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Beecher and Albert Barnes have even in our day been stretched. Much as we honor the noble symbol and the body of men who framed it, we uncover our heads in the presence of that solitary young knight, whose voice was raised for the freedom which has at last become the Anglo-Saxon heritage!
While Vane is pleading the cause in the Assembly, Cromwell is organizing it in the army. His Ironsides regiment is made up on the model of an armed and drilled Fulton street Prayer meeting. Ardent Independents of the middle classes fill its companies. It proves itself the one invincible battalion, which never is known to quail. Before its serried lines the cavaliers are uniformly broken. The people feel that the whole army must be after this pattern or all will be lost. The other divisions of the army are inefficient. Their Presbyterian officers are men of rank, experience, and character, but they are half-hearted in the cause. On several recent occasions they have let go amazing opportunities of success. The Bill of Vane is proposed in Parliament. By a fortunate dexterity, it provides that no member of Parliament shall have a command in the army. The bill gently puts out of office the moderate officers. Cromwell is by an equally dexterous fortune retained on plea of pressing necessity. The army is reduced to the Cromwellian model. Henceforth it is the Republican strong arm.
At the right time, also, Vane introduces provision for filling vacancies in Parliament. The result is an increase, though not ever a majority, of independent members. But it is a comfort to this little band to receive such men to its numbers as Fairfax, Blake, Ludlow, Ireton, and Algernon Sydney. For now that the new modeled army has justified its leaders on the field of Naseby, and Charles is in the hands, now of Scots, then of Parliament, and last of the army, the struggle against the compromising majority begins afresh and continues long. Vane, a commissioner to treat with the King, never shows any signs of compromise; he believes that secession is to be annihilated, not coaxed and tried again. But the Peace Party is too strong for him. On the final decision for settling the kingdom with the King, the vote stood one hundred and forty to one hundred and two. Vane had used all
his resources of eloquence and of management, but the deed was done. He was prepared to submit to the Parliament. But not so the new modeled army, not so that unconquerable man of destiny, Cromwell. The victorious majority were destined to a mortifying reaction the next morning, when Colonel Pride entered the hall and took fifty-two gentlemen out, sent them to lodgings, and excluded one hundred and sixty more. The fifty or sixty Independents, who remained, were a Rump indeed. Vane was there, but his spirit bore not well arbitrary power. Much as he loved the cause, he deemed it not fit that it should have such defenders. He returned to his home and family. He remained there and stood aloof and in doubt, as the High Court of Justice proceeded to that startling scene, at which history itself seems to stand still, the trial and execution of the rebel King. A new great seal is struck-on which is written, "The first year of Freedom by God's blessing restored." (1648). King and Lords are no more, and the cause, for which Vane had for nine years planned, seems now successful.
The Commonwealth was fairly begun. Vane enters upon the third stage of his statesmanship. After a short retirement, he received such assurances of Cromwell's fidelity to the cause, that he returned to Parliament and was made a member of the Council of State. There were joined with him two congenial and immortal men, the Secretary of State, John Milton, and the Admiral, Robert Blake. The Commonwealth commenced its career of foreign renown in the Dutch war. The masses of people will always be more dazzled by the deeds of the General who leads the armies, or the Admiral who manages the fleet in deadly conflict. But they that stop to reflect, apportion no minor share of all successes to those more quiet men who manage the different departments of civil administration. The glory which belongs, in the history of English supremacy on the seas, to Robert Blake, no man taketh from him; he has the higher glory even of remaining a true, untempted Republican. But it was Vane who supplied-in that hour, when the Dutch Admiral was sailing the channel with brooms at his mast
head-the sinews of war by which Blake was to turn the taunt and sweep the seas.
During these four years Vane showed himself as able to shine in Administration and Finance, as on the floor of Parliament. And yet it was in this period that his Parliamentary talents were put to their hardest work. He was busy with plans for Representative Reform, plans which have ever since been pressed by the Liberal Party in England. He desired to have the Rump Parliament really represent the people. But he was opposed by Cromwell. The army which he had hoped would prove a friend of a free Parliament, was alienated by Oliver's omnipotent influence. Vane hurried down, one morning in 1653, to the House of Commons, to press through his Reforming Amendments to the Bill for dissolving the Parliament. The Bill was at its final stage. Vane arose to urge that it must be passed at once. So earnest, even impassioned was he that the creatures of Cromwell in the House sent word to their chief that if he was to do anything, he must do it at once. Cromwell was soon at hand in a towering passion and with a military force. After listening to Vane for a while, just as the question was being put, to dispense with engrossment, he arose. He berated the members like a very scold. Vane, attempting to speak, was denounced as a juggler. The armed men were called. They were ordered to pull the speaker from his seat. Oliver bade them all begone. As the members passed by him, he singled them out by opprobrious names. Vane said aloud, "This is not honest." Cromwell stopped a moment, as if to think of some epithet against him, also. None came. All he could do was to break out in the memorable words, "Sir Harry Vane, Sir Harry Vane, the Lord deliver me from Sir Harry Vane!"
He was not to be delivered from him. Oliver and twelve others were soon named a Council of State. Vane was invited to participate in this reign of the Saints. He is reported as making answer that he was "willing to defer his share till he got to Heaven." During the Lord Protectorship, 16531658, he was for the most part in the quiet of his congenial studies in Politics and Theology. He published several trea
tises written in admirable spirit of Christian Philosophy. One bears the title, "Retired Man's Meditations." Another is in the quietest vein, upon "the Love of God and Union with God." But once, though not desirous of factious opposition to the existing Government, he felt. himself invited to speak a word for the "Old Cause." Kingly Prerogative, under the name of Protectorate, was not a whit more fragrant to him. Cromwell had appointed a fast "for applying to the Lord to discover the Achan, who had so long obstructed the settlement of these distracted kingdoms." Vane wrote what he called "A Healing Question," full of love to the same good cause. Hear him say of it: "it hath the same goodness in it as ever; and is, or ought to be, as much in the hearts of all good people that have adhered to it; it is not less to be valued now, than when neither blood nor treasure were thought too dear to carry it out and hold it up from sinking; and hath the same Omnipotent God, whose great name is concerned in it as well as his people's outward safety and welfare." The young school boy's conversion has not worn away yet! He gently intimates that the Achan is now in power! He proceeds to propose that a Convention be called to form a Fundamental Constitution. He thus heralded the day when a more successful statesman than he, George Washington, should secure what Cromwell did not-a Constitutional Republic. For publishing this "Healing Question," he was arraigned before Cromwell's Council of State, ordered to give bonds in £8,000 to do nothing to the prejudice of the present Government. He declined to give such bonds and was committed to prison in Carisbrook Castle, on the Isle of Wight, in the very prison where Charles I. had been confined, when Vane was a Commissioner to treat with him. He was released in about three months. Cromwell, meanwhile, it is said, was encouraging vexatious suits against his estates. He was told the proceed ings should be stopped, if he would support the Government. He would not. He had given himself to the Cause; he would not betray it.
Oliver the Great died in 1658, and the crowded events of the two following years are included in another period of
Vane's statesmanship. In Richard's Parliament, though in two places where he was elected, he was refused confirmation, he finally took his seat. The Parliament was packed with creatures in the Cromwell interest. The number of Republicans was only forty in a house of three hundred and ten members. Vane was the head of this minority. He had been thre head of one before. He managed his old cause with more than the old vigor. His frequent speeches are wonderfully unanswerable. From first to last he resisted the recognition of the "single person" and his House of Lords. Nobody could meet him. Even in this packed Parliament, Richard had no adequate support against Vane's influence. Richard left. The divisions in the army rendered its influence no longer safe for the Republican cause. The Republican army which Vane had so adroitly brought into power, had been corrupted by the House of Cromwell. Little could now be done. That little, during these months of faction, Vane tried to do in the old interest. Among the very last of his acts in Legislative Committee, was the draft of a bill for the settlement of Government. The first provision is for a Fundamental Constitution. The two articles, which he would have imbedded in that Constitution, are, first, "That it is destructive to admit any earthly King to the Legislative and Executive power over this nation:" second, "that the supreme power is not entrusted to the people's trustees, to erect matters of Faith and Worship, so as to exercise compulsion therein." The Puritan boy, New England Governor and Statesman of the Commonwealth, has proved faithful yet. Two years more are coming of new trial. Will he endure the fresh tests? He will.
On the 29th of May, 1660, Charles II. was restored by General Monk of the army. He promised indemnity. He excepted, however, all those who had taken part in the death of the King. Vane had taken no part in that death. But he had taken no part in the Restoration either. The House of Lords moved to except Vane. The Commons opposed. On mutual conference they agreed to except him, with the proposal that the two houses should petition the King to spare his life. King received the petition and granted the request. But