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[70] seems to us at times nothing less than devilwor-ship, he dwarfs, casts into the shadow, nay, in some instances caricatures and distorts, the figures which surround him. To excuse Cromwell in his usurpation, Henry Vane, one of those exalted and noble characters, upon whose features the lights held by historical friends or foes detect no blemish, is dismissed with a sneer and an utterly unfounded imputation of dishonesty. To reconcile, in some degree, the discrepancy between the declarations of Cromwell, in behalf of freedom of conscience, and that mean and cruel persecution which the Quakers suffered under the Protectorate, the generally harmless fanaticism of a few individuals bearing that name is gravely urged. Nay, the fact that some weak-brained enthusiasts undertook to bring about the millennium, by associating together, cultivating the earth, and ‘dibbling beans’ for the New-Jerusalem market, is regarded by our author as the ‘germ of Quakerism;’ and furnishes an occasion for sneering at ‘my poor friend Dryasdust, lamentably tearing his hair over the intolerance of that old time to Quakerism and such like.’

The readers of this (with all its faults) powerfully written Biography cannot fail to have been impressed with the intensely graphic description (Part I., vol. II., pp. 184, 185) of the entry of the poor fanatic, James Nayler, and his forlorn and draggled companions into Bristol. Sadly ludicrous is it; affecting us like the actual sight of tragic insanity enacting its involuntary comedy, and making us smile through our tears.

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