« PreviousContinue »
Thomas Beard, a minifter of that town; from whence he was fent to Cambridge, entered into Sydney-Suffex College, April 23, 1616, and placed under the tuition of Mr. Richard Howlett (c).
What progrefs in learning he made in the univerfity we have no particular account but as he understood fome Latin, and a tafte for polite literature, probably
(c) Peck's Defiderata
ii. b. 7. P.
of, 66. Wood's
had ii. c. 88.
to a king by a subject, had a great estate, and was a zealous royalift (d),' but had his compofition re- Brit. ib. (d) Biog. mitted by the parliament for his kinfman's fake (e).' 'Tis no wonder then to find a family of fuch a rank (e) White allied to the Hampdens, the St. Johns, and the Bar- morials, 2d. ringtons, names of fome of our most antient and emi- edit. p. 300. nent families. Mr. Goke tells us, his father being afked whether he knew the Protector, he faid, Yes, and his father too, when he kept his brew-houfe in Huntington (f) Dugdale will explain this. Robert Cromwell, fays he, though he was by the coun- (ƒ) Detec⚫tenance of his elder brother, (Sit Oliver) made a juf- ii. p. 57.
tice of peace in Huntingtonshire, had but a flender Lond. 1694. 6 eftate; much of his fupport being a brew-house, in • Huntington, chiefly managed by his wife, who was
fifter to Sir Robert Stewart of the city of Ely, knight,
and by her had iffue this our famous Oliver (g).' (g) Short This every reasonable and confiderate perfon will think View, p. no difcredit to the family. For in England trade is not 459. difgraceful to a gentleman. The younger brothers of our beit families engage in it, and thereby raise themselves to fortune and independency, and advance the riches and power of their country. A much more honourable method of procuring a maintenance than following the levees of minifters and favourites, and engaging to execute their mifchievous and fatal fchemes!
(b) Hiftory of his own
time was not wholly mifemployed there
(B) He understood fome Latin, and had a tafte for polite literature.] Here are my authorities. Burnet says, he had no foreign language, but the little Latin that ftuck to him from his education, which he spoke very vitiously and fcantily (b).' Another writer obferves that The ufurper loved, or affected to love, men of wit Dutch edit. Mr. Waller frequently waited on him, being his kinf
man; and as he often declared, observed him to be very well read in the Greek and Roman ftory (i).' The following paffage I give at length, not doubting the reader will be pleased with it. When Cromwell took on him the protectorfhip, in the year 1653, the very morning the ceremony was to be perform'd, a mef< fenger came to Dr. Manton, to acquaint him that he muft immediately come to Whitehall: the Doctor afked him the occafion; he told him he should know that when he came there. The Protector himself, without any previous notice, told him what he was to do, i. e. to pray upon that occasion: the Doctor laboured all he could to be excufed, and told him it was a work of that nature which required fome time to confider and prepare for it. The Protector replied, That he knew he was not at a lofs to perform the fervice he expected from him; and opening his ftudydoor, he put him in with his hand, and bid him confider there; which was not above half an hour: the Doctor employed that time in looking over his books, which he faid was a noble collection (k).' Manton was a judge.
Thefe paffages do not indeed prove Oliver's application in the univerfity; but as a tafte for books and learning is generally acquired in the early part of life, 'tis no way improbable that he form'd it there.
(i) Waller's Life prefix'd to his Poems, p. 30.
Lond. 1722. 12mo.
(4) Life of Dr. Manton, p. 20. 8vo. Lond. 1725.
During his continuance at Cambridge, his father dying, he returned home to his mo
ther, who after fome time fent him to Lincolns Inn, where, instead of applying himself to the study of the law, he learn'd the follies and vices of the town (c).
(c) Inftead of studying the law, he learn'd the vices and follies of the town.] His fmall proficiency at Lincolns Inn, we may, I think, fairly enough conclude from the following paffage of a profefs'd panegyrift. He came to Lincolns Inn, where he affociated himself with those of the best rank and quality, and the moft ingenuous 'perfons; for though he were of a nature not averse to ftudy and contemplation; yet he seemed rather addicted to conversation and the reading of men, and ⚫ their several tempers, than to a continual poring up- (1) Pour< on authors (/).' But this is by no means fufficient to traiture of We give us an idea of Oliver in his younger years. his royal highness are by one writer furthermore told, that the first Oliver, p. 8. years of his manhood were spent in a diffolute course 12mo.
of life, in good fellowship and gaming (m).' Dugdale 1659.
is more large. In his youth, fays he, he was for (m) War• fome time bred up in Cambridge; [he omits his be- wick's Meing at one of the inns of court] where he made no C great proficiency in any kind of learning; but then Lond. 1702. and afterwards forting himself with drinking companions, and the ruder fort of people (being of a rough and bluftering difpofition) he had the name of a Roy<fter amongst most that knew him; and by his exorbitances fo wafted his patrimony; that, having attempted his uncle Stewart for a fupply of his wants, and finding that by a fmooth way of application to him he could not prevail, he endeavoured by colour of law to lay hold of his eftate, reprefenting him as a 'perfon not able to govern it. But therein he fail• ed (n).' Wood obferves, that his father dying whilft he was 459. at Cambridge, he was taken home and fent to Lincolns
(0) Fafti, vol. ii. c. 88.
Inn to ftudy the common law, but making nothing of it, he was fent for home by his mother, became a debauchee, and a boyfterous and rude fellow (0).' Thus, according to thefe writers, Oliver mifpent his time, and fell into vice; and tho' very probably his faults are heightened by the authors here quoted, yet I make no doubt but there is fome foundation for the charge For in a letter to Mrs. St. John, his cozen, dated Ely, 13th Oct. 1639, he has the following expreffions. You know what my manner of life hath been. O, I lived in, and loved darknefs, and hated the light; I was a chief, the chief of finners. This is true, I hated god inefs, yet God had mercy on me (p). Which words undoubtedly imply fome perPapers, vol. fonal vice or other to which he had been addicted, i. p. 1. Fol. though we cannot, at this diftance, well tell what it Lond. 1742. was with certainty.
This involved him in expences which his fortune would ill bear, and reduced him to fome difficulties. But his vices were of no long continuance. He foon recovered himfelf, and at the age of twenty one years, married Elizabeth (D) daughter of Sir James Bouchier,
(p) Thurloe's State
(D) He married Elizabeth Bouchier who fhewed due fubmiffion to him.] The Bouchiers were antient as a family; from hence probably arofe the fpirit and pride of Mrs. Cromwell. Whether thefe led her into any indecencies with refpect to her neighbours, appears not even from the foes of the family. With regard to her husband she had merit, i. e. fhe was affectionate, obedient, fubmiffive, and delirous to pleafe: qualities vaftly beyond any which refult from birth, beauty, parts or wealth. What led me to confider her in this light, is the following letter to Oliver, which will be read I dare fay with pleafure, efpecially as it is the only one of hers which has been handed down to pofterity.
Bouchier, of Effex, knight, faid to be a woman of spirit and parts, and not wanting in pride (9), tho' fhe fhewed all due fubmif(9) See fion to her husband. Soon after his mar- Heath's Flagellum, riage he fettled at Huntington, his native p. 4. country; but upon the death of his uncle,
Defember the 27th, 1650.
you should blame me for writing nowe oftnir, when I have fent thre for one: 1 canenot but thenk they ar mifcarid. Truly if I knog my one hart I should afe foune neglect myfelf afe to the leaft thought towards you, hoe in douing of it I must doe it to myself; but when I doe writ, my dear, I 'feldome have any fatisfactore anfer, wich makse me
thenk my writing is flited, as well it mae; but I can6 not but thenk your love covene my weknifis and in'firmetis. I fhould rejoys to hear your defire in fee6 ing me, but I defire to fubmit to the providens of "God, howping the Lord, houe hath feperated us,
and heth oftune brought us together agane, wil`in 'heis good time breng us agane, to the prafe of heis name. Truly my lif is but half a lif in your abfeinfe, deid not the Lord make it up in heimself, which I 'must acknoleg to the prafe of heis grace. I would you 'would thenk to writ fometims to your deare frend me
Lord Chef Juftes, of hom I have oftune put you,in mind: and truly, my deare, if you would thenk of "what I put you in mind of fume, it might be of as much purpos afe others, writting fumetims a letter. to the Prefedent, and fometims to the Speiker. Indeid, my deare, you cannot thenk the rong you doe yourself in the whant of a letter, though it wer but (r) Milton's feldome. I pray think of, and foe reft yours in all • faithfulnife,
40. Fol. Lond. 1743. In
• ELIZ. CROMWELL (r).'