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The writings of John Greenleaf Whittier, Volume 6. (ed. John Greenleaf Whittier), Old portraits and modern Sketches (search)
of the Commonwealth, the sturdy republicans of England, as sour-featured, hard-hearted ascetics, enemies of the fine arts and polite literature. The works of Milton and Marvell, the prose-poem of Harrington, and the admirable discourses of Algernon Sydney are a sufficient answer to this accusation. To none has it less application than to the subject of our sketch. He was a genial, warmhearted man, an elegant scholar, a finished gentleman at home, and the life of every circle which he enterethis respect he differed widely from some of his illustrious contemporaries. Penn, while preaching up and down the land, and writing theological folios and pamphlets, could yet urge the political rights of Englishmen, mount the hustings for Algernon Sydney, and plead for unlimited religious liberty; and Vane, while dreaming of a coming millennium and reign of the saints, and busily occupied in defending his Antinomian doctrines, could at the same time vindicate, with tongue and pen, the cause
The writings of John Greenleaf Whittier, Volume 6. (ed. John Greenleaf Whittier), Historical papers (search)
ith simple toleration. But the constitution of his mind fitted him rather for the commendation of the good than the denunciation of the bad. He had little in common with the bold and austere spirit of the Puritan reformers. He disliked their violence and harshness; while, on the other hand, he was attracted and pleased by the gentle disposition and mild counsels of Locke and Tillotson, and the latitudinarians of the English Church. He was the intimate personal and political friend of Algernon Sydney; sympathized with his republican theories, and shared his abhorrence of tyranny, civil and ecclesiastical. He found in him a mall after his own heart,—genial, generous, and loving; faithful to duty and the instincts of humanity; a true Christian gentleman. His sense of gratitude was strong, and his personal friendships sometimes clouded his judgment. In giving his support to the measures of James in behalf of liberty of conscience, it must be admitted that he acted in consistency wi