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Art. I. Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson, Governor of
Nottingham Castle and Town, Represeritative of the County of Not-
Julius Hutchinson, &c. &c. To which is prefixed, the Life I of Mrs Hutchinson, written by herself, a fragment. pp. 446.
Quarto. Longman & Co. London. 1806. W e have not often met with any thing more interesting and
curious than this volume. Independent of its being a contemporary narrative of by far the most animating and important part of our history, it challenges our attention as containing an accurate and luminous account of military and political affairs from the hand of a woman ; as exhibiting the most liberal and enlightened sentiments in the person of a puritan; and sustaining a high tone of aristocratical dignity and pretension, though the work of a decided republican. The views which it opens into the character of the writer, and the manners of the age, will be to many a still more powerful attraction.
Of the times to which this narrative belongs-times to which England owes all her freedom and all her glory—we can never hear too much, or too often: and though their story has been transmitted to us both with more fulness of detail and more vivacity of colouring than any other portion of our annals, every reflecting reader must be aware that our information is still extremely defective, and exposes us to the hazard of great misconception. The work before us, we think, is calculated in a good degree to supply these deficiencies, and to rectify these errors. VOL. XII. NO. 25.
in some degree inseparable from a state of war, fell chiefly upon the · Royalists; who made it a point of duty indeed to deride the sanctity and rigid morality of their opponents, and they again exaggerated, out of party hatred, the peculiarities by which they were most obviously distinguished from their antagonists. Thus mutually receding from each other, from feelings of general hostili. ty, they were gradually led to realize the imputations of which they were reciprocally the subjects. The cavaliers gave way to a certain degree of licentiousness; and the adherents of the parliament became, for the most part, really morose and enthusiastic. · At the restoration, the cavaliers obtained a complete and final triumph over their sanctimonious opponents; and the exiled monarch and his nobles imported from the continent a taste for dissipation, and a toleration for debauchery, far exceeding any thing that had previously been known in England. It is from the wits of that court, however, and the writers of that party, that the i succeeding and the present age have derived their notions of the
puritans. In reducing these notions to the standard of truth, it is not easy to determine how large an allowance ought to be made for the exaggerations of party hatred, the perversions of witty malice, and the illusions of habitual superiority. It is certain, however, that ridicule, toleration, and luxury, gradually annihilated the puritans in the higher ranks of society; and after times seeing their practices and principles exemplified only among the lowest and most illiterate of mankind, readily caught the tone of contempt which had been assumed by their triumphant enemies; and found no absurdity in believing that the base and contemptible beings who were described under the name of puritans by the courtiers of Charles II., were true representatives of that valiant and conscientious party which once numbered half the gentry of England among its votaries and adherents.
That the popular conceptions of the austerities and absurdities of the old Roundheads and Presbyterians are greatly exaggerated, will probably be allowed by every one at all conversant with the fubject; but we know of nothing so well calculated to dissipate the existing prejudices on the subject as this book of Mrs Hutchinson. Inttead of a set of gloomy bigots waging war with all the elegancies and gaieties of life, we find, in this calumniated order, ladies of the first birth and fashion, at once converting their husbands to Anabaptism, and instructing their children in music and dancing,-.valiant Presbyterian colonels refuring the erTors of Arminius, collecting pictures, and practising, with great applause, on the violin,-stout esquires, at the same time, praying and quaffing October with their godly tenants and noble lords disputing with their chaplains on points of theology in the