedient, or even necessary: this much alone may safely be asserted, that the king and his friends during the contest, and still more after it was virtually ended by the battle of Naseby, maintained such a conduct as rendered his destruction inevitable: but the remark of Whitelock, p. 363, seems no less just than ingenious; "that such an irregular and unheard of business "should have been left to that irregular set of men, the army, who urged it on." They however were determined to throw the odium on others, or at least drawn others in to share it.


Be it as it may, though some may blame, many more will pity, a man such as Col. Hutchinson, who found or conceived himself reduced to the cruel alternative of permitting all that system of liberty, civil and religious, to the establishment of which he had devoted all his faculties, and was ready to sacrifice his existence, to be risqued upon the good faith of a man whose misfortune it was (to say no worse) to be environed by designing and ambitious persons, who rendered all his virtues abortive, and made all afraid to trust him, or of signing a sentence which has since been called a murder, and the undergoing it a martyrdom! At any rate it would be highly ungracious and ungrateful in us, while we enjoy in our well-balanced constitution the benefits derived to us from the virtue, the energy, the sufferings, and even the faults of our ancestors, to pass a severe censure on their conduct: for it will hardly be denied that the remembrance of his father's fate influenced James the Second to yield so easy and bloodless a victory to his opponents, and leave them to settle the constitution amidst calm and sober councils. On the contrary, we are bound to ascribe many of the

oversights of those first founders of our liberties to a precipitancy forced on them by urgent circumstances, to cast a veil over their imperfections, and cherish their memory with thankfulness.

So much having been said for the purpose of obviating misapprehension as to the effect of this work, it may be further expected that some merit or utility should be shewn, to justify the Editor in presenting it to the public notice. Being not the child of his brain and fancy, but of his adoption and judgment, he may be supposed to view it with so much the less partiality, and allowed to speak of it with so much the more freedom.

The only ends for which any book can reasonably be published are to inform, to amuse, or to improve: but unless many persons of highly reputed judgment are mistaken as well as ourselves, this work will be found to attain all three of them. In point of amusement, perhaps novelty or curiosity holds the foremost rank; and surely we risque little in saying that a history of a period the most remarkable in the British annals, written one hundred and fifty years ago by a lady of elevated birth, of a most comprehensive and highly cultivated mind, herself a witness of many of the scenes she describes, and active in several of them, is a literary curiosity of no

mean sort.

were any

As to information, although there are many histories of the same period, there is not one that is generally considered satisfactory; most of them carry evident marks of prejudice or partiality; nor of those which are now read written at or near the time, or by persons who had an opportunity of being well acquainted with what was passing, except that of Clarendon. But any one who should take the pains, which the Editor has done, to examine Clarendon's State Papers, would find therein documents much better calculated to support Mrs. Hutchinson's representation of affairs than that which he himself has given. Mrs. Hutchinson writing from a motive which will very seldom be found to induce any one.

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