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France. Whatever be the faults imputed to Mr. Fox, duplicity and hypocrisy were never among the number; and no human being ever doubted but that Mr. Fox, in this instance, spoke his real sentiments: but the love of Sir Patrick Hume is an overwhelming passion; and no man who gives way to it can ever say into what excesses he may be hurried.
Non simul cuiquam conceditur, amare et sapere.
The next point upon which Serjeant Heywood attacks Mr. Rose, is that of General Monk. Mr. Fox says of Monk, ‘that he acquiesced in the insult so meanly put upon the illustrious corpse of Blake, under whose auspices and command he had performed the most creditable services of his life.' This story, Mr. Rose says, rests upon the authority of Neale, in his History of the Puritans. This is the first of many blunders made by Mr. Rose upon this particular topic: for Anthony Wood, in his Fasti Oxoniensis, enumerating Blake among the bachelors, says, “His body was taken up, and, with others, buried in a pit in St. Margaret's churchyard adjoining, near to the back door of one of the prebendaries of Westminster, Žn which place it now remaineth, enjoying no other monument but what is reared by its valour, which time itself can hardly efface.' But the difficulty is to find how the denial of Mr. Rose affects Mr. Fox's assertion. Mr. Rose admits, that Blake's body was dug up by an order of the King, and does not deny that it was done with the acquiescence of Monk. But if this be the case, Mr. Fox's position, that Blake was insulted, and that Monk acquiesced in the insult, is clearly made out. Nor has Mr. Rose the shadow of an authority for saying that the corpse of Blake was reinterred with great decorum. Kennet is silent upon the subject. We have already given Serjeant Heywood's quotation from Anthony Wood; and this statement, for the present, rests entirely upon the assertion of Mr. Rose; and upon that basis will remain to all eternity.
Mr. Rose, who, we must say, on all occasions through
the whole of this book, makes the greatest parade of his accuracy, states, that the bodies of Cromwell, Ireton, and Blake, were taken up at the same time; whereas the fact is, that those of Cromwell and Ireton were taken up on the 26th of January, and that of Blake on the 10th of September, nearly nine months afterwards. It may appear frivolous to notice such errors as these; but they lead to very strong suspicions in a critic of history and of historians. They show that those habits of punctuality, on the faith of which he demands implicit confidence from his readers, really do not exist; they prove that such a writer will be exact only when he thinks the occasion of importance; and, as he himself is the only judge of that importance, it is necessary to examine his proofs in every instance, and impossible to trust him any where. Mr. Rose remarks, that, in the weekly paper entitled Mercurius Rusticus, No. 4., where an account is given of the disinterment of Cromwell and Ireton, not a syllable is said respecting the corpse of Blake. This is very true; but the reason (which does not seem to have occurred to Mr. Rose) is, that Blake's corpse was not touched till sic months afterwards. This is really a little too much. That Mr. Rose should quit his i. pursuits, erect himself into an historical critic, perch upon the body of the dead lion, impugn the accuracy of one of the greatest, as well as most accurate men of his time, –and himself be guilty of such gross and unpardonable negligence, looks so very much like an insensibility to shame, that we should be loth to characterise his conduct by the severe epithets which it appears to merit, and which, we are quite certain Sir Patrick, the defendee, would have been the first to bestow upon it. The next passage in Mr. Fox's work, objected to, is that which charges Monk, at the trial of Argyle, “with having produced letters of friendship and confidence to take away the life of a nobleman, the zeal and cordiality of whose co-operation with him, proved by such documents, was the chief ground of his execution.’ This accusation, says Mr. Rose, rests upon the sole authority VOI. I. F F
of Bishop Burnet ; and yet no sooner has he said this, than he tells us, Mr. Laing considers the bishop's authority to be confirmed by Cunningham and Baillie, both contemporary writers. Into Cunningham or Baillie, Mr. Rose never looks to see whether or not they do really confirm the authority of the bishop; and so gross is his negligence, that the very misprint from Mr. Laing's work is copied, and page 431. of Baillie is cited, instead of 451. If Mr. Rose had really taken the trouble of referring to these books, all doubt of the meanness and guilt of Monk must have been instantly removed. “Monk was moved,’ says Baillie, ‘to send down four or five of Argyle's letters to himself and others, promising his full compliance with them, that the King should not reprieve him.’—(Baillie's Letters, p. 451.) “He endeavoured to make his defence,’ says Cunningham; ‘but, chiefly by the discoveries of Monk, was condemned of high treason, and lost his head.”— Cunningham's History, i. p. 13. Would it have been more than common decency required, if Mr. Rose, who had been apprised of the existence of these authorities, had had recourse to them, before he impugned the accuracy of Mr. Fox 2 Or is it possible to read, without some portion of contempt, this slovenly and indolent corrector of supposed inaccuracies in a man, not only so much greater than himself in his general nature, but a man who, as it turns out, excels Mr. Rose in his own little arts of looking, searching, and comparing; and is as much his superior in the retail qualities which small people arrogate to themselves, as he was in every commanding faculty to the rest of his fellow-creatures 2 Mr. Rose searches Thurloe's State Papers; but Serjeant Heywood searches them after Mr. Rose: and, by a series of the plainest references, proves the probability there is that Argyle did receive letters which might materially have affected his life. To Monk's duplicity of conduct may be principally attributed the destruction of his friends, who were prevented, by their confidence in him, from taking measures to secure themselves. He selected those among them whom he thought fit for trial—sat as a commissioner
upon their trial—and interfered not to save the lives even of those with whom he had lived in habits of the greatest kindness.
‘I cannot,’ says a witness of the most unquestionable authority, ‘I cannot forget one passage that I saw. Monk and his wife, before they were removed to the Tower, while they were yet prisoners at Lambeth House, came one evening to the garden, and caused them to be brought down, only to stare at them; which was such a barbarism, for that man who had betrayed so many poor men to death and misery, that never hurt him, but had honoured him, and trusted their lives and interests with him, to glut his bloody eyes with beholding them in their bondage, as no story can parallel the inhumanity of." — (p. 83.) Hutchinson's Memoirs, 378.
This, however, is the man whom Mr. Fox, at the distance of a century and a half, may not mark with infamy, without incurring, from the candour of Mr. Rose, the imputation of republican principles;–as if attachment to monarchy could have justified, in Monk, the coldness, cruelty, and treachery of his character,-as if the historian became the advocate, or the enemy of any form of government, by praising the good, or blaming the bad men which it might produce. Serjeant Heywood sums up the whole article as follows:–
“Having examined and commented upon the evidence produced by Mr. Rose, than which “it is hardly possible,” he says, “to conceive that stronger could be formed in any case, to establish a negative,” we now safely assert, that Mr. Fox had fully informed himself upon the subject before he wrote, and was amply justified in the condemnation of Monk, and the consequent severe censures upon him. It has been already demonstrated, that the character of Monk had been truly given, when of him he said, “the army had fallen into the hands of one, than whom a baser could not be found in its lowest ranks.” The transactions between him and Argyle for a certain period of time, were such as must naturally, if not necessarily, have led them into an epistolary correspondence; and it was in exact conformity with Monk's character and conduct to the regicides, that he should betray the letters written to him, in order to destroy a man whom he had, in the latter part of his command in Scotland, both feared and hated. If the fact of the pro
duction of these letters had stood merely on the testimony of Bishop Burnet, we have seen that nothing has been produced by Mr. Rose and Dr. Campbell to impeach it; on the contrary, an inquiry into the authorities and documents they have cited strongly confirm it. But, as before observed, it is a surprising instance of Mr. Rose's indolence, that he should state the question to depend now, as it did in Dr. Campbell's time, on the bishop's authority solely. But that authority is, in itself, no light one. Burnet was almost eighteen years of age at the time of Argyle's trial; he was never an unobserving spectator of public events; he was probably at Edinburgh, and, for some years afterwards, remained in Scotland, with ample means of information respecting events which had taken place so recently. Baillie seems also to have been upon the spot, and expressly confirms the testimony of Burnet. To these must be added Cumningham, who, writing as a person perfectly acquainted with the circumstances of the transaction, says it was owing to the interference of Monk, who had been his great friend in Oliver's time, that he was sent back to Scotland, and brought to trial; and that he was condemned chiefly by his discoveries. We may now ask where is the improbability of this story, when related of such a man 2 and what ground there is for not giving credit to a fact attested by three witnesses of veracity, each writing at a distance, and separate from each other ? In this instance Bishop Burnet is so confirmed, that no reasonable being, who will attend to the subject, can doubt of the fact he relates being true; and we shall hereafter prove, that the general imputation against his accuracy, made by Mr. Rose, is totally without foundation. If facts so proved are not to be credited, historians may lay aside their pens, and every man must content himself with the scanty pittance of knowledge he may be able to collect for himself, in the very limited sphere of his own immediate observation.’—(pp. 86–88.)
This, we think, is conclusive enough: but we are happy to be enabled, out of our own store, to set this part of the question finally to rest, by an authority which Mr. Rose himself will probably admit to be decisive.— Sir George Mackenzie, the great Tory lawyer of Scotland in that day, and Lord Advocate to Charles II., through the greater part of his reign, was the leading counsel for Argyle on the trial alluded to. – In 1678, this learned person, who was then Lord Advocate to Charles, published an elaborate treatise on the criminal law of Scot