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[20] they were pleased with the retributive justice that the
Chap. XI.}
parliament, which had destroyed the English king, should itself be subverted by one of its members.

Thus the attempt at absolute monarchy on the part of Charles I., yielded to a constitutional, true English parliament; the control of parliament passed from the constitutional royalists to the Presbyterians, or representatives of a part of the aristocracy opposed to Episcopacy; from the Presbyterians to the Independents, the enthusiasts, real or pretended, for popular liberty; and now that the course of the revolution had outstripped public opinion, a powerful reaction gave the supreme authority to Cromwell. Sovereignty had escaped from the king to the parliament, from the parliament to the commons, from the commons to the army, and from the army to its successful commander. Each revolution was a natural and necessary consequence of its predecessor.

Cromwell was one of those rare men whom even his enemies cannot name without acknowledging his greatness. The farmer of Huntingdon, accustomed only to rural occupations, unnoticed till he was more than forty years old, engaged in no higher plots than how to improve the returns of his farm, and fill his orchard with choice fruit, of a sudden became the best officer in the British army, and the greatest statesman of his time; subverted the English constitution, which had been the work of centuries; held in his own grasp the liberties which the English people had fixed in their affections, and cast the kingdoms into a new mould. Religious peace, such as England till now has never again seen, flourished under his calm mediation; justice found its way even among the remotest Highlands of Scotland; commerce filled the English marts

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