The History of England
By John Lingard
Public Domain Books
Battle Of Edge Hill–Treaty At Oxford–Solemn Vow And Covenant–Battle Of Newbury–Solemn League And Covenant Between The English And Scottish Parliaments–Cessation Of War In Ireland-Royalist Parliament At Oxford–Propositions Of Peace–Battle Of Marston Moor–The Army Of Essex Capitulates In The West–Self-Denying Ordinance–Synod Of Divines–Directory For Public Worship–Trial Of Archbishop Laud–Bill Of Attainder–His Execution.
It had been suggested to the king that, at the head of an army, he might negotiate with greater dignity and effect. From Nottingham he despatched to London the earl of Southampton, Sir John Colepepper, and William Uvedale, the bearers of a proposal, that commissioners should be appointed on both sides, with full powers to treat of an accommodation.[a] The two houses, assuming a tone of conscious superiority, replied that they could receive no message from a prince who had raised his standard against his parliament, and had pronounced their general a traitor.[b] Charles (and his condescension may be taken as a[c]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1642. August 25.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1642. August 27.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1642. Sept. 4]
proof of his wish to avoid hostilities) offered to withdraw his proclamation, provided they on their part would rescind their votes against his adherents.[a] They refused: it was their right and their duty to denounce, and bring to justice, the enemies of the nation.[b] He conjured them to think of the blood that would be shed, and to remember that it would lie at their door; they retorted the charge; he was the aggressor, and his would be the guilt.[c] With this answer vanished every prospect of peace; both parties appealed to the sword; and within a few weeks the flames of civil war were lighted up in every part of the kingdom.
Three-fourths of the nobility and superior gentry, led by feelings of honour and gratitude, or by their attachment to the church, or by a well-grounded suspicion of the designs of the leading patriots, had ranged themselves under the royal banner. Charles felt assured of victory, when he contemplated the birth, and wealth, and influence of those by whom he was surrounded; but he might have discovered much to dissipate the illusion, had he considered their habits, or been acquainted with their real, but unavowed sentiments. They were for the most part men of pleasure, fitter to grace a court than to endure the rigour of military discipline, devoid of mental energy, and likely, by their indolence and debauchery, to offer advantages to a prompt and vigilant enemy. Ambition would induce them to aspire to office, and commands and honours, to form cabals against their competitors, and to distract the attention of the monarch by their importunity or their complaints. They contained among them many who secretly disapproved of the war,
[Footnote 1: Journals, v. 327, 328, 338, 341, 358. Clarendon, ii, 8, 16.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1642. Sept. 6.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1642. Sept. 11.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1642. Sept. 16.]
conceiving that it was undertaken for the sake of episcopacy,–an institution in the fate of which they felt no interest, and others who had already in affection enrolled themselves among the followers of the parliament, though shame deterred them for a time from abandoning the royal colours.
There was another class of men on whose services the king might rely with confidence,–the Catholics,–who, alarmed by the fierce intolerance and the severe menaces of the parliament, saw that their own safety depended on the ascendancy of the sovereign. But Charles hesitated to avail himself of this resource. His adversaries had allured the zealots to their party, by representing the king as the dupe of a popish faction, which laboured to subvert the Protestant, and to establish on its ruins the popish worship. It was in vain that he called on them to name the members of this invisible faction, that he publicly asserted his attachment to the reformed faith, and that, to prove his orthodoxy, he ordered two priests to be put to death at Tyburn, before his departure from the capital, and two others at York, soon after his arrival in that city. The houses still persisted in the charge; and in all their votes and remonstrances attributed the measures adopted by the king to the advice and influence of the papists
[Footnote 1: Thus Sir Edward Varney, the standard-bearer, told Hyde, that he followed the king because honour obliged him; but the object of the war was against his conscience, for he had no reverence for the bishops, whose quarrel it was.–Clarendon’s Life, 69. Lord Spencer writes to his lady, “If there could be an expedient found to salve the punctilio of honour, I would not continue here an hour."–Sidney Papers, ii. 667.]
[Footnote 2: Thomas Reynolds and Bartholomew Roe, on Jan. 21; John Lockwood and Edmund Caterick, on April 13.–Challoner, ii. 117, 200.]
and their adherents. Aware of the impression which such reports made on the minds of the people, he at first refused to intrust with a commission, or even to admit into the ranks, any person, who had not taken the oaths of allegiance and supremacy; but necessity soon taught him to accept of the services of all his subjects without distinction of religion, and he not only granted[a] permission to the Catholics to carry arms in their own defence, but incorporated them among his own forces.
While the higher classes repaired with their dependants to the support of the king, the call of the parliament was cheerfully obeyed by the yeomanry in the country, and by the merchants and tradesmen in the towns. All these had felt the oppression of monopolies and ship-money; to the patriots they were indebted for their freedom from such grievances; and, as to them they looked up with gratitude for past benefits,
[Footnote 1: In proof of the existence of such a faction, an appeal has been made to a letter from Lord Spencer to his wife.–Sidney Papers, ii. 667. Whether the cipher 243 is correctly rendered “papists,” I know not. It is not unlikely that Lord Spencer may have been in the habit of applying the term to the party supposed to possess the royal confidence, of which party he was the professed adversary. But when it became at last necessary to point out the heads of this popish faction, it appeared that, with one exception, they were Protestants–the earls of Bristol, Cumberland, Newcastle, Carnarvon, and Rivers, secretary Nicholas, Endymion Porter, Edward Hyde, the duke of Richmond, and the viscounts Newark and Falkland.–Rushworth, v. 16. May, 163. Colonel Endymion Porter was a Catholic.–Also Baillie, i. 416, 430; ii. 75.]
[Footnote 2: Rushworth, iv. 772; v. 49, 50, 80. Clarendon, ii. 41. On September 23, 1642, Charles wrote from Shrewsbury, to the earl of Newcastle: “This rebellion is growen to that height, that I must not looke to what opinion men are, who at this tyme are willing and able to serve me. Therefore I doe not only permit, but command you, to make use of all my loving subjects’ services, without examining ther contienses (more than there loyalty to me) as you shall fynde most to conduce to the upholding of my just regall power."–Ellis, iii. 291.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1642 August 10.]
so they trusted to their wisdom for the present defence of their liberties. Nor was this the only motive; to political must be added religious enthusiasm. The opponents of episcopacy, under the self-given denomination of the godly, sought to distinguish themselves by the real or affected severity of their morals; they looked down with contempt on all others, as men of dissolute or irreligious habits; and many among them, in the belief that the reformed religion was in danger, deemed it a conscientious duty to risk their lives and fortunes in the quarrel. Thus were brought into collision some of the most powerful motives which can agitate the human breast,–loyalty, and liberty, and religion; the conflict elevated the minds of the combatants above their ordinary level, and in many instances produced a spirit of heroism, and self-devoted-ness, and endurance, which demands our admiration and sympathy. Both parties soon distinguished their adversaries by particular appellations. The royalists were denominated Cavaliers; a word which, though applied to them at first in allusion to their quality, soon lost its original acceptation, and was taken to be synonymous with papist, atheist, and voluptuary; and they on their part gave to their enemies the name of Roundheads, because they cropped their hair short, dividing “it into so many little peaks as was something ridiculous to behold."
Each army in its composition resembled the other. Commissions were given, not to persons the most fit to
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 76.]
[Footnote 2: Life of Colonel Hutchinson, p. 100. “The godly of those days, when the colonel embraced their party, would not allow him to be religious, because his hair was not in their cut, nor his words in their phrase."–Ibid. The names were first given a little before the king left Whitehall.–Clarendon, i. 339.]
command, but to those who were most willing and able to raise men; and the men themselves, who were generally ill paid, and who considered their services as voluntary, often defeated the best-concerted plans, by their refusal to march from their homes, or their repugnance to obey some particular officer, or their disapproval of the projected expedition. To enforce discipline was dangerous; and both the king and the parliament found themselves compelled to entreat or connive, where they ought to have employed authority and punishment. The command of the royal army was intrusted to the earl of Lindsey, of the parliamentary forces to the earl of Essex, each of whom owed the distinction to the experience which he was supposed to have acquired in foreign service. But such experience afforded little benefit. The passions of the combatants despised the cool calculations of military prudence; a new system of warfare was necessarily generated; and men of talents and ambition quickly acquired that knowledge which was best adapted to the quality of the troops and to the nature of the contest.
Charles, having left Nottingham, proceeded to Shrewsbury, collecting reinforcements, and receiving voluntary contributions on his march. Half-way between Stafford and Wellington he halted the army, and placing himself in the centre, solemnly declared in the presence of Almighty God that he had no other design, that he felt no other wish, than to maintain. the Protestant faith, to govern according to law, and to observe all the statutes enacted in parliament. Should he fail in any one of these particulars, he renounced all claim to assistance from man, or protection from God; but as long as he remained faithful to his promise, he hoped for cheerful aid from his subjects, and was confident of obtaining the blessing of Heaven. This solemn and affecting protestation being circulated through the kingdom, gave a new stimulus to the exertions of his friends; but it was soon opposed by a most extraordinary declaration on the part of[a] the parliament; that it was the real intention of the king to satisfy the demands of the papists by altering the national religion, and the rapacity of the Cavaliers by giving up to them the plunder of the metropolis; and that, to prevent the accomplishment of so wicked a design, the two houses had resolved to enter into a solemn covenant with God, to defend his truth at the hazard of their lives, to associate with the well-affected in London and the rest of the kingdom, and to request the aid of their Scottish brethren, whose liberties and religion were equally at stake.
In the meantime Waller had reduced Portsmouth,[b] while Essex concentrated his force, amounting to fifteen thousand men, in the vicinity of Northampton. He received orders from the houses to rescue, by force[c] if it were necessary, the persons of the king, the prince, and the duke of York, from the hands of those desperate men by whom they were surrounded, to offer a free pardon to all who, within ten days, should return to their duty, and to forward to the king a petition that he would separate himself from his evil counsellors, and rely once more on the loyalty of his parliament. From Northampton Essex hastened to[d] Worcester to oppose the advance of the royal army.
At Nottingham the king could muster no more than six thousand men; he left Shrewsbury at the head of[e] thrice that number. By a succession of skilful manoeuvres
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, ii. 16. Rushworth, v. 20, 21. Journals, v. 376,418.]
[Sidenote b: A.D. 1642. Oct. 22.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1642. Sept. 9.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1642. Sept. 16.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1642. Sept. 23.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1642. Oct. 12.]
he contrived to elude the vigilance of the enemy; and had advanced two days’ march on the road to the metropolis before Essex became aware of his object. In London the news was received with terror. Little reliance could be placed on the courage, less on the fidelity of the trained bands; and peremptory orders were despatched to Essex, to hasten with his whole force to the protection of the capital and the parliament. That general had seen his error; he was following the king with expedition; and his vanguard entered the village of Keynton on the same evening on which the royalists halted on Edgehill, only a few miles in advance. At midnight[a] Charles held a council of war, in which it was resolved to turn upon the pursuers, and to offer them battle. Early in the morning the royal army was seen in position[b] on the summit of a range of hills, which gave them a decided superiority in case of attack; but Essex, whose artillery, with one-fourth of his men, was several miles in the rear, satisfied with having arrested the march of the enemy, quietly posted the different corps, as they arrived, on a rising ground in the Vale of the Red Horse, about half a mile in front of the village. About noon the Cavaliers grew weary of inaction; their importunity at last prevailed; and about two the king discharged a cannon with his own hand as the signal of battle. The royalists descended in good order to the foot of the hill, where their hopes were raised by the treachery of Sir Faithful Fortescue, a parliamentary officer, who, firing his pistol into the ground, ranged himself with two troops of horse under the royal banner. Soon afterwards Prince Rupert, who commanded the cavalry on the right, charged twenty-two troops of parliamentary horse led by Sir James
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1642. Oct. 22.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1642. Oct. 23.]
Ramsay; broke them at the very onset; urged the pursuit two miles beyond Keynton, and finding the baggage of the enemy in the village, indulged his men for the space of an hour in the work of plunder. Had it not been for this fatal imprudence, the royalists would probably have gained a decisive victory.
During his absence the main bodies of infantry were engaged under their respective leaders, the earls of Lindsey and Essex, both of whom, dismounting, led their men into action on foot. The cool and determined courage of the Roundheads undeceived and disconcerted the Cavaliers. The royal horse on the left, a weak body under lord Wilmot, had sought protection behind a regiment of pikemen; and Sir William Balfour, the parliamentary commander, leaving a few squadrons to keep them at bay, wheeled round on the flank of the royal infantry, broke through two divisions, and made himself master of a battery of cannon. In another part of the field the king’s guards, with his standard, bore down every corps that opposed them, till Essex ordered two regiments of infantry and a squadron of horse to charge them in front and flank, whilst Balfour, abandoning the guns which he had taken, burst on them from the rear. They now broke; Sir Edward Varner was slain, and the standard which he bore was taken; the earl of Lindsey received a mortal wound; and his son, the lord Willoughby, was made prisoner in the attempt to rescue his father. Charles, who, attended by his troop of pensioners, watched the fortune of the field, beheld with dismay the slaughter of his guards;
[Footnote 1: The standard was nevertheless recovered by the daring or the address of a Captain Smith, whom the king made a banneret in the field.]
and ordering the reserve to advance, placed himself at their head; but at the moment Rupert and the cavalry reappeared; and, though they had withdrawn from Keynton to avoid, the approach of Hampden with the rear of the parliamentary army, their presence restored the hopes of the royalists and damped the ardour of their opponents. A breathing-time succeeded; the firing ceased on both sides, and the adverse armies stood gazing at each other till the darkness induced them to withdraw,–the royalists to their first position on the hills, and the parliamentarians to the village of Keynton. From the conflicting statements of the parties, it is impossible to estimate their respective losses. Most writers make the number of the slain to amount to five thousand; but the clergyman of the place, who superintended the burial of the dead, reduces it to about one thousand two hundred men.
Both armies claimed the honour, neither reaped the benefit, of victory. Essex, leaving the king to pursue his march, withdrew to Warwick, and thence to Coventry; Charles, having compelled the garrison[a] of Banbury to surrender, turned aside to the city of Oxford. Each commander wished for leisure to
[Footnote 1: This is the most consistent account of the battle, which I can form out of the numerous narratives in Clarendon, May, Ludlow, Heath, &c. Lord Wharton, to silence the alarm in London, on his arrival from the army, assured the two houses that the loss did not exceed three hundred men.–Journ. v. 423. The prince of Wales, about twelve years old, who was on horseback in a field under the care of Sir John Hinton, had a narrow escape, “One of the troopers observing you,” says Hinton, “came in fall career towards your highness. I received his charge, and, having spent a pistol or two on each other, I dismounted him in the closing, but being armed cap-a-pie I could do no execution on him with my sword: at which instant one Mr. Matthews, a gentleman pensioner, rides in, and with a pole-axe decides the business."–MS. in my possession.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1642. Oct. 27.]
reorganize his army after the late battle. The two houses, though they assumed the laurels of victory, felt alarm at the proximity of the royalists, and at occasional visits from parties of cavalry. They ordered Essex to come to their protection; they[a] wrote for assistance from Scotland; they formed a new army under the earl of Warwick; they voted an address to the king; they even submitted to his refusal of receiving as one of their deputies Sir John Evelyn, whom he had previously pronounced a traitor. In the meanwhile the royal army, leaving Oxford, loitered-for what reason is unknown-in the vicinity of Reading, and permitted Essex to march without molestation by the more eastern road to the capital. Kingston, Acton, and Windsor were already garrisoned[b] for the parliament; and the only open passage to London lay through the town of Brentford. Charles had reached Colnbrook in this direction, when he was[c] met by the commissioners, who prevailed on him to suspend his march. The conference lasted two days; on the second of which Essex threw a brigade,[d] consisting of three of his best regiments, into that town. Charles felt indignant at this proceeding. It was in his opinion a breach of faith; and two days[e] later, after an obstinate resistance on the part of the enemy, he gained possession of Brentford, having driven part of the garrison into the river, and taken fifteen pieces of cannon and five hundred men. The latter he ordered to be discharged, leaving it to their option either to enter among his followers or to
[Footnote 1: Journals, 431-466. On Nov. 7 the house voted the king’s refusal to receive Evelyn a refusal to treat; but on the 9th ingeniously evaded the difficulty, by leaving it to the discretion of Evelyn, whether he would act or not. Of course he declined.–Ibid. 437, 439.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1642. Nov. 2.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1642. Nov. 7.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1642. Nov. 10.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1642. Nov. 11.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1642. Nov. 13.]
promise on oath never more to bear arms against him.
This action put an end to the projected treaty. The parliament reproached the king that, while he professed the strongest repugnance to shed the blood of Englishmen, he had surprised and murdered their adherents at Brentford, unsuspicious as they were, and relying on the security of a pretended negotiation. Charles indignantly retorted the charge on his accusers. They were the real deceivers, who sought to keep him inactive in his position, till they had surrounded him with the multitude of their adherents. In effect his situation daily became more critical. His opponents had summoned forces from every quarter to London, and Essex found himself at the head of twenty-four thousand men. The two armies faced[a] each other a whole day on Turnham Green; but neither ventured to charge, and the king, understanding that the corps which, defended the bridge at Kingston had been withdrawn, retreated first to Beading, and then to Oxford. Probably he found himself too weak to cope with the superior number of his adversaries; publicly he alleged his unwillingness to oppose by a battle any further obstacle to a renewal of the treaty.
The whole kingdom at this period exhibited a most melancholy spectacle. No man was suffered to remain neuter. Each county, town, and hamlet was divided into factions, seeking the ruin. of each other. All stood upon their guard, while the most active of either
[Footnote 1: Each party published contradictory accounts. I have adhered to the documents entered in the Journals, which in my opinion show that, if there was any breach of faith in these transactions, it was on the part of the parliament, and act of the king.]
[Footnote 2: May, 179. Whitelock, 65, 66. Clarendon, ii. 76.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1642. Nov. 14.]
party eagerly sought the opportunity of despoiling the lands and surprising the persons of their adversaries. The two great armies, in defiance of the prohibitions of their leaders, plundered wherever they came, and their example was faithfully copied by the smaller bodies of armed men in other districts. The intercourse between distant parts of the country was interrupted; the operations of commerce were suspended; and every person possessed of property was compelled to contribute after a certain rate to the support of that cause which obtained the superiority in his neighbourhood. In Oxford and its vicinity, in the four northern counties, in Wales, Shropshire, and Worcestershire, the royalists triumphed without opposition; in the metropolis, and the adjoining counties, on the southern and eastern coast, the superiority of the parliament was equally decisive. But in many parts the adherents of both were intermixed in such different proportions, and their power and exertions were so variously affected by the occurrences of each succeeding day, that it became difficult to decide which of the two parties held the preponderance. But there were four counties, those of York, Chester, Devon, and Cornwall, in which the leaders had[a] already learned to abhor the evils of civil dissension. They met on both sides, and entered into engagements to suspend their political animosities, to aid each other in putting down the disturbers of the public peace, and to oppose the introduction, of any armed force, without the joint consent both of the king and the parliament. Had the other counties followed the example, the war would have been ended almost as soon as it began. But this was a consummation which the patriots deprecated. They pronounced such engagements
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1642. Dec. 23.]
derogatory from the authority of parliament; they absolved their partisans from the obligations into which they had entered; and they commanded them once more to unsheath the sword in the cause of their[a] God and their country.
But it soon became evident that this pacific feeling was not confined to the more distant counties. It spread rapidly through the whole kingdom; it manifested itself without disguise even in the metropolis. Mea were anxious to free themselves from the forced contribution of one-twentieth part of their estates for the support of the parliamentary army and the citizens could not forget the alarm which had been created by the late approach of the royal forces. Petitions for peace, though they were ungraciously received, continued to load the tables of both houses; and, as the king himself had proposed a cessation of hostilities, prudence taught the most sanguine advocates for war to accede to the wishes of the people, A negotiation was opened at Oxford. The demands of[b] the parliament amounted to fourteen articles; those of Charles were confined to six. But two only, the[c] first in each class, came into discussion. No argument[d] could induce the houses to consent that the king should name to the government of the forts and castles without their previous approbation of the persons to be appointed; and he demurred to their proposal that both armies should be disbanded, until he knew on what conditions he was to return to his capital. They had limited the duration of the conference to twenty days; he proposed a prolongation of[e]
[Footnote 1: Journals, 535. Rushworth, v. 100. Clarendon, ii, 136, 139.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, 463, 491, 594, Commons’ Journals, Dec. 13. It was imposed Nov. 29, 1642.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. Jan. 7.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. Jan. 30.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1643. Feb. 3.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1643. March 20.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1643. March 30.]
the term; they refused; and he offered, as his ultimatum, that, whenever he should be reinstated in the possession of his revenues, magazines, ships, and[a] forts, according to law; when all the members of parliament, with the exception of the bishops, should be restored to their seats, as they held them on the 1st of January, 1641; and when the two houses should be secure from the influence of tumultuary assemblies, which could only be effected by an adjournment to some place twenty miles distant from London, he would consent to the immediate disbanding of both armies, and would meet his parliament in person. The Commons instantly passed a vote to recall the[b] commissioners from Oxford; the Lords, though at first they dissented, were compelled to signify their concurrence; and an end was put to the treaty, and to[c] the hopes which it had inspired.
During this negotiation the houses left nothing to the discretion of their commissioners, the earl of Northumberland, Pierrepoint, Armyn, Holland, and Whitelock. They were permitted to propose and argue; they had no power to concede. Yet, while they acted in public according to the tenour of their instructions, they privately gave the king to understand that he might probably purchase the preservation, of the church by surrendering the command of the militia,–a concession which his opponents deemed
[Footnote 1: See the whole proceedings relative to the treaty in the king’s works, 325-397; the Journals of the Lords, v. 659-718; and Rushworth, v. 164-261.]
[Footnote 2: This was a most dilatory and inconvenient arrangement. Every proposal, or demand, or suggestion front the king was sent to the parliament, and its expediency debated. The houses generally disagreed. Conferences were therefore held, and amendments proposed; new discussions followed, and a week was perhaps consumed before a point of small importance could be settled.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. April 12.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. April 14.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1643. April 17.]
essential to their own security. At one period they indulged a strong hope of success. At parting, Charles had promised to give them satisfaction, on the following day; but during the night he was dissuaded from his purpose; and his answer in the morning proved little short of an absolute denial. Northumberland also made a secret offer of his influence to mollify the obstinacy of the patriots; but Charles, who called that nobleman the most ungrateful of men, received the proposal with displeasure, and to the importunity of his advisers coldly replied, that the service must come first and the reward might follow afterwards. Whether the parliament began to suspect the fidelity of the commissioners, and on that account recalled them, is unknown. Hyde maintains that the king protracted the negotiation to give time for the arrival of the queen, without whom he would come to no determination; but of this not a vestige appears in the private correspondence between Charles and his consort; and a sufficient reason for the failure of the treaty may be found in the high pretensions of each party, neither of whom had been sufficiently humbled to purchase peace with the sacrifice of honour or safety.
It was owing to the indefatigable exertions of Henrietta, that the king had been enabled to meet his opponents in the field. During her residence in
[Footnote 1: See Clarendon’s Life, 76-80; Whitelock, 68; and the letters in the king’s works, 138-140. Before Henrietta left England, he had promised her to give away no office without her consent, and not to make peace but through her mediation. Charles, however, maintained that the first regarded not offices of state, but offices of the royal household; and the second seems to have been misunderstood. As far as I can judge, it only meant that whenever he made peace, he would put her forward as mediatrix, to the end that, since she had been calumniated as being the cause of the rupture between him and his people, she might also have in the eyes of the public the merit of effecting the reconciliation.–Clarendon’s Life, ibid.] [a]Holland she had repeatedly sent him supplies of arms and ammunition, and, what he equally wanted, of veteran officers to train and discipline his forces.[b] In February, leaving the Hague, and trusting to her good fortune, she had eluded the vigilance of Batten, the parliamentary admiral, and landed in safety in the port of Burlington, on the coast of Yorkshire.[c] Batten, enraged at his disappointment, anchored on the second night, with four ships and a pinnace, in the road, and discharged above one hundred shot at the houses on the quay, in one of which the queen was lodged.[d] Alarmed at the danger, she quitted her bed, and, “bare foot and bare leg,” sought shelter till daylight behind the nearest hill. No action of the war was more bitterly condemned by the gallantry of the Cavaliers than this unmanly attack on a defenceless female, the wife of the sovereign. The earl of Newcastle hastened to Burlington, and escorted her with his army to York. To have pursued her journey to Oxford would have been to throw herself into the arms of her opponents. She remained four months in Yorkshire, winning the hearts of the inhabitants by her affability, and quickening their loyalty by her words and example.
During the late treaty every effort had been made to recruit the parliamentary army; at its expiration, Hampden, who commanded a regiment, proposed to besiege the king within the city of Oxford. But the ardour of the patriots was constantly checked by the caution of the officers who formed the council of war. Essex invested Reading; at the expiration of ten days[e]
[Footnote 1: Mercurius Belgic. Feb. 24. Michrochronicon, Feb. 24, 1642-3. Clarendon, ii. 143. According to Rushworth, Batten fired at boats which were landing ammunition on the quay.]
[Sidenote a: CHAP.I.A.D. 1643] [Sidenote b: 1643 Feb. 16.] [Sidenote c: 1643 Feb. 22.] [Sidenote d: 1643 Feb. 24.] [Sidenote e: 1643 April 27.]
it capitulated; and Hampden renewed his proposal. But the hardships of the siege had already broken the health of the soldiers; and mortality and desertion daily thinned their numbers, Essex found himself compelled to remain six weeks in his new quarters at Reading.
If the fall of that town impaired the reputation of the royalists, it added to their strength by the arrival of the four thousand men who had formed the garrison. But the want of ammunition condemned the king to the same inactivity to which sickness had reduced his adversaries. Henrietta endeavoured to supply this deficiency. In May a plentiful convoy [a] arrived from York; and Charles, before he put his forces in motion, made another offer of accommodation. By the Lords it was received with respect; the Commons imprisoned the messenger; and Pym, in their name, impeached the queen of high treason against the parliament and kingdom.[b] The charge was met by the royalists with sneers of derision. The Lords declined the ungracious task of sitting in judgment on the wife of their sovereign; and the Commons themselves, but it was not till after the lapse of eight months, yielded to their reluctances and silently dropped the prosecution.
In the lower house no man had more distinguished himself of late, by the boldness of his language, and his fearless advocacy of peace, than Edmund Waller, the poet. In conversation with his intimate friends he had frequently suggested the formation of a third party, of moderate men, who should “stand in the gap, and unite the king and the parliament.” In
[Footnote 1: Journals, 104, 111, 118, 121, 362. Commons’ Journals, May 23, June 21, July 3, 6, 1644, Jan. 10.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. May 20] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. May 23]
this work they calculated on the co-operation of all the Lords excepting three, of a considerable number of the lower house, and of the most able among the advisers of the king at Oxford; and that they might ascertain the real opinion of the city, they agreed to portion it into districts, to make lists of the inhabitants, and to divide them into three classes,–of moderate men, of royalists, and of parliamentarians. The design had been communicated to Lord Falkland, the king’s secretary; but it remained in this imperfect state, when it was revealed to Pym by the perfidy or patriotism of a servant, who had overheard the discourse of his master.[a] Waller, Tomkins his brother-in-law, and half-a-dozen others, were immediately secured; and an annunciation was made to the two houses of “the discovery of a horrid plot to seize the city, force the parliament, and join with the royal army."
The leaders of the patriots eagerly improved this opportunity to quell that spirit of pacification which had recently insinuated itself among their partisans. While the public mind was agitated by rumours respecting the bloody designs of the conspirators, while every moderate man feared that the expression of his sentiments might be taken as an evidence of his participation in the plot, they proposed a new oath and covenant to the House of Commons.[b] No one dared to object; and the members unanimously swore “never to consent to the laying down of arms, so long as the papists, in open war against the parliament, should be protected from the justice thereof, but according to their power and vocation, to assist the forces raised by the parliament against the forces
[Footnote 1: Journals, June 6.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. May 31] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. June 6]
raised by the king.” The Lords, the citizens, the army followed their example; and an ordinance was published that every man in his parish church should make the same vow and covenant.[a] As for the prisoners, instead of being sent before a court of law, they were tried by a court-martial.[b] Six were condemned to die: two suffered.[c] Waller saved his life by the most abject submission. “He seemed much smitten in conscience: he desired the help of godly ministers,” and by his entreaties induced the Commons to commute his punishment into a fine of ten thousand pounds and an order to travel on the continent. To the question why the principal should be spared, when his assistants suffered, it was answered by some that a promise of life had been made to induce him to confess, by others that too much
[Footnote 1: Journals, May 31; June 6, 14, 21, 27, 29. Rushworth, v. 322-333. Whitelock, 67, 70, 105. The preamble began thus: “Whereas there hath been and now is in this kingdom a popish and traitorous plot for the subversion of the true Protestant religion, and liberty of the subject, in pursuance whereof a popish army hath been raised and is now on foot in divers parts of the kingdom,” &c.–Journals, June 6. Lords’ Journals, vi. 87. I am loath to charge the framers and supporters of this preamble with publishing a deliberate falsehood, for the purpose of exciting odium against the king; but I think it impossible to view their conduct in any other light. The popish plot and popish army were fictions of their own to madden the passions of their adherents. Charles, to refute the calumny, as he was about to receive the sacrament from the hands of Archbishop Ussher, suddenly rose and addressed him thus, in the hearing of the whole congregation: “My Lord, I have to the utmost of my soul prepared to become a worthy receiver; and may I so receive comfort by the blessed sacrament, as I do intend the establishment of the true reformed Protestant religion, as it stood in its beauty in the happy days of Queen Elizabeth, without any connivance at popery. I bless God that in the midst of these publick distractions I have still liberty to communicate; and may this sacrament be my damnation, if my heart do not joyn with my lipps in this protestation."–Rush. v. 346. Connivance was an ambiguous and therefore an ill-chosen word. He was probably sincere in the sense which heattached to it, but certainly forsworn in the sense in which it would be taken by his opponents.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. June 27] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. June 30] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1643. July 5]
blood had already been shed in expiation of an imaginary plot.
In the meanwhile Essex, after several messages from the parliament, had removed from Reading, and fixed his head-quarters at Tame. One night Prince Rupert, making a long circuit, surprised Chinnor in the rear of the army, and killed or captured the greater part of two regiments that lay in the town.[a] In his retreat to Oxford, he was compelled to turn on his pursuers at Chalgrove; they charged with more courage than prudence, and were repulsed with considerable loss. It was in this action that the celebrated Hampden received the wound of which he died. The reputation which he had earned by his resistance to the payment of the ship-money had deservedly placed him at the head of the popular leaders. His insinuating manner, the modesty of his pretensions, and the belief of his integrity, gave to his opinions an irresistible weight in the lower house; and the courage and activity which he displayed in the army led many to lament that he did not occupy the place held by the more tardy or more cautious earl of Essex. The royalists exulted at his death as equal to a victory; the patriots lamented it as a loss which could not be repaired. Both were deceived. Revolutions are the seed-plots of talents and energy. One great leader had been withdrawn; there was no dearth of others to supply his place.
[Footnote 1: After a minute investigation, I cannot persuade myself that Waller and his friends proceeded farther than I have mentioned. What they might have done, had they not been interrupted, is matter of mere conjecture. The commission of array, which their enemies sought to couple with their design, had plainly no relation to it.]
[Footnote 2: Rushworth, v. 265, 274. Whitelock, 69, 70. Clarendon, ii. 237, 261.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. June 18]
To the Root-and-branch men the rank, no less than the inactivity of Essex, afforded a legitimate ground of suspicion. In proportion as he sank in their esteem, they were careful to extol the merits and flatter the ambition of Sir William Waller. Waller had formerly enjoyed a lucrative office under the crown, but he had been fined in the Star-chamber, and his wife was a “godly woman;” her zeal and his own resentment made him a patriot; he raised a troop of horse for the service, and was quickly advanced to a command. The rapidity of his movements, his daring spirit, and his contempt of military rules, were advantageously contrasted with the slow and cautious experience of Essex; and his success at Portsmouth, Winchester, Chichester, Malmesbury, and Hereford, all of which he reduced in a short time, entitled him, in the estimation of his admirers, to the quaint appellation of William the Conqueror. While the forces under Essex were suffered to languish in a state of destitution, an army of eight thousand men, well clothed and appointed, was prepared for Waller. But the event proved that his abilities had been overrated. In the course of a week he fought two battles, one near Bath, with Prince Maurice,[a] the other with Lord Wilmot, near Devizes[b]: the first was obstinate but indecisive, the second bloody and disastrous. Waller hastened from the field to the capital, attributing the loss of his army, not to his own errors, but to the jealousy of Essex. His patrons did not abandon their favourite. Emulating the example of the Romans,
[Footnote 1: His army was reduced to “four thousand or five thousand men, and these much malcontented that their general and they should be misprised, and Waller immediately prized."–Baillie, i. 391. He had three thousand marching men, and three hundred sick.–Journals, vi. 160.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. July 5] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. July 13]
they met the unfortunate general in triumphal procession, and the speaker of the Commons officially returned him thanks for his services to his country.[a]
This tone of defiance did not impose on the advocates of peace. Waller’s force was annihilated; the grand army, lately removed to Kingston, had been so reduced by want and neglect, that Essex refused to give to it the name of an army; the queen had marched without opposition from Yorkshire to Oxford, bringing to her husband, who met her on Edge-hill, a powerful reinforcement of men, artillery, and stores[b]; and Prince Rupert, in the course of three days, had won the city and castle of Bristol, through the cowardice or incapacity of Nathaniel Fiennes, the governor.[c] The cause of the parliament seemed to totter on the brink of ruin; and the Lords, profiting of this moment of alarm, sent to the Commons six resolutions to form the basis of a new treaty. They were favourably received; and after a debate, which lasted till ten at night, it was resolved by a majority of twenty-nine to take them into consideration.[d]
But the pacific party had to contend with men of
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 284, 285. Clarendon, ii. 278, 290. Journals, July 27. May, 201–205. His first successes were attributed to Colonel Hurry, a Scotsman, though Waller held the nominal command–Baillie, i. 351. But Hurry, in discontent, passed over to the king, and was the planner of the expedition which led to the death of Hampden.–Clarendon, ii. 264. Baillie, i. 371.]
[Footnote 2: Fiennes, to clear himself from the imputation of cowardice, demanded a court-martial, and Prynne and Walker, who had accused him in their publications, became the prosecutors. He was found guilty, and condemned to lose his head, but obtained a pardon from Essex, the commander-in-chief.–Howell, State Trials, iv. 186-293.]
[Footnote 3: Clarendon Papers, ii. 149. The Lords had in the last month declared their readiness to treat; but the proceedings had been suspended in consequence of a royal declaration that the houses were not free, nor their votes to be considered as the votes of parliament.–Journals, vi. 97, 103, 108.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. July 27] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. July 13] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1643. July 27] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1643. August 5]
the most determined energy, whom no dangers could appal, no difficulties subdue. The next day was Sunday, and it was spent by them in arranging a new plan of opposition.[a] The preachers from their pulpits described peace as the infallible ruin of the city; the common council voted a petition, urging, in the most forcible terms, the continuation of the war; and placards were affixed in the streets, calling on the inhabitants to rise as one man, and prevent the triumph of the malignants.[b] The next morning Alderman Atkins carried the petition to Westminster, accompanied by thousands calling out for war, and utterings threats of vengeance against the traitors. Their cries resounded through both the houses. The Lords resolved to abstain from all public business till tranquillity was restored, but the Commons thanked the petitioners for their attachment to the cause of the country. The consideration of the resolutions was then resumed; terror had driven the more pusillanimous from the house; and on the second division the war party obtained a majority of seven.
Their opponents, however, might yet have triumphed, had they, as was originally suggested, repaired to the army, and claimed the protection of the earl of Essex. But the lord Saye and Mr. Pym hastened to that nobleman and appeased his discontent with
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, ii. 320. Journals, Aug. 5, 7, Lords’, vi, 171, 172. Baillie, i. 390. On the Saturday, the numbers were 94 and 65; on the Monday 81 and 79; but the report of the tellers was disputed, and on the second division it gave 81 and 89. Two days later, between two thousand and three thousand women (the men dared mot appear) presented a petition for peace, and received a civil answer; but as they did not depart, and some of them used menacing language, they were charged and dispersed by the military, with the loss of several lives.–Journals, June 9. Clarendon, iii. 321 Baillie. i. 390.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. August 6] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. August 7]
excuses and promises. They offered to punish those who had libelled his character; they professed an unbounded reliance on his honour; they assured him that money, clothing, and recruits were already prepared to re-establish his army. Essex was won; and he informed his friends, that he could not conscientiously act against the parliament from which he held his commission. Seven of the lords, almost half of the upper house, immediately retired from Westminster.
The victorious party proceeded with new vigour in their military preparations. Measures were taken to recruit to its full complement the grand army under Essex; and an ordinance was passed to raise a separate force of ten thousand horse for the protection of the metropolis. Kimbolton, who on the death of his father had succeeded to the title of earl of Manchester, received a commission to levy an army in the associated counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridge, Ely, and Hertford. Committees were appointed to raise men and money in numerous other districts, and were invested with almost unlimited powers; for the exercise of which in the service of the parliament,
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, 323-333. Northumberland repaired to his house at Petworth; the earls of Bedford, Holland, Portland, and Clare, and the lords Lovelace and Conway, to the king at Oxford. They were ungraciously received, and most of them returned to the parliament.]
[Footnote 2: The first association was made in the northern counties by the earl of Newcastle in favour of the king, and was afterwards imitated by the counties of Devon and Cornwall. The patriots saw the advantage to be derived from such unions, and formed several among their partisans. The members bound themselves to preserve the peace of the associated counties; if they were royalists, “against the malevolent and ambitious persons who, in the name of the two houses, had embroiled the kingdom in a civil war;" if they were parliamentarians, “against the papists and other ill-affected persons who surrounded the king.” In each, regulations were adopted, fixing the number of men to be levied, armed, and trained, and the money which for that purpose was to be raised in each township.–Rushworth, v. 66, 94-97, 119, 381.]
they were made responsible to no one but the parliament itself. Sir Henry Vane, with three colleagues from the lower house, hastened to Scotland to solicit the aid of a Scottish army; and, that London might be secure from insult, a line of military communication was ordered to be drawn round the city. Every morning thousands of the inhabitants, without distinction of rank, were summoned to the task in rotation; with drums beating and colours flying they proceeded to the appointed place, and their wives and daughters attended to aid and encourage them during the term of their labour.[a] In a few days this great work, extending twelve miles in circuit, was completed, and the defence of the line, with the command of ten thousand men, was intrusted to Sir William Waller. Essex, at the repeated request of the parliament, reluctantly signed the commission, but still refused to insert in it the name of his rival. The blank was filled up by order of the House of Commons.
Here, however, it is time to call the attention of the reader to the opening career of that extraordinary man, who, in the course of the next ten years, raised himself from the ignoble pursuits of a grazier to the high dignity of lord protector of the three kingdoms. Oliver Cromwell was sprung from a younger branch of the Cromwells, a family of note and antiquity in Huntingdonshire, and widely spread through that county and the whole of the Fenn district. In the more early part of his life he fell into a state of profound and prolonged melancholy; and it is plain from the few and disjointed documents which have come down to us, that his mental faculties were
[Footnote 1: May, 214. Journals, July 18, 19, 27; Aug. 3, 7, 9, 15, 26. Lords’, vi. 149, 158, 175, 184.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. August.]
impaired, that he tormented himself with groundless apprehensions of impending death, on which account he was accustomed to require the attendance of his physician at the hour of midnight, and that his imagination conjured up strange fancies about the cross in the market-place at Huntingdon, hallucinations which seem to have originated in the intensity of his religious feelings, for we are assured that “he had spent the days of his manhood in a dissolute course of life in good fellowship and gaming;" or, as he expresses it himself, he had been “a chief, the chief of sinners, and a hater of godliness.” However, it pleased “God the light to enlighten the darkness” of his spirit, and to convince him of the error and the wickedness of his ways; and from the terrors which such conviction engendered, seems to have originated that aberration of intellect, of which he was the victim during great part of two years. On his recovery he had passed from one extreme to the other, from the misgivings of despair to the joyful assurance of salvation. He now felt that he was accepted by God, a vessel of election to work the work of God, and bound through gratitude “to put himself forth in the cause of the Lord." This flattering belief, the
[Footnote 1: Warwick’s Memoirs, 249. Warwick had his information from Dr. Simcott, Cromwell’s physician, who pronounced him splenetic. Sir Theodore Mayerne was also consulted, who, in his manuscript journal for 1628, describes his patient as valde melancholicus.–Eliis, Orig. Letters, 2nd series, iii. 248.]
[Footnote 2: Warwick, 249.]
[Footnote 3: In 1638 he thus writes of himself to a female saint, one of his cousins: “I find that God giveth springs in a dry barren wilderness, where no water is. I live, you know where, in Meshec, which they say signifies prolonging,–in Kedar, which signifies blackness. Yet the Lord forsaketh me not, though he do prolong. Yet he will, I trust, bring me to his tabernacle, his resting place.” If the reader wish to understand this Cromwellian effusion, let him consult the Psalm cxix. in the Vulgate., or cxx. in the English translation. He says to the same correspondent, “You know what my manner of life hath been. Oh! I lived in and loved darkness, and hated light. I was a chief, the chief of sinners. This is true. I hated godliness. Yet God had mercy on me. Oh, the riches of his mercy!"–Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches by Carlyle, i. 121. Warwick bears testimony to the sincerity of his conversion; “for he declared he was ready to make restitution to any man who would accuse him, or whom he could accuse himself to, to have wronged."–Warwick, 249.]
fruit of his malady at Huntingdon, or of his recovery from it, accompanied him to the close of his career: it gave in his eyes the sanction of Heaven to the more questionable events in his life, and enabled him to persevere in habits of the most fervent devotion, even when he was plainly following the unholy suggestions of cruelty, and duplicity, and ambition.
It was probably to withdraw him from scenes likely to cause the prolongation or recurrence of his malady, that he was advised to direct his attention to the pursuits of agriculture. He disposed by sale of his patrimonial property in Huntingdon, and took a large grazing farm in the neighbourhood of the little town of St. Ives.[a] This was an obscure, but tranquil and soothing occupation, which he did not quit till five years later, when he migrated to Ely, on the death of his maternal uncle, who had left to him by will the lucrative situation of farmer of the tithes and of churchlands belonging to the cathedral of that city. Those stirring events followed, which led to the first civil war; Cromwell’s enthusiasm rekindled, the time was come “to put himself forth in the cause of the Lord,” and that cause he identified in his own mind with the cause of the country party in opposition to the sovereign and the church. The energy with which he entered into the controversies of the time attracted public notice, and the burgesses of Cambridge chose him for their representative in both the parliaments called by the king in 1640. He carried with him to the house the simplicity of dress, and the awkwardness of manner, which bespoke the country farmer; occasionally he rose to speak, and then, though his voice was harsh, his utterance confused, and his matter unpremeditated, yet he seldom failed to command respect and attention by the originality and boldness of his views, the fervour with which he maintained them, and the well-known energy and inflexibility of his character. It was not, however, before the year 1642 that he took his place among the leaders of the party. Having been appointed one of the committees for the county of Cambridge and the isle of Ely, he hastened down to Cambridge, took possession of the magazine, distributed the arms among the burgesses, and prevented the colleges from sending their plate to the king at Oxford.[a] From the town he transferred his services to the district committed to his charge. No individual of suspicious or dangerous principles, no secret plan or association of the royalists, could elude his vigilance and activity. At the head of a military force he was everywhere present, making inquiries, inflicting punishments, levying weekly the weekly assessments, impressing men, horses, and stores, and exercising with relentless severity all those repressive and vindictive powers with which the recent ordinances had armed the committees. His exertions were duly appreciated. When the parliament selected officers to command the seventy-five troops of horse, of sixty men each, in the new army under the earl of Essex,[b] farmer Cromwell received the
[Footnote 1: Warwick, 247]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1642. August. 15.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1642. Sept. 14.]
commission of captain; within six months afterwards, he was raised to the higher rank of colonel, with permission to levy for himself a regiment of one thousand horse out of the trained bands in the Eastern association.[a] To the sentiment of honour, which animated the Cavaliers in the field, he resolved to oppose the energy which is inspired by religious enthusiasm. Into the ranks of his Ironsides–their usual designation–he admitted no one who was not a freeholder, or the son of a freeholder, and at the same time a man fearing God, a known professor of godliness, and one who would make it his duty and his pride to execute justice on the enemies of God. Nor was he disappointed. The soldiers of the Lord of Hosts proved themselves a match for the soldiers of the earthly monarch. At their head the colonel, by his activity and daring, added new laurels to those which he had previously won; and parliament, as a proof of confidence, appointed him military governor of a very important post, the isle of Ely.[b] Lord Grey of Werke held at that time the command of the army in the Eastern association; but Grey was superseded by the earl of Manchester, and Colonel Cromwell speedily received the commission of lieutenant-general under that commander.[c]
But to return to the general narrative, which has been interrupted to introduce Cromwell to the reader,
[Footnote 1: Cromwell tells us of one of them, Walton, the son of Colonel Walton, that in life he was a precious young man fit for God, and at his death, which was caused by a wound received in battle, became a glorious saint in heaven. To die in such a cause was to the saint a “comfort great above his pain. Yet one thing hung upon his spirit. I asked him what that was. He told me, that God had not suffered him to be any more the executioner of His enemies."–Ellis, first series, iii. 299.]
[Footnote 2: See Cromwelliana, 1–7; May, 206, reprint of 1812; Lords’ Journ. iv. 149; Commons’, iii. 186.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. March 2.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. July 28.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1643. August 8.]
London was preserved from danger, not by the new lines of circumvallation, or the prowess of Waller, but through the insubordination which prevailed among the royalists. The earl, now marquess, of Newcastle, who had associated the northern counties in favour of the king, had defeated the lord Fairfax, the parliamentary general, at Atherton Moor, in Yorkshire, and retaken Gainsborough, in Lincolnshire, from the army under Cromwell. Here, however, his followers refused to accompany him any further. It was in vain that he called upon them to join the grand army in the south, and put an end at once to the war by the reduction of the capital. They had been embodied for the defence of the northern counties, and could not be induced to extend the limits of that service for which they had been originally enrolled. Hence the king, deprived of one half of his expected force, was compelled to adopt a new plan of operations. Turning his back on London, he hastened towards the Severn, and invested Gloucester, the only place of note in the midland counties which admitted the authority of the parliament.[a] That city was defended by Colonel Massey, a brave and determined officer, with an obstinacy equal to its importance; and Essex, at the head of twelve thousand men, undertook to raise the siege. The design was believed impracticable; but all the attempts of the royalists to impede his progress were defeated;[b] and on the twenty-sixth day the discharge of four pieces of cannon from Presbury Hills announced his arrival to the inhabitants.[c] The besiegers burnt their huts and retired;[d] and Essex, having spent a few days to recruit his men and provision the place, resumed his march in the direction of London.[e] On his approach to Newbury,
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. August 10.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. August 26.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1643. Sept. 5.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1643. Sept. 6.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1643. Sept. 19.]
he found the royal army in possession of the road before him. I shall not attempt to describe a conflict which has been rendered unintelligible by the confused and discordant narratives of different writers. The king’s cavalry appears to have been more than a match for that of the enemy; but it could make no impression on the forest of pikes presented by the infantry, the greater part of which consisted of the trained bands from the capital. The battle raged till late in the evening, and both armies passed the night in the field, but in the morning the king allowed Essex to march through Newbury; and having ordered Prince Rupert to annoy the rear, retired with his infantry to Oxford. The parliamentarians claimed, and seem to have been justified in claiming, the victory; but their commander, having made his triumphal entry into the capital, solicited permission to resign his command and travel on the continent. To those who sought to dissuade him, he objected the distrust with which he had been treated, and the insult which had been offered to him by the authority intrusted to Waller. Several expedients were suggested; but the lord general was aware of his advantage; his jealousy could not be removed by adulation or submission; and Waller, after a long struggle, was compelled to resign the command of the army intrusted with the defence of the capital.[a]
As soon as the parliament had recovered from the alarm occasioned by the loss of Bristol, it had found leisure to devote a part of its attention to the civil government of the kingdom. I. Serious inconveniences
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 286, 290, 293. May, 220-228. Clarendon, iii, 347. Journals, Sept. 26, 28; Oct. 7, 9. Lords’, vi. 218, 242, 246, 247, 347, 356.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. Oct. 9.]
had been experienced from the absence of the great seal, the application of which was held by the lawyers necessary to give validity to several descriptions of writs. Of this benefit the two houses and their adherents were deprived, while the king on his part was able to issue patents and commissions in the accustomed form. To remedy the evil, the Commons had voted a new seal;[a] the Lords demurred; but at last their consent was extorted:[b] commissioners were appointed to execute the office of lord keeper, and no fewer than five hundred writs were sealed in one day. 2. The public administration of justice had been suspended for twelve months. The king constantly adjourned the terms from Westminster to Oxford, and the two houses as constantly forbade the judges to go their circuits during the vacations. Now, however, under the authority of the new seal, the courts were opened. The commissioners sat in Chancery, and three judges, all that remained with the parliament, Bacon, Reeve, and Trevor, in those of the King’s Bench, the Common Pleas, and the Exchequer. 3. The prosecution of the judges on account of their opinions in the case of the ship-money was resumed. Of those who had been impeached, two remained, Berkeley and Trevor. The first was fined in twenty, the second in six, thousand pounds. Berkeley obtained the remission of a moiety of the fine, and both were released from the imprisonment to which they were adjudged.
Ever since the beginning of the troubles, a thorough understanding had existed between the chief of the Scottish Covenanters, and the principal of the English
[Footnote 1: Lords’ Journals, vi. 214, 252, 264, 301, 318. Commons’ Journals, May 15; July 5; Sept. 28. Rushworth, v. 144, 145, 339, 342, 361.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. July 15.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. Oct. 11.]
reformers. Their views were similar; their object the same. The Scots had, indeed, fought and won; but they held the fruit of their victory by a doubtful tenure, as long as the fate of their “English brethren” depended on the uncertain chances of war. Both policy and religion prompted them to interfere. The triumph of the parliament would secure their own liberties; it might serve to propagate the pure worship of their kirk. This had been foreseen by the Scottish royalists, and Montrose, who by the act against the plotters was debarred from all access to the king, took advantage of the queen’s debarkation at Burlington to visit her at York. He pointed out to her the probability of the Scottish Covenanters sending their army to the aid of the parliament, and offered to prevent the danger by levying in Scotland an army of ten thousand royalists. But he was opposed by his enemy the marquess of Hamilton, who deprecated the arming of Scot against Scot, and engaged on his own responsibility to preserve the peace between the Scottish people and their sovereign. His advice, prevailed; the royalists in Scotland were ordered to follow him as their leader; and, to keep him true to the royal interest, the higher title of duke was conferred upon him.
If Hamilton was sincere, he had formed a false notion of his own importance. The Scottish leaders, acting as if they were independent of the sovereign, summoned a convention of estates. The estates met[a] in defiance of the king’s prohibition; but, to their surprise and mortification, no commissioner had arrived from the English parliament. National jealousy, the known intolerance of the Scottish kirk, the exorbitant
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, iv. 624. Guthrie, 127.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. June 22.]
claims set up by the Scottish leaders in the late invasion, contributed to deter many from accepting their new offers of assistance; and more than two months were suffered to elapse before the commissioners, Vane, Armyn, Hatcher, and Darley, with Marshall, a Presbyterian, and Nye, an Independent divine, were despatched[a] with full powers to Scotland. Both the convention of the estates and the assembly of the kirk had long waited to receive them; their arrival[b] was celebrated as a day of national triumph; and the letters which they delivered from the English parliament were read with shouts of exultation and tears of joy.
In the very outset of the negotiation two important difficulties occurred. The Scots professed a willingness to take up arms, but sought at the same time to assume the character of mediators and umpires, to dictate the terms of reconciliation, and to place themselves in a condition to extort the consent of the opposite parties. From these lofty pretensions they were induced to descend by the obstinacy of Vane and the persuasions of Johnston of Wariston, one of their subtlest statesmen; they submitted to act as the allies of the parliament; but required as an indispensable
[Footnote 1: “The jealousy the English have of our nation, beyond all reason, is not well taken. If Mr. Meldrum bring no satisfaction to us quickly as to conformity of church government, it will be a great impediment in their affairs here."–Baillie, July 26, i. 372. See also Dalrymple, ii. 144.]
[Footnote 2: The Scots did not approve of this mission of the Independent ministers. “Mr. Marshall will be most welcome; but if Mr. Nye, the head of the Independents, be his fellow, we cannot take it well."–Baillie, i. 372. They both preached before the Assembly. “We heard Mr. Marshall with great contentment. Mr. Nye did not please. He touched neither in prayer or preaching the common business. All his sermon was on the common head of spiritual life, wherein he ran out above all our understandings."–Id. 388.]
[Footnote 3: Baillie, i. 379, 380. Rushworth, v. 467, 470.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. July 20.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. August 27.]
preliminary, the sanction of the kirk. It was useless to reply that this was a civil, and not a religious treaty. The Scots rejoined, that the two houses had always announced the reformation of religion as the chief of their objects; that they had repeatedly expressed their wish of “a nearer union of both churches;” and that, in their last letters to the Assembly, they had requested the members to aid them with their prayers and influence, to consult with their commissioners, and to send some Scottish ministers to join the English divines assembled at Westminster. Under these circumstances, Vane and his colleagues could not refuse to admit a deputation from the Assembly, with Henderson the moderator at its head. He submitted to their consideration the form of a “solemn league and covenant" which should bind the two nations to prosecute the public incendiaries, to preserve the king’s life and authority in defence of the true religion and the liberties of both kingdoms, to extirpate popery, prelacy, heresy, schism, and profaneness, and to establish a conformity of doctrine, discipline, and church government throughout the island. This last clause alarmed the commissioners. They knew that, though the majority of the parliamentarians inclined to the Presbyterian tenets, there existed among them a numerous and most active party (and of these Vane himself was among the most distinguished) who deemed all ecclesiastical authority an invasion of the rights of conscience; and they saw that, to introduce an obligation so repugnant to the principles of the latter, would be to provoke an open rupture, and to marshal the two sects in hostile array against each other. But the zeal of the
[Footnote 1: Journals, vi. 140.]
Scottish theologians was inexorable; they refused to admit any opening to the toleration of the Independents; and it was with difficulty that they were at last persuaded to intrust the working of the article to two or three individuals of known and approved orthodoxy. By these it was presented in a new and less objectionable form, clothed in such happy ambiguity of language, as to suit the principles and views of all parties. It provided that the kirk should be preserved in its existing purity, and the church of England “be reformed according to the word of God” (which the Independents would interpret in their own sense), and “after the example of the best reformed churches,” among which the Scots could not doubt that theirs was entitled to the first place. In this shape, Henderson, with an appropriate preface, laid[a] the league and covenant before the Assembly; several speakers, admitted into the secret, commended it in terms of the highest praise, and it was immediately approved, without one dissentient voice.
As soon as the covenant, in its amended shape, had received the sanction of the estates, the most eloquent pens were employed to quicken the flame of enthusiasm. The people were informed,[b] in the cant language of the time, 1. that the controversy in England was between the Lord Jesus, and the antichrist with his followers; the call was clear; the curse of Meroz would light on all who would not come to help the Lord against the mighty: 2. that both kirks and kingdoms were in imminent danger; they sailed in one bottom, dwelt in one house, and were members of one body; if either were ruinated, the other could not subsist; Judah could not long continue in liberty, if
[Footnote 1: Baillie, i. 381. Clarendon, iii. 368-384.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. August 17.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. August 24.]
Israel were led away captive: and 3. that they had now a fair opportunity of advancing uniformity in discipline and worship; the English had already laid the foundation of a good building by casting out that great idol, prelacy; and it remained for the Scots to rear the edifice and in God’s good time to put on the cap-stone. The clergy called on their hearers “to turn to God by fasting and prayer;” a proclamation was issued summoning all the lieges between the ages of sixteen and sixty to appear in arms; and the chief command of the forces was, at the request of the parliament, accepted by Leslie, the veteran general of the Covenanters in the last war. He had, indeed, made a solemn promise to the king, when he was created earl of Leven, never more to bear arms against him; but he now recollected that it was with the reservation, if not expressed, at least understood, of all cases in which liberty or religion might be at stake.
In England the covenant, with some amendments was approved by the two houses, and ordered to be taken and subscribed by all persons in office, and generally by the whole nation. The Commons set[a] the example; the Lords, with an affectation of dignity which exposed them to some sarcastic remarks, waited till it had previously been taken by the Scots. At the same time a league of “brotherly assistance” was negotiated, stipulating that the estates should aid the parliament with an army of twenty-one thousand men; that they should place a Scottish garrison in Berwick, and dismantle the town at the conclusion of the war;[b]
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 472, 482, 492. Journals, 139, 312. Baillie, i. 390, 391. “The chief aim of it was for the propagation of our church discipline in England and Ireland."–Id. 3.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. Sept. 25.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. Nov. 29.]
and that their forces should be paid by England at the rate of thirty-one thousand pounds per month, should receive for their outfit an advance of one hundred thousand pounds, besides a reasonable recompense at the establishment of peace, and should have assigned to them as security the estates of the papists, prelates, and malignants in Nottinghamshire and the five northern counties. On the arrival of sixty thousand pounds the levies began; in a few weeks they were completed; and before the end of the year Leslie mustered his forces at Hairlaw, the appointed place of rendezvous.
This formidable league, this union, cemented by interest and fanaticism, struck alarm into the breasts of the royalists. They had found it difficult to maintain their ground against the parliament alone; they felt unequal to the contest with a new and powerful enemy. But Charles stood undismayed; of a sanguine disposition, and confident in the justice of his cause, he saw no reason to despond; and, as he had long anticipated, so had he prepared to meet, this additional evil. With this view he had laboured to secure the obedience of the English army in Ireland against the adherents and emissaries of the parliament. Suspecting the fidelity of Leicester, the lord lieutenant, he contrived to detain him in England; gave to the commander-in-chief, the earl of Ormond, who was raised to the higher rank of marquess, full authority to
[Footnote 1: Journals, Sept. 14, 21, 25; Oct. 3; Dec. 8. Lords’ Journals, vi. 220-224, 243, 281, 289, 364. The amendments were the insertion of “the church of Ireland” after that of England, an explanation of the word prelacy, and the addition of a marginal note, stating, that by the expression “according to the word of God,” was meant “so far as we do or shall in our consciences conceive the same according to the word of God."–Journals, Sept. 1, 2.]
dispose of commissions in the army; and appointed Sir Henry Tichborne lord justice in the place of Parsons. The commissioners sent by the two houses were compelled[a] to leave the island; and four of the counsellors, the most hostile to his designs, were imprisoned[b] under a charge of high treason.
So many reinforcements had successively been poured into Ireland, both from Scotland and England, that the army which opposed the insurgents was at length raised to fifty thousand men; but of these the Scots seemed to attend to their private interests more than the advancement of the common cause; and the English were gradually reduced in number by want, and desertion, and the casualties of war. They won, indeed, several battles; they burnt and demolished many villages and towns; but the evil of devastation recoiled upon themselves, and they began to feel the horrors of famine in the midst of the desert which they had made. Their applications for relief were neglected by the parliament, which had converted to its own use a great part of the money raised for the service of Ireland, and felt little inclination to support an army attached to the royal cause. The officers remonstrated in free though respectful language, and the failure of their hopes embittered their discontent, and attached them more closely to the sovereign.
In the meanwhile, the Catholics, by the establishment of a federative government, had consolidated their power, and given an uniform direction to their efforts. It was the care of their leaders to copy the example given by the Scots during the successful war
[Footnote 1: Carte’s Ormond, i. 421, 441; iii. 76, 125, 135.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, v. 226.]
[Footnote 3: Clarendon, iii. 415-418, 424. Carte’s Ormond, iii. 155, 162, 164.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. April 3.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. August 1.]
of the Covenant. Like them they professed a sincere attachment to the person, a profound respect for the legitimate authority of the monarch; but like them they claimed the right of resisting oppression, and of employing force in defence of their religion and liberties. At their request, and in imitation of the general assembly of the Scottish kirk, a synod of Catholic prelates and divines was convened at Kilkenny; a statement[a] of the grievances which led the insurgents to take up arms was placed before them; and they decided that the grounds were sufficient, and the war was lawful, provided it were not conducted through motives of personal interest or hatred, nor disgraced by acts of unnecessary cruelty. An oath and covenant was ordered to be taken, binding the subscribers to protect, at the risk of their lives and fortunes, the freedom of the Catholic worship, the person, heirs, and rights of the sovereign, and the lawful immunities and liberties of the kingdom of Ireland, against all usurpers and invaders whomsoever; and excommunication was pronounced against all Catholics who should abandon the covenant or assist their enemies, against all who should forcibly detain in their possession the goods of English or Irish Catholics, or of Irish Protestants not adversaries to the cause, and against all who should take advantage of the war, to murder, wound, rob, or despoil others. By common consent a supreme council of twenty-four members was chosen, with Lord Mountgarret as president; and a day was appointed for a national assembly, which, without the name, should assume the form and exercise the rights of a parliament.
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 516. Vindiciae Cath. Hib. 4-7. This work has often been attributed to Sir Rich. Belling, but Walsh (Pref. to Hist. of Remonstrance, 45) says that the real author was Dr. Callaghan, presented by the supreme council to the see of Waterford.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1642. May 10.]
This assembly gave stability to the plan of government devised by the leaders. The authority of the statute law was acknowledged, and for its administration a council was established[a] in each county. From the judgment of this tribunal there lay an appeal to the council of the province, which in its turn acknowledged the superior jurisdiction of “the supreme council of the confederated Catholics in Ireland.” For the conduct of the war four generals were appointed, one to lead the forces of each province, Owen O’Neil in Ulster, Preston in Leinster, Barry Garret in Munster, and John Burke in Connaught, all of them officers of experience and merit, who had relinquished their commands in the armies of foreign princes, to offer their services to their countrymen. Aware that these regulations amounted to an assumption of the sovereign authority, they were careful to convey to the king new assurances of their devotion to his person, and to state to him reasons in justification of their conduct. Their former messengers, though Protestants of rank and acknowledged loyalty, had been arrested, imprisoned, and, in one instance at least, tortured by order of their enemies. They now adopted a more secure channel of communication, and transmitted their petitions through the hands of the commander-in-chief. In these the supreme council detailed a long list of grievances which they prayed might be redressed. They repelled with warmth the imputation of disloyalty or rebellion. If they had taken up arms, they had been compelled by a succession of injuries beyond human endurance, of injuries in their religion, in their
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1642. Oct. 1.]
honour and estates, and in the liberties of their country. Their enemies were the enemies of the king.
The men who had sworn to extirpate them from their native soil were the same who sought to deprive him of his crown. They therefore conjured him to summon a new parliament in Ireland, to allow them the free exercise of that religion which they had inherited from their fathers, and to confirm to Irishmen their national rights, as he had already done to his subjects of England and Scotland.
The very first of these petitions, praying for a cessation of arms, had suggested a new line of policy to the king. He privately informed the marquess of Ormond of his wish to bring over a portion of his Irish army that it might be employed in his service in England; required him for that purpose to conclude[a] an armistice with the insurgents, and sent to him instructions for the regulation of his conduct. This despatch was secret; it was followed by a public warrant; and that was succeeded by a peremptory command. But much occurred to retard the object, and irritate the impatience of the monarch. Ormond, for his own security, and the service of his sovereign, deemed it politic to assume a tone of superiority, and to reject most of the demands of the confederates, who, he saw, were already divided into parties, and influenced by opposite counsels. The ancient Irish and the clergy, whose efforts were directed by Scaramp, a papal envoy, warmly opposed the project. Their enemies, they observed, had been reduced to extreme distress; their victorious army under Preston made daily inroads to the very gates of the capital. Why should they descend from the vantage-ground which they had
[Footnote 1: Carte, iii. 110, 111, 136.]
[Footnote 2: Carte, iii. 90.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. April 23.]
gained? why, without a motive, resign the prize when it was brought within their reach? It was not easy to answer their arguments; but the lords of the pale, attached through habit to the English government, anxiously longed for an armistice as the preparatory step to a peace. Their exertions prevailed. A cessation of arms was concluded[a] for twelve months; and the confederates, to the surprise of their enemies, consented to contribute towards the support of the royal army the sum of fifteen thousand pounds in money, and the value of fifteen thousand pounds in provisions.
At the same time Charles had recourse to other expedients, from two of which he promised himself considerable benefit, 1. It had been the policy of the cardinal Richelieu to foment the troubles in England as he had previously done in Scotland; and his intention was faithfully fulfilled by the French ambassador Senneterre. But in the course of the last year both Richelieu and Louis XIII. died; the regency, during the minority of the young king, devolved on Anne of Austria, the queen-mother; and that princess had always professed a warm attachment for her sister-in-law, Henrietta Maria. Senneterre was superseded
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 548. Carte, ii. App. 1; iii. 117, 131, 159, 160, 166, 168, 172, 174. No one, I think, who has perused all the documents, can doubt that the armistice was necessary for the preservation of the army in Ireland. But its real object did not escape the notice of the two houses, who voted it “destructive to the Protestant religion, dishonourable to the English nation, and prejudicial to the interests of the three kingdoms;" and, to inflame the passions of their partisans, published a declaration, in which, with their usual adherence to truth, they assert that the cessation was made at a time when “the famine among the Irish had made them, unnatural and cannibal-like, eat and feed one upon another;” that it had been devised and carried on by popish instruments, and was designed for the better introduction of popery, and the extirpation of the Protestant religion.–Journals, vi. 238, 289.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. Sept. 15.]
by the count of Harcourt, a prince of the house of Lorrain, with the title of ambassador extraordinary. The parliament received him with respect in London, and permitted him to proceed to Oxford. Charles, whose circumstances would not allow him to spend his time in diplomatic finesse, immediately[a] demanded a loan of money, an auxiliary army, and a declaration against his rebellious subjects. But these were things which the ambassador had no power to grant. He escaped[b] with difficulty from the importunity of the king, and returned to the capital to negotiate with the parliament. There, offering himself in quality of mediator, he requested[c] to know the real grounds of the existing war; but his hope of success was damped by this cold and laconic answer, that, when he had any proposal to submit in the name of the French king, the houses would be ready to vindicate their conduct. Soon afterwards[d] the despatches from his court were intercepted and opened; among them was discovered a letter from Lord Goring to the queen; and its contents disclosed that Harcourt had been selected on her nomination; that he was ordered to receive his instructions from her and the king; and that Goring was soliciting succour from the French court. This information, with an account of the manner in which it had been obtained, was communicated to the ambassador, who immediately[e] demanded passports and left the kingdom.
2. Experience had proved to Charles that the very name of parliament possessed a powerful influence over the minds of the lower classes in favour of his adversaries.
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, iii. 398-403. Journals, vi. 245, 302, 305, 309, 375, 379, 416. Commons, Sept. 14; Oct. 11; Nov. 15, 22; Jan. 10, 12; Feb. 12.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643 Oct. 18.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643 Nov. 15.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1643 Nov. 22.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644 Jan. 10.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1644 Feb. 12.]
To dispel the charm, he resolved to oppose the loyal members to those who remained at Westminster, and summoned by proclamation both houses to meet him at Oxford on the twenty-second of January in the[a] succeeding year. Forty-three peers and one hundred and eighteen commoners obeyed; the usual forms of parliament were observed, and the king opened the session with a gracious speech, in which he deplored[b] the calamities of the kingdom, desired them to bear witness to his pacific disposition, and promised them all the freedom and privileges belonging to such assemblies. Their first measure was a letter subscribed by all the members of both houses, and directed to the earl of Essex, requesting him to convey to those “by whom he was trusted,” their earnest desire that commissioners might be appointed[c] on both sides to treat of an accommodation. Essex, having received instructions, replied that he could not deliver a letter which, neither in its address nor in its contents, acknowledged the authority of the parliament. Charles himself was next brought forward.[d] He directed his letter to “the lords and commons of parliament assembled at Westminster,” and requested, “by the advice of the lords and commons of parliament assembled at Oxford,” the appointment
[Footnote 1: If we may believe Whitelock (80), when the two houses at Westminster were called over (Jan. 30), there were two hundred and eighty members present, and one hundred employed on different services. But I suspect some error in the numbers, as the list of those who took the covenant amounts only to two hundred and twenty names, even including such as took it after that day. (Compare Rushworth, v. 480, with the Journals.) The lords were twenty-two present, seventy-four absent, of whom eleven were excused.–Journals, vi. 387. The two houses at Oxford published also their lists of the members, making the commons amount to one hundred and seventy-five, the lords to eighty-three. But of the latter several had been created since the commencement of the war.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Jan. 22.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Jan. 29.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. Jan. 30.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. March. 3.]
of commissioners to settle the distractions of the kingdom, and particularly the manner “how all the members of both houses might meet in full and free convention of parliament, to consult and treat upon such things as might conduce to the maintenance of the true Protestant religion, with due consideration to the just ease of tender consciences, to the settling of the rights of the crown and of parliament, the laws of the land, and the liberties and property of the subject.” This message the two houses considered an insult,[a] because it implied that they were not a full and free convention of parliament. In their answer they called on the king to join them at Westminster; and in a public declaration denounced the proceeding as “a popish and Jesuitical practice to allure them by the specious pretence of peace to disavow their own authority, and resign themselves, their religion, laws, and liberties, to the power of idolatry, superstition, and slavery." In opposition, the houses at Oxford declared that the Scots had broken the act of pacification, that all English subjects who aided them should be deemed traitors and enemies of the state, and that the lords and commons
[Footnote 1: Journals, vi. 451, 459. The reader will notice in the king’s letter an allusion to religious toleration ("with due consideration to the ease of tender consciences”), the first which had yet been made by authority, and which a few years before would have scandalized the members of the church of England as much as it did now the Presbyterians and Scots. But policy had taught that which reason could not. It was now thrown out as a bait to the Independents, whose apprehensions of persecution were aggravated by the intolerance of their Scottish allies, and who were on that account suspected of having already made some secret overtures to the court. “Bristol, under his hand, gives them a full assurance of so full a liberty of their conscience as they could wish, inveighing withal against the Scots’ cruel invasion, and the tyranny of our presbytery, equal to the Spanish inquisition."–Baillie, i. 428.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. March 9.]
remaining at Westminster, who had given their consent to the coming in of the Scots, or the raising of forces under the earl of Essex, or the making and using of a new great seal, had committed high treason, and ought to be proceeded against as traitors to the king and kingdom. Thus again vanished the prospect of peace; and both parties, with additional exasperation of mind, and keener desires of revenge, resolved once more to stake their hope of safety on the uncertain fortune of war.
But the leaders at Westminster found it necessary to silence the murmurs of many among their own adherents, whose anxiety for the restoration of peace led them to attribute interested motives to the advocates of war. On the first appearance of a rupture, a committee of safety had been appointed, consisting of five lords and ten commoners, whose office it was to perform the duties of the executive authority, subject to the approbation and authority of the houses; now that the Scots had agreed to join in the war, this committee, after a long resistance on the part of the Lords, was dissolved,[a] and another established in its place, under the name of the committee of the two kingdoms, composed of a few members from each house, and of certain commissioners from the estates of Scotland. On this new body the Peers looked with an eye of jealousy, and, when the Commons, in consequence of unfavourable reports, referred to it the task of “preparing some grounds for settling a just and safe peace in all the king’s dominions,” they objected not
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, iii. 440-454. Journals, 399, 404, 451, 459, 484, 485; Dec. 30; Jan. 16, 30; March 6, 11. Rushworth, v. 559-575, 582-602.]
[Footnote 2: Journals of Commons, Jan. 30; Feb. 7, 10, 12, 16; of Lords, Feb. 12, 16.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Feb. 16.]
to the thing, but to the persons, and appointed for the same purpose a different committee. The struggle lasted six weeks: but the influence of the upper. house had diminished with the number of its members, and the Lords were compelled to submit,[a] under the cover of an unimportant amendment to maintain their own honour. The propositions now[b] brought forward as the basis of a reconciliation were in substance the following: that the covenant with the obligation of taking it, the reformation of religion according to its provisions, and the utter abolition of episcopacy, should be confirmed by act of parliament; that the cessation of war in Ireland should be declared void by the same authority; that a new oath should be framed for the discovery of Catholics; that the penalties of recusancy should be strictly enforced; that the children of Catholics should be educated Protestants; that certain English Protestants by name, all papists, who had borne arms against the parliament, and all Irish rebels, whether Catholics or Protestants, who had brought aid to the royal army, should be excepted from the general pardon; that the debts contracted by the parliament should be paid out of the estates of delinquents; and that the commanders of the forces by land and sea, the great officers of state, the deputy of Ireland and the judges, should be named by the parliament, or the commissioners of parliament, to hold their places during their good behaviour. From the tone of these propositions it was evident that the differences between the parties had become wider than before, and that peace depended on the subjugation of the one by the superior force or the better fortune of the other.
[Footnote 1: Journals, March 15, 20, 23, 29, 30; April 3, 5, 13, 16. On the question whether they should treat in union with the Scots, the Commons divided sixty-four against sixty-four: but the noes obtained the casting vote of the speaker.–Baillie, i. 446. See also the Journals of the Lords, vi. 473, 483, 491, 501, 514, 519, 527, 531. Such, indeed, was the dissension among them, that Baillie says they would have accepted the first proposal from the houses at Oxford, had not the news that the Scots had passed the Tweed arrived a few hours before. This gave the ascendancy to the friends of war.–Baillie, i. 429, 430.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. April 25.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. April 29.]
Here the reader may pause, and, before he proceeds to the events of the next campaign, may take a view of the different financial expedients adopted by the contending parties. Want of money was an evil which pressed equally on both; but it was more easily borne by the patriots, who possessed an abundant resource in the riches of the capital, and were less restrained in their demands by considerations of delicacy or justice. 1. They were able on sudden emergencies to raise considerable supplies by loan from the merchants of the city, who seldom dared to refuse, or, if they did, were compelled to yield by menaces of distraint and imprisonment. For all such advances interest was promised at the usual rate of eight per cent., and “the public faith was pledged for the repayment of the capital." 2. When the parliament ordered their first levy of soldiers, many of their partisans subscribed considerable sums in money, or plate, or arms, or provisions. But it was soon asked, why the burthen should fall exclusively on the well-affected; and the houses improved the hint to ordain that all non-subscribers, both in the city and in the country, should be compelled to contribute the twentieth part of their estates towards the support of the common cause. 3. Still the wants of the army daily increased, and, as a temporary resource, an order was made that each county should provide for the subsistence of the men whom it had furnished; 4. and this was followed by a more permanent expedient, a weekly assessment of ten thousand pounds on the city of London, and of twenty-four thousand pounds on the rest of the kingdom, to be levied by county-rates after the manner of subsidies. 5. In addition, the estates both real and personal of all delinquents, that is, of all individuals who had borne arms for the king, or supplied him with money, or in any manner, or under any pretence, had opposed the parliament, were sequestrated from the owners, and placed under the management of certain commissioners empowered to receive the rents, to seize the moneys and goods, to sue for debts, and to pay the proceeds into the treasury. 6. In the next place came the excise, a branch of taxation of exotic origin, and hitherto unknown in the kingdom. To it many objections were made; but the ample and constant supply which it promised insured its adoption; and after a succession of debates and conferences, which occupied the houses during three months, the new duties, which were in most instances to be paid by the first purchaser, were imposed both on the articles already subject to the customs, and on a numerous class of commodities of indigenous growth or manufacture. Lastly, in aid of these several sources of revenue, the houses did not refuse another of a more singular description. It was customary for many of the patriots to observe a weekly fast for the success of their cause; and, that their purses might not profit by the exercise of their piety,
[Footnote 1: It should be observed that the excise in its very infancy extended to strong beer, ale, cider, perry, wine, oil, figs, sugar, raisins, pepper, salt, silk, tobacco, soap, strong waters, and even flesh meat, whether it were exposed for sale in the market, or killed by private families for their own consumption.–Journals, vi. 372.] they were careful to pay into the treasury the price of the meal from which they had abstained. If others would not fast, it was at least possible to make them pay; and commissioners were appointed by ordinance to go through the city, to rate every housekeeper at the price of one meal for his family, and to collect the money on every Tuesday during the next six months. By these expedients the two houses contrived to carry on the war, though their pecuniary embarrassments were continually multiplied by the growing accumulation of their debts, and the unavoidable increase of their expenditure. With respect to the king, his first resource was in the sale of his plate and jewels, his next in the generous devotion of his adherents, many of whom served him during the whole war at their own cost, and, rather than become a burthen to their sovereign, mortgaged their last acre, and left themselves and their families without the means of future subsistence. As soon as he had set up his standard, he solicited loans from his friends, pledging his word to requite their promptitude, and allotting certain portions of the crown lands for their repayment–a very precarious security as long as the issue of the contest should remain uncertain. But the appeal was not made in vain. Many advanced considerable sums without reserving to themselves any claim to remuneration, and others lent so freely and abundantly, that this resource was productive beyond his most sanguine expectations. Yet, before the commencement of the third campaign,
[Footnote 1: Journals, v. 460, 466, 482; vi. 108, 196, 209, 224, 248, 250, 272. Commons’ Journals, Nov. 26, Dec. 8, 1642; Feb. 23, Sept. 1643; March 26, 1644. Rushworth, v. 71, 150, 209, 313, 748. It should be recollected that, according to the devotion of the time, “a fast required a total abstinence from all food, till the fast was ended."–Directory for the Publique Worship, p. 32.]
he was compelled to consult his parliament at Oxford. By its advice he issued privy seals, which raised one hundred thousand pounds, and, in imitation of his adversaries, established the excise, which brought him in a constant, though not very copious supply. In addition, his garrisons supported themselves by weekly contributions from the neighbouring townships, and the counties which had associated in his favour willingly furnished pay and subsistence to their own forces. Yet, after all, it was manifest that he possessed not the same facilities of raising money with his adversaries, and that he must ultimately succumb through poverty alone, unless he could bring the struggle to a speedy termination.
For this purpose both parties had made every exertion, and both Irishmen and Scotsmen had been called into England to fight the battles of the king and the parliament. The severity of the winter afforded no respite from the operations of war. Five Irish regiments, the first fruits of the cessation in Ireland, arrived[a] at Mostyn in Flintshire; their reputation, more than their number, unnerved the prowess of their enemies; no force ventured to oppose them in the field; and, as they advanced, every post was abandoned or surrendered. At length the garrison of Nantwich arrested[b] their progress; and whilst they were occupied with the siege, Sir Thomas Fairfax approached with a superior force from Yorkshire. For two hours[c] the Anglo-Irish, under Lord Byron, maintained an obstinate resistance against the assailants from without, and the garrison from within the town; but in a moment of despair one thousand six hundred men in the works threw down their arms,
[Footnote: 1 Rushworth, v. 580, 601. Clarendon, ii. 87, 453.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. November.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Jan. 15.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. Jan. 25.]
and, with a few exceptions, entered the ranks of their adversaries. Among the names of the officers taken, occurs that of the celebrated Colonel Monk, who was afterwards released from the Tower to act a more brilliant part, first in the service of the Commonwealth, and then in the re-establishment of the throne.
A few days before this victory, the Scots had passed the Tweed.[a] The notion that they were engaged in a holy crusade for the reformation of religion made them despise every difficulty; and, though the weather was tempestuous, though the snow lay deep on the ground, their enthusiasm carried them forward in a mass which the royalists dared not oppose. Their leader sought to surprise Newcastle; he was disappointed by the promptitude of the marquess of Newcastle, who, on the preceding day,[b] had thrown himself into the town; and famine compelled the enemy, after a siege of three weeks, to abandon the attempt.[c] Marching up the left bank of the Tyne,[d] they crossed the river at Bywell,[e] and hastening by Ebchester to Sunderland, took possession of that port to open a communication by sea with their own country. The marquess, having assembled his army, offered them battle, and, when they refused to fight, confined them for five weeks within their own quarters. In proportion as their advance into England had elevated the hopes of their friends in the capital, their subsequent inactivity provoked surprise and complaints. But Lord Fairfax, having been joined by his victorious son from Cheshire, dispersed the royalists at Leeds,[f] under Colonel Bellasis, the son of Lord Falconberg; and the danger of being enclosed between two armies induced the marquess of Newcastle to retire[g] from Durham
[Footnote 1: Rush. v. 299, 303. Fairfax, 434, ed. of Maseres.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Jan. 16.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Feb. 2.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. Feb. 28.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. March 2.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1644. March 4.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1644. April 11.] [Sidenote g: A.D. 1644. April 23.]
to York. He was quickly followed by the Scots; they were joined by Fairfax, and the combined army sat down before the city. Newcastle at first despised their attempts; but the arrival[a] of fourteen thousand parliamentarians, under the earl of Manchester, convinced him of his danger, and he earnestly solicited[b] succour from the king.
But, instead of proceeding with the military transactions in the north, it will here be necessary to advert to those which had taken place in other parts of the kingdom. In the counties on the southern coast several actions had been fought, of which, the success was various, and the result unimportant. Every eye fixed itself on the two grand armies in the vicinity of Oxford and London. The parliament had professed a resolution to stake the fortune of the cause on one great and decisive battle; and, with this view, every effort had been made to raise the forces of Essex and Waller to the amount of twenty thousand men. These generals marched in two separate corps, with the hope of enclosing the king, or of besieging him in Oxford. Aware of his inferiority, Charles, by a skilful manoeuvre,
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 222. Baillie, ii. 1, 6, 10, 28, 32. Journals, 522.]
[Footnote 2: When Essex left London he requested the assembly of divines to keep a fast for his success. The reader may learn from Baillie how it was celebrated. “We spent from nine to five graciously. After Dr. Twisse had begun with a brief prayer, Mr. Marshall prayed large two hours, most divinely confessing the sins of the members of the assembly in a wonderful, pathetick, and prudent way. After Mr. Arrowsmith preached an hour, then a psalm; thereafter Mr. Vines prayed near two hours, and Mr. Palmer preached an hour, and Mr. Seaman prayed near two hours, then a psalm; after Mr. Henderson brought them to a sweet conference of the heat confessed in the assembly, and other seen faults to be remedied, and the conveniency to preach against all sects, especially Anabaptists and Antinomians. Dr. Twisse closed with a short prayer and blessing. God was so evidently in all this exercise, that we expect certainly a blessing."–Baillie, ii. 18, 19.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. April 20.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. June 3.]
passed with seven thousand men between the hostile divisions, and arrived in safety at Worcester.[a] The jealousy of the commanders did not allow them to act in concert. Essex directed his march into Dorsetshire;[b] Waller took on himself the task of pursuing the fugitive monarch. Charles again deceived him. He pretended to advance along the right bank of the Severn from Worcester to Shrewsbury;[c] and when Waller, to prevent him, hastened from Broomsgrove to take possession of that town, the king turned at Bewdley, retraced his steps to Oxford,[d] and, recruiting his army, beat up the enemy’s quarters in Buckinghamshire. In two days Waller had returned to the Charwell, which separated the two armies; but an unsuccessful action at Copredy Bridge[e] checked his impetuosity, and Charles, improving the advantage to repass the river, marched to Evesham in pursuit of Essex. Waller did not follow; his forces, by fatigue, desertion, and his late loss, had been reduced from eight thousand to four thousand men, and the committee of the two kingdoms recalled their favourite general from his tedious and unavailing pursuit.
During these marches and counter-marches, in which the king had no other object than to escape from his pursuers, in the hope that some fortunate occurrence might turn the scale in his favour, he received the despatch already mentioned from the marquess of Newcastle. The ill-fated prince instantly saw the danger which threatened him. The fall of York would deprive him of the northern counties, and the subsequent junction of the besieging army with his opponents in the south would constitute a force
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 670-676. Clarendon, iv. 487-493, 497-502. Baillie, ii. 38.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. June 3.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. June 6.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. June 15.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. June 20.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1644. June 29.]
against which it would be useless to struggle. His only resource was in the courage and activity of Prince Rupert. He ordered[a] that commander to collect all the force in his power, to hasten into Yorkshire, to fight the enemy, and to keep in mind that two things were necessary for the preservation of the crown,–both the relief of the city, and the defeat of the combined army.
Rupert, early in the spring, had marched from his quarters at Shrewsbury, surprised the parliamentary army before Newark,[b] and after a sharp action, compelled it[c] to capitulate. He was now employed in Cheshire and Lancashire, where he had taken Stockport, Bolton, and Liverpool, and had raised[d] the siege of Latham House, after it had been gallantly defended during eighteen weeks by the resolution of the countess of Derby. On the receipt of the royal command, he took with him a portion of his own men, and some regiments lately arrived from Ireland; reinforcements poured in on his march, and on his approach the combined army deemed it prudent to abandon the works before the city. He was received[e] with acclamations of joy; but left York the next day[f] to fight the bloody and decisive battle of Marston Moor. Both armies, in accordance with the military tactics of the age, were drawn up in line, the infantry in three divisions, with strong bodies of cavalry on each flank. In force they were nearly equal, amounting to twenty-three or twenty-five thousand men; but there was this peculiarity in the arrangement of the parliamentarians, that in each division the
[Footnote 1: See his letter in Evelyn’s Memoirs, ii. App. 88. It completely exculpates Rupert from the charges of obstinacy and rashness in having fought the subsequent battle of Marston Moor.]
[Footnote 2: Rushworth, v. 307, 623, 631.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. June 14.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. March 21.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. May 25.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. June 11.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1644. July 1.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1644. July 2.]
English and the Scots were intermixed, to preclude all occasion of jealousy or dispute. It was now five in the afternoon, and for two hours a solemn pause ensued, each eyeing the other in the silence of suspense, with nothing to separate them but a narrow ditch or rivulet. At seven the signal was given, and Rupert, at the head of the royal cavalry on the right, charged with his usual impetuosity, and with the usual result. He bore down all before him, but continued the chase for some miles, and thus, by his absence from the field, suffered the victory to slip out of his hands.
At the same time the royal infantry, under Goring, Lucas, and Porter, had charged their opponents with equal intrepidity and equal success. The line of the confederates was pierced in several points; and their generals, Manchester, Leven, and Fairfax, convinced that the day was lost, fled in different directions. By their flight the chief command devolved upon Cromwell, who improved the opportunity to win for himself the laurels of victory. With “his ironsides” and the Scottish horse he had driven the royal cavalry, under the earl of Newcastle, from their position on the left. Ordering a few squadrons to observe and harass the fugitives, he wheeled round on the flank of the royal infantry, and found them in separate bodies, and in disorder, indulging in the confidence and license of victory. Regiment after regiment was attacked and dispersed; but the “white coats,” a body of veterans raised by Lord Newcastle, formed in a circle; and, whilst their pikemen kept the cavalry at bay, their
[Footnote 1: Sir Thomas Fairfax says that at first he put to flight part of the loyal cavalry, and pursued them on the road to York. On his return he found that the rest of his wing had been routed by the prince.–Fairfax, 438.]
musketeers poured repeated volleys into the ranks of the enemy. Had these brave men been supported by any other corps, the battle might have been restored; but, as soon as their ammunition was spent, an opening was made, and the white coats perished, every man falling on the spot on which he had fought.
Thus ended the battle of Marston Moor. It was not long, indeed, before the royal cavalry, amounting to three thousand men, made their appearance returning from the pursuit. But the aspect of the field struck dismay into the heart of Rupert. His thoughtless impetuosity was now exchanged for an excess of caution; and after a few skirmishes he withdrew. Cromwell spent the night on the spot; but it was to him a night of suspense and anxiety. His troopers were exhausted with the fatigue of the day; the infantry was dispersed, and without orders; and he expected every moment a nocturnal attack from Rupert, who had it in his power to collect a sufficient force from the several corps of royalists which had suffered little in the battle. But the morning brought him the pleasing intelligence that the prince had hastened by a circuitous route to York. The immediate fruit of the victory were fifteen hundred prisoners and the whole train of artillery. The several loss of the two parties is unknown; those who buried the slain numbered the dead bodies at four thousand one hundred and fifty.
This disastrous battle extinguished the power of the
[Footnote 1: For this battle see Rushworth, v. 632; Thurloe, i. 39; Clarendon, iv. 503; Baillie, II, 36, 40; Whitelock, 89; Memorie of the Somervilles, Edin. 1815. Cromwell sent messengers from the field to recall the three generals who had fled. Leven was found in bed at Leeds about noon; and having read the despatch, struck his breast, exclaiming, “I would to God I had died upon the place."–Ibid.; also Turner, Memoirs, 38.]
royalists in the northern counties. The prince and the marquess had long cherished a deeply-rooted antipathy to each other. It had displayed itself in a consultation respecting the expediency of fighting; it was not probable that it would be appeased by their defeat. They separated the next morning; Rupert, hastening to quit a place where he had lost so gallant an army, returned to his former command in the western counties; Newcastle, whether he despaired of the royal cause, or was actuated by a sense of injurious treatment, taking with him the lords Falconberg and Widerington, sought an asylum on the continent. York, abandoned to its fate, opened its gates to the enemy, on condition that the citizens should not be molested, and that the garrison should retire to Skipton. The combined army immediately separated by order of the committee of both kingdoms. Manchester returned into Nottinghamshire, Fairfax remained in York, and the Scots under Leven retracing their steps, closed the campaign with the reduction of Newcastle. They had no objection to pass the winter in the neighbourhood of their own country; the parliament felt no wish to see them nearer to the English capital.
In the mean time Essex, impatient of the control exercised by that committee, ventured to act in opposition to its orders; and the two houses, though they reprimanded him for his disobedience, allowed him to pursue the plan which he had formed of dissolving with his army the association of royalists in Somersetshire, Devonshire, and Cornwall.[a] He relieved Lime, which had long been besieged by Prince Maurice, one[a] of the king’s nephews, and advanced in the direction
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, ii. 504.]
[Sidenote a: A.D.. 1644. June 25.]
of Exeter, where the queen a few days before[a] had been delivered of a daughter. That princess, weary of the dangers to which she was exposed in England, repaired to Falmouth, put to sea[b] with a squadron of ten Dutch or Flemish vessels, and, escaping the keen pursuit of the English fleet from Torbay, reached[c] in safety the harbour of Brest.
Essex, regardless of the royalists who assembled in the rear of his army, pursued[d] his march into Cornwall. To most men his conduct was inexplicable. Many suspected that he sought to revenge himself on the parliament by betraying his forces into the hands of the enemy. At Lestwithiel he received[e] two letters, one, in which he was solicited by the king to unite with him in compelling his enemies to consent to a peace, which while it ascertained the legal rights of the throne, might secure the religion and liberties of the people; another from eighty-four of the principal officers in the royal army, who pledged themselves to draw the sword against the sovereign himself, if he should ever swerve from the principles which he had avowed in his letter. Both were disappointed. Essex sent the letters to the two houses, and coldly replied that his business was to fight, that of the parliament to negotiate.
[Footnote 1: I doubt whether Essex had any claim to that generosity of character which is attributed to him by historians. The queen had been delivered of a princess, Henrietta Maria, at Exeter, and sent to him for a passport to go to Bath or Bristol for the recovery of her health. He refused, but insultingly offered to attend her himself, if she would go to London, where she had been already impeached of high treason.–Rushworth, v. 684. I observe that even before the war, when the king had written to the queen to intimate his wish to Essex, as lord chamberlain, to prepare the palace for his reception, she desired Nicholas to do it adding, “their lordships are to great princes to receave anye direction from me."–Evelyn’s Mem. ii. App. 78.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. June 16.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. July 14.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. July 15.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. June 26.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1644. August 6.]
But he now found himself in a most critical situation, cut off from all intercourse with London, and enclosed between the sea and the combined forces of the king, Prince Maurice, and Sir Richard Grenville.[a] His cavalry, unable to obtain subsistence, burst in the night, though not without loss, through the lines of the enemy. But each day the royalists won some of his posts; their artillery commanded the small haven of Foy, through which, alone he could obtain provisions; and his men, dismayed by a succession of disasters, refused to stand to their colours. In this emergency Essex, with two other officers, escaped from the beach in a boat to Plymouth; and Major-General Skippon offered to capitulate for the rest of the army.[b] On the surrender of their arms, ammunition, and artillery, the men were allowed to march to Pool and Wareham, and thence were conveyed in transports to Portsmouth, where commissioners from the parliament met them with a supply of clothes and money. The lord general repaired to his own house, calling for an investigation both into his own conduct and into that of the committee, who had neglected to disperse the royalists in the rear of his army, and had betrayed the cause of the people, to gratify their own jealousy by the disgrace of an opponent. To soothe his wounded mind, the houses ordered a joint deputation to wait on him, to thank him for his fidelity to the cause, and to express their estimation of the many and eminent services which he had rendered to his country.
This success elevated the hopes of the king, who, assuming a tone of conscious superiority, invited all his
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 683, 684, 690-693, 699-711. Clarend. iv. 511-518-527.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Aug 30.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Sept. 1.]
subjects to accompany him to London, and aid him in compelling the parliament to accept of peace.[a]But the energies of his opponents were not exhausted. They quickly recruited their diminished forces; the several corps under Essex, Waller, and Manchester were united; and, while the royalists marched through Whitechurch to Newbury, a more numerous army moved in a parallel direction through Basingstoke to Reading.[b]There the leaders (the lord general was absent under the pretence of indisposition), hearing of reinforcements pouring into Oxford, resolved to avail themselves of their present superiority, and to attack, at the same moment, the royalist positions at Show on the eastern, and at Speen on the western side of the town. The action in both places was obstinate, the result, as late as ten at night, doubtful; but the king, fearing to be surrounded the next day, assembled his men under the protection of Donnington Castle, and[c] marched towards Wallingford, a movement which was executed without opposition by the light of the moon, and in full view of the enemy.[d]In a few days he returned with a more numerous force, and, receiving the artillery and ammunition, which for security he had left in Donnington Castle, conveyed it without molestation to Wallingford. As he passed and repassed, the parliamentarians kept within their lines, and even refused the battle which he offered. This backwardness, whether it arose from internal dissension, or from inferiority of numbers, provoked loud complaints, not only in the capital, where the conflict at Newbury had been celebrated as a victory, but in the two houses, who had ordered the army to follow up its success. The generals, having dispersed their troops in winter quarters, hastened to vindicate their
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Sept. 30.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Oct. 27.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. Nov. 6.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. Nov. 9.]
own conduct. Charges of cowardice, or disaffection, or incapacity, were made and retorted by one against the other; and that cause which had nearly triumphed over the king seemed now on the point of being lost through the personal jealousies and contending passions of its leaders.
The greater part of these quarrels had originated in the rivalry of ambition; but those in the army of the earl of Manchester were produced by religious jealousy, and on that account were followed by more important results. When the king attempted to arrest the five members, Manchester, at that time Lord Kymbolton, was the only peer whom he impeached. This circumstance endeared Kymbolton to the party; his own safety bound him more closely to its interests. On the formation of the army of the seven associated counties, he accepted, though with reluctance, the chief command; for his temper and education had formed him to shine in the senate rather than the camp; and, aware of his own inexperience, he devolved on his council the chief direction of military operations, reserving to himself the delicate and important charge of harmonizing and keeping together the discordant elements of which his force was composed. The second in command, as the reader is aware, was Cromwell, with the rank of lieutenant-general. In the parade of sanctity both Manchester and Cromwell seemed equal proficients; in belief and practice they followed two opposite parties. The first sought the exclusive establishment of the presbyterian system; the other contended for the common right of mankind to worship God according to the dictates of conscience. But this difference of opinion
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 715-732. Clarendon, 546-552.]
provoked no dissension between them. The more gentle and accommodating temper of Manchester was awed by the superior genius of Cromwell, who gradually acquired the chief control of the army, and offered his protection to the Independents under his command. In other quarters these religionists suffered restraint and persecution from the zeal of the Presbyterians; the indulgence which they enjoyed under Cromwell scandalized and alarmed the orthodoxy of the Scottish commissioners, who obtained, as a counterpoise to the influence of that officer, the post of major-general for Crawford, their countryman, and a rigid Presbyterian. Cromwell and Crawford instantly became rivals and enemies. The merit of the victory at Marston Moor had been claimed by the Independents, who magnified the services of their favourite commander, and ridiculed the flight and cowardice of the Scots. Crawford retorted the charge, and deposed that Cromwell, having received a slight wound in the neck at the commencement of the action, immediately retired and did not afterwards appear in the field.[a]The lieutenant-general in revenge exhibited articles against Crawford before the committee of war, and the colonels threatened to resign their commissions unless he were removed; while on the other hand Manchester and the chaplains of the army gave testimony in his favour, and the Scottish commissioners, assuming the defence of their countryman, represented him as a martyr in the cause of religion.
But before this quarrel was terminated a second of greater importance arose. The indecisive action at Newbury, and the refusal of battle at Donnington, had
[Footnote 1: Baillie, ii. 40, 41, 42, 49, 57, 60, 66, 69. Hollis, 15.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Sept. 5.]
excited the discontent of the public;[a]the lower house ordered an inquiry into the conduct of the generals and the state of the armies; and the report made by the committee of both kingdoms led to a vote that a plan for the organization of the national force, in a new and more efficient form, should be immediately prepared. Waller and Cromwell, who were both members of the house, felt dissatisfied with the report. At the next meeting each related his share in the transactions which had excited such loud complaints; and the latter embraced the opportunity to prefer a charge of disaffection against the earl of Manchester, who, he pretended, was unwilling that the royal power should suffer additional humiliation, and on that account would never permit his army to engage, unless it were evidently to its disadvantage. Manchester in the House of Lords repelled the imputation with warmth, vindicated his own conduct, and retorted on his accuser, that he had yet to learn in what place Lieutenant General Cromwell with his cavalry had posted himself on the day of battle.
It is worthy of remark, that, even at this early period, Essex, Manchester, and the Scottish commissioners suspected Cromwell with his friends of a design to obtain the command of the army, to abolish the House of Lords, divide the House of Commons, dissolve the covenant between the two nations, and erect a new government according to his own principles. To defeat this project it was at first proposed that the chancellor of Scotland should denounce him as an incendiary, and demand his punishment according to the late treaty; but, on the reply of the
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 732. Journals, Nov. 22, 23, 25. Lords’ Journals, vii. 67, 78, 80, 141. Whitelock, 116.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Nov. 25.]
lawyers whom they consulted, that their proofs were insufficient to sustain the charge, it was resolved that Manchester should accuse him before the Lords of having expressed a wish to reduce the peers to the state of private gentlemen; of having declared his readiness to fight against the Scots, whose chief object was to establish religious despotism; and of having threatened to compel, with the aid of the Independents, both king and parliament to accept such conditions as he should dictate.[a]This charge, with a written statement by Manchester in his own vindication, was communicated to the Commons; and they, after some objections in point of form and privilege, referred it to a committee, where its consideration was postponed from time to time, till at last it was permitted to sleep in silence.
Cromwell did not hesitate to wreak his revenge on Essex and Manchester, though the blow would probably recoil upon himself.[b]He proposed in the Commons what was afterwards called the “self-denying ordinance,” that the members of both houses should be excluded from all offices, whether civil or military. He would not, he said, reflect on what was passed, but suggest a remedy for the future. The nation was weary of the war; and he spoke the language both of friends and foes, when he said that the blame of its continuance rested with the two houses, who could not be expected to bring it to a speedy termination as long as so many of their members derived from military commands wealth and authority, and consideration. His real object was open to every eye; still the motion met with the concurrence of his own party,
[Footnote 1: Baillie, ii. 76, 77. Journals, Dec. 2, 4; Jan. 18. Lords’ Journals, 79, 80. Whitelock, 116, 117. Hollis, 18.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Dec. 2.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Dec. 9.]
and of all whose patience had been exhausted by the quarrels among the commanders; and, when an exemption was suggested in favour of the lord-general, it was lost on a division by seven voices, in a house of one hundred and ninety-three members.[a] However, the strength of the opposition encouraged the peers to speak with more than their usual freedom.[b] They contended, that the ordinance was unnecessary, since the committee was employed in framing a new model for the army; that it was unjust, since it would operate to the exclusion of the whole peerage from office, while the Commons remained equally eligible to sit in parliament, or to fill civil or military employments. It was in vain that the lower house remonstrated.[c] The Lords replied that they had thrown out the bill, but would consent to another of similar import, provided it did not extend to commands in the army.
But by this time the committee of both kingdoms had completed their plan of military reform, which, in its immediate operation, tended to produce the same effect as the rejected ordinance.[d] It obtained the sanction of the Scottish commissioners, who consented, though with reluctance, to sacrifice their friends in the upper house, for the benefit of a measure which promised to put an end to the feuds and delays of the former system, and to remove from the army Cromwell, their most dangerous enemy. If it deprived them of the talents of Essex and Manchester, which they seem never to have prized, it gave them in exchange a commander-in-chief, whose merit they had learned to appreciate during his service in conjunction[e]
[Transcriber’s Note: Footnote 1 not found in the text]
[Footnote 1: Journals, Dec. 9, 17; Jan. 7, 10, 13. Lords’ Journals, 129, 131, 134, 135. Rushworth, vi. 3-7.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Dec. 17.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Dec. 21.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645. Jan. 15.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1645. Jan. 9.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1645. Jan. 21.]
with their forces at the siege of York. By the “new model” it was proposed that the army should consist of one thousand dragoons, six thousand six hundred cavalry in six, and fourteen thousand four hundred infantry in twelve regiments, under Sir Thomas Fairfax as the first, and Major-General Skippon as the second, in command. The Lords hesitated;[a] but after several conferences and debates they returned it with a few amendments to the Commons, and it was published by sound of drum in London and Westminster.
This victory was followed by another. Many of the peers still clung to the notion that it was intended to abolish their privileges, and therefore resolved not to sink without a struggle. They insisted that the new army should take the covenant, and subscribe the directory for public worship; they refused their approbation to more than one half of the officers named by Sir Thomas Fairfax; and they objected to the additional powers offered by the Commons to that general. On these subjects the divisions in the house were nearly equal, and whenever the opposite party obtained the majority, it was by the aid of a single proxy, or of the clamours of the mob. At length a declaration was made by the Commons, that “they held themselves obliged to preserve the peerage with the rights and privileges belonging to the House of Peers equally as their own, and would really perform the same."[b] Relieved from their fears, the Lords yielded to a power which they knew not how to control; the different bills were passed, and among them a new self-denying ordinance, by which every member of either house was discharged from all[c]
[Footnote 1: Journals, Jan. 9, 13, 25, 27; Feb. 11, 15; of Lords, 159, 175, 169, 193, 195, 204. Clarendon, ii. 569.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Feb. 15.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. March 25.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645. April 3.]
civil and military offices, conferred by authority of parliament after the expiration of forty days.
Hitherto I have endeavoured to preserve unbroken the chain of military and political events: it is now time to call the attention of the reader to the ecclesiastical occurrences of the two last years.
I. As religion was acknowledged to be the first of duties, to put down popery and idolatry, and to purge the church from superstition and corruption, had always been held out by the parliament as its grand and most important object. It was this which, in the estimation of many of the combatants, gave the chief interest to the quarrel; this which made it, according to the language of the time, “a wrestle between Christ and antichrist,” 1. Every good Protestant had been educated in the deepest horror of popery; there was a magic in the very word which awakened the prejudices and inflamed the passions of men; and the reader must have observed with what art and perseverance the patriot leaders employed it to confirm the attachment, and quicken the efforts of their followers. Scarcely a day occurred in which some order or ordinance, local or general, was not issued by the two houses; and very few of these, even on the most indifferent subjects, were permitted to pass without the assertion that the war had been originally provoked, and was still continued by the papists, for the sole purpose of the establishment of popery on the ruins of Protestantism. The constant repetition acted on the minds of the people as a sufficient proof of the charge; and the denials, the protestations, the appeals to heaven made by the king, were disregarded and condemned as unworthy artifices, adopted to deceive
[Footnote 1: Journals, Feb. 25, March 21; of Lords, 287, 303.]
the credulous and unwary. Under such circumstances, the Catholics found themselves exposed to insult and persecution wherever the influence of the parliament extended: for protection they were compelled to flee to the quarters of the royalists, and to fight under their banners; and this again confirmed the prejudice against them, and exposed them to additional obloquy and punishment.
But the chiefs of the patriots, while for political purposes they pointed the hatred of their followers against the Catholics, appear not to have delighted unnecessarily in blood. They ordered, indeed, searches to be made for Catholic clergymen; they offered and paid rewards for their apprehension, and they occasionally gratified the zealots with the spectacle of an execution. The priests who suffered death in the course of the war amounted on an average to three for each year, a small number, if we consider the agitated state of the public mind during that period. But it was the property of the lay Catholics which they chiefly sought, pretending that, as the war had been caused by their intrigues, its expenses ought to be defrayed by their forfeitures. It was ordained that two-thirds of the whole estate, both real and personal, of every papist, should be seized and sold for
[Footnote 1: Journals, vi. 133, 254. See their Memoirs in Challoner, ii. 209-319. In 1643, after a solemn fast, the five chaplains of the queen were apprehended and sent to France, their native country, and the furniture of her chapel at Somerset House was publicly burnt. The citizens were so edified with the sight that they requested and obtained permission to destroy the gilt cross in Cheapside. The lord mayor and aldermen graced the ceremony with their presence, and “antichrist” was thrown into the flames, while the bells of St. Peter’s rang a merry peal, the city waits played melodious tunes on the leads of the church, the train bands discharged volleys of musketry, and the spectators celebrated the triumph with acclamations of joy.–Parl. Chron. 294, 327.]
the benefit of the nation; and that by the name of papist should be understood all persons who, within a certain period, had harboured any priest, or had been convicted of recusancy, or had attended at the celebration of mass, or had suffered their children to be educated in the Catholic worship, or had refused to take the oath of abjuration; an oath lately devised, by which all the distinguishing tenets of the Catholic religion were specifically renounced.
II. A still more important object was the destruction of the episcopal establishment, a consummation most devoutly wished by the saints, by all who objected to the ceremonies in the liturgy, or had been scandalized by the pomp of the prelates, or had smarted under the inflictions of their zeal for the preservation of orthodoxy. It must be confessed that these prelates, in the season of prosperity, had not borne their facilities with meekness; that the frequency of prosecutions in the ecclesiastical courts had produced irritation and hatred; and that punishments had been often awarded by those courts rigorous beyond the measure of the offence. But the day of retribution arrived. Episcopacy was abolished; an impeachment suspended over the heads of most of the bishops, kept them in a state of constant apprehension; and the inferior clergy, wherever the parliamentary arms prevailed, suffered all those severities which they had formerly inflicted on their dissenting brethren. Their enemies accused them of immorality or malignancy; and the two houses invariably sequestrated their livings, and assigned the profits to other ministers, whose sentiments accorded better with the new
[Footnote 1: Journals, Aug. 17, 1643. Collections of Ordinances, 22.]
standard of orthodoxy and patriotism admitted at Westminster.
The same was the fate of the ecclesiastics in the two universities, which had early become objects of jealousy and vengeance to the patriots. They had for more than a century inculcated the doctrine of passive obedience, and since the commencement of the war had more than once advanced considerable sums to the king. Oxford, indeed, enjoyed a temporary exemption from their control; but Cambridge was already in their power, and a succession of feuds between the students and the townsmen afforded a decent pretext for their interference. Soldiers were quartered in the colleges; the painted windows and ornaments of the churches were demolished; and the persons of the inmates were subjected to insults and injuries. In January, 1644, an ordinance passed for the reform of the university;[a] and it was perhaps fortunate that the ungracious task devolved in the first instance on the military commander, the earl of Manchester, who to a taste for literature added a gentleness of disposition adverse from acts of severity. Under his superintendence the university was “purified;” and ten heads of houses, with sixty-five fellows, were expelled. Manchester confined himself to those who, by their hostility to the parliament, had rendered themselves conspicuous, or through fear had already abandoned their stations; but after his departure, the meritorious undertaking was resumed by a committee, and the number of expulsions was carried to two hundred. Thus the clerical establishment gradually crumbled
[Footnote 1: Journals of Lords, vi. 389; of Commons, Jan. 20, 1644. Neal, 1, iii. c. 3. Walker, i. 112. Querela Cantab. in Merc. Rust. 178-210.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Jan. 22.]
away; part after part was detached from the edifice; and the reformers hastened to raise what they deemed a more scriptural fabric on the ruins. In the month of June, 1643, one hundred and twenty individuals selected by the Lords and Commons, under the denomination of pious, godly, and judicious divines, were summoned to meet at Westminster; and, that their union might bear a more correct resemblance to the assembly of the Scottish kirk, thirty laymen, ten lords, and twenty commoners were voted additional members. The two houses prescribed the form of the meetings, and the subject of the debates: they enjoined an oath to be taken on admission, and the obligation of secrecy till each question should be determined; and they ordained that every decision should be laid before themselves, and considered of no force until it had been confirmed by their approbation. Of the divines summoned, a portion was composed of Episcopalians; and these, through motives of conscience or loyalty, refused to attend: the majority consisted of Puritan ministers, anxious to establish the Calvinistic discipline and doctrine of the foreign reformed churches; and to these was opposed a small but formidable band of Independent clergymen, who, under the persecution of Archbishop Laud, had formed congregations in Holland, but had taken the present opportunity to return from exile, and preach the gospel in their native country. The point at issue between these two parties was one of the first importance, involving in its result the great question of liberty of conscience. The Presbyterians sought to introduce a
[Footnote 1: Journals, vi. 114, 254. Commons, 1643, May 13, June 16, July 6, Sept. 14. Rush. v. 337, 339.]
gradation of spiritual authorities in presbyteries, classes, synods, and assemblies, giving to these several judicatories the power of the keys, that is, of censuring, suspending, depriving, and excommunicating delinquents. They maintained that such a power was essential to the church; that to deny it was to rend into fragments the seamless coat of Christ, to encourage disunion and schism, and to open the door to every species of theological war. On the other hand, their adversaries contended that all congregations of worshippers were co-ordinate and independent; that synods might advise, but could not command; that multiplicity of sects must necessarily result from the variableness of the human judgment, and the obligation of worshipping God according to the dictates of conscience; and that religious toleration was the birthright of every human being, whatever were his speculative creed or the form of worship which he preferred.
The weight of number and influence was in favour of the Presbyterians. They possessed an overwhelming majority in the assembly, the senate, the city, and the army; the solemn league and covenant had enlisted the whole Scottish nation in their cause; and the zeal of the commissioners from the kirk, who had also seats in the assembly, gave a new stimulus to the efforts of their English brethren. The Independents, on the contrary, were few, but their deficiency in point of number was supplied by the energy and talents of their leaders. They never exceeded a dozen in the assembly; but these were veteran disputants, eager, fearless, and persevering, whose attachment to their favourite doctrines had been riveted by persecution and exile, and who had not escaped from the intolerance
[Footnote 1: Baillie, i. 420, 431; ii. 15, 24, 37, 43, 61.]
of one church to submit tamely to the control of another. In the House of Commons they could command the aid of several among the master spirits of the age,–of Cromwell, Selden, St. John, Vane, and Whitelock; in the capital some of the most wealthy citizens professed themselves their disciples, and in the army their power rapidly increased by the daily accession of the most godly and fanatic of the soldiers. The very nature of the contest between the king and the parliament was calculated to predispose the mind in favour of their principles. It taught men to distrust the claims of authority, to exercise their own judgment on matters of the highest interest, and to spurn the fetters of intellectual as well as of political thraldom. In a short time the Independents were joined by the Antinomians, Anabaptists, Millenarians, Erastians, and the members of many ephemeral sects, whose very names are now forgotten. All had one common interest; freedom of conscience formed the chain which bound them together.
In the assembly each party watched with jealousy, and opposed with warmth, the proceedings of the other. On a few questions they proved unanimous. The appointment of days of humiliation and prayer, the suppression of public and scandalous sins, the prohibition of copes and surplices, the removal of organs from the churches, and the mutilation or demolition of monuments deemed superstitious or idolatrous, were matters equally congenial to their feelings, and equally gratifying to their zeal or fanaticism. But when they
[Footnote 1: Baillie, 398, 408; ii. 3, 19, 43. Whitelock, 169, 170.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, 1643, July 5; 1644, Jan. 16, 29, May 9. Journals of Lords, vi. 200, 507, 546. Baillie, i. 421, 422, 471. Rush. v. 358, 749.]
came to the more important subject of church government, the opposition between them grew fierce and obstinate; and day after day, week after week, was consumed in unavailing debates. The kirk of Scotland remonstrated, the House of Commons admonished in vain. For more than a year the perseverance of the Independents held in check the ardour and influence of their more numerous adversaries. Overpowered at last by open force, they had recourse to stratagem; and, to distract the attention of the Presbyterians, tendered to the assembly a plea for indulgence to tender consciences; while their associate, Cromwell, obtained from the lower house an order that the same subject should be referred to a committee formed of lords and commoners, and Scottish commissioners and deputies from the assembly. Thus a new apple of discord was thrown among the combatants. The lords Say and Wharton, Sir Henry Vane, and Mr. St. John, contended warmly in favour of toleration; they were as warmly opposed by the “divine eloquence of the chancellor” of Scotland, the commissioners from the kirk, and several eminent members of the English parliament. The passions and artifices of the contending parties interposed additional delays, and the year 1644 closed before this interesting controversy could be brought to a conclusion. Eighteen months had elapsed since the assembly was first convened, and yet it had accomplished nothing of importance except the composition of a directory for the public worship, which regulated the order of the service, the administration of the sacraments, the ceremony of marriage, the visitation of the sick, and the burial of the dead.
[Footnote 1: Baillie, ii. 57, 61, 62, 66-68. Journals, Sept. 13, Jan. 24; of Lords, 70.]
On all these subjects the Scots endeavoured to introduce the practice of their own kirk; but the pride of the English demanded alterations; and both parties consented to a sort of compromise, which carefully avoided every approach to the form of a liturgy, and, while it suggested heads for the sermon and prayer, left much of the matter, and the whole of the manner, to the talents or the inspiration of the minister. In England the Book of Common Prayer was abolished, and the Directory substituted in its place by an ordinance of the two houses; in Scotland the latter was commanded to be observed in all churches by the joint authority of the assembly and the parliament.
To the downfall of the liturgy succeeded a new spectacle,–the decapitation of an archbishop. The name of Laud, during the first fifteen months after his impeachment, had scarcely been mentioned; and his friends began to cherish a hope that, amidst the din of arms, the old man might be forgotten, or suffered to descend peaceably into the grave. But his death was unintentionally occasioned by the indiscretion of the very man whose wish and whose duty it was to preserve the life of the prelate. The Lords had ordered Laud to collate the vacant benefices in his gift on persons nominated by themselves, the king forbade him to obey. The death[a] of the rector of Chartham, in Kent, brought his constancy to the test. The Lords named one person to the living, Charles another; and the archbishop, to extricate himself from the dilemma, sought to defer his decision till the right should have
[Footnote 1: Baillie, i. 408, 413, 440; ii. 27, 31, 33, 36, 73, 74, 75. Rush. v. 785. Journals, Sept. 24, Nov. 26, Jan. 1, 4, March 5. Journals of Lords, 119, 121. See “Confessions of Faith, &c. in the Church of Scotland," 159-194.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643 Feb. 3.] lapsed to the crown; but the Lords made a peremptory order, and when he attempted to excuse his disobedience, sent a message[a] to the Commons to expedite his trial. Perhaps they meant only to intimidate; but his enemies seized the opportunity; a committee was appointed; and the task of collecting and preparing evidence was committed to Prynne, whose tiger-like revenge still thirsted for the blood of his former persecutor. He carried off[b] from the cell of the prisoner his papers, his diary, and even his written defence; he sought in every quarter for those who had formerly been prosecuted or punished at the instance of the archbishop, and he called on all men to discharge their duty to God and their country, by deposing to the crimes of him who was the common enemy of both.
At the termination of six months[c] the committee had been able to add ten new articles of impeachment to the fourteen already presented; four months later,[d] both parties were ready to proceed to trial, and on the 12th of March, 1644, more than three years after his commitment, the archbishop confronted his prosecutors at the bar of the House of Lords.
I shall not attempt to conduct the reader through, the mazes of this long and wearisome process, which occupied twenty-one days in the course of six months. The many articles presented by the Commons might be reduced to three,–that Laud had endeavoured to subvert the rights of parliament, the laws and the religion of the nation. In support of these, every instance that could be raked together by the industry and ingenuity of Prynne, was brought forward. The familiar discourse, and the secret writings of the
[Footnote 1: Laud’s History written by himself in the Tower, 200-206.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. April 21.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. May 31.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1643. Oct. 23.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. March 4.]
prelate, had been scrutinized; and his conduct both private and public, as a bishop and a counsellor, in the Star-chamber and the High Commission court, had been subjected to the most severe investigation. Under every disadvantage, he defended himself with spirit, and often with success. He showed that many of the witnesses were his personal enemies, or undeserving of credit; that his words and writings would bear a less offensive and more probable interpretation; and that most of the facts objected to him were either the acts of his officers, who alone ought to be responsible, or the common decision of those boards of which he was only a single member. Thus far[a] he had conducted his defence without legal aid. To speak to matters of law, he was allowed the aid of counsel, who contended that not one of the offences alleged against him amounted to high treason; that their number could not change their quality; that an endeavour to subvert the law, or religion, or the rights of parliament, was not treason by any statute; and that the description of an offence, so vague and indeterminate ought never to be admitted;: otherwise the slightest transgression might, under that denomination, be converted into the highest crime known to the law.
But the Commons, whether they distrusted the patriotism of the Lords, or doubted the legal guilt of the prisoner, had already resolved to proceed by attainder. After the second reading[b] of the ordinance, they sent for the venerable prisoner to their bar, and ordered Brown, one of the managers, to recapitulate in his
[Footnote 1: Compare his own daily account of his trial in History, 220-421, with that part published by Prynne, under the title of Canterburies Doome, 1646; and Rushworth, v. 772.]
[Footnote 2: See it in Laud’s History, 423.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. March 11.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Nov. 2.]
hearing the evidence against him, together with his answers. Some days later[a] he was recalled, and suffered to speak in his own defence. After his departure, Brown made a long reply; and the house, without further consideration, passed[b] the bill of attainder, and adjudged him to suffer the penalties of treason. The reader will not fail to observe this flagrant perversion of the forms of justice. It was not as in the case of the earl of Strafford. The commons had not been present at the trial of Laud; they had not heard the evidence, they had not even read the depositions of the witnesses; they pronounced judgment on the credit of the unsworn and partial statement made by their own advocate. Such a proceeding, so subversive of right and equity, would have been highly reprehensible in any court or class of men; it deserved the severest reprobation in that house, the members of which professed themselves the champions of freedom, and were actually in arms against the sovereign, to preserve, as they maintained, the laws, the rights, and the liberties of the nation.
To quicken the tardy proceedings of the Peers, the enemies of the archbishop had recourse to their usual expedients. Their emissaries lamented the delay in the punishment of delinquents, and the want of unanimity between the two houses. It was artfully suggested as a remedy, that both the Lords and Commons ought to sit and vote together in one assembly; and a petition, embodying these different subjects, was prepared and circulated for signatures through the city. Such manoeuvres aroused the spirit of the Peers. They threatened[c] to punish all disturbers
[Footnote 1: Journals, Oct. 31, Nov. 2, 11, 16. Laud’s History, 432-440. Rushworth, v. 780.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Nov. 11.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Nov. 13.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. Nov. 28.]
of the peace; they replied with dignity to an insulting message from the Commons; and, regardless of the clamours of the populace, they spent several days in comparing the proofs of the managers with the defence of the archbishop. At last,[a] in a house of fourteen members, the majority pronounced him guilty of certain acts, but called upon the judges to determine the quality of the offence; who warily replied, that nothing of which he had been convicted was treason by the statute law; what it might be by the law of parliament, the house alone was the proper judge. In these circumstances the Lords informed the Commons, that till their consciences were satisfied, they should “scruple” to pass the bill of attainder.
It was the eve of Christmas,[b] and to prove that the nation had thrown off the yoke of superstition, the festival was converted, by ordinance of the two houses, into a day of “fasting and public humiliation." There was much policy in the frequent repetition of these devotional observances. The ministers having previously received instructions from the leading patriots, adapted their prayers and sermons to the circumstances of the time, and never failed to add a new stimulus to the fanaticism of their hearers. On the present occasion[c] the crimes of the archbishop offered a tempting theme to their eloquence; and the next morning the Commons, taking into consideration the last message, intrusted[d] to a committee the task of enlightening the ignorance of the Lords. In a conference
[Footnote 1: Journals, vii. 76, 100, 111.]
[Footnote 2: Ibid. 106. In the preceding year, the Scottish commissioners had “preached stoutly against the superstition of Christmas;” but only succeeded in prevailing on the two houses “to profane that holyday by sitting on it, to their great joy, and some of the assembly’s shame."–Baillie, i. 411.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644 Dec. 17.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644 Dec. 23.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644 Dec. 26.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1645 Jan. 2.]
the latter were told that treasons are of two kinds: treasons against the king, created by statute, and cognizable by the inferior courts; and treasons against the realm, held so at common law, and subject only to the judgment of parliament; there could not be a doubt that the offence of Laud was treason of the second class; nor would the two houses perform their duty, if they did not visit it with the punishment which it deserved. When the question was resumed, several of the Lords withdrew; most of the others were willing to be persuaded by the reasoning of the Commons; and the ordinance of attainder was passed[a] by the majority, consisting only, if the report be correct, of six members.
The archbishop submitted with resignation to his fate, and appeared[b] on the scaffold with a serenity of countenance and dignity of behaviour, which did honour to the cause for which he suffered. The cruel punishment of treason had been, after some objections, commuted for decapitation, and the dead body was delivered for interment to his friends. On Charles the melancholy intelligence made a deep impression;
[Footnote 1: Journals, 125, 126. Commons, Dec. 26. Laud’s Troubles, 452, Rushworth, v. 781-785. Cyprianus Aug. 528. From the journals it appears that twenty lords were in the house during the day: but we are told in the “Brief Relation” printed in the second collection of Somers’s Tracts, ii. 287, that the majority consisted of the earls of Kent, Pembroke, Salisbury, and Bolingbroke, and the lords North, Gray de Warke, and Bruce. Bruce afterwards denied that he had voted. According to Sabran, the French ambassador, the majority amounted to five out of nine.–Raumer, ii. 332.]
[Footnote 2: Several executions had preceded that of the archbishop. Macmahon, concerned in the design to surprise the castle of Dublin, suffered Nov. 22; Sir Alexander Carew, who had engaged to surrender Plymouth to the king, on Dec. 23, and Sir John Hotham and his son, who, conceiving themselves ill-treated by the parliament, had entered into a treaty for the surrender of Hull, on the 1st and 2nd of January; Lord Macguire followed on Feb. 20.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Jan. 4.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. Jan. 10.]
yet he contrived to draw from it a new source of consolation. He had sinned equally with his opponents in consenting to the death of Strafford, and had experienced equally with them the just vengeance of heaven. But he was innocent of the blood of Laud; the whole guilt was exclusively theirs; nor could he doubt that the punishment would speedily follow in the depression of their party, and the exaltation of the throne.
The very enemies of the unfortunate archbishop admitted that he was learned and pious, attentive to his duties, and unexceptionable in his morals; on the other hand, his friends could not deny that he was hasty and vindictive, positive in his opinions, and inexorable in his enmities. To excuse his participation in the arbitrary measures of the council, and his concurrence in the severe decrees of the Star-chamber, he alleged, that he was only one among many; and that it was cruel to visit on the head of a single victim the common faults of the whole board. But it was replied, with great appearance of truth, that though only one, he was the chief; that his authority and influence swayed the opinions both of his sovereign and his colleagues; and that he must not expect to escape the just reward of his crimes, because he had possessed the ingenuity to make others his associates in guilt. Yet I am of opinion that it was religious, and not political rancour, which led him to the block; and that, if the zealots could have forgiven his conduct as archbishop, he might have lingered out the remainder of his life in the Tower. There was, however, but little difference in that respect between
[Footnote 1: See his letter to the queen, Jan. 14th, in his Works, 145.]
them and their victim. Both were equally obstinate, equally infallible, equally intolerant. As long as Laud ruled in the zenith of his power, deprivation awaited the non-conforming minister, and imprisonment, fine, and the pillory were the certain lot of the writer who dared to lash the real or imaginary vices of the prelacy. His opponents were now lords of the ascendant, and they exercised their sway with similar severity on the orthodox clergy of the establishment, and on all who dared to arraign before the public the new reformation of religion. Surely the consciousness of the like intolerance might have taught them to look with a more indulgent eye on the past errors of their fallen adversary, and to spare the life of a feeble old man bending under the weight of seventy-two years, and disabled by his misfortunes from offering opposition to their will, or affording aid to their enemies.
[Footnote 1: I have not noticed the charge of endeavouring to introduce popery, because it appears to me fully disproved by the whole tenor of his conduct and writings, as long as he was in authority. There is, however, some reason to believe that, in the solitude of his cell, and with the prospect of the block before his eyes, he began to think more favourably of the Catholic church. At least, I find Rosetti inquiring of Cardinal Barberini whether, if Laud should escape from the Tower, the pope would afford him an asylum and a pension in Rome. He would be content with one thousand crowns–"il quale, quando avesse potuto liberarsi dalle carceri, sarebbe ito volontieri a vivere e morire in Roma, contendandosi di mille scudi annui."–Barberini answered, that Laud was in such bad repute in Rome, being looked upon as the cause of all the troubles in England, that it would previously be necessary that he should give good proof of his repentance; in which case he should receive assistance, though such assistance would give a colour to the imputation that there had always been an understanding between him and Rome. “Era si cattivo il concetto, che di lui avevasi in Roma, cioč che fosse stato autore di tutte le torbolenze d’Inghilterra, che era necessario dasse primo segni ben grandi del suo pentimento. Ed in tal caso sarebbe stato ajutato; sebene saria paruto che nelle sue passate resoluzioni se la fosse sempre intesa con Roma."–From the MS. abstract of the Barberini papers made by the canon Nicoletti soon after the death of the cardinal.]