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1618.

C

Thursday, 29th October, 1618. This morning, if Oliver, as is probable, were now in Town studying Law, he might be eye-witness of a great and very strange scene: the Last Scene in the Life of Sir Walter Raleigh.* Raleigh was beheaded in Old Palace Yard; he appeared on the scaffold there about 8 o'clock that morning; an immense crowd,' all London, and in a seuse all England, looking on. A cold hoarfrosty morning. Earl of Arundel, now known to us by his Greek Marbles; Earl of Doncaster (Sardanapalus' Hay, ultimately Earl of Carlisle): these with other earls and dignitaries sat looking through windows near by; to whom Raleigh in his last brief manful speech appealed, with response from them. He had failed of finding Eldorados in the Indies lately; he had failed, and also succeeded, in many things in his time: he returned home with his brain and his heart broken,' as he said;-and the Spaniards, who found King James willing, now wished that he should die. A very tragic scene. Such a man, with his head grown grey; with his strong heartbreaking,'-still strength enough in it to break with dignity. Somewhat proudly he laid his old grey head on the block; as if saying, in better than words, "There then!" The Sheriff offered to let him warm himself again, within doors again at a fire. "Nay, let us be swift," said Raleigh; "in few minutes my ague will return upon me, and if I be not dead before that, they will say I tremble for fear."—If Oliver, among the immense crowd,' saw this scene, as is conceivable enough, he would not want for reflections on it.

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What is more apparent to us, Oliver in these days is a visitor in Sir James Bourchier's Town residence. Sir James Bourchier, Knight, a civic gentleman; not connected at all with the old Bourchiers Earls of Essex, says my heraldic friend; but seemingly come of City Merchants rather, who by some of their quarterings and cognizances appear to have been Furriers,' says he:Like enough. Not less but more important, it appears this Sir James Bourchier was a man of some opulence, and had daugh

* Camden; Biog. Britan.

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ters; had a daughter Elizabeth, not without charms for the youthful heart. Moreover he had landed property near Felsted in Essex, where his usual residence was. Felsted, where there is still a kind of School or Free-School, which was of more note in those days than now. That Oliver visited in Sir James's in Town or elsewhere, we discover with great certainty by the next written record of him.

1620.

The Registers of St. Giles's Church, Cripplegate, London, are written by a third party as usual, and have no autograph signatures; but in the List of Marriages for August, 1620,' stand these words, still to be read sic:

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'Oliver Cromwell to Elizabeth Bourcher. 22.'

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Milton's burial-entry is in another Book of the same memorable Church, 12 Nov., 1674;' where Oliver on the 22d of August, 1620, was married.

Oliver is twenty-one years and four months old on this his wedding-day. He repaired, speedily or straightway we believe, to Huntingdon, his Mother's house, which indeed was now his. His Law-studies, such as they were, had already ended, we infer : he had already set up house with his Mother; and was now bringing a Wife home; the due arrangements for that end having been completed. Mother and Wife were to live together: the Sisters had got or were getting married, Noble's researches and confused jottings do not say specially when the Son, as new head of the house, an inexperienced head, but a teachable, everlearning one, was to take his Father's place; and with a wise Mother and a good Wife, harmonising tolerably well we shall hope, was to manage as he best might. Here he continued, unnoticeable but easily imaginable by History, for almost ten years: farming lands; most probably attending quarter-sessions; doing the civic, industrial, and social duties, in the common way;-living as his Father before him had done. His first child was born here, in October, 1621; a son, Robert, baptized at St. John's Church on the 13th of the month, of whom nothing farther is

known. A second child, also a son, Oliver, followed, whose baptismal date is 6th February, 1623, of whom also we have almost no farther account,-except one that can be proved to be erroneous.* The List of his other children shall be given by and by.

1623.

In October, 1623, there was an illumination of tallow lights, a ringing of bells, and gratulation of human hearts in all Towns in England, and doubtless in Huntingdon too; on the safe return of Prince Charles from Spain without the Infanta. A matter of endless joy to all true Englishmen of that day, though no Englishman of this day feels any interest in it one way or the other. But Spain, even more than Rome, was the chosen throne of Popery; which in that time meant temporal and eternal Damnability, Falsity to God's Gospel, love of prosperous Darkness rather than of suffering Light,-infinite baseness rushing short-sighted upon infinite peril for this world and for all worlds. King James, with his worldly-wise endeavorings to marry his son into some firstrate family, never made a falser calculation than in this grand_ business of the Spanish Match. The soul of England abhorred to have any concern with Spain or things Spanish. Spain was as a black Domdaniel, which, had the floors of it been paved, with diamonds, had the Infanta of it come riding in such a Gig of Respectability as was never driven since Phaeton's Sun-chariot took the road, no honest English soul could wish to have concern with. Hence England illuminated itself. The articulate tendency of this Solomon King had unfortunately parted company altogether with the inarticulate but ineradicable tendency of the Country he presided over. The Solomon King struggled one way; and the English Nation with its very life-fibres was compelled to struggle another way. The rent by degrees became wide enough!

For the present, England is all illuminated, a new Parliament

* Noble, i., 134.

† H. L. (Hamond l'Estrange): Reign of King Charles (London, 1656), p. 3. October 5th,' the Prince arrived.

is suminoned; which welcomes the breaking of the Spanish Match, as one might welcome the breaking of a Dr. Faustus's Bargain, and a deliverance from the power of sorcerers. Uncle Oliver served in this parliament, as was his wont, for Huntingdonshire. They and the Nation with one voice impelled the poor old King to draw out his fighting tools at last, and beard this Spanish Apollyon, instead of making marriages with it. No Pitt's crusade against French Sansculottism in the end of the Eighteenth Century could be so welcomed by English Preservers of the Game, as this defiance of the Spanish Apollyon was by Englishmen in general in the end of the Seventeenth. The Palatinate was to be recovered, after all; Protestantism, the sacred cause of God's Light and Truth against the Devil's Falsity and Darkness, was to be fought for and secured. Supplies were voted; drums beat in the City' and elsewhere, as they had done three years ago,* to the joy of all men, when the Palatinate was first to be defended:' but now it was to be 'recovered;' now a decisive effort was to be made. The issue, as is well known, corresponded ill with these beginnings. Count Mansfeldt mustered his levies here, and set sail; but neither France nor any other power would so much as let him land. Count Mansfeldt's levies died of pestilence in their ships; their bodies, thrown ashore on the Dutch coast, were eaten by hogs,' till half the armament was dead on ship-board: nothing came of it, nothing could come. With a James Stewart for Generalissimo there is no good fighting possible. The poor King himself soon after died;† left the matter to develope itself in other still fataller

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ways.

In those years it must be that Dr. Simcott, Physician in Huntingdon, had to do with Oliver's hypochondriac maladies. He told Sir Philip Warwick, unluckily specifying no date, or none that has survived," he had often been sent for at midnight;" Mr. Cromwell for many years was very "splenetic" (spleen struck), often thought he was just about to die, and also "had fancies about the Town Cross." Brief intimation; of which the re

* 11th June, 1620 (Camden's Annals).
Sunday, 27th March, 1625 (Wilson, in Kennet, ii., 790).
Sir Philip Warwick's Memoirs (London, 1701), p. 249.

flective reader may make a great deal. Samuel Johnson too had hypochondrias; all great souls are apt to have,—and to be in thick darkness generally, till the eternal ways and the celestial guiding-stars disclose themselves, and the vague Abyss of Life knit itself up into Firmaments for them. Temptations in the wilderness, Choices of Hercules, and the like, in succinct or loose form, are appointed for every man that will assert a soul in himself and be a man. Let Oliver take comfort in his dark sorrows and melancholies. The quantity of sorrow he has, does it not mean withal the quantity of sympathy he has, the quantity of faculty and victory he shall yet have? 'Our sorrow is the inverted image of our nobleness.' The depth of our despair measures what capability, and height of claim we have, to hope. Black smoke as of Tophet filling all your universe, it can yet by true heart-energy become flame, and brilliancy of Heaven. Courage!

evermore.

It is therefore in these years, undated by History, that we must place Oliver's clear recognition of Calvinistic Christianity; what he, with unspeakable joy, would name his Conversion; his deliverance from the jaws of Eternal Death. Certainly a grand epoch for a man properly the one epoch; the turning-point which guides upwards, or guides downwards, him and his activity forWilt thou join with the Dragons; wilt thou join with the Gods? Of thee too the question is asked ;-whether by a man in Geneva gown, by a man in 'Four surplices at Allhallow. tide,' with words very imperfect; or by no man and no words, but only by the Silences, by the Eternities, by the Life everlasting and the Death everlasting. That the 'Sense of difference between Right and Wrong' had filled all Time and all Space for man, and bodied itself forth into a Heaven and Hell for him: this constitutes the grand feature of those Puritan, Old-Christian Ages; this is the element which stamps them as Heroic, and has rendered their works great, manlike, fruitful to all generations. It is by far the memorablest achievement of our Species; without that element, in some form or other, nothing of Heroic had ever been among us.

For many centuries, Catholic Christianity, a fit embodiment of that divine Sense, had been current more or less, making the 4

VUL. I.

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