Project Gutenberg's Cassell's History of England.  Vol III, by Cassell

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Title: Cassell's History of England.  Vol III
       From the Great Rebellion to the Fall of Marlborough.

Author: Cassell

Release Date: May 11, 2016 [EBook #52045]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Chris Curnow and the Online Distributed
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History of England











Condition of Ireland—Roger Moore's Pilgrimage—Negotiations of the Anglo-Irish with Charles—Hugh M'Mahon betrays the Plot—Rising of the Native Irish—Massacre of Protestants—Measures taken by the English Parliament—Return of Charles to London—The Grand Remonstrance—The King's Answer—His Lieutenant of the Tower—Riots in London—Blunder of the Bishops—Attempted Arrest of the Five Members—Charles leaves London—The Queen goes to Holland—Charles at York—His Repulse from Hull—Preparations for War—The Royal Standard Raised—Prince Rupert's Headstrong Folly—Battle of Edge Hill—Charles marches on London—He returns to Oxford—Cromwell in the East—The Queen in Yorkshire—Death of Hampden—Parliamentary Disasters—Battle of Newbury—Death of Lord Falkland—Negotiations with the Scots and Irish—Death of Pym—Royal Parliament at Oxford—Battle of Marston Moor—Disastrous Failure of Essex in Cornwall—Second Battle of Newbury—The Self-denying Ordinance—The New-modelled Army 1



The Assembly at Westminster—Trial and Death of Laud—Negotiations at Uxbridge—Meeting of the Commissioners—Impossibility of a Settlement—Prospect of Help to the King from the Continent—Charles agrees to the demands of the Irish Catholics—Discipline and Spirit of the Parliamentary Army—Campaign of the New-modelled Army—Hunting the King—Battle of Naseby—Fairfax in the West—Exploits of Montrose—Efforts of Charles to join Him—Battle of Kilsyth—Fall of Bristol—Battle of Philiphaugh—Last Efforts of the Royalists—Charles Offers to Treat—Discovery of his Correspondence with Glamorgan—Charles Intrigues with the Scots—Flight from Oxford—Surrender to the Scots at Newark—Consequent Negotiations—Proposals for Peace—Surrender of Charles to Parliament 34



Differences between the Presbyterians and Independents—The King at Holmby—Attempt to Disband the Army—Consequent Petitions to Parliament—The Adjutators—Meeting at Newmarket—Seizure of the King—Advance of the Army on London—Stubbornness of the Presbyterians—The Army Marches through London—Its Proposals to Charles—Their Rejection—The King throws away his best Chances—The Levellers—Cromwell's Efforts on behalf of Charles—Renewed Intrigues of Charles—Flight to Carisbrooke—Attempts to Rescue the King—Charles Treats with the Scots—Consequent Reaction in his Favour—Battle of Preston and Suppression of the Insurrection—Cromwell at Edinburgh—The Prince of Wales in Command of the Fleet—Negotiations at Newport—Growing Impatience of the Army—Petitions for the King's Trial—Charles's Blindness and Duplicity—He is Removed to Hurst Castle—Pride's Purge—Supremacy of the Independents—The Whiggamores—Hugh Peters' Sermon in St. Margaret's, Westminster—Ordinance for the King's Trial—Trial and Execution of Charles I. 59



Proclamation of the Prince of Wales Forbidden—Decline of the Peerage—Ultimus Regum—Establishment of a Republican Government—Abolition of the House of Lords and the Monarchy—Council of State—The Oath Difficulty—The Engagement—Religious Toleration—Trials of Royalists—Discontent among the People—The Levellers—Activity of John Lilburne—Quelling the Mutiny in Whalley's Regiment—Lockyer's Funeral—Arrest of Lilburne—Spread of the Disaffection to other Regiments—Suppression of the Insurrection—Cromwell appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland—Royalist Movement in Scotland—Charles's Son proclaimed King—The Scottish Deputation at the Hague—Charles's[vi] Court—Assassination of Dr. Dorislaus—Affairs in Ireland—Cromwell's Campaign—Defeat and Death of Montrose—Cromwell in Scotland—Battle of Dunbar—Movements of Charles—His March into England—Battle of Worcester—Charles Escapes to France—Vigorous Government—Foreign Difficulties—Navigation Act—War with Holland—Contest between Parliament and the Army—Expulsion of the Rump—The Little Parliament—Cromwell made Protector 90



Naval Victory over the Dutch—Death of Van Tromp—Quasi-Royal State of the Lord-Protector—Disaffection against Cromwell—His Vigorous Rule—Charles II. offers a Reward for his Assassination—Rebellions in Scotland—Cromwell's Dealings with the Portuguese Ambassador—Reform of the Court of Chancery—Commission for Purgation of the Church—The Reformed Parliament—Exclusion of the Ultras—Dissolution of Parliament—Danger from Plots—Accident to the Protector—Death of Cromwell's Mother—Royalist Outbreaks—Cromwell's Major-Generals—Foreign Policy—War with Spain—Massacre of the Piedmontese—Capture of Jamaica—The Jews Appeal for Toleration—Cromwell's Third Parliament—Plots against his Life—The Petition and Advice—Cromwell refuses the Royal Title—Blake's Brilliant Victory at Santa Cruz—Death of Blake—Successes against Spain—Failure of the Reconstructed Parliament—Punishment of Conspirators—Victory in the Netherlands—Absolutism of Cromwell—His Anxieties, Illness, and Death—Proclamation of Richard Cromwell—He calls a Parliament—It is Dissolved—Reappearance of the Rump—Richard Retires—Royalist Risings—Quarrels of the Army and the Rump—General Monk—He Marches upon London—Demands a Free Parliament—Royalist Reaction—Declaration of Breda—Joyful Reception of Charles 123



Manufactures and Commerce—Trade under the Stuarts—English Commerce and Dutch Competition—The East India Company—Vicissitudes of its Early History—Rival Companies—The American Colonies and West Indies—Growth of London—National Revenue—Extravagance of the Stuarts—Invention of the Title of Baronet—Illegal Monopolies—Cost of Government—Money and Coinage—Agriculture and Gardening—Dramatists of the Period—Shakespeare and his Contemporaries—Poets of the Occult School—Herbert, Herrick, Quarles—A Wealth of Poetry—Prose-Writers—Bacon's "Novum Organum"—Milton's Prose Works—Hales, Chillingworth, Jeremy Taylor, Fuller, and other Theological Writers—Harrington's "Oceana"—Sir Thomas Browne—Historians and Chroniclers—First Newspapers—Harvey's Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood—Napier's Invention of Logarithms—Music—Painting, Engraving, and Sculpture—Architecture—Manners and Customs—Sports and Pastimes—Furniture and Domestic Embellishment—Costumes—Arms and Armour—Condition of the People 165



Character of Charles II.—The King's First Privy Council—The Convention Parliament—Submission of the Presbyterian Leaders—The Plight of those who took Part in the late King's Trial—Complaisance of the Commoners—Charles's Income—The Bill of Sales—The Ministers Bill—Settlement of the Church—Trial of the Regicides—Their Execution—Marriage of the Duke of York—Mutilation of the Remains of Cromwell—The Presbyterians Duped—The Revenue—Fifth-Monarchy Riot—Settlements of Ireland and Scotland—Execution of Argyll—Re-establishment of Episcopacy—The new Parliament violently Royalist—The King's Marriage—His Brutal Behaviour to the Queen—State of the Court—Trial of Vane and Lambert—Execution of Vane—Assassination of Regicides—Sale of Dunkirk—The Uniformity Act—Religious Persecution—Strange Case of the Marquis of Bristol—Repeal of the Triennial Act—The Conventicle and Five Mile Acts—War with Holland—Appearance of the Plague—Gross Licentiousness of the Court—Demoralisation of the Navy—Monk's Fight with the Dutch—The Great Fire 193


REIGN OF CHARLES II. (continued).

Demands of Parliament—A Bogus Commission—Crushing the Covenanters in Scotland—The Dutch in the Thames—Panic in London and at Court—Humiliation of England—Peace is Signed—Fall of Clarendon—The Cabal—Sir [vii]William Temple at the Hague—The Triple Alliance—Scandals at Court—Profligacy of the King and the Duke of Buckingham—Attempt to Deprive the Duke of York of the Succession—Persecution of Nonconformists—Trial of Penn and Mead—The Rights of Juries—Secret Treaty with France—Suspicious Death of Charles's Sister—"Madam Carwell"—Attack on Sir John Coventry—National Bankruptcy—War with Holland—Battle of Southwold Bay—Declaration of Indulgence—Fall of the Cabal—Affairs in Scotland and Ireland—Progress of the Continental War—Mary Marries William of Orange—Louis Intrigues with the Opposition—Peace of Nimeguen—The Popish Plot—Impeachment of Danby—Temple's Scheme of Government—The Exclusion Bill—Murder of Archbishop Sharp—Bothwell Bridge—Anti-Catholic Fury—Charges against James—Execution of Lord Stafford 221


REIGN OF CHARLES II. (concluded).

Charles's Embarrassments—Exclusion Intrigues—Parliament Dissolved—The King again Pensioned by Louis—New Parliament at Oxford—Violence of the Whigs—Charles Dissolves the Oxford Parliament—Execution of Archbishop Plunket—Arrest of Shaftesbury—Dismay of the Gang of Perjurers—Oates turned out of Whitehall—Shaftesbury's Lists—Visit of William of Orange—James in Scotland—Defeat of the Cameronians—Cargill's Manifesto—The Duke of York's Tyranny—Flight of Argyll—The Torture in Edinburgh—Arrogance of Monmouth—Contest between the Court and the City—Death of Shaftesbury—Rye House Plot—Suicide of the Earl of Essex—Trial of Lord William Russell—Extraordinary Declaration of the University of Oxford—Trial of Algernon Sidney—The Duke of Monmouth Pardoned—Base Conduct of Monmouth—Trial of Hampden—Trials in Scotland—Absolutism of Charles—Forfeiture of Charters by the Corporations—Influence of the Duke of York—Opposition of Halifax—Sickness and Death of the King 267



James's Speech to the Council—Rochester supersedes Halifax—Other Changes in the Ministry—James Collects the Customs without Parliament—French Pension continued—Scottish Parliament—Oates and Dangerfield—Meeting of Parliament—It grants Revenue for Life—Monmouth and Argyll—Argyll's Expedition—His Capture and Execution—Monmouth's Expedition—He enters Taunton—Failure of his Hopes—Battle of Sedgemoor—Execution of Monmouth—Cruelties of Kirke and Jeffreys—The Bloody Assize—The Case of Lady Alice Lisle—Decline of James's Power—He Breaks the Test Act—Revocation of the Edict of Nantes—Prorogation of Parliament—Acquittal of Delamere—Alienation of the Church—Parties at Court—The Dispensing Power Asserted—Livings granted to Catholics—Court of High Commission Revived—Army on Hounslow Heath—Trial of "Julian" Johnson—James's Lawlessness in Scotland and Ireland—Declaration of Indulgence—The Party of the Prince of Orange and the Princess Mary—Expulsion of the Fellows of Magdalen College—New Declaration of Indulgence—Protest of the Seven Bishops—Birth of the Prince of Wales—Trial and Acquittal of the Bishops—Invitation to William of Orange—Folly of James—William's Preparations—Blindness of James, and Treachery of his Ministers—William's Declaration—James convinced, makes Concessions—William lands at Torbay—His Advance to Exeter—Churchill's Treason—Flight of the Princess Anne and her Husband—James sends Commissioners to Treat with William—Flight of James—Riots in London—Return of James—His Final Flight to France—The Convention—The Succession Question—Declaration of Rights—William and Mary joint Sovereigns 289



Religion: Nonconformist Sects—Imprisonment of Bunyan—Fox and the Society of Friends—The Punishment of James Naylor—Expulsion of Roger Williams—Other Religious Sects—Literature: Milton—His Works—Cowley—Butler—Dryden—Minor Poets—Dramatists of the Restoration—Prose Writers: Milton and Dryden—Hobbes—Clarendon—Baxter—Bunyan—Waiton—Evelyn and Pepys—Founding of the Royal Society—Physical Science—Discoveries of Napier, Newton and Flamsteed—Mathematicians and Chemists—Harvey and Worcester—Painting, Sculpture, and Engraving—Coinage—Music—Furniture—Costume—Manners and Customs—State of London—Sports and Amusements—Country Life—Travelling—The Clergy—Yeomen—Village Sports—Growth of the Revenue and Commerce—Growing prosperity of the North of England—The Navigation Act—Norwich and Bristol—Postal Arrangements—Advantages Derived from the Industries of the Foreign Refugees—The East India Company—Condition of the People: Wages—The Poor Law—Efforts of Philanthropists 352




Accession of William and Mary—Discontent of the Church and the Army—William's First Ministry—His Dutch Followers—The Convention becomes a Parliament—Oath of Allegiance—Settlement of the Revenue—Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act—The Mutiny Bill—Settlement of Religion—The Coronation—Declaration of War with France—Violence of the Revolution in Scotland—Parties in the Scottish Parliament—Letter from James—Secession of Dundee—Edinburgh in Arms—Settlement of the Government—Dundee in the Highlands—Battle of Killiecrankie—Mackay Concludes the War—Revolution in Ireland—Panic among the Englishry—Londonderry and Enniskillen Garrisoned—Negotiations of Tyrconnel—His Temporary Success—Landing of James—He Enters Dublin—His Journey into Ulster—The Siege of Londonderry—It is Saved—Legislation of the Irish Parliament—Arrival of Schomberg—Factiousness of the English Whigs—State of the English Army in Ireland—Renewed Violence of the Whigs—The Corporation Act Thrown Out—William Threatens to Leave England—Dissolution of Parliament—Tory Reaction—Venality of the New Parliament—Settlement of the Revenue—Whig Propositions—The Act of Grace—Preparations for War—A Jacobite Plot—William goes to Ireland—Progress of the War under Schomberg—Gradual Improvement of his Position and Ruin of the Jacobite Army—The Battle of the Boyne—Flight of James—William Enters the Irish Capital—News from England—Siege of Limerick—Battle of Beachy Head—Landing of the French in Torbay—Courage of the English People—Settlement of Scotland—Marlborough's Successes in Ireland—Parliament Grants Liberal Supplies—Preston's Plot Thwarted—William Sets Out for Holland—Vigour of Louis—Fall of Mons—Trial of Jacobite Conspirators—Treason in High Places—Punishment of the Non-Jurors—The Continental Campaign—Condition of Ireland—Arrival of St. Ruth—Siege of Athlone—Battle of Aghrim—Second Siege and Capitulation of Limerick 396



Proceedings in Parliament—Complaints against Admiral Russell—Treason in the Navy—Legislation against the Roman Catholics—The East India Company—Treasons Bill—The Poll Tax—Changes in the Ministry—Marlborough is deprived of his Offices—His Treachery—The Queen's Quarrel with the Princess Anne—William goes Abroad—Fall of Namur—Battle of Steinkirk—Results of the Campaign—The Massacre of Glencoe—Proposed Invasion of England—James's Declaration—Russell's Hesitation overcome by the Queen—Battle of La Hogue—Gallant Conduct of Rooke—Young's Sham Plot—Founding of Greenwich Hospital—Ill Success of the Fleet—Discontent of the People—Complaints in the Lords and Commons—The Land Tax—Origin of the National Debt—Liberty of the Press—The Continental Campaign—Battle of Landen—Loss of the Smyrna Fleet—Attack on the Navy—New Legislation—Banking Schemes of Chamberlayne and Paterson—The Bank of England Established—Ministerial Changes—Negotiations for Peace—Marlborough's Treason and the Death of Talmash—Illness and Death of Queen Mary 448


Reign of WILLIAM III. (continued).

Rising Hopes of the Jacobites—Expulsion of Trevor for Venality—Examination of the Books of the East India Company—Impeachment of Leeds—The Glencoe Inquiry—The Darien Scheme—Marlborough's Reconciliation with William—Campaign of 1695—Surrender of Namur—William's Triumphant Return—General Election and Victory of the Whigs—New Parliament—Re-establishment of the Currency—Treasons Bill passed—A Double Jacobite Plot—Barclay's Preparations—Failure of Berwick's Insurrection Scheme—William Avoids the Snare—Warnings and Arrests—Sensation in the House of Commons—Trial and Execution of the Conspirators—The Association Bill becomes Law—Land Bank Established—Commercial Crisis—Failure of the Land Bank—The Bank of England supplies William with Money—Arrest of Sir John Fenwick—His Confession—William ignores it—Good Temper of the Commons—They take up Fenwick's Confession—His Silence—A Bill of Attainder passes both Houses—Execution of Fenwick—Ministerial Changes—Louis desires Peace—Opposition of the Allies—French Successes—Terms of Peace—Treaty of Ryswick—Enthusiasm in England 476


REIGN OF WILLIAM III. (concluded).

William Meets his Parliament—Reduction of the Standing Army—Visit of Peter the Great—Schemes of Louis—The East India Company—Spanish Partition Scheme—Its Inception and Progress—Somers's Hesitation—The Treaty is [ix]Signed—New Parliament—Tory Reaction—Dismissal of the Dutch Guards—William forms an Intention of Quitting England—Attack on the late Ministry—Jobbery in the Admiralty—Paterson's Darien Scheme—Douglas's Reasons against It—Enthusiasm of the Scots—Departure of the First Expedition and its Miserable Failure—The Untimely End of the Second Expedition—Second Partition Scheme—Double-dealing of the French—New Parliament—Attack on Somers—Report on the Irish Grants—Resumption Bill passed—William's Unpopularity—Death of the Duke of Gloucester—Conclusion of the New Partition Treaty and its Results—Charles makes over his Dominions to the French Candidate—His Death—Disgust of William at Louis's Duplicity—Tory Temper of the House—The Succession Question—Debates on Foreign Policy—The Succession Act passed—New Negotiations with France—Attack on the Whig Ministers—Acknowledgment of the Spanish King—Impeachment of the Whigs—The Kentish Petition—Its Reception by the House—The Legion Memorial—Panic in the House—Violent Struggle between the two Houses—The Impeachments dropped—William goes Abroad—The Grand Alliance and its Objects—Beginning of the War—Death of James II.—Louis acknowledges the Pretender—Reaction in England—New Parliament and Ministry—The King's Speech—British Patriotism is Roused—Voting of Supplies—The Bills of Attainder and Abjuration—Illness and Death of William—His Character 502



Accession of the Queen—Meeting of the Houses of Parliament—Scotland and Ireland—Power of Marlborough—The Revenue—Tory Colour of the Ministry—The Coronation—Declaration of War—Marlborough goes to the Seat of War—General Aspect of Affairs—Marlborough's Difficulties—His Campaign—Operations by Sea—Meeting of Parliament—Supply—Marlborough's Dukedom—The Occasional Conformity Bill—Dismissal of Rochester—Opening of the Campaign of 1703—Fall of Bonn—Failure to take Antwerp—Savoy and Portugal join the Allies—Visit of the Archduke Charles to England—The Storm—Jacobite Conspiracy—Ashby versus White—Queen Anne's Bounty—Marlborough's Great Plans—The States-General hoodwinked—His March—Dismay of the French—Junction with Eugene—Advance on the Danube—Assault of the Schellenberg—The Prince of Baden's Conceit—Approach of Tallard—The Eve of Blenheim—The Battle—Conclusion of the Campaign—Marlborough's Diplomacy—Capture of Gibraltar—Battle of Malaga—Proceedings in Parliament—The Campaign of 1705—Attempt to recover Gibraltar—Peterborough's Exploits in Spain—Proposal to Invite the Electress Sophia to England—Consequent Legislation—Battle of Ramillies—Eugene relieves Turin—Disasters in Spain—Meeting of the Commissioners for the Union—Condition of the Treaty—Opposition in Scotland—Riots in Edinburgh—Conduct of the Opposition—The Measure carried by Bribery—Its Discussion in the English Parliament—The Royal Assent given 535



Negotiations for Peace—The Ministry becomes Whig—Harley—Marlborough and Charles of Sweden—The Allies in Spain—Battle of Almanza—The French Triumphant in Spain—Attack on Toulon—Destruction of Shovel's Fleet—Jacobitism in Scotland—First Parliament of Great Britain—Abigail Hill—The Gregg Affair—Retirement of Harley and St. John from the Ministry—Attempted Invasion of Scotland—Campaign of 1708—Battle of Oudenarde—Capture of Lille—Leake takes Sardinia and Minorca—Death of Prince George of Denmark—The Junto—Terrible Plight of France—Marlborough's Plans for 1709—Louis Negotiates with Holland—Torcy's Terms—Ultimatum of the Allies—Rejection of the Terms—Patriotism of the French Nation—Fall of Tournay—Battle of Malplaquet—Meeting of Parliament—Dr. Sacheverell's Sermons—His Impeachment resolved upon—Attitude of the Court—The Trial and Sacheverell's Defence—The Riots—Dispersal of the Rabble—The Sentence—Bias of the Queen—The Tories in Power—Renewed Overtures for Peace—Their Failure—The Campaigns in the Netherlands and in Spain—Brihuega and its Consequence—Marlborough's Reign at an End—Unpopularity of Marlborough—Dismissal of the Duchess—Triumph of the Tories—Guiscard's Attack on Harley—Popularity of Harley—Marlborough's Last Campaign—Failure of the Attack on Quebec—The Ministry determine to make Peace—Overtures to the Pretender—He refuses to Change his Religion—Gualtier's Mission to Versailles—Indignation of the Dutch—The Basis of Negotiations—Signing of the Preliminaries—Excitement Abroad and at Home—Prorogation of Parliament—Strengthening of the Ministry—Debates in the two Houses—The Whigs adopt the Occasional Conformity Bill—Creation of Peers—Dismissal of Marlborough from his Employments—Walpole expelled the House 574



Christ Church, Oxford, from St. Aldate's (looking West)1
The Clock Tower, Dublin Castle5
Charles demanding the Surrender of the Five Members9
Lord Falkland13
St. Mary's Church, Nottingham17
Hampden mortally Wounded at Chalgrove21
Archbishop Laud's Library, East Quadrangle, John's College,
Prince Rupert28
Siege-piece of Charles I.—Newark (Half-crown)29
Siege-piece of Charles I.—Pontefract (Shilling)29
Siege-piece of Charles I.—Beeston (Two Shillings)29
Siege-piece of Charles I.—Colchester (Ten Shillings, Gold)29
St. Margaret's, Westminster33
Interview between Charles and the Earl of Denbigh36
Roundhead Soldiers37
Charles at the Battle of Naseby41
Cavalier Soldiers45
Raglan Castle49
Flight of Charles from Oxford53
Queen Henrietta's Drawing-room and Bedroom, Merton
College, Oxford57
Lord Fairfax61
Cornet Joyce's Interview with Charles64
Fairfax House, Putney65
Lord Clarendon69
Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight73
Rising of the London Apprentices on behalf of Charles76
Execution of Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle77
Arrival of Charles under Guard at Hurst Castle81
Trial of Charles85
Charles's Farewell Interview with the Duke of Gloucester
and the Princess Elizabeth89
Oliver Cromwell93
Assassination of Dr. Dorislaus97
Great Seal of the Commonwealth101
Cromwell on his way to London after the Battle of Worcester108
Henry Ireton109
Royal Museum and Picture Gallery, The Hague113
Cromwell addressing the Long Parliament for the Last Time117
Token of the Commonwealth (Copper)121
Broad of the Commonwealth (Gold)121
Crown of the Commonwealth (Silver)121
The Great Hall, Hampton Court Palace125
John Milton129
The Royalist Plotters at Salisbury insulting the Sheriff132
The Painted Chamber, Westminster133
Admiral Blake137
Cromwell refusing the Crown141
Arrest of Conspirators at the "Mermaid"145
John Thurloe149
The Manor House, Wimbledon (1660)153
Richard Cromwell156
Reception of Monk in the City of London157
Interior of the Painted Chamber, Westminster (looking East)161
Landing of Charles II. at Dover164
Cecil, Second Lord Baltimore169
Cheapside and the Cross in 1660172
The "Globe" Theatre, Southwark (with the "Rose"
Theatre in the Distance), in 1613173
Hawthornden in 1773177
Scene at the Funeral of Chillingworth181
William Harvey184
Reduced Facsimile of Front Page of No. 26 of "A Perfect Diurnall"185
Shopkeeper and Apprentice in the Time of Charles I.189
Great Seal of Charles II.193
Charles II.197
Arrest of Argyll200
Shilling of Charles II.205
Halfpenny (with Figure of Britannia) of Charles II.205
Crown of Charles II.205
Five-Guinea Piece of Charles II.205
Sir Harry Vane taking Leave of his Wife and Friends209
The Great Plague: Scene in the Streets of London213
The Great Plague: The Maniac pronouncing the Doom of London217
Pie Corner, Smithfield, where the Great Fire reached its Limits220
George Monk, Duke of Albemarle221
Tilbury Fort225
Samuel Pepys229
The Assault on Sir John Coventry232
Anthony Ashley Cooper, First Earl of Shaftesbury237
View in the Hague: The Gevangenpoort in which Cornelius
and John De Witt were imprisoned (1672)241
Sir William Temple245
Titus Oates before the Privy Council249
Thomas Osborne, first Duke of Leeds253
Hôtel de Ville, Paris, in the Eighteenth Century257
Assassination of Archbishop Sharp260
The Duke of Monmouth265
Arrival of Charles at Oxford268
Escape of Argyll273
The Rye House277
Trial of Lord William Russell281
The Bass Rock284
Great Seal of James II.289
James II.293
The Last Sleep of Argyll297
The Cross, Bridgewater, where Monmouth was proclaimed King300
Monmouth's Interview with the King304
Judge Jeffreys309
Fourpenny Piece of James II.311
Five-Guinea Piece of James II.311
Windsor Castle, from the Brocas313
Parliament Hall, Edinburgh317
John Dryden321
James doing Homage to the Papal Nuncio324
The Seven Bishops entering the Tower329
View in the Hague: The Hall of the Knights in the Binnenhof333
William of Orange embarking to join the "Brill"337
William of Orange entering Exeter341
James hearing of the Landing of William of Orange345
Roger Williams leaving his Home in Massachusetts353
Milton dictating "Paradise Lost" to his Daughters357
Samuel Butler361
John Bunyan364
Gresham College, where the Royal Society was first Housed365
Sir Isaac Newton369
Evelyn "Discovering" Grinling Gibbons372
Costumes of the Time of Charles II.377
Chelsea Hospital380
May-Day Revels in the Time of Charles II.384
Ships of the Time of Charles II.385
The Old East India House in 1630389
Great Seal of William and Mary396
Kensington Palace397
William III.400
Mary II.401
Covenanters evicting an Episcopalian Clergyman405
Battle of Killiecrankie: The Last Charge of Dundee409
The Mountjoy and Phœnix breaking the Boom at Londonderry416
Landing of Marshal Schomberg at Carrickfergus417
Five-Guinea Piece of William and Mary420
Crown of William and Mary420
Fourpenny Piece of William and Mary420
Halfpenny of William and Mary420
Henry VII.'s Chapel, Westminster Abbey424
William Penn425
James entering Dublin after the Battle of the Boyne429
The French retreating from Torbay433
Edinburgh Castle in 1725436
The Duke of Marlborough441
The Assault of Athlone444
Scene at the Removal of the Irish Soldiers from Limerick445
George Saville, Marquis of Halifax449
Lady Marlborough and the Princess Anne at the Queen's
Glencoe: Scene of the Massacre457
Greenwich Hospital464
Burning of Blount's Pamphlet by the Common Hangman465
Louis XIV.469
Costumes of the Time of William and Mary473
William Paterson477
Five-Guinea Piece of William480
Half-Crown of William480
Surrender of Boufflers481
Conspirators landing at Romney Marsh485
Bishop Burnet489
Old Mercers' Hall, where the Bank of England was first
Lady Fenwick interceding for her Husband493
Lord Somers497
William's triumphant Procession to Whitehall500
View in the Hague: Old Gate in the Binnenhof, with the
Arms of the County of Holland505
Charles Montague, Earl of Halifax509
Scene at the Departure from Leith of the Darien Expedition513
The Royal Palace of Whitehall, from the Thames, in the beginning
of the 17th Century520
Captain Kidd before the Bar of the House of Commons525
The Pretender proclaimed King of England by Order of
Louis XIV.529
View in the Hague: Chamber of the States-General in
the Binnenhof533
Bishop Burnet announcing her Accession to Anne537
Lord Godolphin541
View in Lisbon: The Práça de Dom Pedro545
The King of Spain at Windsor: His Gallantry to the
Duchess of Marlborough549
Prince Eugene of Savoy553
The Battle of Blenheim557
Queen Anne561
Great Seal of Queen Anne568
The People of Edinburgh Escorting the Duke of Hamilton
to Holyrood Palace569
Costumes of the Reign of Queen Anne572
Wreck of Sir Cloudesley Shovel's Fleet577
Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough581
London Coffee House in the Reign of Queen Anne585
Five-Guinea Piece of Queen Anne588
Farthing of Queen Anne588
Two-Guinea Piece of Queen Anne588
Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford589
Drinking to the Health of Dr. Sacheverell592
Making Friends with Mrs. Masham593
The Duke of Marlborough's Interview with Queen Anne597
The Fracas in the Privy Council601
Marlborough House in the Time of Queen Anne604
Henry St. John (afterwards Viscount Bolingbroke)605



Charles I. on his Way to Execution, 1649. (By Ernest Crofts, R.A.) Frontispiece

Map of England during the Civil War, 1642-1649. To face p. 50

The Children of Charles I. (By Miss Margaret I. Dicksee) " 71

Death of the Princess Elizabeth, Carisbrooke Castle, Sept. 8th, 1650. (By C. W. Cope, R.A.) " 102

Cromwell Refusing the Crown. (By J. Schex) " 145

Rescued from the Plague, London, 1665. (By F. W. W. Topham, R.I.) " 209

Charles II. and Nell Gwynn. (By E. M. Ward, R.A.) " 210

The Great Fire of London, 1666. (By Stanhope A. Forbes, A.R.A.) " 225

The Disgrace of Lord Clarendon after his Last Interview with the King in Whitehall Palace, 1667. (By E. M. Ward, R.A.) " 233

The Ante-Chamber of Whitehall during the Last Moments of Charles II., 1685. (By E. M. Ward, R.A.) " 289

"After Sedgemoor." (By W. Rainey, R.I.) " 302

Covenanters Preaching. (By Sir George Harvey, R.S.A.) " 402

William III. at the Battle of the Boyne. (By Jan Wyck) " 430

A Lost Cause: Flight of James II. after the Battle of the Boyne, 1690. (By Andrew C. Gow, R.A.) " 433

The Founding of the Bank of England, 1694. (By George Harcourt) " 471

Peter the Great at Deptford Dockyard. (By Daniel Maclise, R.A.) " 503

H.R.H. Princess Anne of Denmark, afterwards Queen of England. (By W. Wissing and J. Vandervaart) " 545


By permission of Messrs. S. Hildesheimer & Co., Ld.


From the Picture by ERNEST CROFTS, R.A.

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Illustrated History of England.



Condition of Ireland—Roger Moore's Pilgrimage—Negotiations of the Anglo-Irish with Charles—Hugh M'Mahon betrays the Plot—Rising of the Native Irish—Massacre of Protestants—Measures taken by the English Parliament—Return of Charles to London—The Grand Remonstrance—The King's Answer—His Lieutenant of the Tower—Riots in London—Blunder of the Bishops—Attempted Arrest of the Five Members—Charles leaves London—The Queen goes to Holland—Charles at York—His Repulse from Hull—Preparations for War—The Royal Standard Raised—Prince Rupert's Headstrong Folly—Battle of Edge Hill—Charles marches on London—He returns to Oxford—Cromwell in the East—The Queen in Yorkshire—Death of Hampden—Parliamentary Disasters—Battle of Newbury—Death of Lord Falkland—Negotiations with the Scots and Irish—Death of Pym—Royal Parliament at Oxford—Battle of Marston Moor—Disastrous Failure of Essex in Cornwall—Second Battle of Newbury—The Self-denying Ordinance—The New-modelled Army.

The causes which drove the Irish to rebellion were for the most part of long standing. Their religion had been ruthlessly persecuted; their property had been confiscated by whole provinces at a time; their ancient chiefs had been driven from their lands, and many of them exterminated. Elizabeth, James, and Charles, had proffered them new titles on condition of making large sacrifices, but had never kept their word, and at this moment, the graces promised[2] by Charles to tolerate their religion and confirm the titles of their estates, were unfulfilled. The example of the Scots had aroused them to the hope of achieving a like triumph. Their great enemy the Earl of Strafford had fallen, but, on the other hand, they were menaced by Parliament with a still more fierce persecution, and even an avowed extermination of their religion. They believed that the Scottish Presbyterians would join with avidity in the attempt to subdue them, and come in for a share of the plunder of their estates; and they now seized on the idea of rising and reclaiming their ancient power and property. True, they were not one united people like the Scots: there were the ancient Irish, and the Anglo-Irish of the pale, that is, English settled in Ireland holding the estates of the expelled native chiefs, but keeping themselves aloof from the Irish. Yet many of the pale were Catholics, and the Catholic religion was the unanimous object of attachment on the part of the natives. The Parliament and the Scottish settlers in the north were banded against this religion, and this produced a counter-bond between the Catholic natives and the Catholics of the pale. From the British Parliament neither of these parties had anything to hope for on the score of religion; but the king was in need of aid against this Parliament, and it occurred to them that they might make common cause with him.

Roger Moore, a gentleman of Kildare, entered into this scheme with all the impetuosity of his nation. He saw the lands of his ancestors for the most part in the hands of English and Scottish settlers, and he made a pilgrimage into almost every quarter of Ireland to incite his countrymen to grasp this opportunity, when the king and Parliament of England were engrossed by their disputes, to recover their rights. Everywhere he was listened to with enthusiasm, and the natives held themselves ready to rise, and take a terrible vengeance on the usurpers of their lands at the first signal. The great chiefs of Ulster, Cornelius Maguire, Baron of Enniskillen, and Sir Phelim O'Neil, who had become the chieftain of the sept of Tyrone after the death of the son of the late persecuted Tyrone, fell into his views with all their followers. The Catholic members of the pale were more disposed to negotiate with Charles than to rush into insurrection against his authority. They knew that it was greatly to his interest at this moment to conciliate his Irish subjects, and they despatched to him a deputation previous to his journey to Scotland, demanding the ratification of those graces for which he had received the purchase money thirteen years before, and offering in return their warmest support to his authority in Ireland. Charles received them very graciously, promised them the full satisfaction of all their demands, and by Lord Gormanstown, who headed the deputation, and on whom he lavished the most marked attentions, he sent word to the Earls of Ormond and Antrim to secure in his interest the eight thousand troops which had been raised by Strafford, to keep them in efficient discipline, to augment rather than decrease their number, and to surprise the castle of Dublin, where they would find twelve thousand stand of arms.

But the English Parliament were by no means unaware of the danger from the army in Ireland, which consisted almost entirely of Catholics. They insisted on its being disbanded, as promised by the king on the Scottish pacification. He was not able to prevent this, and signed the order; but at the same time sent secret instructions by Gormanstown to Ormond and Antrim, to frustrate this by enlisting the whole body as volunteers to serve the King of Spain in Flanders.

At this juncture Sir William Parsons and Sir John Borlase were at the head of the English Government in Ireland; they were in the interest of the Parliament, and were detested by almost all classes of Irish. Sir John Clotworthy, in the House of Commons, had openly declared that "the conversion of the Papists in Ireland was only to be effected by the Bible in one hand, and the sword in the other." Pym was reported to have said that they would not leave a priest in Ireland; and at a public entertainment Parsons had echoed those sentiments by declaring that "in a twelvemonth not a Catholic would be left in that country." The Irish were, therefore, delighted with their success with the king, and Gormanstown and his associates hastened home again, with two Bills signed by the king, granting the possession of lands which had been held sixty years, and setting aside all the sequestrations made by Strafford. But Parsons and Borlase, aware that the passing of these Bills would attach Ireland to the interests of the king, defeated the object by proroguing Parliament a few days before the arrival of the deputies.

It was now resolved by Ormond and Antrim to defer any movement till the reassembling of the Irish Parliament in November, when they could at the same moment secure Dublin castle and the persons of Parsons and Borlase, and issue[3] in the name of the two Houses his Majesty's concession to the people of Ireland. But the native Irish, stimulated by the addresses of Moore, could not wait so long. They determined to rise, without waiting for the combined force, on the 23rd of October. Two hundred and twenty men were to surprise the castle, but at the time appointed only eighty appeared. They concluded to wait till the next day for the arrival of the rest, but that night one Hugh M'Mahon, in a drunken fit, betrayed the secret to Owen O'Connelly, a servant of Sir John Clotworthy, and a Protestant. He instantly carried the news to Sir William Parsons; the city gates were closed, and a quick search was made for the conspirators. All but M'Mahon and Lord Maguire escaped, but the castle was saved.

Ignorant of the failure of the plot, the people of Ulster rose on the appointed day. Charlemont and Dungannon were surprised by Sir Phelim O'Neil, Mountjoy by O'Quin, Tanderagee by O'Hanlan, and Newry by Macginnis. In little more than a week all the open country in Tyrone, Monaghan, Longford, Leitrim, Fermanagh, Cavan, Donegal, Derry, and part of Down, were in their hands. The other colonies in which there were English or Scottish plantations followed their example, and the greater part of Ireland was in a dreadful state of anarchy and terror. The Protestant people on the plantations fell beneath the butchering revenge of the insurgents, or fled wildly into the fortified towns. The horrors of the Irish massacre of 1641 have assumed a fearful place in history; the cruelties, expulsions, and oppressions of long years were repaid by the most infuriated cruelty. Men, women, and children, fell indiscriminately in the onslaught, and they who escaped, says Clarendon, "were robbed of all they had, to their very shirts, and so turned naked to endure the sharpness of the season, and by that means, and for want of relief, many thousands of them perished by hunger and cold."

Great care has been taken by Catholic writers to contradict these accounts, and to represent the atrocities committed as of no extraordinary extent. They remind us that no accounts of these barbarous slaughters were transmitted in the reports to the English Parliament, which would have been only too glad to spread, and even exaggerate bloody deeds of the Catholics. They reduce the number of people slain during the whole insurrection to about ten thousand, instead of the grossly exaggerated statements of Milton in his "Iconoclastes," that there were one hundred and fifty-four thousand in Ulster alone, or of Sir John Temple, that three hundred thousand were slain or expelled altogether. But nothing less than a most frightful massacre could have left the awful impression which still lives in tradition, and the calculations of moderate historians do not make the number massacred less than from fifteen thousand to twenty thousand. The Earl of Castlehaven, a Catholic, says that all the water in the sea could not wash from the Irish the taint of that rebellion. Whilst remembering the vengeance, however, we must never forget the long and maddening incentives to it. Much blame was attached to the Deputy-Governors, Borlase and Parsons, who, shut up in security in Dublin, took no measures for suppressing the insurgents. They were charged with purposely allowing the rebellion to spread, in order that there might be more confiscations, in which they would find their own benefit; but it must not be forgotten that they had few soldiers on whom they could rely, for these were nearly all Catholics; nor did the insurgents escape without severe chastisement in many places, for wherever there was a trusty garrison, the soldiers easily repelled the disorderly mob of plunderers; and Sir Phelim O'Neil suffered during the month of November severe losses.

Before Charles reached England, O'Connelly, the discoverer of the plot, arrived in London, with letters from the lords justices, and was called before the House of Lords to relate all that he knew. They immediately invited the House of Commons to a conference on the state of Ireland, and on the better providing for the security of England. They presented O'Connelly with five hundred pounds in money, and settled on him an annuity of two hundred pounds a year. It was resolved to look well after the Catholics in England, and to put the ports into a state of defence. The Commons voted that two hundred thousand pounds should be set apart for the requirements of Ireland; that six thousand foot and two thousand horse should be raised for service there; and that the fleet should carefully guard its coast. The Earl of Leicester, the Lord-Lieutenant, was desired to furnish a list of the most suitable officers for the service, and arms and ammunition were prepared in haste, to be despatched to Dublin. A pardon was offered to all rebels who laid down their arms by a certain day, at the same time that a reward was set on the heads of the leaders. But the Commons did not stop there; they passed a resolution never to tolerate the Catholic worship either in Ireland or in any part of his Majesty's dominions. Commissioners were[4] appointed to disarm the recusants in every part of the kingdom; pursuivants were sent out in every direction to seize priests and Jesuits; orders were given for the trial of all such persons; and the king was advised not to pardon or reprieve them. The queen's chapel was closed, her priests were dismissed, her confessor was sent to the Tower, and no less than seventy Catholic lords and gentlemen were denounced by the Commons to the Lords, as persons who ought to be secured to prevent them from doing injury to the State.

Such was the condition of things when Charles arrived in London. He was well received by the Lord Mayor and aldermen of the city, and in return gave them an entertainment at Hampton Court; but he was greatly chagrined at the proceedings of the Commons, telling them that they were converting the war in Ireland, which was a civil war, into a war of religion. He took umbrage also at Parliament sitting with a guard round their House. The Earl of Essex, on the king's arrival, surrendered his command of the forces south of the Trent to the king, and announced to the Lords that having resigned his commission, he could no longer furnish the guard. A message was sent from the Houses, requesting the king to restore them the guard, but he refused, saying he saw no occasion for it; but the Commons let him know that many dangerous persons, Irish and others, were lurking about, and that the "Incident" in Scotland, and the late attempt to surprise the castle in Dublin, warned them of their danger; and that not only must they have a guard, but they must nominate the commander of it themselves.

Whilst Charles was pondering on the answer which he should return to this unwelcome message, Sir Ralph Hopton appeared at Hampton Court with another address from the Commons yet more ominous. This bore the alarming title of a "Remonstrance on the state of the kingdom." It had been drawn up and passed by the Commons before the king came back from Scotland, that is, on the 22nd of November; and it was resolved to present it to him on his return. It was the act of the Commons alone, and had not been carried even there without a violent debate, which lasted till two o'clock in the morning, the House having sat that day eighteen hours. The heat to which the proposal gave rise was such, that Sir Philip Warwick says, "We had sheathed our swords in each others' bowels, had not the sagacity and calmness of Mr. Hampden, by a soft speech, prevented it." Cromwell is reported by Clarendon to have said to Lord Falkland as they came out, that had it not been carried, he would have sold all and gone to America. "So near," adds the Royalist historian, "was the poor kingdom at that time to its deliverance."

And yet this famous Remonstrance was only carried by a majority of nine, according to Clarendon; according to others, by eleven. It was, as Clarendon describes it, "a very bitter representation of all the illegal things that had been done from the first hour of the king's coming to the crown, to that minute." It consisted of two hundred and six clauses, and dealt among other matters with the war against the French Protestants; the innovations in the Church; the illegal imposition of ship-money; forced loans; the cruelties of the Star Chamber and High Commission; the forcing of episcopacy on Scotland; the forcing of it on the Irish by Strafford, and all the other illegal proceedings there; the opposition of the king and his ministers to necessary reforms; and the plotting of the queen with the Papists at home and abroad. It went on to remind the king of what they had done in pulling down his evil counsellors, and informed him that other good things were in preparation.


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The king the next day delivered his answer in the House of Lords, protesting, as usual, his good intentions, telling the Commons, before he removed evil counsellors, they must point out who they were and bring real facts against them; at the same time he significantly reminded them that he had left Scotland in perfect amity with him, so that they might infer that they were not to look for support against him there, and calling on them to stir themselves in aiding him to put down the rebellion in Ireland. Matters continued getting worse every day between the king and Parliament. From the 8th to the 20th of December there was a sullen humour between them. So far from granting the Parliament the usual guard, Charles had posted a guard of his own near the Commons. They summoned the commander of the guard before them, pronounced its being placed there a breach of their privileges, and demanded that it should be removed. On the 14th of December Charles objected to their ordering the impressment of soldiers from Ireland, that being his prerogative, but that he would permit it for the time on the understanding that his right was not thereby affected. The next day the Commons passed an order for the printing and publishing of their Remonstrance, which measure they had failed to carry at the same time as the Remonstrance itself. This had a[5] great effect with the public, and the king, in a restless, angry humour, prevailing in nothing against the House, sought to strengthen himself by getting into the Tower a lieutenant of his own party. But in this movement he was equally injudicious and equally unfortunate. Charles dismissed Sir William Balfour, who had honestly resisted his warrant and refused a bribe of Strafford to permit his escape; but to have deprived the Commons of any plea for interfering in what was unquestionably his own prerogative, he should have replaced him by a man of character. Instead of that, he gave the post to Colonel Lunsford, a man of desperate fortunes and the most unprincipled reputation; outlawed for his violent attacks on different individuals, and known to be capable of executing the most lawless designs. The City immediately petitioned the Commons against the Tower being in the hands of such a man; the Commons called for a conference with the Lords on the subject, but the Lords refused to meddle in what so clearly was the royal prerogative. The Commons then called on them to enter the protest they had made on their books; but the Lords took time to consider it. On Thursday, December 23rd, a petition was addressed to the Commons, purporting to be from the apprentices of London, against Papists and prelates, who, they contended, caused the destruction of trade by their plots, and the fears which thence unsettled men of capital; whereby they, the apprentices, "were nipped in the bud," on[6] entering the world. The Corporation waited on his Majesty on Sunday, the 26th, to assure him that the apprentices were contemplating a rising, and meant to carry the Tower by storm, unless Lunsford were removed; and that the merchants had already taken away their bullion from the Mint for fear of him, and the owners of ships coming in with new would not carry it there. That evening Charles took the keys from his new lieutenant, and appointed Sir John Byron in his place.

And now, notwithstanding their reluctance, the Lords were compelled to entertain this question, for they found Lord Newport, the Constable of the Tower, also brought into controversy by the king. It appeared that during Charles's absence in Scotland, at a meeting of a number of the peers and members of the Commons at Kensington, regarding some rumour of plots against Parliament, Lord Newport was reported to have said, "Never mind, we have his wife and children." Newport stated in the House that he had waited on the queen at the time, and assured her that no such words had been spoken; yet on Friday last the king had reminded him of it, and intimated his belief of it. It was now the turn of the Lords to call for a conference with the Commons. This was granted on Monday, and whilst it was sitting, the House of Parliament was surrounded by tumultuous mobs, crying, "Beware of plots! No bishops! no bishops!"

Poor Williams, made Archbishop of York on the 4th of this month, was surrounded by this mob and much frightened; but he got away unhurt, any further than in his feelings, from the execrations heaped on the bishops. One David Hide, however, a ruffian officer, who had been in the army in the north, and was now appointed to the service in Ireland, drew his sword, and swore that "he would cut the throats of those roundheaded dogs that bawled against bishops," and by that expression, says Clarendon, gave the first utterance to the name "roundheads," which was at once universally applied to the Parliamentary party; the term "cavaliers" soon being introduced to designate the Royalists. The same day Lunsford had the insolence to go through Westminster Hall with thirty or forty of his partisans at his back. The mob fell on them, and they drew their swords and cut right and left among the crowd. Presently there came pouring down to Westminster hundreds of fresh apprentices, with swords, cudgels, and other weapons, crying, "Slash us now! Slash us now!" And this was renewed by thousands the next day, December 28th, with the same "Slash us now, whilst we wait on the honourable House to request an answer to our petition." Some of the youths were shut into the abbey and brought before Williams, whilst those without cried that if they were not released, they would break in and pull down the organs. This, however, they were prevented from doing, by numbers of the bishop's men coming out on the abbey leads, and flinging down stones upon them, by which many were injured; and Sir Richard Wiseman, who happened to be passing, was so much hurt that he died of his injuries.

Williams, the archbishop, was so incensed at the cry against the bishops, that he forgot his usual cunning, and got eleven other bishops to join him in an address to the king, declaring that the bishops could not get to their places for the riotous crowds, and from fear of their lives from them; and therefore, as bishops had at all times formed part and parcel of the Upper House, that House, so long as they were detained from it, was no longer a competent House, and that all its acts, of whatever kind, would be utterly invalid. This was supposed to be a manœuvre of the king's to get rid of the authority of Parliament for the present, and thus of his unfortunate surrender of the powers of adjournment; but the Lords, taking no notice of the protest of the bishops, desired a conference with the Commons, and then denounced the protest of the bishops as subversive of the fundamental rights of Parliament. The Commons, on their part, instead of contenting themselves with passing a resolution condemnatory of the folly of the bishops, at once declared them guilty of high treason, and called on the Lords to apprehend them, which was at once done, and ten of the bishops were committed to the Tower, and two, on account of their age, to the custody of the Usher of the Black Rod.

On the last day of this eventful year, Denzil Holles waited on his Majesty, by order of the Commons, to represent to him, that whilst his faithful Parliament was ready to shed the last drop of its blood in defence of his Majesty, it was itself daily exposed to the danger of plots and ruffians who had dared to shed the blood of the people coming to petition at the very doors of the House. They demanded, therefore, a guard. Charles had taken care to surround his own palace day and night since the commotions. Such a guard was reluctantly granted three days after.

But if 1641 had been an astonishing year, 1642 was destined to cast even it into the shade, and[7] its very opening was with nothing short of the first trumpet note of civil war. On the 3rd of January Charles sent his answer to the Commons respecting the guard, acceding to the request, but immediately followed it up by a demand that electrified the Houses, and was soon to electrify the nation. Whilst the Commons were debating on the royal message, the king's new Attorney-General, Herbert, appeared at the bar of the House of Lords, and presented articles of high treason against six leading Members of Parliament, one peer and five commoners. These members were, Lord Kimbolton in the Peers, and Holles, Hazelrig, Pym, Hampden, and Strode, in the Commons. There were seven articles exhibited against them of high treason and other misdemeanour. These were stated in the following words:—"1st. That they have traitorously endeavoured to subvert the fundamental laws and government of the kingdom of England, to deprive the king of his royal power, and to place in subjects an arbitrary and tyrannical power over the lives, liberties, and estates of his Majesty's liege people. 2nd. That they have traitorously endeavoured, by many foul aspersions upon his Majesty and his Government, to alienate the affections of his people, and to make his Majesty odious unto them. 3rd. That they have endeavoured to draw his Majesty's late army to disobedience to his Majesty's commands, and to side with them in their traitorous designs. 4th. That they have traitorously invited and encouraged a foreign power to invade his Majesty's kingdom of England. 5th. That they have traitorously endeavoured to subvert the rights and the very being of Parliaments. 6th. That for the completing of their traitorous designs, they have endeavoured, so far as in them lay, by force and terror, to compel the Parliament to join with them in their traitorous designs, and to that end have actually raised and countenanced tumults against the king and Parliament. 7th. And that they have traitorously conspired to levy, and actually have levied war against the king."

"The House of Peers," says Clarendon, "was somewhat startled by this alarm, but took time to consider it till the next day, that they might see how their masters, the Commons, would behave themselves." Lord Kimbolton declared his readiness to meet the charge: the Lords sent a message upon the matter to the Commons; and at the same time came the news that officers of the Crown were sealing up the doors, trunks, and papers of Pym, Hampden and the other impeached members. The House immediately ordered the seals put upon the doors and papers of their Members to be broken, and they who had presumed to do such an act to be seized and brought before them. At this moment the serjeant-at-arms arrived at the door of the House; they ordered him to be admitted, but without his mace, and having heard his demand for the delivery of the five Members, they bade him withdraw, and sent Lord Falkland and three other Members to inform the king that they held the Members ready to answer any legal charge against them. But the next day the Commons were informed by Captain Languish, that the king, at the head of his gentlemen pensioners, and followed by some hundreds of courtiers and officers, armed with swords and pistols, was advancing towards the House. The House was well supplied with halberds, which they had previously ordered into it when the king withdrew their guard; but they saw the advantage of preventing an armed collision, and ordered the accused Members to withdraw.

Charles entered the House, his attendants remaining at Westminster Hall, and at the door of the Commons. As he advanced towards the Speaker's chair, he glanced towards the place where Pym usually sat, and then approaching the chair, said, "By your leave, Mr. Speaker, I must borrow your chair a little." The House, at his entrance, arose and stood uncovered; Lenthall, the Speaker, dropped upon his knees, and Charles, much excited, said, "Gentlemen, I am sorry for this occasion of coming unto you. Yesterday I sent a serjeant-at-arms to apprehend some that at my command were accused of high treason, wherewith I did expect obedience, and not a message; and I must declare unto you here, that albeit no king that ever was in England shall be more careful of your privileges, to maintain them to the utmost of his power, than I shall be; yet you must know that in cases of treason no person hath a privilege, and therefore I am come to know if any of those persons that I have accused, for no slight crime, but for treason, are here. I cannot expect that this House can be in the right way that I do heartily wish it, therefore I am come to tell you that I must have them, wheresoever I find them." He looked earnestly round the House, but seeing none of them, demanded of the Speaker where they were. Lenthall, still on his knees, declared that he had neither eyes to see, nor tongue to speak, but as the House directed. "Well," said the king, "since I see all the birds are[8] flown, I do expect that as soon as they return hither, you do send them to me." And with mingled assurances that he meant no force, yet not without a threat, he withdrew. As he walked out, there were raised loud cries of "Privilege! Privilege!" and the House instantly adjourned.

The Commons, to testify that they no longer felt themselves safe in their own House, betook themselves to the City where, establishing a permanent committee to sit at the Grocers' Hall, they adjourned till the 11th of January. The next day Charles, taking his usual attendants, went into the City, and at Guildhall demanded of the Lord Mayor and aldermen that they should hunt out and deliver to him the accused Members who had taken refuge amongst them. His demand was coldly received, and after dining with one of the sheriffs he returned. His passage through the city was attended by continued cries of "Privilege! Privilege of Parliament!" And one Henry Walker, an ironmonger and political pamphleteer, threw into his Majesty's carriage a paper bearing the words, "To your tents, O Israel!" Scarcely had Charles reached Whitehall, when a deputation from the Corporation waited on him, complaining of the Tower being put into unsafe hands, of the fortifying of Whitehall, the wounding of citizens on their way to petition Parliament, of the dangerous example of the king entering the House of Commons attended by armed men, and praying him to cease from the prosecution of the five Members of Parliament, and to remove from Whitehall and the Tower all suspicious personages.

As Charles still persisted by proclamation in endeavouring to get possession of the five Members, and as a hundred stand of arms, with gunpowder and shot, had been removed from the Tower to Whitehall, a thousand marines and boatmen signed a memorial to the committee of the Commons sitting at Guildhall, offering to guard them on the appointed day to their House in Westminster. The committee accepted the offer, which was immediately followed by one from the apprentices. Seeing that the City, the seamen, and everybody were of one mind in condemning his violent invasion of the national sanctuary of the House of Commons, Charles on the 10th of January, the day previous to the meeting again of Parliament, quietly withdrew with his family to Hampton Court, and the next day removed thence to Windsor. Little did he imagine, deplorable as was his retreat, that he would never enter his capital again till he came as a prisoner in the hands of this insulted Parliament. Yet his feelings at this moment must have been melancholy in the extreme. "In this sad condition," says Clarendon, "was the king at Windsor; fallen in ten days from a height and greatness that his enemies feared, to a lowness, that his own servants durst hardly avow the waiting on him."

Charles had now decided on war. But money was necessary, and to obtain it he determined to send the queen abroad. A pretext was easily found. The Princess Mary, who had been some time betrothed to the Prince of Orange, though she was yet a mere child, only about ten years of age, was to be delivered to the Dutch Court, and nothing was more natural than that her mother should accompany her. Even the stern reformers, who had forbidden her twice before leaving the kingdom, could find no excuse for forbidding this maternal office. On the 9th of February Charles and the Court returned from Windsor to Hampton Court, and the next day the royal party set out for Dover, where, on the 23rd, the queen and her daughter embarked for Holland. The Prince of Orange received her majesty with all kindness, which he indeed owed her, for she had always taken the part of him and his country against Richelieu; but the civic authorities were not so glad to see her, fearing that she might embroil them with the all-powerful Parliament of England. They entered her presence with their hats on, seated themselves in her presence, and took their leave without a bow or a word. But Henrietta restrained her disgust better than her husband would have done, for she had great interests at stake, and succeeded by her flattering courtesies in so melting the Dutch phlegm, that she eventually succeeded in borrowing of the authorities of Amsterdam eight hundred and forty-five thousand guilders, at Rotterdam sixty-five thousand, of the merchants at the Hague one hundred and sixty-six thousand, besides pawning her pearls for two hundred and thirteen thousand, and six rubies for forty thousand, thus raising for her husband two million pounds sterling.


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Whilst the king was at Canterbury waiting for the queen's departure, the Commons urged him to sign the two Bills for the removal of the bishops from Parliament, and of them and the clergy from all temporal offices, and for power to press soldiers for the service of Ireland. He passed them, the second Bill to be in force only till the 1st of November. The Commons expressed their satisfaction, but still urged the removal of all Privy Councillors and officers of State, except such as held posts hereditarily, and the appointment[10] of others having the confidence of Parliament. They then returned to the subject of the Militia Bill, which would put the whole force of the army into the hands of Parliament; but there Charles made a stand. He sent orders that the Prince of Wales should meet him at Greenwich. The Parliament—which watched his every movement and no doubt was informed of his intentions—sent a message to the king, praying him to allow the prince to remain at Hampton Court; but Charles, complaining of these suspicions, ordered the prince's governor, the Marquis of Hertford, to bring him to Greenwich. On Sunday, the 27th of February, some of the Lords went to Greenwich, to endeavour to bring the prince back; but Charles would not suffer it, declaring that the prince should accompany him wherever he went. He removed to Theobalds, and there again a deputation followed him, urging him to grant the matter of the militia, or that the Parliament would feel compelled to assume it for the safety of the kingdom. They also renewed their request for the return of the prince. Charles expressed much surprise at these importunities, and refused them both.

On receiving this answer, the two Houses issued an order to fit out the fleet, and put it into the command of the Earl of Northumberland, as Lord High Admiral. The Lords, who had hesitated to join the Commons in the demand of the control of the militia, now passed the ordinance for it with very few dissentients. Fifty-five Lords and Commons were named as lord-lieutenants of counties, many of them Royalists, but still not such as the Commons feared joining the king in an open rupture. The Commons then proceeded to issue a declaration, expressing their apprehensions of the favour shown to the Irish rebels by the Court; of the intention of evil advisers of the king to break the neck of Parliament, and of the rumours of aid from abroad for these objects from the Pope, and the Kings of France and Spain. The Lords, with only sixteen dissentient voices, joined in this declaration, and the Earls of Pembroke and Holland waited on the king with it at Royston. On hearing this outspoken paper read, Charles testified much indignation, pronouncing some assertions in it, in plain terms, lies; and when the earls entreated him to consent to the granting of the militia for a time, he exclaimed:—"No, by God, not for an hour. You have asked that of me which was never asked of any king, and with which I should not trust my wife and children." This was true, but he had formerly said he would sooner lose his life than consent to the Bill against the bishops, and yet he gave them up. That he would on the first opportunity break his word, was certain; that at this very moment his wife was moving heaven and earth abroad, and pawning her jewels for money to put down Parliament and people, was equally well known. In vain, therefore, were the solemn asseverations which he made, that he desired nothing so much as to satisfy his subjects.

At this moment he was stealing away towards the north. He got away to Newmarket, thence to Huntingdon, next to Stamford, and from that place wrote to the two Houses, informing them that he proposed to take up his residence for a time in York. The deputies had strongly importuned him to return to the neighbourhood of his Parliament; this was his answer, accompanied by a positive refusal to put the militia into their hands. The Houses were at once roused to action. War was inevitable; the king was intending to take them by surprise. They therefore voted that the king's absence was most detrimental to the affairs of Ireland; that the king was easily advised, and that it was necessary for Parliament that the power of commanding the militia must be exercised by the sole authority of Parliament, and orders for that purpose were issued to the lieutenants and deputy-lieutenants of the counties.

Charles had meanwhile proceeded by Doncaster to York, where he arrived on the 19th of March. On the 26th the Lords Willoughby and Dungarvan, with Sir Anthony Ereby, arrived from Parliament with a justification of their proceedings. They admitted that he had passed many satisfactory Bills at their instance, but that always at the same time some attempts had been set on foot to render them abortive. They informed him that they had certain information of preparations making abroad, and of a design to enter Hull with foreign forces. Charles denied the truth of these allegations, and assured them that he would return and reside near his Parliament as soon as he was sure of the safety of his person. He did not forget, however, the words dropped about Hull. It was of immense consequence to obtain possession of that place; but it was in the keeping of the stout Sir John Hotham and his son, who had declared in Parliament "fall back, fall edge, he would carry out the wishes of Parliament." As Charles could not hope to obtain it by force, he conceived the idea of winning it by stratagem.[11] He sent the Earl of Newcastle to request that the town and arsenals might be put into his hands. Newcastle assumed the name of Sir John Savage to obtain admission to the town, but was discovered, and this clumsy trick only increased the suspicions of the people. Parliament then sent an order for the removal of the arms and ammunition to the Tower of London; but Charles told them that he claimed them as purchased with money borrowed on his own account, and begged they would leave him to look after his own property. He also sent them word that it was his intention to pass over to Ireland, to suppress the rebellion; that he should require all the arms and ammunition for that purpose, and that they would be necessary for the use of his guard of two thousand foot and two hundred horse, which he meant to embark there for Ireland.

On the 22nd of April he sent the Duke of York, the Prince Palatine, his nephew, the Lords Newport, Willoughby, and some other persons of distinction, but without any armed force, to see the town of Hull. Sir John Hotham and the mayor received them with all honour, and entertained them as became their rank. They were shown the place, and were to dine with the governor on the morrow, being St. George's Day. Just before dinner-time, however, Hotham was startled by the sudden appearance of Sir Lewis Dives, brother-in-law of the outlawed Lord Digby, who informed him that his Majesty intended to do him the honour to dine with him, and was already within a mile of the town, accompanied by three hundred horse. Sir John, who saw the trick, instantly ordered the drawbridges to be raised, and shut the gates in the king's face, for by this time he had arrived at the Beverley gate.

Charles commanded Sir John to open the gate and admit him and his guard, but Sir John replied that, though a loyal subject of his Majesty, he could not do so without consent of Parliament, which had put the town into his keeping. If his Majesty would be pleased to enter with the prince and twelve attendants he should be welcome; but Charles refused to enter without the whole of his guard. He staid before the gate from one o'clock till four, continuing the parley, trusting to the people being affected by the sight of their sovereign, and compelling the governor to admit him. But he was disappointed, and at four, going away for an hour, he gave Hotham that time to consider of it. On his return at five Hotham still refused entrance to more than before, when Charles proclaimed him a traitor, and rode off with the prince and his guard to Beverley. The next day he sent a herald to offer Hotham pardon and promotion on surrender of the town, but in vain; and he then returned to York.

Each party now hastened to raise forces and prepare for the struggle. On the 5th of May the Parliament issued a declaration that as the king refused his consent to the Militia Bill, they called on all men to obey their own ordinance for the raising of forces and the defence of the king. In this ordinance they nominated the lieutenants of counties, who nominated their deputy-lieutenants, subject to the approbation of Parliament. Amongst these deputies appeared Hampden, Whitelock, St. John, Selden, Maynard, Grimstone, and other leaders of Parliament, who now became equally zealous enrollers and drillers of soldiers. The king, on his side, denounced the order as traitorous and illegal, forbade all men obeying it, and summoned a county meeting at York for promoting the levy of troops for his service. At that meeting we find Sir Thomas Fairfax stepping forward as a Parliamentary leader, and laying on the pommel of the king's saddle a strong remonstrance from the freeholders and farmers of Yorkshire, who advised the king to come to an agreement with his Parliament.

The country was now come to that crisis when every man must make up his mind, and show to which side of the dispute he leaned. It was a day of wonderful searching of characters and interests, and many strange revolutions took place. Towns, villages, families, now appeared in convulsion and strife, and some fell one way, some another, not without much heart-ache and many tears, old friends and kindred parting asunder, to meet again only to shed each others' blood. Then was there a strange proclaiming and contradiction of proclamations, one party denouncing and denying the proceedings of the other. The king raised only a troop of horse and a regiment of foot; the Parliament soon found themselves at the head of eight thousand men, consisting of six regiments, commanded by zealous officers, and the month of May saw the fields of Finsbury white with tents, and Major-General Skippon manœuvring his train-bands.

The next shift was for the fleet. The Earl of Northumberland being ill, or more probably indisposed, the Commons ordered him to surrender his command to the Earl of Warwick for the time. The Lords hesitated, on account of the king's sanction being wanted for such an appointment; but the Commons settled it alone.[12] Clarendon says that the king remained passive, confiding in the attachment of the sailors, whose pay he had advanced; but we hear from other sources that Charles had contrived to alienate the mariners as much as the rest of his subjects, by calling them "water-rats." His popularity with them was soon tested, for he ordered the removal of Warwick, and that Pennington should take his place; but the sailors would not receive him. Without ammunition or arms, Charles's forces were of little use, and the Commons proclaimed that any one who should bring in such material without consent of Parliament, or should bring in money raised on the Crown jewels, would be considered an enemy to the country.

The coasts being diligently watched by the fleet, Charles now turned to the Scots, the leaders of whom he hoped to win over by the honours and favours he had distributed on his last visit; and, in truth, the members of the Council seemed quite inclined to fall in with his wishes; but the English Commons being made aware of it, soon turned the scale, letting both Council and people know that it was their interest, as much as that of England, that the king should come to an understanding with his Parliament, which, they asserted, sought only the good of both king and people. The Parliament had now, however, to witness considerable defections from its own body, for many thought that they were driving matters too far; that the king had conceded more than was reasonable, and that the Commons were themselves aiming at inordinate power. Amongst those who had gone off to the king were the Lord Falkland, Sir John Colepepper, and Mr. Hyde (afterwards Lord Clarendon and historian of the Rebellion). Falkland and Colepepper, Charles had, before leaving, made his ministers, and Hyde had long been secretly seeing the king, conveying all the news to him at night, and writing his declarations. The Commons had perceived well enough who composed those papers by the style, yet they could not directly prove it; but he was found by the Earls of Essex and Holland shut up with the king at Greenwich, and by the Marquis of Hamilton at Windsor. In April the king summoned Hyde to attend him at York; but even then, as if afraid of the Parliament, he had gone in a very private way, pretending that he sought the country for his health; and even after reaching the neighbourhood of York, instead of openly avowing his adhesion to the royal cause, he kept himself concealed in the neighbourhood, and attended to the king's correspondence. He arrived in Yorkshire at the end of May; but, before leaving London, he had contrived that the Lord Keeper Lyttelton should run off with the Great Seal to the king, a matter of no little importance, as regarded the authenticity of all public documents.

Numbers of both Lords and Commons continued to steal away to the king, especially, says May, lawyers and clergy, "whose callings made them capable of easier and greater gratifications from the king than other men, and therefore apt to lean that way where preferment lies." The Commons summoned nine peers, who had gone away to York, to appear in their places in Westminster, and, on their refusing, impeached them of high treason. These were Spencer, Earl of Northampton, the Earls of Devonshire, Dover, Monmouth, and the Lords Howard of Charlton, Rich, Grey of Ruthven, Coventry, and Capel.

On the 2nd of June the Lords and Commons sent proposals to the king for an amicable arrangement of the national affairs on a permanent basis; but matters had so far changed with Charles, that he was in no mood to listen. On that very day, one of the ships, freighted by the queen in Holland with arms and ammunition, managed to elude the fleet and land supplies on the Yorkshire coast. With these, and the prospect of more, with a number of lords and courtiers around him, Charles at once dropped the humble and conciliatory tone, called the Parliament a nest of caballers and traitors, who had no right to dictate to him, the descendant of a hundred kings, and protested that he would never agree to their terms if he were bound and at their mercy.

From this moment all hope of accommodation was at an end, and king and Parliament went on preparing with all diligence for trying their strength at arms. The question to be decided was, whether England should be an abject despotism or a free nation. If the Parliament were worsted, then must England sink to the level of the rest of the king-ridden nations. On the part of the king, his adherents joined him in his solemn engagement to maintain the Protestant religion, and to claim nothing but his rightful prerogative; on the part of the Parliament, an avowal as solemn was, that they fought not against the king, but for him and his crown, as well as for the liberties and privileges of the people, which were endangered by the evil counsellors of the king.

LORD FALKLAND. (After the Portrait by Vandyke.)

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On the 10th of June the Commons issued an address, in which they intimated that they would receive money and plate for maintaining the struggle, engaging to pay eight per cent.[13] interest, and appointing Sir John Wollaston and three other aldermen of London treasurers. In a very short time an immense treasure was accumulated in Guildhall, the poor contributing as freely as the rich. Charles wrote to the Corporation of London, forbidding this collection, but without effect. He made an attempt also to secure the fleet, inducing the Earl of Warwick to surrender the command to Admiral Pennington, but only five captains consented, and these were speedily secured and superseded. On the 12th of July Parliament appointed the Earl of Essex commander of the army, and many members of the Parliament, both Lords and Commons, took commissions under him. Amongst these were Sir John Merrick, Lord Grey of Groby, Denzil Holles, Sir William Waller, Hampden, and Cromwell. Hampden's regiment was clad in a green uniform, and carried a banner, having on one side his motto, "Vestigia nulla retrorsum;" on the other, "God is with us." Cromwell, who was also appointed a colonel, was extremely active in the eastern counties. The whole country was thrown into the most wonderful state of confusion by the exertions of the noblemen and gentlemen endeavouring to seize strong places, and engage the people, some for this side, some for that. Never had there been such a state of anarchy, opposition, and rending asunder of old ties. For the most part, the southern counties and mercantile places were for the Parliament—the more purely agricultural and remote districts for the king. In many, however, there was a pretty equal division of interests, and fierce contests for superiority. In Lincolnshire Lord Willoughby of Parham was very successful for Parliament. In Essex the[14] Earl of Warwick was equally so, and Kent, Surrey, Middlesex, and the sea-coast of Sussex, were strongly Parliamentary. Cromwell did wonders in Suffolk, Norfolk, and Cambridge. In Berkshire Hampden and the Earl of Holland were opposed by the Earl of Berkshire, Lord Lovelace, and others; but the Earl of Berkshire was seized by Hampden, and sent up to the Parliament. In Buckinghamshire Hampden had it nearly all his own way. Colonel Goring, who was Governor of Portsmouth, after receiving a large sum from Parliament to put that place in full condition of defence, betrayed it, as he had before done the royal party; but the Parliament seized the Earl of Portland, Goring's ally, and put the Isle of Wight into the keeping of the Earl of Pembroke. Warwickshire was divided between Lord Brooke for the Parliament, and the Earl of Northampton for the king; Leicestershire between the Earl of Huntingdon for the king, and the Earl of Stamford for the Parliament. Derbyshire was almost wholly for the king, and so on northward; yet in Yorkshire Lord Fairfax was zealous for Parliament, and so were Sir Thomas Stanley and the Egertons in Lancashire. The Earl of Derby and his son, Lord Strange, embraced the side of royalty; and the first blood in this war was shed by Lord Strange endeavouring to secure Manchester, where he was repulsed and driven out. Great expectations were entertained by the Royalists of the assistance of the numerous Catholics in Lancashire and Cheshire, but they were either indifferent or overawed. In the west of England the king had a strong party. Charles, in his commission of array, had appointed the Marquis of Hertford Lieutenant-general of the West, including seven counties in Wales, and the second skirmish took place in Somersetshire, between him and the deputy-lieutenant of the county, where ten men were killed and many wounded.

No exertions were spared by the Parliament at the same time to induce the king to come to an arrangement; but he showed that he was at heart totally unchanged, for he replied to their overtures by still insisting that the Lord Kimbolton and the five Members of the Commons should be given up to him, as well as Alderman Pennington, the Lord Mayor of London, and Captain Venn, commander of the train-bands. He demanded indictments of high treason against the Earls of Essex, Warwick, and Stamford, Sir John Hotham, Major-General Skippon, and all who had dared to put in force the ordinance of Parliament for the raising of the militia. Yet at the same time he was in secret negotiation with Hotham for the betrayal of Hull; and Hotham sullied that reputation for patriotic bravery which he had acquired by listening to him. He was, however, stoutly resisted by the inhabitants, the garrison, and his own son. The king then invested Hull, and intrigued with some traitors within to set fire to the town, so that he might assault it in the confusion. But the plot was discovered, and the incensed inhabitants made a sortie under Sir John Meldrum, and put the king's forces to a precipitate flight.

Charles then marched away to Nottingham, where he raised his standard on the 25th of August, according to Clarendon; on the 22nd, according to Rushworth. It was a most tempestuous time; the standard, which was raised on the castle-hill, an elevated and exposed place, was blown down in the night, an ominous occurrence in the opinion of both soldiers and people, and it was three days before it could be erected again, owing to the fierceness of the wind. Besides the prostration of the standard, the condition of the king's affairs was equally discouraging. The people showed no enthusiasm in flocking to the royal banner, the arms and ammunition did not arrive from York, and the royal arms had received a severe repulse at Coventry. News came that the Earl of Essex was at the head of fifteen thousand men at Northampton, and the Earl of Southampton and his other officers entreated the king to make overtures of peace to the Parliament, telling him that if they refused them, it would turn the tide of popular favour against them. At first Charles listened to such counsels with anger, but at length despatched Sir John Colepepper to London to treat. But the Parliament would not hear of any accommodation till the king had pulled down his standard, and withdrawn his proclamations of high treason against the Earl of Essex, the accused Members of Parliament, and all who had supported them. In fact, all attempts at agreement were become useless, and were rendered more so by the conduct of Charles's nephew, Prince Rupert, who, with his younger brother Maurice, sons of Charles's sister, Elizabeth of Bohemia, had arrived in England, and were placed at the head of the royal cavalry. Whilst Colepepper was trying to effect a peace in London, Rupert, with that rashness which afterwards grew so notorious, and so fatal to Charles's army, was making war through the midland counties, insulting all who advocated peace, ordering rather than inviting men to the king's standard, and[15] plundering towns and villages at will for the supply of his troopers.

About the middle of September Charles marched from Nottingham, intending to reach the west of England and unite his forces with those of the Marquis of Hertford. He conducted himself in a very different manner to the fiery Rupert, or Robber, as the people named him. He everywhere issued the most positive assurances of his love for his people, and his resolve to maintain their liberties; but these assurances were not well maintained by his actions betraying the fact that he was playing a part. He in one place invited the train-bands to attend his march as his bodyguard, but when they arrived, he expressed his doubts of their loyalty, forcibly seized their arms, and sent them away. In spite of his professions to respect his subjects' rights, he still levied money and supplies in the old arbitrary manner. On the 20th of September he was at Shrewsbury, where he assured the inhabitants that he would never suffer an army of Papists, and on the 23rd he wrote to the Earl of Newcastle, telling him that the rebellion had reached that height, that he must raise all the soldiers he could, without any regard to their religion. He received five thousand pounds in cash from the Catholics in Shropshire, sold a title of baron for six thousand pounds more, and began minting money from plate with great alacrity. And to put the finish to his insincerity, he despatched orders to Ireland to send him as many troops thence as they could, who were almost wholly Catholic.

But the Earl of Essex was carefully watching the king's progress; he had sent him the Parliamentary proposals of accommodation, which he refused to receive from what he called a set of traitors. Essex reached Worcester, in his march to cut off the king's movement towards London, just as Prince Rupert and Colonel Sandys had had a skirmish in that town, from which Rupert was forced to fly. There Essex lay still for three weeks, till at length Charles, encouraged by his inaction, ventured to quit Shrewsbury on the 20th of October, and by a bold march by Wolverhampton, Birmingham, and Kenilworth, actually shot past Essex's position on the road to London. The Parliamentary general, however, gave quick pursuit, and on the 22nd reached Kineton, in Warwickshire, just as the king encamped on Edge Hill, close above him.

Charles had the way open, but a council of war advised the attack of Essex, who had marched at such a rate, that a great part of his forces was left behind. On the following morning, the 23rd of October—it was Sunday—Essex accordingly found the royal army drawn up in order of battle on the heights of Edge Hill. It was a serious disadvantage to the Parliamentary army to have to charge up hill, and both parties were loth to strike the first blow. They remained, therefore, looking at each other till about two o'clock in the afternoon. Charles was on the field in complete armour, and encouraging the soldiers by a cheerful speech. He held the title of generalissimo of his own forces; the Earl of Lindsay was his general, an experienced soldier, who had fought side by side in the foreign wars with Essex, to whom he was now opposed. So much, however, was he disgusted with the youthful insolence of Prince Rupert, that he gave himself no further trouble than to command his own regiment. Sir Jacob Astley was major-general of the horse, under Lindsay, Prince Rupert commanding the right wing of the horse, and Lord Wilmot the left, two reserves of horse being also under the command of Lord Digby and Sir John Byron. In numbers, both of horse and foot, the royal army exceeded that which Essex had on the field; but Essex had a better train of artillery.

Essex had drawn out his army at the foot of the hill in the broad Vale of the Red Horse. Sir John Meldrum, who had so lately chased the king's forces from Hull, led the van. Three regiments of horse were posted on the right, commanded by Sir Philip Stapleton and Sir William Balfour. On the left were the twenty troops of horse under Sir James Ramsay. In the centre, behind the cavalry, were posted the infantry, Essex's own regiment occupying the main position, flanked by two reserves of horse under Lord Brooke and Denzil Holles.

At two o'clock, according to one historian, Essex commanded his artillery to fire on the enemy. According to another, the cavaliers grew impatient of inaction, and demanded to be led against the foe; and the king firing a cannon with his own hand as a signal for the assault, the Royalists began to descend the hill. When they came within musket shot, their spirits were greatly raised by seeing Sir Faithful Fortescue fire his pistol into the ground, and range himself with two troops of horse on their side. The Parliamentary cavalry made a charge on the king's centre, and endeavoured to seize the standard, but could not resist the pikes of the Royalists. Prince Rupert made a furious charge on the left wing of the Parliamentarians, broke it, and[16] pursued it in headlong chase into the village of Kineton, where finding the baggage of the enemy, he allowed his men an hour to plunder it. This uncalculating conduct on the part of Rupert continued through the whole war, and no amount of experience of the disastrous results of it ever cured him of it in the least. Put him at the head of a body of horse, and such was his valour and impetuosity that he would carry all before him, but he was rarely seen again in the field till the battle was over, when he returned from the headlong chase, often to find his friends totally defeated.

To-day, during Rupert's absence, the main bodies of infantry were led into action by Essex and Lindsay, each marching on foot at the head of his men. The steady valour of the Roundheads astonished the Cavaliers. The left wing of Charles's army, under Lord Wilmot, sought refuge behind a body of pikemen, but Balfour, one of the commanders of the Parliamentary right wing, wheeled his regiment round on the flank of the king's infantry, broke through two divisions, and seized a battery of cannon. In another part of the field the king's guards displayed extraordinary valour, and forced back all that were opposed to them. Essex perceiving it, ordered two regiments of infantry and a squadron of horse to charge them in front and flank, and at the same time Balfour, abandoning the guns he had captured, attacked them in the rear. They were now overpowered and broke. Sir Edward Varney, the standard-bearer, was killed, and the standard taken; but this being entrusted by Essex to his secretary, Chambers, was, by treachery or mistake, given up to a Captain Smith, one of the king's officers, whom Charles, for this service, made a baronet on the field. Charles beheld with dismay his guards being cut to pieces by overwhelming numbers, and advanced at the head of the reserve to their rescue. At this moment Rupert returned from his chase, and the remnant of the guards was saved. Lord Lindsay had received a mortal wound, his son, Lord Willoughby, and Colonel Vavasour, were taken prisoners in endeavouring to rescue him, and Colonel Monroe and other officers had fallen. Had Rupert returned on having put to the rout the Parliamentary right wing, all this might have been prevented. As it was, a check was given to the vehemence of the Roundheads, the firing ceased, and both armies having stood looking at each other till the darkness fell, each drew off, the Royalists back to their hill, the Parliamentarians to Kineton.

Both parties claimed the victory, but if remaining on the field of battle, and being the last to march away, are any criterions of success, these were on the side of Essex. His men lay in the field all night, a keenly frosty one, without covering, but supplied with meat and beer; and the next morning Charles marched away to Banbury. It was said that gunpowder failed in Essex's army, or that he would have pursued the royal army up the hill. As it was, though strengthened by the arrival of most of his forces left behind under Hampden, he did not think fit to follow Charles the next day, but allowed him to continue his route, himself retreating to Warwick. This was not the part of a victor, so that neither could be said to have won. The number of slain has been variously estimated; most writers state it at about five thousand, but the clergyman of Kineton, who buried the dead, reports them only twelve hundred.

Charles marched from Banbury to Oxford, where a number of gentlemen, well mounted, having heard his engagement at Edge Hill represented as a victory, came in, and thus recruited the wasted body of his cavalry. Rupert, during the king's stay, kept up that species of warfare which he had been taught to admire in Count Mansfeld, in Germany. He made rapid rides round the country, to Abingdon, Henley, and other towns, where he levied contributions without scruple from the Roundhead partisans. The Londoners were in the greatest alarm at the tidings of the king's growing army at Oxford, and sent pressing orders to Essex to hasten to the defence of the capital. The train-bands were kept constantly under arms, trenches were thrown up round the city, forces were despatched to hold Windsor Castle, seamen and boatmen were sent up the Thames to prevent any approach in that direction, and the apprentices were encouraged to enrol themselves by the promise of the time they served being reckoned in the term of their apprenticeship. At length Essex reached London, posted his men about Acton on the 7th of November, and rode to Westminster, to give an account of his campaign. It could not be said that he had shown much generalship, but it was not a time to be too critical with commanders: the brilliant military genius of Cromwell had not yet revealed itself, therefore the Parliament gave him hearty thanks, voted him five thousand pounds, and recommended the capital to his care.

ST. MARY'S CHURCH, NOTTINGHAM. (From a Photograph by Frith & Co.)

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Essex was scarcely arrived when news came that Charles had quitted Oxford, and was[17] directing his march on London. Henry Martin, a member of the Commons, who commanded at Reading, considering that town untenable, fell back on London. The panic in the capital was great. A deputation was sent, consisting of the Earl of Northumberland and three members of the Commons, to meet the king and present a petition for an accommodation. They encountered him at Colnbrook: he received the petition very graciously, and called God to witness that he desired nothing so much as peace, and the sparing of his bleeding country. This being reported to Parliament, they ordered Essex to suspend hostilities, and sent Sir Peter Killigrew to request the same on the part of the king, supposing that after this gracious message, in which he promised to reside near London till the differences were settled, he would have ceased all offensive operations. But scarcely was Killigrew gone, when Parliament was startled by the sound of artillery, and Essex rushed from the House and rode in the direction of the sound. He found Prince Rupert closely followed by the king in the full attack of Brentford, which was defended by a small force of Holles's horse. The king had taken advantage of a thick November fog to endeavour to steal a march on London; but Holles's horse though few were stout, and withstood the whole weight of the attack till reinforced by the regiments of Hampden and Brooke. Thus the king's object was defeated, and the next day, the 13th of November, being Sunday, there was such an outpouring from London of the train-bands, and of zealous citizens, that Essex found himself at the head of twenty-four thousand men, drawn up on Turnham Green. Hampden, Holles, and all the members of Parliament advised sending a body of soldiers to make a detour and get into the king's rear, and then to fall vigorously on in front, and Hampden with his regiment was despatched on this service. But Essex speedily recalled him, saying he would not divide his forces; and thus not only was the retreat left open to the king, but three thousand troops, which had been posted at Kingston Bridge, were called away to add to the force in London. Charles therefore finding a very formidable body in front and the way open behind, drew off his forces and retreated to[18] Reading, and then again to his old quarters at Oxford. Again Essex had displayed miserably defective tactics, or he might have readily surrounded and cut up the royal force. It was in vain that the Parliamentary leaders urged Essex to give instant pursuit of the retreating army; other officers also thought it better to let the king take himself away. The Parliament, in great indignation at the king's conduct, passed a resolution never to enter into any negotiations with him again; and Charles, pretending equal surprise and resentment, declared that the Parliament had thrown three regiments into Brentford after sending to treat with him. But it must be remembered that they proposed this accommodation at Colnbrook, and what business, then, had he at Brentford? The march, and the hour of it, were sufficiently decisive of the king being the aggressor.

Charles lay with his army at Oxford during the winter, and Prince Rupert exercised his marauding talents in the country round. Of the Parliamentary proceedings or preparations we have little account, except that the Parliamentarians were generally discontented with Essex, who was slow, by no means sagacious, and, many believed, not hearty in the cause. Sir William Waller, however, drove Goring out of Portsmouth and took possession of it, so that he was dubbed by the people William the Conqueror, and it was agitated to put him at the head of the army in the place of Essex. But another man was now being heard of. This was Oliver Cromwell, who had quitted his farm and raised a regiment of his own. He was Colonel Cromwell now. He had told Hampden at the battle of Edge Hill, where they both were, that it would never do to trust to a set of poor tapsters and town apprentices for fighting against men of honour. They must have men, too, imbued with a principle still higher, and that must be religion. Hampden said it was a good notion if it could be carried out; and from that time Cromwell kept it in view, and so collected and trained that regiment of serious religious men, known as his invincible Ironsides. Cromwell was active all this winter along the eastern coast, in Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Essex, and elsewhere, raising supplies, stopping those of the enemy, and forming Associations of counties for mutual defence. Four or six were formed, but all soon went to pieces except that of the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, of which Lord Grey of Wark was the commander, and Oliver, his lieutenant, the soul. This Association maintained its district during the whole war. In February we find Cromwell at Cambridge, the castle of which, with its magazines, he had taken by storm, and had now collected there great forces from Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk.

The queen's arrival in Yorkshire early in February created immense enthusiasm amongst the Cavaliers. Her spirit, her manners, her condescension fascinated all who came near her. She was in every sense now a heroine, and the fact of the Parliament having impeached her of high treason, and her head being forfeited if she fell into their hands, only raised her own resolution and the devotion of all around her. She was conducted to York by a guard of two thousand Cavaliers, headed by the Marquis of Montrose himself, and attended by six pieces of cannon, two mortars, and two hundred and fifty waggons of ammunition. The Lord Fairfax, who was the only Parliamentary general with any force in the north besides the Governor of Hull, was gallant enough to offer to escort her himself with his Roundheads; but she knew she was outlawed, and declined the honour. She rode on horseback on the march, calling herself the "she-majesty-generalissima," ate her meals in the sight of the army, in the open air, and delighted the soldiers by talking familiarly to them. She remained nearly four months at York, doing wonderful service to the king's cause, and, as we shall find, succeeding through the Earl of Newcastle even in corrupting the faith of the Hothams at Hull. Her arrival gave new spirit to the royal cause, but was undoubtedly, at the same time, the most fatal thing which could have happened to it, as it strengthened the king in his obstinate determination to refuse all accommodation with the Parliament.

And although the Parliament, in its resentment at the king's treachery at Brentford, had vowed never to treat with him again, in March, 1643, it made fresh overtures to him. The deputation sent to him consisted of the Earls of Northumberland, Pembroke, Salisbury, and Holland, Viscounts Wenman and Dungarvan, John Holland and William Litton, knights, and William Pierpoint, Bulstrode Whitelock, Edmund Waller, and Richard Winwood, esquires. They were received by the king in the garden of Christ Church, and permitted to kiss his hands. On Waller performing that ceremony, Charles said graciously, "You are the last, but not the worst, nor the least in my favour." In fact, Waller at that moment was engaged in a plot for the king, whence the[19] significant remark. As the two parties insisted on their particular demands, the interview came to nothing. Courteous as the king was to Waller, he was otherwise by no means so to the deputation. The queen was in the country with abundant supplies of arms and ammunition, and he was elated with the fact. He interrupted the Earl of Northumberland so rudely and so frequently, whilst reading the Parliamentary proposals, that the earl stopped, and demanded proudly whether his majesty would allow him to proceed. To which Charles replied curtly, "Ay! ay!" The negotiations continued for several weeks, but during their abortive proceedings military movement was going on. Essex took Reading after a siege of ten days, and Hampden proposed to invest Oxford and finish the war at once, which Clarendon confesses would have done it, for the town was ill fortified, was so crowded with people that it could not long hold out, and Charles had not then received his ammunition from the queen. The dilatory spirit of Essex, however, and his officers prevailed, and this opportunity was lost. In May the ammunition arrived, and whilst Charles was preparing to act, the Parliament was busy in unravelling different plots against them. One was that in which Waller was engaged. This was a most daring one. Waller had been one of the most determined declaimers in Parliament against the king; but now he had been won over by Lord Falkland, and had entered into a scheme for betraying London to the Royalists, and seizing the leaders of the opposition. Mixed up with this scheme, besides himself, were Tomkins, his brother-in-law, Challoner, Blinkhorne, and others. A commission of array was smuggled into the City through Lady Aubigny, whose husband fell at Edge Hill, by which all inclined to the king's service might receive due authority. But the servant of Tomkins overheard the conspirators, carried the news to Pym, and they were speedily in custody. Tomkins and Challoner were hanged within sight of their own houses; Blinkhorne, White, Hasell, and Waller were, by the intercession of Essex, reprieved, but Waller was fined ten thousand pounds and confined in the Tower for a year.

About the same time a similar plot for betraying Bristol was detected by Colonel Fiennes, the governor, son of Lord Say and Sele. The chief conspirators were Robert and William Yeomans, who were condemned to be executed; but one of them was saved by the king declaring that he would hang as many of his prisoners. The prospect which was opened of terror and barbarity by such retaliation put an end to it, and saved at this time Colonel Lilburne, who had been taken at Brentford. Lilburne was an ultra-republican, and at the same time a declaimer from the Bible on the mischief of kings. He had been whipped in Westminster, but had only been made more outrageous, and was so pugnaciously inclined, that it was said that if he were left alone in the world, John would be against Lilburne, and Lilburne against John. Charles ordered his execution, but the threats of the Parliament of sweeping retaliation saved the democratic orator and soldier.

The Parliament now made a new Great Seal, and passed under it no less than five hundred writs in one day. All other events, however, sank into comparative insignificance before one which now occurred. Prince Rupert had extended his flying excursions of cavalry, and committed great depredations in Gloucestershire, Wilts, Hants, and even as far as Bath; and though the Earl of Essex had his forces lying about Thame and Brickhill, in Buckinghamshire, yet he was so inert that Rupert burst into both Bucks and Berkshire in his very face. Colonel Hurry, who had gone over from Essex to the king, now informed Rupert that two Parliamentary regiments were lying at Wycombe, apart from the rest of the army and easy to be cut off. The fiery prince at once determined to make a night attack upon them. He trotted away from Oxford on the 17th of June with two thousand horsemen, rode past Thame, where Essex was lying, without any opposition, and reached the hamlet of Postcombe at three o'clock in the morning. Here, to their surprise, they found a body of horse posted to stop them. Hampden, in fact, who ought to have been at the head of the army, had been uneasy about the unprotected condition of the two regiments at Wycombe, and had in vain urged Essex to call in the outposts from Wycombe, Postcombe, and Chinnor. Not being able to rouse him to this prudent measure, he continued on the alert, and hearing of the march of Rupert in that direction, despatched a trooper in all haste to Essex, to advise him to move a body of horse and foot instantly to Chiselhampton Bridge, the only place where Rupert could cross the Cherwell. Not satisfied with this, he himself rode with some cavalry in that direction, and found Rupert on the field of Chalgrove, in the midst of the standing corn. On being checked at Postcombe, Rupert had diverged to Chinnor, surprised the outpost there, killed fifty men, and captured sixty others. On descrying Hampden's[20] detachment coming down Beacon Hill, he posted himself in the wide field of Chalgrove, where he was attacked by the troops of Captains Gunter and Sheffield, with whom Hampden had ridden. They boldly charged Rupert, but Gunter was soon slain, and Hampden, who was looking impatiently but in vain for Essex's reinforcements, rode up to lead on Gunter's troopers to the charge, and received a mortal wound. He did not fall, but, feeling his death blow, wheeled round his horse, and rode away towards the house of his father-in-law at Pyrton, whence he married his first wife, whose early death had made such a change in him. The soldiers of Rupert barred the way in that direction, and he made for Thame, and reached the house of Ezekiel Browne. He still continued to live for a week, and spent the time with what strength he had in urging on Parliament a correction of the palpable military errors of the campaign, and especially of the dilatory motions of Essex, which in fact had cost him his life. He expired on the 24th of June, and was buried in his own parish church at Hampden, followed to the grave by his regiment of green-coats with reversed arms and muffled drums.

The news of this national disaster spread dismay through London and over the whole country. The prudence, the zeal, and activity united in Hampden, had made him one of the most efficient men in the House and in the field. The suavity of his manners, the generosity of his disposition, the soundness of his judgment, had won him universal confidence. It was clearly seen that nothing but the deepest and most patriotic concern for the real welfare of the country animated him. Though he was conscientiously convinced of the mischief of political bishops, he was attached to the doctrines of the Church of England; and though he was, like Pym, firmly persuaded that nothing but the strongest obligations, the most imperative necessity, would ever tie down Charles to an observance of the limits of the Constitution, he was far from dreaming of his death, or of sweeping away the monarchy to make way for a republic. A little more time must have placed him at the head of the army, and, with such a right-hand man as Cromwell, must have soon terminated the campaign. His death seemed like a general defeat, and struck the deepest and most lasting sorrow into the public mind. Time has only increased the veneration for the name of John Hampden, which has become the watchword of liberty, and the object of popular appeal in every great crisis of his country's history.

Other discouragements fell on the Parliament at the same period. The Earl of Newcastle had established so strong a power in the North, that he had reduced the resistance of the Fairfaxes to almost nothing. His army abounded with Papists, and was officered by many renegade Scots, amongst them, conspicuous, Sir John Henderson. He had possession of Newark Castle, and even repulsed Cromwell in Lincolnshire. But his greatest triumph was in seducing the Hothams, father and son, and nearly succeeding in obtaining possession of Hull from their treason. Newcastle had defeated the Fairfaxes at Atherton Moor, and if Hull was lost, all was lost in the North. It was therefore proposed to put Hull into the hands of Lord Fairfax and his son Sir Thomas, which probably hastened the defection of the Hothams. The plot, however, was discovered in time; the Hothams were seized, their papers secured, their letters intercepted, the whole treason made open to the daylight, and the delinquents shipped off to London. Great as had been their services in Hull, their apostasy wiped away all past merits, and they were condemned and executed on Tower Hill.

These melancholy events were considerably softened by the growing successes of Cromwell, who seemed to be almost everywhere at once, always fighting, mostly successful. On the 13th of March he dashed into St. Albans and seized the sheriff, who was enrolling soldiers by the king's writ, and sent him off to London. On the 17th he marched from Norwich and took Lowestoft, with a number of prisoners, amongst them Sir Thomas Barker, Sir John Pettus, and Sir John Wentworth, who were glad to compromise with good fines, Wentworth paying one thousand pounds. He next made an attempt to wrest Newark Castle from the Earl of Newcastle, but in vain (it stood out to the end of the war); but he raised the siege of Croyland, made his appearance at Nottingham and Lynn, and in July he defeated Newcastle's troops near Grantham, took Burghleigh House and Stamford, and, before the month closed, fought a stout battle under the walls of Gainsborough to relieve Lord Willoughby, who was sorely pressed in that town by Newcastle's forces, and but for Cromwell's timely march to his aid, would have been cut to pieces. Cromwell attacked the besiegers on some sandhills near the town, dispersed them, and killed General Cavendish, a cousin of Newcastle's. After this exploit, however, Newcastle's main army came down upon them, and they were compelled to retreat to Lincoln, and even beyond it.



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Meanwhile, the Parliamentary affairs went greatly wrong in the West. Waller, who had gained the name of Conqueror by his rapid reduction of Portsmouth, Winchester, Malmesbury, and Hereford, was now defeated with an army eight thousand strong by Prince Maurice, near Bath, and by Lord Wilmot, near Devizes. His whole army was dispersed, and he hastened to London to complain of the inaction of Essex as the cause of his failure. Indeed, the army of Essex distinguished itself this summer so far only by inaction, whilst Rupert in the west laid siege to Bristol, and in three days made himself master of it, through the incapacity of Fiennes, the governor, who was tried by a council of war and sentenced to death, but pardoned by Essex with loss of his commission.

It was imagined that Charles, being now reinforced by a number of French and Walloons who came with the queen, and strengthened by victory, would make a grand attempt on the capital. There was no little alarm there. Essex, who had done nothing through the summer but watch his men melt away from his standard, recommended Parliament to come to terms with the king, and the Lords were of his opinion. Many of them were ready to run off to Charles on the first opportunity. Bedford, Holland, Northumberland, and Clare, father of Denzil Holles, were strongly suspected, and soon after proved that these suspicions were not unjust. Four nobles had been appointed to raise new forces, but seeing how things were going, all declined their commissions except Lord Kimbolton, now by the death of his father become Earl of Manchester. He accepted the command of the Eastern Association, having Cromwell and three other colonels under him, and soon had a fine force in those counties.

Parliament, listening to neither Essex nor the faint-hearted fears of the peers, refused to open fresh negotiations with the king. They called on the Londoners to invigorate their train-bands, and to put the City into a state of defence; and their call was zealously responded to. Ladies as well as gentlemen turned out and handled spades and pickaxes in casting up an entrenchment all round the City. Pym and St. John were sent to the army and seemed to infuse a new spirit into Essex, pronouncing him sound in the cause. Charles, if he ever thought of attacking London, seeing the spirit there, turned his attention to the West and invested Gloucester. Essex was despatched to relieve that city, and made a march much more active and efficient than was his wont. He set out on the 26th of August, and on the night of the tenth day—though he had been harassed on his way by the flying troopers of Rupert and Lord Wilmot—that is, on the 5th of September, the people of Gloucester saw his signal fires on the top of Prestbury Hill, amid the rain and darkness. The king also saw them, fired his tents in the morning, and marched away. From that hour the prospects of Charles grew gloomier.

Essex having relieved Gloucester, and left a good garrison there under the brave governor, Colonel Massey, made the best of his way back again, lest the king should outstrip him and take up a position before London. Charles had not neglected the attempt to cut off his return. At Auborne Chase Essex was attacked by the flying squadrons of Rupert, and after beating them off he found the king posted across his path at Newbury on the 20th of September. The royal army occupied the bank of the river which runs through the place, to prevent his passage. Every part where there was a chance of the Parliamentary forces attempting to cross was strongly defended by breastworks, and musketeers lined the houses facing the river. It was supposed that Charles could easily keep the Roundheads at bay, and force them to retreat or starve. Essex drew up his forces, however, with great skill upon an eminence called Bigg's Hill, about half a mile from the town, and Charles was prepared to wait for a chance of taking him at a disadvantage. But the rashness of the young Cavaliers under Digby, Carnarvon, and Jermyn, led to skirmishes with the Parliamentarians, and Charles soon found himself so far involved, that he was obliged to give orders for a general engagement. The royal horse charged that of Essex with a recklessness amounting almost to contempt; but though they threw them into disorder, they found it a different matter with the infantry, consisting of the train-bands and apprentices of London. These received the Cavaliers on their pikes, and stood as immovable as a rock, and showed such resolute and steady spirit, that they soon allowed the horse to recover itself, and the whole army fought with desperation till dark. The effect was such, that Charles would not risk another day of it. Waller was lying at Windsor with two thousand horse and as many foot, and should he come up as he ought, the king would be hemmed in and placed in imminent peril. But Waller lay perfectly still—purposely, as many thought—leaving Essex to take care[23] of himself, as the earl had formerly left him at Roundaway Hill. In the morning, therefore, Essex found the king's forces withdrawn and the way open. Charles had retreated again towards Oxford, having deposited his guns and ammunition at Donnington Castle, Chaucer's old residence, which lay within sight, and ordered Rupert to harass the Parliament army on its march. Essex made his way to Reading, whence he hurried up to town to complain of the neglect of Waller, and to offer the surrender of his commission. This was not accepted, but the only alternative was adopted, that of withdrawing the command from Waller, which, after much reluctance, was done on the 9th of October.

The Parliamentarians lost five hundred men in the battle, the king three times that number and many officers; but the greatest loss of all was that of the amiable and conscientious Lord Falkland, a man on the Royalist side as much respected as Hampden was on the Parliament side. He had gone with the Parliament till he thought they had obtained all that they were justly entitled to, and pressed too hard on the king, when he felt it his duty to support the Crown, and had accepted office as Secretary of State. He was a man of a most cheerful, cordial, courteous disposition; but from the moment the war broke out, his cheerfulness fled. He seemed to feel in himself the wounds and miseries of his bleeding country. He was constantly an advocate of peace, and was often observed sitting in a state of abstraction, uttering aloud and unconsciously the words, "Peace! peace!" As the war went on his melancholy increased; he neglected his dress, and became short and hasty in his temper. He declared that "the very agony of the war, and the view of the calamities and desolation which the kingdom did and must endure, took his sleep from him, and would break his heart." Whitelock says that "on the morning of the fight he called for a clean shirt, and being asked the reason of it, answered that if he were slain in the battle, they would not find his body in foul linen. Being dissuaded by his friends against going into the fight, as having no call to it, being no military officer, he said he was weary of the times, and foresaw much misery to his country, and did believe he should be out of it ere night, and could not be persuaded to the contrary, but would enter into the battle, and was there slain." His death was deeply lamented by all parties. Besides him fell the Earls of Sunderland and Carnarvon.

When the king's affairs were in the ascendant by the successes in the West, the taking of Bristol, and the defeat of Waller at Roundaway Hill, near Devizes, the Earls of Bedford, Northumberland, Holland, and Clare deserted the Parliament cause. Northumberland, being cautious, retired to Petworth, to see how the other lords who meant to go over to Charles should be received. Bedford, Clare, and Holland offered their services to the king, and went to Wallingford, where they were suffered to wait a great while, much to their chagrin. They then went to Oxford, whilst Charles was in the West, and were ordered to await his return. The queen and the courtiers, meanwhile, treated them not as valuable and influential allies, whose good reception would certainly bring over many more, but, with consummate folly, as renegades, who had forfeited all respect by taking part with the king's enemies. They followed the king to Gloucester, where they were coolly enough received, and afterwards fought on his side at Newbury; but nothing winning them that estimation which good policy would have granted them at once, they made their peace with Parliament and went back to London, where, however, they found they had sunk greatly in public opinion, and were not permitted to take their seats in the House of Peers or hold office. Their flight had lowered the public estimation of the Lords, and their reception at Oxford had seriously injured the king's cause. Whilst the king and queen retained their impolitic resentments, there was no hope of winning over friends from the ranks of their opponents. It was clear that neither time nor trouble had really taught them anything. Moreover we also learn from the pages of Clarendon that there existed great discord and division in the camp at Oxford. Every one was jealous of the slightest promotion or favour shown to another; and the Cavaliers, he says, had grown disorderly, and devoted to the plundering of the people, just as the Parliamentary army was growing orderly, zealous, and efficient. To such an extent was this the case that one side seemed to fight for monarchy with weapons of confusion, and the other to destroy the king and Government with all the principles and regularity of monarchy.

This was seen in nothing more than in the management with regard to Scotland. To both parties it was of the highest consequence to have the alliance of the Scots. Charles, on his last visit, had flattered the people, given in to the notions of the Covenanters, and conferred honours on their leaders. But Montrose, who knew the[24] Covenanters well, assured the king that he would never get them to fight on his side. They were too much united in interest and opinion with the Puritan Parliament not to adhere to it. He proposed, therefore, to raise another power in Scotland—that of the nobility and the Highlanders, who should at least divide the country, delay if not prevent the army of the Covenanters from leaving the country, and thus save the king from the danger of an invasion in that quarter, the first result of which would be the loss of his ascendency in the northern counties of England. When the queen came to York, Montrose waited on her, and did all in his power to awaken a sense of peril in Scotland, and offered to raise ten thousand men there, and paralyse the designs of the Covenanters. But when these representations were made to Charles, the Marquis of Hamilton, now made duke, strongly opposed the advice of Montrose, declared that it was monstrous to set Scots against Scots, and that he would undertake to keep them quiet. He prevailed, and Montrose, disappointed, retired again to Scotland to watch the progress of events. Hamilton went to Scotland, with authority from the king to take the lead in all movements of the Royalists.

As was foreseen, the English Parliament made overtures to the Scots for assistance, and the Scots were by no means loth to grant it, provided they could make advantageous terms. A Commission was sent to Edinburgh to treat, and the Scots on their part resolved to call a Parliament to receive their offers. The time fixed for the reassembling of the Scottish Parliament was not come by a full year, and the Duke of Hamilton had most particularly pledged himself to the king to prevent it from meeting. Yet on the 22nd of June, notwithstanding his remonstrance, it came together, and on the 20th of July the Commissioners from the English Parliament arrived, and were received by both Parliament and General Assembly with exultation, and their letters from the Parliament of England were read with shouts of triumph—by many, with tears of joy. Their arrival was regarded as a national victory.

The conduct of Hamilton was now suspicious. If he was honest he had misled the king, for he found he had no power to resist the popular feeling in Scotland; but the general opinion coincided with that of Montrose, that he was a traitor. The Royalists called upon him to summon them to his aid, to assemble them in a large body, mounted and armed, and, supported by them, to forbid the meeting of Parliament as illegal. But that, Hamilton assured them, would frighten the people, and lead to disturbance. He proposed that the meeting should take place, that all the Royalist members should appear in their places, and then he would declare the meeting illegal, and dismiss it. To their astonishment, however, Hamilton did not dismiss it, but allowed it to sit. On this Montrose posted away to England, followed the king to Gloucester, and represented to him the conduct of Hamilton as confirming all former declarations of his perfidy. After the battle of Newbury, Charles listened more at leisure to these representations. He was so far convinced that he thought of ordering the Earl of Newcastle to send for Hamilton and his brother Lord Lanark, and to confine them at York. But at that moment the two brothers, probably aware of the proceedings of Montrose, appeared themselves at Oxford, where Charles ordered the Council to examine into the charges against them. Lanark managed to escape from custody, and hastened direct to London and to the Parliament, which received him most cordially, a pretty strong proof of mutual understanding. This satisfied Charles of Hamilton's complicity, and he sent him in custody to the castle of Bristol, thence to Exeter, and thence to Pendennis in Cornwall.

The Commissioners sent to Scotland were Henry Vane the younger, Armyn, Hatcher, Darley, and Marshall, with Nye, an independent. The Scots proposed to invade England on condition that the Parliament adopted the Covenant, and engaged to establish uniformity of religion in both countries, "according to the pattern of the most reformed Church," which, of course, meant Presbyterianism. But the Commissioners knew that this was impossible, for though a considerable number of the people were Presbyterian in doctrine, many more were Independent, and just as sturdy in their faith, to say nothing of the large section of the population which held conscientiously to both Episcopacy and Catholicism. Vane himself was a staunch Independent, and he was at the same time one of the most adroit of diplomatists. He consented that the Kirk should be preserved in its purity and freedom, and that the Church of England should be reformed "according to the Word of God." As the Scots could not object to reformation according to the Word of God, and "the example of the first Reformed churches," which they applied especially to their own, they were obliged to be content with that vague[25] language. Vane also obtained the introduction of the word League, giving the alliance a political as well as a religious character. It was concluded to send a deputation with the Commissioners to London, to see the solemn "League and Covenant" signed by the two Houses of Parliament, at the head of which went Alexander Henderson, the well-known Moderator of the Assembly. Whilst they were on their journey, the ministers in Scotland readily proclaimed from their pulpits that now the Lord Jesus had taken the field against antichrist, that Judah would soon be enslaved if Israel was led away captive, and that the curse of Meroz would fall on all who did not come to the help of the Lord against the mighty.


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On the 25th of September, the very day that Essex arrived in London after the battle of Newbury, and received the thanks of Parliament, the two Houses met with the Westminster divines in the church of St. Margaret, where, after various sermons, addresses, and blessings, the two Houses signed the League and Covenant, and their example was followed by the Scottish Commissioners and the divines. It was then ordered to be subscribed in every parish by all persons throughout the country.

It was agreed that the Estates of Scotland should send an army of twenty-one thousand men into England, headed by the old Earl of Leven. They were to receive thirty-one thousand pounds a month,—one hundred thousand pounds of it in advance, and another sum at the conclusion of peace. Sixty thousand pounds were soon remitted, the levies began, and in a few months Leslie mustered his army at Harlaw.

The union of the Scots with the Parliament was an alarming blow to the Royalists. If they had found it difficult to cope with Parliament alone, how were they to withstand them and the Scots? To strengthen himself against this formidable coalition, Charles turned his attention to Ireland. There the army had actually grown to fifty thousand men. As the restorers of the English influence, these were to be paid out of the estates of the revolted Irish, and numbers of both English and Scots had flocked over. A large body of Scots had landed under the command of General[26] Monro, eager to avenge the massacre of their Presbyterian brothers in Ulster. The natives had been driven back, and the invaders were busy parcelling out the evacuated lands. Two million and a half of acres had been promised by the English Parliament as the reward of the victors.

To resist the tempest which threatened to exterminate them, the Irish Catholics formed themselves into a confederation, and created a kind of Parliament at Kilkenny. They imitated in everything the measures by which the Scots had succeeded in enfranchising their religion. They professed the most profound loyalty to the sovereign, and asserted that they were in arms only for the protection of their religion and their lives. They established a synod which assumed the same religious authority as the Scottish Assembly, and ordered a covenant to be taken, by which every one bound himself to maintain the Catholic faith and the rights of the sovereign and the subject. They appointed generals in each province, and all necessary officers for the command of their force. Charles, who suspected the allegiance of the Earl of Warwick, had contrived to remove him, and appointed the Marquis of Ormond in his place. To him the confederate Catholics transmitted their petition, avowing the most unshaken loyalty, declaring that they had only taken up arms to defend their lives and properties from men who were equally the enemies of the king and their own,—from the same puritanic people, so they said, who were seeking to deprive the king of his crown. These petitions, forwarded to Charles, suggested to him the idea of deriving use from these forces. As they prayed him to assemble a new Parliament in Ireland, to grant them the freedom of their religion and the rights of subjects, he instructed Ormond to come to terms with them, so that in their pacification they might be able to spare a considerable body of troops for his assistance in England. This was effected in September, 1643, and the confederates contributed directly thirty thousand pounds for the support of the royal army, fifteen thousand pounds in money, and fifteen thousand pounds in pensions.

This was not accomplished without exciting the notice of the English Parliament, who sent over Commissioners to endeavour to win over the Protestants in Ormond's army, but in vain. In November Ormond shipped five regiments to the king. These were sent to Chester to garrison that town under Lord Byron; but they were rather marauders than soldiers; they had been raised by the Parliament, yet fought against it for the king; and they were as loose in discipline as in principles. In about six weeks after their arrival, they were visited by Sir Thomas Fairfax at Nantwich, when fifteen thousand of them threw down their arms, amongst them the afterwards notorious General Monk. Nor was this the only mischief occasioned to the royal cause by these Irish troops. Their arrival disgusted the royal forces under Newcastle in the North, who declared they would not fight with Catholics and Irish rebels.

Whilst the Scots were mustering to enter England, the Marquis of Newcastle was bearing hard on the Parliament forces in Yorkshire. He had cleared the country of them except Hull, which he was besieging; and Lincolnshire was also so overrun with his forces, that Lord Fairfax, governor of Hull, was obliged to send his son, Sir Thomas, across the Humber, to the help of the Earl of Manchester. Fairfax united with Cromwell near Boston, and at Winceby-on-the-Wolds, about five miles from Horncastle, the united army under Manchester came to a battle with the troops of Newcastle, and completely routed them, thus clearing nearly all Lincolnshire of them. Cromwell had a horse killed under him, and Sir Ingram Hopton, of Newcastle's army, was killed. The battle was won by Cromwell and Fairfax's cavalry.

The close of 1643 was saddened to the Parliament by the death of Pym (December 8). It was, indeed, a serious loss, following that of Hampden. No man had done so much to give firmness to the Commons, and clearness to the objects at which they aimed. His mind was formed on the old classic model of patriotic devotion. He had no desire to pull down the Crown or the Church, but he would have the one restrained within the limits of real service to the country, and the other confined to those of its communion. Therefore he recommended, sternly, resistance to the royal power—preferring civil war to perpetual slavery—and the exemption of bishops and clergymen from all civil offices. Seeing from the first the ends that he would attain, guided by the most solemn and perspicuous principles, he never swerved from them under pressure of flattery or difficulty, nor would he let the State swerve. His eloquence and address, but far more his unselfish zeal, enabled him to prevail with the Commons and intimidate the Lords. He boldly told the Peers that they must join in the salvation of the country, or see it saved without them, and take the consequences in the esteem or the contempt of[27] the people. They would have fared better had they profited by his warning. Pym was the Aristides of the time: he sought no advantage to himself, he gained nothing from his exertions or his prominent position, but the satisfaction of seeing his country saved by his labours. He derived no influence from his wealth or rank, for he had none of either. His whole prestige was intellectual and moral. He wore himself out for the public good, and died as poor as he commenced, the only grant which he received from the State being an honourable burial in Westminster Abbey.

At the opening of 1644 Charles had devised a scheme for undermining the authority of the Parliament, namely, by issuing a proclamation for its extinction. Clarendon, who was now the Lord Chancellor, very wisely assured him that the members of Parliament sitting at Westminster would pay no heed to his proclamation, and that a better measure would be to summon Parliament to meet at Oxford. That would give every member of both Houses, who was at all inclined to again recognise the royal authority, the opportunity to join him; and, on the other hand, a Parliament assembling by call and authority of the king at his court, would stamp the other as illegal and rebellious. The advice was adopted, and at the summons forty-three Peers and one hundred and eighteen Commoners assembled at Oxford. These, however, consisted of such as had already seceded from the Parliamentary party, and the king claimed as the full number of his Parliament at Oxford, eighty-three Lords, and one hundred and seventy-five Commons. According to Whitelock, there met at Westminster twenty-two Lords only, and eleven more were excused on different accounts, making thirty-three; of the Commons there were more than two hundred and eighty. The king, in his Parliament, promised all those privileges which he had so pertinaciously denied to all his past Parliaments, and a letter, subscribed by all the members of both Houses, was addressed to the Earl of Essex, requesting him to inform "those by whom he was trusted," that they were desirous to receive commissioners, to endeavour to come to a peaceable accommodation on all matters in dispute. Essex returned the letter, refusing to forward a paper which did not acknowledge the authority of the body addressed. The point was conceded, and Charles himself then forwarded him a letter addressed to the Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Westminster in his own name, soliciting, by advice of the Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Oxford, the appointment of such commissioners "for settling the rights of the Crown and Parliament, the laws of the land, and the liberties and property of the subject." But there was no probability of agreement, and so the Oxford Parliament proceeded to proclaim the Scots, who had entered England contrary to the pacification, and all who countenanced them guilty of high treason.

The Scots passed the Tweed on the 16th of January, 1644. The winter was very severe, and the march of the army was dreadful. They made their way, however, to Newcastle, where the Marquis of Newcastle had just forestalled them in getting possession of it. They then went on to Sunderland. Newcastle offered them battle, but the Scots, though suffering from the weather and want of provisions, having posted themselves in a strong position, determined to wait for the arrival of Parliamentary forces to their aid. The defeat of Lord Byron at Nantwich permitted Sir Thomas Fairfax and Lord Fairfax, his father, to draw towards them, and these generals having also defeated at Leeds the Royalists under Lord Bellasis, the son of Lord Falconberg, Newcastle betook himself to York, where he was followed by both the Fairfaxes and the Scots.

Charles was lying at Oxford with a force of ten thousand men; Waller and Essex, with the Parliamentary army, endeavoured to invest him in that city, but as they were marching down upon him from two different quarters, he issued from it with seven thousand men and made his way to Worcester. As these two generals detested each other and could not act in concert, Essex turned his march towards the West of England, where Prince Maurice lay, and Waller gave chase to the king. Charles, by feint of marching on Shrewsbury, induced Waller to proceed in that direction, and then suddenly altering his course at Bewdley regained Oxford. After beating up the Parliamentary quarters in Buckinghamshire, he encountered and worsted Waller at Cropredy Bridge, and then marched westward after Essex.

PRINCE RUPERT. (After the Portrait by Vandyke.)

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While these manœuvres were in progress, the Earl of Manchester, having as his lieutenant-general Oliver Cromwell, marched northward to co-operate with Leslie and the Fairfaxes at York against Newcastle. Charles, who saw the imminent danger of Newcastle, and the loss of all the North if he were defeated, sent word to Prince Rupert to hasten to his assistance. Rupert had been gallantly fighting in Nottinghamshire, Cheshire, and Lancashire, and everywhere victorious. He had compelled the Parliamentary[28] army to raise the siege of Newark, had taken Stockport, Bolton, and Liverpool, and raised the siege of Lathom House, which had been nobly defended for eighteen weeks by the Countess of Derby. On receiving the king's command, he mustered what forces he could, and reached York on the 1st of July. The Parliamentary generals, at his approach, raised the siege, and withdrew to Marston Moor, about four miles from the city. Rupert had about twenty thousand men, with whom he had committed dreadful ravages on the Lancashire hills; he had now relieved the marquis, and might have defended the city with success, but he was always ready to fight, and Newcastle having six thousand men, making, with his own forces, twenty-six thousand, Rupert persuaded him to turn out and chastise the Roundheads. The English and Scots had about the same number. So little did the Parliamentarians expect a battle, that they were in the act of drawing off their forces to a greater distance, when Rupert attacked their rear with his cavalry. On this they turned, and arranged themselves in front of a large ditch or drain, and the Royalists posted themselves opposite. The Scots and English occupied a large rye field bounded by this ditch, and they placed their troops in alternate divisions, so that there should be no jealousy between them. It was not till five o'clock in the afternoon of the 2nd of July that the two armies had arranged themselves for the fight, and then they stood gazing on each other for two hours, each loth to risk the disadvantage of crossing the ditch first. Newcastle, who did not want to fight, had retired to his carriage in ill-humour, and all began to think that there would be no battle till the morrow, when Rupert, who was[29] posted on the right wing with his cavalry, another body of cavalry covering the flank of the infantry on the left, made one of his sudden and desperate charges. Like all these exploits of his, it was so impetuous, that it bore the Parliamentary cavalry on their left wing clear away before it, and the officers and their horse were speedily in full flight, pursued by the fiery Rupert, who, as was his wont, forgot all but the fugitives before him, and with three thousand cavalry galloped after them for some miles. The Royalist infantry followed up the effect by attacking that of the Parliament with such fury, that the latter was thrown into confusion, and the three generals, Manchester, Lord Fairfax, and Leslie, believing all lost, fled with the rest, in the direction of Tadcaster and Cawood Castle. Cromwell, who commanded the right wing of the Parliamentary army, was thus left to fight or flee, as might happen, but nothing daunted, he attacked the Royalist cavalry with such vigour that he completely routed them, and then turned again to oppose the horse of Rupert, who were just returning from the chase, to find their side in flight. These and a body of pikemen,—Newcastle's "white coats"—fought desperately. The cavalry, on exhausting their charges, flung their pistols at the enemies' heads, and then fell to with their swords. At length the victory remained with Cromwell, Rupert drew off, and Cromwell remained all night on the field. He sent messages after the fugitive generals to recall them, but Leslie was already in bed at Leeds when the news reached him, when he exclaimed, "Would to God I had died on the place!" Cromwell won great renown by this action. He kept the field all night with his troopers, who were worn out by the tremendous exertions of the day, and were in expectation every moment of a fresh attack from Rupert, who might have collected a large body of troops together to overwhelm him. But he had lost the battle by his incurable rashness, after having induced the unwilling Newcastle to risk the engagement, and he made his retreat into Lancashire, and thence into the western counties.





Four thousand one hundred and fifty bodies of the slain were buried on the moor; the greater part of the arms, ammunition, and baggage of the Royalists fell into the hands of Cromwell, with about a hundred colours and standards, including that of Rupert himself, and the arms of the Palatinate. Newcastle evacuated York and retired to the Continent, accompanied by the Lords Falconberg and Widderington, and about eighty gentlemen, who believed the royal cause was totally ruined. This the bloodiest battle of the war was fought on the 2nd of July, and on the morning of the 4th the Parliamentary forces were again in muster, and sat down before the walls of York. On the 7th, being Sunday, they held a public thanksgiving for their victory, and on the 11th being[30] ready to take the city by escalade, Glenham, the governor, came to terms, on condition that the garrison should be allowed to march out with all the honours of war, and retire to Skipton. On the 16th they evacuated the city, and the Parliamentarians entered, and marched directly to the cathedral, to return thanks for their victory. The battle of Marston Moor had indeed utterly destroyed the king's power in the North. Newcastle alone stood out; but this the Scots invested, and readily reduced, taking up their quarters there for the present.

In the West, matters for awhile wore a better aspect for the king. Essex, on the escape of the king from Oxford, directed his course west. The Royalists were strong in Devon, Cornwall, and Somersetshire; but to effectually compete with them, Waller should have united his forces with the commander-in-chief. He was too much in rivalry with him to do that. The king set off after Essex, to support his forces in the western counties, and Essex, as if unaware of the royal army following him, continued to march on. The queen, who had been confined of a daughter at Exeter, on the approach of Essex requested of him a safe conduct to Bath, on pretence of drinking the waters, whence she proposed to get to Falmouth, and thence back to France. Essex ironically replied that he would grant her an escort to London, where she could consult her own physicians, but where he knew that she was proclaimed guilty of high treason. Henrietta Maria, however, made her way to Falmouth without his courtesy, and thence in a Dutch vessel, accompanied by ten other ships, she reached France, though closely pursued by the English admiral, who came near enough to discharge several shots at the vessel.

Essex advanced to Lyme Regis, where he relieved Robert Blake, afterwards the celebrated admiral, who was there closely besieged by Prince Maurice; and still proceeding, took Taunton, Tiverton, Weymouth, and Bridport. This was something like victory; but meanwhile, all men were wondering at his apparent unconsciousness that the Royalist forces were enclosing him, and that with the exception of about two thousand horse under Middleton, which kept at a distance and never united with him, he was wholly unsupported by Waller's troops. In this manner he advanced into Cornwall, where Prince Maurice joined his forces with those of the king to cut off his return. At this crisis many began to suspect that he meant to go over to the king's party, but in this they misjudged him, for at this time Charles made overtures to him, but in vain. He received a letter from the king, promising him if he would join him in endeavouring to bring the Parliament to terms, he would guarantee both the liberties and religion of the people; and another from eighty-four of the king's principal officers, protesting that if the king should attempt to depart from his engagements they would take up arms against him. Essex sent the letter to the Parliament, proving his faith to them; but it would have been still better if he could have proved to them also his military ability. But near Liskeard, he suffered himself to be hemmed in by different divisions of the royal army, and his supplies to be cut off by allowing the little port of Fowey to fall into the hands of the king's generals, Sir Jacob Astley and Sir Richard Grenville. He was now attacked by Charles on the one hand, and Colonel Goring on the other. Essex sent pressing demands to Parliament for succour and provisions, but none came; and one night in September his horse, under Sir William Balfour, by a successful manœuvre, passed the enemy, and made their way back to London. Essex, with Lord Roberts and many of his officers, escaped in a boat to Plymouth, and Major-General Skippon, with the fort, capitulated, leaving to the king their arms and artillery.

Essex had no right to expect anything but the most severe censure for his failure; he retired to his house, and demanded an investigation, charging his disasters to the neglect of Waller. The Parliament, however, instead of reproaching him, thanked him for the fidelity which he had shown when tempted by the king, and for his many past services.

To Cromwell the general aspect of things had become well nigh intolerable. But it was in vain that he endeavoured to move the heavy spirit of his superior, the Earl of Manchester, and hence they came more and more to disputes. Cromwell was insubordinate because it was impossible that fire could be subordinate to earth. In vain he pointed out what ought to be done, and he grew impatient and irritated at what was not done. That irritation and impatience became the greater as he turned his eyes on what Essex, Waller, and the rest of the Parliamentary generals were doing. It seemed to him that they were asleep, paralysed, when a few bold strokes would bring the war to a close.

Charles having broken up Essex's army in Cornwall, and put Essex himself to flight, made a hasty march back again to Oxford to avoid being[31] himself in turn cooped up in the narrow West. Already the Parliament was mustering its forces for that purpose. Essex and Waller were again set at the head of troops, and the victorious forces of Marston Moor, under Manchester and Cromwell, were summoned to join them. They endeavoured to stop the king in his attempt to reach Oxford, and encountered him again near the old ground of battle at Newbury. Charles was attacked in two places at once—Shaw on the eastern, and at Speen on the western side of the town. The Earl of Essex was ill, or, as many believed, pretended to be so; at all events, the command fell to Manchester. On the 26th of October, the first brush took place, and the next morning being Sunday, the attack was renewed more vigorously. The soldiers of Manchester, or rather of Cromwell, went into the fight singing psalms, as was their wont. The battle was fiercely contested, and it was not till ten o'clock at night that Charles retreated towards Wallingford. It was full moonlight, and Cromwell prepared to pursue him, but was withheld by Manchester. Again and again did Cromwell insist on the necessity of following and completing the rout of the royal army. "The next morning," says Ludlow, "we drew together and followed the enemy with our horse, which was the greatest body that I saw together during the war, amounting at least to seven thousand horse and dragoons; but they had got so much ground, that we could never recover sight of them, and did not expect to see any more in a body that year; neither had we, as I suppose, if encouragement had not been given privately by some of our party."

In other words, there were strong suspicions that the aristocratic generals did not want to press the king too closely. This became apparent ten days after. Charles, on retreating, had done exactly as he did before at this same Newbury; he had thrown all his artillery into the Castle of Donnington, and now he came back again to fetch it, nobody attempting to hinder him, as nobody had attempted to reduce Donnington and secure the artillery. So extraordinary was the conduct of the Parliamentary generals, that though Charles passed through their lines both in going and returning from Donnington, and even offered them battle, no one stirred. The generals dispersed their army into winter quarters, and both Parliament and people complained of the affair of Newbury. The Parliament set on foot an inquiry into the causes of the strange neglect of public duty, and they soon found one powerful cause in the jealousies and contentions of the generals. It was time a new organisation was introduced, and Cromwell saw that besides the incapacity of the commanders, there were aristocratic prejudices that stood in the way of any effectual termination of the war.

Cromwell was at the head of the Independents, and these were as adverse to the dominance and intolerance of the Presbyterians, as Cromwell was to the slow-going generals. He knew that he should have their support, and he determined to come to a point on the vital question of the arrangement of the war. He had declared plumply, in his vexation, "That there never would be a good time in England till we had done with lords;" and he had horrified the milk-and-water aristocrats, by protesting that "if he met the king in battle, he would fire his pistol at him as he would at another." He was now resolved to have lords out of the army at least, and therefore, on the 25th of November, 1644, he exhibited a charge in the House of Commons against the Earl of Manchester, asserting that he had shown himself indisposed to finish the war; that since the taking of York he had studiously obstructed the progress of the Parliamentary army, as if he thought the king already too low, and the Parliament too high, especially at Donnington; and that since the junction of the armies he had shown this disposition still more strongly, and had persuaded the Council not to fight at all.

Manchester, eight days after, replied at great length, accusing Cromwell of insubordination, and was supported by Major-General Crawford, whom the Scottish Presbyterians had got into the army of Manchester, to counteract the influence of Cromwell and the Independents. Crawford even dared to charge Cromwell with leaving the field of Newbury from a slight wound. Cromwell, on the 9th of December, leaving such charges to be answered by Marston Moor and his share of Newbury, proposed a measure which at once swept the army of all its deadweights. In the Grand Committee there was a general silence for a good space of time, one looking on the other, to see who would venture to propose the only real remedy for getting rid of the Essexes and Manchesters out of the army, when Cromwell arose and proposed the celebrated Self-denying Ordinance. It is now time to speak, he said, or for ever hold the tongue. They must save the dying nation by casting off all lingering proceedings, like those of the soldiers of fortune beyond the sea, who so pursued war because it was their trade. "What," he asked, "did the[32] nation say?" That members of both Houses had got good places and commands, and by influence in Parliament or in the army, meant to keep them by lingering on the war. What he told them to their faces, he assured them was simply what all the world was saying behind their backs. But there was a sure remedy for all that, and for himself, he cared to go no farther into the inquiry, but to apply that remedy. It was for every one to deny themselves and their own private interests, and for the public good to do what Parliament should command. He told them that he would answer for his own soldiers, not that they idolised him, but because they looked to Parliament, and would obey any commands the Parliament should lay upon them for the Cause.

Accordingly, the same day, Mr. Tate, of Northampton, formally moved the Self-denying Ordinance—that is, that no member of either House should hold a command in the army or a civil office. This was so surprising a measure, that even Whitelock observed that "our noble generals, the Earls of Denbigh, Warwick, Manchester, the Lords Roberts, Willoughby, and other lords in your armies, besides those in civil offices, and your members the Lord Grey, Lord Fairfax, Sir William Waller, Lieutenant-General Cromwell, Mr. Hollis, Sir Philip Stapleton, Sir William Brereton, Sir John Meyrick, and many others must be laid aside if you pass this ordinance." The proposition seen in these dimensions was daring and drastic. Manchester, Essex, Denzil Holles, Meyrick, Stapleton, and others, who had so long gone on side by side with Cromwell, Whitelock, and others, were now not only indignant at Cromwell's bold and aspiring tone, but bitterly opposed to him on the ground of faith and Church government. They were for preserving Church and State, and they were linked with the Scots, who were vehement for the general acceptation of the Presbyterian doctrine, if they could not carry its formula. They met at Essex House, and concerted how they were to put down not only this troublesome man, but the troublesome party of which he was the representative, the Independents, who were for liberty in the Church and the State, and would hear nothing of the domination of synods and presbyteries any more than of bishops. They sent to Whitelock and Maynard, to consult them as lawyers, on nothing less than impeaching Cromwell as an incendiary. The Lord Chancellor of Scotland addressed them thus:—"Ye ken varra weel that, Lieutenant-General Cromwell is no friend of ours, and since the advance of our army into England, he hath used all underhand and cunning means to take off from our honour and merit with this kingdom—an evil requital of all our hazards and services; but so it is, and we are nevertheless fully satisfied of the affections and gratitude of the gude people of this nation in general. It is thought requisite for us, and for the carrying on of the cause of the twa kingdoms, that this obstacle or remora may be moved out of the way, who, we foresee, will otherwise be no small impediment to us, and the gude design that we have undertaken. He not only is no friend to us, and to the government of our Church, but he is also no well-willer to his excellency, whom you and us all have cause to love and honour; and if he be permitted to go on in his ways, it may, I fear, endanger the whole business. Ye ken varra weel the accord atwixt the twa kingdoms, and the union by the Solemn League and Covenant, and if any be an incendiary betwin the twa nations, how he is to be proceeded against."

Whitelock replied that the word "incendiary" meant just the same thing in English as it did in Scottish, but that whether Cromwell was an incendiary, was a thing that could only be established by proofs, and that, he thought, would be a tough matter. Maynard agreed with Whitelock, and though Holles and others of the Presbyterian party urged an immediate impeachment, the Scots cautiously paused.

The question of the Self-denying Ordinance was vigorously debated for ten days in the Commons. Vane seconded the motion of Tate, and another member observed that two summers had passed over, and they were not saved. A fast was appointed for imploring a blessing on the new project. The people of London, on the 12th of December, petitioned the House, thanking them for their proceedings, and, after serious debate and opposition, the Bill was passed on the 19th. On the 21st it was sent up to the Peers, where it was vigorously attacked by Essex, Manchester, and the rest of the Lords affected. On the 13th of January, 1646, the Lords threw it out. But the Commons went on remodelling the army, fixed its numbers at twenty-one thousand effective men, namely, fourteen thousand foot, six thousand horse, and one thousand dragoons. They then nominated Sir Thomas Fairfax commander-in-chief instead of Essex; Skippon, the old train-band major, was made major-general; the lieutenant-general was left unnamed, the Commons, in spite of their own ordinance, resolving that Cromwell should hold that post, but avoiding[33] to increase the opposition to the general measure by not mentioning him.


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On the 28th of January, the Commons, having completed the organisation of the army and the appointment of the officers, again sent the Ordinance up to the Peers who, seeing that they should be obliged to swallow it, moulded it into a more digestible shape, by insisting that all officers should be nominated by both Houses, and that no one should be capable of serving who did not take the Solemn League and Covenant within twenty days. But the Lords were struck with an apprehension that the Commons meant to do without them in the end, and they therefore exercised their rights in opposing the acts of the Lower House. They refused to sanction one-half of the officers appointed by Sir Thomas Fairfax, who had been introduced to the Commons on the 18th of February, thanked for his past services, and complimented on his appointment. To remove the suspicion of the Lords, the Commons assured them by message that they had bound themselves to be as tender of the honours and rights of the Peers as they were of their own. This pacified the Lords, and yielding to a necessity too strong for them, Essex, Manchester, Denbigh, and the rest resigned their commands, and on the 3rd of April the Self-denying Ordinance was passed by the Peers. Sir Thomas Fairfax proceeded to Windsor to remodel the army according to this Act. He did not find it an easy task; many, who were dismissed by the Act or for their past conduct, were unwilling to be cashiered; others would not serve under the new officers; and Dalbier, who had been one of the worst counsellors of Essex, lay apart with eight troops of horse, as if he contemplated going over to the king. At length, however, he came in, and the work was completed.




The Assembly at Westminster—Trial and Death of Laud—Negotiations at Uxbridge—Meeting of the Commissioners—Impossibility of a Settlement—Prospect of Help to the King from the Continent—Charles agrees to the demands of the Irish Catholics—Discipline and Spirit of the Parliamentary Army—Campaign of the New-modelled Army—Hunting the King—Battle of Naseby—Fairfax in the West—Exploits of Montrose—Efforts of Charles to join Him—Battle of Kilsyth—Fall of Bristol—Battle of Philiphaugh—Last Efforts of the Royalists—Charles Offers to Treat—Discovery of his Correspondence with Glamorgan—Charles Intrigues with the Scots—Flight from Oxford—Surrender to the Scots at Newark—Consequent Negotiations—Proposals for Peace—Surrender of Charles to Parliament.

Whilst these events were happening in the field and the Parliament, other events were occurring also both in England and Scotland, the account of which, not to interrupt the narrative of the higher transactions, has been deferred. From the month of June, 1643, the Synod of divines at Westminster had been at work endeavouring to establish a national system of faith and worship. This Westminster Assembly consisted of one hundred and twenty individuals appointed by the Lords and Commons. They included not only what were called pious, godly, and judicious divines, but thirty laymen, ten lords, and twenty commoners, and with them sat the Scottish commissioners. The Scottish and English Presbyterians had a large majority, and endeavoured to fix on the nation their gloomy, ascetic, and persecuting notions; but they found a small but resolute party of a more liberal faith, the Independents, including Vane, Selden, and others, whose bearing and spirit, backed by Cromwell, Whitelock, St. John, and others in Parliament, were more than a match for this overbearing intolerance. On the subject of Church government, therefore, there could be no agreement. Cromwell demanded from the House of Commons an act of toleration, and that a Committee should be formed of deputies from both Houses and from the Assembly to consider it. The subject was long and fiercely debated, the Lords Say and Wharton, Sir Henry Vane, and St. John contending for the independence of the Church from all bishops, synods, and ruling powers. The only thing agreed on was, that the English Common Prayer-book should be disused, and a Directory of worship introduced which should regulate the order of the service, the administration of the Sacrament, the ceremonies of marriage and burial—but left much liberty to the minister in the matter of his sermons. This Directory was, by an ordinance of both Houses, ordered to be observed both in England and Scotland.

Poor old Archbishop Laud, who was still in prison, was in the turmoil of civil war almost totally forgotten. But the Puritans of England and the people of Scotland needed only a slight reminder to demand the punishment of the man who, with so high a hand, had trodden down their liberties and their religion. This was given them by the Lords, who, insisting on appointing ministers to livings in his gift, called on Laud to collate the vacant benefices to such persons as they should nominate. The king forbade him to obey. At length, in February, 1643, the rectory of Chartham, in Kent, became vacant by the death of the incumbent, the Lords nominated one person, the king another, and Laud, placed in a dilemma dangerous to his life under his circumstances, endeavoured to excuse himself by remaining passive. But the Lords, in the month of April, sent him a peremptory order, and on his still delaying, sent a request to the Commons to proceed with his trial. There were fourteen articles of impeachment already hanging over his head, and the Commons appointed Prynne, still smarting under the ear-lopping, branding, and cruelties of the archbishop, to collect evidence and co-operate with a Committee on the subject.

What an apparition must that earless man, with those livid brand marks on his cheeks, have been as he entered the cell of Laud, and told him that the day of retribution was come! Prynne collected all his papers, even the diary which he had been so long employed in writing, as the defence of his past life, and sought everywhere for remaining victims and witnesses of the archbishop's persecutions and cruelties, to bring them up against him. In six months the Committee had obtained evidence enough to furnish ten new articles of impeachment against him, and on the 4th of March, 1644, more than three years after his commitment, Laud was called upon to take his trial. He demanded time to consult his papers, and to have them for[35] that purpose restored, to have counsel, and money out of the proceeds of his estate to pay his fees and other expenses. He was not likely to find much more tenderness from his enemies than he had showed to them; the Scots demanded stern justice upon him, as the greatest enemy which their country had known for ages. Time was given him till the 12th of March, when he was brought to the bar of the House of Lords. There, after the once haughty but now humbled priest had been made to kneel a little, Mr. Serjeant Wild opened the case against him, and went over, at great length, the whole story of his endeavours to introduce absolutism in Church and State in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dreadful cruelties and oppressions which he had inflicted on the king's subjects in the Star Chamber and High Commission Courts.

When he had done, Laud defended himself from a written paper, contending that though he had leaned towards the law, he had never intended to overthrow the laws, and that he had in the Church laboured only for the support of the external form of worship, which had been neglected. But the hearers had not forgotten the "Thorough," nor the utter suppression of all forms of religion but his own, the sweeping away utterly of the faith of Scotland, and the substitution of Arminianism and the liturgy.

It was not till the 2nd of September that Laud was called to the bar of the Lords to deliver his recapitulation of the arguments in answer to his charges. Mr. Samuel Brown, a member of the Commons, and a Manager of the trial, replied to them. Laud was then allowed counsel to speak to the parts of law, who took the same course of defence as had been taken in the case of Strafford, declaring that the prisoner's offence did not amount to high treason, and the Commons then adopted their plan in Strafford's case, of proceeding by attainder. He was, therefore, on the 2nd of November, brought to the bar of their own House, where Mr. Brown repeated the sum of the evidence produced in the Lords, and Laud was called on to reply himself to the charges. He demanded time to prepare his answer, and obtained eight days. On the 11th of November he was heard, and Brown in reply; and the Commons the same day passed their Bill of Attainder, finding him fully convicted of the offences charged against him. On the 16th they sent up this Bill to the Lords; but it was not till the 4th of January, 1645, that the Lords also passed the Bill, and soon after fixed the day of his execution for the 10th. The last effort to save the old man's life was by the production of a pardon which had been prepared at Oxford, as soon as the danger of his conviction was seen, and was signed and sealed by the king. This pardon was read in both Houses, but was declared of no effect, the king having no power to pardon a crime adjudged by Parliament. On the appointed day, the archbishop was beheaded on Tower Hill. Meanwhile some useless negotiations had been set on foot by the Presbyterian party at Uxbridge.

Charles had, during the last summer, after every temporary success, proposed negotiations, thus showing his readiness to listen to accommodation, and throwing on the Parliament the odium of continued warfare. At the same time it must be confessed that he was by no means inclined to accept terms which would surrender altogether his prerogative, or sacrifice the interests of those who had ventured everything for him. He was constantly exhorted by the queen from France to make no peace inconsistent with his honour, or the interests of his followers. She contended that he must stipulate for a bodyguard, without which he could enjoy no safety, and should keep all treaty regarding religion to the last, seeing plainly the almost insuperable difficulty on that head; for since nothing would satisfy the Puritans but the close binding down of the Catholics, that would effectually cut off all hope of his support from Ireland, or from the Catholics of England. Charles, in fact, was in a cleft stick, and the contentions of his courtiers added so much to his embarrassments, that he got rid of the most troublesome by sending them to attend the queen in France. He then assembled his Parliament for the second time, but it was so thinly attended, and the miserable distractions which rent his Court were so completely imported into its debates, that he was the more disposed to accept the offer of negotiation with the Parliament. His third proposal, happening to be favoured by the recommendation of the Scots, was at length acceded to by Parliament, but the terms recommended by the Scots—the recognition of Presbytery as the national religion, and the demands of the Parliament of the supreme control not only of the revenue but of the army—rendered negotiations from the first hopeless.

In November, 1644, the propositions of the Scots, drawn up by Johnston of Wariston, were[36] sent to the king by a Commission consisting of the Earl of Denbigh, the Lords Maynard and Wenman, and Mr. Pierpoint, Denzil Holles, and Whitelock, accompanied by the Scottish Commissioners—Lord Maitland, Sir Charles Erskine, and Mr. Barclay.


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Charles probably received a private copy of the propositions, for he received the Commissioners most ungraciously. They were suffered to remain outside the gates of Oxford in a cold and wet day for several hours, and then conducted by a guard, more like prisoners than ambassadors, to a very mean inn. On the propositions being read by the Earl of Denbigh, Charles asked him if they had power to treat, to which the earl replied in the negative, saying that they were commissioned to receive his majesty's answer. "Then," said Charles, rudely, "a letter-carrier might have done as much as you." The earl, resenting this, said, "I suppose your majesty looks upon us as persons of another condition than letter-carriers." "I know your condition," retorted the king, "but I repeat it, that your condition gives you no more power than a letter-carrier." Whilst Denbigh had read over the list of persons who were to be excepted from the conditions of the treaty, Rupert and Maurice, who were of the excepted, and were present, laughed in the earl's face. This insolence displeased even the king, and he bade them be quiet. The interview terminated, however, as unfavourably as it began. The king gave them a reply but sealed up, and not addressed to the Parliament or anybody. The commissioners refused to carry an answer of which they did not know the particulars, on which Charles insolently remarked, "What is that to you, who are but to carry what I send; and if I choose to send the song of Robin Hood or Little John, you must carry it?" As they could get nothing else, not even an address upon it to Parliament, the commissioners, wisely leaving it to Parliament to treat the insult as they deemed best, took their leave with it.

When this document was presented to both Houses on the 29th of November, 1644, assembled for the purpose, it was strongly urged by many to refuse it; but this was overruled by those[37] who wisely would throw no obstacle in the way of negotiation; and the king thought well immediately to send the Duke of Richmond and the Earl of Southampton with a fuller answer. They, on their part, found a safe-conduct refused them by Essex, then the commander, unless he were acknowledged by the king as general of the army of the Parliament of England, and the Commons informed them that they would receive no further Commission which was not addressed to the Parliament of England assembled at Westminster, and the Commissioners of the Parliament of Scotland. With this the king was compelled to comply; but at the same time he wrote to the queen—"As to my calling those at London a Parliament, if there had been two besides myself of my opinion, I had not done it; and the argument that prevailed with me was that the calling did no wise acknowledge them to be a Parliament, upon which construction and condition I did it, and no otherwise."


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Under these unpromising circumstances, Commissioners on both sides were at length appointed, who met on the 29th of January, in the little town of Uxbridge. Uxbridge was within the Parliamentary lines, and the time granted for the sitting was twenty days. The Commissioners on the part of the king were the Duke of Richmond, the Marquis of Hertford, the Earls of Southampton, Chichester, and Kingston, the Lords Capel, Seymour, Hatton, and Colepepper, Secretary Nicholas, Sir Edward Hyde, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Edward Lane, Sir Orlando Bridgeman, Sir Thomas Gardener, Mr. Ashburnham, Mr. Palmer, and Dr. Stewart. On that of the Parliament appeared the Earls of Northumberland, Pembroke, Salisbury, and Denbigh, Lord Wenman, Sir Henry Vane the younger, Denzil Holles, Pierpont, St. John, Whitelock, Crew, and Prideaux. The Scottish Commissioners were the Earl of Loudon, the Marquis of Argyll, the Lords Maitland and Balmerino, Sir Archibald Johnston, Sir Charles Erskine, Sir John Smith, Dundas, Kennedy, Robert Barclay, and Alexander Henderson. John Thurloe, afterwards Oliver Cromwell's secretary, and the friend of Milton, was secretary for the English Parliament, assisted by[38] Mr. Earle, and Mr. Cheesly was secretary for the Scottish Commissioners.

The four propositions submitted to the king by the Parliament concerning religion were, that the Common Prayer Book should be withdrawn, the Directory of the Westminster divines substituted, that he should confirm the assemblies and synods of the Church, and take the Solemn League and Covenant. These, contrary to the warning of Queen Henrietta, were brought on first, and argued with much learning and pertinacity, and as little concession on either side, for four days. Then there arose other equally formidable subjects, the command of the army and navy, the cessation of the war in Ireland; and the twenty days being expired, it was proposed to prolong the term, but this was refused by the two Houses of Parliament, and the Commissioners, separated, mutually satisfied that nothing but the sword would settle these questions. The Royalists had not been long in discovering that Vane, St. John, and Prideaux had come to the conference, not so much to treat, as to watch the proceedings of the Presbyterian deputies, and to take care that no concessions should be made inimical to the independence of the Church.

Gloomy as to the general eye must have appeared the prospects of the king at this period, he was still buoyed up by various hopes. He had been using every exertion to obtain aid from the Continent, and at length was promised an army of ten thousand men by the Duke of Lorraine, and Goffe was sent into Holland to prepare for their being shipped over. On the other hand, he had made up his mind to concede most of their demands to the Irish Catholics, on condition of receiving speedily an army thence. He wrote to Ormond, telling him that he had clearly discovered, by the treaty of Uxbridge, that the rebels were aiming at nothing less than the total subversion of the Crown and the Church; that they had made the Earl of Leven commander of all the English as well as Scottish forces in Ireland, and therefore he could no longer delay the settlement of Ireland in his favour, through scruples that at another time would have clung to him. He therefore authorised him to grant the suspension of Poynings' Act, and to remove all the penal acts against the Catholics on condition that they at once gave him substantial aid against the rebels of Scotland and Ireland. At this moment, too, the news of the successes of Montrose in Scotland added to his confidence.

The two armies in England now prepared to try their strength. Charles, lying at Oxford, had a considerable number of troops: the west of England was almost entirely in his interest, north and south Wales were wholly his, excepting the castles of Pembroke and Montgomery. He had still Scarborough, Carlisle, and Pontefract; but his army, though experienced in the field, was not well disciplined. The Parliamentary army, now new-modelled, presented a very different spectacle to that of the king. The strictest discipline was introduced, and the men were called upon to observe the duties of religion. The officers had been selected from those who had served under Essex, Manchester, and the other lords; but having cleared the command of the aristocratic element, a new spirit of activity and zeal was infused into it. The king's officers ridiculed the new force, which had no leaders of great name except Sir Thomas Fairfax, and was brought together in so new a shape, that it appeared a congregation of raw soldiers. The ridicule of the Cavaliers even infected the adherents of the Commonwealth, and there was great scepticism as to the result of such a change. May, the Parliamentary historian, says, never did an army go forth who had less the confidence of their friends, or more the contempt of their enemies. But both parties were extremely deceived. Cromwell was now the real soul of the movement, and the religious enthusiasm which glowed in him was diffused through the whole army. The whole system seemed a revival of that of the pious Gustavus Adolphus—no man suffered a day to go over without religious service, and never commenced a battle without prayer. The soldiers now employed their time in zealous military exercises and in equally zealous prayer and singing of psalms. They sang in their march, they advanced into battle with a psalm. The letters of Cromwell to the Parliament, giving an account of the proceedings of the army, are full of this religious spirit, which it has been the custom to treat as cant, but which was the genuine expression of his feelings, and was shown by effects such as cant and sham never produce. Victory, which he and his soldiers ascribed only to God, success the most rapid and wonderful, attended him.

It is remarkable that the very man who had introduced the Self-denying Ordinance was the[39] only man who was never debarred by it from pursuing his military career. This has, therefore, been treated as an artifice on his part; but, on the contrary, it was the mere result of circumstances. Cromwell was the great military genius of the age. Every day the success of his plans and actions was bursting more and more on the public notice, and no one was more impressed by the value of his services than the new Commander-in-Chief, Sir Thomas Fairfax. He had sent Cromwell, Massey, and Waller into the West, before laying down their commissions, to attack Colonel Goring, who was threatening the Parliamentary lines. They had driven him back towards Wells and Glastonbury, and not deeming it safe to push farther with their small force into a quarter where the Royal interest was so strong, and Cromwell advising Parliament to send more troops to Salisbury to defend that point against Rupert, who was reported at Trowbridge, he had returned to Windsor to resign his command according to the Ordinance. There, however, he found the Parliament had suspended the Ordinance in his instance for forty days, in order that he might execute a service of especial consequence, and which it particularly wished him to undertake. This was to attack a body of two thousand men conveying the king's artillery from Oxford to Worcester, to which place Rupert had marched, having defeated Colonel Massey at Ledbury.

This was on the 22nd of April, and Cromwell took horse the next morning, dashed rapidly into Oxfordshire and at Islip Bridge routed the enemy, consisting of four regiments of cavalry, took many of their officers, and especially those of the queen's regiment, seizing the standard which she had presented to it with her own hands. Many of the fugitives got into Bletchington House, which Cromwell immediately assaulted and took. The king was so enraged at the surrender of Bletchington, that he ordered the commander, Colonel Windebank, to be shot, and no prayers or entreaties could save him. Cromwell next sent off his cannon and stores to Abingdon, and pushed on to Radcot Bridge, or Bampton-in-the-Bush, where others of the enemy had fled: here he defeated them, and took their leaders Vaughan and Littleton. Cromwell next summoned Colonel Burgess, the governor of the garrison at Faringdon, to surrender; but he was called away to join the main army, the king being on the move.

Charles, in fact, issued from Oxford, and, joined by both Rupert and Maurice, advanced to relieve Chester, then besieged by Sir William Brereton. Fairfax, instead of pursuing him, thought it a good opportunity to take Oxford and prevent his returning there; but the king's movements alarmed him for the safety of the eastern counties, to which he had despatched Cromwell to raise fresh forces and strengthen their defences. Cromwell was recalled, and Fairfax set out in pursuit of the king. Charles relieved Chester by the very news of his march. Brereton retired from before it, and the Scottish army, which was advancing southward, fell back into Westmoreland and Cumberland, to prevent a rumoured junction of the king and the army of Montrose. Whatever had been Charles's intentions in this movement, he wheeled aside and directed his way through Staffordshire into Leicestershire, and took Leicester by assault. From Leicester he extended his course eastward, and took up his headquarters at Daventry, where he amused himself with hunting, and Rupert and his horse with foraging and plundering the whole country round.

Fairfax, now apprehensive of the royal intentions being directed to the eastern counties, which had hitherto been protected from the visitations of his army, pushed forward to prevent this, and came in contact with the king's outposts on the 13th of June, near Borough Hill. Charles fired his huts, and began his march towards Harborough, intending, perhaps, to proceed to the relief of Pontefract and Scarborough; but Fairfax did not allow him to get far ahead. A council of war was called, and in the midst of it Cromwell rode into the lines at the head of six hundred horse. It was now determined to bring the king to action. Harrison and Ireton, officers of Cromwell—soon to be well known—led the way after the royal army, and Fairfax, with his whole body, was at once in full chase. The king was in Harborough, and a council being called, it was considered safer to turn and fight than to pursue their way to Leicester like an army flying from the foe. It was therefore resolved to wheel about and meet the enemy.

At five o'clock the next morning, the 14th of June, the advanced guards of each army approached each other on the low hills a little more than a mile from the village of Naseby, in Northamptonshire, nearly midway between Market Harborough and Daventry. The Parliament army ranged itself on a hill yet called the Mill Hill, and the king's on a parallel hill, with its back to[40] Harborough. The right wing was led by Cromwell, consisting of six regiments of horse, and the left, consisting of nearly as many, was, at his request, committed to his friend, Colonel Ireton, a Nottinghamshire man. Fairfax and Skippon took charge of the main body, and Colonels Pride, Rainsborough, and Hammond brought up the reserves. Rupert and his brother Maurice led on the right wing of Charles's army, Sir Marmaduke Langdale the left, Charles himself the main body, and Sir Jacob Astley, the Earl of Lindsay, the Lord Baird, and Sir George Lisle the reserves. The word for the day of the Royalists was, "God and Queen Mary!" that of the Parliamentarians, "God our strength!" A wide moorland, called Broad Moor, lay between them. The Cavaliers made themselves very merry at the new-modelled army of Roundheads, for which they had the utmost contempt, having nothing aristocratic about it, and its head being farmer Cromwell, or the brewer of Huntingdon, as they pleased to call him. They expected to sweep them away like dust, and Rupert, making one of his headlong charges, seemed to realise their anticipations, for he drove the left wing of the Roundheads into instant confusion and flight, took Ireton prisoner, his horse being killed under him, and himself wounded severely in two places; and, in his regular way, Rupert galloped after the fugitives, thinking no more of the main battle. But the scattered horse, who had been diligently taught to rally, collected behind him, returned to the defence of their guns, and were soon again ready for action. On the other hand, Cromwell had driven the left wing of the king's army off the field, but took care not to pursue them too far. He sent a few companies of horse to drive them beyond the battle, and with his main body he fell on the king's flank, where at first the royal foot was gaining the advantage. This unexpected assault threw them into confusion, and the soldiers of Fairfax's front, which had given way, rallying and falling in again with the reserves as they came to the rear, were brought up by their officers, and completed the rout. Rupert, who was now returning from the chase, rode up to the waggon-train of the Parliamentary army, and, ignorant of the state of affairs, offered quarter to the troops guarding the stores. The reply was a smart volley of musketry, and falling back and riding forward to the field, he found an overwhelming defeat. His followers stood stupefied at the sight, when Charles, riding up to them in despair, cried frantically, "One charge more, and the victory is ours yet!" But it was in vain, the main body was broken, that of Fairfax was complete; the artillery was seized, and the Roundheads were taking prisoners as fast as they could promise them quarter. Fairfax and Cromwell the next moment charged the dumfoundered horse, and the whole fled at full gallop on the road towards Leicester, pursued almost to the gates of the town by Cromwell's troopers.

The slaughter at this battle was not so great as might have been expected. But though the loss on the Parliamentarian side was small, amounting to about two hundred men, the Royalists had one thousand killed. Five thousand prisoners were taken, including a great number of officers, and a considerable number of ladies in carriages. All the king's baggage and artillery, with nine thousand stand of arms, were taken, and amongst the carriages that of the king containing his private papers: a fatal loss, for it contained the most damning evidences of the king's double-dealing and mental reservations, which the Parliament took care to publish, to Charles's irreparable damage. Clarendon accuses the Roundheads of killing above a hundred women, many of them of quality, but other evidence proves that this was false, the only women who were rudely treated being a number of wild Irish ones, who were armed with skeans—knives a foot long—and who used them like so many maniacs.

The next day Fairfax sent Colonel Fiennes and his regiment to London with the prisoners and the colours taken, above a hundred of them, and he prayed that a day of thanksgiving might be appointed for the victory. But the most essential fruit of the victory was the reading in Parliament of the king's letters. In these the affair of the Duke of Lorraine came to light—the attempt to bring in the Lorrainers, the French, the Danes, and the Irish to put down the Parliament, whilst Charles had been making the most sacred protestations to that body that he abhorred bringing in foreign soldiers. There appeared his promise to give the Catholics full liberty of conscience, whilst he had been vowing constantly that he would never abrogate the laws against Popery; and his letter to his wife, showing that at the treaty of Uxbridge he was merely conceding the name of a Parliament, with a full determination, on the first opportunity, to declare it no Parliament at all. These exposures were so dreadful, and gave such an assurance that the king was restrained by no moral principle, that the Royalists would not believe the documents genuine till they had examined them for themselves; and for this examination
the Parliament wisely gave the amplest facilities. There were copies of his letters to the queen, in which he complained of the quarrels and harassing jealousies of his own courtiers and supporters, and of his getting rid of as many as he could by sending them on one pretence or another to her. The sight of these things struck his own party dumb with a sense of his hollowness and ingratitude; and the battle of Naseby itself was declared far less fatal to his interests than the contents of his cabinet. From this moment his ruin was certain, and the remainder of the campaign was only the last feeble struggles of the expiring Cause. His adherents stood out rather for their own chance of making terms than from any possible hope of success.


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The defeated and dishonoured king did not stop to pass a single night at Leicester, but rode on to Ashby that evening, and after a few hours' rest pursued his course towards Hereford. At Hereford Rupert, fearful of the Parliamentary army attacking their only remaining strong quarter, the West, left the king and hastened to Bristol to put it into a state of defence. Charles himself continued his march into Wales, and took up his headquarters at Raglan Castle, the seat of the Marquis of Worcester. There, pretty sure that Fairfax was intending to go westward, he spent the time as though nothing had been amiss, hunting like his father, when he should have been studying the retrieval of his affairs, and passing the evenings in entertainments and giving of audiences. The most probable cause of Charles thus spending his time there and at Cardiff, to which he next retired, is that he had been urging the despatch of an Irish army, and was expecting it there. At the same time he could there more easily communicate with Rupert regarding the defence of the west of England.

The Parliament forces under Cromwell marched on Bristol where Rupert lay, whilst Fairfax met and defeated Goring at Langport, and then besieged and took Bridgewater on the 23rd of July. Matters now appeared so threatening that Rupert proposed to Charles to sue for peace; but the king rejected the advice with warmth, declaring that, though as soldier and statesman he saw nothing but ruin before him, yet as a Christian he was sure God would not prosper rebels, and that nothing should induce him to give up the Cause. He avowed that whoever stayed by him must do so at the cost of his life, or of being made as miserable as the violence of insulting rebels could make him. But by the grace of God he would not alter, and bade Rupert not on any consideration "to hearken after treaties." He would take no less than he had asked for at Uxbridge.

Charles, blind to the last, was still hoping for assistance from Ireland, and was elated by the news of successes from Montrose.

It will be recollected that the Earls of Antrim and Montrose had been engaged by Charles to exert themselves in Ireland and Scotland on his behalf. Their first attempt was to take vengeance on the Covenanting Earl of Argyll, who had so much contributed to defeat the king's attempts on the Scottish Church and Government. Montrose, therefore, unfurled the royal standard as the king's lieutenant-general at Dumfries; but having before been a strong Covenanter, he did not all at once win the confidence of the Royalists. His success was so poor that he returned to England. At Carlisle he was more effective in serving the king, and was made a marquis in consequence. After the battle of Marston Moor he again returned into the Highlands, and there learned the success of Antrim's labours in Ireland. He had sent over a body of fifteen hundred men under the command of his kinsman Alaster Macdonald, surnamed MacColl Keitache, or Colkitto. They landed at Knoidart, but a fleet of the Duke of Argyll's burnt their ships, and hung in their rear waiting a fitting chance to destroy them. To their surprise they received no welcome from the Scottish Royalists. However, they continued their march to Badenoch, ravaging the houses and farms of the Covenanters, but every day menaced by the gathering hosts of their foes, and learning nothing of their ally Montrose. At last Montrose obtained tidings of them: they met at Blair Athol, in the beginning of August, 1644. Montrose assumed the command, and published the royal commission. At the sight of a native chief the Highlanders flocked to his standard, and the Covenanters saw to their astonishment an army of between three and four thousand men spring at once, as it were, out of the ground. Montrose wrote to Charles that if he could receive five hundred horse on his way, he would soon be in England with twenty thousand men.

The movements and exploits of Montrose now became rather a story of romance than of sober modern warfare. Argyll and Lord Elcho dogged his steps, but he advanced or disappeared, with his half-clad Irish and wild mountaineers, amongst the hills in a manner that defied arrest. At Tippermuir, in Perthshire, he defeated Elcho, took his guns and ammunition, and surprised and plundered[43] the town of Perth. As was constantly the case, the Highlanders, once loaded with booty, slipped off to their homes; and, left alone with his Irish band, who were faithful because their way home was cut off, he retreated northward, in hope of joining the clan Gordon. Montrose found himself stopped at the Bridge of Dee by two thousand seven hundred Covenanters under Lord Balfour of Burleigh, but he managed to cross at a ford higher up, and, falling on their rear, threw them into a panic. They fled to Aberdeen, pursued by the Irish and Highlanders, and the whole mass of pursuers and pursued rushed wildly into the city together. The place was given up to plunder, and for three days Aberdeen became a scene of horror and revolting licence, as it had been from an attack of Montrose four years before, when fighting on the other side. The approach of Argyll compelled the pillagers to fly into Banffshire, and, following the banks of the Spey, he crossed the hills of Badenoch, and, after a series of wild adventures in Athol, Angus, and Forfar, he was met by the Covenanters at Fyvie Castle, and compelled to retreat into the mountains. His followers then took their leave of him, worn out with their rapid flights and incessant skirmishes, and he announced his intention of withdrawing for the winter into Badenoch.

The Earl of Argyll, on his part, retired to Inverary and sent his followers home. He felt secure in the mighty barrier of mountains around, which in summer offered a terrible route to an army, but which, now blockaded with snow, he deemed impregnable. But he was deceived; the retirement of Montrose was a feint. He was busily employed in rousing the northern clans to a sweeping vengeance on Argyll, and the prospect of a rich booty. In the middle of December he burst through all obstacles, threaded the snow-laden defiles of the mountains, and descended with fire and sword into the plains of Argyleshire. The earl was suddenly roused by the people from the hills, whose dwellings were in flames behind them, and only effected his escape by pushing across Loch Fyne in an open boat. Montrose divided his host into three columns, which spread themselves over the whole of Argyleshire, burning and laying everything waste. Argyll had set a price upon Montrose's head; and Montrose now reduced his splendid heritage to a black and frightful desert. The villages and cottages were burnt down, the cattle destroyed or driven off, and the people slain wherever found with arms in their hands. This miserable and melancholy state of things lasted from the 13th of December to the end of January, 1645.

Argyll by that time had mustered the Clan Campbell, and Lord Seaforth the mountaineers of Moray, Ross, Sutherland, and Caithness, to bear down on the invaders. Montrose, therefore, led forth his Highlanders and Irish to encounter them, and came first on Argyll and his army at Inverlochy Castle, in Lochaber. There he totally defeated Argyll, and slew nearly fifteen hundred of his people. This success brought to his standard the clan Gordon and others. The whole north was in their power, and they marched from Inverlochy to Elgin and Aberdeen. At Brechin they were met by Baillie with a strong force, which protected Perth; but Montrose marched to Dunkeld, and thence to Dundee, which he entered, and began plundering, when Baillie arrived with his Covenanters and caused him to retire. Once more he escaped to the mountains, but this time not without severe losses, for his indignant foes pursued him for threescore miles, cutting off many of his soldiers, besides those that had perished in the storming of Dundee. When he appeared again it was at Auldearn, a village near Nairn, where, on the 9th of May, he defeated the Covenanters (under John Urry or Hurry) after a bloody battle, two thousand men being said to be left upon the field.

The General Assembly addressed a sharp remonstrance to the king, which was delivered to him soon after the battle of Naseby, but it produced no effect. In fact, it was more calculated to inflame a man of Charles's obstinate temper, for it recapitulated all his crimes against Scotland, from his first forcing the Common Prayer upon them till then, and called on him to fall down at the footstool of the Almighty and acknowledge his sins, and no longer steep his kingdom in blood. They did not merely remonstrate; the Covenanters continued to fight. But, unfortunately, their commanders having divided their forces, as Urry was defeated at Auldearn, so Baillie was soon afterwards routed at Alford, in Aberdeenshire, with such effect that scarcely any but his principal officers and the cavalry escaped. Again the Covenanters raised a fresh army of ten thousand men, and sent them against Montrose; and the Scottish army, which lay on the borders of England under the Earl of Leven, commenced their march southward, to attack the king himself. On the 2nd of July, the very day on which Montrose won the battle of Alford, they were at Melton Mowbray, whence they marched through Tamworth and Birmingham[44] into Worcestershire and Herefordshire. On the 22nd they stormed Canon-Frome, a garrison of the king's between Worcester and Hereford; and, as they were pressing on, Charles sent Sir William Fleming to endeavour to seduce the old Earl of Leven and the Earl of Callender from their faith to Parliament by magnificent promises, but they sent his letters to the Parliament and marched on and laid siege to Hereford.

Charles, thus pressed by the Scottish army, quitted Cardiff and made a grand effort to reach the borders of Scotland to effect a junction with Montrose. He flattered himself that could he unite his forces with those of Montrose, by the genius of that brilliant leader his losses would be retrieved, and that he should bear down all before him. But he was not destined to accomplish this object. He at first approached Hereford, as if he designed the attempt of raising the siege; but this was too hazardous, and, dismissing his foot, he dashed forward with his cavalry to cut his way to the North. But the Earl of Leven sent after him Sir David Leslie, with nearly the whole body of the Scottish cavalry; and from the North, the Parliamentarian commanders, Poyntz and Rossiter, put themselves in motion to meet him. He had made a rapid march through Warwickshire and Northamptonshire to Doncaster, when these counter-movements of the enemy convinced him that to reach the Border was hopeless; and he made a sudden divergence south-east, to inflict a flying chastisement on those counties of the Eastern Association, which had so long kept him at bay, and sent out against him the invincible Cromwell and his Ironsides. These were now engaged in the West, and he swept through Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, ravaging and plundering without stint or remorse. On the 24th of August he took Huntingdon itself by assault; he did not delay, however, but continued his marauding course through Woburn and Dunstable, thence into Buckinghamshire, and so to Oxford, where he arrived on the 28th. In this flying expedition, Charles and his soldiers had collected much booty from his subjects, and especially from the town of Huntingdon, no doubt with much satisfaction, from its being Cromwell's place of residence.

At Oxford Charles received the cheering news that Montrose had achieved another brilliant victory over the Covenanters. He had, on again issuing from the mountains, menaced Perth, where the Scottish Parliament was sitting, and then descended into the Lowlands. It was evident that he was acting in concert with the king, who at that very time was making his hurried march for the Border. Montrose crossed the Forth near Stirling, where at Kilsyth he was met by Baillie and his new army. The Committee of Estates insisted on Baillie giving battle. Fasting and prayer for four days had been held, and they were confident of success. But at the first charge the cavalry of the Covenanters were scattered, the infantry fled almost without a blow, and such was the fury of the pursuit, that five thousand of them were slain (August 15, 1645). This victory opened all the Lowlands to the Royalists. Argyll and the principal nobles escaped by sea to England. Glasgow opened its gates to the conqueror, and the magistrates of Edinburgh hastened to implore his clemency towards the city, and to propitiate him by liberating all the Royalist prisoners, promising obedience to the king. Most of these liberated prisoners, and many of the nobility, joined the standard of Montrose.

Had the king been able to effect a junction with him at this moment, the result must have been important, but it could only have occasioned more bloodshed, without insuring any decided victory, for all England was by this time in the hands of the Parliament. Sir David Leslie, instead of following the king with his cavalry southward again, had continued his march northward, to prevent any inroad on the part of Montrose, and the Earl of Leven, quitting Hereford, advanced northward to support him. Charles immediately left Oxford, and advanced to Hereford, where he was received in triumph. Thence he set out to relieve Rupert, who was besieged by Fairfax and Cromwell in Bristol; but on reaching Raglan Castle, he heard the appalling news that it had surrendered. The prince had promised to hold it for four months, yet he surrendered it in the third week of the siege. Fairfax having decided to storm it on the 10th of September, 1645, this was done accordingly. It was assaulted by the troops under Colonel Welden, Commissary-general Ireton, Cromwell, Fairfax, General Skippon, Colonels Montague, Hammond, Rich, and Rainsborough, from different sides at the same time. The town was set on fire in three places by the Royalists themselves, and Rupert, foreseeing the total destruction of the city, capitulated. He was allowed to march out, and was furnished with a convoy of cavalry, and the loan of one thousand muskets to protect them from the people on the way to Oxford, for he had made himself so detested by his continual ravagings of the inhabitants that they would have knocked him and[45] his men on the head. Even as he passed out of the city the people crowded round with fierce looks, and muttered, "Why not hang him?"


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We have Cromwell's account of the taking of the place. He says that the royal fort was victualled for three hundred and twenty days, and the castle for nearly half as long, and that there were abundant stores of ammunition, with one hundred and forty cannon mounted, between two and three thousand muskets, and a force of nearly six thousand men in foot, horse, train-bands, and auxiliaries. Well might Charles feel confounded at the surrender. He was so exasperated that he overwhelmed Rupert with reproaches: he even accused him of cowardice or treason, revoked his commission, and bade him quit the kingdom. He ordered the Council to take him into custody if he showed any contumacy. He arrested Rupert's friend, Colonel Legge, and gave the prince's office of Governor of Oxford to Sir Thomas Glenham. And yet Rupert appears to have only yielded to necessity. He was more famous at the head of a charge of horse than for defending cities. Bristol was carried by storm by a combination of the best troops and the most able commanders of the Parliament army, and was already burning in three places. Further resistance could only have led to indiscriminate massacre. But allowance must be made for the irritation of Charles. The fall of Bristol was a most disheartening event, and it was followed by news still more prostrating.

The success of Montrose had proved the ruin of his army. A Highland force is like a Highland torrent; under its clan chiefs it is impetuous and overwhelming; but it is soon exhausted. The soldiers, gathered only for the campaign, no sooner collected a good booty than they walked off back to their mountains, and thus no Highland force, under the old clan system, ever effected any lasting advantage, especially in the Lowlands. So it was here; Montrose's descent from the hills resembled the torrent, and disappeared without any traces but those of ravage. He had secured no fortified places, nor obtained any permanent possession. He executed a few incendiaries, as they were called, at Glasgow, and then advanced towards the Border, still in hope of meeting the royal forces. But the Gordon clan had disappeared;[46] Colkitto had led back the other Highlanders to their mountains, and Montrose found himself at the head of only about six hundred men, chiefly the remains of the Irish. Meanwhile, Sir David Leslie, with his four thousand cavalry, was steadily advancing towards the Forth, to put himself between Montrose and the Highlands, and then suddenly wheeling westward, he returned on the unwary marquis, and surprised the commander who had before been accustomed to surprise every one else.

Montrose was in Selkirk busy writing despatches to the king, and his little army was posted at Philiphaugh. Leslie had approached cautiously, and, favoured by the unvigilant carelessness of the Royalists, came one night into their close vicinity. Early in the morning, under cover of a thick fog, he crossed the Ettrick, and appeared to their astonishment in the encampment on the Haugh. Notwithstanding their surprise, the soldiers formed hastily into a compact body; and Montrose, being informed of the danger, flew to the rescue at the head of a body of horse; but the odds were too great, the troops were surrounded and cut to pieces. In vain they begged quarter. Sir David consented, but the ministers raised a fierce shout of indignation, denounced the sparing of a single "malignant" as a sin, and the whole body was massacred (September 13, 1645).

Before receiving this disastrous news, Charles resolved to make another effort to form a junction with Montrose. He retraced his steps through Wales, and advanced to the relief of Chester, which was invested by the Parliamentarians. He reached that place on the 22nd of September, and posted the bulk of his cavalry on Rowton Heath, near the city, under Sir Marmaduke Langdale, himself being able to get into the city with a small body of troopers. But the next morning his cavalry at Rowton Heath was attacked by Poyntz, the Parliamentary general, who had been carefully following on the king's heels, and now, having his little army penned between his troops and those of the Parliamentary besiegers, a simultaneous attack was made on the Royalists from both sides. More than six hundred of Charles's troopers were cut to pieces, one thousand more obtained quarter, and the rest were dispersed on all sides. The king escaped out of the city and fled to Denbigh with the remnant of his cavalry. By this blow the only port which had been left open for his expected succours from Ireland was closed. Still the news of Montrose's defeat at Philiphaugh had not reached him, and Lord Digby advised the king to allow him to make the attempt to reach him with the seventeen hundred cavalry still remaining. Charles accepted the offer, but before Digby left, it was agreed that the king should get into his castle of Newark, as the securest place for him to abide the result. Having seen his majesty safely there, Digby set out northward. At Doncaster he defeated a Parliamentary force, but was a few days after defeated himself by another at Sherburn. Notwithstanding this, with the remainder of his horse he pushed forward, entered Scotland, and reached Dumfries, but finding Montrose already defeated, he returned to the Border, and at Carlisle disbanded the troop. Sir Marmaduke Langdale and the officers retired to the Isle of Man, the men got home as they could, and Digby passed over to Ireland, to the Marquis of Ormond. But the greatest loss which Digby had made during this expedition was that of his portfolio with his baggage, at Sherburn. In this, as in the king's at Naseby, the most unfortunate discoveries were made of his own proceedings, and of his master's affairs. There was a revelation of plottings and agents in sundry counties for bringing foreign forces to put down the Parliament. Goffe was in Holland promoting a scheme for the marriage of the Prince of Wales to the daughter of the Prince of Orange, and for forces to be furnished in consequence. There were letters of the queen to Ireland, arranging to bring over ten thousand men, and of Lord Jermyn—who was living in Paris with the queen in such intimacy as to occasion much scandal—to Digby himself, regarding probable assistance from the King of Denmark, the Duke of Lorraine, and the Prince of Courland, and of money from the Pope. But perhaps the most mischievous was a letter from Digby, written a few days before, letting out how much the Marquis of Ormond was secretly in the king's interest, though appearing to act otherwise. These disclosures were precisely such as must wonderfully strengthen the Parliament with the public, and sink the king still lower.

The king's ruin was virtually complete. The enemy was pressing close on his quarters, and at midnight, on the 3rd of November, he quitted Newark with five hundred horse, and reached Belvoir, where the governor, Sir Gervas Lucas, attended him with his troop till break of day. Thence the king made a harassing and dangerous journey to Oxford, pursued by detachments of the enemy as he passed Burleigh-on-the-Hill, the garrison sallying and killing some of his[47] attendants. In the evening Charles was obliged to rest for five hours at Northampton, and then push forward by Banbury, and so reached Oxford the next evening, "finishing," says Clarendon, "the most tedious and grievous march that our king was exercised in." In truth, never was king reduced to such a melancholy and pitiable condition—a condition which cannot be contemplated without commiseration, blind and incorrigible believer as he was in the divine right of despotism.

Whilst Charles had been making these unhappy tours and detours, Fairfax and Cromwell had been clearing away his garrisons, and driving back his troops into the farthest West. Cromwell first addressed himself by command of Parliament to reduce Winchester, Basing House, Langford House, and Donnington Castle. On Sunday, September 28th, he appeared before Winchester, which surrendered after a breach had been made; and, on the 16th of October he also carried Basing by storm. Basing House and Donnington had long annoyed Parliament and the country with their royal garrisons, so that there was no travelling the Western road for them. Basing House belonged to the Marquis of Winchester, and was one of the most remarkable places in the country. Hugh Peters, who was sent up by Cromwell to give an account of the taking of it to Parliament, declaring that its circumvallation was above a mile in circumference. It had stood many a siege, one of four years, without any one being able to take it. Cromwell, however, now bombarded and stormed it, taking prisoners the marquis, Sir Robert Peak, and other distinguished officers. Eight or nine gentlewomen of rank ran out as the soldiers burst in, and were treated with some unceremonious freedoms, but, says Peters, "not uncivilly, considering the action in hand."

Having demolished Basing, Cromwell next summoned Langford House, near Salisbury, and thence he was called in haste down into the West, where Fairfax and he drove back Goring, Hopton, Astley, and others, beating them at Langport, Torrington, and other places, storming Bridgewater, and forcing them into Cornwall, where they never left them till they had reduced them altogether in the spring of 1646.

Charles lying now at Oxford, his council, seeing that his army was destroyed, except the portion that was cooped up by the victorious generals in the West, and which every day was forced into less compass, advised him strongly to treat with the Parliament, as his only chance. They represented that they had no funds even for subsistence, except what they seized from the country around, which exasperated the people, and made them ready to rise against them. There were some circumstances yet in his favour, and these were the jealousies and divisions of his enemies. The Parliament and country were broken up into two great factions of Presbyterians and Independents. The Presbyterians were by far the most numerous, and were zealously supported by the Scots, who were nearly all of that persuasion, and desired to see their form of religion prevail over the whole country. They were as fiercely intolerant as the Catholics, and would listen to nothing but the entire predominance of their faith and customs. But the Independents, who claimed and offered liberty of conscience, and protested against any ruling church, possessed almost all the men of intellect in Parliament, and the chiefs at the head of the army. Cromwell, in his letter from the field of Naseby, called for toleration of conscience, and Fairfax urged the same doctrine in all his despatches from the West. There was, moreover, a jealousy growing as to the armies of the Scots, who had got most of the garrisons in the North of England and Ireland into their hands. These divisions opened to Charles a chance of treating with one party at the expense of the other, and in his usual way he made overtures to all. To the Scots he offered full concession of all their desires, and great advantages from the influence which their alliance with him would give. To the Independents he offered the utmost toleration of religious opinion, and all the rewards of pre-eminence in the State and the army. To the Presbyterians he was particularly urged by the queen to promise the predominance of their Church and the like advantages. With the Catholics of Ireland he was equally in treaty; but whilst his secret negotiations were going on in Ireland, the Scots endeavoured to bring theirs to a close, by applying to the queen in Paris. Three great changes had taken place, all favourable to Charles. Both the king, Louis XIII., and Richelieu, were dead. Richelieu had never forgiven Charles's attempts on La Rochelle, and his effort to raise the Huguenots into an independent power in France, nor his movements in Flanders against his designs. Mazarin, who now succeeded as the minister of Louis XIV., had no particular resentment against Charles, and though cautious in taking direct measures against the English Parliament, did not oppose any of the attempts at pacification between the[48] king and his subjects. The Scots had always found Richelieu their ally, and they now applied to his successor to assist them in bringing matters to bear with Charles. In consequence of this, Montreuil was sent over to London, who conferred with the Scottish Commissioners, and then conveyed to Charles their proposals. But the king, who had promised them all concessions consistent with his honour, found the very first proposition to be that Episcopacy should be for ever abolished not only in Scotland, but in England, and Presbytery made the Established Church. He had conceived that they would be satisfied with the supremacy of their faith in their own country, and he at once refused this demand. It was in vain that Montreuil pointed out to him that the Scots and the Presbyterians of England were agreed upon this point, and that consequently any arrangement with the latter party must inevitably be upon the same basis. Charles declared that rather than consent to any such terms, he would agree with the Independents. Montreuil replied that the Scots sought only to make him king, first having their own wishes as to religion gratified; but the Independents, he was confident, contemplated nothing less than the subversion of his throne. He informed him that the queen had given to Sir Robert Murray a written promise that the king would accede to the demand of the Scots, which promise was now in the hands of the Scottish Commissioners; moreover, that this was the earnest desire of the queen, the queen-regent of France, and of Mazarin.

Nothing, however, could shake Charles's resolution on this head, and he therefore made a direct application to Parliament to treat for an accommodation. They received his offer coolly, almost contemptuously. He desired passports for his Commissioners, or a safe-conduct for himself, that they might treat personally; but it was bluntly refused, on the ground that he was not to be trusted, having, on all similar occasions, employed the opportunities afforded to endeavour to corrupt the fidelity of the Commissioners. Not to appear, however, to reject the treaty, they sent fresh proposals to him, but so much more stringent than those at Uxbridge, that it was plain that they were rather bent on delaying than treating. The king was now in a very different position since the battle of Naseby and the fall of Bristol; and it was obviously the interest of Parliament to allow Fairfax and Cromwell to put down his last remains of an army in the West, when they would have nothing to do but to shut up the king in Oxford, and compel him to submit at discretion. Montreuil, seeing this, again urged him to come to terms with the Scots, and that not a moment was to be lost. But nothing could move him to consent to their demand of a universal Presbyterianism, and he again, on the 26th of January, 1646, demanded a personal interview with the Parliament at Westminster. His demand, however, arrived at a most unfortunate crisis, for the discovery of his negotiations with the Irish Catholics had just been made: the entire correspondence was in the hands of the Commons, and the whole House was in the most violent ferment of indignation. The king's letter was thrown aside and left without notice.

On October 17th, 1645, the titular Archbishop of Tuam was killed in a skirmish between two parties of Scots and Irish near Sligo, and in his carriage were discovered copies of a most extraordinary negotiation, which had been going on for a long time in Ireland between Charles and the Catholics, for the restoration of popish predominance in that country, on condition of their sending an army to put down the Parliament in England.

We have already spoken of the confederate Irish Catholics, who maintained an army for their own defence, and had a council at Kilkenny. Charles had instructed the Marquis of Ormond, the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, to make a peace with these Confederates: he had some time ago obtained a cessation of hostilities, but they would not consent to a permanent peace, nor to furnish the king troops until they obtained a legal guarantee for the establishment of their own religion. Lord Ormond, in his endeavours, did not satisfy the king, or rather his position disabled him from consenting publicly to such a treaty, as it would have roused all the Protestants, and the Scottish and English Parliaments against him. Charles, therefore, who was always ready with some underhand intrigue to gain his ends, and break his bargain when it became convenient, sent over Lord Herbert, the son of the Marquis of Worcester, and whom he now created Earl of Glamorgan, to effect this difficult matter.


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Glamorgan was as zealous in his loyalty as in his speculative pursuits. He and his father had spent two hundred thousand pounds in the king's cause, and he was now engaged in an enterprise where he risked everything for Charles—name,[49] honour, and life. He was furnished with a warrant which authorised him to concede the demands of the Catholics regarding their religion, and to engage them to send over ten thousand men. After many difficulties he reached Dublin, communicated to Ormond the plan, saw with him the Catholic deputies in Dublin, and then hastened to Kilkenny, to arrange with the council there. But at this time occurred the revelation of the scheme by the seizure of the Archbishop of Tuam's papers. The Parliament was thrown into a fury; the Marquis of Ormond, to make his loyalty appear, seized Glamorgan, and put him into prison, and the king sent a letter to the two Houses of Parliament, utterly disavowing the commission of Glamorgan, and denouncing the warrant in his name as a forgery. All this had been agreed upon before between the king and Glamorgan, should any discovery take place; and on searching for Glamorgan's papers a warrant was found, not sealed in the usual manner, and the papers altogether informal, so that the king might by this means be able to disavow them. But that Ormond and the council of Kilkenny had seen a real and formal warrant, there can be no question. The king, by a second letter to the two Houses, reiterated his disavowal of the whole affair, and assured them that he had ordered the privy council in Dublin to proceed against Glamorgan for his presumption. The proceedings were conducted by Lord Digby, who assumed a well-feigned indignation against Glamorgan, accusing him of high treason. The animus with which this accusation appeared to be made has induced many to believe that Digby was really incensed,[50] because he had not been let wholly into the secret of Glamorgan's commission; and his letter to the king on the subject, noticed by Clarendon as rude and unmanly, would seem to confirm this. However, Glamorgan, on his part, took the whole matter very cheerfully, allowed the king's disclaimers without a remonstrance or evidence of vexation, and produced a copy of his secret treaty with the Catholics, in which he had inserted an article called a defeasance, by which the king was bound by the treaty no further than he pleased till he had seen what the Catholics did for him, and by which the Catholics were to keep this clause secret till the king had done all in his power to secure their claims.

Surely such a system of royal and political hocus-pocus had never been concerted before. Ormond, on seeing the defeasance, declared that it was quite satisfactory, binding the king to nothing; in fact, he had to avoid the danger of alarming the Catholics and losing their army for the king; and the Protestants having seen the affected zeal to prosecute Glamorgan had become greatly appeased. Glamorgan was, therefore, liberated, and hastened again to Kilkenny to urge on the sending of the forces. But the late disclosures had not been without their effect. One part of the council insisted on the full execution of the king's warrant, the open acknowledgment of Catholicism as the established religion, and the pope's nuncio, Runcini, who had lately arrived, strongly urged them to stand by that demand. But another part of the council were more compliant, and by their aid Glamorgan obtained five thousand men, with whom he marched to Waterford, to hasten their passage for the relief of Chester, where Lord Byron was driven to extremities by the Parliamentarians. There, however, he received the news that Chester had fallen, and there was not a single port left where Glamorgan could land his troops; he therefore disbanded them.

Despite the failure of his efforts, the unfortunate monarch still endeavoured to negotiate some terms for himself, first with one party and then with another, or with all together. The Parliament had treated with contempt two offers of negotiation from him. They did not even deign him an answer. But his circumstances were now such that he submitted to insults that a short time before would have been deemed incredible. On the 29th of January, 1646, he made his second offer; he repeated it on the 23rd of March. He offered to disband his forces, dismantle his garrisons—he had only five, Pendennis in Cornwall, Worcester, Newark, Raglan, and Oxford—and to take up his residence at Westminster, near the Parliament, on a guarantee that he and his followers should be suffered to live in honour and safety, and his adherents should retain their property. But the Parliament were now wholly in the ascendant, and they made the wretched king feel it. Instead of a reply, they issued an order that if he should come within their lines, he should be conducted to St. James's, his followers imprisoned, and none be allowed to have access to him. At the same time they ordered all Catholics, and all who had borne arms for the king, to depart within six days, or expect to be treated as spies, and dealt with by martial law.

But whilst thus ignominiously repelled by Parliament, Montreuil was still pursuing negotiations on his behalf with the Scots. He obtained for the purpose the post of agent from the French Court to Scotland, and with some difficulty obtained from the Parliament leave to visit the king at Oxford with letters from the King of France and the Queen Regent, before proceeding northwards. He employed his time there in urging Charles to agree with the Scots by conceding the point of religion; and at length it was concluded that Charles should force his way through the Parliamentary army investing Oxford, and that the Scots at Newark should send three hundred horse to receive him, and escort him to their army. Montreuil delivered to Charles an engagement from the Scottish commissioners for the king's personal safety, his conscience, and his honour, as well as for the security and religious freedom of his followers. This was also guaranteed by the King and Queen Regent of France on behalf of the Scots who had applied to them for their good offices. Charles wrote to Ormond in Ireland, informing him that he had received this security, and on the 3rd of April, 1646, Montreuil set forward northwards.

ENGLAND During the CIVIL WAR 1642-1649.

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Montreuil carried with him an order from the king to Lord Bellasis, to surrender Newark into the hands of the Scots, but on arriving at Southwell, in the camp of the Scots, he was astonished to find that the leaders of the army professed ignorance of the conditions made with the Scottish Commissioners in London. They would not, therefore, undertake the responsibility of meeting and escorting the king—which they declared would be a breach of the solemn league and covenant between the two nations—till they had conferred with their Commissioners, and made all clear.[51] The security mentioned by Charles to Ormond would, if this were true, have been from the Commissioners only; and there must have been gross neglect in not apprising the officers of it. Montreuil was greatly disconcerted by this discovery, burnt the order for the surrender of Newark, and wrote to Charles to inform him of the unsatisfactory interview with the Scots. It is doubtful whether Charles ever received this letter. At all events, impatient of some results, for the Parliamentary army was fast closing round Oxford, he snatched at another chance. Captain Fawcett, Governor of Woodstock, sent to tell him that that garrison was reduced to extremities, and to inquire whether he might expect relief, or whether he should surrender it on the best terms he could obtain. Charles immediately applied to Colonel Rainsborough, the chief officer conducting the siege of Oxford, for passports for the Earl of Southampton and Lindsay, Sir William Fleetwood, and Mr. Ashburnham, to treat with him about the surrender of Woodstock; but the main thing was to propose the coming of the king to them on certain conditions. Rainsborough and the other officers appeared much pleased, but said they could not decide so important an affair without reference to their superior officers, but if the offer were entertained, they would the next day send a pass for them to come and complete the negotiation. If the pass did not come, it must be understood that the offer was not accepted. No pass came, and the king was reduced to great straits, for the Parliamentarian armies were coming closer and closer. He applied then to Ireton who was posted at Woodstock, but he returned him no answer; to Vane, but he referred him to Parliament; and thus was the humiliated king treated with the most insulting contempt. It was believed that it was the intention of Parliament to keep Charles there till Fairfax and Cromwell, who were now marching up from the west, should arrive, when they would capture him and have him at their mercy.

At length Montreuil informed Charles that deputies from the army had met the Commissioners at Royston, and that it was settled to receive the king. There are conflicting accounts of the proceedings at this period. Clarendon and Ashburnham, who have both left narratives, vary considerably. Ashburnham, the king's groom of the chambers, says that word was sent that David Leslie would meet his majesty at Gainsborough with two thousand horse, but Montreuil's message was that the Scots would send a strong party to Burton-on-Trent, beyond which they could not go with that force, but would send a few straggling horse to Harborough, and if the king informed them of the day he would be there, they would not fail him. As to a proposal that Charles was impolitic enough to make to these Scottish Covenanters, to form a junction with Montrose, a man whom they hated with a deadly hatred for his ravages and slaughters of their party, they treated it with scorn; and, says Montreuil, "with regard to the Presbyterian government, they desire his majesty to agree with them as soon as he can. Such is the account they make here of the engagement of the king, my master, and of the promises I had from their party in London." He adds that if any better conditions could be had from any other quarter, these ought not to be thought of. Montreuil wrote twice more, the last time on the 20th of April, expressing no better opinion of the Scots, and saying that they would admit none of his majesty's followers save his two nephews, Rupert and Maurice, and such servants as were not excepted from the pardon; and that they could not then refuse to give them up to the Parliament, but would find means to let them escape.

A gloomier prospect for the king than the one in that quarter could scarcely present itself. It appears that he had not yet agreed to the ultimatum of the Scots—the concession of the supremacy of the Presbyterian Church—and therefore there was no actual treaty between them. But all other prospects were closed; Charles must choose between the Scots and the Parliament, the latter body pursuing a contemptuous and ominous silence. Fairfax and Cromwell were now within a day's march of the city, and Charles made his choice of the Scots. Yet so undecided even at the moment of escaping from the city was he, that he would not commit himself irrevocably to the Scots, by announcing to them his departure and the direction of his journey. It is remarkable, indeed, that he had not before, or even now, thought of endeavouring to escape to Ireland, and making a second stand there with the confederates, or of getting to the Continent and awaiting a turn of fortune. But he seemed altogether like a doomed mortal who could not fly his fate.

About two o'clock on the morning of the 27th of April, Charles set out from Oxford, disguised as the servant of Ashburnham. He had his hair cut short by Ashburnham, and rode after that gentleman and Hudson the chaplain, who knew the country well and was their guide. They rode[52] out unsuspected over Magdalen Bridge, Charles having, groom-like, a cloak strapped round his waist. To prevent particular attention or pursuit, several others of them rode out at the same time in different directions. Charles and his pretended masters got without suspicion through the lines of the Parliamentary army, and reached Henley-on-Thames. But now that he was in temporary safety, he appeared more undecided than ever. He did not attempt to send word to the Scots to meet him; but, says Clarendon, he was uncertain whether to go to the Scottish army, or to get privately into London, and lie concealed there till he might choose what was best. Clarendon declares that he still thought so well of the City of London, as not to have been unwilling to have found himself there. But certainly the City had never shown itself more favourable to him than the Parliament; and now with the Parliament in the ascendant, it was not likely that it would undertake to contend with it for the protection or rights of the king. Charles still trusted that he might hear of Montrose making a fresh movement on his behalf, in which case he would endeavour to get to him; and he never for long after abandoned the hope of still hearing something from Ireland in his favour. From Henley, he therefore directed his way to Slough, thence to Uxbridge, Hillingdon, Brentford, so near did he reach London, and then again off to Harrow. His uncertainty increased more and more. He proceeded towards St. Albans, and near that town was alarmed by the sound of horses' feet behind them. It was only a drunken man; but to avoid danger they kept out of St. Albans, and continued through the bye-ways to Harborough, where he was on the 28th. Two days afterwards he reached Downham in Norfolk, and spent some time in inquiring after a vessel that might carry him to Newcastle or Scotland. He seems to have expected at Harborough some message from the Scots or from Montreuil, but as none was there, he had despatched Hudson to Montreuil at Southwell. No prospect of escape by sea offering—for the coasts were strictly guarded by the Parliamentary vessels—Charles determined to go over to the Scots on Hudson returning with a message from Montreuil that they still declared that they would receive the king on his personal honour; that they would press him to do nothing contrary to his conscience; that Ashburnham and Hudson should be protected; that if the Parliament refused, on a message from the king, to restore him to his rights and prerogatives, they would declare for him, and take all his friends under their protection; and that if the Parliament did agree to restore the king, not more than four of his friends should be punished, and that only by banishment. All this Montreuil, according to Hudson's own account afterwards to Parliament, assured Charles by note, but added that the Scots would only give it by word of mouth and not by writing.

At the best this was suspicious; but where was the king to turn? He was treated with the most contemptuous silence by the Parliament, which was at this very moment hoping to make him unconditionally their prisoner. Fairfax had drawn his lines of circumvallation round Oxford five days after the king's departure, ignorant that he had escaped, and in the full hope of taking him. For nine days Charles was wandering about, nobody knowing where he was, and during that time Clarendon says he had been in different gentlemen's houses, where "he was not unknown, but untaken notice of."

On the 5th of May he resolved, on the report of Hudson, to go to the Scots, and accordingly, early on that morning he rode into Southwell, to Montreuil's lodgings, and announced his intention. The manner in which he was received there is related in very contradictory terms by Ashburnham and Clarendon. Ashburnham says that some of the Scottish Commissioners came to Montreuil's lodgings to receive him, and accompanied him with a troop of horse to the headquarters of the Scottish army at Kelham, where they went after dinner, and were well received, many lords coming instantly to wait on him with professions of joy that his majesty had so far honoured their army as to think it worthy of his presence after so long an opposition. Clarendon, on the other hand, declares that "very early in the morning he went to the general's lodgings, and discovered himself to him, who either was, or seemed to be, exceedingly surprised and confounded at his majesty's presence, and knew not what to say, but presently gave notice to the committee, who were no less perplexed."

Both of them, however, agree that the Scots soon convinced Charles that they considered that he had surrendered himself unconditionally into their hands; that he had not complied with their terms, and that there was no treaty actually between them; and from all that appears, this was the case. Charles had trusted to the assurances of Montreuil, and had really no written evidence[53] of any engagement on the part of the Scots, nor was any ever produced. Some of the lords, says Ashburnham, desiring to know how they might best testify their gratitude to his majesty for the confidence he had reposed in them, he replied that the only way was to apply themselves to the performance of the conditions on which he had come to them. At the word "conditions," Lord Lothian expressed much surprise, and declared he knew of no conditions concluded, nor did he believe any of the Commissioners residing with the army knew of such. On this Charles desired Montreuil to present a summary of the conditions concluded with the Commissioners in London, sanctioned by the King of France. It should, however, be borne in mind that since then the army Commissioners had met with the commissioners from London at Royston, and had agreed to the terms to be offered to the king. When Ashburnham, therefore, affirms that many of the Commissioners of the army still protested their ignorance of these conditions, it can only mean that such conditions were not concluded with the king, either there or anywhere, for Charles had never consented to accept them. When Charles, therefore, asked them what they meant, then, by inviting him to come to them, and why they had sent word that all differences were reconciled, and that David Leslie should meet him with an escort of horse, they replied that this was on the understanding that his majesty meant to accept their terms, from which they had never receded, and that they now thought that by his coming to them he had meant to accept the cardinal condition—the taking of the Covenant.


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Charles must have been well aware of the truth of all this, but he was a man who played fast and loose so constantly, that it was impossible to make any treaty with him. At the very time that he was preparing to leave Oxford, so alive were all these quibbles and evasions in his mind, that he wrote to Lord Digby, expressing his intention to get to London if he could, "not," he says, "without hope that I shall be able so to draw either the Presbyterians or the Independents to side with me, for extirpating one another, that I shall really be king again." This proves that on setting[54] out from Oxford, he had held himself loose from any compact with the Scots, and did not mean to go to them at all if he could manage to cozen the Presbyterians or Independents to take his part, and "extirpate one another."

Such a man was as slippery as an eel. He now insisted solemnly on the existence of the very conditions that he had purposely kept clear of. The Scots stood by their offered terms, and exhorted him to accept the Covenant, entreating him with tears and on their knees to take it, or to sanction the Presbyterian worship if he could not adopt it, and pledging themselves on that condition to fight for him to the last man. But this Charles would not do. He was still—though beaten and voluntarily surrendered to his enemies—as full of the persuasion of the divinity of kingship as ever. He therefore undertook to give the word to the guard, in virtue of his being the chief person in the army; but old Leven quickly undeceived him, by saying, "I am the older soldier; your majesty had better leave that office to me."

It was now necessary to apprise the Parliament of the king having entered their camp—a piece of intelligence which produced a wonderful sensation. Fairfax had already announced to the Parliament that the king had escaped out of Oxford, and was believed to have gone towards London, whereupon the two Houses had issued a proclamation forbidding any one to harbour or conceal his person on pain of high treason, and of forfeiting the whole of their estate, and being put to death without mercy. All Papists and other disaffected persons were ordered, on the supposition that the king might be in London, to remove before the 12th of May to twenty-five miles' distance from the metropolis, leaving, before they went, a notice at Goldsmiths' Hall of the places to which they intended to retire. When the letter arrived from the Scottish Commissioners, the Parliament was filled with jealousy and alarm. There had long been a feeling of the design of the Scots, supported by the Presbyterians, assuming an undue power; and now to hear that they had the king in their hands was most embarrassing. They instantly sent word to the Scots that his majesty must be disposed of according to the will of the two Houses of Parliament, and that for the present he must be sent to Warwick Castle; that Ashburnham and Hudson, the king's attendants, should be sent for by the sergeant-at-arms or his deputy, to be dealt with as delinquents; and that a narrative must be prepared of the manner in which the king came to the Scottish camp, and forthwith sent to the two Houses. To enforce these orders, they commanded Poyntz to watch the Scottish army with five thousand men, and Sir Thomas Fairfax to prepare to follow him.

The Scots were not prepared to enter into a civil war with England for the restoration of the king, who would not comply even with their propositions; but they knew too well the power they possessed in the possession of his person, to let the Parliament frighten them out of their advantage till they had secured their own terms with them. They therefore immediately addressed a letter to the Parliament, expressing their astonishment at finding the king coming among them, for which they solemnly but untruly protested there had been no treaty nor capitulation. Perhaps they saved their word by meaning no treaty concluded. They assured the two Houses that they would do everything possible to maintain a right understanding between the two kingdoms, and therefore solicited their advice, as they had also sent to solicit that of the Committee of Estates in Scotland, as to the best measures to be adopted for the satisfactory settlement of the affairs of the kingdom. Charles also sent to Parliament, repeating his offers of accommodation and requesting the two Houses to forward to him the propositions for peace. To show his sincerity, he ordered his officers to surrender the fortresses still in their hands to the Committee of both kingdoms for the English Parliament. He had offered to surrender them to the Scots, but they refused to accept them, knowing that it must embroil them with the Parliament. This surrender on the part of the king, on the 10th of June, closed the war. The last to pull down the royal standard was the old Marquis of Worcester, the father of Glamorgan, who held Raglan Castle, and who, though he was eighty years of age, was compelled by Parliament to travel from Raglan to London, where he immediately died. Worcester had refused to give up Raglan, as it was his own house. He did not surrender it till the 19th of August. Oxford was given up on the 24th of June. Rupert and Maurice were suffered to withdraw to the Continent. The Duke of York, Charles's second son, was sent up to London to the custody of Parliament, and put under the care of the Earl of Northumberland.

Things being in this position, and both Charles and the Scots being anxious to keep at a distance from Fairfax and his army till the terms were settled, the Scots rapidly retreated to Newcastle, carrying the king with them.


The treaty between the Scots and the English Parliament was now carried on with much diplomacy on both sides, and was not finally settled till the 16th of January, 1647. The Scots, soon after leaving Newark, proposed a meeting with the Parliamentary Commissioners, to explain the reasons of their retreat northwards, and also for not surrendering Ashburnham and Hudson; but the meeting did not take place, and soon after Ashburnham contrived to escape and get into France, to the queen. Charles said that he could have escaped, too, had he been so disposed; but Hudson attempting it, was stopped.

Charles did not neglect to try the effect of brilliant promises on David Leslie and others of the Scottish officers, if they would side with him and make a junction with Montrose for his restoration. He offered to make David Earl of Orkney, but the Committee of Estates sent the Earls of Argyll and Loudon, and Lord Lanark, to Newcastle, to see that all was kept in order in the camp; and they told Charles plainly that he must take the Covenant, and order Montrose to disband his forces in the Highlands, if he expected them to do anything important for him. Charles consented to order the disbanding of Montrose's followers and his retirement to France, but he could not bring himself to accept the Covenant. In fact, on the same day that he gave the order to surrender his remaining fortresses, he sent a letter to the English Parliament, informing them that he was in full freedom, and in a capacity to settle with them a peace, and offering to leave the question of religion to the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, to place the militia in their hands as proposed at Uxbridge, for seven years, and, in short, to do all in his power to settle the kingdom without further effusion of blood. The Parliament, however, knew that he was in no condition to make war on them, and were too sensible of their power to notice such overtures, further than that they thought his terms now too high.

At this very time Charles was in active secret endeavour to obtain an army from Ireland and France. Glamorgan and the Pope's nuncio were busy in Ireland; the queen was equally busy in France; Mazarin again promised her ten thousand men, and incited Lord Jermyn to seize Jersey and Guernsey; and the king, though he had ordered Montrose to disband his forces and quit Scotland, desired him to be ready to raise the royal standard once more in the Highlands in conjunction with the French and Irish. All these wild schemes, however, were knocked on the head by the Earl of Ormond making peace with the Parliament on condition that he should recover his estates. He surrendered the Castle of Dublin and the fortresses to Parliament, went over to England, and all hope of aid from Ireland was at an end.

Whilst these political designs were in agitation, Charles was deeply engaged with the religious difficulty of giving up Episcopacy and consenting to the dominance of Presbyterianism. He consulted Juxon, the ex-Bishop of London, and gave him leave to advise with Dr. Sheldon and the late Bishop of Salisbury, whether he might not accept Presbyterianism as a man under compulsion, and therefore not really bound by it; and he was at the same time engaged with Alexander Henderson on the Scriptural authority of Episcopacy or Presbyterianism. During this dispute, in which each champion supported his opinion with Scriptural passages, and yet came no nearer than such disputants ever do, the Scottish divine was taken ill and died, and the Royalists declared that the king had so completely worsted him that he died of chagrin.

On the 23rd of July the English Parliament at length made proposals of peace, sending the Earls of Pembroke, Denbigh, and Montague, and six members of the Commons, to Newcastle, to treat with him. The conditions were not so favourable as those offered at Uxbridge, things, indeed, being now very different; the great point, however, being the abandonment of Episcopacy. They were to receive an answer or return in ten days; but the king would not yield the question of the Church. The Scottish Commissioners were present, and urged the king warmly to consent to the conditions, and thus to restore peace. The Earls of Loudon and Argyll implored it on their knees. Then Loudon, Chancellor of Scotland, told him "that the consequences of his answer to the propositions were so great, that on it depended the ruin of his crown and kingdoms; that the Parliament, after many bloody battles, had got the strongholds and forts of the kingdom into their hands; that they had his revenue, excise, assessments, sequestrations, and power to raise all the men and money in the kingdom; that they had gained victory over all, and that they had a strong army to maintain it, so that they might do what they would with Church or State; that they desired neither him nor any of his race longer to reign over them, and had sent these propositions to his majesty, without the granting[56] whereof the kingdom and his people would not be in safety; that if he refused to assent, he would lose all his friends in Parliament, lose the city, and lose the country; and that all England would join against him as one man to process and depose him, and to set up another Government; and that both kingdoms for safety would be compelled to agree to settle religion and peace without him, to the ruin of his majesty and posterity;" and he concluded by saying, "that if he left England, he would not be allowed to go and reign in Scotland." This, it must be confessed, was plain and honest, and therefore loyal and patriotic speaking. The General Assembly of the Kirk had already come to this conclusion; but all was lost on the king.

Parliament now having proved that all negotiation was useless, their Commissioners returned, and reported that they could obtain no answer from the king, except that he was ready to come up to London and treat in person. A Presbyterian member, on hearing this report, exclaimed—"What will become of us, now the king has rejected our propositions?" "Nay," replied an Independent member, "what would have become of us had he accepted them?" And really it is difficult to see what could have been the condition of the kingdom had a man of Charles's incorrigible character been again admitted to power. The Parliament returned thanks to the Scottish Commissioners for their zealous co-operation in the endeavour to arrange matters with the king—a severe blow to Charles, who had till now clung to the hope of seizing some advantage from the jealousies which for many months had prevailed between the Parliament and the Scottish army.

On the 12th of August the Scottish Commissioners presented a paper to the House of Lords, stating that the kingdom of Scotland had, on the invitation of both Houses, carefully undertaken and faithfully managed their assistance in the kingdom towards obtaining the ends expressed in the covenant; and as the forces of the common enemy were now broken and destroyed, through the blessing of God, they were willing to surrender up the fortresses in their hands, and retire into their own country, on a reasonable compensation being made for their sufferings and expenses. They stated truly that many base calumnies and execrable aspersions had been cast upon them by printed pamphlets and otherwise, which they had not suffered to turn them from that brotherly affection which was requisite for the great end in view, and which they trusted would yet be effected, notwithstanding the lamentable refusal of their propositions by the king. They claimed, moreover, still to be consulted on the measure for accomplishing the common object of peace for the kingdom. The Commons appointed a committee to settle the accounts between them. The Scots demanded six hundred thousand pounds as the balance due, but agreed to receive four hundred thousand pounds, one half of which was to be paid before quitting the kingdom.

Scarcely had this amicable arrangement been made, when the two English Houses of Parliament passed a resolution that the disposal of the king's person belonged to them. This alarmed the Scots, who instantly remonstrated, saying that as Charles was king of Scotland as well as of England, both nations had an equal right to be consulted regarding the disposal of his person. This is a sufficient answer to the calumny so zealously propagated by the Royalists that the Scots had sold the king to the Parliament. On the contrary, they had claimed a sum of money as a just payment of their expenses and services, and the person or liberty of the king had not entered at all into the bargain. This bargain, in fact, was made five months—that is, on the 5th of September—before they delivered up the king, that is, on the 30th of January, 1647, and during these five months they were zealously engaged in contending for the personal security of the monarch to the very verge of a civil war. All this time they strove equally to induce Charles to accept the terms, which would have removed all difficulties. From September 21st, when the English Parliament voted this resolution, to October 13th, a fierce contest was carried on on this subject, and various conferences were held. The Scots published their speeches on these occasions; the English seized them, and imprisoned the printers; there was imminent danger of civil war, and on the 13th of October the Commons voted payment for the army for the next six months, giving an unmistakable proof of their resolve on the question.

All this was beheld with delight by Charles; and he wrote to his wife that he believed yet that they would have to restore him with honour. He believed one party or the other would, to settle the question, concede all to him, and with his sanction put the other down. For some time the public spirit in Scotland favoured his hopes. The question was discussed there with as much vehemence as in England. His friends exerted themselves, the national feeling was raised in his favour, and the Scottish Parliament passed a vote[57] on the 10th of December, under the management of the Hamiltons, that they would exert all their power and influence to maintain the monarchical system of government, and the king's title to the English crown, which it was now notorious that the Independents sought to subvert. This gave wonderful spirit to the royal party; but the Commission of the Kirk instantly reminded Parliament that Charles had steadily refused to take the Covenant, and that even if he were deposed in England, he could not be allowed to come into Scotland; or if he did enter it, his royal functions must be suspended till he had embraced the Covenant, and given freedom to their religion. This brought the Parliament to reflection, and the next day it rescinded the resolution.


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This dashed the last hopes of the king, and, now that it was too late, he began seriously to[58] contemplate escape to the Continent. Montreuil wrote to the French Court on the 21st of January, 1647—the very day that the money was paid to the Scots, and a receipt given previous to their departure—that Charles still continued to dream of escaping, though to himself it appeared impossible, unless the Scots had rather see him do so than fall into the hands of the Independents. The king had arranged with Sir Robert and William Murray his scheme of escape in disguise, but it was found impossible. Once more, therefore, he wrote to the Parliament of England for permission to go to London and open a free debate with both Houses for the settlement of all differences. The message received no notice whatever; but the two Houses went on debating as to the disposal of the king's person. The Lords voted that he should be allowed to come to Newmarket; the Commons that he should go to Holmby, in Northampton, one of his houses, to which he was considerably attached. After further debate this was agreed to by the Lords.

The Scots, seeing that they must yield up the person of Charles to the English Parliament or prepare to fight for it, asked themselves what they were to gain by a civil war for a king who would not move one jot towards complying with their wishes? They made one more effort to persuade him to take the Covenant, but in vain. In reply to their solicitation, he made this ominous reply:—"It is a received opinion by many, that engagements, acts, or promises of a restrained person, are neither valid nor obligating; how true or false this is I will not now dispute, but I am sure if I be not free, I am not fit to answer your or any propositions." And he demanded if he went to Scotland whether he should be free, with honour and safety. It was clear what was in his mind—that if he did take the Covenant he would be at liberty to break it when he had the power; and as the Scots had determined that they would not receive him into Scotland at the certain cost of civil war, when they could with such a person have no possible guarantee of his keeping his engagements even were he brought to make them, they replied that he must at once accept their propositions, or they must leave him to the resolution of Parliament. Two days afterwards (the 16th of January, 1647), the Parliament of Scotland acceded to the demand of the English Parliament that the king should be given up, a promise being exacted that respect should be had to the safety of his person in the defence of the true religion, and the liberties of the two kingdoms, according to the Solemn League and Covenant. More was demanded by the Scots, namely, that no obstacle should be opposed to the legitimate succession of his children, and no alteration made in the existing government of the kingdom. To this the Lords fully assented, but the Commons took no notice of it.

On the 5th of January the two hundred thousand pounds, engaged to be paid to the Scots before leaving England, arrived at Newcastle, in thirty-six carts, under a strong escort, and having been duly counted, a receipt was signed on the 21st at Northallerton, and on the 30th Charles was committed to the care of the English Commissioners, consisting of three lords and six commoners, the Earl of Pembroke being at their head. He professed to be pleased with the change, as it would bring him nearer to his Parliament. The Scots, having finished their business in England, evacuated Newcastle, and marched away into their own country.

In all these transactions we have endeavoured in vain to discover any ground for the common calumny against the Scots, that they bought and sold the king. On the contrary, we have shown that all contract regarding their reimbursements and remunerations was completed five months before the delivery of the king; and that they did all in their power to induce him to accept their Covenant, and with that their pledge to defend him to the last drop of their blood. Montreuil says, that even at the last moment the Earls of Lauderdale and Traquair again pressed the king to consent to accept the Covenant and establish Presbyterianism, and they would convey him to Berwick and compel the English to be satisfied with what he had thus offered them. He stated that the Scots offered him (Montreuil) twenty thousand Jacobuses to persuade the king to comply, but that he could not prevail. It must be remembered, too, that when they did surrender him, it was only on promise of safety to his person, and that they delivered him not to the Independents, who made no secret of their designs against the monarchy, but to their fellow believers, the Parliament, which entertained no such intentions, and had already offered Charles the same terms on the same conditions.

Before the close of this year, that is in September, the Earl of Essex died; Ireton married Bridget Cromwell, second daughter of Oliver Cromwell; and a great number of officers in the army were again in Parliament—the Self-denying Ordinance, having served its turn, being no more heard of.




Differences between the Presbyterians and Independents—The King at Holmby—Attempt to Disband the Army—Consequent Petitions to Parliament—The Adjutators—Meeting at Newmarket—Seizure of the King—Advance of the Army on London—Stubbornness of the Presbyterians—The Army Marches through London—Its Proposals to Charles—Their Rejection—The King throws away his Best Chances—The Levellers—Cromwell's Efforts on behalf of Charles—Renewed Intrigues of Charles—Flight to Carisbrooke—Attempts to Rescue the King—Charles Treats with the Scots—Consequent Reaction in his Favour—Battle of Preston and Suppression of the Insurrection—Cromwell at Edinburgh—The Prince of Wales in Command of the Fleet—Negotiations at Newport—Growing Impatience of the Army—Petitions for the King's Trial—Charles's Blindness and Duplicity—He is Removed to Hurst Castle—Pride's Purge—Supremacy of the Independents—The Whiggamores—Hugh Peters' Sermon in St. Margaret's, Westminster—Ordinance for the King's Trial—Trial and Execution of Charles I.

For a long time the difference of opinion between the Presbyterians and the Independents had been growing more marked and determined. The latter, from a small knot of Dissenters, had grown into a considerable one, and the more influential, because the most able and active, leaders of both Parliament and army were of that sect. Under the head of Independents, however, ranged themselves, so far as politics were concerned, a variety of other Dissenters—Arminians, Millenaries, Baptists and Anabaptists, Familists, Enthusiasts, Seekers, Perfectists, Socinians, Arians, and others—all of whom claimed freedom of worship, according to their peculiar faiths. On the other hand, the Presbyterians, backed by the Scots, were bent on establishing a religious despotism. Their tenets and form of government were alone to be tolerated. They were as resolute sticklers for conformity as the Catholics, or Charles and Laud themselves. They set up the same claims to be superior to the State, and allowed of no appeal from their tribunals to those of the civil magistrate. Having established the Directory for the form of worship, they erected an assembly, with its synods, and divided the whole kingdom into provinces, the provinces into classes, the classes into presbyteries or elderships. They declared that "the keys of the kingdom of heaven were committed to the officers of the Church, by virtue whereof they had power to retain and remit sins, to shut the kingdom of heaven against the impenitent by censures, and to open it to the penitent by absolution." They claimed a right to inquire into the private lives of persons, and of suspending the unworthy from the Sacrament.

All these assumptions the Independents denied, and would not admit any authority over the free action of individual congregations. The Commons, through the influence of Selden and Whitelock, proposed to the Assembly of Divines nine questions respecting the nature and object of the divine right to which they aspired, and before they could answer these, the army and the Independents, its leaders, had effected still more embarrassing changes. The king being conquered, and the Scots having withdrawn, the contest lay no longer between the king and Parliament, but between the Presbyterians and Independents, or, what was nearly synonymous, the Parliament and the Army.

The king was conducted to Holmby by easy journeys, and treated by his attendants with courtesy. The people flocked to see him, and showed that the traditions of royalty were yet strong in them. They received him with acclamations, uttered prayers for his preservation, and not a few of them pressed forward to be touched for the "evil." On his arrival at Holmby, he found a great number of ladies and gentlemen assembled to welcome him, with every demonstration of pleasure, and his house and table well appointed and supplied. He passed his time in reading, in riding about the country, and in different amusements—as chess and bowls, riding to Althorpe, or even to Harrowden, because there was no good bowling-green at Holmby. One thing only he complained of, and requested to have altered. The Parliament sent him clergymen of their own persuasion to attend him; he begged that any two out of his twelve chaplains might be substituted, but was refused. The Presbyterian ministers allotted him were Thomas Herbert, and Harrington, the author of "Oceana," with whose conversation Charles was much pleased on all subjects but religion and form of government. But though Charles passed the bulk of his time in relaxation, he was not insensible to his situation; and when he had been left there for three months without[60] notice, he addressed to Parliament a letter in which he proposed to allow Presbyterian Church government for three years, his own liberty of worship being granted, and twenty clergymen of the Church of England admitted to the Westminster Assembly; the question of religion at the end of that period was to be finally settled by himself and the two Houses in the usual way, and the command of the army was also to be left to Parliament for ten years, and then to revert to him. The Lords gladly assented to this offer, but the Commons did not entertain it, and other matters soon claimed their attention.

The Presbyterians had, during the active engagements of the army, and the consequent absence of the leading Independents, strengthened their ranks by many new members of Parliament, and they now set about to reduce the power of their opponents by disbanding the greater part of the army. They decreed in February that three thousand horse, twelve hundred dragoons, and eight thousand four hundred foot, should be withdrawn from Fairfax's army and sent to Ireland, and that besides one thousand dragoons and five thousand four hundred horse, all the rest of the army should be disbanded, except as many soldiers as were necessary to man the forty-five castles and fortresses which remained. This would have completely prostrated the power of the Independents; and Cromwell, on whose shrewd character and military success they now looked with terror, would have been first sacrificed, as well as Ireton, Ludlow, Blake, Skippon, Harrison, Algernon Sidney, and others, who had fought the real battle of the late contest. The heads of the Presbyterians in Parliament consisted of unsuccessful commanders—Holles, Waller, Harley, Stapleton, and others—who hated the successful ones, both on account of their brilliant success and of their religion. Fairfax, though a Presbyterian, went along with his officers in all the love of toleration.

It was voted in the Commons, not only that no officer under Fairfax should have higher rank than that of colonel, but that no one should hold a commission who did not take the Covenant and conform to the government of the Church as fixed by Parliament. This would have been a sweeping measure, had the Parliament not had a very obvious party motive in it, and had it paid its soldiers, and been in a condition to discharge them. But at this moment they were immensely in arrears with the pay of the army, and that body, feeling its strength, at once broke up its cantonments round Nottingham, and marched towards London, halting only at Saffron Walden. This movement created a terrible alarm in the City, Parliament regarded it as a menace, but Fairfax excused it on the plea of the exhausted state of the country round their old quarters. The Commons hastened to vote sixty thousand pounds towards the payment of arrears, which amounted to forty-three weeks for the horse and eighteen for the infantry. In the City, the Council and the Presbyterians got up a petition to both Houses, praying that the army might be removed farther from London; but at the same moment a more startling one was in progress from the Independents, addressed to "the supreme authority of the nation, the Commons in Parliament assembled." It not only gave this significant hint of its opinion where the real power of the State lay, but denounced the House of Lords as assuming undue authority, and complained of the persecution and exclusion from all places of trust of those who could not conform to the Church government imposed. The House of Commons condemned this Republican petition, and ordered the army not to approach nearer than twenty-five miles of London. A deputation was sent down to Saffron Walden, where Fairfax summoned a convention of officers to answer them. These gentlemen, on the mention of being sent to Ireland, said they must know, before they could decide, what regiments, what commanders were to go, and whether they were sure of getting their arrears and their future daily pay. They demanded their arrears and some recompense for past services. The Commissioners, not being able to answer these demands, returned and reported to the Commons, mentioning also a petition in progress in the army. Alarmed at this, the Commons summoned to their bar some of the principal officers—Lieutenant-General Hammond, Colonel Robert Hammond, his brother, Colonel Robert Lilburn, Lieutenant-Colonel Grimes, and Colonel Ireton, Cromwell's son-in-law, a member of the House; and they voted that three regiments, commanded by the staunch Presbyterian officers Poyntz, Copley, and Bethell should remain at home. But what roused the army more than all besides, was a motion made by Denzil Holles, and carried, that the army's petition, which was not yet presented, was an improper petition, and that all who were concerned in it should be proceeded against as enemies to the State and disturbers of the public peace.

This declaration of the 30th of March was little short of an act of madness. It could only excite[61] the indignation of a power against which the Parliament, grown unpopular, and divided against itself, was but as a reed in a whirlwind. The officers pronounced it "a blot of infamy" upon them, and the Parliament was glad to attempt to lay the storm by voting, on the 8th of April, that the regiments of Fairfax, Cromwell, Rossiter, Whalley, and Graves, should remain in England. A week afterwards the Commons sent down another deputation, accompanied by the Earl of Warwick, who harangued the officers earnestly to engage for Ireland, promising that Major-General Skippon should command them. Many were pleased with them, but more cried out, "Fairfax and Cromwell! Give us Fairfax and Cromwell, and then we all go!"

LORD FAIRFAX. (After the Portrait by Cooper.)

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On the return of the deputation without success, the Commons debated whether they should not disband the whole army. Holles strongly recommended it, and that they should give the soldiers six weeks' pay on disbanding. He thought it would be easy then to engage the men to go to Ireland under other officers, and that four of those officers who were regarded as most hostile in this movement should be summoned to the bar of the House. How miserably he was mistaken was immediately shown, for a petition was presented that very day (the 27th of April), signed by Lieutenant-General Hammond, fourteen colonels and lieutenant-colonels, six majors, and one hundred and thirty captains, lieutenants, and other commissioned officers. It was drawn up in energetic language, complaining of the calumnies spread abroad regarding the army, and enumerating the[62] services they had done, the sacrifices they had made for the Commonwealth, and praying for the payment of the soldiers' arrears. It declared, indeed, that this movement of petitioning had commenced amongst the soldiers, and that the officers had been induced to take it up to prevent anything unacceptable to the House from being put forward.

But the petition of the officers did not prevent the petition of the men. When they saw the Commons did not immediately comply with the petition of the officers, smarting under the vote of disbandment, coupled with the withholding of their pay, horse dragoons and infantry went on their own way. They had lately entered into an association to make their complaints known. The officers had established a military council to consult on and take care of the interests of the army, and the men established a council too. Two commissioned officers, but not exceeding in rank ensigns, and two private soldiers from each regiment, met from time to time to discuss the wants of the army. They were called Adjutators or assistants in the cause, and the word soon became corrupted into Agitators. Thus there was a sort of army Parliament—the officers representing the Peers, the soldiers the Commons. The whole scheme has been, and it is probable very justly, ascribed to the genius of Cromwell. What confirms the supposition is, that an old friend of his, Berry, a captain, became its president, and that Ayres and Desborough, his two particular friends, the latter of whom had married his sister, were in close communication with the leading officers amongst the Agitators.

These movements on the part of the army, and the zealous manner in which Cromwell rose and vindicated the conduct of the soldiers on this occasion, warning the House not to drive so loyal and meritorious a body as the army to desperation, caused them to order him, Skippon, and Fleetwood to go down to the army and quiet its discontent by assuring the soldiers of pay and indemnification. These three, on the 7th of May, met the officers, who demanded time to prepare an answer after consulting their regiments. There appeared to have been doubts and dissension sown by the Presbyterians, and as the different regiments came to opposite conclusions, the Parliament thought it might venture to disband them. On the 25th it was settled that such regiments as did not volunteer for Ireland should be disbanded at fixed times and places. Fairfax, pleading indisposition, left the House and hastened down to the army, and immediately marched it from Saffron Walden to Bury St. Edmunds. The soldiers declared that they would not disband till they were paid, and demanded a rendezvous, declaring that if the officers did not grant it they would hold it themselves. Fairfax announced this to the Parliament, praying it to adopt soothing measures; and that, though he was compelled to comply with a measure out of order, he would do what he could to preserve it. The House, on the 28th, sent down the Earl of Warwick, the Lord Delaware, Sir Gilbert Gerrard, and three other members of the Commons, to promise eight weeks' pay, and to see the disbanding effected. On hearing the terms from the Commissioners, the soldiers exclaimed:—"Eight weeks' pay! We want nearer eight times eight!" There was universal confusion; the men refused to disband without full payment. They hastened to their rendezvous at Bury St. Edmunds, each man paying fourpence towards the expenses; and they ordered that the army should draw together, and a general rendezvous be held on the 4th of June. At Oxford the soldiers seized the disbanding money as part payment, and demanded the rest, or no disbanding.

On the 4th and 5th of June, accordingly, the grand rendezvous was held on Kentford Heath, near Newmarket. They entered into a covenant to see justice done to one and all, and not till then to listen to any other orders or terms. Meanwhile, a still more extraordinary scene had taken place, of which the direct springs may be guessed, but which springs were so closely concealed that no clever historian could ever lay them bare. Scarcely was the honourable House of Commons in possession of the news of the Kentford Heath rendezvous, when it was paralysed by this still more amazing announcement.

The House of Lords, not liking the proceedings of the army, had ordered the king for greater safety to be removed from Holmby to Oatlands, nearer the capital. The army anticipated that move; and by whose orders no man knows, nor ever will know, Cornet Joyce, of Whalley's regiment, followed by a strong party of horse, presented himself on the 2nd of June, a little after midnight, at Holmby House. After surrounding the house with his troop, said to be one thousand strong, he knocked and demanded admittance, telling Major-General Brown and Colonel Graves that he was come to speak to the king. "From whom?" demanded these officers, awoke from their sleep. "From myself," said Joyce; whereat they laughed. But Joyce told them it was no laughing[63] matter. They then advised him to draw off his troops, and in the morning he should see the Commissioners. Joyce replied that he was not come there to be advised by them, or to talk to the Commissioners, but to speak to the king; and speak to him he would, and that soon. At this threat Brown and Graves bade their soldiers stand to their arms and defend the place; but the soldiers, instead, threw open the doors, and bade their old comrades welcome. Joyce then went direct to the chamber of the Commissioners, and informed them that there was a design to seize the king, and place him at the head of an army to put down that under General Fairfax; and that, to prevent another war, he was come to secure the person of the king, and see that he was not led into further mischief; for, added the cornet, "there be some who endeavour to pull down king and people, and set up themselves."

The Commissioners desired him not to disturb the king's sleep, but to wait till morning, and they would tell his majesty of his arrival and business. In the morning Joyce found that Brown had contrived to send off Graves to fetch up the king's guard; and "some of his damning blades did say and swear they would fetch a party." But Joyce—a stout fellow for a tailor, which he had been—did not trouble himself about that, for he knew the guard would not move, and at length insisted on being admitted to the king himself.

According to Joyce's own account, it was ten o'clock in the evening again when he was ushered, with two or three of his followers, into the royal presence. The soldiers took off their hats, and displayed no rudeness, but a blunt proceeding to business. According to Clarendon, the cornet told the king that he was sorry to have disturbed his sleep, but that he must go with him. Charles asked whither. He said to the army. But where was the army, replied the king. The cornet said they would show him. His majesty asked by what authority they came. Joyce said "By this!" and showed him his pistol, and desired his majesty to cause himself to be dressed, because it was necessary they should make haste. The king sent for the Commissioners, who asked Joyce whether he had any order from Parliament. He said no. From the general? No. What, then, was his authority? He gave the same reply as to the king, by holding up his pistol. They said they would write to the Parliament to learn its pleasure, to which Joyce replied, they could do so, but the king meanwhile must go with him.

Finding that the soldiers sent for would not come, and that the officers of the guard said that Joyce's troop were not soldiers of one regiment, but drawn from several regiments, and that Joyce was not their proper officer, it was clear that there was a general design in the affair, and the king said he would go with them at six in the morning. At the hour appointed the king appeared on horseback, and found the troop all mounted and ready. The king had overnight demanded of Joyce whether he should be forced to do anything against his conscience, and whether he should have his servants with him; and Joyce replied that there was no intention to lay any constraint on his majesty, only to prevent his being made use of to break up the army before justice had been done to it. Before starting, Charles again demanded from Joyce, in the presence of the troop, where was his commission, enjoining him to deal ingenuously with him, and repeating, "Where, I ask you again, is your commission?" "Here," said Joyce, "behind me," pointing to the soldiers. Charles smiled, and said, "It is a fair commission, and as well written as I have ever seen a commission written in my life; a company of handsome, proper gentlemen, as I have seen a great while. But what if I should refuse to go with you? I hope you would not force me. I am your king; you ought not to lay violent hands on your king. I acknowledge none to be above me here but God." He then demanded again whither they proposed to conduct him. Oxford and Cambridge were named, to both of which places Charles objected. Newmarket was next named, and to that he consented. So the first day they rode to Hinchinbrook, and the next to Childersley, near Newmarket.

The news of these proceedings of the army carried consternation into the two Houses of Parliament, and into the City, where the Presbyterian party was in full strength. They ordered the immediate arrest of Cromwell, which they had been intending some time, but they were informed that he left town the very same morning that Joyce appeared at Holmby—a significant fact—and was seen riding away with only one attendant. He reached the headquarters of the army with his horse all in foam. The House voted to sit all the next day, though it was Sunday, and have Mr. Marshall to pray for them. Rumour declared that the army was on its march, and would be there the next day at noon. The House ordered the Committee of Safety to sit up all night, taking measures for the protection of the City; the[64] train-bands to be called out, and all the lines of communication guarded. The next day the shops were shut, the town was in indescribable confusion, and terror in every face, as though the army was already there. The Parliament wrote to Fairfax, commanding that the army should not infringe the order of the two Houses, by coming within twenty-five miles of London, that the king should be returned to the care of the Commissioners who attended him at Holmby, and that Colonel Rossiter's regiment should guard his person. Fairfax replied that the army had reached St. Albans before he received their command, but it should proceed no farther; that he had sent Colonel Whalley with his regiment to meet his majesty on his way from Holmby, and offered to return him thither, but that he preferred the air of Newmarket, and that all care should be taken of his person.


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In fact, Charles was delighted with the change. He had escaped from the harsh keeping and the strict regimen of the Presbyterians, whom he detested, and felt himself, as it were, a king again at the head of an army: the dissensions now rushing on so hotly between his enemies wonderfully encouraging his hopes of making friends of the more liberal party. He was in a condition of greater freedom and respect in the army than he had been at Holmby: there was a larger number of troops and the officers were superior. He was relieved from the presence of Cornet Joyce. All restraint being taken off from persons resorting to him, he saw every day the faces of many that were grateful to him. No sooner did he ask for the attendance of his own chaplains than those he named (Drs. Sheldon, Morley, Sanderson, and Hammond) were sent for, and performed the service regularly, no one being forbidden to attend. The king was left to his leisure and his friends, only removing with the army as it moved, and in all places he was as well provided for and accommodated as he had been in any progress. The best gentlemen, Clarendon admits, of the several counties through which he passed, daily resorted to him without distinction. He was attended by some of his old trusty servants in the places nearest his person. On hearing of his present condition, the queen sent Sir John Berkeley from[65] Paris, and his old groom of the chambers, who had been living at Rouen, to be with him again, and they were freely admitted by Cromwell and Ireton. "Many good officers," says Clarendon, "who had served his majesty faithfully, were civilly received by the officers of the army, and lived quietly in their quarters, which they could not do anywhere else, which raised a great reputation to the army throughout England, and as much reproach upon Parliament." This was raised still more by the army's address to Parliament, desiring that "care might be taken for settling the king's rights, according to the several professions they had made in their declarations; and that the royal party might be treated with more candour and less rigour." Even the most devoted of Royalists, Sir Philip Warwick, says, "The deep and bloody-hearted Independents all this while used the king very civilly, admitting several of his servants and some of his chaplains to attend him, and officiate by the service-book."

FAIRFAX HOUSE, PUTNEY. (From a Photograph by W. Field & Co., Putney.)

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The Commons ordered all officers to attend their regiments, and sent down Commissioners to inform the army of the votes of the two Houses. The army gave the Commissioners such a reception as no Commissioners had ever witnessed before. Twenty-one thousand men had assembled to a rendezvous on Triploe Heath, near Royston; and the General and the Commissioners rode to each regiment, to acquaint them with the Parliamentary votes as to their instalment of pay, their disbanding, and their not approaching within twenty-five miles of London. The answer was sent up in shouts of "Justice! justice!" A petition also from the well-affected people of Essex was delivered on the field to the General in presence of the Commissioners, against the disbanding, declaring "that the Commonwealth had many enemies, who watched for such an opportunity to destroy the good people." A memorial was, moreover, drawn up and signed by the General and all the chief officers, to the Lord Mayor and Corporation of London, warning them against false representations of the intentions of the army, for that the war being at an end, all that they desired and prayed for was that the peace of the kingdom should be settled according to the declarations of Parliament before the army was called out, and that[66] being done, the army should be paid before it was disbanded.

So far from pacifying the Parliament, these proceedings alarmed it infinitely more, and it issued an order that the army should not come within forty-five miles of the capital. On its part, the army collected addresses from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and the surrounding counties, praying the purgation of the House from all such members as were disqualified from sitting there by corruption, delinquency, abuse of the State, or undue election; and on the 16th of June, from its headquarters at St. Albans, the army formally impeached of high treason eleven of the most active Presbyterian members. This impeachment was presented to the House by twelve officers of the army—colonels, lieutenant-colonels, majors, and captains. Within a few days the General and officers sent a letter to the House, informing it that they would appoint proper persons to conduct the impeachment, and make good their charges; and desired the House to suspend the accused forthwith, as it was not fitting that those persons who had done their best to prejudice the army should sit as judges of their own actions.

This, says Clarendon, was an arrow out of their own quiver, which the Commons did not expect; and though it was a legitimate consequence of the impeachments of Strafford, Laud, and others, they endeavoured to set it at defiance. The Parliament and its army were, in fact, come to the pass which the brave old Royalist, Sir Jacob Astley, had foreseen when he surrendered his regiment at Stowe, in 1646:—"You have done your work, my masters, and may go and play, unless you will fall out amongst yourselves."

The army, to settle the matter, marched from St. Albans to Uxbridge, and at that sight the eleven members withdrew from the House of Commons, and the Commons assumed a modest and complying behaviour, voting the army under Fairfax to be the real army of England and worthy of all respect. They sent certain proposals to Fairfax, which induced him to remove his headquarters from Uxbridge to Wycombe. The eleven members, looking on this as a degree of submission to Parliament, immediately plucked up courage, and Holles and the rest appeared in their places, preferring charges in return against the officers, and demanding a fair trial. But they soon perceived their mistake, and, soliciting the Speaker's leave of absence and his passport to go out of the kingdom, disappeared.

The struggle between the army and Parliament—that is, between the Presbyterian and Independent interests—was all this time raging. For six weeks the army was advancing or retiring, according as the Parliament acted; the Parliament only giving way through intimidation. According as affairs stood, the City was either peaceful or in alarm, now shutting its shops, now carrying on much negotiation; the army lying still near, and paid more regularly, out of terror, by the Parliament. At length the army had so far succeeded as to have the insulting declaration of Holles—"the blot of ignominy"—erased from the journals of the House, and the ordinance of the 4th of May—procured by Holles—for the placing of the militia of the City in more exclusively Presbyterian hands—revoked. But towards the end of July the strong Presbyterian element in London was again in such ferment that it forgot its terrors of the army, and proceeded to daring extremities. The Presbyterian faction demanded that conventicles—that is, the meeting-houses of all classes, except Presbyterians—should be closed, and called on the citizens to meet in Guildhall to hear the Covenant read, and sign an engagement—soldiers, sailors, citizens, and apprentices—to drive away the army and bring the king to Westminster, and make a treaty with him. A hundred thousand signatures were put to this paper, and had the courage been half as great as the bluster the army had been swept to destruction. On the 26th of July, a few days afterwards, a vast rabble surrounded the Houses of Parliament, calling on both Lords and Commons to restore the order regarding the City militia; they crowded into the Houses with their hats on, crying, "Vote! vote!" and their numbers keeping the doors open. Under this intimidation both Lords and Commons voted the restoration of the Presbyterian ordinance for the change of the militia, and adjourned to Friday.

On Friday the two Houses met, but were astonished to find that their Speakers had fled, accompanied by several members of both Houses, and were gone to the army. It was found that Sir Henry Vane, the Earl of Northumberland, the Earl of Warwick, and other Lords and Commoners were gone. Had it been only Sir Henry Vane and the Independents who had gone, it would have astonished nobody; but neither Lenthall, the Speaker of the Commons, nor the Earl of Manchester, the Speaker of the Lords, was suspected of any great leaning to the army, whilst Warwick was a staunch Presbyterian, and Northumberland so much in the favour of that party as to have the care of the royal children. This circumstance[67] showed the violence of the mob which had forced Parliament, and rendered moderate men resolved to escape rather than submit to be its puppets. There were no less than fifteen Lords and a hundred Commoners who had thus resented mob intimidation.

On making this lamentable discovery, the two Houses elected temporary Speakers, and issued orders forbidding the army to advance, recalling the eleven fugitive members, and ordered Massey, Waller, and Poyntz to call out the militia and defend the City.

No sooner had Fairfax heard the news of these proceedings than he instantly sent the king to Hampton Court, and marched from Bedford to Hounslow Heath, where he ordered a general rendezvous of the whole army. On Hounslow Heath, at the appointed rendezvous, the Speakers of the two Houses, with their maces, and attended by the fugitive Lords and Commons, stated to the general that they had not freedom in Westminster, but were in danger of their lives from tumult, and claimed the protection of the army. The general and the officers received the Speakers and members with profound respect, and assured them they would reinstate them in their proper places, or perish in the attempt. Nothing, in fact, could have been such a godsend to the army; for, besides their own grievances, they had the grievances of the coerced members to redress, and the sanctity of Parliament to defend. They ordered the most careful accommodation for the comfort of the members, and a guard to attend them, consulting them on all their measures. Fairfax quartered his army about Hounslow, Brentford, Twickenham, and the adjacent villages, at the same time ordering Colonel Rainsborough to cross the Thames at Hampton Court with a brigade of horse and foot and cannon, and to secure Southwark and the works which covered the end of London Bridge.

Meanwhile, never was London in more terrible confusion. The Commons, having no mace of their own, sent for the City mace. The colonels were in all haste calling out the militia. On Saturday and Monday, August 1 and 2, the shops were all shut, nothing going on but enlisting and mustering. St. James's Fields were in a stir with drilling; news constantly coming of the approach of the army. "Massey," says Whitelock, "sent out scouts to Brentford; but ten men of the army beat thirty of his, and took a flag from them. The City militia and Common Council sat late, and a great number of people attended at Guildhall. When a scout came in and brought news that the army made a halt, or other good intelligence, they cried, 'One and all!' But if the scouts brought word that the army was advancing, then they would cry as loud, 'Treat! treat! treat!' and thus they spent the night."

Tuesday, August the 3rd, was a fearful day. The people of Southwark declared that they would not fight against the army, and went in crowds to Guildhall, demanding peace, at which Poyntz lost all patience, drew his sword, and slashed many of them, some mortally.

The Southwarkers kept their word, for they received Rainsborough and his troops; the militia openly fraternised with the soldiers, shaking hands with them through the gates, and abandoned to them the works which protected the City. Rainsborough took possession, without opposition, of all the forts and works on that side of the river from Southwark to Gravesend. In the morning the authorities of the City, finding that Southwark was in possession of the army, and the City gate on that side in their hands, were completely prostrated and hastened to make their submission. Poyntz, accustomed to conquest in the field, and the hardihood of the Presbyterian soldiers, was filled with contempt for these cringing, cowering citizens. What! had they not ten thousand men in arms, a loan of ten thousand pounds arranged and orders to raise auxiliary troops to the amount of eighteen regiments? Had they not plenty of ammunition and arms in the Tower, whence they had drawn four hundred barrels of gunpowder and other material for present defence? But all availed not; the citizens hastened to lay themselves and the City at the feet of Fairfax. He had fixed his headquarters at Hammersmith, but he met the civic authorities at Holland House, Kensington, where he dictated the following conditions:—That they should abandon the Parliament now sitting and the eleven impeached members; should restore the militia to the Independents; surrender all their forts, including the Tower; recall their declarations, and conduct themselves peaceably.

On Friday, the 6th of August, Fairfax entered the City, preceded by a regiment of infantry and another of cavalry. He was on horseback, attended by his body-guards and a crowd of gentlemen. A long train of carriages, containing the fugitive Speakers and members (Lords and Commons), followed, and then another regiment of cavalry. The soldiers marched three abreast, with boughs of laurel in their hats. The late[68] turbulent multitudes completed their shame by raising forced acclamations as they passed. Fairfax thus proceeded through Hyde Park, where the Corporation met him, and offered him a great gold cup, which he curtly declined, and so rode on to the Houses of Parliament, where he replaced the Speakers in their respective chairs, and the members in their old places. Not one of the Lords who had remained, except the Earl of Pembroke, ventured to appear, and he declared that he considered the proceedings since the departure of the Speakers as null. No sooner were the Speakers in their places than Parliament voted thanks to the general and the army; made Fairfax commander of all the forces in England and Wales, and Constable of the Tower. It ordered a gratuity of a month's pay for the army, and that the City militia should be divided, and Southwark, Westminster, and the Tower Hamlets should command their own. The Lords voted all Acts of Parliament from the departure of the Speakers, on the 26th of June, to their return on the 6th of August, void; but the resolution did not pass the Commons, where there was a large body of Presbyterians, without much opposition.

The eleven impeached members fled, and were allowed to escape into France, whereupon they were voted guilty of high treason, as well as the Lord Mayor and four aldermen of London, two officers of the train-band, and the Earls of Suffolk, Lincoln, and Middleton, the Lords Willoughby, Hunsdon, Berkeley, and Maynard. The civic officers were sent to the Tower. The City was ordered to find the one hundred thousand pounds voted for the army. Fairfax distributed different regiments about Whitehall and the Houses of Parliament for their protection, and others in the Strand, Holborn, and Southwark, to keep the City quiet. His headquarters were moved to Putney, with forces at Chelsea and Fulham. On Sunday he and the officers attended the preaching of Hugh Peters, the army chaplain, at Putney Church, and thus the Independents were in full power, and the Presbyterians signally humbled.

Before, and also whilst, these events had been taking place, the army had made overtures to the king for peace and a solid settlement of the kingdom. As we have seen, from the moment that the king came into their hands, they had treated him in a far different style to the Presbyterians. He seemed, in his freedom of action, in the admission of his children and friends to his society, in the respect and even friendliness shown him to feel himself a king again. There were many reasons why the Independents should desire to close with the king. Though they had the army with them, they knew that the Presbyterians were far more numerous. London was vehemently Presbyterian, and the Scots were ready to back that party, because essentially the same in religion as themselves. The Independents and all the Dissenters who ranged themselves under their banners were anxious for religious liberty; the Scottish and English Presbyterians had no more idea of such a thing as belonging to Christianity than had the Catholics or the Church of England as represented by Charles and Laud.

From the moment that the king was received by the army, he seems to have won on the goodwill of the officers. Fairfax, on meeting him on his way from Holmby, kissed his hand, and treated him with all the deference due to the sovereign. Cromwell and Ireton, though they did not so far condescend, and kept a degree of distant reserve, as remembering that they had to treat Charles as an enemy, were soon softened, and Cromwell sent him assurances of his attachment, and of his desire to see his affairs set right. Many of the officers openly expressed commiseration of his misfortunes, and admiration of his real piety, and his amiable domestic character. It was not long before such relations were established with him, and with his confidential friends Berkeley, Ashburnham, and Legge, that secret negotiations were commenced for a settlement of all the difficulties between him and his people. The officers made him several public addresses expressive of their sincere desire to see a pacification effected; and Fairfax, to prepare the way, addressed a letter to the two Houses, repelling the aspersion cast upon the army of its being hostile to the monarchy, and avowing that "tender, equitable, and moderate dealings towards him, his family, and his former adherents," should be adopted to heal the feuds of the nation.

LORD CLARENDON. (After the Portrait by Sir Peter Lely.)

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It has been the fashion to consider Cromwell as a consummate hypocrite, and to regard all that he did as a part acted for the ultimate attainment of his own ends. This is the view which Clarendon has taken of him; but, whatever he might do at a later period, everything shows that at this time both he and his brother officers were most really in earnest, and, could Charles have been brought to subscribe to any terms except such as gave up the nation to his uncontrolled will, at this moment his troubles would have been at an end, and he would have found himself on a constitutional[69] throne, with every means of honour and happiness in his power. Nothing more convincingly demonstrates this than the conditions which the Parliament submitted to him. They, in fact, greatly resembled the celebrated conditions of peace offered at Uxbridge, with several propositions regarding Parliament and taxation, which mark a wonderfully improved political knowledge and liberality in the officers. They did not even insist on the abolition of the hierarchy, but merely stipulated for the toleration of other opinions, taking away all penalties for not attending church, and for attending what were called conventicles. The command of the army by Parliament was to be restricted to ten years; only five of the Royalist adherents were to be excluded from pardon, and some less objectionable mode of protecting the State against Catholic designs than the present oppressive laws against recusants was to be devised. Parliaments were to continue two years, unless dissolved earlier by their own consent; and were to sit every year for a prescribed term, or a shorter one, if business permitted. Rotten boroughs, or such as were insignificant, were to be disfranchised, and a greater number of members returned from the counties in proportion to the amount of rates; and all that regarded election of members or reforms of the Commons should belong exclusively to the Commons. There were very judicious regulations for the nomination of sheriffs and of magistrates; the excise was to be taken from all articles of life at once, and from all other articles very shortly: the land-tax was to be fairly and equally apportioned; the irritating maintenance of the clergy by tithes was to be done away with; suits[70] at law were to be made less expensive; all men to be made liable for their debts; and insolvent debtors who had surrendered all their property to their creditors were to be discharged.

The whole project was decidedly creditable to the officers of the army. Charles's own friends and advisers were charmed with it, and flattered themselves that at length they saw a prospect of ending all troubles; but they were quickly undeceived, and struck down in dumb astonishment by Charles rejecting them.

Charles was still the same man; he was at the same moment secretly listening to the overtures of the Scottish Commissioners, who were jealous of the army, and instead of seizing the opportunity to be once more a powerful and beloved king, he was flattering himself with the old idea that he would bring the two great factions "to extirpate each other." Sir John Berkeley, his earnest adviser, says:—"What with having so concurring a second as Mr. Ashburnham, and what with the encouraging messages of Lord Lauderdale and others from the Presbyterian party and the city of London, who pretended to despise the army, and to oppose them to death, his Majesty seemed very much elated; inasmuch that when the proposals were solemnly sent to him, and his concurrence most humbly and earnestly desired, his Majesty, not only to the astonishment of Ireton and the rest, but even to mine, entertained them with very tart and bitter discourses, saying sometimes that he would have no man suffer for his sake, and that he repented of nothing so much as the Bill against the Lord Strafford, which, though most true, was unpleasant for them to hear; that he would have the Church established according to law, by the proposals. They replied it was none of their work to do it; that it was enough for them to waive the point, and, they hoped, enough for his Majesty, since he had waived the government of the Church in Scotland. His Majesty said that he hoped God had forgiven him that sin, and repeated often, 'You cannot be without me; you will fall to ruin if I do not sustain you!'"

It was still the old man; the old intolerable, incorrigible talk. He could not give up a single proposition to save all the rest—his life, his family, his crown, and kingdom. The officers looked at one another in amazement; the king's friends in consternation. Sir John Berkeley whispered in his ear that his Majesty seemed to have some secret strength that they did not know of, on which Charles seemed to recollect himself, and spoke more softly; but it was too late, for Colonel Rainsborough, who was least inclined for the pacification, rode to the army and made known the king's obstinacy. The agitators rushed together in crowds, and, excessively chagrined at the rejection of such terms, burst into the bedchamber of Lord Lauderdale, whom they suspected of having thus perverted the king's mind, and compelled him, in spite of his standing in his position as Commissioner from the Estates of Scotland, to rise, and get off back again to Edinburgh.

At this crisis the alarm at the proceedings in London, and the march upon it just related, took place. Still the officers did not cease their exertions to persuade the king to adopt the proposals; but he was waiting to see what turn affairs would take, and listening at the same time to the Scots and the Irish Catholics. This idea was so little concealed that, talking with Ireton, he let slip the observation, "I shall play my game as well as I can." On which Ireton replied, "If your Majesty has a game to play, you must give us leave also to play ours." As the bluster of the City seemed to subside before the approaching army, Charles sent Berkeley to ask the officers, "If he should accept the proposals, what would ensue?" They said, "We will offer them to the Parliament." "And if they should reject them, what then?" The rest of the officers hesitating to answer such a question, Rainsborough said bluntly, "If they won't agree, we will make them!" to which all the rest instantly assented. Berkeley carried this decisive answer to Charles, but there, he says, he had very different work; he was just as unyielding as ever. Cromwell and Ireton then begged that though the king would not sign the proposals, he would at least write a kind letter to the army, which should show the country that they were doing nothing contrary to his Majesty's mind. With the co-operation of Berkeley, Ashburnham, and others of the king's friends, they met at Windsor, and drew up such a letter, but they could not prevail on him to sign it till the City had yielded, and it was too late. Still the officers, to prove that their triumph had not altered in the least their desire for agreement with the king, again voted the proposals as their terms of settlement. Charles renewed his discussion with them, and was every day sending messages by Ashburnham to Cromwell and Ireton, yet never coming nearer; but, on the other hand, bringing those officers into suspicion with a new and fanatic party which had arisen, which originally[71] called themselves Rationalists, but soon after Levellers.


From the Picture by Miss Margaret I. Dicksee, in the Oldham Art Gallery

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The Levellers were, in fact, a set of men amongst whom Lilburne, now Colonel John Lilburne, was a leading character. They had imbibed from the Old Testament, which was their favourite study, a spirit of Republicanism combined with a wild fanatic style of language. They found in the remarks on monarchs in the Scriptures, on the election of Saul by Israel, a clear denunciation of all kings, and they declared they would no longer seek after kings, who aimed only at absolute power; nor after lords, who sought only honours and places; but they would have a free government by a Parliament, and a free religion. They drew up a paper called "The Case of the Army," and another called "The Agreement of the People," which were presented to the general and the Agitators of the eleven regiments. Religious Republicanism was abroad in the army, and they drew up a new constitution, at which a biennial Parliament, with six monthly sessions, a widely-extended franchise, and a more equally-distributed representation, was at the head. There were to be neither king nor lords in their system. Colonels Pride and Rainsborough supported their views: Cromwell and Ireton strenuously opposed them. They were, therefore, immediately the objects of attack, and represented as being in a close and secret compact with the king, the Ahab of the nation, to betray the people. Lilburne was busily employed in writing and printing violent denunciations in flaming style, and strongly garnished with Bible terms. Parliament denounced the doctrines of the Levellers as destructive of all government, and ordered the authors to be prosecuted.

Whilst this fanatic effervescence had broken out in the army, the Presbyterians in Parliament and the Scottish Commissioners made one effort more for the recovery of their ascendency. Regarding the religious toleration proposed in the army conditions as something horrible and monstrously wicked, they drew up fresh proposals of their own, and presented them to the king. If Charles could not endure the army proposals, he was not likely to accept those of the Presbyterians, who gave no place to his own Church at all; and he told them that he liked those of the army better. This answer Berkeley showed to the officers of the army before it was sent; they highly approved of it, and promised to do all they could in the House to get an order voted for a personal treaty, "and," Berkeley adds, "to my understanding, performed it, for both Cromwell and Ireton, with Vane and all their friends, seconded with great resolution this desire of his Majesty." Cromwell, indeed, he says, spoke so zealously in its favour that it only increased, both in the House and out of it, the suspicion of his having made a compact with the king to restore him. The more the officers argued for a personal treaty, the more the Presbyterians in the House opposed it; but at length a resolution was carried for it. It was thought that it would occupy twenty days, but it went on for two months, and came to nothing—other and strange events occurring.

The Levellers, after this display of zeal on the part of Cromwell, vowed that they would kill both him and the king, whom they not only styled an Ahab, a man of blood, and the everlasting obstacle to peace and liberty, but demanded his head as the cause of the murder of thousands of free-born Englishmen. Cromwell declared that his life was not safe in his own quarters, and we are assured that Lilburne and another Agitator named Wildman had agreed to assassinate him as a renegade and traitor to liberty. To check this wild and dangerous spirit in the army, Cromwell and Ireton recommended that it should be drawn closer together, and thus more under the immediate discipline of its chief officers. This was agreed upon, and a general rendezvous was appointed to take place at Ware on the 16th of November.

During the interval Charles was royally lodged at Hampton Court, and was freely permitted to have his children with him, but all the time he was at his usual work of plotting. The Marquis of Ormond, having surrendered his command in Ireland to the Parliament, was come hither; and Lord Capel, who had been one of Charles's most distinguished commanders, being also permitted by Parliament to return from abroad, a scheme was laid, whilst Charles was amusing the army and Parliament with the discussion of the "Proposals," that the next spring, through the Scottish Commissioners, who were also in the plot, a Scottish army should enter England forty thousand strong, and calling on the Presbyterians to join them should march forward. At the same time Ormond should lead an army from Ireland, whilst Capel summoned the rest of the king's friends in England to join the converging forces, and plant the king on the throne. But this wholesale conspiracy could not escape the secret agents of Cromwell; the whole was revealed to him, and he bitterly upbraided Ashburnham with the incurable duplicity of his master, who, whilst he[72] was negotiating with the army, was planning its destruction.

From this moment, whatever was the cause, and the preceding incidents appear both certain and sufficient, Cromwell, Ireton, and the army in general, came to the conclusion that all attempts to bring so double-faced and intriguing a person to honourable and enduring terms were vain; that if he were restored to power, he would use it to destroy every one who had been compelled to oppose his despotic plans; if he were not restored, they would be in a perpetual state of plottings, alarms, and disquietudes, destructive of all comfort or prosperity to the nation. As the officers drew back from further intercourse with the king, the menaces of the Levellers became louder; and there were not wanting persons to carry these threats to the king. He saw the Levellers growing in violence, and in numbers; in fact, Leveller and Agitator were synonymous terms; the infection had spread through the greater part of the army. The fact of the officers having been friendly with him, had made them suspicious to the men; they had driven Ireton from the council, and there were loud threats of impeaching Cromwell. Several regiments were in a state of insubordination, and it was doubtful whether, at the approaching rendezvous, Fairfax could maintain the discipline of the army. The reports of the proceedings of the Levellers (who really threatened to seize his person to prevent the Parliament or officers agreeing with him) and their truculent manifestoes, were all diligently carried to Charles by the Scottish Commissioners, who, according to Berkeley, "were the first that presented his dangers to him." He was assured by Mr. Ackworth that Colonel Rainsborough, the favourite of the Levellers, meant to kill him; and Clarendon says that "every day he received little billets or letters, secretly conveyed to him without any name, which advertised him of wicked designs upon his life;" many, he adds, who repaired to him brought the same advice from men of unquestionable sincerity.

Charles resolved to escape, and, as he was in some cases as religiously scrupulous of his word as he was in others reckless of it, he withdrew his promise not to attempt to escape, on the plea that he found himself quite as rigorously watched as if he were not on honour. Colonel Whalley, who commanded his guard, at once ordered it to be doubled, and dismissed all the king's servants except Legge, refusing further admittance to him. Notwithstanding this, he found means of communicating with Ashburnham and Berkeley, and consulted with them on the means of escape, and the place to escape to. He suggested the City, and Ashburnham advised him to go to the house of the Lord Mayor, in London, there to meet the Scottish Commissioners, agree with them on their last propositions, and then send for the Lords. Berkeley disapproved of this, believing they would not bring over the Commons; and then Ashburnham recommended the king to flee to the Isle of Wight, and throw himself on the generosity of Colonel Hammond, the governor there. This, he says, he did, because Colonel Hammond had a few days before told him he was going down to his government, "because he found the army was resolved to break all promises with the king, and that he would have nothing to do with such perfidious actions."

This seems to have inspired a belief in these men that Hammond was secretly in favour of the king, strengthened, no doubt, by the fact that Dr. Hammond, the king's chaplain, was his uncle, and had lately introduced him to his Majesty as an ingenuous and repentant youth, and, notwithstanding his post, of real loyalty. They forgot that Hammond had another uncle, Lieutenant-General Hammond, who was as democratic as the chaplain was loyal, and was a great patron of the Adjutators. They seem to have reckoned as little on the honour of the young man, who was a gentleman and officer, and had married a daughter of John Hampden.

There were other schemes, one to seek refuge in Sir John Oglander's House, in the Isle of Wight; and there was a talk of a ship being ordered to be somewhere ready for him; but when the escape was made, it appeared to have been just as ill contrived as all the rest of Charles's escapes. Ashburnham and Berkeley had contrived to meet the king in the evening in the gallery of Hampton Court, and settled the mode of escape. It was the king's custom, on the Mondays and Thursdays, to write letters for the foreign post, and in the evenings he left his bedchamber between five and six o'clock and went to prayers, and thence to supper. On one of these evenings, Thursday, the 11th of November, Whalley, finding the king much later than usual in leaving his chamber, became uneasy, went thither, and found him gone. On the table he had left some letters, one to the Parliament, another to the Commissioners, and a third to Colonel Whalley. In the letter to the Parliament he said liberty was as necessary to kings as others; that he had endured a long[73] captivity in the hope that it might lead to a good peace, but that, as it did not, he had withdrawn himself; that, wherever he might be, he should earnestly desire a satisfactory agreement without further bloodshed, and was ready to break through his cloud of retirement and show himself the father of his country whenever he could be heard with honour, freedom, and safety.

CARISBROOKE CASTLE, ISLE OF WIGHT. (From a photograph by F. G. O. Stuart, Southampton.)

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It appeared that he had escaped by way of Paradise, a place so called in the gardens; his cloak was found lying in the gallery, and there were tramplings about a back gate leading to the waterside. Legge accompanied him down the backstairs, and Ashburnham and Berkeley joined them at the gate. The night was dark and stormy, which favoured their escape. They crossed the river at Thames Ditton, and made for Sutton, in Hampshire, where they had horses in readiness. Why they had not provided horses at a nearer point does not appear. In the night they lost their way in the forest, and reaching Sutton only at daybreak, and hearing that a county committee on Parliamentary business was sitting there, they got out their horses, and rode away towards Southampton.

That night Cromwell was aroused from his bed at Putney with a startling express that the king had escaped. He at once despatched a letter to the Speaker, Lenthall, dated twelve o'clock, with the tidings for Parliament, and the news was announced next morning to both Houses. The confusion may be imagined; orders were issued to close all ports; and those who concealed the place of the king's retreat, or harboured his person, were declared guilty of high treason, and menaced with loss of all their estate, and with death without mercy. On the 13th of November Whalley gave a narrative to the Lords of the particulars of his escape as far as known. It appeared that the repeated howling of a greyhound in the king's chamber first assured them that he could not be there. However, on Monday, the 15th, a letter from Colonel Hammond, from the Isle of Wight, much to the relief of Parliament and army, announced that the absconded king was safe in his hands at Carisbrooke Castle.


Charles was at first treated by Colonel Hammond with great leniency, and again employed the time on his hands in negotiation. As the army had restored unity to itself, he sought to obtain its concurrence to a personal treaty, and sent Berkeley to Fairfax, Cromwell, and Ireton, at Windsor. On his way there he fell in with Cornet Joyce, who carried off the king from Holmby, who informed him of an ominous proposition discussed by the Agitators, namely, to bring the king to trial; not, he said, with any design of putting him to death, but to prove on evidence who really bore the blame of the war. This prelude too truly prefigured the interview itself. Fairfax, Cromwell, and Ireton received Berkeley with severe aspects and distant coldness, and told him that they were but the servants of the Parliament, and referred him to it. He was not prevented by this, however, from sending a secret message to Cromwell, reminding him of his promises, and letting him know that he had secret instructions from the king to him. But Cromwell had now had convincing proofs of the king's duplicity; he refused to receive the letters, informed Berkeley that he would do all in his power towards effecting a real peace, but was not disposed to risk his head for the king's sake. Repulsed here, Charles applied to Parliament, which sent him four propositions as the basis of agreement, namely, that his Majesty should concur in the Bill for settling the militia; should recall all the proclamations, oaths, etc., against Parliament; should disqualify all peers made since the renewal of the Great Seal from sitting in the House of Peers; and should pass a Bill for the adjournment of Parliament being placed in the power of the Houses themselves. These Bills were sent by Commissioners to Carisbrooke; but the Scottish Commissioners, who dreaded the acceptance of them as rendering the English Parliament independent of the League and Covenant, hastened there, too, with a modified treaty of their own. Charles, thus encouraged, refused the four Bills; the Commissioners kissed hands and returned, and Charles signed the proposals of the Scots, which guaranteed the independence of their own religion, on condition of finding an army of forty thousand men for the restoration of the king.

Charles was not left long in ignorance of the effect of his refusal of the Parliamentary proposals, and of the discovery of his secret treaty with the Scots. Colonel Hammond received orders to take every measure for the safe keeping of the king, and for preventing the lurking of suspicious vessels in Southampton Water, as it was known that a ship had been engaged by the queen to carry off Charles and land him at Berwick, in readiness to co-operate with the Scottish movement. Hammond dismissed Ashburnham, Legge, and Berkeley, with all other Royalists, from the island; sent away a vessel, supposed to be the very one engaged by the queen; and put the king under strict surveillance and a double guard. He was no longer an apparently free guest, but a close prisoner.

This treatment only doubled his determination to escape. Ashburnham, Berkeley, and Legge, though banished from the island, kept saddle-horses on the coast ready, in case of the king's escaping from Carisbrooke; and his friends from all quarters corresponded with him, and their letters were conveyed to him by Henry Firebrace, who was in some employment in the castle, and was occasionally engaged by one of the warders to take his place before the king's chamber-door, when he put the correspondence entrusted to him through a crevice of the door. The whole island resented the incarceration of the king, and there were loud threats of rising and liberating him by force. One Captain Burley was mad enough to make the attempt. At midnight a drum was beaten. Burley put himself at the head of a rabble in Newport, without, as reported, having a single musket among them, and was speedily taken and executed.

On the 3rd of January, 1648, the two Houses discussed the relations with the king, and in the Commons the plainest Republican sentiments were avowed. The refusal of the four Bills by the king was deemed convincing proof that no possibility was left of ever coming to agreement with him. Sir Thomas Wroth declared that kings of late had conducted themselves more like inmates of Bedlam than anything else, and that he did not care what government was set up if it were not by kings or devils. Ireton contended that the relation of king and subjects implied mutual bonds and duties; the king was to protect the people, and the people to maintain the king in his duty, but that Charles had abandoned his duty, had ceased to protect his people, nay, had made war on them, and therefore had annulled the compact; that, seeing this, the army was resolved to stand by the Parliament for the establishment of national right. Cromwell, after many had proceeded in a like strain, asserted that it was time to fulfil the wearied expectation of the people, and to show that they could govern and defend the kingdom by their own power, and to decide that there was[75] nothing to be hoped from a man whose heart God had hardened in obstinacy. In fact, in Parliament, almost as much as in the army, a large party had come to the conclusion that it was odious in the sight of God to be governed by a king.

The result was a vote that Parliament would make no further applications or addresses to the king, nor receive any message from him, except by full consent of both Houses, under penalty of high treason. The Lords concurred in the vote, and a public declaration was circulated to that effect; and it was also agreed that the Committee of Public Safety should again sit and act alone, without the aid of any foreign coadjutors. This was a plain hint to the Scots that Parliament knew of their late treaty. Hitherto they had formed part of the Committee of both kingdoms, so that they had shared the government of England. This was withdrawn; the Scots therefore demanded the payment of the last one hundred thousand pounds due to them by the treaty of evacuation, and announced their intention to retire on receiving it.

This decided step of Parliament, and the rigour with which Charles was guarded, put the Scots, the Presbyterians, the Royalists all on the alert. They stirred up everywhere a feeling of commiseration for him, as harshly and arbitrarily used; it was represented that the vote of non-address amounted to a declaration that all attempts at reconciliation were at an end, and that the Independents meant to give effect to the doctrines of the army and put the king to death. These efforts were productive of a rapidly and widely spreading sentiment in the king's favour, and soon formidable insurrections were on foot. The king himself omitted no means of attempting his escape. By his plans his second son, the Duke of York, had made his escape from the care of the Earl of Northumberland in female attire, and got to Holland. Towards the end of March Charles tried to escape out of the window of his chamber. A silken cord was prepared to let him down; and, to prove the safety of the descent, Firebrace forced himself between the iron stanchions of the window and let himself down; but the king, in essaying to follow, stuck fast, and, after violent efforts, found it impossible to get through. Cromwell announced to Hammond, in a letter still extant, that Parliament was informed that aquafortis had been sent down to corrode this obstructing bar; that the attempt was to be renewed during the coming dark nights, and that Captain Titus and some others about the king were not to be trusted. At the same time he informed him that the Commons, in reward of his vigilance and services in securing and keeping the king, had raised his pay from ten to twenty pounds a week, had voted him one thousand pounds, and settled upon him and his heirs five hundred pounds per annum.

The reaction in favour of the king now began to discover itself on all sides. Charles published an appeal to the nation against the proceedings of Parliament, which seemed to cut off all further hope of accommodation. Parliament issued a counter-statement, and numerous rejoinders were the consequence—the most able from the pen of Hyde, the Chancellor, and Dr. Bates, the king's physician. Whilst these elements of strife were brewing in England, the Duke of Hamilton, released from Pendennis Castle and restored to the favour of the king, returned to Scotland, and the Marquis of Ormond to Ireland, to muster forces to operate with a simultaneous rising in England. The Scottish muster proceeded with vigour, though stoutly opposed by the Duke of Argyll, and the work of revolt commenced in March, in Wales. Poyer, the Mayor of Pembroke, and governor of the castle, declared for the king, and at the summons of Fairfax refused to yield up his command. Powell and Langherne, two officers of disbanded regiments, joined him, and many of their old soldiers followed them. The Royalists ran to arms, eight thousand men were soon afoot in the Principality, Chepstow and Carnarvon were surprised, and Colonel Fleming was killed. Cromwell was despatched to reduce these forces at the head of five regiments. He quickly recovered Carnarvon and Chepstow, defeated Langherne, and summoned Poyer to surrender. But Pembroke stood out, and was not reduced till July, though Colonel Horton encountered Langherne at St. Fagan's, near Cardiff, and completely routed him.

Meanwhile, in other quarters insurrections broke out. On the 9th of April a mob of apprentices and other young fellows attacked the train-bands in Moorfields, struck the captain, took his colours, and marched with them to Westminster, crying, "King Charles! King Charles!" There they were attacked and dispersed, but they rallied again in the City, broke open houses to obtain arms, and frightened the mayor so that he took refuge in the Tower. The next day Fairfax dispersed them, but not without bloodshed. Soon after three hundred men from Surrey surrounded the Parliament houses, cursing the Parliament, insulting the soldiers, and demanding the restoration of the king. They were not repulsed without some of[76] them being killed. Similar outbreaks took place in Norwich, Thetford, Canterbury, and other places. Pontefract Castle was surprised by eighty cavaliers, each with a soldier mounted behind him.


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Parliament, at the same time, was besieged with petitions for disbanding the army and restoring the king. To allay the ferment in the capital, whilst the army was engaged in the provinces, Parliament passed a resolution that no change should be made in the government by kings, Lords, and Commons. Fairfax withdrew his troops from the Mews and Whitehall, and Major-General Skippon was made commander of the City militia, to act in concert with the Lord Mayor and Corporation. The men of Kent and Essex rose in great numbers for the king. At Deal, off which Colonel Rainsborough, now acting as admiral, was lying, the people rose. The fleet, consisting of six men-of-war, revolted, hoisted the royal colours, and sailed to Helvoetsluys, where they called for the Duke of York to take the command. The effect of this event was neutralised, however, by a victory, which Fairfax obtained on the 1st of June over the Royalists at Maidstone, where, after a hard fight of six hours, he slew two hundred in the streets, and took four hundred prisoners. This defeat prevented the junction of this body with another under Colonel Goring, now Earl of Newport, who marched to Blackheath, and demanded entrance into the City. The Independent party were in a perilous position there. There was, as we have seen, a numerous body in London in favour of the king, who had no reliance on the militia. To conciliate public opinion, the Parliament ordered the release of the aldermen imprisoned at the desire of the army, and revoked the impeachment against the six Lords and eleven Commoners. Holles and his associates resumed their seats and their old measures, voted for a renewed negotiation with Charles on condition that he should restore Presbyterianism, and give the command of the army to Parliament for ten years. Luckily for the Independents, the Lords rejected these propositions, and voted a treaty without any conditions. At the same time the Common Council, showing a decided leaning towards the[77] king, offered to protect him from danger and insult if he would come to the capital. The danger to the Independent interest was only repelled by the obstinacy of their old enemy Holles, who would consent to nothing which did not establish Presbyterianism.


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Whilst these discussions agitated the City, Fairfax marched on Goring, who quitted Blackheath, crossed the Thames into Essex with five thousand horse, where he was joined by Lord Capel, with Royalists from Hertfordshire, and Sir Charles Lucas, with a body of horse from Chelmsford. They concentrated their united force at Colchester, where they determined to hold out till the advance of the Scots, and thus detain the commander-in-chief in the south. The Scots were now in reality on the march. The Duke of Hamilton had not been able to muster more than a fourth of his promised forty thousand. Though he proclaimed everywhere that Charles had promised to take the Covenant and uphold the Presbyterian religion, Argyll and the old covenanting body wholly distrusted these assurances; the Assembly of the Kirk demanded proofs of the king's engagement; the ministers from the pulpits denounced the curse of Meroz on all who engaged in this unholy war, and the women cursed the duke as he passed, and pelted him with stones from their windows.

The English Royalists under Langdale, about four thousand brave Cavaliers, had surprised Berwick and Carlisle, and awaited with impatience Hamilton's arrival. Lambert, the Parliamentary general, advanced and besieged Carlisle, and Hamilton was urged to advance and relieve it. He sent forward a detachment, and on the 8th of July arrived himself, being already supported by three thousand veterans from the Scottish army in Ireland, and, now uniting with Sir Marmaduke Langdale, he presented a formidable force. Lambert retired at his approach, and had Hamilton been a man of any military talent, he might have struck an effective blow. But from the moment that he crossed the Border, he appeared to have lost all energy. His army was paralysed by internal dissensions. The Scottish Presbyterian soldiers were scandalised at having to fight side[78] by side with Langdale's Prelatists and Papists, whom they had been accustomed to see ranged against them as the enemies of the Covenant. In forty days he had advanced only eighty miles, and when he reached the left bank of the Ribble, near Preston, Cromwell had reduced Pembroke, marched rapidly northward through Gloucester, Warwick, Leicester, to Nottingham, where he left his prisoners with Colonel Hutchinson, governor of the castle, and soon joined Lambert at Otley Park, and forced back Langdale from Clitheroe on the main body at Preston. Hamilton at the last moment was all unprepared. Monroe, with his veterans, lay still at Kirkby Lonsdale. Yet Hamilton, with his fourteen thousand, should have been a match for Cromwell, Lambert, and Lilburne's nine thousand. But Cromwell attacked them with such vigour that, after a hard battle of six hours, he routed the whole force. The Cavaliers fought like lions, and only retreated from hedge to hedge before the foe; they called repeatedly on the Scots for reinforcements and ammunition, but not being able to get either, retreated into the town. There they discovered that their allies were engaged in a fierce contest with the enemy for possession of the bridge. Cromwell won the bridge, and the Scots fled in the night towards Wigan. Hamilton retreated with some of the English towards Warrington. Lieutenant-general Baillie, with a great party of the Scottish army, surrendered on quarter in that town. Monroe, who was lying at Kirkby, ignorant of the battle or of the coming up of the fugitives, retreated to Scotland—the only body of Scots who regained their country. Hamilton, on the 20th of August, three days after the battle, was overtaken by Lambert and Lord Grey of Groby, and surrendered at Uttoxeter. Langdale's Cavaliers dispersed in Derbyshire, and he himself, in woman's apparel, was discovered at Widmerpool, in Nottinghamshire; but by the contrivance of Lady Saville, escaped dressed as a clergyman to London, where he remained with Dr. Barwick in the character of an Irish minister driven from his parish by the Papists. So ended Hamilton's boasted invasion. This blow totally annihilated his party in Scotland; Argyll and the Covenanters rose into the ascendant. Argyll soon after this seized a ship containing ten thousand stand of arms, which had been sent from Denmark for Hamilton's expedition. He invited Cromwell to Edinburgh, where he was received with great distinction, and was honoured by the thanks of the Scottish ministers as the preserver of Scotland under God. The members of the faction of Hamilton were declared enemies to religion and the kingdom, and incapable of serving in Parliament or the Assembly of the Kirk. On the 16th of August Cromwell left Edinburgh, Argyll and the nobles of that party accompanying him some miles on his way, and taking leave of him with many demonstrations of respect.

At the same time that the Scots began their march, a rising which had been made in concert with Hamilton, took place in London. The Earl of Holland, who had become contemptible to all parties by twice going over to the Parliament and twice returning to the king, entered London with five hundred horse, and called on the citizens to join him for Charles. The inhabitants had been too recently punished for their apprentice rising to make a second experiment. Holland fell back, therefore, on Kingston-on-Thames, where he was attacked and defeated by Sir Michael Levesey, and Lord Francis Villiers, brother to the young Duke of Buckingham, was slain. Holland himself had induced the brother of Buckingham to follow him; the latter escaped to the Continent, and returned at the Restoration, like most of his party, no better for his experience. Holland and Colonel Dalbier retreated to St. Neot's, where a party of soldiers sent by Fairfax from Colchester met them, and took Holland and killed Dalbier, who was cut to pieces by the soldiers on account of his having been a renegade from the Parliamentary army.

The fate of the Scottish army decided that of Goring at Colchester. There was nothing further to stand out for; he surrendered at discretion, and was sent to prison to await the award of Parliament, with Lord Capel, and Hastings, the brother of the Earl of Huntingdon. But two of his officers, Sir George Lisle and Sir Charles Lucas—the brother of Lord Lucas, and heir to his title and estates—were shot. All sides were growing savage. These two officers fell bravely and deserved a better fate. Lucas, tearing open his doublet, cried, "Fire, rebels!" and instantly fell. Lisle ran to him, kissed his dead body, and then turning to the soldiers, told them to come nearer. One of them said, "I'll warrant you we shall hit you." He replied, "Friends, I have been nearer, when you have missed me." The death of these noble fellows sullied the fair reputation of Fairfax, who afterwards deeply regretted it.

On the revolt of the ships at Deal, under the command of Rainsborough, whom they left ashore, the Parliament appointed the Earl of Warwick,[79] the brother of the Earl of Holland, but more in the confidence of the Reformers, Lord Admiral of the Fleet, and sent him to oppose the insurgent fleet. No sooner was it heard in Paris that the English ships had sailed for Holland, and called on the Duke of York to command them, than it was thought highly expedient that the Prince of Wales should hasten thither himself and take the command. Accordingly, he travelled in all haste to the Hague, accompanied by Prince Rupert, and the Lords Hopton and Colepepper. The prince was received with acclamations by the fleet at Helvoetsluys, and with other vessels, making altogether nineteen, he sailed to the coast of England. It was thought by that party that it was best to sail along the English coast, showing their strength for some time, and then to proceed to the mouth of the Thames. At that time the insurrection in Kent was proceeding under Hales, L'Estrange, and the Earl of Norwich, which Fairfax soon dealt with at Maidstone; but whilst it was in force the prince might have made a safe descent on the Isle of Wight, and attempted the rescue of his father. The castle of Carisbrooke was not strong, and there were few forces besides its garrison in the island; but though Charles anxiously expected the fleet, and sent repeated messages, no attention was paid to them. For nearly a month the prince had the full command of the coast. Fairfax was engaged with the insurgents at Colchester, and the rest of the army was occupied in Wales, and in waiting for the approach of the invasion from Scotland; yet the heir-apparent made no movement for the rescue of his father, which everyone would have thought would have been the first thing with him.

Warwick posted himself at the mouth of the Thames, to prevent any advance towards London, or any relief to Colchester; but he did not deem himself strong enough till he should be joined by another fleet under Sir George Ayscough, from Portsmouth. With this arrival Warwick was in a condition to attack the prince's fleet, but he lay still, nor did the prince appear more inclined to assail him. He was satisfied to intercept merchantmen coming into port, and then demand their ransom from the City. This occasioned a brisk correspondence between London and the prince, under cover of which proposals were made by the prince and his counsellors for the City opening its gates and declaring for the king. But the demand of the prince for ten thousand pounds as ransom of the merchant ships disgusted the City, and presently after came the news of the total defeat of the Scottish army at Preston. On this the prince sailed away again to Helvoetsluys, without attempting anything more. His fleet, according to Clarendon, like the Court and army of his father, was rusted with factions, and so incapable of any decided course of action. But the Earl of Warwick did not present a more flattering aspect. Though it is confessed that he was amply strong enough after Ayscough's junction to have beaten the prince, he satisfied himself with watching him off, and followed him at a respectful distance to the Dutch coast. He is said there to have persuaded the disappointed sailors to return to the service of the Parliament, and thus recovered most of the ships. But the public was greatly dissatisfied with his conduct, and the Independents did not hesitate to declare that they were always betrayed by the cowardice or disaffection of noble commanders. The whole war bore striking evidences of this fact; and Clarendon asserts that Warwick had an understanding with his brother Holland, and would almost certainly have gone over had the Scottish invasion succeeded. Clarendon declares that the Parliament of Scotland had sent Lord Lauderdale to the Hague, to invite Prince Charles to go to Scotland and put himself at the head of affairs there for his father, in order to encourage the endeavour to put down the Independents, who were at once hostile to the king and the Solemn League and Covenant; but that the news of the defeat of Hamilton defeated that object. By the end of August all the attempts of the Royalists were crushed.

The Presbyterians took the opportunity while Fairfax, Cromwell, and the leading Independents were absent with the army, to propose a fresh treaty with Charles. On hearing of this movement, Cromwell wrote to the Parliament, to remind it of its vote of non-addresses, and that to break it and make fresh overtures to the king, who would still adhere to his inadmissible demands, would be an eternal disgrace to them. But the immediate defeat of Hamilton so much raised the terror of the Presbyterians at the overwhelming weight which this would give to the army and the Independent party, that they hastened the business. Charles readily acceded to it, and would fain have obtained his wish of carrying on the negotiation in London, especially as a large party there were urgent for accommodation with him. But the Parliament dare not thus far run counter to the victorious army, and a compromise was effected. Charles was permitted to[80] choose any place in the Isle of Wight where the conference should take place, and he decided on the town of Newport. From the Parliament five Lords, including Northumberland and Pembroke, and ten Commoners, including Vane the younger, Grimstone, Holles, and Pierpoint, were appointed Commissioners, and on Charles's part appeared the Duke of Richmond, the Marquis of Hertford, the Earls of Southampton and Lindsay, with other gentlemen, and a number of his chaplains and lawyers. These were not admitted to sit with the Parliamentary Commissioners and the king, and were not to interpose opinions or arguments during the discussion, which were to be direct from Charles; but they were suffered to be in the room behind a curtain, where they could hear all, and to whom Charles was at liberty to retire to consult them. The conditions were the same as were submitted at Hampton Court, and the king again consented to the surrender of the command of the army for ten years; but he would not accede to the abolition of Episcopacy, but merely to its suspension for three years; moreover, the episcopal lands were not to be forfeited, but granted on long leases, and he would not bind himself to accept the Covenant. In fact, he stood just as rooted to his own notions as if he had as great a chance as ever of obtaining them. In vain the Presbyterians prayed him with tears to yield, to prevent the utter ruin of himself and them. The Commission met on the 18th of September, and it was limited to the 4th of November; but that time arrived and nothing further was concluded. The Commissioners took their leave and proceeded to Cowes, but they were met by a resolution of the Commons to prolong the Conference to the 21st, which was afterwards extended to the 25th of November.

There were signs and circumstances enough abroad to have brought any other man to make the best terms he could. On the 11th of September, before the meeting of the Commission, a petition of many thousands of well-affected men in the cities of London and Westminster, in the borough of Southwark, and the neighbouring villages, "had been presented, praying that justice might be done on the chief author of the great bloodshed which had been perpetrated in the war." They called for the execution of Holland, Hamilton, Capel, Goring, and the rest of the Royalist officers now confined at Windsor. Clarendon says that Capel, at the execution of Lisle and Lucas at Colchester, had spoken so fiercely about it, saying they had better shoot all the rest of the prisoners, and had so upbraided Ireton in particular, to whose vindictive disposition he attributed the bloody deed, that the army was vehement for the death of these men. Numbers of other petitions to the same effect came up from the country and from the regiments, declaring that after so many miraculous deliverances from their treacherous and implacable enemies by the Almighty, it was sinful to delay any longer the punishment of these instruments of cruelty, and especially of the king, the chief offender, the raiser of the war, and the stubborn rejecter of all offers. The army was the more vehement, because one of their most gallant and long-tried leaders, Colonel Rainsborough, had been foully murdered by a number of Royalists.

No wonder that the army was become impatient of further tolerance of such an enemy. Colonel Ludlow, who was also a member of Parliament, protested that it was time that the country laid to heart the blood spilt, and the rapine perpetrated by commission from the king, and to consider whether the justice of God could be satisfied, or His wrath appeased, if they granted an act of oblivion as the king demanded. No; the blood of murdered thousands cried from the ground; as the Book of Numbers declared, "blood defiled the land, and the land could not be cleansed except by the blood of him who shed it." He failed in converting Fairfax to his creed on this head; but Ireton was a more willing listener, and he joined his regiment in petitioning, on the 18th of October, that crime might be impartially punished, without any distinction of high or low, and that whoever should speak or act in favour of the king, before he had been tried and acquitted of shedding innocent blood, should be adjudged guilty of high treason. The example was followed by several other regiments; on the 21st Ingoldsby's regiment petitioned in direct terms for the trial of the king, and declared the treaty at Newport a trap; and on the 16th of November a long and stern remonstrance was addressed by the assembled officers of the army to the House of Commons, demanding that "the capital and grand author of all the troubles and woes which the nation had endured should be speedily brought to justice for the treason, blood, and mischief of which he had been guilty; that the Lords should be abolished, and the supreme power vested in the Commons; that if the country desired any more kings, they should be elected by the Commons; that a period should be fixed for the close of this Parliament; and that any future king should be sworn to[81] govern by the aid of Parliament alone." This startling remonstrance was signed by Rushworth, the historian, secretary to Fairfax, the general himself accompanying the remonstrance by a letter. A violent debate upon this remonstrance took place in the House; but Cromwell was now fast advancing to the capital, and the House adjourned.


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All these ominous proceedings were lost on Charles; whilst he was negotiating, he was, in his usual manner, secretly corresponding with his party in various quarters, apologising for the smallest concessions, on the principle that he did not mean to abide by them. On the 24th of October, after conceding the command of the army, he wrote to Sir William Hopkins, "To deal freely with you, the great concession I made to-day was merely in order to my escape, of which if I had not hope, I would not have done it." He had written on the 10th of October to Ormond in Ireland, with which country he had agreed to have no further intercourse, telling him that the treaty would come to nothing, and encouraging him privately to prosecute the scheme for a rising there with all his vigour, and to let his friends know that it was by his command, but not openly, or this would, of course, knock the treaty on the head. But a letter of Ormond's fell into the hands of the Independents, by which they discovered for what he had been sent over from France to Ireland, and the Commissioners would not proceed till Charles had publicly written to deny any authority from him to Ormond. All the while that the negotiations were proceeding, he was expecting the execution of a plan for his escape; and he told Sir Philip Warwick that if his friends could not rescue him by the time he had requested relief, yet he would still hold on, till he had made some stone in that building his tombstone.

With such a man all treaty had long been hopeless; he would never consent to the demands upon him, and without his consent the whole war had been in vain; nay, did he consent, it was equally certain that, once at liberty, he would break every engagement. What was to be done? The Independents and the army had come to a solemn conviction that there was but one way out of it. The king must be tried for his treason to the[82] nation, and dealt with as any other incorrigible malefactor.

Cromwell, on his way back from Scotland, had called at Pontefract, to take vengeance on the assassins of Colonel Rainsborough, but finding affairs pressing in London, left Lambert to reduce the place and secure the murderers, and hastened towards the capital. He had relied much on Colonel Hammond to keep the king safe, and not to give him up into the hands of Parliament, till full justice had been obtained. But no result accruing from the treaty, the Commissioners prepared to take their leave of the king on the 28th of November. On the 25th Hammond had received an order from Fairfax to proceed to headquarters at Windsor, and on the 26th Colonel Ewer, a zealous Republican, arrived at Newport to take charge of the king, and confine him in Carisbrooke Castle, or elsewhere.

Hammond, who knew well what was the meaning of this, refused to give up his charge, declaring that in all military matters he would obey his general, but that this charge was committed to him by the Parliament, and that he would yield it to no order but theirs. Ewer returned, but the next day was the last day of the Commissioners. Charles, seeing the desperate pass at which matters had arrived, suddenly gave way, and agreed that the seven individuals excepted from pardon should take their trials—namely, the Marquis of Newcastle, Sir Marmaduke Langdale, who had been confined in Nottingham Castle, but had escaped, Lord Digby, Sir Richard Grenville, Sir Francis Doddrington, Lord Byron, and Mr. Justice Jenkins; that the bishops should be abolished, and their lands vested in the Crown till a final settlement of religion.

When the Commissioners took their leave, Charles warned the lords of the party that in his ruin they saw their own. Though he had given up everything at the last moment, he could not flatter himself that this would be accepted, because he knew that the army, which held the real power, had protested against this treaty altogether, as a violation of the vote of non-addresses, and had no faith in his observance of any conditions whatever. With the Commissioners Hammond also departed, and Charles was left in the hands of Major Rolfe, a man who had been charged with a design to take away the king's life six months before. But Charles was not intended to remain in this man's custody; a body of troops under Lieutenant-colonel Cobbet was already on its way to receive the charge. The friends of the king, on learning this, once more implored him to endeavour to escape. The Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Lindsay, and Colonel Coke, urged him to instant flight; they acquainted him with the watchword, and Coke told him he had a boat and horses ready. But all their persuasions were vain; Charles would not move. He pleaded that he had given his parole to the Parliament for twenty days after the treaty. And this was the same man who had been writing North and South during the whole treaty, to assure his friends that he meant to break his word on every point of the treaty, the first moment that he was at liberty. The real reason, we may believe, why Charles did not attempt to escape, was, that he had no hope of it. In all his attempts he never had escaped, and must have had a full conviction that he never could. At five in the morning Cobbet and his troop arrived, and the king was informed that he must arise and accompany it.

The king, greatly agitated, demanded to see the order for his removal, and to know whither they designed to convey him. Cobbet told him they should take him out of the island, but would not show his order. His nobles, bishops, and officers of his household crowded round in alarm and confusion, but there was no alternative; the king was obliged to take his leave of them, with much sorrow, and was conducted to Hurst Castle, on the opposite coast of Hampshire. "The place," says Warwick, "stood in the sea, for every tide the water surrounded it, and it contained only a few dog-lodgings for soldiers, being chiefly designed for a platform to command the ships." The sight of this dreary place struck a serious terror of assassination into his heart, for he never would believe that, though the Levellers talked of it, they would ever dare to bring an anointed king to public trial. Unfortunately, his own officers had lately been rendering assassination familiar to the public mind, for besides the gallant Colonel Rainsborough, they had murdered several other officers of less note, and there was a rumour that they had made a compact to get rid of the king's enemies in this manner. Charles, however, was to learn that the officers of the Parliamentary army disdained murder, and dared arraign a king.

The same day that Charles was transferred to Hurst Castle, the Parliament negatived the motion that the Parliamentary remonstrance should be taken into consideration, and it voted a letter of Fairfax's, demanding pay for the army, or threatening to take it where it could be found, a high and unbeseeming letter. The same day,[83] too, the council of officers addressed a declaration to Parliament, assuring it that, seeing that their remonstrance was rejected, they were come to the conclusion that the Parliament had betrayed its trust to the people, and that the army would, therefore, appeal from their authority "to the extraordinary judgment of God, and all good people." They called on all faithful members to put their confidence in the army, and protest with them against the conduct of their colleagues. Parliament, on its part, sent to Fairfax an order that the army should not advance any nearer to the capital. But the army was advancing—several regiments from the neighbourhood of York—with the avowal that they were following the directions of Providence.

On the 1st of December the Commons met, and as if indifferent to the advance of the army, voted thanks to Holles, Pierpoint, and Lord Wenman, for their care and pains in the good treaty at Newport, and proceeded to read twice the report of the Commissioners. Holles, who, with his accused colleagues, was again in the House, moved that the king's answer should be voted satisfactory; but that question was postponed till the next day, when the House adjourned again till the 4th of December—Fairfax, in defiance of their prohibition, having that day marched into the City, and quartered his troops around Whitehall, York House, St. James's, the Mews, and other places. On the 4th they went into the question of the treaty again, having debated all Friday and Saturday; and on Monday they continued the debate all day until five o'clock the next morning, Tuesday. Such a debate of three days and a night had not hitherto been known, for no subject of such supreme importance had ever yet come before Parliament. Oliver Cromwell arrived in the midst of this memorable debate.

Sir Harry Vane the younger said that the treaty had been carried on for months, and that although the king had appeared to concede much at the last moment, yet they had his own declaration that he did not hold himself bound by promises which he might make, and that it was the conviction of himself, and thousands of others, that the king was not to be trusted; that he, therefore, moved that the House should return at once to its vote of non-addresses, which it ought never to have violated, should cease all negotiations, and settle the commonwealth on another model. Sir Henry Mildmay said the king was no more to be trusted than a caged lion set at liberty. This was the conviction of the whole body of the Independents, and no doubt a solid and rational conviction. But the king did not lack defenders: Fiennes, to the astonishment of his party, advocated the adoption of the report, and even Prynne, who had suffered so severely under it, became a pleader for royalty, that he might chastise Independency and the army. On a division it was found that a majority of thirty-six, being one hundred and forty against one hundred and four, had voted the concessions of Charles at Newport satisfactory, and offering sufficient grounds for settling the peace of the kingdom. But the army—or, in other words, the Independent and Republican cause—was not going thus to be defeated.

On the morning of the 6th of December, Major-general Skippon discharged the train-bands which had guarded the two Houses of Parliament, and Colonel Rich's cavalry and Colonel Pride's regiment of foot took their places. Colonel Pride took the lead in the proceeding, which has thence acquired the name of Pride's Purge. The army determined to purge the Parliament of all those who were weak enough or mischievous enough to consent to the return of the king on his own promises, which had long ceased to mean anything but deceit. Fairfax was engaged in conversation with some of the members, and Colonel Pride, placing some of his soldiers in the Court of Requests, and others in the lobby of the Commons, stood in the latter place with a list of its members in his hand, and as they approached—Lord Grey of Groby, who stood by him as one of the doorkeepers, informing him who the members were—he stopped such as were on his list, and sent them to the Queen's Court, the Court of Wards, and other places appointed for their detention by the general and council of the army. Fifty-two of the leading Presbyterians were thus secured, and the next day, others who had passed the first ordeal were also removed, so that Pride's Purge had left only about fifty members for a House, who were Independents, for others had fled into the country, or hidden themselves in the City to escape arrest. On the whole, forty-seven members were imprisoned, and ninety-six excluded. The purged remainder acquired the well-known name of the Rump.

The Independents were now uncontrolled; the royal party in Scotland, weakened by the defeat of Hamilton's army, were opposed by the Covenanters, who again denounced the curse of Meroz from the pulpit against all who did not rise in defence of the Solemn League and Covenant. Loudon and Eglinton were appointed commanders,[84] and the Earl of Argyll, with his Highlanders, joining them, they, with the forces of Cassilis from Carrick and Galloway, marched to Edinburgh. This wild army advancing from the west were called the "Whiggamores," either from whiggam, a phrase used in driving their horses, or whig (whey), a beverage of sour milk, which was one of their articles of food. Whichever it was, the term was soon used to designate an enemy of the king, and in the next reign was adopted as a nickname for the opponents of the Court, whence the political term "Whig." Lord Lanark and Monroe were glad to treat with the Whiggamores, and disbanded their troops, so that Argyll being a great partisan of Cromwell's, nothing more was to be feared in the North. On Cromwell's visit Berwick and Carlisle had been surrendered to him.

On the sitting of the purged Parliament on the 6th, the first day of Pride's weeding out the suspected members, Cromwell appeared in his place, and was received with acclamations for his services in the North. The 8th was kept as a solemn fast, and a collection was made for the wives and widows of the poor soldiers. They then adjourned to the 11th, and on Sunday, Hugh Peters, the great enthusiast of Republicanism, preached a sermon in St. Margaret's, Westminster, from the text, "Bind your king with chains, and your nobles with fetters of iron;" and he did not hesitate in the sermon to characterise the king as Barabbas, the great murderer, tyrant, and traitor. It was remarkable that not only four earls and twenty commoners of note sat out this sermon, but the Prince Palatine himself, Charles's nephew. The king's own family, whatever their pretences, had clearly given him up to his fate, or the prince, with his powerful fleet, would never have scoured the coasts of the south of England for several weeks without a single attempt to save his father, the impetuous Prince Rupert being on board, and one of his chief counsellors.

Instead of the House of Commons sitting according to adjournment, on the 11th, the Military Councils, the Select Committee, and the General sat, and framed a new scheme of government. It was called "A new Representative, or an Agreement of the People." The composition was said to be Ireton's, but had probably been framed by Cromwell, Ireton, Peters, Vane, Pride, and the leading Republicans. It was but an amplification of the late remonstrance; it proposed that the present Parliament, which had now sat eight years, should be finally dissolved in April next, and a new one elected according to this formula. It declared that officers and malignants should be incapable of electing or being elected; that the House of Commons should consist of three hundred members, and the representation of the country should be more equal. These propositions, having been sanctioned by the general council of soldiers and inferior officers, were carried to Parliament. The Commons the next day readily voted these measures, as well as that both the Commons and Lords, by violating the vote of non-addresses, had committed an act most unparliamentary and detrimental to the kingdom, and that the treaty at Newport was a monstrous error, disgrace, and peril to the country. They again restored the order expelling the eleven Presbyterian members from the House.

On the 16th a strong party of horse was despatched under Colonel Harrison to remove the king to Windsor Castle. On the very day that he reached Windsor, the House of Commons, or the Rump fragment of it, appointed a committee of thirty-eight "to consider of drawing up a charge against the king, and all other delinquents that may be thought fit to bring to condign punishment." On the 1st of January, 1649, the committee made the following report:—"That the said Charles Stuart, being admitted King of England, and therein trusted with a limited power to govern by and according to the laws of the land, and not otherwise; and by his trust, oath, and office, being obliged to use the power committed to him for the good and benefit of the people, and for the preservation of their rights and liberties; yet, nevertheless, out of a wicked design to erect and uphold in himself an unlimited and tyrannical power, to rule according to his will, and to overthrow the rights and liberties of the people; yea, to take away and make void the foundations thereof, and of all redress and remedy of misgovernment, which by the fundamental constitutions of this kingdom were reserved on the people's behalf, in the right and power of frequent and successive Parliaments, or national meetings in council; he, the said Charles Stuart, for accomplishing of such his designs, and for the protecting of himself and his adherents in his and their wicked practices, to the same ends hath traitorously and maliciously levied war against the present Parliament, and the people therein represented." The report, therefore, declared that he should be brought to judgment for his treason to the nation.


TRIAL OF CHARLES I. (See p. 86.)

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The next day the ordinance of the Commons[86] confirming the report was sent up to the Lords, or at least to the few of them remaining, only amounting to about a dozen, who rejected it without a dissenting voice, and then adjourned. The Commons immediately closed their doors, and passed a resolution that the Commons of England in Parliament assembled were, under God, the origin of all just power as the representatives of the people; that whatsoever they decreed was law, and did not require any concurrence from the Lords.

On the 6th of January the Commons passed the ordinance for the trial of the king. By it they erected a High Court of Justice for trying him, and proceeding to judgment against him. It consisted of no less than a hundred and thirty-five Commissioners, of whom twenty were to form a quorum. Of these Commissioners no more than eighty assembled. On the 8th, fifty assembled in the Painted Chamber, Fairfax at their head, and ordered that on the morrow the herald should proclaim the approaching trial, and invite all people to bring in what matters of fact they had against Charles Stuart. Accordingly that was done both at Westminster and in the City the same day, the 9th. The Commons ordered the Great Seal in use to be broken up, and a new seal introduced, bearing the inscription, "The Great Seal of England," and on the reverse, "In the first year of Freedom, by God's blessing restored, 1648" (i.e., 1649, new style). The Commissioners then appointed John Bradshaw, a native of Cheshire, and a barrister of Gray's Inn, who had practised much in Guildhall, and had lately been made a serjeant, Lord President of the High Court; Mr. Steel, Attorney-General; Mr. Coke, Solicitor-General; Mr. Dorislaus and Mr. Aske, as Counsel for the Commonwealth; and, appointing the old Courts of Chancery and King's Bench, at the upper end of Westminster Hall, as the place of trial, they fixed the day for the 19th of January. On the 20th of January the Commissioners assembled in the Painted Chamber to the number of sixty-six, and proceeded in state to Westminster Hall.

It may be imagined that such a spectacle drew immense throngs. Every avenue to the hall was guarded by soldiers, and others stood armed within it. The open space below the bar was densely crowded, and equally packed throngs of nobles, gentlemen, and ladies, looked down from the galleries right and left. A chair of crimson velvet for the President stood elevated on three steps towards the upper end of the hall, and behind and in a line with him right and left the Commissioners took the seats placed for them, which were covered with scarlet. Before the President stood a long table on which lay the mace and sword, and just below him, at its head, sat two clerks. At the bottom of the table, directly opposite to the President, was placed a chair for the king.

After the commission had been read, Bradshaw ordered the prisoner to be brought to the bar. He had been brought from Whitehall, to which he had been removed from St. James's, in a sedan chair, and the serjeant-at-arms conducted him to the bar. His step was firm, and his countenance, though serious, unmoved. He seated himself covered, according to the wont, not of a prisoner, but of a king; then rose and surveyed the court and crowds around him. The Commissioners all sat with their hats on, and Charles eyed them sternly. He then glanced round on the people in the galleries and those around him with an air of superiority, and reseated himself. Bradshaw then addressed him to this effect:—"Charles Stuart, King of England,—The Commons of England, being deeply sensible of the calamities that have been brought upon this nation, which are fixed upon you as the principal author of them, have resolved to make inquisition for blood; and, according to that debt and due they owe to justice, to God, the kingdom, and themselves, they have resolved to bring you to trial and judgment, and for that purpose have constituted this High Court of Justice before which you are brought." Coke, the Solicitor-General, then rose to make the charge against him, but Charles, rising and crying, "Hold! hold!" tapped him on the shoulder with his cane. In doing this the gold head dropped from his cane, and though he took it up with an air of indifference, it was an incident that made a deep impression both on him and the spectators. He mentioned the circumstance to the Bishop of London, who attended him in private, with much concern, and those who saw it regarded it as an especial omen.

Coke, however, went on, and desired the clerk to read the charge, and whilst it was reading, Charles again cried, "Hold!" but as the clerk continued, he sat down, looking very stern; but when the words of the charge declaring him to be a tyrant and a traitor were read, he is said to have laughed outright. When the charge was finished, Bradshaw demanded what he had to say in reply to it; but he in his turn demanded by what authority he had been brought there? And he asserted very forcibly that he was king; acknowledged no authority superior to his own, and[87] would not by any act of his diminish or yield up that authority, but leave it to his posterity as he had derived it from his ancestors. He reminded them that he had lately, in the Isle of Wight, treated with a number of lords and gentlemen; that they were upon the conclusion of that treaty, and he wanted to know by what authority he had, under such circumstances, been brought thence.

This was very true, and would have been unanswerable, had he, as he asserted, treated with them honestly and uprightly; but we know that at the very time that he was carrying on that treaty, and to the very last, he was also carrying on a secret correspondence with Ormond in Ireland, his wife in France, and with other parties, informing them that he was only doing this because there was no help for it; but that he had games to play which would still defeat the whole affair. He was meaning nothing less, and privately declaring nothing less, than that he would, on the first opportunity, be as despotic as ever. He continued, however, to demand, "By what authority am I here? I mean lawful authority, for there are many unlawful authorities in the world—thieves and robbers by the highways. Remember, I am your lawful king: let me know by what lawful authority I am seated here; resolve me that, and you shall hear more from me." Bradshaw told him that he might have observed that he was there by the authority of the people of England, whose elected king he was. That afforded Charles another answer. "England," he said, "never was an elective but an hereditary kingdom for nearly these thousand years. I stand more for the liberty of my people than any here that are come to be my pretended judges." Bradshaw might have told him that the people thought it time to put an end to the hereditary form, and adopt a new one; but he replied, "Sir, how well you have managed your trust is known. If you do not acknowledge the authority of the court I must proceed." Charles, however, turned to another weak place in his adversary's answer, and exclaimed, "I see no House of Lords that may constitute a Parliament, and the king, too, must be in and part of a Parliament." It was unquestionable that Charles could not be answered on the constitutional ground, but only on the revolutionary one, on that principle of the power and right of the people to revolutionise, and shape anew their constitution (which in 1688 was acknowledged and established as a great fact of the rights of nations), and Bradshaw brought forward that plea—"If you are not satisfied with our authority, we are satisfied with it, which we have from God and the people." He informed Charles that he would be expected to answer, and adjourned the court till Monday.

The two following days were spent in receiving evidence of the king's having not only commenced the war on his subjects, but of his having commanded personally in it, and in settling the form of judgment to be pronounced. On the third day, when Charles was again brought forward, the same painful scene was renewed of the king's denying the court, refusing to plead, and yet insisting on being heard. Bradshaw told him in vain that if he pleaded, admitting the authority of the court, he would be at liberty to make any observation in his defence that he pleased; but that in no court could it be otherwise. He then demanded a hearing before a committee of both Houses, but he was reminded that the authority of the Lords was no longer admitted. He assured him that though he contended that he had no superior in the State, the law was his superior, and that there was a power superior to the law—the people, the parent or author of the law—which was not of yesterday, but the law of old; that there were such things as parliaments, which the people had constructed for their protection, and these Parliaments he had endeavoured to put down and destroy; and that what his endeavours had been all along for the crushing of Parliament, had been notorious to the whole kingdom. "And truly, sir," he continued, "in that you did strike at all, for the great bulwark of the liberties of the people is the Parliament of England. Could you but have confounded that, you had at one blow cut off the neck of England. But God hath been pleased to confound your design, to break your forces, to bring your person into custody, that you might be responsible to justice."

He then combated Charles's argument, that there was no law or example of people deposing or destroying their kings. He quoted many instances from foreign nations, in which they had resisted, fought against, and destroyed their kings. Charles's own country of Scotland, before all others, abounded with instances of the deposition and putting to death of their sovereigns. His grandmother had been so set aside, and his own father, a mere infant, put in her place. The Lord President then referred to the depositions of Edward II. and Richard II., which he contended were effected by Parliament, and said that their crimes were not a tenth part so capital against the nation as those in this charge. As Charles again continued to[88] reply and argue without submitting to plead, Bradshaw told him the court had given him too much liberty already, and ordered the sentence to be read. But here John Downes, one of the Commissioners, a citizen of London, said to those near him, "Have we hearts of stone? Are we men?" and then rising and trembling violently, exclaimed, "My lord, I am not satisfied to give my consent to the sentence. I desire the court may adjourn to hear me." They therefore adjourned, but in half an hour returned with a unanimous verdict of guilty.

Bradshaw then proceeded to pronounce the sentence. When the names of the Commissioners were read that morning, on that of Fairfax being called, a female voice from one of the galleries cried out, "He has more wit than be here." When the name of Cromwell was read, the same voice exclaimed, "A rogue and a traitor." As Bradshaw now went on to say, the king had been called to answer by the people, before the Commons of England assembled in Parliament, the same female voice shouted, "It is false! not one half-quarter of them!" There was a great excitement; all turned towards the gallery whence the voice came, from amid a group of masked ladies. Axtell, the officer commanding the soldiers, brutally ordered them to fire into the group; but the soldiers hesitated, and a lady rose and walked out of the gallery. It was seen to be Lady Fairfax, the wife of the commander-in-chief, a woman of very ancient and noble family, the Veres of Tilbury, who had come to object most decidedly to the extreme measures of the army, and had prevailed on her husband to keep away from the court.

After order had been restored, Bradshaw ordered the charge to be read, the king still interfering; and then Bradshaw passed the sentence, "That the court being satisfied in conscience that he, Charles Stuart, was guilty of the crimes of which he had been accused, did adjudge him as a tyrant, traitor, murderer, and public enemy to the good people of the nation, to be put to death by severing his head from his body."

After the sentence was pronounced, Charles again requested to be heard; but Bradshaw told him that after the sentence it could not be allowed, and ordered the guards to take him away. The Royalist writers state that during the trial the people had cried, "Justice! justice!" whilst others cried, "God save the king!" but that after the king was condemned, the soldiers, as he passed, insulted him in the grossest manner, spitting on him, blowing their tobacco in his face, throwing their pipes at him, and yelling in his ears, "Justice! justice! execution! execution!" But the popular party utterly denied the truth of these assertions; declaring that they were got up to make the case of Charles resemble that of the Saviour, to render his judges odious, and himself a sacred martyr. One soldier, Herbert says, as the king was proceeding to his sedan chair, said, "God help and save your majesty!" and that Axtell struck him down with his cane, on which the king said, "Poor fellow! it is a heavy blow for a small offence." To the hired hootings of the military, Herbert says that he merely remarked, "Poor souls! they would say the same to their generals for sixpence."

Charles went back to St. James's Palace, where he spent the remainder of the day, Sunday, the 28th of January, and Monday, the 29th, the execution being fixed for Tuesday, the 30th. He had the attendance of Juxon, the late Bishop of London, and the next morning he received the last visit of his only two remaining children in England, the Duke of Gloucester and the Princess Elizabeth. The princess was not twelve, and the king, setting her on his knee, began speaking to her—"But, sweetheart," he said, "thou wilt forget what I tell thee." The little girl, bursting into tears, promised to write down all that passed, and she did so. In her account, preserved in the "Reliquiæ Sacræ," she says, amongst other things, that he commanded her to tell her mother that his thoughts had never strayed from her, that his love would be the same for her to the last; and that he died a glorious death for the laws and religion of the land. To the Duke of Gloucester he said, "Sweetheart, now they will cut off thy father's head. Heed what I say, they will cut off my head, and perhaps make thee a king. But mark what I say; you must not be a king as long as your brothers Charles and James live; therefore, I charge you, do not be made a king by them." At which the child, sighing deeply, replied, "I will be torn in pieces first." "And these words coming unexpectedly from so young a child," says the princess, "rejoiced my father exceedingly." The whole interview was extremely affecting.

Charles slept well, but woke early, and bade his man Herbert rise and dress him with care, for it was his second marriage day, and he would be as trim as possible. Whilst Herbert dressed him, he told him he had dreamt of Archbishop Laud, who, on the king speaking seriously to him, had sighed and fallen prostrate. Charles said, had he not[89] been dead, he might possibly have said something to Laud to cause him to sigh; so that it is possible he felt that Laud's proceedings and advice had brought things to this pass. He desired to have two shirts on, as the weather was very cold; for if he shook, the rogues would think it was through fear. He observed that he was glad he had slept at St. James's, as the walk through the park would warm him. At ten o'clock the summons came—Colonel Hacker knocked at the door to say they were ready. Hacker turned pale on seeing the king come out, and was much affected. Ten companies of infantry formed a double line on each side of his path, and a detachment preceded him with banners flying and drums beating.


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On the king's right walked Juxon, on his left the Parliamentary Colonel Tomlinson, bareheaded. The king walked through the park at a brisk rate, and said to the guard, "Come, my good fellows, step on apace." He pointed out a tree planted by his brother Henry, and on arriving at Whitehall, he ascended the stairs with a light step, passed through the long gallery, and went to his chamber, where he remained with Juxon in religious exercise. It was past one o'clock before he was summoned to the scaffold, where the executioner, Brandon, and Hulet, a sergeant appointed to assist him, disguised in black masks, awaited him. The scaffold was raised in the street, in front of the Banqueting House at Whitehall, and he passed through a window which had been taken out, upon it. All was hung with black cloth, and in the middle of the scaffold stood the block, with the axe enveloped in black crape lying on it.

Charles made a speech, in which he denied making war on the Parliament, but the Parliament on him, by claiming the militia. Church, Lords, and Commons had, he said, been subverted with the sovereign power; if he would have consented to reign by the mere despotism of the sword, he asserted that he might have lived and remained king. He declared that he forgave all his enemies; and yet when the executioner knelt and begged his forgiveness, he said, "No, I forgive no subject of mine, who comes deliberately to shed my blood." He said that the nation would never prosper till they placed his son on the throne; and[90] to the last moment, rooted in his theory of divine right, he denied that the people ought to have any share in the government—that being a thing "nothing pertaining to them"—and yet that "he died the martyr of the people."

Whilst he spoke some one disturbed the axe, on which he turned and said, "Have a care of the axe; if the edge be spoiled, it will be the worse for me." After concluding his speech, he put up his hair under a cap, and the bishop observed, "There is but one stage more, which, though turbulent and troublesome, is yet a very short one. Consider it will carry you a great way—even from earth to heaven." "I go," said the king, "from a corruptible crown to an incorruptible, where no disturbance can take place." "You are exchanged from a temporal to an eternal crown—a good exchange," replied the bishop. The king then took off his cloak, and gave his George to Juxon, saying impressively, "Remember!" The warning is supposed, as the medallion of the George concealed a portrait of Henrietta, to have regarded a message to his wife. Having laid his head on the block, the executioner severed it at a single stroke, and Hulet, the sergeant, holding it up, cried, "Here is the head of a traitor." At that sight a universal groan seemed to go through the crowd.

The body lay at Whitehall, to be embalmed, till the 7th of February, when it was conveyed to Windsor, and laid in the vault of St. George's Chapel, near the coffins of Henry VIII. and Jane Seymour. The day was very snowy, and the coffin being deposited without any service, was left without any inscription except the words, "Carolus Rex, 1648," the letters of which were cut out of a band of lead by the gentlemen present, with their penknives, and the lead folded round the coffin. In this condition it was discovered in 1813, when George IV., attended by Sir Henry Halford, had it opened, and found proof that the head had been separated from the body.



Proclamation of the Prince of Wales Forbidden—Decline of the Peerage—Ultimus Regum—Establishment of a Republican Government—Abolition of the House of Lords and the Monarchy—Council of State—The Oath Difficulty—The Engagement—Religious Toleration—Trials of Royalists—Discontent among the People—The Levellers—Activity of John Lilburne—Quelling the Mutiny in Whalley's Regiment—Lockyer's Funeral—Arrest of Lilburne—Spread of the Disaffection to other Regiments—Suppression of the Insurrection—Cromwell appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland—Royalist Movement in Scotland—Charles's Son proclaimed King—The Scottish Deputation at the Hague—Charles's Court—Assassination of Dr. Dorislaus—Affairs in Ireland—Cromwell's Campaign—Defeat and Death of Montrose—Cromwell in Scotland—Battle of Dunbar—Movements of Charles—His March into England—Battle of Worcester—Charles Escapes to France—Vigorous Government—Foreign Difficulties—Navigation Act—War with Holland—Contest between Parliament and the Army—Expulsion of the Rump—The Little Parliament—Cromwell made Protector.

The king being put to death, it was necessary that the Parliament should immediately determine what sort of government should succeed. Had they been disposed to continue the monarchy, and receive the eldest son of Charles, it was still necessary to take efficient means for obtaining from him, before admitting him to the throne, a recognition of all the rights for which they had striven with his father. The very day, therefore, of the king's execution, the House of Commons passed an Act, making it high treason for any one to proclaim the Prince of Wales, or any other person, king or chief magistrate of England or Ireland, without consent of Parliament; and copies of this were immediately despatched to all the sheriffs, to be proclaimed in the counties. That done, they proceeded gradually, but promptly, to develop and complete their design of adopting a Republican form of government.

The first step was to deal with the Lords. That body, or the miserable remnant thereof, still sat in the Upper House, and sent repeated messages to the Commons, to which they deigned no reply. The Lords, in fact, had become contemptible in the eyes of the whole community. They had sunk and trembled before the genius of the Commons. Though strongly inclined to stand by royalty, and though all their interests were bound up with it, though they had been created by royal fiat, and made all that they were by it,[91] in honour, power, and estate, and though it required no great sagacity to perceive that they must fall with it, the king himself having repeatedly assured them that such would be the case, they had neither the policy nor the gratitude to hold together and maintain the fountain of their honour, nor the prescience to perceive their case when the Crown must fall, and make a merit of going over bodily to the conquering power. They had gone to pieces, some holding with one side, some with the other, some vacillating between both, changing and rechanging as the balance turned one way or the other. What was still worse, they had discovered no talent whatever on either side, with most rare exceptions, and these not remarkable, even where they had adopted a side and become partisans. Essex, Warwick, Holland, Hamilton, Newcastle, Northumberland, Ormond, and the rest, what had they done? Fairfax and Montrose, out of the whole body—and Montrose had personally been raised to it—had alone won great names. Fairfax, indeed, independent of Cromwell's hand and head, was respectable, but nothing more. The whole peerage had sunk into contemptible eclipse before the bold and vigorous genius of the Commoners. Without, therefore, deigning to answer their messages, on the 5th of February they began to discuss the question as to their retention or abolition, and the next day they voted, by a majority of forty-four to twenty-nine, that "the House of Peers in Parliament was useless and dangerous, and ought to be abolished; that the privilege of peers, of being freed from arrest, should be declared null and void, but that they might be elected knights or burgesses for the Commons." Henry Marten moved that the word "dangerous" should be omitted, and the word "useless" only be retained; or if the word "dangerous" were retained, it should be only with "not" before it, for the peers were certainly not dangerous, but pitiably useless, and they had now come to see verified what Holles had told them, that if they would not heartily join in saving the nation, it would be saved without them. An Act to this effect was soon after brought in and passed.

On the day following (the 7th), the Commons proceeded to a more important question, and voted that it had been found by experience that the office of a king in this nation, and that to have the power thereof in any single person, was unnecessary, burdensome, and dangerous to the liberty, safety, and public interest of the nation, and therefore that it should be utterly abolished; and to that purpose an Act should be forthwith prepared. This was speedily followed by a vote, on the motion of Henry Marten, that the king's statues at the Royal Exchange and other places should be taken down, and on the places where they stood should be inscribed, "Exit Tyrannus, Regum ultimus, Anno Libertatis Angliæ restitutæ primo, A.D. 1648, January 30" (old style). There was, moreover, an elaborate declaration drawn up, to justify the changing of England into a Republic, translated into Latin, French, and Dutch, and addressed to foreign States. The custody of the new Great Seal was entrusted to three lawyers—namely, Whitelock, Keble, and Lisle; they were to hold it during good behaviour, and to be called Keepers of the Liberties of England, by authority of Parliament. The King's Bench was henceforth named the Upper Bench, and came to be called the Commons Bench, and Oliver St. John, who had done so much to bring about this revolution, was made Chief Justice.

The next great measure was to dissolve the Executive Council, which had sat at Derby House, and revive it in a more extended form as the Executive Council of State, to consist of forty-one members. Three-fourths of these had seats in the House, and several of the late peers—Mulgrave, Pembroke, Denbigh, Fairfax, Lisle, Grey of Groby, Salisbury, and Grey of Werke. The chief heads of the law and officers of the army were included. The principal names were, the late peers already mentioned, and Whitelock, St. John, Cromwell, Skippon, Hazelrig, Midmay, Vane, Marten, Bradshaw, Ludlow, and Colonel Hutchinson, Governor of Nottingham. Milton, the great national poet, was appointed its secretary, and henceforth prepared its public acts, and employed his mighty talents in the defence of the measures of the Republican Government.

It was necessary to have an oath, and one was constructed which approved of the king's trial, of the vote against the Scots and their English associates, and of the abolition of monarchy and the House of Lords. But as this would not only exclude all conscientious Presbyterians, but called on the Lords to pass an act of censure on themselves, as well as on all to approve of Acts of Parliament in which they had no concern, Fairfax and some others refused to take it, and it had to be reduced to the undertaking "to be true and faithful to the Government established without king or House of Peers, and never to consent to their re-admission." This was called the[92] "Engagement," and still was effective in excluding all Royalists, and such of the Presbyterian party as would not consent to violate their favourite Covenant. Of the twelve judges, ten had been appointed by the revolutionary party, and the whole of them had quietly continued their functions through the war against the king; yet six of these now resigned, probably having hoped to the last for an accommodation with the king, and not going in their minds the length of a commonwealth. The other six consented to hold their offices only on the condition that an Act of the Commons should guarantee the non-abolition of the fundamental laws of the kingdom.

With regard to the Church, as the present Government was decidedly in favour of ample toleration, it satisfied itself with making a slight modification of the existing Presbyterian power, and allowing it to remain, at the same time that it deprived its intolerant clergy of all temporal power whatever. No holders of religious opinions were to be molested, provided that they did not attack the fundamental principles of Christianity, and thus the Roman Catholics acquired more civil as well as religious liberty than they had enjoyed since the days of Queen Mary.

The army remained in the same able hands which had made it the finest army in Europe, and had won with it such wonderful victories. Fairfax still continued commander-in-chief, though he had held aloof from the king's trial, and the navy was put on a more efficient footing by removing the Earl of Warwick and appointing Blake, who had shown remarkable skill and courage on land, with Popham and Dean as admirals. These great changes were chiefly effected by the influence of Cromwell, Ireton, Marten, and Bradshaw, assisted by the talents of Vane, and the legal ability of St. John and Whitelock. They also introduced a Parliamentary measure, which essentially modified the character of the House. On the 1st of February they carried a vote that those who, on the 5th of December, assented to the vote that "the king's concessions were a sufficient ground to proceed to a settlement," should be incapable of sitting, but all others who should previously enter on the journal their dissent from that motion should be admissible. By this means they found the number of members raised to one hundred and fifty, and at the same time they were protected from a wearying opposition from the Presbyterian section.

They now proceeded to bring to trial such of the Royalist prisoners as had engaged in the last insurrection, whom they regarded as disturbers of the kingdom after it had once conquered the king, and might have proceeded to a settlement. They looked on them, in fact, as a species of rebels to the party in power. And yet that party was not constituted, even by its own formal enactments, as a fully recognised Government, till these trials were over. They terminated on the 6th of March, and the Republic was not formally passed till the 19th of that month, in these words: "Be it declared and enacted by this present Parliament, and by the authority of the same, that the people of England, and of all the dominions and territories thereunto belonging, are and shall be, and are hereby constituted, made, established, and confirmed to be, a Commonwealth or Free State; and shall from henceforth be governed as a commonwealth and free state, by the supreme authority of this nation, the representatives of the people in Parliament, and by such as they shall appoint and constitute officers and ministers under them for the good of the people, and without any king or House of Lords."

Whilst this Act was preparing, the trials were going on: the votes for the sitting of the Council and the Commons were considered sufficient authority. The trials were probably hastened by the news that Charles II. had been proclaimed in Scotland, and that the Scots were raising an army to avenge the king's death, and "to punish the sectaries of England for the breach of the Covenant." The persons whom it was resolved to try, were the Duke of Hamilton, the Earl of Holland, Lord Goring, lately created Earl of Norwich, Lord Capel, and Sir John Owen. The High Court appointed to try these prisoners consisted of fifty persons of both ex-Peers and Commons. The Duke of Hamilton pleaded that he was not within the jurisdiction of an English court, that he was a subject of Scotland, and a prisoner of war; but it was replied that he was also an English peer, as Earl of Cambridge, and it was proved that not only was his father naturalised as an English peer, but he himself had been called to sit as such, and had sat. The Earl of Holland was ill, and therefore made little defence, except pleading that he had free quarter given him when he was taken at St. Neots; but this was fully disproved. Lord Goring, or, as now called, the Earl of Norwich, had been a steady partisan of the king's, and had shown little lenity to the Parliamentarians; but he now conducted himself with great respect to the court, and seemed to leave himself in their hands. Lord Capel was one of[93] the bravest and proudest of the Royalist generals. During his imprisonment he escaped from the Tower, but was betrayed by the boatmen with whom he crossed the Thames. He had expressed great indignation at the deaths of Lisle and Lucas, and had excited the resentment of Ireton by it. He now demanded to be tried by court martial, and declared that when Lisle and Lucas were adjudged to die, Fairfax had declared that all other lives should be spared, and had evidence to prove it, if he were allowed. Ireton, who really seems to have felt a stern resentment against the free-speaking general, denied that Fairfax had given any such promise, and that if he had, he had no right to supersede the authority of Parliament. He demanded that Fairfax should be sent for; but the court satisfied itself with sending to the general, who returned by letter a rather equivocating answer, saying that his promise only applied to a court martial, and not to any such court as Parliament might see fit to appoint. Bradshaw told Capel, who was not satisfied with this, that he was tried by such judges as Parliament thought proper to give him, and who had judged a better man than himself.


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Sir John Owen, who was a gentleman of Wales, in the late outbreak had killed a sheriff. He pleaded quarter, and that he had only done what he thought his duty, in support of the king. As to killing the sheriff, the sheriff had risen against him with force, and was killed in the accident of war, which he might have avoided if he had stayed quietly at home. All five were condemned to lose their heads, the Earl of Holland as a double turncoat, and his conduct had certainly been anything but consistent and noble. Sir John Owen, on hearing the sentence, made a low bow and thanked the judges; and being asked why, he[94] replied, that it was a very great honour for a poor gentleman of Wales to die like a lord, and he had not expected anything better than hanging. No sooner was the sentence passed, than the friends of Hamilton, Holland, and Capel, made great exertions to save their lives. The wives of Holland and Capel appeared at the bar, attended by long trains of females in mourning, to beg for their lives. Two days' respite was granted, and every effort, persuasion, and bribery was put in force. Hamilton had fewer friends than the rest, but it was urged that his death might occasion trouble with Scotland; but Cromwell knew that they had the interest of Argyll, and that Hamilton's being out of the way would strengthen that interest. The case of Holland occasioned a great debate. The Earl of Warwick, his brother, on one side urged his services to the Parliament for a long period—his enemies, his revolt from it on the other. Cromwell and Ireton were firmly against them, and the sentences of these three were confirmed. The votes regarding Goring were equal, and Lenthall, the Speaker, gave the casting vote in his favour, alleging that he formerly had done him an essential service. Sir John Owen, to the satisfaction of those who admired his frank and quaint humour, was also reprieved, and ultimately liberated. He had softened even the heart of Ireton, and greatly moved the good Colonel Hutchinson, and both spoke in his favour. Hamilton, Capel, and Holland, were beheaded in the Palace Yard on the 9th of March.

The Parliament was soon called on to defend itself against more dangerous enemies. The country was groaning under the exhaustion of the civil war. For seven years it had been bleeding at every pore; and now that the war had ceased, the people began to utter aloud their complaints, which, if uttered before, had been drowned in the din of conflict. There was everywhere a terrible outcry against the burden of taxation; and famine and pestilence—the sure successors of carnage and spoliation—were decimating the people. In Lancashire and Westmoreland numbers were daily perishing, and the magistrates of Cumberland deposed that thirty thousand families in that county had neither seed- nor bread-corn, nor the means of procuring either. What rendered this state of things the more dangerous, was the turbulence of the Levellers. The principles of Republicanism which had borne on the heads of the army, threatened in turn to overwhelm them in their progress amongst the soldiers. It is easier to set in motion revolutionary ideas, than to say to them, "Thus far shall ye go and no farther." In all revolutions, the class which initiates them wishes to stop at the point that is most convenient to itself; but other classes beyond this line are equally anxious, and have an equal claim to the benefit of levelling principles. It is only power which limits their diffusion. The power now had passed from the king and the lords, and had centred in the leaders of the army. It was not convenient or desirable for them that it should go farther. But the soldiers and the lower officers, with John Lilburne at their head, claimed a Republic in its more popular sense. They read in the Bible, and preached from it in the field, that God was no respecter of persons; that human rights were as universal as the human race. They saw that Cromwell, Ireton, Harrison, and a few others were the men who ruled in the Parliament, the Council, and the Army; and they conceived that they were no longer seeking the common rights of the community, but the aggrandisement of themselves. Colonel John Lilburne was pouring out pamphlet upon pamphlet, and disseminating them through the ranks and through the people—"England's New Chains Discovered," "The Hunting of the Foxes from Triploe Heath to Whitehall by Five Small Beagles." These foxes were Cromwell, Ireton, Fairfax, etc., who had suppressed the mutiny at Triploe Heath—and the five beagles those who had been made to ride the wooden horse for their insubordination, that is, set upon a sharp three-cornered wooden machine, with weights or muskets tied to their feet. News came to Parliament that one Everard, a soldier passing for a prophet, and Winstanley, another, with thirty more, were assembled on St. George's Hill, near Cobham, in Surrey, and were digging the ground and planting it with roots and beans. They said they should shortly be four thousand, and invited all to come and help them, promising them meat, drink, and clothes. Two troops of horse were sent to disperse them, of which they loudly complained, and Everard and Winstanley went to the general, and declared "that the liberties of the people were lost by the coming in of William the Conqueror, and that ever since, the people of God had lived under tyranny and oppression worse than our forefathers under the Egyptians. But now the time of deliverance was at hand, and God would bring His people out of this slavery, and restore them to their freedom in enjoying the fruits and benefits of the earth. There had lately appeared to him [Everard] a vision, which bade him arise and dig[95] and plough the earth, and receive the fruits thereof. He said that their intent was to restore the earth to its former condition; that, as God had promised to make the barren fruitful, so now what they did was to restore the ancient community of enjoying the fruits of the earth, to distribute them to the poor and needy; that they did not intend to break down pales and destroy enclosures, as was reported, but only to till the waste land, and make it fruitful for man; and that the time was coming when all men would willingly come in and give up their lands and estates, and submit to this community of goods."

Lilburne had been engaged in the county of Durham, and to win him over, three thousand pounds were voted to him; but this did not move him for a moment. On his return, he appeared at the bar of the House with a petition against the form of the newly adopted constitution, which the officers had named, "The Agreement of the People," but which the people did not accept as their agreement. Lilburne protested against the provision that Parliament should only sit six months every two years, and that the Council should rule the other eighteen. This example was extensively followed, and the table of the House was quickly loaded with petitions demanding a new Parliament every year; a committee of the House to govern during the recess; no member of one Parliament to be a member of the next; the Self-denying Ordinance to be enforced; the term of every officer's commission in the army to be limited; the High Court of Justice and Council of State to be abolished as instruments of tyranny; all proceedings in the courts of law to be in English; lawyers reduced, and their fees too. Excise and customs they required to be abolished, and the lands of delinquents sold to remunerate the well affected. Religion was to be "reformed according to the mind of God;" tithes were to be abolished, conscience made free, and the incomes of ministers of the Gospel were to be fixed at one hundred and fifty pounds each, and raised by a rate on the parishioners.

There was much sound sense and gospel truth in these demands, but the day of their adoption was much nearer to the millennium than to 1649. It was resolved to send Cromwell to settle the disturbances in Ireland, but it was necessary to quash this communist insurrection first. Money was borrowed of the City, and after "a solemn seeking of God by prayer," lots were cast to see what regiments should go to Ireland. Fourteen of foot and fourteen of horse were selected by this mode. The officers expressed much readiness to go; the men refused. On the 26th of April there broke out a terrible mutiny in Whalley's regiment, at the Bull, in Bishopsgate. The men seized their colours from the cornet, and refused to march without many of the communist concessions. Fairfax and Cromwell hastened thither, seized fifteen of the mutineers, tried them on the spot by court martial, condemned five, and shot one in St. Paul's churchyard on the morrow. This was Lockyer, a trooper, a brave young fellow, who had served throughout the whole war, and was only yet three-and-twenty.

The death of this young man who was greatly beloved, roused all the soldiers and the working men and women of the City to a fearful degree. He was shot on Friday, amid the tears and execrations of thousands. On Monday his troop proceeded to bury him with military honours. Whitelock says, "About a hundred went before the corpse, five or six in a file, the corpse was then brought, with six trumpets sounding a soldier's knell. Then the trooper's horse came, clothed all over in mourning, and led by a footman. The corpse was adorned with bundles of rosemary, one half-stained in blood, and the sword of the deceased along with them. Some thousands followed in rank and file; all had sea-green and black ribbon tied on their hats and to their breasts, and the women brought up the rear. At the new church in Westminster, some thousands more, of the better sort, met them, who thought not fit to march through the City."

This was not a promising beginning for the generals, but they were not men to be put down. They arrested Lilburne and his five small beagles, who published, on the 1st of May, their "Agreement of the People," and clapped them in the Tower, and hastened down to Salisbury to quell the insurrection which had broken out in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, and Wilts in the army. The regiments of Scrope, Ireton, Harrison, Ingoldsby, Skippon, Reynolds, and Horton, all declared for the Lilburne "Agreement," and swore to stand by each other. At Banbury, a Captain Thompson, at the head of two hundred men, issued a manifesto called "England's Standard Advanced," demanding the completion of public freedom, vowing justice on the murderers of Lockyer, and threatening, if a hair of Lilburne's was touched, they would avenge it seventy-and-seven fold. Reynolds, the colonel of the regiment, attacked Thompson, put him to flight, and prevailed on the soldiers to lay down their arms; but another party[96] of ten troops of horse, a thousand strong, under cornet Thompson, brother of the captain, marched out of Salisbury for Burford, increasing their numbers as they went. But Fairfax and Cromwell were marching rapidly after them. They came upon them in the night at Burford, took them all prisoners, and the next day, Thursday, the 17th of May, shot Cornet Thompson and two corporals in Burford churchyard. The rest were pardoned, and agreed to go to Ireland. A few days afterwards Captain Thompson was overtaken in a wood in Northamptonshire, and killed. The mutiny was at an end, if we except some local disturbances in Devon, Hants, and Somersetshire. Fairfax and Cromwell were received at Oxford in triumph, and feasted and complimented, being made doctors; and on the 7th of June a day of thanksgiving was held in London, with a great dinner at Grocers' Hall, given to the officers of the army and the leaders of Parliament, and another appointed for the whole kingdom on the 21st.

Cromwell had already been made Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and on the 10th of July he set forth at five in the evening from London, by way of Windsor to Bristol. He set out in state approaching to royalty. He rode in a coach drawn by six Flanders mares, whitish greys, a number of carriages containing other officers following, attended by a life-guard of eighty men, the meanest of whom was a commander or esquire; many of them were colonels in rich uniforms, and the whole procession was attended by a resounding flourish of trumpets. But before following the farmer of Huntingdon, now risen to all but royal grandeur, we must notice the affairs of Scotland.

Though Argyll held the chief power in Scotland, and was on friendly terms with Cromwell, he could not prevent a strong public feeling showing itself on the approaching trial of the king. The Scots reproached themselves for giving up Charles to the English army, and considered that heavy disgrace would fall upon the country if the king should be put to death. They demanded, therefore, that a strong remonstrance should be sent to the Parliament of England, and Argyll was too timid or too cautious to oppose this. The Commissioners in London received and presented the remonstrance, but obtained no answer till after the execution of the king, and that which they did then receive was in most unceremonious terms. Forthwith the authorities in Edinburgh proclaimed Charles as king, and the Scottish Commissioners in London, protesting against the alteration of the Government into a Republic, and declaring themselves guiltless of the blood of the king, hastened to Gravesend, to quit the kingdom. But the Parliament, resenting this language as grossly libellous, and calculated to excite sedition, sent an officer to conduct them under guard to the frontiers of the kingdom.

Passing over this insult, the Scots in March despatched the Earl of Cassilis to the Hague, attended by four commissioners, to wait on Charles and invite him to Scotland. They found there the Earl of Lanark, now Duke of Hamilton by the execution of his brother, the Earls of Lauderdale, Callander, Montrose, Kinnoul, and Seaforth. Some of these were old Royalists, some of whom were called "Engagers," or of the party of Hamilton. The Court of Charles, small as it was, was rent by dissensions, and both the Engagers and the Commissioners under Cassilis joined in protesting against any junction with Montrose, whose cruelties to the Covenanters, they said, had been so great, that to unite with him would turn all Scotland against the king. They insisted on Charles taking the Covenant, but this Montrose and the old Royalists vehemently opposed, declaring that to do that would alienate both Catholics and Episcopalians, and exasperate the Independents to tenfold bitterness.

Whilst matters were in this unsatisfactory state, Dr. Dorislaus arrived as Ambassador from the English Parliament to the States of Holland. He was a native of that country, but had lived some time in England, had been a professor of Gresham College, and drew up the charge for Parliament against the king. That very evening, six gentlemen with drawn swords entered the inn where he was at supper, and desiring those present not to alarm themselves, as they had no intention of hurting any one but the agent of the English rebels who had lately murdered their king, they dragged Dorislaus from the table, and one of them stabbed him with a dagger. Seeing him dead, they sheathed their swords, and walked quietly out of the house. They were known to be all Scotsmen and followers of Montrose; and Charles, seeing the mischief this base assassination would do his cause, and especially in Holland, prepared to quit the country. It was first proposed that he should go to Ireland, where Ormond was labouring in his favour, and where Rupert was off the coast with a fleet; but he changed his mind and went to Paris, to the queen, his mother. Before doing that, he sent Chancellor Hyde and Lord Cottington as envoys to Spain, to endeavour to move the king in his favour, and he returned[97] an answer to the Scottish Commissioners, that though he was and always had been ready to grant them the freedom of their religion, he could not consent to bind himself to the Covenant. They admitted that he was their king, and therefore they ought to obey him, and not he them, and this obedience he must expect from the Committee of Estates, the Assembly of the Kirk, and the whole nation of Scotland. With this resolute reply they departed in no very satisfied mood.


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The war in Ireland being now undertaken by Cromwell, we must give a brief retrospective glance at what had been passing there. Perhaps no country was ever so torn to pieces by different factions. The Catholics were divided amongst themselves: there were the Catholics of the Pale, and the Old Irish Catholics, part of whom followed the faction of Rinuccini, the Pope's Nuncio, who was at the head of the Council of Kilkenny, while others followed General Preston and Viscount Taaffe. The Irish Royalists—who consisted chiefly of Episcopalians—ranged themselves under the banner of Ormond. The approach of Cromwell warned them to suppress their various feuds and unite against the Parliament. To strengthen the Parliament force, Jones, the Governor of Dublin, and Monk, who commanded in Ulster, made overtures to Owen Roe O'Neil, the head of the Old Irish in Ulster. Ormond had arrived in Ireland, and Inchiquin and Preston, the leaders of the forces of the Irish Council, which had now repudiated the Pope's Nuncio, joined him; but O'Neil held back, not trusting Ormond, and he sent a messenger to Charles in France, offering to treat directly with him. But Ormond ordered the Earl of Castlehaven to attack O'Neil, which he did, and speedily reduced his garrisons of Maryborough and Athy. Enraged at this whilst he was offering his services to the king, O'Neil listened to the proposals of Monk, who was himself hard pressed by the Scottish Royalists, and had been compelled to retire from Belfast to Dundalk. Monk supplied O'Neil with ammunition, and O'Neil undertook to cut off the communication between the Royalists in the north and Ormond in the south. Monk sent word of this arrangement,[98] and the "grandees," as they were called, or members of the Great Council, entertained the plan in secret—publicly they dared not, for the followers of O'Neil were those Ulster Irish who had committed the horrible massacres of 1641. No sooner, however, did the rumour of this coalition become known, than the greatest excitement prevailed. The army and the people were filled with horror and indignation. They appealed to the solemn engagement of the army to avenge the blood of their fellow Protestants slaughtered by these savages; they reminded the Council and the Parliament of the invectives heaped by them on the late king for making peace with these blood-stained natives; and now they were expected to become the allies and associates of these very men. The Parliament saw how vain it was to strive against the feeling, and annulled the agreement. Hugh Peters harangued the public from the pulpit, excusing the Council on account of the real facts of the case having been concealed from them, and the whole weight of the transaction fell on Monk, who was just then in London, and who was assured that nothing but his past services saved him from the punishment of his indiscretion.

Whilst matters were in this position, and the Parliament was compelled to reject a very useful ally, Ormond marched to besiege Jones in Dublin. He advanced on both sides of the Liffey, and cast up works at Bogotrath, to cut off the pasturage of the horses of the Parliamentary force in Dublin. Jones, however, made a sally an hour before sunrise, and threw the enemy into such confusion that the whole army on the right bank of the river fled in headlong panic, leaving their artillery, ammunition, tents, and baggage. In vain did Ormond hasten to check the rout; his men followed the example. Two thousand prisoners were taken by Jones, of whom three hundred are said to have been slaughtered in cold blood. Such was the defeat, and such the inequality of the forces, that it cast great disgrace on the generalship of Ormond, and the Royalists made much talk about treason; but Charles himself would not listen to any such surmises: he hastened to send Ormond the Order of the Garter, and to assure him of his unshaken favour. The most exaggerated assertions were made of the forces of Ormond, and of the number of his men killed and taken. Ormond says that he had only eight thousand men; but Cromwell, no doubt from the assertions of Jones, states that the number was nineteen thousand against five thousand two hundred of Jones's, and that Jones killed four thousand on the spot, and took two thousand five hundred and seventeen prisoners, of whom three hundred were officers. The battle was fought at Rathmines on the 2nd of August, 1649, and contributed to quicken the movements of Cromwell, who was collecting forces for the passage at Milford Haven.

Cromwell, with twelve thousand veterans, sailed on the 13th of August, and arrived in Dublin with the first division on the 15th, Ireton following with the main body. He was received with acclamations by the people of Dublin, and made them a speech in the streets, which greatly pleased them. He then allowed his army a fortnight to refresh themselves after the voyage, before leading them to action. At this period, the only places left to the Parliament in Ireland were Dublin and Derry. On the 9th of September he bombarded Drogheda, and summoned it to surrender. The governor of the place was Sir Arthur Aston, who had about three thousand troops, foot and horse, commanded by Sir Edmund Varney, whose father was killed at Edge Hill. Aston, who had acquired the reputation of a brave and experienced officer, refused to surrender, and the storm commenced, and on the second day a breach was made. A thousand men entered by the breach, but were driven back by the garrison. On this Cromwell placed himself at the head of his men, and made a second assault. This time, after some hard fighting, they succeeded in getting possession of the entrenchments and of a church. According to Ormond, Carte, and others, Cromwell's officers then promised quarter to all who would surrender. "All his officers and soldiers," says Carte, "promising quarter to such as would lay down their arms, and performing it as long as any place held out, which encouraged others to yield. But when they had done all in their power, and feared no hurt that could be done them, then the word 'No quarter' went round, and the soldiers were, many of them, forced against their wills to kill their prisoners."

This has always been regarded as a great reproach to Cromwell. He himself, of course, does not confess that he broke his word, or forced his officers to break theirs; but he does something very like it. He asserts plainly, in his letter to Lenthall, the Speaker, that "our men, getting up to them, were ordered by me to put them all to the sword. And indeed, being in the heat of the action, I forbade them to spare any that were in arms in the town; and I think that night they put to the sword about two thousand men." Some of them escaping to the church, he had it set[99] fire to, and so burnt them in it; and he records the exclamations of one of them in the fire. The rest of the fugitives, as they were compelled to surrender, were either slaughtered, or, to use his own words, "their officers were knocked on the head, and every tenth man of the soldiers killed, and the rest shipped for Barbadoes." He says that one thousand people were destroyed in the church that he fired. He adds that they "put to the sword the whole of the defendants. I do not think thirty of the whole number escaped with their lives; those that did are in safe custody for Barbadoes." This is, perhaps, the most awful confession that ever was made in cool blood, for these letters were written about a week after the assault, and by a man of such a thoroughly religious mind that he attributes the whole "to the Spirit of God;" says "this hath been a marvellous great mercy;" and prays that "all honest hearts may give the glory to God alone, to Whom, indeed, the praise of this mercy belongs." Cromwell endeavoured to justify this horrible massacre by the plea "that it will tend to prevent the effusion of blood for the future."

The butchery of Cromwell had not frightened men into surrendering their towns at his summons, and thereby preventing shedding of blood. In fact, great as were the merits of Cromwell, his barbarous mode of warfare in Ireland cannot be defended on any principles of reason, much less of Christianity or humanity. In England he had been noted for his merciful conduct in war, but in Ireland a deplorable fanaticism carried away both him and his army. They were now fighting against a Papist population, and deemed it a merit to destroy them. They confounded all Irishmen with the wild savages of Ulster, who had massacred the Protestants in 1641; and Cromwell, in his letters from Drogheda, plainly expresses this idea, calling the wholesale slaughter "a righteous judgment of God upon those barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood."

From Drogheda Cromwell returned to Dublin, and then marched on Wexford, taking and burning minor places by the way. On the 1st of October he summoned Wexford to surrender, and though the governor refused, the officer who commanded the castle traitorously yielded it. The soldiers then perceiving the enemy quit the walls of the town, scaled them with their ladders, and encountering the forces in the market-place, they made a stout resistance; but Cromwell informs the Parliament that they were eventually all put to the sword, "not many less than two thousand, and I believe not twenty of yours from first to last of the siege. The soldiers got a very good booty; and the inhabitants," he says, "were either so completely killed, or had run away, that it was a fine opportunity for honest people to go and plant themselves there." According to various historians, no distinction was made between the soldiers and the innocent inhabitants; three hundred women, who had crowded around the great cross, and were shrieking for protection to Heaven, were put to death with the same ruthless ferocity. Some authors do not restrict the numbers of the slain like Cromwell to two thousand, but reckon them at five thousand.

Ormond now calculated greatly on the aid of O'Neil to create a diversion in the north, and divide the attention and the forces of Cromwell, for that chieftain had begun to justify the treaty made with him through Monk, by compelling Montgomery to raise the siege of Londonderry, and rescuing Coote and his small army, the only force which the Parliament had in Ulster. But the cry in London against this alliance with the Irish Papist had done its work, and, after the victory of Rathmines, the Parliament refused to ratify the treaty made with O'Neil. Indignant at this breach of faith, he had listened to the offers of Ormond, and was on his march to join him at Kilkenny. O'Neil died at Clonacter, in Cavan, but his son took the command. By his assistance, the operations of Cromwell's generals were greatly retarded at that place, and at Duncannon and Waterford.

On the 17th of October, Cromwell sat down before Ross, and sent in a trumpeter, calling on the commander to surrender, with this extraordinary statement, "Since my coming into Ireland, I have this witness for myself, that I have endeavoured to avoid effusion of blood;" which must have been read with wonder, after the recent news from Drogheda and Wexford. General Taaffe refused. There were one thousand soldiers in the place, and Ormond, Ardes, and Castlehaven, who were on the other side of the river, sent in fifteen hundred more. Yet on the 19th the town surrendered, the soldiers being allowed to march away. O'Neil had now joined Ormond at Kilkenny with two thousand horse and foot, and Inchiquin was in Munster. Soon after Cork and Youghal opened their gates, Admiral Blake co-operating by water. In the north, Sir Charles Coote, Lord President of Connaught, took Coleraine by storm, and forming a junction with Colonel Venables, marched on Carrickfergus,[100] which they soon after reduced. Cromwell marched from Ross to Waterford, his army having taken Inistioge, Thomastown, and Carrick. He appeared before Waterford on the 24th of November. Here, too, he received the news of the surrender of Kinsale and Bandon Bridge, but Waterford refused to surrender, and Cromwell was compelled to march away to Cork for winter quarters. His troops, however, took the fort of Passage near Waterford; but they lost Lieutenant-General Jones, the conqueror of Rathmines, by sickness at Dungarvan.

Cromwell did not rest long in winter quarters. By the 29th of January, 1650, he was in the field again, at the head of thirty thousand men. Whilst Major-General Ireton and Colonel Reynolds marched by Carrick into Kilkenny, Cromwell proceeded from Youghal over the Blackwater into Tipperary, various castles being taken by the way; they quartered themselves in Fethard and Cashel. On March 28th Cromwell succeeded in taking Kilkenny, whence he proceeded to Clonmel. In this campaign the Royalist generals accuse him of still perpetrating unnecessary cruelties, though they endeavoured to set him a different example. "I took," says Lord Castlehaven, "Athy by storm, with all the garrison (seven hundred) prisoners. I made a present of them to Cromwell, desiring him by letter that he would do the same to me, if any of mine should fall into his power. But he little valued my civility, for in a few days after he besieged Gouvan, and the soldiers mutinying and giving up the place with their officers, he caused the Governor Hammond and some other officers to be put to death." Cromwell avows this in one of his letters. "The next day the colonel, the major, and the rest of the commissioned officers were shot to death; all but one, who, being very earnest to have the castle delivered, was pardoned." And this, he admits, was because they refused to surrender at his first summons. He seemed to consider a refusal to surrender at once and unconditionally, a deadly crime, and avenged it bloodily. On the other hand, Ormond, in one of his letters, says, "Rathfarnham was taken by our troops by storm, and all that were in it made prisoners; and though five hundred soldiers entered the castle before any officer of note, yet not one creature was killed; which I tell you by the way, to observe the difference betwixt our and the rebels' making use of a victory."

The Parliament, seeing the necessity of having their best general for the impending Scottish war, sent towards the end of April the President Bradshaw frigate, to bring over Cromwell from Ireland, and to leave Ireton, Lord Broghill, and the other generals to finish the war by the reduction of Clonmel, Waterford, Limerick, and a few lesser places. But Cromwell would not go till he had witnessed the fall of Clonmel. There Hugh O'Neil, the son of old Owen Roe O'Neil of Ulster, defended the place gallantly with twelve hundred men. The siege lasted from the 28th of March to the 8th of May. Whitelock says, "They found in Clonmel the stoutest enemy this army had met in Ireland, and there never was seen so hot a storm, of so long a continuance, and so gallantly defended, either in Ireland or England." The English troops had made a breach, and endeavoured to carry the town by storm in vain. On the 9th they stormed the breach a second time. "The fierce death-wrestle," says a letter from one of the besiegers, "lasted four hours," and Cromwell's men were driven back with great loss. But the ammunition of the besieged was exhausted, and they stole away in the night. The inhabitants, before this was discovered, sent out and made terms of surrender. On discovering the retreat of the enemy, pursuit was made, and two hundred men killed on the road. Oliver, however, kept his agreement with the inhabitants.

The siege of Clonmel finished, Cromwell set sail in the President Bradshaw, and landed at Bristol towards the end of May, where he was received with firing of guns and great acclamations for his exploits in Ireland. On the 31st of the month he approached Hounslow Heath, where he was met by the Lord-General Fairfax, and numbers of other officers and members of Parliament, besides crowds of other people. They conducted him to London, and on reaching Hyde Park Corner he was received by the discharge of artillery from Colonel Barkstead's regiment, there drawn up; and thus, with increasing crowds and acclamations, he was attended to the Cockpit near St. James's, a house which had been assigned to him, and where his family had been residing for some time. There the Lord Mayor and aldermen waited on him, to thank him for his services in Ireland. Thence, after rest and refreshment, he appeared in his place in Parliament, where he also received the thanks of the House. Some one remarking what crowds went out to see his triumph, Cromwell replied, "But if they had gone to see me hanged, how many more there would have been!"


Prince Charles, though invited to assume the crown of Scotland, was invited on such terms as would have afforded little hope to a man of much foresight. Those who were to support him were divided into two factions, which could no more mix than fire and water. The Covenanters, and the Royalists under Montrose, hated each other with an inextinguishable hatred. So far from mixing, they were sure to come to strife and bloodshed amongst themselves. If the Covenanters got the upper hand, as was pretty certain, he must abandon his most devoted followers, the Old Royalists and Engagers, and take the Covenant himself, thus giving up every party and principle that his father had fought for. He must take upon him a harsh and gloomy yoke, which must keep him not only apart from his Royalist and Episcopalian followers, but from his far more valuable kingdom of England, where the Independents and sectaries reigned, and which the Scottish Covenanters could not hope to conquer. But Charles was but a poor outcast and wanderer in a world the princes of which were tired of both him and his cause, and he was, therefore, compelled to make an effort, however hopeless, to recover his dominions by such means as offered. He therefore sent off Montrose to raise troops and material amongst the Northern Courts, and then to pass over and raise the Highlands, whilst he went to treat with the Covenanters at Breda.


Montrose was strongly suspected of having headed the party who assassinated Dorislaus, a very bad beginning, assassination being the fitting business of thieves, and not of heroes. The fame of Montrose, nevertheless, gave him a good reception in Denmark and other Courts, and he is said to have raised an army of twelve thousand men, and embarked these, and much ammunition and artillery, at Gottenburg, under Lord Kinnoul, in the autumn. The equinoctial gales appeared to have scattered this force in all directions, dashing several of the ships on the rocks, so that Kinnoul landed in October at Kirkwall, in the Orkneys, with only eighty officers, and about one hundred common men. Montrose followed with five hundred more, and having received the Order of the Garter from Charles as a token of his favour, he once more raised his banner in the Highlands, bearing on it a painting of the late king decapitated, and the words, "Judge and avenge my cause, O Lord!" But the Highlanders had been taught caution by the repeated failures of the Royalists, and the chastisements they had received from the stern Covenanters; they stood aloof, and in vain did Montrose march through Caithness and Sutherland, calling on the natives to rise and defend the king before the Covenanters could sell him to the English, as they had done his father. This was a fatal proclamation, for whilst it failed to raise the Highlands, it added to the already deep detestation of him in the Lowlands, where his proclamation was burnt by the common hangman.

The Covenanters did not merely burn his proclamation, they despatched a force of four thousand men against him. Colonel Strachan came[102] almost upon him in Corbiesdale, in Ross-shire, and calling his men around him under the shelter of the high moorland broom, he informed them that God had given "the rebel and apostate Montrose, and the viperous brood of Satan, the accursed of God and the Kirk," into their hands. He gave out a psalm, which they sang, and then he dispersed them in successive companies, the whole not amounting to four hundred men, the main army being with David Leslie at Brechin. As soon as Strachan's handful of men came in sight of Montrose's levies, they were attacked by his cavalry, but scarcely were they engaged, when a second, and then a third detachment appeared. On perceiving this, Montrose believed the whole army of Leslie was marching up, and he ordered his infantry to fall back and screen themselves amongst the brushwood. But first his horse and then the whole of his men were thrown into confusion. His standard-bearer and several of his officers were slain. The foreign mercenaries demanded quarter and received it, the rest made their escape as well as they could. Montrose had his horse killed under him, and though he got another horse, and swam across a rapid river, he was compelled to fly in such haste, that he left behind him the Star and Garter with which he had been so newly invested, his sword, and his cloak. He again made for the mountains of Sutherland with Kinnoul, both disguised as peasants. Kinnoul soon sank with fatigue, and was left behind and perished. Montrose at length reached the house of Macleod of Assynt, who had formerly served under him; but this base man sold him to the Covenanters for four hundred bolls of meal. This treason was soon avenged by the neighbouring Highlanders, who ravaged the lands of Assynt; but the Scottish Parliament recompensed the traitor with twenty thousand pounds Scots, to be raised on the Royalists of Caithness and Orkney. The Orkneys, as well as the Isles of Man, Scilly, Jersey, the colony of Virginia, and the islands of the Caribbean Sea, long held out for the royal cause.

Montrose was at once conveyed to Edinburgh, where he arrived on the 18th of May; and having been carried bareheaded through the city in an open cart, and exposed to the insults and execrations of the mob, he was condemned as a traitor, and hanged on the 21st of May on a gibbet thirty feet high, his head being fixed on a spike in the capital, and his limbs sent for exposure in different towns. Such was the ignominious end of the gallant but sanguinary Montrose. But if the conduct of his enemies was ungenerous, what was that of his prince? No sooner did Charles hear of his defeat, than fearing that his rising might injure him with the Covenanters, he sent to the Parliament, protesting that he had never authorised him to draw the sword; nay, that he had done it contrary to the royal commands. Thus early did this worthless man display the meanness of his character, and practise the wretched maxims of the Stuart doctrine of kingcraft.

Charles had now complied with the demands of the Scottish Parliament, agreeing to take the Covenant, never to tolerate the Catholic religion in any part of his dominions, not even in Ireland, where the Catholics were a majority; to govern entirely by the authority of Parliament, and in religious matters by that of the Kirk. Thus did this man, for the sake of regaining the throne of one of his kingdoms, bind himself to destroy the religion of which he was at heart a believer, and to maintain a creed that he abhorred and despised. He landed in June in the Frith of Cromarty, and a court was established for him at Falkland, and nine thousand pounds sterling were allowed for its expenditure monthly.

But the pious Scots were speedily scandalised at the debauched habits of their royal puppet. He had delayed the expedition for some weeks, because he could not tear himself from his mistress, Mrs. Barlow, and now he came surrounded by a very dissipated crew—Buckingham, Wilmot, and others, whom nothing could induce him to part with, though many others were forbidden the Court.

Whilst these things were taking place in Scotland, in London as active measures were on foot for putting to flight this Covenanting king. On the 14th of June the Commons again appointed Fairfax Commander-in-Chief, and Cromwell Lieutenant-General. Fairfax, so far from favouring the invasion of Scotland, strongly argued against it, as a breach of the Solemn League and Covenant. Fairfax's wife is said to have been resolute against his taking up arms against the second Charles. She had sufficiently shown her spirit—that of a Vere, of the martial house of Vere—on his father's trial; and now Fairfax, not only strongly influenced by his wife, but belonging to the Presbyterian party, resigned his command, and retired to his estates in Yorkshire. It was in vain that a deputation, consisting of Cromwell, Lambert, Harrison, Whitelock, and St. John, waited on him at Whitehall, opening their meeting with prayer. Fairfax stood firm, and on the 26th, two days afterwards, the Parliament appointed Cromwell[103] Commander-in-Chief, in his place. On the 29th, only three days subsequently, Cromwell set out for the north. He had Lambert as Major-General, Whalley as Commissary-General, Pride, Overton, Monk, and Hodgson, as colonels of regiments. The Scottish Parliament had appointed the Earl of Leven generalissimo, but only nominally so out of honour, for he was now old and infirm. David Leslie was the real commander. The Scottish army was ordered to amount to sixty thousand men, and it was to lay waste all the country between Berwick and Edinburgh, to prevent the English from obtaining supplies. To frighten the country people away from the English army, it was rumoured that every male between sixteen and sixty would have their right hands cut off, and the women's breasts be bored through with red-hot irons.


Carisbrooke Castle, Sept. 8th, 1650.

After the Painting by C. W. Cope, R.A.

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Cromwell passed the Tweed at Berwick on the 22nd of July, with a force of sixteen thousand men. They found the country desolate and deserted, except by a number of women, who on their knees implored mercy, and were set by the officers to bake and brew for the soldiers. That night the beacon fires of Scotland were lighted, and the English army encamped at Mordington, where they lay three days, and then marched to Dunbar, and thence to Musselburgh. They found the Scottish army under Leslie posted between Edinburgh and Leith, and well defended by batteries and entrenchments. Nothing could induce the wary Scottish commander to quit his vantage ground, and the country afforded no supplies to the English army; but their fleet followed them along the coast, and furnished them with provisions.

For a month Cromwell found it impossible to draw the Scottish general out of his strong position. He sometimes marched up close to his lines to tempt him to come to action, but it was in vain, and he did not think it prudent to attack him in his formidable position, which must have cost him an awful number of men even if he carried it.

The weather being very wet he fell back upon Musselburgh, the enemy then making a sally, and harassing his rear, and wounding General Lambert. Cromwell and the Scottish Assembly, as well as Cromwell and General Leslie, who lay in the ground now occupied by the New Town of Edinburgh, had a voluminous correspondence, in which they quoted much Scripture, and each declared himself the favoured or justified of heaven. The Scots reproached Cromwell and his party with breaking the League and Covenant, and Cromwell retorted on them, that though they pretended to covenant and fight against Malignants, they had entered into agreement with the head and centre of the Malignants himself, which he said he could not understand. Cromwell, leaving a force to invest Dunbar, which was said to suffer extreme famine, being cooped by the English both on land and sea, about the 13th of August shifted his camp to the Pentland Hills to the west of Edinburgh, in order to cut off Leslie's supplies.

Whilst lying there the young king himself made a visit to the army at Leith, where he was received by the soldiers with acclamations; but the Assembly of the Kirk was soon scandalised by the drunkenness and profanity which his presence brought into the camp, and set on foot an inquiry, the result of which was that eighty officers, with many of their men, were dismissed that they might not contaminate the rest of the army. They also required Charles to sign a declaration to his subjects in his three kingdoms, informing them that he lamented the troubles which had been brought on the realm by the resistance of his father to the Solemn League and Covenant, and by the idolatry of his mother; that for himself he had subscribed the Covenant with all his heart, and would have no friends or enemies but the friends or enemies of the Covenant; that he repented making a peace with the Papists of Ireland, and now declared it null and void; that he detested all popery, prelacy, idolatry, and heresy; and finally, that he would accord to a free Parliament of England the propositions agreed upon by the Commissioners of the two kingdoms, and would settle the English Church according to the plan organised by the Westminster Assembly of divines.

Never was so flagrant a set of falsehoods forced on a reluctant soul! Charles read the declaration with indignation, and declared that he would sacrifice everything rather than thus cast reproach on his parents and their supporters, who had suffered so much on their behalf, or belie his own sentiments. But he was soon convinced that he must see his cause totally abandoned if he did not comply, and at the end of three days he signed with tears and shame the humiliating document. The exulting Kirk then proclaimed a certain victory from heaven over "a blaspheming general and a sectarian army."

And truly, affairs appeared very likely to come to such a conclusion. Cromwell found it difficult[104] to feed his army; the weather continued stormy and wet, and his soldiers suffered extremely from fevers and other illness from exposure to the weather. Cromwell made a sudden march in the direction of Stirling, as though he intended to cut off that town from communication with the capital. This set Leslie in motion; he hastily sent forward his forces, and the vanguards came to skirmishing, but could not engage in complete battle on account of the boggy ground between them. Cromwell as suddenly retreated, and firing his huts on the Pentlands, withdrew towards Dunbar. This effectually roused the Scots; they knew his distress from sickness and lack of supplies, and they thought he meant now to escape into England. To prevent that, and to make themselves masters of the whole English army, as they now confidently expected, they marched rapidly along the feet of the Lammermuir Hills, and Leslie managed to outstrip him, and hem him in between Dunbar and Doon Hill. A deep ravine called Cockburnspath, or, as Oliver pronounced it, Copper's Path, about forty feet deep and as many wide, with a rivulet running through it, lay between Oliver and the Scottish army, which was posted on Doon Hill. On Oliver's right lay Belhaven Bay, on his left Broxmouth House, at the mouth of a brook, and where there is a path southward. Leslie had secured the passes of Cockburnspath, and imagined that he had Cromwell and his army secure from Sunday night to Tuesday morning, the 3rd of September. But on Monday afternoon, Cromwell observed Leslie moving his right wing down into the plain towards Broxmouth House, evidently intending to secure that pass also; but Cromwell at once espied his advantage. He could attack and cut off this right wing, whilst the main body of Leslie's army, penned between the brook and the hills, could not manœuvre to help it. On observing this, Cromwell exclaimed to Lambert, "The Lord hath delivered us!" and arrangements were made to attack the right wing of Leslie at three o'clock in the morning. Leslie had twenty-three thousand men—Cromwell about half as many; but by a vigorous, unexpected attack on this right wing, after three hours of hard fighting, the Scots were thrown into confusion, and Cromwell exclaimed, "They run! I profess they run!" In fact, the horse of the Scots dashed frantically away over and through their own foot, and there was a wild flight in all directions. Three thousand slain lay on the spot, the Scots army was in wild rout, and as the sun just then rose over St. Abb's Head and the sea, Oliver exclaimed to his soldiers, "Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered!" "The Lord-General," says Hodgson, "made a halt till the horse could gather for the chase, and sang the 117th Psalm." Then the pursuit was made as far as Haddington. Ten thousand prisoners were taken, with all the baggage, artillery, and ammunition of the enemy. A thousand men were slain in the pursuit. By nine o'clock in the morning, David Leslie, the general, was in Edinburgh, old Lord Leven reached it by two, and what a city! The general complained that the preachers had occasioned the disaster; they would not let him rest till he descended from his height to attack the enemy on a disadvantageous ground. The ministers, though all their prophecies of victory were falsified, had yet plenty of other reasons for it. They published a "Short Declaration and Warning," in which they enumerated no less than thirteen causes for this terrible overthrow—the general wickedness of the country, the especial wickedness of the king's house, and the number of Malignants amongst the king's followers, and so forth. Cromwell told them plainly in letters addressed to them, that they had been punished for taking up a family that the Lord had so eminently lifted up His hand against, and for pretending to cry down Malignants, and yet receiving and setting up the head of them all. He advanced to Edinburgh, where he closely blockaded the castle, which was soon compelled to surrender.

As for Charles II., he was rather delighted than otherwise with the defeat of his fanatic friends at Dunbar. He was grown most thoroughly tired of imperious dictation and morose religion, and he took the opportunity to steal away to join Murray, Huntly, Atholl, and the Royalists in the Highlands. On the afternoon of the 4th of October, on pretence of hawking, he rode out of Perth, and dashed away for the braes of Angus. After galloping forty miles he came to a wretched hovel at a place called Clova, where he had nothing but a turf pillow to sleep on. There he was overtaken by Colonel Montgomery—for Argyll had been speedily apprised of his flight—and finding that two regiments of horse were at hand, Charles knew that escape was hopeless, and so he returned. But "the Start," which Charles's elopement was called, had opened the eyes of the Covenanters to the danger of pressing him too far. They now considerably relaxed their vigour towards him, admitted him to their deliberations in Council, and they thus induced him to prevail on Atholl, Middleton, and the Highland forces to disband.



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Cromwell's attention was soon attracted towards the West, where an army of five thousand men was raised, by order of the Committee of Estates, by Colonels Kerr and Strachan, in the associated counties of Renfrew, Ayr, Galloway, Wigtown, and Dumfries. These people were of strict whiggamore notions, and were directly in correspondence with John Warriston, the Clerk Register of Parliament, and Gillespie and Guthrie, two ministers of the Kirk, who protested against having anything to do with the son of the beheaded Charles Stuart, who was an enemy to the Kirk, and whose son himself was a thorough Malignant. They drew up a Remonstrance of the Western army, in which they termed the king an incarnate solecism, and refused to fight under either him or Leslie. Cromwell, who saw little to prevent a union with this party, professing his old veneration for the Covenant, opened a communication with them, arguing that Charles ought to be banished, and thus remove the need of an English interference. In order to effect a coalition with these commanders, Cromwell marched to Glasgow, where he arrived on Friday, October 18th; and on Sunday, in the cathedral, listened to a violent sermon against him and his army from the Reverend Zachary Boyd. Coming to no agreement with Kerr and Strachan, he returned on Monday towards Edinburgh, and found many men advising that they shall give up the "hypocrite," meaning Charles, and make peace with England; but Kerr and Strachan, though their Remonstrance was voted a scandalous libel by Parliament, could not agree to this. They, in fact, differed in opinion. Strachan resigned his commission, and soon after came over with eighty troopers to Cromwell. Kerr showed a hostile aspect, agreeing with neither one party nor another, and soon came to nothing. Cromwell sent Lambert to look after him with three thousand horse, and Lambert, whilst lying at Hamilton, found himself suddenly attacked by Kerr. He, however, repulsed him, took him prisoner, killed a hundred of his men, losing himself only six, and took two hundred prisoners, horse and foot. The Western army was wholly dispersed. The condition of the Covenanting Scots was now deplorable; the Remonstrants, though they had lost their army, still continued to quarrel with the official or Argyll's party, and the country was thus torn by the two factions, under[106] the name of Remonstrants and Resolutionists, when it should have been united against the enemy. Cromwell was now master of all the Lowlands, casting longing glances towards Stirling and Perth, which were in the hands of the royal party, and thus ended the year 1650.

On the first day of the new year, 1651, Charles rode, or rather was led, in procession, by his partisans to the church at Scone, and there solemnly crowned. There, on his knees, he swore to maintain the Covenant, to establish Presbyterianism, and embrace it himself, to establish it in his other dominions as soon as he recovered them. Argyll then placed the crown on his head, and Douglas, the minister, read him a severe lecture on the calamities which had followed the apostacy of his grandfather and father, and on his being a king only by compact with his people. But the fall of the Western army had weakened the rigid Presbyterian party. Argyll saw his influence decline, that of the Hamiltons in the ascendant, and numbers of the old Royalists pouring in to join the army. Charles's force soon displayed the singular spectacle of Leslie and Middleton in united command, and the army, swelled by the Royalists, was increased to twenty thousand men. Having fortified the passes of the Forth, the king thus awaited the movements of Cromwell. But the lord-general, during the spring, was suffering so much from the ague, that he contemplated returning home. In May, however, he grew better, and advanced towards Stirling. Whilst he occupied the attention of Charles and his army by his manœuvres in that quarter, he directed Lambert to make an attempt upon Fife, which succeeded, and Cromwell, crossing the Forth, advanced to support him. The royal army quickly evacuated Perth, after a sharp action, in which about eight hundred men on each side fell, and the Parliament colours were hoisted on the walls of that city.

If Cromwell's movement had been rapid and successful, he was now in his turn astonished by one as extraordinary on the part of the Prince. Charles saw that all the south of Scotland and a great part of England was clear of the enemy, and he at once announced his determination to march towards London. On the 31st of July his army was actually in motion, and Argyll, denouncing the enterprise as inevitably ruinous, resigned his commission and retired to Inverary.

On discovering Charles's object, Cromwell put the forces to remain in Scotland under the command of General Monk, sent Lambert from Fife to follow the royal army with three thousand cavalry, and wrote to Harrison in Newcastle to advance and harass the flank of Charles's army. He himself, on the 7th of August, commenced his march after it with ten thousand men.

Charles advanced at a rapid rate, and he had crossed the Mersey before Lambert and Harrison had formed a junction near Warrington, and attempted to draw him into a battle on Knutsford Heath. But Charles continued his hasty march till he reached Worcester, where he was received with loud acclamations by the mayor and corporation, and by a number of county gentlemen, who had been confined there on suspicion of their disaffection, but were now liberated. But such had been the sudden appearance of Charles, that no expectation of it, and therefore no preparation for it, had been made by the Royalists; and the bigoted ministers attending his army sternly refused all who offered to join them, whether Presbyterians, Episcopalians, or Catholics, because they had not taken the Covenant. It was in vain that Charles gave orders to the contrary, and sent forward General Massey to receive and bring into order these volunteers; the Committee of the Kirk rejected them, whilst Cromwell's forces on their march were growing by continual reinforcements, especially of the county militias. Colonel Robert Lilburne met with a party of Charles's forces under the Earl of Derby, between Chorley and Wigan, and defeated them, killing the Lord Widdrington, Sir Thomas Tildesley, and Colonels Boynton, Trollope, and Throgmorton. Derby himself was wounded, but escaped.

Charles issued a proclamation for all his male subjects between the ages of sixteen and sixty to join his standard on the 26th of August; but on that day he found that the whole of his forces amounted to only twelve thousand men, whilst Cromwell, who arrived two days after, was at the head of at least thirty thousand. On the 3rd of September, the anniversary of the battle of Dunbar, Cromwell determined to attack the royal army. Lambert, overnight, crossed the Severn at Upton, with ten thousand men, and the next morning Cromwell and Fleetwood, with the two other divisions of the army, crossed, Cromwell the Severn, and Fleetwood the Teme. Charles, who had been watching their progress from the tower of the cathedral, descended and attacked Fleetwood before he had effected his passage; but Cromwell was soon up to the assistance of his general, and after a stout battle, first in the meadows, and then in the streets of the city, the[107] forces of Charles were completely beaten. Charles fought with undaunted bravery, and endeavoured to rally his soldiers for a last effort, but they flung down their weapons and surrendered. It was with difficulty that he was prevailed upon to fly, and save his life. Three thousand of the Royalists were slain, and six or seven thousand made prisoners, including a considerable number of noblemen—the Duke of Hamilton, but mortally wounded, the Earls of Rothes, Derby, Cleveland, Kelly, and Lauderdale, Lords Sinclair, Kenmure, and Grandison, and the Generals Leslie, Massey, Middleton, and Montgomery. The Duke of Buckingham, Lord Talbot, and others, escaped with many adventures.

It was an overthrow complete, and most astonishing to both conquered and conquerors. Cromwell, in his letter to the Parliament, styled it "a crowning mercy." The Earl of Derby and seven others of the prisoners suffered death as traitors and rebels to the Commonwealth. Derby offered the Isle of Man for his ransom, but his letter was read by Lenthall to the House too late, and he was executed at Bolton, in Lancashire.

As for Charles himself, the romance of his escape has been celebrated in many narratives. After being concealed for some days at White-ladies and Boscobel, two solitary houses in Shropshire, and passing a day in the boughs of an oak, he made his way in various disguises, and by the assistance of different loyal friends, to Brighton, whence he passed in a collier over to Fécamp in Normandy, but this was not till the 17th of October, forty-four days after the battle of Worcester.

On the 12th of September Cromwell arrived in town; Bulstrode, Whitelock, and three other gentlemen had been sent down to meet him and conduct him to London. They met him near Aylesbury, and they all joined a hawking party by the way. At Aylesbury they passed the night. Oliver was very affable, and presented to each of the commissioners a horse taken in the battle and a couple of Scottish prisoners. At Acton, the Speaker of the Commons, the Lord President, and many other members of Parliament and of the Council, the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Sheriffs, and crowds of other people, met him, and congratulated him on his splendid victory and his successes in Scotland. The Recorder, in his address, said he was destined to "bind kings in chains and their nobles in fetters of iron." In London he was received with immense shoutings and acclamations. Parliament voted that the 3rd of September should be kept ever after as a holiday, in memory of his victory; and, in addition to twenty-five thousand pounds a year already granted in land, they settled on him another forty thousand pounds a year in land.

Thus the royal party was for a time broken and put down. In Ireland Cromwell had left his son-in-law Ireton as his deputy, who went on with a strong hand crushing all opposition. The Roman Catholic party growing weary of Ormond, he had resigned his lord-deputyship, and Clanricarde had succeeded him. Still the Catholic party was divided in itself, and Ormond, and after him Clanricarde, entered into a treaty with the Duke of Lorraine, who agreed to send an army to Ireland to put down the Parliament, on condition that he should be declared Protector-royal of Ireland, with all the rights pertaining to the office; an office, in fact, never before heard of. The Irish Royalists obtained, however, at different times, twenty thousand pounds from Lorraine, and his agents were still negotiating for his protectorship, when the defeat of Charles at Worcester showed Lorraine the folly of his hopes. Disappointed in this expectation of assistance from abroad, the Irish Royalists found themselves vigorously attacked by Ireton. In June he invested Limerick, and on the 27th of October it surrendered. Ireton tried and put to death seven of the leaders of the party. The court-martial refused to condemn the brave O'Neil, though Ireton urged his death for his stubborn defence of Clonmel. When Terence O'Brien, Bishop of Emly, was condemned, he exclaimed to Ireton, "I appeal to the tribunal of God, and summon thee to meet me at that bar." These words were deemed prophetic, and were remembered with wonder when, about a month afterwards, Ireton fell ill of fever and died (Nov. 15, 1651).

Cromwell appointed General Lambert his deputy in Ireland. The appointment was cancelled before Lambert could pass over to that country, as it is said, through the management of Ireton's widow, Cromwell's daughter Bridget. The handsome wife of Lambert had refused—her husband being now Lord-Deputy—to give precedence to Mrs. Ireton in St. James's Park, where they met one day. Mrs. Ireton took offence, and prevailed on her father to revoke the appointment, and give it to Fleetwood, whom she soon after married, and so Lambert returned to Ireland in his former position. It is believed that Lambert never forgave the affront, though Cromwell endeavoured to soothe him, and made him compensation in money; for he was found to be[108] one of the first to oppose Richard Cromwell after his father's death, and depose him from the protectorate. Ludlow and three others were joined with Fleetwood, so far as the civil administration of Ireland was concerned, and they were ordered to levy sufficient money for the payment of the forces, not exceeding forty thousand pounds a month; and to exclude Papists from all places of trust, from practising as barristers, or teaching in any kind of school. Thus the bulk of the natives were deprived of all participation in the affairs of their own country, and, what was worse, might be imprisoned or removed from one part of the country at the will of these dictators.


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In Scotland Monk carried matters with the same high hand. On the 14th of August he compelled Stirling to surrender, and sent off the royal robes, part of the regalia, and the National Records to London. He then commenced the siege of Dundee, and whilst it was progressing he sent Colonels Alured and Morgan to Alyth in Angus, where he surprised the two Committees of the Estates and the Kirk, with many other noblemen and gentlemen, to the number of three hundred, amongst them poor old Leslie, Earl of Leven, met on Royalist affairs, and sent them after the regalia to England. On the 1st of September Monk stormed Dundee, and gave up the town to the plunder and violence of the soldiery. There were said to be eight hundred soldiers and inhabitants killed, of whom three hundred were women and children. The place had been considered so safe that many people had sent their property there for security, and this and the ships in the harbour all fell into the hands of the conquerors. They are said to have got two hundred thousand pounds in booty, and perpetrated the most unheard-of atrocities. The fate of Dundee induced Montrose, Aberdeen, and St. Andrews to open their gates. The Earl of Huntly and Lord Balcarres submitted, and scarcely any noblemen of note, except Argyll, held out; and he did so merely for the purpose of making good terms with the Parliament.

The most vigorous means were adopted to keep the country in check. Military stations were appointed throughout the Highlands, and sites fixed upon for the erection of strong forts at Ayr, Leith[109], Perth, and Inverness. The property and estates of the Crown were declared forfeited to Parliament, as well as the lands of all who had taken arms under the Duke of Hamilton or the king against England. English judges were sent to go the circuits, assisted by Scottish ones, and one hundred and thirty thousand pounds a year were voted for the maintenance of the army in Scotland, which was raised to twenty thousand men. These were galling measures for the Scots, who had hoped to subject England again to the king, but they were far from the most humiliating. Vane, St. John, and six other commissioners were appointed to settle a plan for the incorporation of Scotland with England. They met at Dalkeith, and summoned the representatives of the counties and the burghs to assemble and consult with them on the matter. The ministers thundered from their pulpits against a union, and especially against putting the Kirk under the power of the State; but twenty-eight out of thirty shires, and forty-four out of fifty-eight burghs complied, and sent up twenty-one deputies to sit with the Parliamentary commissioners at Westminster, to settle the terms of the union. The power of the English Parliament, or rather of the army, was now so supreme, that both in Scotland and Ireland resistance was vain.

HENRY IRETON. (After the Portrait by Cooper.)

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The all-absorbing interest of the events of the last several unexampled years within the kingdom, has prevented our noticing the transactions of the Commonwealth with the other kingdoms of Europe. We must now recount these. Prince Rupert, by his cruising on the coasts of England and Ireland, had not only kept the nation in alarm, but had inflicted great injury on the coasts[110] and commerce of the realm. In the spring of 1649 he lay in the harbour of Kinsale, keeping the way open for the landing of the foreign troops expected to accompany Charles II. to Ireland. But Vane, to whom was entrusted the naval affairs, commissioned Blake, Dean, and Monk, three army officers, who showed themselves as able at sea as on land, to look after him, and the victories of Cromwell in Ireland warned him in the autumn to remove. He found himself blockaded by the English fleet, but in his impetuous way he burst through the enclosing squadron with the loss of only three ships, and took refuge in the Tagus. In the following March Blake presented himself at that river, and demanded of the King of Portugal permission to attack the pirate, as he termed him, at his anchorage. The king refused; Blake attempted, notwithstanding, to force his way up the river to Rupert's fleet, but he was assailed by the batteries from both shores, and was compelled to retire. This was deemed a declaration of war by the Republic, and Blake was ordered to seize any Portuguese ships that fell in his way. Don John thereupon seized the English merchants in his dominions, and confiscated their goods. But the ravages committed by Blake on his subjects soon induced him to order Rupert to retire from the Tagus, who sailed thence into the Mediterranean, where he continued to practise open piracy, capturing ships of almost all nations. He afterwards sailed to the West Indies to escape the English admirals, and inflicted there great injuries both on the English and Spanish. His brother Maurice was there lost in a storm, and in 1652 Rupert, beset by the English captains, made his way again to Europe, and sold his two men-of-war to Cardinal Mazarin. The Portuguese, freed from the presence of Rupert, soon sent Don Guimaraes to London to treat for a pacification, but the treaty was not finally concluded till after Cromwell had attained to supreme power.

The King of Spain, who never forgave Charles I. the insult put upon his sister and the whole kingdom, acknowledged the Republic from the first moment of its establishment by continuing the presence of Cardenas, his ambassador. The King of Spain made use of his ambassador in London to excite the Commonwealth against Portugal and the United Provinces, but an unlucky accident threatened to disturb even this alliance, the only one between the Commonwealth and the Courts of the Continent. As Spain kept an ambassador in London, the Parliament resolved to send one to Madrid, and for this purpose they selected a gentleman of the name of Ascham. He did not understand Spanish, and therefore he employed three friars, who accompanied him and informed him of all that he wanted to know regarding Spain. But he was no sooner arrived than half a dozen Royalist English officers, who had served in the Spanish army against Portugal, and in Calabria, went to his inn, and finding him at dinner, exclaimed, "Welcome, gallants, welcome!" and ran him and Riba, one of the friars, through with their swords. This was precisely what some Royalists had done to Dorislaus, the Parliamentary ambassador to the Hague, in 1649; for these Cavaliers, with all their talk of honour, had no objection to an occasional piece of assassination. One of the servants of Charles II.'s ambassadors, Hyde and Cottington, was one of the assassins, which brought the ambassadors into suspicion; but they protested firmly against any participation in so base a business. The assassins fled to a church for sanctuary, except one who got to the Venetian ambassador's, and so escaped. The other five were brought from their asylum, tried, and condemned to die, but the courtiers sympathised so much with the Royalists, that they were returned again to their asylum, except a Protestant of the name of Sparkes, who, being taken a few miles from the city, was put to death. This matter blowing over, the peace with Spain continued. With Holland the case was different.

Holland, being itself a Republic, might have been expected to sympathise and fraternise with the English Commonwealth, but the circumstances of the Court prevented the spread of this feeling. The Stadtholder, William II., had married the Princess Royal of England, the daughter of Charles I., and sister of Charles II. From the first of the contest, therefore, Holland had supported the claims of both the Charleses. The second Charles had spent much of his exile at the Hague, not being at all cordially received in France, where his mother resided. His brother, the Duke of York, had long resided there, as Rupert and Maurice had done before. There was thus a great league between the family of the Stadtholder and the Stuart faction, and the Stadtholders themselves were gradually making themselves as despotic as any princes of Europe. All the money which enabled the Stuarts in England to make head and invade it from Scotland came from the Hague. On the other hand, the large Republican party in Holland, which was at strife with the Stadtholder on account of his[111] regal and despotic doctrines, looked with favour on the proceedings of the English Parliament, and thus awoke a deep jealousy in the Stadtholder's Court of the English Parliament, which entertained ideas of coalescing with Holland into one great Republic.

From these causes no satisfaction could ever be obtained from the Stadtholder for the murder of Dr. Dorislaus, nor would he admit Strickland, the ambassador of the Parliament, to an audience. But on the 6th of November, 1650, William died of small-pox, and on the 14th of that month his widow gave birth to William III., who afterwards became King of England. The infancy of the Stadtholder now encouraged the Republican party to abolish that office, and to restore the more democratic form of government. On this, the Parliament of England, in the commencement of 1651, determined to send ambassadors to the States, and in addition to Strickland sent St. John, the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. But no good was done. There were numbers of English Royalists still hanging about at the Hague, and the Dutch, through the internal wars of England, France, and Spain, had grown so prosperous that they were become proud and insolent, and had come to regard the English Parliament, through the misrepresentation of their enemies, as a power that they might treat with contempt. St. John found insurmountable difficulties in negotiating with the rude, haughty States-General. He was openly insulted in the streets of the Hague; the ignorant populace hooted and hissed him and his colleague, and the Royalists were suffered to annoy them with impunity.

The Parliament of England had in good faith proposed their scheme of confederacy against their common enemies both by sea and land, but the States-General made so many objections and delays that the term fixed for the negotiation expired, and the English ambassadors took their leave in disgust. The battle of Worcester awoke the Dutch to their mistake, and they then sent in haste to propose terms of alliance on their part, but it was too late. St. John, strong in his feelings as he was deep in his intellect, had represented their conduct in such terms that the English Parliament received them with a cool haughtiness the counterpart of their own in the late attempt at treaty. St. John had also employed himself in a measure of revenge on the Dutch which was in its effects most disastrous to them. Owing to the embarrassments of the other European States, the Dutch had grown not only to be the chief merchants of the nations, but the great carriers of all mercantile goods. Parliament passed a Navigation Act, by which it was forbidden to introduce any of the products of Asia, Africa, or America into England, except in English vessels, or any of the manufactures of Europe, except in English ships or the ships of the countries which produced them. This at one blow lopped off the greater part of the commerce of Holland, and the demands of the ambassador that this terrible Act should be repealed, or at least suspended till the conclusion of a treaty, were totally disregarded. But this was not the only offensive weapon which St. John's resentment had found. Letters of marque had been issued against French vessels, and they were permitted to be used against Dutch ones, on pretence that they had French property on board. Still more, the massacre of the English at Amboyna, which had been lightly passed over, owing to the desire of the English Court to maintain the alliance of Holland against Spain, had never been forgotten by the English people, and there were now loud demands, especially from the sailors, that all survivors of the Dutch concerned in that murder should be given up. In fact, a determined spirit of hostility had sprung up between the two maritime nations. The Dutch, at the call of their merchants for protection, prepared a fleet, and placed at the head of it the three greatest admirals that their nation ever produced—Van Tromp, De Ruyter, and De Witt. The English Parliament, on their part, ordered their admirals to insist on the same homage being paid to their flag in the narrow seas as had been paid to that of the king. They also demanded indemnification for the losses sustained in the East Indies from the Dutch, and insisted on the stipulated contribution of the tenth herring from the Dutch fishermen in the British seas.

It was impossible, under such circumstances, that hostilities should be long deferred. Commodore Young was the first to call on the convoy of a fleet of Dutch merchantmen to salute the British flag. They refused, and Young attacked them so smartly that in the end they complied. In a few days Van Tromp, who was a zealous partisan of Orange, and therefore of the house of Stuart, appeared in the Downs with two-and-forty sail. To Commodore Bourne, whom he found there, he disclaimed any hostile intentions, but pleaded the loss of several anchors and cables for putting in; but the next day, being the 19th of[112] May, he encountered Blake off Dover, and that commander, though he had only twenty ships, demanded that Van Tromp should do homage to his flag. Van Tromp refused, and sailed right on till he came nearly opposite Blake, when the English admiral fired a gun three successive times at the Dutch admiral's flag. Van Tromp returned the compliment by firing a broadside into Blake's ship; and the two fleets were instantly engaged, and a desperate battle was fought from three in the afternoon till darkness separated them. The English had taken two ships, one of which, on account of the damage done it, was allowed to sink.

There was much dispute between the two countries which was the aggressor; but it appears the most probable fact that Van Tromp sought an occasion to resist the demand of lowering the Dutch flag to the English one, and found an admiral as prepared to assert that superiority as he was to dispute it.

The English Parliament immediately issued strict orders to all its commodores to pursue and destroy all the ships of the Dutch fleet that they could find on the seas; and in the space of a month they took or burnt seventy sail of merchantmen, besides several men-of-war. The Dutch protested that the battle had not been sought by them, and proposed inquiry, and the punishment of whichever of the commanders should be proved the aggressor; but the Parliament replied that it was satisfied that the States were bent on usurping the rights of England on the seas, and on destroying the fleets, which were the walls and bulwarks of the nation, and therefore that it was necessary to stand on the defensive. The States sent De Pauw to reiterate the assurances of their peaceful intentions, and to urge the court of inquiry; but the Parliament was now as high as the States had been before, and insisted on reparation and security. De Pauw demanded what these terms meant, and was answered, full compensation for all the expense that the Commonwealth had been put to by the hostile preparations of the States, and a confederation for the mutual protection of the two nations. De Pauw knew that the first of these terms would be declined, and took his leave. On the 19th of July the Parliament proclaimed war against the States.

The Dutch were by no means afraid of the war, though they dreaded the destruction of their trade which it would occasion. They had acquired a great reputation as a naval people, and the sailors were eager to encounter the English, and revenge their defeat upon them. Van Tromp once more appeared with seventy sail of the line, and boasted that he would sweep the English from the face of the ocean. The Vice-Admiral Sir George Ayscough (or Ayscue), had just returned victorious from the reduction of Barbadoes, and was left in charge of the Channel whilst Blake went northward, in quest of the squadron which protected the Dutch fishermen. Van Tromp could not come up with Ayscough, owing to a change of wind; he, therefore, went northward after Blake, who had captured the Dutch squadron, and made the fishermen pay the tenth herring, but a storm dispersed Van Tromp's fleet, several of his ships falling into the hands of the English. When he again returned to port, he was received with great indignation by the people, who had expected wonders from him, and in his mortification he resigned.

De Ruyter was advanced into his post, and put to sea in charge of a merchant fleet, and in return fell in with Ayscough off Plymouth, who broke through his line, but was not followed up vigorously by the captains of the other vessels, and the Dutch ships escaped. Ayscough was superseded, the Parliament suspecting him of a royal tendency.

De Ruyter joined De Witt, and attacked Blake, who had under him Admirals Bourne and Penn, and a fierce engagement took place, which lasted the whole of the 28th of September. The next morning the Dutch were seen bearing away for their own coasts, several of their vessels having gone down, and one of them being taken. Blake gave chase as far as Goree, but could not pursue them amongst the shoals and sandbanks, where the small vessels of the Dutch had taken refuge. Wherever English and Dutch ships now met, there was battle. There was an affray between them in the Mediterranean, where Van Galen, with a greatly superior force, attacked and defeated Captain Baily, but was himself slain; the King of Denmark also joined the Dutch with five ships, laid an embargo on English merchandise in the Baltic, and closed the Sound against them. There were, moreover, numerous vessels under the French flag cruising about in quest of merchantmen.

As winter, however, approached, Blake, supposing the campaign would cease till spring, dispersed a number of his vessels to different ports, and was lying in the Downs with only thirty-seven sail, when he was surprised by a fleet of eighty men-of-war, and ten fire-ships. It was Van Tromp, whom the States had again prevailed on[113] to take the command, and who came vehement for the recovery of his tarnished reputation. Blake's stout heart refused to shrink from even so unequal a contest; and he fought the whole Dutch fleet with true English bulldogism, from ten in the morning till six in the evening, when the increasing darkness led to a cessation of hostilities on both sides. Blake took advantage of the night to get up the Thames as far as the quaint fishing village of Leigh. He had managed to blow up a Dutch ship, disable two others, and to do much damage generally to the Dutch fleet; but he had lost five ships himself. Van Tromp and De Ruyter sailed to and fro at the mouth of the river, and along the coast from the North Foreland to the Isle of Wight, in triumph, and then convoyed home the Dutch and French fleets. There was huge rejoicing in Holland over the great English admiral, which, considering the immense inequality of the fleets, was really an honour to Blake, for it showed how they esteemed his genius and courage. The whole of Holland was full of bravado at blocking up the Thames, and forcing the English to an ignominious peace. Van Tromp was so elated, that he stuck a besom at his masthead, intimating that he would sweep the English from off the seas.


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The English Parliament, during the winter, made strenuous efforts to wipe out this reverse. They refitted and put in order all their ships, ordered two regiments of infantry to be ready to embark as marines, raised the wages of the seamen, ordered their families to be maintained during their absence on service, and increased the rate of prize money. They sent for Monk from Scotland, and joined him and Dean in command with Blake.

The Dutch navy was estimated at this period at a hundred and fifty sail, and was flushed with success; but Blake was resolved to take down their pride, and lay ready for the first opportunity. This occurred on the 18th of February, 1653. Van Tromp appeared sailing up the Channel with seventy-two ships of war and thirty armed traders, convoying a homeward-bound merchant fleet of three hundred sail. His orders were, having seen the merchantmen safe home, to return and blockade the Thames. Blake saved him the[114] trouble, by issuing from port with eighty men-of-war, and posting himself across the Channel. Van Tromp signalled the merchant fleet under his convoy to take care of themselves, and the battle between him and Blake commenced with fury. The action took place not far from Cape La Hogue, on the coast of France. Blake and Dean, who were both on board the Triumph, led the way, and their ship received seven hundred shots in her hull. The battle lasted the whole day, in which the Dutch had six ships taken or sunk, the English losing none, but Blake was severely wounded.

The next day the fight was renewed off Weymouth as fiercely as before, and was continued all day, and at intervals through the night; and on the third day the conflict still raged till four o'clock in the afternoon, when the wind carrying the contending fleets towards the shallow waters between Boulogne and Calais, Van Tromp, with his lesser ships, escaped from the English, and pursued his course homewards, carrying the merchant fleet safely there. In the three days' fight the Dutch, according to their own account, had lost nine men-of-war and twenty-four merchantmen; according to the English account, eleven men-of-war and thirty merchantmen. They had two thousand men killed, and fifteen hundred taken prisoners. The English had only one ship sunk, though many of their vessels were greatly damaged, and their loss of killed and wounded was very severe. But they had decidedly beaten the enemy, and the excitement in Holland, on the return of the crest-fallen though valiant boaster Van Tromp, was universal. It was now the turn of the English sailors to boast, who declared that they had paid off the Dutch for Amboyna. But the defeat of their navy was nothing in comparison to the general mischief done to their trade and merchant shipping. Their fisheries employed one hundred thousand persons: these were entirely stopped; the Channel was now closed to their fleet, and in the Baltic the English committed continual ravages on their traders. Altogether, they had now lost sixteen hundred ships, and they once more condescended to seek for accommodation with the English Parliament, which, however, treated them with haughty indifference; and it was, therefore, with great satisfaction that they now beheld the change which took place in England.

The Reformers of various shades and creeds had at first been combined by the one great feeling of rescuing the country from the absolute principles of the Stuarts. They had fought bravely side by side for this great object; but in proportion as they succeeded, the differences between themselves became more apparent. The Presbyterians, Scots and English, were bent on fixing their religious opinions on the country as despotically as the Catholics and Episcopalians had done before them. But here they found themselves opposed by the Independents, who had notions of religious freedom far beyond the Presbyterians, and were not inclined to yield their freedom to any other party whatever. Their religious notions naturally disposed them towards the same equalising system in the State, and as the chiefs of the army were of this denomination, they soon found themselves in a condition to dictate to the parliament. Pride's Purge left Parliament almost purely independent, and it and the army worked harmoniously till the sweeping victories of Cromwell created a jealousy of his power. This power was the more supreme because circumstances had dispersed the other leading generals into distant scenes of action. Monk and Lambert were in Scotland till Monk was called to the fleet, Fleetwood was in Ireland, Ireton was dead. The Long Parliament, or the remnant of it, called the Rump, ably as it had conducted affairs, was daily decreasing in numbers, and dreaded to renew itself by election, because it felt certain that anything like a free election would return an overwhelming number of Presbyterians, and that they would thus commit an act of felo de se.

At no period did what is called the Commonwealth of England present any of the elements of what we conceive by a republic, that is, by a government of the free representatives of the people. Had the people been allowed to send their representatives, there would have been a considerable number of Catholics, a much greater number of Episcopalians, and both of these sections Royalists. There would have been an overwhelming number of Presbyterians, and a very moderate one of Independents. The Government was, therefore, speedily converted into an oligarchy, at the head of which were the generals of the army, and some few of the leaders of Parliament. The army, by Pride's Purge, reduced the Parliament to a junto, by turning out forcibly the majority of the representatives of the people, and the time was now fast approaching when it must resolve itself into a military dictatorship.

Cromwell had long been accused by his own party of aiming at the possession of the supreme power. At what time such ideas began to[115] dawn in his mind is uncertain; but as he felt himself rising above all his contemporaries by the energy and the comprehensive character of his mind, there is no doubt that he secretly indulged them. Ludlow, Whitelock, Hutchinson, and others, felt that such was the spirit growing in him; and many of those who had most admired his genius fell away from him, and openly denounced his ambitious intentions as they became more obvious. The excellent Colonel Hutchinson and Sir Henry Vane charged him with the ruin of the Commonwealth. But Cromwell must have long felt that nothing but a military power could maintain the ascendency of those principles which he and his fellow Independents entertained and held sacred. The world was not prepared for them. The roots of royalty were too deeply struck into the heart of the nation by centuries of its existence, to be torn out by the follies and tyrannies of one family. But if a free Parliament, which it had been the proud boast of the Reformers to be the sole seat of the national power, could not exist; if the sitting body calling itself a Parliament could not even add to its members without endangering its own existence either from itself or from the jealousy of the army—what could exist? Clearly nothing but a dictatorship, and the strongest man must come uppermost. That strongest man was without a question Cromwell.

As early as 1649 two Bills had been brought in to settle questions urgently demanded by the people, an act for a general amnesty, and for the termination of the present Parliament. On his return from the battle of Worcester, Cromwell reminded Parliament that these essential measures had not been completed. He carried the amnesty, so that all acts of hostility against the present Government previous to the battle of Worcester were pardoned, and the Royalists relieved from the fear of fresh forfeitures. The termination of Parliament was fixed for the 3rd of November, 1654, and the interval of three years was to be zealously employed in framing a scheme for the election of a new Parliament on the safest principles. At the same time Cromwell was living at Whitehall, in the house of the beheaded king, and with almost the state and power of a sovereign. He summoned, therefore, the council of the army, and discussed amongst them what they deemed necessary to be done.

In this council it was agitated as to the best form of government for England, whether a pure republic, or a government with something of monarchy in it. The officers were for a republic, the lawyers for a limited monarchy. Cromwell agreed that the government must have something of monarchy in it, and asked who they would choose if that were decided? The lawyers said Charles Stuart, or if they found him too much bent on power, his brother the Duke of Gloucester. There can be little doubt but that this was a feeler on the part of Cromwell, and as he was never likely to acquiesce in the restoration of a family which they had put down at so much cost, it would have the effect of causing him to proceed with caution. He had ascertained that the army was opposed to a king; the lawyers thought of no king but one from the old royal line. These were facts to be pondered.

Meanwhile the Parliament, without proceeding to lay a platform for its successor, evidenced a jealousy of the ascendency of the army; it voted a reduction of one-fourth of the army, and of the monthly assessment for its support from one hundred and twenty thousand pounds to ninety thousand pounds. In June, 1652, it proposed a fresh reduction, but this was opposed by the military council, and in August the officers appeared at the bar of the House with a petition, calling the attention of the Parliament to the great question of the qualifications of future parliaments, to reform of the law and religious abuses, to the dismissal of disaffected and scandalous persons from office, to the arrears due to the army, and to reform of malpractices in the Excise and the Treasury.

The contest between the army and the Parliament was evidently growing every day more active. The Commons had no desire to lay down their authority and, to retain their existence, even showed a leaning towards introducing a number of Presbyterians under the name of "Neuters." To such a project the army was never likely to assent, and Cromwell proposed, in the council at Whitehall, that Parliament should be at once dissolved, and a national council of forty persons, with himself at their head, should conduct affairs till a new Parliament could be called on established principles. The opinion, however, was that such a proceeding would be dangerous, and the authority of the council be looked upon as unwarrantable.

Whilst these matters were in agitation, Whitelock says that Cromwell, on the 8th of November, 1652, desired a private interview with him, and in this urged the necessity of taking prompt and efficient measures for securing the great objects[116] for which they had fought, and which he termed the mercies and successes which God had conferred on the nation. He inveighed warmly against the Parliament, and declared that the army began to entertain a strange distaste to it; adding that he wished there were not too much reason for it. "And really," he continued, "their pride, their self-seeking, their engrossing all places of honour and profit to themselves and their friends; their daily breaking forth into new and violent parties and factions; their delays of business, and designs to perpetuate themselves, and to continue the power in their own hands; their meddling in private matters between party and party, contrary to the institution of Parliament; their injustice and partiality in these matters, and the scandalous lives of some of the chief of them, do give much ground for people to open their mouths against them, and to dislike them." He concluded by insisting on the necessity of some controlling power over them to check these extravagances, or else nothing could prevent the ruin of the Commonwealth.

Whitelock admitted the truth of most of this, but defended the Parliament generally, and reminded Cromwell that it was the Parliament which had granted them their authority, and to Cromwell even his commission, and that it would be hard for them, under those circumstances, to curb their power.

But Cromwell broke out—"We all forget God, and God will forget us. God will give us up to confusion, and these men will help it on if they be suffered to proceed in their ways." And then, after some further talk, he suddenly observed, "What if a man should take upon him to be king?" Whitelock saw plainly enough what Oliver was thinking of, and replied as if he had directly asked whether he should assume that office himself. He told him that it would not do, and that he was much better off, and more influential as he was. "As to your person," he observed, "the title of king would be of no advantage, because you have the full kingly power already concerning the militia." He reminded him that in the appointment of civil offices, though he had no formal veto, his will was as much consulted as if he had, and so in all other departments, domestic and foreign. Moreover, he now had the power without the envy and danger which the pomp and circumstance of a king would bring.

Cromwell still argued the point; contending that though a man usurped the title without royal descent, yet the possession of the crown was declared by an Act of Henry VII. to make a good title, and to indemnify the reigning king and all his ministers for their acts. Whitelock replied that, let their enemies once get the better of them, all such bills and indemnifications would be little regarded; and that to assume the crown would at once convert the quarrel into one not between the king and the nation, but between Charles Stuart and Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell admitted this, but asked what other course he could propose. Whitelock said that of making a good bargain with Charles, who was now down, and might be treated with just on what terms they pleased; or if they thought him too confirmed in his opinions, there was the Duke of York or the Duke of Gloucester. Cromwell did not appear pleased with this suggestion; in fact, he had resolved to seize the chief power in some shape himself—and even had he not, he had too much common sense to agree to admit any one of the deposed family again to the throne, which would be to put their necks in the certain noose of royal vengeance. The death of Charles I. could never be forgiven. From this time, Whitelock says, though he made no accusation against Cromwell, yet "his carriage towards me from that time was altered, and his advising with me not so frequent and intimate as before."

Cromwell again, however, broached the subject amongst the officers and members of the Council—St. John, Lenthall the Speaker, Desborough, Harrison, Fleetwood, and Whalley, not in so direct a manner, but as that "a settlement, with something of the monarchical in it, would be very effectual." It does not appear that the project was very unanimously received by them, but they were agreed that a new representation must take place, and no "Neuters" should be admitted. Cromwell said emphatically, "Never shall any of that judgment who have deserted the cause be admitted to power." On the 19th of April the debate on this subject was continued very warmly till midnight, and they separated, to continue the discussion on the next day. Most of the officers had argued that the Parliament must be dissolved "one way or another;" but the Parliament men and lawyers, amongst them Whitelock and Widdrington, contended that a hasty dissolution would be dangerous, and Cromwell appeared to lean towards the moderate view. But scarcely had they met the next morning, and found a strange absence of the members of Parliament, and an almost equal absence of officers, when[117] Colonel Ingoldsby hastened in and informed them that the Commons were hard at work pushing forward their Bill for increasing their own numbers by the introduction of Neuters; and that it was evident that they meant to hurry it through the House before the Council could be informed of their attempt. Vane and others, well aware of Cromwell's design, were thus exerting themselves to defeat it.


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At this news Cromwell instantly ordered a file of musketeers to attend him, and hastened to the House of Commons, attended by Lambert, Harrison, and some other officers. He left the soldiers in the lobby of the House, and entering, went straight to his seat, where he sat for some time listening to the debate. He first spoke to St. John, telling him that he was come for a purpose which grieved him to the very soul, and that he had sought the Lord with tears not to impose it upon him; but there was a necessity, and that the glory of God and the good of the nation required it. He then beckoned Harrison to him, and said that he judged that the Parliament was ripe for dissolution. Harrison, who was a Fifth-Monarchy man, and had been only with much persuasion brought over to this design, replied, "Sir, the work is very great and dangerous; I desire you seriously to consider before you engage in it." "You say well," answered the general, and sat yet about a quarter of an hour longer. But when the question was about to be put, he said to Harrison, "This is the time; I must do it;" and starting up, he took off his hat, and began speaking. At first he spoke of the question before the House, and commended the Parliament for much that it had done, and well he might; for whatever its present corruption, it had nobly supported him and the fleet and army in putting down all their enemies, and raising the nation in the eyes of foreigners far beyond its reputation for the last century. But soon he came round to the corruption and self-seeking of the members, accusing them of being at that moment engaged in the very work of bringing in the Presbyterians to destroy all that they had suffered so much to accomplish. Sir Harry Vane and Peter Wentworth ventured to call him to order, declaring that that was strange and unparliamentary language from a servant of the House, and one that they had so much honoured. "I know it," replied Cromwell; then stepping forward into the middle of the floor, and putting on his hat, and walking to and fro, casting angry glances at different members, he exclaimed, "I tell you, you are no Parliament. I will put an end to your prating. For shame! get you gone! Give place to honest men; to men who will more faithfully discharge their trust. You are no longer a Parliament. The Lord has done with you. He has chosen other instruments for carrying on His work."

With that he stamped upon the floor, and the soldiers appearing at the door, he bade Harrison bring them in. The musketeers instantly surrounded him, and laying his hand on the mace, he said, "What shall we do with this bauble? Take it away," and he handed it to a soldier. Then looking at Lenthall the Speaker, he said to Harrison, "Fetch him down!" Lenthall declared that he would not move from his proper post unless he was forced out of it. "Sir," said Harrison, "I will lend you a hand," and taking hold of him, he brought him down, and he walked out of the House. Algernon Sydney, then but a young member, happened to sit next to the Speaker, and Cromwell said, "Put him out!" Sydney, like the Speaker, refused to move, but Cromwell reiterated the command, "Put him out!" and Harrison and Worsley, the lieutenant-colonel of Cromwell's regiment of Ironsides, laying each a hand on his shoulder, the young patriot did not wait for the ignominy of being dragged from his seat, but rose and followed the Speaker. Cromwell then went on weeding out the members, with epithets of high reproach to each of them. Alderman Allen bade him pause and send out the soldiers, and that all might yet be well; but Cromwell only replied, "It is you that have forced me upon this. I have sought the Lord day and night that He would rather slay me than put me upon this work." He then charged the alderman with embezzlement, as treasurer to the army; and taking first one and then another by the cloak, he said to Challoner, "Thou art a drunkard!" To Wentworth, "Thou art an adulterer!" To Martin, "Thou art a still more lewd character!" Vane, as he was forced past him, exclaimed, "This is not honest; yea, it is against morality and common honesty." "O, Sir Harry Vane, Sir Harry Vane!" exclaimed Cromwell, "the Lord deliver me from Sir Harry Vane!" Thus he saw the House cleared, no one daring to raise a hand against him, though, says Whitelock, "many wore swords, and would sometimes brag high." When all were gone, Cromwell locked the door, and put the key in his pocket. He then returned to Whitehall, and told the Council of officers, who yet remained[119] sitting, what he had done. "When I went to the House," he said, "I did not think to do this, but perceiving the spirit of the Lord strong upon me, I resolved no longer to consult flesh and blood."

Such was the manner in which the last vestige of representative government was swept away by Cromwell. Charles I. roused the fiery indignation of Parliament, and of all England, as a violater of the privileges of Parliament, by entering the House to seize five members who had offended him. Cromwell, who had been one of the first to resist and to avenge this deed, now marched in his soldiers and turned out the whole Parliament, about fifty members, with impunity. "They went away so quietly," said Cromwell, "that not a dog barked at their going." Such is the difference between a private man with a victorious army at his back, and one who, though with the name of a king, has lost a nation's confidence by his want of moral honesty. The act of Cromwell was the death of all constitutional life whatever, it was in opposition to all parties but the army; yet no man dared assume the attitude of a patriot; the military Dictatorship was accomplished (April 20, 1653).

Cromwell's whole excuse was necessity; that without his seizure of the supreme power, the Commonwealth could not exist. It ceased to exist by his very deed, and if he saved the faint form of a republic, it was only for five years. As we have seen the great example to the nations of the responsibility of kings, we have now to see an equally significant one of the impossibility of maintaining long any form of government that is not based on the mature opinion and attachment of the people. Republicanism was not the faith of England in the seventeenth century, and therefore neither the despotism of Charles could create a republic with any permanence in it, nor the strenuous grasp of Cromwell maintain it beyond the term of his own existence.

On the afternoon of this celebrated coup d'état, Cromwell proceeded to Derby House, accompanied by Harrison and Lambert, where the Council was still sitting, and thus addressed the members:—"Gentlemen, if you are here met as private persons, you shall not be disturbed; but if as a Council of State, this is no place for you; and since you cannot but know what was done at the House this morning, so take notice that the Parliament is dissolved." Bradshaw, who was presiding, said that they knew, and that all England would soon know; but that if he thought that the Parliament was dissolved, he was mistaken, "for that no power under Heaven could dissolve them, except themselves. Therefore take you notice of that." Sir Arthur Haselrig and others supported this protest, and then the Council withdrew.

Cromwell and his party immediately held a council as to what steps were to be taken, and on the 22nd they issued a declaration in the name of the Lord-General and his council of officers, ordering all authorities to continue their functions as before; and in return, addresses of confidence arrived from generals and admirals. On the 6th of June Oliver, in his own name as Captain-General and Commander-in-Chief of all the armies and forces, issued a summons to one hundred and forty persons to meet and constitute a Parliament. Six were also summoned from Wales, six from Ireland, and five from Scotland. On the 4th of July about one hundred and twenty of these persons, of Cromwell's own selection—persons, according to his summons, "fearing God, and of approved fidelity and honesty"—met in the Council-chamber at Whitehall. Many of these were gentlemen of good repute and abilities—some of them were nobles, others of noble families—as Colonel Montague, Colonel Howard, and Anthony Ashley Cooper. Others, however, were of little worldly standing, but had been selected on account of their religious zeal and character. Amongst them was one Barbon, a leatherseller in Fleet Street, who had acquired the cognomen of Praise-God, and whose name being purposely misspelled became Praise-God Barebone, and the Royalist wits of the time, therefore, dubbed the Parliament Barebone's Parliament.

The more common appellation of this singular Parliament was "The Little Parliament." Cromwell opened their session with a very long and extraordinary speech, in which he gave a history of the past contest with the monarchy, and the mercies with which they had been crowned at Naseby, Dunbar, Worcester, and other places; of the backslidings of the Long Parliament, and the "necessity" to remove it and call this assembly. He quoted a vast quantity of Scripture, and told them that they were called of God to introduce practical religion into State affairs; and he then delivered into their hands an instrument, consigning to them the supreme power in the State till the 3rd of September, 1654, three months previous to which date they were to elect their successors, who were to sit only for a year, and in turn elect their successors.


This resignation of the supreme power once in his hands, has been described by historians as a gross piece of hypocrisy, used to avoid the odium of seizing for himself the power of the Parliament, which he had forcibly dissolved. Whether that were the case or not, it certainly was a prudent policy, and a safe one, for he knew very well that he possessed supreme power as head of the army, and could, if necessary, dismiss this Parliament as he had done the former one. In their character of pietists or saints, as they were called, this Parliament opened its session by electing Francis Rouse their Speaker, and by exercises of devotion, which continued from eight in the morning till six at night. Thirteen of the most gifted members preached and prayed in succession, and they adjourned, declaring that they had never enjoyed so much of the spirit and presence of Christ in any meetings for worship as they had done that day. It was moved the next morning that they "should go on seeking the Lord" that day too, but this was overruled, and Monday, the 11th, was fixed for that purpose. They then voted themselves the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England, invited Cromwell and four of his staff to sit as members amongst them, and on the 9th of July re-appointed the Council of State, amongst whom we find the names of Colonel Montague, afterwards Earl of Sandwich, the uncle of the poet Dryden, Sir Gilbert Pickering, Lord Viscount Lisle, brother of Algernon Sydney, Sir Ashley Cooper, and other names of equal note; and however they might be ridiculed on account of their religion, they soon showed that they were conscientious and independent men. The strongest proof of this was that they did not shrink from opposing the power and interests of Cromwell, who had selected them. Scarcely were they met, when they were appealed to to decide upon the case of John Lilburne, who, on the dissolution of the Long Parliament, petitioned Cromwell to allow him to return from his banishment. Cromwell gave no reply, but independent John took the liberty of appearing in London. He was at once seized and committed to Newgate. Lilburne, supported by his friends, petitioned the House to hear and decide the case, though it was the proper business of a jury. They might now have gratified their patron, whom Lilburne had continually assailed as a "robber," a "usurper," and a "murderer;" but they declined to interfere, and left him to the ordinary criminal court. There Lilburne so ably defended himself that he was acquitted; but he was again seized on the plea of libellous and seditious language used on his trial, and the House could then no longer refuse, at the instigation of the Council, to imprison him. Being removed from the Tower to Elizabeth Castle, in Jersey, and thence to Dover Castle, he there became a convert to the principles of George Fox, a remarkable end for so fiery and democratic a character. The Parliament lost no time in proceeding to assert that divine commission, which Cromwell, in his opening speech, had attributed to their call through him. They declared that they were appointed by the Lord, and would have greatly alarmed Cromwell had he not taken care to include amongst them a sufficient number of his staunch adherents. But they excited the same alarm in a variety of other classes. They set to work resolutely in cutting down the expenditure of the Government; they abolished all unnecessary offices; they revised the regulations of the Excise; reformed the constitution of the Treasury; reduced exorbitant salaries, and examined thoroughly the public accounts; they adopted measures for the sale of the confiscated lands, and enacted rules for the better registration of births, deaths, and marriages. They went further; they made marriage by a civil magistrate valid, and, indeed, necessary for the enjoyment of the civil effects of marriage. Marriage by a clergyman was left optional still.

They next attacked the unequal and oppressive modes of raising the one hundred and twenty thousand pounds a month for the maintenance of the army; the assessments in some cases amounting to two, in others, to ten shillings in the pound. From taxation they proceeded to law, and prepared a Bill to abolish the Court of Chancery, in which the abuses and delays had been a constant source of complaint in petitions to Parliament for years. But they were not content with destroying the Court of Chancery, they set about a general reform of the laws. They contended that every Englishman should understand the laws of his country, and that by a proper digest they might be reduced to the compass of a pocket volume. They, in fact, anticipated Napoleon in his Code, and appointed a committee to make the necessary revision, and to weed the real and useful statutes out of the chaotic mass of contradictory, obsolete, and unjust laws which overlaid them; the dicta of judges in many cases superseded and prevented the original enactments, so that men's lives and properties were at the mercy, not of the decrees of[121] Parliament, but the opinions of individuals. It may be imagined what a consternation this daring innovation excited throughout Westminster Hall, and all the dusky, cobwebby cells of the lawyers. A terrible cry was raised that a set of ignorant men were about to destroy the whole noble system of British jurisprudence, and to introduce instead the law of Moses!


But the projects of these radical Reformers were cut short by the universal outcry from lawyers, churchmen, officials, and a host of interested classes. They were represented as a set of mad fanatics, who in Parliament were endeavouring to carry out the wild doctrines which the Anabaptists and Fifth-Monarchy men were preaching out of doors. Borne down by public opinion, Cromwell was compelled to dissolve them, in fact to resume the supreme power which he had committed to them. Accordingly, on the 12th of December, Cromwell's friends mustered in full strength, and Colonel Sydenham moved that, as the proceedings of Parliament were regarded as calculated to overturn almost every interest in the country, they could not proceed, and that they should restore their authority to the hands whence they had received it. The motion was vehemently opposed, but the Independents had adopted their plan. The mover declared that he would no longer sit in an assembly which must be rendered abortive by general opposition. He therefore rose: the Speaker, who was one of the party, rose too, and the Independents, forming a procession, proceeded to Whitehall, and resigned their commission into the hands of Cromwell. The staunch dissentients remained and engaged in prayer, in which act two officers, Goffe and White, sent to close the House, found them. White asked them what they did there. They replied, "We are seeking the Lord." "Then," said he, rudely, "you may go somewhere else, for to my certain knowledge, the Lord has not been here these many years."



Cromwell affected to receive with reluctance the onerous charge of the supreme power and responsibility; but the officers urged its necessity, and the document being soon signed by eighty members, he acceded to it. The council of officers and ministers decided that it was necessary to have "a commonwealth in a single person;" and a new constitution was drawn up; and on the 16th of December Cromwell, dressed in a suit and cloak of black velvet, with long boots and a broad gold band round his hat, proceeded in his carriage from Whitehall to the Court of Chancery. The way was lined by files of soldiers, consisting of five regiments of foot and three of horse. A long procession followed, including the Lord Mayor, aldermen, and City officers, the two Commissioners of the Great Seal, the judges, the councillors of State and of the army. On reaching the Court of Chancery, Cromwell took his place before a chair of State, which had been placed on a rich carpet, the Commissioners of the Great Seal standing on his right and left, the judges ranging themselves behind, and the civil and military officers disposing of themselves on each hand. Lambert then stepped forward and addressed the Lord-General. He spoke of the dissolution of Parliament, and of the necessity of a strong Government, not liable to be paralysed by contending opinions; and he prayed the Lord-General, in the name of the army[122] and of the official authorities of the three kingdoms, to accept the office of Lord-Protector of the Commonwealth, and to govern it for the public good by a constitution already drawn up. Cromwell assented, and thereupon Jessop, a clerk of the council, read what was called "The Instrument of Government," consisting of forty-two articles. The chief of these were, that the legislative power should be invested in the Lord-Protector and the Parliament; but chiefly in the Parliament, for every Act passed by them was to become law at the end of twenty days, though the Protector should refuse it his consent. Parliament should not be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved without its own consent, for five months; and there was to be a new Parliament called within three years of the dissolution of the last. The members of the Parliament were adopted from a plan by Vane, brought forward during the Long Parliament—namely, three hundred and forty members for England and Wales, thirty for Scotland, and thirty for Ireland. The members were to be chosen chiefly from the counties, and no papist, Malignant, or any one who had borne arms against the Parliament, was admissible. In the Protector resided the power of making war or peace with the consent of the Council; he held the disposal of the militia, and of the regular forces and the navy, the appointment of all public offices with the approbation of Parliament, or during the recess of Parliament with that of the Council, subject to the after-approval of Parliament; but he could make no law, nor impose taxes without consent of Parliament. The civil list was fixed at two hundred thousand pounds, and a revenue for the army capable of maintaining thirty thousand men, with such a navy as the Lord-Protector should deem necessary. The elective franchise extended to persons possessed of property worth two hundred pounds, and sixty members of Parliament should constitute a quorum. All persons professing faith in Jesus Christ were to enjoy the exercise of their religion except papists, prelatists, or such as taught doctrines subversive of morality. Cromwell was named Lord-Protector for life, and his successor was to be elected by the Council, and no member of the family of the late king, or any of his line, should be capable of election. A Council was specially named by the Instrument, to consist of Philip, Lord Viscount Lisle, brother of Algernon Sydney; Fleetwood; Lambert; Sir Gilbert Pickering; Sir Charles Wolseley; Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper; Edward Montague; John Desborough, brother-in-law of Cromwell; Walter Strickland; Henry Lawrence; William Sydenham; Philip Jones; Richard Mayor, father-in-law of Richard Cromwell; Francis Rouse; Philip Skipton, or any seven of them, with power in the Protector, and a majority of the Council, to add to their number. Thurloe, the historian, was secretary of the Council, and Milton Latin secretary.

This Instrument being ready, Cromwell swore solemnly to observe it, and to cause it to be observed; and then Lambert, kneeling, offered the Protector a civic sword in the scabbard, which he took, laying aside his own, as indicating that he thenceforward would govern by the new constitution, and not by military authority. He then seated himself, covered, in the chair of State, all besides standing uncovered; he then received from the Commissioners the Great Seal, and from the Lord Mayor the sword and cap of maintenance, which he immediately returned to them. On this the court rose, and the Lord-Protector returned in state to Whitehall, the Lord Mayor bearing the sword before him, amid the shouting of the soldiers and the firing of cannon. The next day, the 17th of December, the Lord-Protector was proclaimed by sound of trumpet in Westminster and in the City, and thus had the successful general, the quondam farmer of Huntingdon, arrived at the seat of supreme power, at the seat of a long line of famous kings, though not with the name of king, to which many suspected him of aspiring. Yet even without the royal dignity, he soon found the position anything but an enviable one, for he was surrounded by hosts of men still vowed to his destruction and the restoration of the monarchy; and amongst those who had fought side by side with him towards this august eminence, were many who regarded his assumption of it as a crime, to be expiated only by his death. Though there is no reason to believe that the bulk of the nation was otherwise than satisfied with the change, his supporters were lukewarm while his enemies were ardent. There was no disguising the fact that until Parliament met his government was one of naked absolutism. The Protector forthwith established a body of "Triers" who proceeded to examine the religious beliefs of candidates for vacant benefices, and promptly presented them if the result of the examination was satisfactory. Before we proceed, however, to notice his struggles with his secret or avowed enemies, and with his new Parliament, we must notice what had been doing meanwhile in the war with Holland, which had still been raging.




Naval Victory over the Dutch—Death of Van Tromp—Quasi-Royal State of the Lord-Protector—Disaffection against Cromwell—His Vigorous Rule—Charles II. offers a Reward for his Assassination—Rebellions in Scotland—Cromwell's Dealings with the Portuguese Ambassador—Reform of the Court of Chancery—Commission for Purgation of the Church—The Reformed Parliament—Exclusion of the Ultras—Dissolution of Parliament—Danger from Plots—Accident to the Protector—Death of Cromwell's Mother—Royalist Outbreaks—Cromwell's Major-Generals—Foreign Policy—War with Spain—Massacre of the Piedmontese—Capture of Jamaica—The Jews Appeal for Toleration—Cromwell's Third Parliament—Plots against his Life—The Petition and Advice—Cromwell Refuses the Royal Title—Blake's Brilliant Victory at Santa Cruz—Death of Blake—Successes against Spain—Failure of the Reconstructed Parliament—Punishment of Conspirators—Victory in the Netherlands—Absolutism of Cromwell—His Anxieties, Illness, and Death—Proclamation of Richard Cromwell—He calls a Parliament—It is Dissolved—Reappearance of the Rump—Richard Retires—Royalist Risings—Quarrels of the Army and the Rump—General Monk—He Marches upon London—Demands a Free Parliament—Royalist Reaction—Declaration of Breda—Joyful Reception of Charles.

In May, 1653, the fleets of England and Holland, each amounting to one hundred sail, put to sea. That of England was under the command of Monk, Dean, Penn, and Lawson; that of Holland under Van Tromp, De Ruyter, De Witt, and Evertsens. At first they passed each other, and whilst Monk ravaged the coast of Holland, Van Tromp was cannonading Dover. At length, on the 2nd of June, they met off the North Foreland, and a desperate conflict took place, in which Dean was killed at the side of Monk. Monk immediately threw his cloak over the body, to avoid discouraging the men, and fought on through the day. In the night Blake arrived with eighteen additional sail, and at dawn the battle was renewed. The result was that the Dutch were beaten, lost one-and-twenty sail, and had thirteen hundred men taken prisoners, besides great numbers killed and wounded. The English pursued the flying vessels to the coast of Holland, and committed many ravages amongst their merchantmen. But the undaunted Van Tromp, on the 29th of July, appeared again at sea, with above a hundred sail. Monk stood out to sea for more battle-room, and one of the Dutch captains, seeing this, said to Van Tromp that they were running; but Van Tromp, who knew the English better, replied curtly, "Sir, look to your own charge, for were there but twenty sail, they would never refuse to fight us." Monk, on his part, ordered his captains to attempt making no prizes, but to sink and destroy all the ships they could. The battle, therefore, raged furiously, from five in the morning till ten; but at length the gallant Van Tromp fell dead by a musket-shot, and the courage of the Dutch gave way. In this fight the Dutch lost thirty ships, about one thousand prisoners, besides great numbers of slain, the English losing only two vessels.

These splendid victories enabled Cromwell to conclude advantageous treaties with Holland, France, Denmark, Portugal, and Sweden. Most of these Powers sent over ambassadors to congratulate him on his elevation, and these were received at Whitehall with much state. The royal apartments were furnished anew in very magnificent style, and in the banqueting-room was placed a chair of State raised on a platform with three steps, and the Lord-Protector gave audience seated in it. The ambassadors were instructed to make three obeisances, one at the entrance, one in the middle of the room, and the third in front of the chair, which the Protector acknowledged with a grave inclination of the head. The same ceremony was repeated on retiring. Cromwell received the ambassadors of Holland to dinner, sitting on one side of the table alone, and the ambassadors with a few of the lords of the Council on the other. The Lady-Protectress at the same time entertained their ladies. In his appearances abroad the Protector assumed very much the state of a king with State coaches, Life Guards, pages, and lacqueys richly clothed. He took up his abode instantly in the royal palaces, quitting the Cockpit altogether, Whitehall being his town house, and Hampton Court his country one, where he generally went on Saturday afternoon, and spent the Sunday.

It was not, however, without many heartburnings and some plots for his destruction that his wonderful elevation was witnessed by many of his old comrades, as well as his natural enemies.

The Anabaptists and Fifth-Monarchy men, who carried their notions of political liberty as far beyond Cromwell as the Chartists of more modern[124] times carried theirs beyond the Whigs, were exceedingly violent, and denounced him as an apostate and deceiver. Feak and Powell, two Anabaptist preachers in Blackfriars, thundered from their pulpits against him as the "beast in the Apocalypse," the "old dragon," and the "man of sin." "Go, tell your Protector," they cried, "that he has deceived the Lord's people, and is a perjured villain." They declared that he was worse than the last tyrant usurper, the crookback Richard, and would not reign long.

Having borne the violent abuse of these men for some time, he at length sent them to the Tower. But amongst his own generals and former colleagues were men not less exasperated. Harrison and Ludlow were Fifth-Monarchy men, who believed that none but Christ ought to reign, and they joined the most disaffected. Harrison being asked if he would own the new protectoral government, answered fiercely, "No!" and Cromwell was obliged to send him to his own house in the country, and afterwards to commit him also to the Tower. Vane and others were not less angered, though less openly violent.

Cromwell expressed much sorrow at these symptoms of resentment amongst his old friends, and declared that he would much rather, so far as his own inclinations were concerned, have taken a shepherd's staff than that of the Protector. In Scotland and Ireland there was much dissatisfaction at the new revolution, as it was called. Even Fleetwood, his son-in-law, scarcely knew how to receive it, and Ludlow and Jones expressed no unequivocal discontent. Colonel Alured had been sent to Ireland to conduct certain forces to Monk in the Scottish Highlands, but he was an Anabaptist, and became so insubordinate that Cromwell dismissed him both from his commission and from the army. Ludlow refused to continue on the Irish Civil Commission. Cromwell, however, sent over his son Henry on a visit to Fleetwood, so that he might learn the true state of the army, and the most active or formidable of the malcontent officers were removed to England, or by degrees dismissed from the service.

In Scotland similar disaffection was apparent, but there active service against the Royalists, who were also astir with fresh vigour on this occasion, tended to divert their attention from their discontents. Charles II., from Paris, about Easter, issued a proclamation, supposed to be drawn up by Clarendon, offering five hundred pounds a year and a colonelcy in the army to any one who would take off by sword, pistol, or poison, "a certain base, mechanic fellow, by name Oliver Cromwell," who had usurped his throne. His partisans in Scotland seized the opportunity to renew the war. The Earls of Glencairn and Balcarres, Angus, Montrose, Seaforth, Atholl, Kenmure, and Lorne, the son of Argyll, were up in arms. Charles sent over General Middleton to take the chief command, and Cromwell ordered Monk again from the victorious fleet to hasten to the Highlands to oppose him, Colonel Robert Lilburne having in the meantime made a successful assault upon them. Monk speedily defeated Middleton and his associates, and the Scots lords lost no time in making their submission. Cromwell had subdued the rebellion completely by August, but still earlier he had abolished all separate rule in Scotland. In April he published three ordinances, by which he incorporated England with Scotland, abolished the Monarchy and Parliament in that country, and absolved the people from their allegiance to Charles Stuart, erecting courts baron instead of those suppressed. The people who contended through so many bloody wars against English monarchs who had attempted the same thing, now quietly submitted to this plebeian but energetic conqueror, and the Kirk only defied his authority by meeting in assembly in Edinburgh on the 20th of July. But there presently appeared amongst them Colonel Cotterel, who bade them depart, and marched them a mile out of the city between two files of soldiers, to the astonishment and terror of the inhabitants, where he informed them that if any of them were found in the capital after eight o'clock the next morning, or attempted to sit or meet more than three together, he would imprison them as disturbers of the public peace. Our old acquaintance, Baillie, beheld this amazing spectacle with consternation. "Thus," he exclaimed, "our General Assembly, the glory and strength of our Church upon earth, is by your soldiery crushed and trodden under foot. For this our hearts are sad and our eyes run down with water." Yet it does not appear that real religion suffered at all by Cromwell's innovations, either in Scotland or in England, for Kirkton says of the Kirk, "I verily believe there were more souls converted unto Christ in that short period of time than in any season since the Reformation. Ministers were painsful, people were diligent. At their solemn communions many congregations met in great multitudes, some dozens of ministers used to preach, and the people continued, as it were, in a sort of trance, so serious were they in spiritual exercises, for three days at least." Baxter, in[125] England, though a decided enemy of Cromwell, confessed that, by his weeding out scandalous ministers, and putting in "able, serious preachers, who lived a godly life," though of various opinions, "many thousands of souls blessed God" for what was done.

The proclamation of Charles, rendered abortive in the Highlands, was not without its effects in England. One Major Henshaw came over from Paris, and proposed to assassinate Cromwell as he went to Hampton Court. His plan was to get thirty stout men for the purpose. A young enthusiastic gentleman named Gerard undertook to procure twenty-five of them, and Colonel Finch and Henshaw were to bring the other five. Vowel, a schoolmaster of Islington, was very zealous in the plot, and aided in procuring arms; Billingsley, a butcher of Smithfield, engaging to seize the troopers' horses grazing in Islington fields. The soldiers were then to be fallen upon at the Mews, Charles II. was to be proclaimed, Rupert was to appear with a large force of Royalists, English, Irish, and Scots, and there was to be a general rising. Saturday, the 20th of May, was the day fixed for Cromwell's assassination; but before this wild scheme could be commenced, forty of the conspirators were seized, some of them in their beds. Vowel was hanged, and Gerard was beheaded on the 10th of July—the manner of the latter's punishment being thus changed at his own request, as being a gentleman and a soldier.


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The same day, and on the same scaffold as Gerard, was executed Don Pantaleone Sa, the brother of the Portuguese Ambassador. Sa had a quarrel with this same Gerard, who was called "Generous Gerard," an enthusiastic Royalist. They came to fighting at the Royal Exchange, where Gerard, drawing his rapier, forced the Don to fly, whereupon the next day he returned to the Exchange in search of Gerard, with a body of armed followers, and mistaking a man of the name of Greenway for Gerard, they killed him, wounded Colonel Mayo, and were not subdued without much riot. Sa was seized, tried, and condemned for this deliberate murder. He pleaded that he belonged to the embassy, and was therefore exempt from the tribunals of this country, but neither this nor the zealous exertions of his brother, the ambassador, could save him; he was condemned to die. Cromwell, though on the verge of concluding[126] a treaty with Portugal, would not concede a pardon to the bloodthirsty Portuguese, who had been found guilty by a jury of half Englishmen and half foreigners. He went to Tower Hill in a coach and six, attended by numbers of the attachés of the embassy in mourning, and his brother signed the treaty and left the country. Such an exhibition of firmness and impartiality, refusing to make any distinction in a murderer, whether noble or commoner, evinced great moral courage in Cromwell; but another execution, which took place a short time before—namely, on the 23rd of June—was not so creditable to him. This was the hanging of an old Catholic priest, named Southworth, who had been convicted thirty-seven years before, under the bloody laws of James against Popish priests, and had been banished. Being now discovered in the country, he was tried for that offence and put to death. On the scaffold he justly upbraided the Government with having taken arms for liberty, yet shedding the blood of those who differed from them on religious grounds. The stern persecution of Popery was, in fact, a blot on Cromwell's character; he had not in that respect outgrown his age.

Whilst these and other plots were exacting from the Protector a severe compensation for his high position, he was yet steadily prosecuting measures for the better administration of the national government. Being empowered by the Instrument of government, with his Council, not only to raise sufficient money for the necessary demands of government, but also "to make laws and ordinances for the peace and welfare of these nations," he actually made no less than sixty ordinances, many of them of singular wisdom and excellence. He and his Council, in fact, showed that they were in earnest to make the execution of justice cheap and prompt, and to revive a pure and zealous ministry of the gospel. In one of these ordinances they effected the Herculean labour which Barebone's Parliament had aimed at—the reformation of the Court of Chancery, the ordinance for this purpose consisting of no less than sixty-seven articles. Well might Cromwell, on the opening of Parliament, refer with pride to this great event, an event which would have taken our modern law-makers twenty years to accomplish, which, in fact, they have not accomplished yet. "The Chancery," he said in his speech, "is reformed." What a speech in four words, sufficient to have made the reign of any king famous! "The Chancery is reformed—I hope to the satisfaction of all good men." This had partly been done by distributing the causes through the other "courts of law at Westminster, where Englishmen love to have their rights tried." In order, too, to effect a most just and speedy discharge of the laws, he put better judges on the Bench, amongst them the pious Sir Matthew Hale, and made Thurloe, the friend of Milton, Secretary of State.

Two others of his ordinances were intended to purify the Church of unfit ministers, and to introduce fit and pious ones. This established two commissions, one for the examination of all clergymen offering themselves for the incumbency of any church living, and the other for inquiring after and expelling any "scandalous, ignorant, or insufficient ministers who already occupied such." These commissioners were to be permanent, so that the Church in all parts of the country should be purged of improper preachers, and supplied with able and good ones. The supreme commission for the trial of public preachers consisted of thirty-eight members—twenty-nine clergymen, nine laymen—and these were both Presbyterians and Independents, some even Anabaptists, for the Protector was less interested in what sect they belonged to, than in the fact that they were pious and able men. The commission for purging the Church consisted of from fifteen to thirty Puritan gentlemen and Puritan clergymen for each county; and when they dismissed a minister for unfitness, his family had some income allowed them. Many of the members of these last boards were chosen indiscriminately from the friends or enemies of the Protectorate, provided they were known men of real piety and judgment. Amongst these were Lord Fairfax, Thomas Scott, a zealous Republican, Admiral Blake, Sir Arthur Haselrig, Richard Mayor, the father-in-law of Richard Cromwell, for whom Cromwell entertained a high regard and respect, and had him in both Parliament, Council, and various commissions. Baxter was one of them, and, as we have said, spoke well of the operation of the system.

But the 3rd of September arrived, Oliver's fortunate day, on which he had appointed the meeting of Parliament. As the day fell on a Sunday, the members met in the afternoon for worship in Westminster Abbey, where they waited on the Protector in the Painted Chamber, who addressed them in a speech, and they then went to the House and adjourned to the next morning. Cromwell went that day to the House in great State, in his carriage, with his Life Guards, a captain of the guard walking on each side, and[127] the Commissioners of the Great Seal and other State officers following in coaches. After a sermon in the Abbey Church they proceeded to the Painted Chamber, where the Protector made a speech of three hours in the delivery. A chair of State, marvellously resembling a throne, raised on steps, and with a canopy, was placed for the Protector, who sat with his hat on, whilst the members sat bareheaded. On rising to speak he took off his hat, and made what Whitelock styles "a large and subtle speech." It was largely illustrated by Scripture quotations, it is true, for that was inseparable from the religious temperament of Cromwell; but it gave a clear review of the causes which had led to the overthrow of the monarchy, the rise of the Commonwealth, and particularly of its then form, as well as of the measures which he had adopted in Council, in the interim between his appointment and the meeting of Parliament. He told them that he regarded their greatest functions to be at that time "healing and settling;" a profound truth—for the nation, and in it every class of men, had been so torn and rent in every fibre, that to soothe and heal was the highest art and policy. Every man's hand, and every man's head, he justly observed, had been against his brother, and no sooner had they put down despotism, than liberty itself began to grow wild, and threaten them with equal danger. The Levellers, the Fifth-Monarchy men, the Communists of St. George's Hill, had compelled them to put the drag on the chariot wheels of freedom, or it would soon have taken fire. In all such revolutions, the principles of human right are pushed on by sanguine men, beyond all chance of support from a settled public opinion; and Oliver truly told them that had they gained their object for a moment, it could not have lasted long, but would have in the meantime served the turn of selfish men, who, having obtained public property, would have "cried up property and interest fast enough."

He referred with satisfaction to the means taken to insure a pure ministry, and argued for the necessity of State interference in religion, but such interference should only be for promoting a good and virtuous ministry, and by no means infringe on "liberty of conscience and liberty of the subject, two as glorious things as any that God hath given us." His fears of religious license were chiefly excited by Fifth-Monarchists; yet he did not deny that such a monarchy must come in process of time. "It is a notion," he said, "that I hope we all honour, and wait and hope for the fulfilment of, that Jesus Christ will have a time to set up a reign in our hearts, by subduing those lusts, and corruptions, and evils that are there, which now reign more in the world that I hope in due time they shall do. And when more fulness of the Spirit is poured forth to subdue iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness, then will the approach of that glory be. The cardinal divisions and contentions, among Christians so common, are not the symptoms of that kingdom. But for men on this principle to betitle themselves, that they are the only men to rule kingdoms, govern nations, and give laws to people, and determine of property and liberty, and everything else, upon such a pretension as this is, truly they had need to give clear manifestations of God's presence with them, before wise men will receive or submit to their conclusions." Still he recommended tenderness towards them, and that if their extravagances necessitated punishment, this should "evidence love, and not hatred."

He next referred to the treaties with foreign nations, amongst which, he said, that with Portugal had obtained "a thing which never before was since the Inquisition was set up there—that our people who trade thither have liberty of conscience, liberty to worship God in chapels of their own."

He finally inculcated on them the necessity for maintaining as much peace as possible, not only that they might restore the internal condition of the nation, and reduce the excessive taxation occasioned by the war on land and sea, but also to prevent foreign nations from depriving us of our manufacturing status, as they had been busily doing during our internal dissensions.

To one of his assertions we are bound to demur. "One thing more this Government hath done—it had been instrumental to call a free Parliament, which, blessed be God, we see here this day. I say a free Parliament, and that it may continue so, I hope is in the heart and spirit of every good man in England, save such discontented persons as I have formerly mentioned. It is that which, as I have desired above my life, so I shall desire to keep it above my life." The truth was that it was as free a Parliament as the circumstances of the times would admit; indeed, as was soon seen, it was much too free. A free Parliament would have brought back royalty in the State, or Presbyterian absolutism in religion. Republicanism and Independency, though in the ascendant through the genius of Cromwell and the[128] power of the army, was in a minority. Republicanism even was divided against itself, divided into moderate Republicanism and Levelling, Fifth-Monarchy and Communism in alliance. From this so-called free Parliament, Episcopalians and Catholics were excluded; this so-called free Parliament had been carefully watched during the elections, the lists of the returned had been sent up to the Council, and such as were deemed too dangerous were disallowed, amongst others Lord Grey of Groby. But even then it was found too free, and the very first thing that it set about was to call in question the Government which had authorised it.

There was a stiff contest for the Speakership, but Lenthall was chosen instead of Bradshaw, who was also nominated, because Lenthall had been Speaker of the Long Parliament, and its old members had still hope of restoring it. Amongst the members were old Sir Francis Rouse, Lord Herbert, the son of the Earl of Worcester, Fleetwood, Lambert, the Claypoles, one of whom had married a daughter of the Protector's, Cromwell's two sons, his friends the Dunches, Sir Ashley Cooper, and Lord Fairfax. Amongst the Republicans there were Bradshaw, Haselrig, Scott, Wallop, and Wildman, old Sir Henry Vane, but not the younger; and amongst the Irish members were Lord Broghill, who had fought so stoutly against Charles, and Commissary-General Reynolds. No sooner did they begin business than they opened a debate on the question of sanctioning the present form of government, a question from which they were precluded by the very Instrument which had made them a Parliament. The debate was carried on for no less than eight days, during which Bradshaw, Scott, Haselrig, and other Republicans contended that the members of the Long Parliament had been illegally deprived of their right, and that the Government in one person and a Parliament was but another form of tyranny. One speaker declared that he had fought to put down one tyrant, and was ready to fight to put down another. What right but the sword, it was asked, had one man to put down a legal Parliament, to command his commanders? They moved to go into committee on the subject, and carried it.

Cromwell was not the man to suffer this. He sent to the Lord Mayor, and ordered him to take measures to preserve the peace of the City, marched three regiments into it, and then summoned Lenthall, and bade him meet him in the Painted Chamber, on Tuesday, the 12th of September, with the Commons. Harrison, who was zealously getting up petitions for the support of the inquiry into the constitution, was clapped into the Tower. When Cromwell met the Commons, he expressed his surprise that a set of men from whom so much healing management had been expected, should immediately attempt to overturn the Government which called them together. The Instrument consisted of incidentals and fundamentals. The incidentals they were at liberty to discuss, but the fundamentals—of which the article that the power resided in one person and a Parliament was one—were out of their range. He very zealously asserted that he had been called to the head of the nation by God and the people, and that none but God and the people should take his office from him. His own wish had been to lead the life of a country gentleman, but necessity had forced him thence, and three several times he had found himself placed by the course of events at the head of the army, and by them at the head of the Government. As to the dismissal of the Long Parliament, he had been forced to that by its endeavouring to perpetuate itself, and by its tyranny and corruption. He said "that poor men, under its arbitrary power, were driven like flocks of sheep, by forty on a morning, to the confiscation of goods and estates, without any man being able to give a reason why two of them had deserved to forfeit a shilling." He had twice resigned the arbitrary power left in his hands, and having established a Government capable of saving the nation, he would sooner lie rotting in his grave and buried with infamy than suffer it to be broken up. They had now peace at home and abroad, and it would be a miserable answer to give to the people, "Oh, we quarrelled for the liberty of England; we contested and went to confusion for that."

To prevent any such evil consequences, he informed them that he had caused a stop to be put to their entrance into the Parliament House; he did not turn them out this time, he shut them out—and that none would be readmitted that did not first sign an Engagement to be true and faithful to the Protector and Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, not to propose or consent to alter the Government, as settled in a single person and Parliament.

On hearing this, the honourable members looked at one another in amazement, but one hundred and forty thought well to sign the Engagement, which lay in the lobby of the House that day, and within a month three out of the four hundred had signed. Of course all the ultra Republicans[129] refused to sign, and were excluded—Bradshaw, Haselrig, Scott, Wildman, and the rest.

JOHN MILTON. (After the Miniature by Samuel Cooper.)

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This summary dealing did not cure the Parliament of considering the question for touching which they had thus been purged of a hundred members. On the 19th of September, only a week after the check they had received, they went into committee to discuss the "Instrument of Government." They took care not to touch the grand point which they had now pledged themselves not to meddle with—the government by a Protector and Parliament; but they affected to consider all the other articles as merely provisional, decreed by the Protector and the Council, but to be confirmed or rejected by Parliament. They discussed these one by one, and on the 16th of October proceeded to the question, whether the office of Protector should be elective or hereditary. Lambert advocated the office being hereditary, and pointed out the many disadvantages of the elective form. He strongly recommended the office being confined to the Cromwell family, and this, of course, was attributed to the instigation of Cromwell himself. They decided for the elective form. On the 11th of December they voted that the Protector should have a veto on Bills touching liberty of conscience, but not such as suppressed heresies, as if what they called suppressing heresies were not direct attacks on liberty of conscience. Thus they crept round the very roots of the Protectoral authority, nibbling at the powers he had forbidden them to discuss, and they proceeded to give proof of their intention to launch into all the old persecutions for religion, if they possibly could, by summoning before them John Biddle, who may be regarded as the father of the Unitarians. He[130] had been thrice imprisoned by the Long Parliament, for holding that he could not find in Scripture that Christ or the Holy Ghost was styled God. The Parliament committed him to the Gatehouse, and ordered a Bill to be prepared for his punishment.

It was high time that they were stopped in their incorrigible spirit of persecution; and by now proceeding to frame a Bill to include all their votes on the articles of the Instrument they were suddenly arrested in their progress. The Instrument provided that Parliament should not be adjourned under five months. On the 22nd of January, 1655, the Protector chose to consider that the months were not calendar but lunar months, which then expired. The Parliament, counting the other way, deemed themselves safe till the 3rd of February, but on the 22nd of January Oliver summoned them to the Painted Chamber, and observed to them, that though he had met them at first with the hope that their hearts were in the great work to which they had been called, he was quite disappointed in them. He complained that they had sent no message to him, taken no more notice of his presence in the Republic than if he had not existed, and that with all patience he had forborne teasing them with messages, hoping that they would at length proceed to some real business. "But," added he, "as I may not take notice of what you have been doing, so I think I have a very great liberty to tell you that I do not know what you have been doing; that I do not know whether you have been dead or alive. I have not once heard from you all this time. I have not, and that you all know."

He then reminded them that various discontented parties—the Royalists, the Levellers, and others—had been encouraged by their evident disposition to call in question the Government, to raise plots, and that if they were permitted to sit making quibbles about the Government itself, the nation would soon be plunged again into bloodshed and confusion. He, therefore, did then and there dissolve them as a Parliament.

The plots to which the Protector alluded had been going on for some time, and even yet were in full activity. We shall trace their main features, but we may first notice an incident which showed that Cromwell was prepared for them, resolved to sell his life manfully if attacked. On the 24th of September, 1654, immediately after compelling the Parliament to subscribe the Engagement, the Protector was out in Hyde Park, taking dinner under the shade of the trees, with Thurloe, the secretary, a man whom he constantly consulted on the affairs of the nation. After this little rural dinner, which gives us a very interesting idea of the simplicity of the great general's habits and tastes, he tried a team of six fine Friesland coach horses, presented to him by the Duke of Oldenburg. Thurloe was put into the carriage, Cromwell mounted the coachman's seat, and a postillion rode one of the fore horses. The horses soon became unruly, plunged, and threw the postillion, and then, nearly upsetting the carriage, threw the Protector from his seat, who fell upon the pole and had his legs entangled in the harness. On went the mad horses at full gallop, and one of Cromwell's shoes coming off, which had been held by the harness, he fell under the carriage, which went on without hurting him, except by some bruises. In the fall, however, a loaded pistol went off in his pocket, thus revealing the fact that he went armed.

And indeed he had great need. His mother, who died just now, on the 16th of November, and who was ninety-four years old, used, at the sound of a musket, says Ludlow, to imagine that her son was shot, and could not be satisfied unless she saw him once a day at least. Her last words to him do not give us any idea of hypocrisy in mother or son—"The Lord cause His face to shine upon you, and enable you to do great things for the glory of the Most High God, and to be a relief unto His people. My dear son, I leave my heart with thee. A good night!"

Amongst the plotters were both Royalists and Republicans. The ejected members of Parliament, in their different quarters, were stirring up discontent against Cromwell, and even declaring that it were better to have Charles Stuart back again. Colonel Overton, who had been questioned at the time of Colonel Alured's dismissal, was once more called up and questioned. In Scotland, where he lay, the Protector discovered an agitation to supersede Monk, and make the Republican Overton Commander-in-chief, and leaving only the garrisons, to march the rest of the army into England on the demand of pay and constitutional reform. Overton was committed to the Tower.

Allen—who, with Sexby and another agitator, in 1647 presented a remarkable petition from the army to the Long Parliament, and had become adjutant-general—was arrested at his father-in-law's house, in Devonshire, at the end of January, 1655, on a charge of plotting disturbances in Ireland, and exciting discontent in Bristol and Devon. Allen was a zealous Anabaptist, and the[131] excitement amongst them and other army republicans was great and extensive. Pamphlets were published, letters and agitators passed from one regiment to another, and a general rising was planned, with the seizure of Edinburgh Castle, Hull, Portsmouth, and other strong places. Cromwell was to be surprised and put to death. Colonel Wildman, one of these fanatics, who had been ejected from Parliament by refusing to sign the Recognition, was taken on the 12th of February at Exton, near Marlborough, in Wilts, by a party of horse, as he was in his furnished lodgings upstairs, leaning on his elbows, and in the act, with the door open, of dictating to his clerk, "A Declaration of the free and well-affected people of England, now in arms against the tyrant Oliver Cromwell." He was secured in Chepstow Castle, and his correspondents, Harrison, Lord Grey of Groby, and others, were secured in the Tower. Colonel Sexby for the time escaped.

About the same time a Royalist plot was also in progress. Charles Stuart, who had removed from Paris to Cologne—the French Government not wishing to give offence to Cromwell—had concocted a plot with Hyde, his Chancellor, to raise the Royalists in various quarters at once, fancying that as Cromwell had given so much offence to both people and Parliament, there was great hope of success. Charles went to Middelburg, on the coast of Holland, to be ready at a call, and Hyde was extremely confident. In Yorkshire there was a partial outbreak under Lord Mauleverer and Sir Henry Kingsby, which was speedily quelled, Kingsby being seized and imprisoned in Hull. This abortive attempt was under the management of Lord Wilmot, now Earl of Rochester, who was glad to make his escape. Another branch of the plot, under the management of Sir Joseph Wagstaff, who came over with Rochester, fared no better. Wagstaff attempted to surprise Winchester on the 7th of March, during the assizes. Penruddock, Grove, and Jones, Royalist officers, were associated with him, and about two hundred others entered Salisbury about five o'clock on the morning of the 11th, posted themselves in the market-place, liberated the prisoners from the gaol, and surprised the sheriff and two judges in their beds. Wagstaff proposed to hang the judges, but Penruddock and the rest refused to allow it; he then ordered the high sheriff to proclaim Charles Stuart, but neither he nor the crier would do it, though menaced with the gallows. Hearing that Captain Unton Crook was after them with a troop of horse, and seeing no chance of a rising, they quitted the town about three o'clock, and marched through Dorsetshire into Devonshire. At South Molton Captain Crook came up with them, and speedily made himself master of fifty of the insurgents, including Penruddock, Grove, and Jones, but Wagstaff escaped. They had expected a body of conspirators from Hampshire to join them at Salisbury, and these were actually on their way when they heard of the retreat of Wagstaff's band, and immediately dispersed. Similarly feeble outbreaks took place in the counties of Northumberland, Nottingham, Shropshire, and Montgomery. Penruddock, Grove, and Jones were beheaded at Exeter, and about fifteen others suffered there and at Salisbury; the rest of the deluded prisoners were sold to Barbadoes. Charles returned crest-fallen to Cologne, and Hyde, convinced that his plans had been betrayed, attributed the treason to Manning, whom, having secured, they had shot in the following winter, in the territory of the Duke of Neuburg.

To prevent more of these outbreaks, Cromwell planned to divide the whole country into military districts, over each of which he placed an officer, who was to act chiefly with the militia, and not with the Levelling regulars. These officers he created major-generals, beginning first with Desborough in the south-west, and, before the year was out, he had despatched, each to his district, the other major-generals—Fleetwood, Skippon, Whalley, Kelsey, Goffe, Berry, Butler, Wortley, and Barkstead, who effectually preserved the peace of the nation. During the spring also, undaunted by these disturbances, Cromwell progressed with his internal reforms, and with the greatest of all, the reform of Chancery. This was no easy matter. The lawyers were as turbulent as the Anabaptists in the army. Two of the Commissioners of the Great Seal, Whitelock and Widdrington, refused to enforce the reform, and were obliged to resign. Lisle and Fiennes, the other Commissioners, dared to carry out the change. Lenthall, the Speaker, now Master of the Rolls, protested that he would be hanged at the Rolls gate before he would obey; but he saw fit to alter his mind, and the Protector, so far from bearing any ill-will to the two conscientious Commissioners, Whitelock and Widdrington, soon after made them Commissioners of the Treasury.

We may now look back a little, to observe what Cromwell had been doing beyond the shores[132] of the kingdom. We have seen that almost all the nations of Europe sent embassies to congratulate him on his elevation to the Protectorate. The vigour of his rule speedily made them more anxious to stand on good terms with him. He soon made peace with Sweden as a Protestant country, and from natural sympathy with the Protestant fame of the great Gustavus. He concluded peace also with Holland, but with France and Spain there were more difficulties.

France had, both under Richelieu and Mazarin, lent continual aid and refuge to the Royalist cause against the Reformers. The queen, whom the Republicans had chased from the throne, was a princess of France, and was living there with numbers of the Royalists about her. Charles, the heir to the throne of England, was pensioned by France, and maintained a sort of court in Paris, whence continual disturbances and alarms were coming. It is true, the French Court had never been very munificent to the exiled Queen of England and her family. Henrietta was found by Cardinal Retz without fire, and almost without food, and Charles and his countrymen were so poor, that Clarendon, in June, 1653, wrote, "I do not know that any man is yet dead for want of bread, which I really wonder at. I am sure the king owes all that he has eaten since April, and I am not acquainted with one servant who hath a pistole in his pocket. Five or six of us eat together one meal a day for a pistole a week; but all of us owe, for God knows how many weeks, to the poor woman that feeds us." He adds that he wanted shoes and shirts, and that the Marquis of Ormond was in no better condition. The Court of Charles was as much rent with divisions and jealousies as it was poor. His brave conduct in England raised great hopes of him, but on his return to France he relapsed into all sorts of dissipations and intrigues, which made him contemptible. Amongst a troop of mistresses, Lucy Walters, or Barlow, as she was called, the mother of the afterwards celebrated Duke of Monmouth, was the most notorious.


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As Mazarin saw the growing power of Cromwell, he was glad to get Charles removed from Paris, and his abode transferred to Cologne; but, being still the pensioner of France, Charles was equally[133] capable of annoying England from that place, as the late outbreaks showed. These circumstances no doubt rendered it very difficult for the conclusion of a peace between Cromwell and France, for Cromwell insisted on the withdrawal of the French support from the exiled family, and though France was fully disposed to abate the evil as far as possible, it could not in honour entirely abandon them. Mazarin made every possible concession on other points, and the French ambassador, Bordeaux, urged the progress of the treaty with all earnestness. But besides the grand obstacle, there were others raised by Spain. France and Spain were at war: Spain was supporting the Prince of Condé and the French insurgents, and the Spanish ambassador was indefatigable in representing that whilst Spain had been the very first to acknowledge the English Commonwealth, France had been constantly supporting the Royalist power, and in 1653 he offered to seize Calais and make it over to England as the price of the Commonwealth making peace with Spain, and common cause against France.


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But there were motives which always weighed heavily with Cromwell—religion and the honour of the English flag. He had an enduring repugnance to the Catholic faith, and Spain was essentially Catholic, and at the same time was maintaining an insolent domination in the waters of the West Indies. The fame of her exclusion thence of the flags of all other nations from her colonies, and of her many atrocities committed on English colonies—as at St. Kitts in 1629, at Tortuga in 1637, and Santa Cruz in 1650—was an irresistible provocative to the combative spirit of the Protector. He demanded of the Spanish ambassador that Spain should abolish the Inquisition, and admit the English flag to the West Indian seas. De Leyda replied that he was asking from his king his two eyes, and as Cromwell would not concede either point, he demanded his passports in June, 1654, and took his leave.

Cromwell lost no time in enforcing his views on Spain—as no doubt he felt bound conscientiously to do on the great principle of suppressing Popish cruelties, and spreading the triumph of Protestantism. He sent Blake with a powerful fleet in October of that year into the Mediterranean, and another powerful armament under[134] Admirals Penn and Venables, with secret orders which were not to be opened till they arrived in certain latitudes. This fleet, whose preparation and destination kept all Europe in wonder and anxiety, sailed west, and was, in fact, destined for the West Indies. Blake, with his fleet, passed the Straits of Gibraltar, and presented to the inhabitants of the shores of the Mediterranean a spectacle such as they had not seen since the days of the Crusades—a powerful English fleet. It consisted of thirty sail, and its commission was to seize the French vessels wherever it could find them, especially to seek out and attack the fleet under the Duke of Guise. It was besides this to demand satisfaction from various offending Powers. The Grand Duke of Tuscany had, whilst Parliament was struggling with Charles, allowed Prince Rupert to sell English prizes in his ports. The Pope was, as the Antichrist, an object to be humbled, or at all events impressed sensibly with the fact that England could at any moment visit him in his capital, and that the British power was in hands both able and ready to do it. There were many injuries to our merchantmen to be avenged on the pirates of Tunis and Algiers. Cromwell's favourite maxim was, that a ship of the line was the most effective ambassador. Blake sailed along the Papal shores, exciting a deep terror, but he passed on and cast anchor before Leghorn, and demanded compensation for the offence against English honour and shipping, which was speedily granted. Not being able to discover the Duke of Guise, he proceeded to Algiers, and compelled the Dey to sign an engagement not to permit further violences by his subjects on English vessels. Thence he sailed to Tunis, and sent in the same demand, but the haughty barbarian of that place sent him word to give a look at his ports of Porto Farina and Goletta, with their fleets, and take them if he could. Blake sailed away as if in despair, but suddenly returning, he entered the harbour of Porto Farina, silencing the castle and batteries as he advanced, and set fire to the whole fleet. Both Tunis and Tripoli now found it the best policy to give the required engagement, and Blake left the Mediterranean, having given those lawless pirates a specimen of the power of England, which was not likely to be soon forgotten.

Blake had orders to look out for the next Spanish Plate fleet coming home, and he lay for some time off Cadiz; but there was now at the Court of Madrid Colonel Sexby, the Leveller, who had long been engaged with Allen, Wildman, and the Anabaptists. He had gone over to the Continent to raise some force either in conjunction with Charles or with Spain, to invade England and kill Cromwell. Sexby revealed to the Spaniards not only the object of Blake, but the real design of the fleet under Venables and Penn. More than thirty sail were mustered by the Spanish under Don Pablos de Contretras, which kept close watch on Blake. Blake longed to attack them, but his orders did not sanction it; and after hearing that the Plate fleet was detained at Carthagena, he returned to England to refit, his ships being in a sorry plight, and his men suffering from bad provisions.

During the absence of Blake, great excitement had been occasioned in England by the news of dreadful atrocities committed on the Protestants of the mountains of Piedmont. The Protestants called the Vaudois were a race who, through all ages, had, in the obscurity of their Alpine valleys, retained the doctrines of the Primitive Church, and had set at defiance both the persuasions and the persecutions of Rome. They were said to be descended from the ancient Waldenses, and were a bold, independent race of mountaineers. It was pretended that the Duke of Savoy, whose subjects they chiefly were, had granted them the free exercise of their religion so long as they remained in their ancient places of abode, the valleys of the sources of the Po, in the Savoy Alps; but that being found in Lucerna and other places, these were decided to be beyond their bounds, and they were ordered to be conformed to the Church of Rome, or sell their lands and retire from these territories. They refused to be driven from their homes on account of their religion, and being always an eyesore to the Court of Rome, the fury of persecution was let loose upon them. Friars were sent amongst them to convert them, or to denounce their destruction; they disregarded the friars, and then six regiments of soldiers were sent to drive them into the mountains. Amongst these were two regiments of refugee Irish. These fellows, ardent Catholics, smarting under the Protestant scourge which had driven them from their native land, did their work con amore. From the district of Lucerna they were driven into the higher Alpine fastnesses and pursued with the most terrible ferocities of fanatic savagery, with fire and sword and extermination. These horrors were aggravated by winter and famine, and the news of this fearful butchery rang through Protestant England with a sensation which revived all the memory of the[135] Popish horrors in the Marian time. There was one loud outcry for interference on their behalf. Press and pulpit resounded with demands of sympathy and redress: the ministers of all classes waited on Cromwell in a body to solicit his protection of the Vaudois: the army in Scotland and Ireland sent up addresses. No one appeared, however, more excited than Cromwell himself. He immediately gave two thousand pounds, and appointed a day of general humiliation, and a collection on their behalf, which was observed, and thirty-eight thousand two hundred and twenty-eight pounds were speedily raised, and sent by envoys to Geneva, to be conveyed to the sufferers. Nor did Cromwell satisfy himself with having done this. The day of the arrival of the news, June 3rd, 1655, he was about to sign a treaty of peace with France; but he refused to sign it till he had seen whether the French king and Mazarin would heartily unite with him in extorting protection from the Duke of Savoy for the sufferers. Mazarin was loth to stir in such a business, but Cromwell soon let him see that there would be no peace for France unless he did, and he consented. Three Latin letters were written by Milton at the order of the Protector to different States of Europe, calling on them to co-operate for this great end, and the mighty poet sent forth also his glorious sonnet, commencing—

"Avenge, O Lord, Thy slaughtered saints, whose bones
Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold!"

which shall remain like a perpetual trumpet-blast through all time. The astonished Duke of Savoy was soon compelled to give ample guarantee for the religious liberty and security of his Protestant subjects.

The expedition to the West Indies, in its commencement, did not meet with that success which the Protector generally experienced. The fleet, consisting of sixty sail, was bound for Hispaniola, and carried four thousand troops; and in Barbadoes and other English settlements the force was augmented by volunteers, incited by promise of plunder, to ten thousand. But these fresh forces were of the worst possible description, being prisoners of a loose description shipped thither; the commanders were divided in opinion, and the attack was so wretchedly managed, that it failed with great loss. St. Domingo, which they intended to take, was deserted on their approach, but instead of entering it at once, they landed their forces forty miles off, and marched them through woods towards the town. The heat of the weather, the want of water, and the consequent disorder of the troops, prepared them for what ensued. They were suddenly attacked in a thick wood, and repulsed with great slaughter. Nothing could bring these ragamuffin forces to renew the attempt, and the commanders sailed away, but afterwards fell on Jamaica and took it. That island was then, however, considered of so little value, that it did not satisfy the Government for the loss of Hispaniola, and on their return Venables and Penn were committed to the Tower. Notwithstanding this, however, Cromwell determined to make secure the conquest of Jamaica, and extend, if possible, the West Indian possessions. Vice-admiral Goodson was ordered to take the command at Jamaica, and with him General Fortescue, Serle, Governor of Barbadoes, and General Sedgwick, from New England, were appointed Commissioners for the management of the island.

Cromwell's letters to these officers that autumn inform us that there were twenty-eight men-of-war on that station, and people from Barbadoes, from New England, and from England and Scotland, were being sent to occupy and settle the island. A thousand Irish girls were sent out. Cromwell pointed out to the Commissioners how advantageously the island lay for keeping in check the Spanish Main, and the trade with Peru and Carthagena. His comprehensive glance was alive to all the advantages of the conquest, and his resolution engaged to make the most of it. Whatever is the value of Jamaica now, we owe it to him. He believed that he was not only serving the nation but religion by humbling Spain. He wrote to the Commissioners, "The Lord Himself hath a controversy with your enemies, even with that Roman Babylon of which the Spaniard is the great underpropper. In that respect we fought the Lord's battles, and in that respect the Scriptures are most plain." Spain, of course, proclaimed war against England, to her further loss, and the glory of Cromwell and his invincible Puritan admiral, Blake. Penn and Venables resigned their commissions, and were set at liberty. On October 24th, the day after the Spanish ambassador quitted London, Cromwell signed the treaty of peace with France, by which Condé and the French malcontents were to be excluded from the British dominions, and Charles Stuart, his brother the Duke of York, Ormond, Hyde, and fifteen others of the prince's adherents, were to be excluded from France.

Cromwell opened the year 1656 amid a multitude of plots and discontents. The enemies of[136] the Republic—Royalists, Anabaptists, Levellers—were all busy in one quarter or another. Cleveland, the poet, who had been taken prisoner nine years before by David Leslie, at Newcastle, and expected to be hanged for his tirades against the Scots, but had been dismissed by Leslie with the contemptuous words, "Let the poor knave go and sell his ballads," was now seized by Colonel Haynes for seditious writings at Norwich; but Cromwell also dismissed him with like indifference.

At the close of the year the Jews, who had been forbidden England, hopeful from the more liberal mercantile notions of Cromwell, petitioned to be allowed to reside in this country, under certain conditions. Cromwell was favourable to the petition, which was presented by Manasseh Ben Israel, a leading Portuguese Jew, of Amsterdam, though his Council was against it on Scriptural grounds; but Cromwell silently took them under his protection. There was also a Committee of Trade in the House, under the earnest advocacy of the Protector, for promoting commerce. Meanwhile, Cromwell vigorously prosecuted the war against Spain. Blake and Montague were ordered to the coast of Spain, to destroy the shipping in the harbour of Cadiz, and to see whether Gibraltar could not be seized, which Cromwell, in his letters to the admirals, pointed out as admirably adapted to promote and protect our trade, and keep the Spaniard in check. Yet even this project was not carried out without trouble from the Malcontents. Some of the captains of the fleet, tampered with by Charles's emissaries, declared their disapproval of the enterprise, contending that we, and not the Spaniards, were in fault. Cromwell sent down Desborough to them, who weeded them out, and put others in their places. Blake and Montague then set sail, and reached the neighbourhood of Cadiz and Gibraltar in April, but found their defences too strong; they then proceeded to Lisbon, and brought the treaty with the Portuguese to a termination, and afterwards made an alarming visit to Malaga, and to Sallee, to curb the Moors. In July they returned to the Tagus, and in September a part of the fleet, under Captain Stayner, fell in with and defeated a fleet of eight sail, coming from America. He destroyed four of the vessels, and captured two, containing treasure worth from two hundred and fifty thousand pounds to three hundred thousand pounds.

Before this treasure reached England, Cromwell, who had exhausted his finances to fit out the fleet and prosecute the war with Spain, was compelled to call a Parliament, not only to obtain supplies, but to take measures for the security of the nation against the designs of the Royalists and their coadjutors, the Levellers. This met on the 17th of September, 1656. But Cromwell did not allow all the members elected to sit in this Parliament, any more than in the former ones. He knew well that his Government and such a Parliament could not exist together. The members elected, therefore, were not admitted to sit except they had a certificate of their approval by the Council from the Chancery clerk. By the withholding of such certificates nearly one-fourth of the members were excluded. This created a terrible outcry of invasion of Parliamentary privileges. Haselrig, Scott, Ashley Cooper, and many other violent Republicans were excluded. The excluded members signed an indignant protest, and circulated it in all parts of the country, with the list of their names appended.

The Protector opened this purged Parliament with a very long speech, which was one of the most remarkable speeches ever addressed to Parliament by any ruler. It displayed a depth and breadth of policy, an active, earnest spirit of national business, a comprehension of and desire for the establishment of such principles and prosperous measures, a recognition of the rights of the whole world as affected by the conduct of this one great nation, which have no parallel for true Christian philosophy since the days of Alfred. We have since then had great and valiant warriors, our Edwards and Henrys, but not a man who combined with the highest military genius and success a genuine, lofty, and loving Christian sentiment, and an earnest business-like mind like Cromwell. He at once laid down the principle that all hostility to the Commonwealth originated in the hatred of its free and Christian character; and he showed that all these enemies, of whatever theories, had united themselves with Spain, which was the grand adversary of this country, and had been so from the Reformation, because she was bigotedly wedded to the system of Popery, with all its monks, Jesuits, and inquisitors. He recapitulated its attempts to destroy Elizabeth and her religion; the vain attempts of the Long Parliament to make peace with it, because in any treaty where the Pope could grant absolution, you were bound and they were loose; the[137] murder of Ascham, the Long Parliament's ambassador, and no redress obtained: and now he informed them, and offered to produce the proofs, that Charles Stuart had put himself in league with Spain, and, still more strange, that the Levellers, pretending to demand a freer and more Republican Government, had entered into the unnatural alliance with Charles and Spain to murder him and destroy the Commonwealth.


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All this was perfectly true. Sexby, the Leveller, had gone over to Charles, and thence to Spain, to solicit aid towards a Popish invasion, offering first to kill Cromwell himself. He obtained forty thousand crowns for the use of his party, and a promise of six thousand men when they were ready to land in England, who should wait in Flanders. Some of this money, when remitted to the accomplices in England, Cromwell intercepted, as he assured the Parliament. Sexby followed to accomplish his design of assassinating the Protector, as we shall find anon. Cromwell proceeded to remind Parliament of the insurrections excited by Charles's emissaries, Wagstaff and Rochester, and the conspiracy of Gerard and Vowel, the outbreaks at Salisbury, Rufford Abbey, and a score of other places; of Wildman taken in the act of penning his call to rebellion, of the design to destroy Monk in Scotland, and of similar instigations in the army in Ireland; of the plottings of the Lord Taaffe with Hyde at Antwerp; and, finally, that there had been an attempt to blow him up with gunpowder in his own house, and an officer of the Guard had been engaged to seize him in his bed. These last he characterised as "little fiddling attempts not worth naming," and which he regarded no more than he did "a mouse[138] nibbling at his heel." But he told them that the animus altogether was of that un-English and un-Christian character, that it became them to fight manfully against it, and though they were low in funds, they should still put forth all their energies to crush this malignant power of Spain, whence the other enemies drew their strength. He informed them that France was well disposed to them, and that all the rest of the world was at peace with them.

He then assured them that the major-generals had done good service in every quarter, that the improvement of the ministry had become manifest through the exertions of the Commissioners, and that the Presbyterians had themselves expressed their approbation of what had been done in that respect. He strongly recommended to them further equalisation and improvement of the laws, so that every one should have cheap and easy justice, and that the purification of the public morals should be carefully attended to—"the Cavalier interest, the badge and character of continuing profaneness, disorder, and wickedness in all places," having worked such deplorable effects. "Nobility and gentry of this nation!" he exclaimed; "in my conscience it was a shame to be a Christian, within these fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen years in this nation; whether 'in Cæsar's house' or elsewhere! It was a shame, it was a reproach to a man, and the badge of 'Puritan' was put on it." As they would maintain nobility and gentry, he told them they must not suffer these classes "to be patronisers or countenancers of debauchery and disorders! And therefore," he concluded, "I pray and beseech you, in the name of Christ, show yourselves to be men; quit yourselves like men! It doth not infer any reproach if you do show yourselves men—Christian men, which alone will make you quit yourselves."

In the early days of the sitting of this Parliament—that is, in the beginning of October—came the news of Stayner's victory over the Spanish Plate fleet, and the capture of the treasure; and in the beginning of November the money arrived, and thirty-eight waggon-loads of silver were sent up from Portsmouth to the Mint to be coined, amid universal rejoicings. Before the year closed, also, Cromwell, by the help of Mazarin, effected a temporary separation of interests between Charles Stuart and the Duke of York; but it did not last long. But by this time Colonel Sexby was in England, watching his opportunity to murder Cromwell. He was daring enough to introduce himself amongst the Protector's escort in Hyde Park, and he and his accomplices had filed nearly through the hinges of the gates through which the Protector was accustomed to pass, so that they might create a sudden obstruction and confusion, during which Sexby might shoot Cromwell. But not being able to succeed to his mind, Sexby returned to Flanders to consult with the royal party, and left sixteen hundred pounds in the hands of one Miles Sindercomb, a cashiered quartermaster, who was to carry out the bloody design. Sindercomb took a house in Hammersmith, where the road by which the Protector passed to and from Hampton Court was very narrow, and there he prepared an "infernal machine," consisting of a battery of seven blunderbusses, which was to blow Cromwell's coach to atoms as it passed; but the machine did not answer, or could not be used from the crowd of Guards; and then Sindercomb resolved to set fire to Whitehall by night, and kill Cromwell as he came out in the confusion. He had bribed a great number of accomplices, many of them in the palace itself, and had probably a considerable number of fellow conspirators, for he had a hundred swift horses in stables in the neighbourhood, on which he and his confederates might escape, the deed being done. All this was with the privity and approbation of Charles, Clarendon, and the rest of that Court, and shows the state of moral principle in it, and which, after the Restoration, broke over England like a pestilence. They were constantly dabbling in attempts at assassination, and in the Clarendon papers themselves we have Clarendon's own repeated avowals of his satisfaction in them. He styles these base assassins "brave fellows and honest gentlemen," and thinks it a pity that any agent of the Protectorate abroad should not have his throat cut.

But Sindercomb's wholesale bribery led to the detection of the plot. Amongst those tampered with was Henry Toope, a Life Guardsman, who revealed the scheme. On the 8th of January, 1657, Sindercomb attended public worship in the evening at Whitehall Chapel. Toope, Cecil—who had been engaged in the construction of the infernal machine—and Sindercomb were arrested, and having been seen about General Lambert's seat, it was examined, and there was found a basketful of the most inflammable materials—strong enough, it was said, to burn through stones—and a lighted slow-burning match, calculated to reach the combustibles about midnight. There were found also holes bored in the wainscot, to facilitate the communication of the fire, and of[139] draughts to encourage it. Toope and Cecil gave all the information that they could, but Sindercomb was obstinately silent, and being found guilty by a jury of high treason, was condemned to die on Saturday, the 13th. But the evening before, his sister taking leave of him, contrived to carry some poison to him, and the next morning he was found dead in his bed.

Parliament adjourned a week for the trial and examination of the plot, and appointed a day of thanksgiving on Friday, the 23rd. But though Sindercomb was dead, Sexby was alive, and as murderously inclined as ever, and to prevent interrupting other affairs, we may now follow him also to his exit. Though neither fleet nor money was ready to follow up the blow if successful, the gloomy Anabaptist once more set out for England with a tract in his possession, called "Killing no Murder," which was no doubt his own composition, though Colonel Titus, after the Restoration, claimed the merit of it. This tract, taking it as a settled fact that it was a noble piece of patriotism and virtue to kill a tyrant, pronounced Cromwell a tyrant, and therefore declared that it was a noble deed to kill him. It eulogised Sindercomb as the Brutus or Cato of the time. Sexby, disguised like a countryman, and with a large beard, travelled about distributing this pamphlet, but he was tracked, discovered, and lodged in the Tower. There he either went mad or pretended it, made a voluntary confession, found to be intended only to mislead, and, falling ill, died in the following January.

One of the first things which this second Parliament of the Protectorate did was to abolish the authority of the major-generals. Cromwell had assured them that they were doing good service in suppressing disturbances, and he told them so again; but there were many complaints of their rigour, especially of levying heavy fines on the Royalists; and Parliament, on the 29th of January, voted their withdrawal. The next matter, which occupied them for above three months, was the case of James Naylor, the mad Quaker, whom they sentenced to a punishment that was simply diabolical in its inhumanity. Before this was settled, Parliament entered on a far more momentous question—no less than whether they should not make Cromwell king.

Those who take an unfavourable view of the character of Cromwell, who regard him as a base mixture of hypocrisy and ambition, accuse him of having planned and manœuvred for this object; but there appears no evidence of this, but rather that the continual uneasiness created by the Royalist and Anabaptist assassins led many seriously to consider the peculiar position of the nation, and the great dangers to which it was exposed. There was nothing between the nation and all its old confusions but the life of one clear-headed, and strong-hearted, and strong-handed man, a life which was environed with perils. They deemed these dangers would be diminished by altering the form of government, and returning to a House of Lords and a Monarchy—but not to the corrupt and murder-seeking Stuarts. Had they their honest and earnest Protector converted into a king, and the succession settled on his family, the nation would jealously guard his life, and the hopes of the exiled family be diminished by the prospect of a successor of his own blood, even if he fell.

On the 23rd of February, 1657, suddenly Sir Christopher Pack, late Lord Mayor of London, craved leave to read a paper, which turned out to be drawn up in the form of a Remonstrance from Parliament to the Protector on the state of the country, and proposing a new form of government, including a House of Lords and himself as king. No sooner did the officers of the army, who had just lost their pro-consular dignity, and the other Republicans hear the proposition, than they rose, seized Pack, and hurried him from his seat to the bar of the House as a traitor. But those who were friendly to the proposition rose also in his defence, and after much commotion, the paper was not only read but debated. From this moment this subject occupied the House, with little intermission, till the 9th of May, or between two and three months. The title of the paper was changed from "A humble Address and Remonstrance," to "The humble Petition and Advice of the Parliament of England, Scotland, and Ireland." Its clauses were debated and carried one by one by a majority of a hundred to forty-four, and on the last day of the debate, March 26th, the blank left for the word king was filled in by a majority of one hundred and twenty-three to sixty-two. On the 31st of March an address was carried to the Protector at Whitehall by the Speaker and the House, praying that his Highness would be pleased to adopt their resolutions, and take upon him the state and title of king.

Unquestionably, this was the greatest temptation which had ever been thrown in the way of Cromwell. To have made his way by his energy and talent from the simple condition of a gentleman-farmer to the Dictatorship of the nation, and[140] now to have the crown and succession of these great kingdoms offered to him and his family by Parliament, was a matter which would not have been much opposed by an ordinary man. But Cromwell was not of a character lightly to accept even a crown. He showed clearly that he had a strong inclination to place himself and his posterity in that august position, but he knew too well that the honour had also its dangers and its black side. His acceptance would at once darken his fair fame by settling it in the conviction of three-fourths of the kingdom that he had only fought and put down the Stuarts to set up himself. There was, moreover, a formidable party opposed to kingship, and especially decided against it were his generals and the army. A deputation of a hundred of them had waited on him on the 27th, with an address on the subject, in which they assured him that such a thing would be "a scandal to the people, would prove more than hazardous to his person, and would pave the way for the return of Charles Stuart." Let the nation but become once more accustomed to the name of king, and it would recall the ancient race on the first opportunity.

Cromwell felt too well the truth of these representations, and therefore he required of the House time to reflect on their important offer, though he had watched carefully the progress of the debate. He desired that a committee might be appointed to confer with him on all the articles of the new Instrument of Government proposed to him. A committee of ninety-nine persons was accordingly appointed, amongst them Whitelock, Glynn, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Broghill, Nathaniel Fiennes, one of the Keepers of the Great Seal, etc. They had many meetings, but Cromwell, instead of giving his opinion upon the subject, desired to know their reasons for recommending this change. The chief reasons advanced were, the ancient habits of the nation; that the people were proud of the honour of their monarchs; that that form of government had prevailed from the most ancient period, and what no doubt weighed greatly with them was that, by the 9th of Edward IV. and the 3rd of Henry VII., it was enacted that all who took up arms for or obeyed the king de facto, were held guiltless; but not so they who served a protector de facto.

Cromwell admitted that this was a matter of precaution which demanded serious consideration, and that he regarded the proposal to him as "a very singular honour and favour," and would return such an answer as God should give him, or as he should arrive at through discussion with them; but that his conscience yet was not clear upon the subject, and they must examine the grounds for it further. Whitelock says the Protector often advised about this matter of the kingship, and other great businesses, with a select number of the committee—Lord Broghill, Mr. Pierpoint, brother of the Earl of Kingston, Thurloe, Whitelock, and Sir Charles Wolseley,—and would be shut up three or four hours together, and none else were admitted to him. He sometimes would be very cheerful with them, and, laying aside his greatness, would be exceedingly familiar; and, by way of diversion, would make verses and play at crambo with them, when every one had to try his fancy. He commonly called for tobacco, pipes, and a caudle, and would now and then take tobacco himself. Then he would fall again to his serious and great business of the kingship.

They were interrupted, however, in their colloquies, by a fresh outbreak of the Fifth-Monarchy men. These religionists, who admitted the idea of no king but Christ, were especially exasperated at this attempt to set up an earthly king, and determined to rise and prevent it. They fixed Thursday, the 9th of April, for the rising. They issued a proclamation called "A Standard set up," ordered Mile End as the place of rendezvous, and, headed by one Venner, a wine merchant, and other persons of the City, calculated on introducing the reign of the Millennium. They encouraged each other, says Thurloe, with the exhortation that though they were but worms, yet they should be made instrumental to thresh mountains. They spoke, he says, great words of the reign of the saints, and the beautiful kingdom of holies which they were to erect, and talked of taking away all taxes, excise, custom, and tithes. They had banners painted with the device of the lion of the tribe of Judah, and the motto, "Who shall raise him up?"

But the wide-awake Thurloe had watched all their motions. That morning at daybreak he marched a troop of horse down upon the meeting at Mile End, seized Venner and twenty other ringleaders, with chests of arms, many copies of the proclamation, and the famous war-flag of the lion-couchant of Judah. Major-General Harrison, Admiral Lawson, Colonel Rich, and others of the leaders of the Fifth-Monarchy men were also seized, and with these men shut up in the Tower, but no further punished. Venner ended his days for a similar attempt in the reign of Charles II.



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The discussions of Cromwell and the committee were resumed, and, without coming to any conclusion, on Tuesday, the 21st of April, the Protector suddenly left the consideration of the kingship, and examined the other articles of the Instrument. The chief of these were, that men of all classes should be capable of electing and being elected to Parliament or to offices of State, excepting Papists and Royalists, styled Malignants, at least such Royalists as had been in arms against the Parliament since 1642, unless they had since given signal proof of repentance by bearing arms for the Parliament; all who had been concerned in the Irish rebellion since 1650, or in any plot in England or Wales since December, 1653; all in Scotland who had been in arms against the Parliament of England or Parliament of Scotland, except such as had lived peaceably since the 1st of March, 1652. Besides those thus excluded, all freeholders of counties, and all burgesses and citizens of towns—constituting in fact a household suffrage—could vote for members of Parliament.

All who were atheistical, blasphemous, married to Popish wives, or who trained children, or suffered their children to be trained in Popery, or consented that their children should marry Papists, who scoffed at religion or at religious people, who denied the Scriptures to be God's Word, who denied the Sacraments, ministers, or magistracy to be divine ordinances (like the Fifth-Monarchy men), who were Sabbath-breakers, swearers, haunters of taverns and alehouses—in short, all who were unchristian men—were excluded from electing or being elected. All public preachers were excluded, as better employed in their own vocation, but at the recommendation of Cromwell this was restricted to such preachers as had fixed livings, and did not affect mere voluntary occasional preachers, like himself and many other officers.

A second House of Parliament was to be organised, to consist of not less than forty members, nor more than seventy, who were to be nominated by the Protector, and approved by the Commons. It was not to be called the House of Lords, nor the Upper, but the Other House. The same qualifications and disqualifications applied to it as to the Commons. All judges and public officers, as well as those of the army and navy, were to be approved of by the two Houses; or if Parliament were not sitting, by the Council. Another article settled the revenue, and all relating to it and—the most important one to the Protector—he was authorised to name his successor before his death. These matters being settled, and the Instrument revised by Parliament, on the 8th of May Cromwell summoned the House to meet him in the Banqueting-house, Whitehall, where he ratified the rest of the Instrument, but gave them this answer as to the kingship—that having taken all the circumstances into consideration, both public and private, he did not feel at liberty in his conscience to accept the government with the title of king; that whatever was not of faith was sin; and that not being satisfied that he could accept it in that form to the real advantage of the nation, he should not be an honest man if he did not firmly—but with every acknowledgment of the infinite obligations they had laid him under—decline it. This was his answer to that great and weighty business.

Whitelock assures us that Cromwell at one time had been satisfied in his private judgment that he might accept the royal title, but that the formidable opposition of the officers of the army had shown him that it might lead to dangerous and deplorable results, and that therefore he believed it better to waive it. Whatever the motives, whether those of conscience or prudence, or both, inciting the Protector, he surmounted his temptation, and decided with the firmness characteristic of him. Major-Generals Whalley, Goffe, and Berry are said to have been for his acceptance of the crown; Desborough and Fleetwood were strenuous against it, but Lambert, temporising, appearing to approve whilst he was secretly opposing, and at length coming out strong against it, was the only one whom Cromwell visited with his displeasure. He dismissed him, but with a pension of two thousand pounds a year, and Lambert retired to Wimbledon, where it had been happy for him had he remained in quiet.

On the 26th of June, 1657, the grand ceremony of the inauguration of the Protector as the head of this new Government took place in Westminster Hall. The Protector went thither from Whitehall by water, and entered the hall in the following manner:—First went his gentlemen, then a herald, next the aldermen, another herald, then Norroy, the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, and the Great Seal carried by Commissioner Fiennes, then Garter, and after him the Earl of Warwick, with the sword borne before the Protector, bareheaded, the Lord Mayor carrying the City sword at his left hand. Being seated in his chair, on the left hand of it stood the Lord Mayor and the Dutch ambassador; on the right the French ambassador and the Earl of Warwick;[143] next behind him stood his son Richard and his sons-in-law Claypole and Fleetwood, and the Privy Council. Upon a lower platform stood the Lord Viscount Lisle, Lord Montague, and Whitelock, with drawn swords. As the Protector stood under the cloth of State, the Speaker presented him with a robe of purple velvet, lined with ermine, which the Speaker and Whitelock put upon him. Then the Speaker presented him with a Bible richly gilt and bossed, girt the sword about his Highness, and delivered into his hand the sceptre of massy gold. Having done this, he made the Protector an address, and finally administered the oath. Then Mr. Manton, one of the chaplains, in prayer recommended his Highness, the Parliament, the Council, the forces by land and sea, and the whole Government and the people of the three nations to the blessing and protection of God. On that the trumpets sounded, the heralds proclaimed his Highness Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland; and again the trumpets sounded, and the people shouted, "God save the Protector!" This closed the ceremony, and the Protector and his train returned to Whitehall as they came.

The ceremony, it is clear, fell little short of a royal ceremony, with the exception of the crown and the anointing. Charles Stuart might have used the words of James of Scotland to Johnny Armstrong—"What lacks this knave that a king should have?" With the exception of the name of king, Cromwell, the farmer, was become the monarch of Great Britain and Ireland. He had all the power, and inhabited the palaces of kings. He had the right to place his son in the supreme seat after him; and one whole House of Parliament was of his own creation, while the other was purged to his express satisfaction.

Cromwell had not enjoyed his new dignity more than about six weeks, when he received the news of the death of his great Admiral Blake. His health had been for some time decaying. Scurvy and dropsy were fast destroying him, yet to the last he kept his command at sea, and finished his career with one of the most brilliant victories which had ever been achieved. During the winter and spring he maintained the blockade of Cadiz, but learning that the Plate fleet had taken refuge in the harbour of Santa Cruz, in the Island of Teneriffe, he made sail thither. He found the fleet drawn up under the guns of seven batteries in the harbour, which was shaped like a horseshoe. The merchantmen, ten in number, were ranged close inshore, and the galleons, in number and of greater force than any of his own ships, placed in front of them. It was a sight—seven forts, a castle, and sixteen ships—to have daunted any man but Blake. Don Diego Darques, the Spanish admiral, was so confident of the impregnable nature of his position, that he sent Blake word to come and take his vessels. "But," says Clarendon, "the illustrious genius of Blake was admired even by the hostile faction of his countrymen. He was the first man that declined the old track, and made it manifest that the science might be obtained in less time than was imagined; and despised those rules which had been long in practice, to keep his ship and men out of danger, which had been held in former times a point of great ability and circumspection, as if the principal art requisite in the captain of a ship had been to be sure to come safe home again; the first man who brought the ships to contemn castles on shore, which had been thought ever very formidable; the first that infused that portion of courage into the seamen, by making them see what mighty things they could do if they were resolved, and taught them to fight in fire as well as upon water."

Blake did not hesitate. The wind was blowing into the harbour on the 20th of April, 1657; and trusting to the omnipotent instincts of courage, he dashed into the harbour at eight o'clock in the morning. Stayner, who had so lately defeated the Spanish Plate fleet, and destroyed in it the viceroy of Peru, now led the way in a frigate, and Blake followed with the larger ships. His fleet altogether amounted to twenty-five sail. It was received with a hurricane of fire from the batteries on both sides the harbour and the fleet in front; but discharging his artillery right and left, he advanced, silencing the forts, and soon driving the seamen from the front line of galleons into the merchant ships. For four hours the terrible encounter continued, the British exposed to a deadly hail of ball from the shore as well as the ships, but still pressing on till the Spanish ships were all in flames, and reduced to ashes, the troops in them having escaped to land. The question, then, was how to escape out of the harbour, and from the fury of the exasperated Spaniards on the land around. But Blake drew his ships out of reach of the forts and, as if Providence had wrought in his favour—as Blake firmly believed He did—the wind about sunset veered suddenly round, and the fleet sailed securely out to sea.

The fame of this unparalleled exploit rang throughout Europe, and raised the reputation of[144] England for naval prowess to the greatest pitch. Unhappily, death was fast claiming the undaunted admiral. He was suffering at the moment that he won this brilliant triumph, and, sailing homewards, he expired (August 17, 1657) on board his ship, the St. George, just as it entered the harbour of Plymouth. Besides the high encomium of Clarendon, he received that of a writer of his own party and time, in the narrative of the "Perfect Politician"—"He was a man most wholly devoted to his country's service, resolute in his undertakings, and most faithful in his performances of them. With him valour seldom missed its reward, nor cowardice its punishment. When news was brought him of a metamorphosis in the State at home, he would then encourage the seamen to be most vigilant abroad; for, said he, it was not our duty to mind State affairs, but to keep foreigners from fooling us. In all his expeditions the wind seldom deceived him, but mostly in the end stood his friend, especially in his last undertaking in the Canary Islands. To the last he lived a single life, never being espoused to any but his country's quarrels. As he lived bravely, he died gloriously, and was buried in Henry VII.'s Chapel, yet enjoying at this time no other monument but what is raised by his valour, which time itself can hardly deface."

During this summer, Oliver had not only been gloriously engaged at sea, but he had been busy on land. He was in league with Louis XIV. of France to drive the Spaniards from the Netherlands. The French forces were conducted by the celebrated Marshal Turenne, and the Spanish by Don John of Austria, and the French insurgent chief, the Prince of Condé. Cromwell sent over six thousand men under Sir John Reynolds, who landed near Boulogne on the 13th and 14th of May. They were supported by a strong fleet under Admiral Montague, the late colleague of Blake, which cruised on the coast. The first united operations were to be the reduction of Gravelines, Mardyke, and Dunkirk, the first of which places, when taken, was to belong to France, the two latter to England. If Gravelines were taken first, it was to be put into possession of England, as a pledge for the conveyance of the two latter. This bold demand on the part of Cromwell astonished his French allies, and was violently opposed by the French cabinets, who told Louis that Dunkirk once in the hands of the English, would prove another Calais to France. But without Dunkirk, which Cromwell deemed necessary as a check to the Royalist invasions from the Netherlands, with which he was continually threatened, no aid was to be had from the Protector, and it was conceded, whence came the angry declaration from the French, that "Mazarin feared Cromwell more than the Devil."

The French Court endeavoured to employ the English forces on other work than the reduction of these stipulated places. The young French king went down to the coast to see the British army, and having expressed much admiration of them recommended them to lay siege to Montmédy, Cambray, and other towns in the interior. Cromwell was, however, too much of a man of business and a general to suffer this. He ordered his ambassador, Sir William Lockhart (who had married the Protector's niece, Miss Rosina Sewster) to remonstrate, and insist on the attack of Gravelines, Mardyke, and Dunkirk. He told the ambassador that to talk of Cambray and interior towns as guarantees was "parcels of words for children. If they will give us garrisons, let them give us Calais, Dieppe, and Boulogne." He bade him tell the Cardinal that if he meant any good from the treaty with him, he must keep it, and go to work on Dunkirk, when, if necessary, he would send over two thousand more of his veterans. This had the necessary effect: Mardyke was taken after a siege of three days only, and put into the hands of the English on the 23rd of September. The attack was then turned on Gravelines; but the enemy opened their sluices, and laid all the country round under water. On this Turenne, probably glad of the delay, put his troops at that early period into winter quarters. During this time attempts were made to corrupt the English officers by the Stuart party. The Duke of York was in the Spanish army with the English Royalist exiles, and communications were opened as of mere civility with the English at Mardyke. As the English officers took their rides between Mardyke and Dunkirk they were frequently met by the duke's officers, and conversation took place. Sir John Reynolds was imprudent enough to pay his respects to the duke on these occasions, and he was soon ordered to London to answer for his conduct; but both he and a Colonel White, who was evidence against him, were lost on the 5th of December on the Goodwin Sands. The Duke of York now made a treacherous attack on Mardyke, but was repulsed, and the affairs of Charles II. appeared so hopeless, that Burnet asserts, and the same thing is asserted also in the "Orrery Letters," that he was now mean enough to offer to marry one of Cromwell's daughters, and[145] thus settle all differences, but that Cromwell told Lord Orrery that Charles was so debauched that he would undo them all. Cromwell, indeed, just now married his two remaining single daughters, Frances and Mary, to the Lords Rich and Falconberg. Frances married Lord Rich, the son of the Earl of Warwick, and Mary Lord Falconberg, of the Yorkshire family of Bellasis, formerly so zealous for the royal party.

By permission of the Corporation of Liverpool.


From the Picture by J. SCHEX in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

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The year 1658 opened by the meeting of the new Parliament. It was a critical venture, and not destined to succeed better than the former ones. To constitute the new House, called the Other House, Cromwell had been obliged to remove to it most of the best-affected members of the Commons. To comply with the "Petition and Advice," he had been forced to admit into the Commons many who had been expelled from former Parliaments for their violent Republicanism. The consequences at once appeared. The Other House consisted of sixty-three members. It included six of the ancient Peers—the Earls of Manchester, Warwick, Mulgrave, Falconberg, Saye and Sele, and Lord Eure. But none but Eure and Falconberg took their seats, not even the Earl of Warwick, whose son and heir, Lord Rich, had just married the Protector's daughter. He and the others objected to sit in the same House with General Hewson, who had once been a shoemaker, and Pride, who had been a drayman. Amongst the members appeared a considerable number of the officers of the army, and the chief Ministers of State. These included the Protector's two sons, Richard and Henry Cromwell, Fiennes, Keeper of the Great Seal, Lisle, Fleetwood, Monk, Whalley, Whitelock, Barkstead, Pride, Hewson, Goffe, Sir Christopher Pack, alderman of London, General Claypole, St. John, and other old friends of the Protector, besides the lords already mentioned. As they had been called by writs, which were copies of the royal writs used on such occasions, the members immediately assumed that it made them peers, and gave them a title to hereditary rank. They were addressed by Cromwell in his opening speech as "My Lords, and Gentlemen of the House of Commons." His speech was very short, for he complained of indisposition, the truth being, that the life of excitement, struggle, and[146] incessant care for twenty years had undermined his iron frame, and he was breaking down; but he congratulated them on the internal peace attained, warned them of danger from without, and exhorted them to unity and earnestness for the public good. Fiennes, after the Protector's retirement, addressed them in a much longer speech on the condition of the nation.

But all hopes of this nondescript Parliament were vain. The Other House no sooner met apart than they began inquiring into their privileges, and, assuming that they were not merely the Other House, but the Upper House, sent a message, after the fashion of the ancient peers by the judges, to desire a conference with the Commons on the subject of a fast. The Commons, however, who were by the new Instrument made judges of the Other House, being authorised to approve or disapprove of it, showed that they meant the Other House to be not an Upper House, but a lower House than themselves. They claimed to be the representatives of the people; but who, they asked, had made the Other House a House of Peers, who had given them an authority and a negative voice over them? The first thing which the Commons did was to claim the powers of the new Instrument, and admit the most violent of the excluded members, for none were to be shut out except rebels or Papists. Haselrig, who had been appointed one of the Other House, refused to sit in it; but having been elected to the Commons, he appeared there, and demanded his oath. Francis Bacon, the Clerk of the House, replied that he dared not give it him; but Haselrig insisted, and being supported by his party, he at length obtained his oath, and took his seat. It was then soon seen that the efficient Government members were gone to the Other House, and Haselrig, Scott, Robinson, and the most fiery members of the Republican section now carried things their own way, and commenced a course of vehement opposition. Scott ripped up the whole history of the House of Lords during the struggle of the Commonwealth. He said—"The Lords would not join in the trial of the king. We called the king to our bar, and arraigned him. He was for his obstinacy and guilt condemned and executed, and so let all the enemies of God perish! The House of Commons had a good conscience in it. Upon this the Lords' House adjourned, and never met again; and it was hoped the people of England should never again have a negative upon them." But the hostility of this party was not to the Other House merely, it was to the Protectorate itself, which it declaimed against, and not only in the House, but out of it, setting on foot petitions for the abolition of the Protectorate by the Commons. Whitelock remarks that this course boded the speedy dissolution of the House. Cromwell summoned both Houses to Whitehall January 25th, only five days after their meeting, and in a long and powerful speech remonstrated with the Commons on their frantic proceedings. He took a wide view of the condition of Europe, of the peace and Protestantism of England, and asked them what were their hopes, if, by their decision, they brought back the dissolute and bigoted Court which they had dismissed. He declared that the man who could contemplate the restoration of such a state of things must have the heart of a Cain; that he would make England the scene of a bloodier civil war than they had had before. He prayed, therefore, that whoever should seek to break the peace, God Almighty might root that man out of the nation; and he believed that the wrath of God would prosecute such a man to his grave, if not to hell.

But all argument was lost on that fiery section. Scott and Haselrig continued their assaults on the whole frame of government more strenuously than ever; and on the 4th of February, fifteen days from the meeting of Parliament, amid the confused bickering of Scott and Haselrig with the wearied House, arrived the Usher of the Black Rod to summon the members to the Other House, which he called boldly the House of Lords. Haselrig, in the midst of his harangue, was reminded of the presence of the Black Rod. "What care I for Black Rod?" he exclaimed, but he was compelled to obey.

The Protector expressed the intensity of his disappointment that the very men who had importuned him to assume the burden of Government, and even the title of king, should now, instead of attending to the urgent business of the nation, endeavour violently to destroy that Government, and throw everything into chaos. "I can say in the presence of God," he continued, "in comparison with Whom we are but like poor creeping ants upon the earth, I would have been glad to have lived under a wood-side, to have kept a flock of sheep rather than have undertaken such a Government as this. But undertaking it by the advice and petition of you, I did look that you, who had offered it unto me, should make it good." He added, "And if this be the end of your sitting, and this be your carriage, I think it high time to put an end to your sitting; and I do dissolve this Parliament." And thus closed the[147] last Parliament of Cromwell, after a session of a fortnight.

Having dismissed his Parliament, Cromwell had to take summary measures with the host of conspirators whom his refractory Parliaments had only tended to encourage. Since the "Killing no Murder" of Sexby, there were numbers who were by no means careful to conceal that they loved these doctrines, and persuaded the discontented that to kill Cromwell was to cure all the evils of the nation. The Royalists, on their part, who had always been advocates and practisers of assassination, were more than ever on the alert. In the beginning of the year 1658 the plan of an invasion was completed. The King of Spain furnished one hundred and fifty thousand crowns towards fitting it out: arms, ammunition, and transports were purchased in Holland, and the port of Ostend was to be the place of embarkation. The greatest drawback to the hopes of the Royalists were the dissipated and debauched habits of the king. Ormond, writing to Hyde, observed that he feared Charles's immoderate delight in empty, effeminate, and vulgar conversation was become an irresistible part of his nature, and would never suffer him to animate his own designs and the actions of others with that spirit which was necessary for his quality, and much more for his fortunes. Yet this was the man on whom their hopes of the restoration of monarchy were built. Ormond and O'Neil ventured to England in disguise, in order to ascertain what were really the resources and the spirit of the Royalists in the country. Ormond had private communication with all parties—with the Earls of Manchester and Denbigh, with Rossiter and Sir William Waller, as Presbyterians opposed to Cromwell and the Independents; with Saye and Sele and others, who were willing that Charles should return on his signing the same articles that his father had offered in the Isle of Wight; and with such of the fanatic Levellers as held the opinions of Sexby. But he found little that was encouraging amongst any of them. If we are to believe Clarendon, he was betrayed by one of those in whom he most trusted, Sir Richard Willis, who was high in the confidence of Charles, but was at the same time a paid spy of Cromwell's. It is certain that one day in March the Protector said to Lord Broghill, "An old friend of yours is in town, the Duke of Ormond, now lodged in Drury Lane, at the Papist surgeon's there. You had better tell him to be gone." Broghill found that this was the case, and gave Ormond the necessary hint, who hurried back to Bruges, and assured Charles and his Court that Cromwell had many enemies, but there was at present no chance of a successful invasion.

But if Cromwell was disposed to allow Ormond to escape, he was compelled to make an example of some other of the Royalist agitators. On the 12th of March the Protector sent for the Lord Mayor and aldermen to Whitehall, informed them that the Duke of Ormond had been lurking in the City to excite rebellion, and that it was necessary to take strict measures for putting down the seditious of all sorts. At the same time he ordered the fleet to sweep the coasts of the Netherlands, which drove in there two fleets intended for the Royalist expedition, and blockaded Ostend. He then determined to bring to justice some of the most incorrigible agitators. Sir Henry Slingsby, who had been confined in Hull ever since the outbreak of Penruddock, had not even there ceased his active resistance, employing himself to corrupt the officers of the garrison, who, being instructed by the governor, appeared to listen to his views, so that ere long he was emboldened to offer them commissions from Charles Stuart. Another person arrested was Dr. Hewit, an Episcopalian clergyman, who preached at St. Gregory's, near St. Paul's, and was a most indefatigable advocate of a royal invasion. There were numbers of the Royalist apprentices and others in the City, who were not patient enough to wait for the invasion; they resolved to rise on the 15th of May, fire the houses near the Tower, and by sound of drum proclaim the king. The Protector told Thurloe that "it was not fit that there should be a plot of this kind every winter," and Thurloe had made himself thoroughly aware of all their proceedings. As the time approached, the ringleaders were seized at the "Mermaid," in Cheapside. A High Court of Justice was appointed according to Act of Parliament, and Slingsby, Hewit, and the City incendiaries were tried. There was ample proof of their guilt. Hewit denied the authority of the court and refused to plead, but he was all the same condemned with Slingsby and six of the City traitors to death.

In the Netherlands Sir William Lockhart admirably supplied the place of Sir John Reynolds, acting both as ambassador and general. The Allied army opened the campaign of 1658 with the siege of Dunkirk. The Prince of Condé had in vain assured the Spaniards that this would be the case, whilst they imagined that the intention of the Allies was to besiege Cambray. When Don[148] John saw his mistake, he determined to attack the Allies and raise the siege. But Turenne and Lockhart would not wait to be attacked; they marched to meet the Spaniards, and surprised them before they had received their supply of ammunition for the intended assault. Don John hastily drew up his forces along a ridge of sandhills, and gave the command of the right wing to the Duke of York, and the left to Condé, himself commanding the centre. Lockhart was too ill to take the command, but gave it to Colonel Morgan, who, with his English forces, found himself opposed to the Duke of York. The English dashed up the sandhill, and soon drove the infantry of the enemy before them. They were then charged by the Duke of York at the head of the Spanish cavalry, and the battle was terrible, but nearly half of the duke's men fell under the well-directed fire of his countrymen. The left wing, however, under Condé, had given way, and the duke, leaving his rallied infantry to contend with the English in front, directed the charge of his cavalry against their flank. It was in vain; the centre gave way without fighting, and the brave English defending themselves against their numerous assailants till relieved by a body of French horse, the whole line of the Spaniards collapsed. The Duke of York, who had fought gallantly, was saved in the first charge only by the temper of his armour, and in the second he was surrounded by the enemy, and, according to his own account, only extricated himself by assuming the character of a French officer, and leading on several troopers to the charge till he saw a chance of riding off. Marshal Turenne gave the credit of the victory to the gallantry of the English, who had, at the close of the battle, scarcely a single officer left alive. At Whitehall the victory was attributed to the prayers of the saints at Court, for it happened that the Protector had set apart that day for a solemn fast, and, says Thurloe, "whilst we were praying, they were fighting, and the Lord gave a signal answer."

The Lord Falconberg was despatched to carry congratulations to Louis XIV., who was at Calais, and soon afterwards these were returned by the Duke of Crequi and M. Mancini, the nephew of Mazarin, who expressed his regret that, owing to the urgency of affairs, he was unable to come himself, as he said he had long desired; but he sent a magnificent sword from the king, and a fine piece of tapestry from himself. Dunkirk was given up to the English, Gravelines was taken, Ypres surrendered, and all the towns on the banks of the Lys fell into the hands of the conquerors.

Here closed the victorious career of Oliver Cromwell; these were the last of his triumphs, and nearly the last of his life. Though he now stood apparently at the summit of fortune, both domestic and foreign enemies being for the time subdued, yet the grand platform of life and mortal glory was already giving way beneath him. His health was undermined by the long conflict with a host of enemies, and circumstances around him were gloom. Sickness had entered, death was about to select its victims from his own house. His daughter Frances was left a young widow by the death of Lord Rich, son of the Earl of Warwick, twelve days after the dissolution of Parliament; his daughter Claypole, his favourite daughter, was lying ill, and beyond the reach of medical art at that period, and his own iron frame was yielding. Around him, in his outward affairs, the circumstances were full of anxiety. He knew that he had repulsed, but not destroyed, the domestic enemies of his Government. They were as alert as ever to the chance of starting up and again attempting to overturn his power. All his three Parliaments had proved thoroughly unmanageable, and had reduced him to the very measures so strongly condemned in Charles I.—continual interruption of the debates, invasion of privileges, and abrupt dissolutions to prevent the completion of hostile measures. The only circumstance in his favour was that Charles's arbitrary acts were for the formation of despotism; his for that of a rational liberty. Under no previous Government had the people enjoyed such just laws, such just judges, and so much liberty, especially religious liberty.

But, like Charles, Cromwell was now governing without a Parliament, and, like him, being without a Parliament, he was without funds. The wars on sea and land had emptied his exchequer, and to raise supplies by arbitrary means would cover him with the odium which had clung to the king he had overthrown. He appointed a committee of nine persons to consider as to the best means of calling a Parliament likely to work with the existing Government, and also to decide on the successor to the Protectorate. But on this committee there were secret enemies, and it came to no conclusion as to the Parliament; but as to the succession, it determined that since the succession had been left to the Protector, it was a matter of no consequence. Suspecting their motives, and deriving no benefit from them, he dismissed the committee towards the end of July, and was left with no resource but the ingenuity of[149] Thurloe, his secretary, who borrowed where he could, but was often refused. This could not, however, last. His army was his grand prop, and so long as it was duly paid and clothed there was no danger, but let payment fall into arrears, and it would soon begin to listen to the suggestions of the Republican and Anabaptist officers. With these gloomy circumstances, his suspicions seem to have grown of those about him, or of assassins who might make more successful attempts than before; as his health failed his fears acquired a decided mastery. He is said to have worn armour under his clothes: we know that he had long carried loaded pistols. Clarendon says he had become much "less easy of access, nor so much seen abroad; and he seemed to be in some disorder when his eyes found any stranger in the room, upon whom they still seemed fixed. When he intended to go to Hampton Court, which was his principal delight and diversion, it was never known till he was in the coach which way he would go; and he was still hemmed in by his guards before and behind; and the coach, in which he went was always thronged as full as it could be with his servants, who were armed, and he seldom returned the same way he went, and rarely lodged two nights together in one chamber, but had many furnished and prepared, to which his own key conducted him."


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Though this is the statement of an enemy, we can very well believe it, for Cromwell's life had been for years aimed at by assassins, both Royalist and Republican, by paid bravoes of Charles II., and by fanatics. These various fears and anxieties[150] told strongly as his health failed. He reached his fifty-ninth year in April, and was therefore pretty advanced towards his sixtieth. For fourteen days before the death of Mrs. Claypole, the Protector was almost day and night by her bedside, not being able to attend to any business in his deep anxiety. Mrs. Claypole died on the 6th of August, and George Fox going to Hampton Court, to represent to Cromwell the persecutions of his friends, on the 20th of that month, met him riding in Hampton Court Park at the head of his Life Guards, and was so struck with his altered appearance, that he said "he felt a waft of death go forth against him, and when he came up to him he looked like a dead man." On hearing George's statement, he desired him to come to the palace to him; but next day, when Fox went thither, he was told that he was much worse, and that the physicians were not willing he should speak with anybody.

Cromwell died on the 3rd of September, the day of Dunbar and Worcester, the day which he had set down as his fortunate day, and which was in nothing more so than in this last event. He laid down a burden which he had often said "was too heavy for man," and with the possession of that form of government which he sincerely deemed essential to truth and liberty still in his grasp. It was a form of government which had no foundation in the convictions of the people, and which sooner or later was bound to fall; and the old prejudices in favour of royalty bring back a fresh lesson of martyrdom to its votaries. The Dictatorship was at an end; it had been maintained by Cromwell's innate vigour, and could only last as long as he did. The day that he died was a day of terrible wind, and his enemies declared that the devil came in it to fetch him away; but his friends said that Nature could not witness the departure of so great a spirit without marking its strong emotion. Many are the sayings of his last hours reported by friends and foes, but it is certain that he expressed his firm belief that he died in the unbroken covenant with God.

On his deathbed the Protector had been asked to name his successor. Empowered by the "Petition and Advice," he had already named him in a sealed packet, which now, however, could not be found, and though he was supposed to say Richard, it was so indistinctly, that it was by no means certain. However, Richard was proclaimed in London and Westminster, and then in all the large towns at home, and in Dunkirk, and the colonies abroad. At first all appeared favourable for the peaceable succession of Richard. All parties hastened to congratulate him. Foreign ministers sent addresses of condolence and intimations of their desire to renew their alliances. From all parts of the country, and from the City, and from one hundred congregational churches, poured in addresses, conceived in the most fulsome affectation of religion. Cromwell had been a Moses, but his son was a Joshua. Elijah was gone, but Elisha remained.

The Royalists were confounded to find everything pass over so smoothly, but all who knew the retiring disposition of Richard, and the volcano of raging materials which lay in the sects, factions, and parties which at that moment divided and agitated England, could only look on it as the lull before the tempest. Richard Cromwell had all his life long displayed a liking only for a quiet country life. He had no ambitions, either military or political. He had lived in his domestic retirement, entering neither the field nor the cabinet, and his father, in his letters, was continually calling him "indolent Dick." It was impossible that such a man could ever curb the fierce and conflicting factions with which he was surrounded; it is most probable that he only longed to be well rid of the whole onerous burden.

There were various leaders in the army so nearly equal in rank and influence that there was sure to be strife for the chief command. Fleetwood had married a sister of the present Protector; Desborough was his uncle; his brother Henry, who was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, was a much more resolute and able man than himself; and Monk, in Scotland, had great power in his hands. The chief command in the army lay, by the late Instrument, in the Protector himself; but the officers of the army met and drew up a petition that the chief command should be conferred on some one of the generals who had shown his attachment to the cause by his services, and that no officer should be deprived of his commission except by sentence of a court-martial. Richard, by the advice of Thurloe, replied that he had appointed General Fleetwood lieutenant-general of the forces, but that to give up the supreme command would be to violate the "Petition and Advice," by which he held his own authority. This did not content the officers; they still held their meetings, a liberty which Oliver had wisely suppressed, and there were many suspicions expressed amongst them. They asserted that Henry Cromwell would soon be placed above Fleetwood, who, though conscientious, was very weak and vacillating, and[151] they demanded that Thurloe, St. John and Pierpoint, Richard's ablest counsellors, should be dismissed, as enemies to the army. It was clear that a collision must take place between these parties and Thurloe, and his friends advised Richard to call a Parliament, by which he would not only be able to curb the power of the officers, but to raise money for the payment of the soldiers. The nation was keeping a large fleet under Ayscue, or Ayscough, part of which was cruising in the Baltic, to protect the English allies, the Swedes, against the Danes and Dutch, and another, under Montague, was blockading the Dutch coast. Money, therefore, was absolutely necessary to defray expenses, and Richard consented to call a Parliament. It was a necessary evil, a formidable undertaking. For the five months that passed before their meeting, Richard ruled with all the outward state, and with more than the quiet of his father. But his father, with all his vigour and tact, had never been able to manage a Parliament, most of the members of which immediately set about to overthrow him; what hope, then, that Richard could contend with such a restless and domineering body? It was absolutely impossible, and he was speedily made sensible of it. To introduce as many members of the Commons as he could favourable to his views, he departed from his father's plan of only calling them from the larger boroughs and the counties, and restored the franchise to the lesser and decayed boroughs. Every means was used besides to obtain the return of men favourable to the Government; and in Scotland and Ireland, from whence thirty members each were admitted, the elections were conducted under the eyes of the commander of the forces. But, notwithstanding, from the very first assembling of the Commons, they showed that they were likely to be as unmanageable as ever. When Richard summoned the Commons to meet him in the Lords scarcely half the members attended, lest they should sanction the existence of a body which they disclaimed. The Commons were as much divided as the army. There were the friends of the Government, who were instructed to stand firm by the "Petition and Advice," and the Government, founded by it, of one ruling person and two Houses of Parliament. Then there were the Presbyterians and Republicans, who were for no Lords nor Protector either, and were led on by Haselrig, Scott, Bradshaw, Lambert, Ludlow, and others of those united parties, with whom Vane and Fairfax now co-operated. Fairfax, from the moment when he showed his disapprobation of the death of Charles I., had retired into private life, but now he reappeared, and though become a Royalist at heart, his spirited lady no doubt having roused that feeling in him, he voted with the Republican party, as most likely to prevail against the Protectorate, and thus pave the way to monarchy. Besides these, there were many neutrals or moderates, and a considerable sprinkling of young Royalists, who, by Charles's advice, had got in under other colours.

However much these parties differed amongst themselves, there were sufficient of them adverse to the Protectorate to commence an immediate attack upon it. They fell at once to debating the legality of the "Petition and Advice," and of course Government by a single person and two Houses. They asked what was the "Petition and Advice," and they declared it to be an instrument of no validity, passed by a very small majority of a House from which a hundred members had been forcibly excluded. The debates were long and violent. Though Parliament met on the 27th of January, 1659, it was the 14th of February before they had decided that Richard's right to the Protectorate should be settled by another Bill, but with much restricted prerogative, and it was not till the 28th of March that they allowed the right of the other House to sit, but with no superiority to the Commons, and with no authority to send messages to it except by members of the House. These points settled, there were high demands for a searching inquiry into the management of all departments of the State, with heavy charges of waste, embezzlement, oppression, and tyranny, in the collection of the excise. Threats of impeachment were held out against Thurloe and the principal ministers, as well as against Butler and some others of the officers.

This aroused the generals, who were themselves divided into two great factions. One set met at Whitehall under Ingoldsby, Whalley, Goffe, Lord Charles Howard, and others favourable to the Protector; another, under Fleetwood and Desborough, met at Wallingford House, who, though the Protector's own relations, were bent on their own and the army's ascendency. They were joined by Lambert, who, after being deprived of his commission, had remained at Wimbledon, cultivating his garden, and seeming to be forgotten; but now he came forth again and was received with enthusiasm by the soldiers, who had great confidence in his ability. Desborough used also to meet with a third party, consisting chiefly of the inferior officers, at St. James's.


At this place of meeting a council of officers was organised, which soon became influential with the Wallingford House, or Fleetwood's, section. Here they drew up an address to Richard, complaining of the arrears of their pay being withheld, and of the neglect with which the army was treated; of the attempts to overthrow the Acts passed by the Long Parliament, and the encouragement thereby given to the Royalists, who were flocking over from Flanders, and exciting discontent against "the good old cause," and against the persons and interests of those who had shed their blood for the Commonwealth. This address was presented on the 14th of April by Fleetwood, with no less than six hundred signatures. Though it did not even mention the name of this Parliament, that body felt that it was directed entirely against them, and immediately voted that no meeting or general council of officers should be held without the consent and order of the Protector, and that no person should hold any command by sea or land who did not forthwith sign an engagement that he would not in any way disturb or prevent the free meeting and debates of Parliament, or the freedom of any member of Parliament. This was certain to produce a retort from the army—it was an open declaration of war upon it; and accordingly Fleetwood and Desborough waited on Richard and assured him that it was absolutely necessary to dissolve Parliament; and Desborough, who was a bold, rough soldier, declared that if he did not do it, he felt sure the army would soon pull him out of Whitehall.

It may be questioned how far this declaration was warranted by the real facts of the case. The majority of the army was probably opposed to any violence being shown to the son of the great Protector, but in critical times it is the small knot of restless, unscrupulous spirits who rule the inert mass, and impose their own views upon the sluggish and the timid; and Desborough well knew the irresolute and impressionable character of Richard Cromwell.

On the other hand, many members of Parliament protested that they would stand by him, that if he allowed the army to suppress Parliament, he would find it immediately his own master, and would be left without a friend. Ingoldsby, Goffe, and Whalley supported this view, and one of them offered to go and kill Lambert, who was the originator of all the mischief. Richard called a council to consider the proposition. Whitelock represented the danger of dissolving Parliament, and leaving himself at the mercy of the army; but Thurloe, Lord Broghill, Fiennes, and Wolseley declared there was no alternative, for if the army and Parliament came to strife, the Cavaliers would rise and bring in Charles. Richard reluctantly gave way, and on the 22nd of April he signed a commission empowering Fiennes, the Keeper of the Seal, to dissolve Parliament. Fiennes summoned the Commons to the Upper House by the Usher of the Black Rod, but they shut the door in the face of that officer, and refused to obey, adjourning themselves for three days. Fiennes, however, declared Parliament dissolved, the Commons having been duly summoned to witness it, and a proclamation was issued to that effect.

The warning of Whitelock was at once verified; the moment that the Parliament ceased, all regard to Richard by the army ceased with it. From that moment he was deserted except by a small knot of officers—Goffe, Whalley, and Ingoldsby,—and he was as completely annihilated as Protector as if all parties had deposed him by assent and proclamation. The council of officers proceeded to take measures for the exercise of the supreme power. They placed guards to prevent the adjourned Commons from re-taking their seats at Westminster as they proposed, and by their own authority dismissed Ingoldsby, Goffe, Whalley, and the other officers who had adhered to Richard, from their commands in the army, and restored Lambert and all the others who had been cashiered by Oliver. Having thus restored the Republicanism of the army, they determined to recall the Rump, as a body which they believed they could command; and they accordingly issued an order for the reassembling of the House of Commons which Oliver had so unceremoniously dismissed on the 20th of April, 1653. At this call, Lenthall, the old Speaker of the Rump, with about forty or fifty members of the Rump, hastened the next day to Westminster, where Lambert kept guard with the troops, and after some discussion in the Painted Chamber, they went in a body to the House through two files of Lambert's soldiers, and took their places as a real Parliament. But their claim to this exclusive right was immediately disputed. The same day, the 7th of May, a large number of the members who had been excluded by Pride's purge, in 1648, of whom one hundred and ninety-four were still alive, and eighty of them residing in the capital, assembled in Westminster Hall, and sent up to the House a deputation of fourteen, headed by Prynne, Annesley, and Sir George Booth, to demand equal liberty to sit; but[153] as this would have overwhelmed them with a Presbyterian majority, the doors were closed against them: they were kept back by the soldiers who filled the lobby, who were ironically called "the keepers of the liberties of England," and they were informed that no member could sit who had not already signed the engagement. On the 9th, however, Prynne made his way into the House, and kept his seat, in spite of all efforts to dislodge him, till dinner-time; but going out to dine, he found himself shut out on his return.


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The Rump now proceeded to appoint a Committee of Safety, and then a Council of State, which included Fairfax, Lambert, Desborough, Bradshaw, Fleetwood, Ashley Cooper, Haselrig, Vane, Ludlow, St. John, and Whitelock. Letters were received from Monk in Scotland, congratulating the Rump on their return to power, but hypocritically begging them to keep in mind the services of Cromwell and his family. Lockhart sent over from Flanders the tendered services of the regiments there, and was confirmed in his office of ambassador, and also commissioned to attend a conference between the ministers of France and Spain, to be held at Fuentarabia, whither Charles Stuart had also betaken himself. Montague sent in the adhesion of the fleet, and, what was still more consoling, Henry Cromwell, whose opposition in Ireland was much dreaded, resigned his office, and was permitted to retire into private life.

The Wallingford House party of officers alone created serious apprehension. They sent in a list of fifteen demands, which were immediately taken into consideration, and the Rump successively voted, in compliance therewith, that a form of government should be passed calculated to preserve the liberties of the people, and that it should contain no single person as Protector, nor House of Peers. They also agreed that liberty of conscience should be allowed to all believers in the Scriptures who held the doctrine of the Trinity, except Papists and Prelatists. But one of these demands was for lands of inheritance to be settled on Richard Cromwell to the value of ten thousand pounds a year, and a pension on her Highness, his[154] mother, of ten thousand pounds a year. On this it was remarked that Richard was still occupying Whitehall as if he were Protector, and they made it conditional that he should remove thence. They proposed that if he retired from the Protectorate, they would grant him twenty-nine thousand pounds for the discharge of his debts, two thousand pounds for present necessities, and ten thousand pounds to him and his heirs. Richard cheerfully signed a formal abdication in May, 1659, but his pension was never paid. After the Restoration he fled to the Continent, where he remained for twenty years. He returned in 1680, and lived peaceably on his estate at Cheshunt, or at Mardon, in Hursley, near Winchester, which he received with Dorothy Mayor, and there spent a jolly life in old English state, dying in 1712. During his father's life, he is said in convivial hours to have drunk the health of his father's landlord, Charles Stuart; and he possessed a chest which contained the addresses and congratulations, even the protestations of profound fidelity from corporations, congregations, and almost all the public men, and on this chest he would seat himself in his jocund hours, amongst his convivial friends, and boast that he was sitting on the lives and fortunes of most of the leading men of England. Henry Cromwell also passed his life as a quiet country gentleman on his estate of Swinney, near Soham, in Cambridgeshire, till his death in 1673. His government of Ireland was, on his resigning, put into the hands of five commissioners, and the command of the army was given to Ludlow.

Charles and his party abroad, watching the continual bickerings of their enemies in England, put in motion all their machinery to create confusion, and to seize the opportunity of taking every possible means of procuring a revolt amongst them. Charles, to encourage his partisans, announced his intention of coming to England to head them. The 1st of August was fixed on for a rising, and Charles hastened into Boulogne, to be ready to pass over into Wales or Cornwall. The Duke of York was to lead over six hundred of the Prince of Condé's veterans, and, crossing from Boulogne, land on the coast of Kent, whilst the Duke of Gloucester was to proceed from Ostend with four thousand troops under Marshal Marsin. Unfortunately for them, their plans had been revealed to Thurloe by Sir Richard Willis, one of the king's sealed knot of seven trusted confidants. Convinced by this treason that the enterprise would fail, Charles sent circular letters to stop the rising. But these in some instances arrived too late. Many appeared in arms, and were fallen upon and routed or taken prisoners by the Parliamentarians. Sir John Gore, the Lady Mary Howard, daughter of the Earl of Berkshire, in addition to many other persons of distinction, were arrested on charges of high treason. In Cheshire Sir George Booth raised the royal standard, and took possession of Chester; but on learning the news of the king's deferring the enterprise, and that General Lambert was marching against them, he and his associates fled to Nantwich, where Lambert overtook and totally routed them. Colonel Morgan, with thirty of his men, fell on the field; the Earl of Derby was taken disguised as a servant; Sir Thomas Middleton, who was eighty years old, fled to Chirk Castle, but soon surrendered; and Booth himself, disguised as a woman, and riding on a pillion, was betrayed and taken on the road to London, near Newton Pagnell. This unlucky outbreak and defeat threw the adherents of Charles abroad into despair. Montague, the admiral, who had been won over, and had brought his fleet to the mouth of the Thames to facilitate the passage of the king's troops, pretended that he had come for provisions, and, though he was suspected, he was allowed to return to his station. Charles himself, now almost desperate, made a journey to Fuentarabia, where Mazarin and Don Louis de Haro, the ministers of France and Spain, were engaged in a treaty, in the hope that, if it were concluded, he might obtain some support from them. But he was very coldly received; Mazarin would not even see him. In fact, his fortunes were apparently at the lowest ebb, but it was in reality only the dark hour before the dawn. The day of his fortune was at hand.

Parliament, on Lambert's victory, voted him thanks and one thousand pounds to purchase a jewel in memory of it; but Lambert distributed the money amongst his soldiers. Parliament resenting this, regarded it as intended to win the soldiers to his cause, that he might tread in Cromwell's steps, and make himself Dictator. It was well known that he had entertained hopes of being named his successor, and this suspicion was immediately confirmed by his officers, whilst on their march at Derby, signing a petition, and sending it up with a demand that Fleetwood should be made permanently Commander-in-Chief, and Lambert his lieutenant-general. No sooner did Haselrig see this petition, than he denounced it as an attempt to overturn Parliament, and[155] moved the committal of Lambert and its author to the Tower. But Fleetwood repelled the charge by assuring them that Lambert, who was already in town when the petition was got up, knew nothing of it. The House, however, ordered all copies of the paper to be destroyed, and voted that any addition to the number of officers was needless, chargeable, and dangerous. At the same time they proceeded to conciliate the soldiers by advancing their pay, and, to discharge their arrears, on the 5th of October they raised the monthly assessment from thirty-five thousand pounds to one hundred thousand pounds.

Matters were, however, gone too far to be thus settled between Parliament and the army. Haselrig, Scott, and their associates were of that class of sanguine Republicans, who in their zeal think only of the principles they wish to establish, without calculating how far the country is prepared for them, and thus blindly rush on their own defeat. The Wallingford House military council prepared another paper called a petition, but which was a far more hostile communication, asserting that whoever cast scandalous imputations on the army should be brought to condign punishment. That was distinct enough, but Haselrig and his party had got the adhesion of three regiments, and relied on the promises of Monk in Scotland, and Ludlow in Ireland. On the 11th of October a vote was passed, declaring it high treason to levy any money on the people without consent of Parliament, and, therefore, as the existing taxes expired on the first day of the new year, Haselrig's following believed that they had thus rendered the army wholly dependent on them. Next day Haselrig moved and carried a motion that Desborough, Lambert, six colonels, and a major, should be deprived of their commissions for signing the late petition. By another vote Fleetwood was deprived of the office of Commander-in-chief, but made president of a board of seven members, for the management of the army. The blind zealots had witnessed to little purpose the history of late years, and the movements of armies. On the next day Lambert, with three thousand men, marched into Westminster, where he found the Houses of Parliament guarded by two regiments of foot, and four troops of horse. On his way he met Lenthall, the Speaker, attended by a guard. He ordered that official to dismount, and on refusing, according to Clarendon, pulled him from his horse, and sent him to his own house. The soldiers, on the two parties meeting, at once coalesced, and the Rump was again dismissed. The officers at Wallingford House took upon themselves to annul Haselrig's votes of the last three days, and establish a provisional Committee of Safety of twenty-three members. There was a party amongst them for restoring Richard Cromwell, who came up from Hampshire escorted by three troops of horse; but this party was outvoted by a small majority, and he retired.

Whilst these confused changes were taking place—eddies in the national affairs, but neither progress nor honour, Parliament having no power to restrain the army, nor the army any one man of a genius capable of controlling the rest,—there was at least one commander who was silently and reservedly watching the course of events, resolved to go with the strongest side, if such a side could be found. This was General Monk. He was originally a Royalist, and of a strongly Royalist family. His elder brother, with the rest of his relations, had always been zealously devoted to the king, and it is said that his wife was a most ardent advocate for the king's interest. These circumstances had caused Charles frequently to sound him by his emissaries; but though he received them courteously, and listened patiently to their statements, he gave no outward evidence that he was likely to comply with their entreaties. He was a man of deep and impenetrable secrecy and caution, of few words, and a gloomy, unimpassioned manner. Cromwell, during his life, was quite aware of the overtures and royal promises made to Monk, but could not discover the slightest thing in him to warrant a suspicion of his leaning in the smallest degree that way, and he therefore contented himself with jocularly remarking to him in a postscript in one of his letters, "'Tis said there is a cunning fellow in Scotland, called George Monk, who lies in wait there to serve Charles Stuart; pray use your diligence to take him, and send him up to me."

There was not much likelihood of Monk swerving from the Commonwealth while the strong man Cromwell lived, but now, amid such scenes of weakness, he no doubt began to feel that the royal party would have to be recalled. Such a presentiment, however, lay locked in his taciturn breast. The officers sent Colonel Cobbet to Monk in Scotland, who, however, expressed his firm adherence to the Commons, and when he heard of what Lambert and the officers had done, he wrote strong letters to them, complaining of the violence which they had done to the power and authority of Parliament. He imprisoned Cobbet, and purging his army of all who were fanatics or inclined[156] to Lambert and his party, he sent them under guard to the Border, and dismissed them into England, under penalty of death if they returned. He immediately placed strong garrisons in the castle of Edinburgh and in the citadel of Leith, and, collecting cavalry, marched to Berwick, where he placed a strong garrison. Letters were written to Lenthall in the name of himself and his officers, assuring the Parliamentary party that "he called God to witness that the asserting of the Commonwealth was the only interest of his heart." Whilst Haselrig, Lenthall, and the rest were gratified by these protestations, they remarked with wonder, and soon with deep suspicion, that he had cashiered all those officers whom they had introduced into his army, and restored those whom they had expelled. There was no alternative, however, but to act with him and watch him. In the meantime Monk had called a convention of the Scottish Estates at Berwick, and informing them that "he had received a call from heaven and earth to march into England for the better settling of the Government there," he recommended the peace of the kingdom to their care, and obtained from them a grant of sixty thousand pounds, from the arrears of taxes. He then took up his headquarters at Coldstream, and waited the course of events.

RICHARD CROMWELL. (After the Portrait by Walker.)

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The Committee of Safety, on hearing of the movements of Monk, despatched Lambert with an army of seven thousand men to meet him on his march, and if he could not win him to co-operation with the rest of the army, to resist his advance by force. But having seen Lambert on his way northward, the committee sent directly to Monk[157] a deputation to endeavour to bring him over to their views, by offers of many advantages. Monk received the deputation very courteously, expressed every desire to unite with the rest of the army, provided there were some ruling power to whom all parties might be subject, and sent three commissioners to treat with the Committee of Safety on the subject. This greatly encouraged the Committee of Safety, who thought their sending Lambert against Monk had frightened him, and whilst they prepared to receive Monk's commissioners, they ordered Lambert to hasten on his march.


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But affairs nearer home were every day becoming more disheartening. Haselrig and Morley had gone down to Portsmouth, where they were well received by the governor, and were looked up to as representing the authority of Parliament. Fleetwood sent down troops to oppose them, but the troops themselves went over to them. This success encouraged the apprentices and other dissatisfied persons in London to rise, and demand the restoration of Parliament; and though Colonel Hewson attacked and killed some of them, the spirit and the disturbance only grew the stronger. To finish the matter, Admiral Lawson appeared with the fleet in the Thames, and declared for the Parliament on the 17th of December, and, as soon as they heard this, Haselrig and Morley marched with their forces to London. At their approach the troops in Westminster revolted from the Committee and joined them, declaring that they would live and die with the Parliament. They received those officers who had lately been dismissed, and all marched into Lincoln's Inn Fields, and so to Chancery Lane, where they halted before Lenthall's house, fired three volleys of musketry, and hailed him not only Speaker of the Commons, but Lord-General of the army. This was on Christmas Eve, and Desborough's regiment, which Lambert had sent back to check these counter-movements, on hearing this news, at St. Albans, also declared for the Parliament, and sent the Speaker word of the adhesion. During all this reaction, Fleetwood had still sat with the Committee of Safety, but exhibiting the strangest want[158] of courage and decision. When urged to go and use his influence with the soldiers, to prevent their defection, he fell on his knees and prayed, or declared that it was useless, that "God had spit in his face, and would not hear him."

Whitelock relates that at this juncture he strongly advised Fleetwood to join him and go away to the king, convinced that Monk was deceiving the Parliament, and that the return of Charles was inevitable. He said, therefore, that it was better to get away to him and make terms for themselves and friends whilst the time allowed. Fleetwood was convinced, and ordered Whitelock to prepare for the journey; but Vane, Desborough, and Berry coming in, he quickly altered his mind, and declared that he had pledged his word to Lambert before he marched to do nothing of the kind without his consent. Whitelock repeated that if he did not do it, then all was lost; but Fleetwood, weak but honourable, replied he could not help it; his word was pledged: and in the end he submitted himself to the Parliament.

Lenthall, the Speaker, at the head of a party of soldiers who made themselves merry on their new Lord-General, went into the City, informed the Lord Mayor and Aldermen that the Parliament was assembling, and, on his own authority, ordered from the Tower the governor and officers put there by the Committee of Safety, and placed in command Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, who had brought in Admiral Lawson, assisted by several members of Parliament. On the 26th of December the Rump met again in that House from which they had been twice so ignominiously expelled. Their first proceeding was to annul their act against the payment of excise and customs, so that they might not be without money, and their next to dismiss Lambert, Desborough, Berry, and other officers, and to order them to retire farther from London; and they ordered Vane, who had adhered to the Committee of Safety, to confine himself to his house at Raby. Thus they were throwing down with their own hands the very bulwarks which should prevent their falling helplessly into the power of Monk and his army. Still more, they sent an order to Lambert's regiments to quit their commander, and retire to such quarters as they appointed. The soldiers having heard of their comrades in the south having gone over to the Parliament, did not hesitate to obey its orders, and Lambert found himself left alone with only about a hundred horse. At Northallerton his officers took their leave of him with tears, and he retired quietly to a house which he had in the country. Thus the expectation of a sharp encounter between Monk and Lambert was at an end, and the road was open to Monk to march to London without opposition.

He had received assurances from Lord Fairfax, that within twelve days he would join him or perish in the attempt, and he forthwith called together his friends, and demanded the surrender of York. On the 1st of January, 1660, the gates of York were thrown open to Fairfax and his followers, and the same day Monk commenced his march southward from Coldstream. Monk remained five days at York in consultation with Fairfax, who did not hesitate to avow his readiness to assist in the restoration of the king. Clarendon tells us that Charles had sent Sir Horatio Townsend to Fairfax, expressing confident hopes of Monk, and requesting him to co-operate with him; and that Parliament had become so apprehensive of him that before his arrival at York they wrote to him, advising him to send back part of his forces, as being needless now in England, while they might prevent danger in Scotland. Monk paid no attention, and the Parliament began to wish him back in Scotland altogether. But it does not appear that Monk in any way committed himself to Fairfax by his words, whatever his conduct might indicate. On the contrary, at York he caned an officer who charged him with a design of bringing in Charles Stuart. On his quitting York Fairfax disbanded his forces, and Monk pursued his march in the same mysterious silence. Parliament had appointed a Council of State, and framed the oath for its members to embrace a most stringent abjuration of royalty and of the Stuart family. The soldiers sympathising with Parliament, the officers on reaching Nottingham proposed signing an engagement to obey Parliament in all things except the bringing in of Charles Stuart. Monk declared this unnecessary, Parliament having expressed itself so strongly on that head; and at Leicester he wrote a reply to certain Royalist petitioners in Devonshire, stating his confidence that monarchy could not be reintroduced, that the excluded members of 1648 could not be safely reinstated, and that it was their bounden duty to obey and support the present Government.

At Leicester arrived two of the most democratic members of Parliament, Scott and Robinson, to watch his proceedings, but ostensibly to do him honour. He received them with all respect, and such was his apparent devotion to Parliament, that they were thoroughly satisfied and highly delighted. At every place he was met by addresses from[159] towns and counties, praying him to restore the excluded members, and procure a full and free Parliament. He replied on all occasions that he was but the servant of Parliament in a military capacity, and referred the applicants to the two deputies for their answers. These gentlemen, who were vehemently opposed to any such restoration of the excluded members, gave very free denials, with which Monk did not in any way interfere.

This conduct, we are assured by Clarendon, extremely confounded Charles and his partisans, who had calculated greatly on Monk's secret inclinations, but the dispersal of Lambert's forces, the retirement of Fairfax, and the vigorous adherence of Monk to Parliament, puzzled and depressed them. It might have been supposed that though Monk had so impenetrably concealed his designs from the adherents of the Commonwealth, that he had a secret understanding with Charles. Clarendon, who was fully in the king's confidence, and his great adviser, solemnly assures us that there was nothing of the kind; that all attempts to arrive at his purpose had been unavailing. By the consent of Charles, Monk's brother, a clergyman in Devonshire, had been induced by Sir Hugh Pollard and Sir John Grenville, the king's agents, to visit the general in the north, and endeavour to persuade him to declare for the king. But Monk took him up very shortly, and advised him to go home and come no more to him with such propositions. To the last moment this secret and solemn man kept the same immovable, impenetrable course. There is little doubt but that he felt, from the miserable weakness and disunion of both the officers and the Parliamentary leaders, the great all-controlling mind being gone, that the king must come again, and that he was ready to do the work at the safe moment. But that till he was positively certain the way was clear of every obstacle, no power on earth should move him. It is probable that he was indifferent to the fact whether the king or the Parliament ruled, but that he would decide for the stronger when it was unmistakably the stronger, and not till then.

To prevent alarm to the Parliament, he brought only five thousand troops with him from York, being much fewer than those which were quartered in London and Westminster; but from St. Albans on the 28th of January he wrote to the Speaker, requesting that five of the regiments there might be removed to other quarters before his arrival, lest there should arise strife between his soldiers and those so lately engaged in rebellion against the Parliament. This startled the Parliament, and dull must those members have been who did not perceive that they committed a series of gross blunders in destroying the greater part of the army, and disbanding their best officers, to clear the stage for a new master. But there was nothing for it but complying. They ordered the regiments to remove, but they refused. Why, they asked, were they to quit their quarters to make room for strangers? Was it expected that they should march away with several weeks' pay in arrear? But their officers, who should have supported them, were dismissed or under restraint, and by coaxing and the distribution of some money, they were induced to go. The greatest difficulty was found with a regiment which occupied Somerset House, and declared they would hold it as a garrison and defend it. But at length they, too, were persuaded to retire, and the next day, the 3rd of February, Monk marched through the City into the Strand and Westminster, where his soldiers were quartered, and himself conducted to Whitehall.

Soon after his arrival Monk, was led to the House of Commons, where a chair was placed for him within the bar, and Lenthall made him an address, applauding his wisdom and services to the Commonwealth, declaring his dispersal of their enemies as a glorious mercy, and returning him thanks. Monk replied, observing that there were demands for a full and free Parliament, but that while it was as well not to impose too many oaths, care must be taken to keep out both the Cavaliers and the fanatic party. Of course, the section of the fanatic party already in the House, with Scott and Haselrig at their head, heard this with resentment; and Monk's sincerity was immediately put to the test by the oath of abjuration of the Stuarts, as a member of the Council of State, being put to him. He parried this, by observing that seven of the councillors already sitting had not taken the oath, and that as for himself, he had given sufficient proofs of his devotion to Parliament. This increased the suspicion against him, and a more explicit proof of his sincerity was put upon him. The Common Council of London had refused to raise money in the City except at the order of a full and free Parliament. The House, therefore, commanded Monk to march into the City to seize ten of the leading opponents in the Council, and to break down the gates and portcullises of the City.

On the 9th of February, two hours after midnight, he received this trying order. If he refused, his commission would be immediately[160] withdrawn, and his plans cut short; therefore he obeyed, and marching into the City, began with all coolness and imperturbability to remove the posts and chains from the streets. The citizens, who expected different conduct from him, and entreated him to desist, assailed his men during their labour with groans and hisses. The posts and chains removed, Monk wrote to the Parliament that he considered that sufficient had been done to crush the spirit of the citizens, but he received a peremptory order to complete the business, which he did by destroying the gates and portcullises, though the soldiers themselves expressed their indignation. He then returned in no agreeable mood to Whitehall. There, however, news awaited him of conduct on the part of Parliament, which seemed to him to show that they now thought that they had made him their pliant instrument, and destroyed at the same time his popularity with the people. Whilst he had been doing this ungracious work in the City, they had been receiving with high approbation a petition from the so-called fanatic or extreme party, headed by the celebrated Barebone, praying that no man might sit in Parliament, or hold any office under Government, who did not take the oath to abjure Charles Stuart, or any single person. This was so plainly aimed at Monk, who had excused himself from this oath, that a council of his officers was at once called, whose resentment of this ungrateful conduct was expressed in a letter drawn up in his name, and despatched to the House the next morning, complaining bitterly of their allowing this attack upon him, and advising that they should take immediate measures for filling up all the vacancies in Parliament, as the only measure which would satisfy the people. To show that this was not a mere admonition but a command, he instantly quitted Whitehall, marched back into the City, summoned again the Common Council, which he had dispersed, and assured them that the conduct of Parliament had now convinced him that they were betraying the interests of the country, that he was sorry he had obeyed them so far as to do injury to "that famous city, which in all ages had been the bulwark of Parliament and of general liberty;" and that therefore he had determined to unite his lot with theirs, and to obtain through them a full and free Parliament.

This announcement was received not only with astonishment, but with enthusiastic expressions of joy. The Lord Mayor and Council plighted their troth with him and the officers, he was invited to dine at the Guildhall, and all the bells in the City were set ringing in exultation. The Corporation attended the general to his lodgings amid the acclamations and the bonfires of the people, at which they roasted rumps in ridicule of the Parliament, and heaped on it every infamy which wit and ribaldry could devise. This coup d'état awoke the Parliament to their blunder; they had made an enemy of the very man and army into whose hands they had put a power which could instantly crush them. There were some zealots, the Haselrigs and Scotts, who advised restoring Fleetwood to the chief command, and bringing back the exiled regiments; but Sunday, which intervened, enabled the more sober counsel to prevail, and they sent a deputation to invite the general to return to Whitehall, and promised that the writs for the excluded members should be ready by the day appointed. But these incidents had made an advance in Monk's proceedings. He had seen, as he came up the country, the universal demand for the restoration of the Long Parliament, and the unmitigated contempt for the present one. He had felt the pulse of the country also as to the return of the king, and his intercourse with the City had only confirmed the impression that the whole body of excluded members must come back as a stepping-stone to the recall of Charles. The Presbyterian interest in the City was as strong as ever, and its enmity to the Independents unabated. He therefore called together his officers to discuss with the deputation the points at issue, and the officers insisted that the excluded members must be restored. Monk then placed the City in a state of defence, and returned to Whitehall. There he summoned the excluded members who were in town, together with the members of the sitting Parliament, and read them a paper, in which he assured them that the people at large demanded a full and free Parliament, as the only means of settling these "bleeding nations." He declared that he would impose no restrictions on them himself, but that his guards should freely admit all the excluded as well as the other members, to take measures for a dissolution of the present Parliament, and the calling of a new one, full and free, on the 20th of April next. He did not believe, he said, that monarchy or prelacy would be tolerated by the people, but that a moderate Presbyterian government, with liberty of conscience, appeared most likely to be acceptable. And as to the Peers, if it were not proper to restore to them their House, yet he thought their hereditary marks of honour should be left them.


This speech confounded Royalists and Extremists alike. He recommended a Presbyterian government and the exclusion of monarchy; but he saw well enough what the effect of his measure would be; the Royalist excluded members would rush in, and the recall of the king would be the inevitable consequence. Accordingly the excluded members proceeded directly to the House with the other members. The guard under Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper opened and admitted them. At this sight Haselrig, Scott, and the Republican party thought it high time to consult their own security, and disappeared from the scene. The House at once set to work; annulled all the orders by which they had been excluded; elected a new Council of State, in which the most influential members were Royalists; appointed Monk Commander-in-Chief, and Commander of the Fleet in conjunction with Montague; granted him twenty thousand pounds in lieu of Hampton Court, which the Rump had settled on him; freed from sequestration Sir George Booth and his associates, who had risen for the king, together with a great number of Cavaliers and Scottish lords taken at the Battle of Worcester; borrowed sixty thousand pounds of the Common Council, established for the present the Presbyterian confession of faith; ordered copies of the Solemn League and Covenant to be hung up in all churches; placed the militia and all the chief commands in the hands of the principal nobility and gentry; and only stipulated that no person should be capable of office or command who did not subscribe to the confession—"that the war raised by the two Houses of Parliament against the late king was just and lawful, until such time as force and violence were used upon the Parliament in the year 1648."


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But at this point it was contended by the Royalists that the House of Lords was as much a House as themselves, and that they could not legally summon a new Parliament without them; but Monk would listen to nothing of this kind. He declared that as much had been conceded as the country would bear; and the Parliament was compelled to dissolve itself at the time fixed.


There could certainly be no longer any uncertainty as to whither things were tending. The Royalists were again in full power all over the kingdom, the very insurgents in the cause of Charles were liberated, freed from all penalties, and in many cases advanced to places of trust; yet Monk still dissembled. Ludlow, a staunch Republican, on the re-admission of the excluded members, went to Monk to sound him as to his intentions, and urged the necessity of supporting the Commonwealth, which had cost them so much. Monk replied with solemn hypocrisy, "Yea, we must live and die together for a Commonwealth." Yet Monk had now made up his mind: he saw that all was prepared, all perfectly safe, and during the recess he was busy arranging with the king's agents for his return. Immediately on Monk's joyful reception by the City, a Mr. Baillie, who had gone through Cheapside amongst the bonfires, and heard the king's health drunk in various places, and people talking of sending for the king, had posted off to Brussels, where Charles was. On this Sir John Grenville and a Mr. Morrice, a Devonshire Royalist, were instantly sent over to Monk, with propositions for the king's return. Clarendon assures us that so early as the beginning of April these gentlemen were in London, and in consultation with Monk, who told them that if the king would write a letter to Parliament containing the same statements, he would find a fit time to deliver it, or some other means to serve his Majesty; but that Charles must quit Flanders to give his partisans confidence that he was out of the power of the Spaniards, and would be free to act on their call; that he must go to Breda, and date his papers thence.

All this was done, and so little secrecy was observed by the Royalists on the Continent, that it was immediately known at all the courts that the king was about to be recalled, and Spaniards, Dutch, French princes and ministers, who had treated Charles with the utmost neglect and contempt, now overwhelmed him with compliments, invitations, flatteries, and offers. The Dutch Court, where was his sister, the mother of the young Stadtholder, had been as discourteous as the rest, but they now united in receiving him and doing him honour. Breda already swarmed with English Royalists, who flocked from every quarter to pay their respects.

This was observed in England with a complacency which sufficiently indicated that men's minds were made up to the restoration of the monarchy. The ultra-Republican party alone, whose zeal never condescended to measure the chances against them, endeavoured to raise the soldiers to oppose the menaced catastrophe. The army had on former occasions maintained the Commonwealth. The emissaries of the Republicans, therefore, spread themselves everywhere amongst the soldiers, warning them of the certainty of all their sacrifices, their labours, and their victories being in vain if they did not once more save the State. The old fire revived; the soldiers contemplated the loss of their arrears if the Royalists came into power, the officers the loss of their lands and their commands. They began to express vehement discontent, and the officers flocked into the capital and called on Monk to take measures for the maintenance of the Commonwealth. He professed to be bound to that object, though he had at the time in his pocket a commission from Charles constituting him Lord-General of all the military in the three kingdoms. He ordered the officers to return to their posts, and put an oath of obedience to the Parliament to the privates—all who refused it being discharged.

Disappointed in this quarter, the Republicans managed to effect the escape of Lambert, who had been committed to the Tower, and who now appeared in Warwickshire, where he induced six troops of horse and some infantry to accept his command. On the approach of General Ingoldsby, however, who was sent against him, his troops deserted him, he was captured, and conducted back to the Tower with every indignity.

On the 25th of April the new Parliament assembled; the Royalists showed a decided majority, and though the Presbyterian party managed to carry the election of Sir Harbottle Grimstone as Speaker, the Royalist tendency was overwhelming as to the main objects. Ten of the Peers assembled in their House, and elected the Earl of Manchester Speaker, and on beholding this the rest of the Peers hurried up to town, and soon there appeared a full House, excepting such Peers as had served in the king's Parliament at Oxford, or whose patents dated subsequently to the commencement of the civil war.

But all the interest was concentrated on the proceedings of the House of Commons. On the 1st of May Sir John Grenville presented himself at the door of the House, and requested to speak with the Lord-General. Monk went to him, and received, as a matter of which he knew nothing, a letter addressed to the Speaker. Looking at the seal, and affecting to discover that it bore the[163] royal arms, he ordered the guards to take care that the bearer did not escape. Grenville was speedily called in, and asked how he became possessed of this letter, and on replying that he brought it from the king, he was ordered into custody as a traitor. But here Monk interfered, saying that this was unnecessary; he perceived that he was a kinsman of his, and would be security for him. The letters were now opened, and proved to be really from the king, one addressed to the Commons, another to the Lords, a third to the Lord Mayor and Corporation, and the fourth to Monk and Montague, lord-admirals. In the letter to the Commons Charles informed them that, in the present unhappy circumstances of the nation, he recommended them to consider whether the only way to restore peace and prosperity was not to return to the ancient and time-honoured constitution of king, Lords, and Commons, under whom the kingdom had flourished so many ages. He professed that no man had a more profound veneration for Parliament and its rights than himself, and that to convince them of it, he had endorsed a declaration of his views, in which he had left everything to their settlement.

This paper was the celebrated Declaration of Breda, to which the people afterwards so often called Charles's attention, and which he took the earliest opportunity to forget, and falsify by a return to all the Stuart despotisms, oppressions, and persecutions. In this paper he granted a free pardon to all who should accept it within forty days; the confirmation of all estates and titles, and in religion "liberty to tender consciences, and that no man should be disturbed or called in question in any way regarding religion." But these promises "on the word of a king" were rendered perfectly nugatory, by excepting such persons and such measures as Parliament should in its wisdom see fit to determine otherwise. This specious declaration, which had been drawn up by Hyde, Ormond, and Nicholas, in fact secured nothing, for once in power, a servile Parliament might undo everything, as it eventually did. Prynne, who was in the House, pointed all this out, and warned them that Charles had been too long under the counsels of his mother, and too long in France and in Flanders—"the most Jesuited place in the world"—to be in religion anything better than a Papist; that at best he would be found only a Prelatist, and that his word had already been proved, on various occasions, of no more value than his father's. The Royalists, he said, would never cease instilling into him that the Presbyterian religion, now the religion of the nation, had destroyed his great-grandmother, tormented his grandfather, and put to death his father; and that as certain as there was a restoration, there would be a destruction of all the liberties of England, civil and religious. The pious Sir Matthew Hale urged on them the necessity of some better guarantee than this declaration of constitutional rights before they readmitted the king.

But all warning was lost on the House: the crisis was come, Parliament and nation seemed smitten with a sudden oblivion of their past miseries and oppressions under the Stuarts, and every branch of the community seemed impatient to be the first to put its neck once more under their yoke, and under the foot of the most debauched, unprincipled, and scandalous member which the family had ever seen. Instead of sending Grenville to the Tower, the Commons voted him thanks and a present of five hundred pounds. The Speaker, in communicating these votes to Grenville, launched into the most extravagant terms of joy on the prospect "of having their king again." The Commons drew up a most glowing letter to his Majesty, in which they declared their thankfulness to God for putting the thoughts of returning into the king's mind, "to make him glorious in the eyes of his people;" protesting that "the persons of their kings had always been dear unto Parliaments," and that they "could not bear to think of that horrid act committed against the precious life of their late king," and so forth. They not only delivered this letter to Sir John Grenville, but appointed twelve of their members to wait on his Majesty at the Hague. The London Corporation were as enthusiastic and as profuse of their proffered devotion; they presented Grenville with three hundred pounds, also appointed some of their members to wait on the king, made haste to erect the royal statue in Guildhall, and to pull down the arms of the Commonwealth.



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Montague had long been prepared to go over to the king on the first opportunity; and lest he might seem to be sent by the Parliament, and not by his own voluntary act, he set sail for the coast of Holland, leaving Lawson to bring over the deputations going to his Majesty. He lay to at Scheveling, and sent word to the king that his fleet was at his command. The Duke of York, whom Charles had made admiral, went on board, and was received with all respect and submission. Soon after came up the other ships with six[165] members of the Peers, twelve of the Commons, fourteen from the City of London, and eight or ten of the most popular ministers in London of the Presbyterian party, including Reynolds, Calamy, Case, and Marten. These gentlemen entered zealously on the hopeless task of endeavouring to persuade Charles to leave their form of worship in the ascendant, and to abstain from the use of the Common Prayer Book and the surplices; but they got no further satisfaction than that he would leave all that to the wisdom of Parliament. On the 24th of May he embarked at Scheveling, in the Naseby, which the day before had been rechristened the Royal Charles, the rest of the ships at the same time having doffed their republican appellations of unpleasant memory, and assumed right royal ones. On the 26th he landed at Dover, where, amid the thunder of cannon, he was received by Monk at the head of a splendid assemblage of the nobility and gentry. From Dover to Canterbury, and thence to London, the journey was one triumphant procession. The crowds of gentry and of shouting people presented only the aspect of a most loyal nation, amongst whom it was hard to imagine that such a thing as a Commonwealth had ever existed. On Blackheath Charles was received by the army with acclamations. The Lord Mayor and Corporation invited him to a splendid collation in a tent prepared for the purpose. All the way to Whitehall, attended by the chief nobility and by his Life Guards, and several regiments of cavalry, the houses being hung with tapestry, and the windows crowded with applauding men and women, the king riding between his two brothers, beheld nothing but an enthusiastic people. When he dismissed the last of his congratulators from the hall where his father perished, he turned to one of his confidants and said, "It surely must have been my own fault that I did not come before, for I have met no one to-day who did not protest that he always wished for my restoration."



Manufactures and Commerce—Trade under the Stuarts—English Commerce and Dutch Competition—The East India Company—Vicissitudes of its Early History—Rival Companies—The American Colonies and West Indies—Growth of London—National Revenue—Extravagance of the Stuarts—Invention of the Title of Baronet—Illegal Monopolies—Cost of Government—Money and Coinage—Agriculture and Gardening—Dramatists of the Period—Shakespeare and his Contemporaries—Poets of the Occult School—Herbert, Herrick, Quarles—A Wealth of Poetry—Prose-Writers—Bacon's "Novum Organum"—Milton's Prose Works—Hales, Chillingworth, Jeremy Taylor, Fuller, and other Theological Writers—Harrington's "Oceana"—Sir Thomas Browne—Historians and Chroniclers—First Newspapers—Harvey's Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood—Napier's Invention of Logarithms—Music—Painting, Engraving, and Sculpture—Architecture—Manners and Customs—Sports and Pastimes—Furniture and Domestic Embellishment—Costumes—Arms and Armour—Condition of the People.

In the reigns of James and Charles England neither maintained the reputation of her navy acquired under Henry VIII. and Elizabeth, nor made great progress in foreign commerce. The character of James was too timid for maritime or any other war, and when he was forced into action it was only to show his weakness. He put to death the greatest naval captain of his time, Raleigh, who, if well employed by him, might have made him as much respected at sea as was Elizabeth. Nevertheless, he built ten ships of war, and for some years spent thirty-six thousand pounds annually on the navy. The largest ship which had yet been built in England was built by him, but it was only of fourteen hundred tons. As for commerce, he was too much engaged in theological disputations, in persecution of Papists, in wrangling with his Parliaments, and in following his hawks and hounds, to think of it, and consequently grievous complaints of the decay of trade were heard every session. The Dutch were fast engrossing both the commerce and the carrying trade of England. During James's reign they traded to England with six hundred ships, and the English traded to Holland with sixty.

The naval affairs of Charles were quite as inglorious as those of his father. As James beheaded the best admiral of England, so Charles chose for[166] his the very worst in Europe, and the disgrace of Buckingham's expedition to the Isle of Rhé was the consequence. Charles's contests with his Parliaments, which terminated only with his life, destroyed all chance of his promotion of naval ascendency, and of the cultivation of commerce. All this was wonderfully changed by the vigorous spirits of the Commonwealth. The victories of Blake, by which the naval greatness of Holland and Spain was almost annihilated, raised the reputation of the British arms at sea as well as on land to the first place in the civilised world. St. John was no sooner despatched by Parliament to the Hague as ambassador, than, perceiving the immense advantage which Holland obtained from being the great carriers of Europe, he drew and got passed the celebrated Navigation Act, which—providing that no produce of Africa, Asia, or America, nor of any English colony should be imported into England except in English ships, and that the manufactures or merchandise of no country in Europe should be imported except in English ships, or the ships of the nation where they were produced—at once transferred an enormous maritime business to England.

Sir Walter Raleigh, in a treatise on the comparative commerce of England and Holland, endeavoured to draw the attention of James I. to the vast benefits that the Dutch were obtaining from our neglect. He showed that whenever there was a time of scarcity in England, instead of sending out our ships and supplying ourselves, we allowed the Dutch to pour in goods, and reap the advantage of the high prices; and he declared that in a year and a half they had taken from Bristol, Southampton, and Exeter alone, two hundred thousand pounds, which our merchants might as well have had. He reminded the king that the most productive fisheries in the world were on the British coasts, yet that the Dutch and people of the Hanse Towns came and supplied all Europe with their fish to the amount of two million pounds annually, whilst the English could scarcely be said to have any trade at all in it. The Dutch, he said, sent yearly a thousand ships laden with wine and salt, obtained in France and Spain, to the north of Europe, whilst we, with superior advantages, sent none. He pointed out equally striking facts of their enterprise in the timber trade, having no timber themselves; that our trade with Russia, which used to employ a large number of ships, had fallen off to almost nothing, whilst that of the Dutch had marvellously increased. What, he observed, was still more lamentable, we allowed them to draw the chief profit and credit even from our own manufactures, for we sent our woollen goods, to the amount of eighty thousand pieces, abroad undyed, and the Dutch and others dyed them and reshipped them to Spain, Portugal, and other countries as Flemish baizes, besides netting a profit of four hundred thousand pounds annually at our expense. Had James attended to the wise suggestions of Raleigh, instead of destroying him, and listening to such minions as Rochester and Buckingham, our commerce would have shown a very different aspect.

It is true that some years afterwards James tried to secure the profit pointed out by Raleigh from dyed cloths; but instead of first encouraging the dyeing of such cloths here, so as to enable the merchants to carry them to the markets in the South on equal or superior terms to the Dutch, he suddenly passed an Act prohibiting the export of any undyed cloths. This the Dutch met by an Act prohibiting the import of any dyed cloths into Holland; and the English not producing an equal dye to the Dutch, thus lost both markets, to the great confusion of trade; and this mischief was only gradually overcome by our merchants beginning to dye their yarn, so as to have no undyed cloth to export, and by improving their dyes.

During the reign of James commercial enterprise showed itself in the exertions of various chartered companies trading to distant parts of the world. The East India Company was established in the reign of Elizabeth, the first charter being granted by her in 1600. James was wise enough to renew it, and it went on with various success, ultimately so little in his time that at his death it was still a doubtful speculation; but under such a monarch it could not hope for real encouragement. In its very commencement he granted a charter to a rival company to trade to China, Japan, and other countries in the Indian seas, in direct violation of the East India Company's charter, which so disgusted that Company, as nearly to have caused them to relinquish their aim. In 1614 they obtained a charter from the Great Mogul to establish a factory at Surat, and the same year they obtained a similar charter from the Emperor of Japan. In 1615 Sir Thomas Roe went as ambassador from England to the Great Mogul, and resided at his court for four years. By this time the Company had extensively spread its settlements. It had factories at Acheen, Zambee, and Tekoa, in Sumatra; at Surat, Ahmedabad, Agra, Ajmere, and Burampore in the Mogul's[167] territories; at Firando, in Japan; at Bantam, Batavia, and Japara, in Java; and others in Borneo, the Banda Isles, Malacca, Siam, and Celebes; and at Masulipatam and Petapoli, on the Coromandel coast; and at Calicut, the original settlement of the Portuguese on the coast of Malabar. Their affairs were, in fact, extremely flourishing, and their stock sold at 203 per cent.; but this prosperity awoke the jealousy of the Dutch, who carried on a most profitable trade with Java and the Spice Islands, and, in spite of a treaty concluded between the two nations in 1619, the Dutch Governor-General attacked and took from the Company the island of Pulo Rangoon. This was only the beginning of their envious malice, for in 1623 they committed the notorious massacre of the English Company at Amboyna, and drove the English out of all the Spice Islands. Had this occurred in Cromwell's days, they would soon have paid a severe retribution; but James was just then anxious to secure the aid of the Dutch in restoring his son-in-law, the Elector Palatine, and these atrocities were quietly smoothed over, and left unavenged. The consequence was, that the affairs of the Company fell into a most depressed condition, and though in 1616, when their stock was worth 200 per cent., they had raised a new stock of one million six hundred and twenty-nine thousand and forty pounds, which was taken by nine hundred and fifty-four individuals, principally of the higher aristocracy, at the close of James's reign the stock had fallen to half its value.

Charles was not a more far-sighted or a juster patron of the India Company than his father. In 1631 they managed to raise a new stock of four hundred and twenty thousand pounds, but whilst they were struggling with the hostilities of their rivals, the Dutch and Portuguese, the king perpetrated precisely the same injury on them that his father had done, by granting a charter to another company, which embroiled them with the Mogul and the Chinese, causing the English to be entirely expelled from China, and injuring the India Company to a vast extent. The Civil War in England then prevented the attention of the Government from being directed to the affairs of this great Company. At the end of Charles's reign the Company's affairs were at the worst, and its trade appeared extinct. In 1649, however, Parliament encouraged the raising of new stock, which was done with extreme difficulty, and only amounted to one hundred and ninety-two thousand pounds. But in 1654, Parliament having humbled the Dutch, compelled them to pay a balance of damages of eighty-five thousand pounds and three thousand six hundred pounds to the heirs of the murdered men at Amboyna. It required years, however, to revive the prosperity of the Company, and it was only in 1657 that, obtaining a new charter from the Protector, and raising a new stock of three hundred and seventy thousand pounds, it sprang again into vigour and traded successfully till the Restoration.

During this period, too, the Incorporated Companies—Turkey Merchants, or the Levant Company; the Company of Merchant Adventurers, trading to Holland and Germany; the Muscovy Company, trading to Russia and the North, where they prosecuted also the whale fishery—were in active operation, besides a great general trade with Spain, Portugal, and other countries. The Turkey Merchants carried to the Mediterranean English cloths, lead, tin, spices, indigo, calicoes, and other Indian produce brought home by the East India Company; and they imported thence the raw silks of Persia and Syria, galls from Aleppo, cotton and cotton yarn from Cyprus and Smyrna; drugs, oils, and camlets, grograms, and mohairs of Angora. In 1652 we find coffee first introduced from Turkey, and a coffee-house set up in Cornhill. On the breaking out of the Civil War, the Muscovy Company were deprived of their charter by the Czar, because they took part with the Parliament against their king, and the Dutch adroitly came in for the trade.

These great monopolies of foreign trade were supposed to be necessary to stimulate and protect commerce; but the system of domestic monopolies which were most destructive to enterprise at home, and which had arrived at such a height under Elizabeth, was continued by both James and Charles to the last, notwithstanding the constant outcries against them, and their being compelled, ever and anon, by public spirit to make temporary concessions.

The commerce of England was now beginning to receive a sensible increase by the colonies which she had established in America and the West Indies. One of the earliest measures of James was the founding of two chartered companies to settle on the coasts of North America. One, called the London Adventurers, or South Virginia Company, was empowered to plant the coast from the 34th to the 41st degree of north latitude, which now includes Maryland, Virginia, and North and South Carolina. The other, the company of Plymouth Adventurers, was authorised to plant[168] all from the 41st degree to the 45th, which now includes the States of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and New England. In 1612 a settlement was made in Bermuda. The State of New England was founded by the planting of New Plymouth in 1620, and about the same time the French were driven out of Nova Scotia, and the island of Barbadoes was taken possession of; and within a few years various other West India islands were secured and planted. James granted all the Caribbee Isles to James Hay, Earl of Carlisle, and the grant was confirmed by Charles, who also granted to Robert Heath and his heirs the Bahama Isles and the vast territory of Carolina, including the present North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and the south of Louisiana. In 1632 Charles granted the present Maryland to Lord Baltimore, a Catholic (the charter being also renewed in favour of Cecil, the second Lord Baltimore), which became the refuge of the persecuted Catholics in England, as the New England States did of the Puritans.

These immense territories were gradually peopled by the victims of crime. According as the storm of religious persecution raged against the Catholics, the Puritans, or the Episcopalians and Royalists, they got away to New England, Maryland, or Virginia. By degrees the Indians were driven back, and cotton, tobacco, and (in the West Indies) the sugar cane became objects of cultivation. James abominated tobacco, and published his "Counterblast" against it, laying various restrictions upon its growth; but as the high duties imposed upon it proved very profitable to the revenue, gradually these restrictions were relaxed, and cultivation of it at home was prohibited in favour of the Colonies. The Dutch had managed, under James and Charles, to engross the carrying trade to the English American and West Indian colonies, having a strong position at New Amsterdam, afterwards known as New York; but of this Parliament deprived them in 1646, and extended, as we have seen, the famous Navigation Act of 1651 to all the foreign trade of England. In 1655 Cromwell's conquest of Jamaica completed English power in the West Indies.

The growth of English commerce was soon conspicuous by one great result, the growth of London. It was in vain that both James and Charles issued repeated proclamations to prohibit fresh building of houses, and to order the nobility and gentry to live more on their estates in the country, and not in London, in habits of such extravagance, and drawing together so much loose company after them. From the union of the crowns of Scotland and England, this rapid increase of the metropolis, so alarming to those kings, was more than ever visible. When James came to the throne in 1603, London and Westminster were a mile apart, but the Strand was quickly populated by the crowds of Scots who followed the Court; and though St. Giles's-in-the-Fields was then a distinct town, standing in the open country, with a very deep and dirty lane, called Drury Lane, running from it to the Strand, before the Civil War it had become united to London and Westminster by new erections in Clare Market, Long Acre, Bedfordbury, and the adjoining neighbourhood. Anderson in his "History of Commerce," gives us some curious insight into this part of London at that period. "The very names of the older streets about Covent Garden," he observes, "are taken from the Royal family at this time, or in the reign of Charles II., as Catherine Street, Duke Street, York Street. Of James and Charles I.'s time, James Street, Charles Street, Henrietta Street, etc., all laid out by the great architect, Inigo Jones, as was also the fine piazza there, although that part where stood the house and gardens of the Duke of Bedford is of much later date, namely, in the reigns of King William and Queen Anne. Bloomsbury, and the streets at the Seven Dials, were built up somewhat later, as also Leicester Fields, since the restoration of Charles II., as also almost all of St. James's and St. Anne's parishes, and a great part of St. Martin's and St. Giles's. I have met with several old persons in my younger days who remembered that there was but a single house, a cake-house, between the Mews-gate at Charing Cross and St. James's Palace Gate, where now stand the stately piles of St. James's Square, Pall Mall, and other fine streets. They also remembered the west side of St. Martin's Lane to have been a quickset hedge; yet High Holborn and Drury Lane were filled with noblemen's and gentlemen's houses and gardens almost a hundred and fifty years ago. Those five streets of the south side of the Strand, running down to the river Thames, have all been built since the beginning of the seventeenth century, upon the sites of noblemen's houses and gardens, who removed farther westward, as their names denote. Even some parts within the bars of the City of London remained unbuilt within about a hundred and fifty years past, particularly all the ground between Shoe Lane and Fewters, now Fetter, Lane, so called, says Howell in his[169] 'Londonopolis,' from Fewters, an old appellation of idle people, loitering there, as in a way leading to gardens; which, in Charles I.'s reign, and even some of them since, have been built up into streets, lanes, etc. Several other parts of the City have been rendered more populous by the removal of the nobility to Westminster, on the sites of whose former spacious houses and gardens, whole streets, lanes, and courts have been added to the City since the death of Queen Elizabeth."


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The extension of the metropolis necessitated the introduction of hackney coaches, which first began to ply, but only twelve in number, in 1625. In 1634 sedan-chairs were introduced to relieve the streets of the rapidly increased number of hackney-coaches, and other carriages; and in 1635 a post-office for the kingdom was established, a foreign post having been for some years in existence. In 1653 the post was farmed for ten thousand pounds a year.

The annual revenue of James I. has been calculated at about six hundred thousand pounds, yet he was always poor, and died leaving debts to the amount of three hundred thousand pounds. He was prodigal to his favourites, and wasteful in his habits. He left the estates of the Crown, however, better than he found them, having raised their annual income from thirty-two thousand pounds to eighty thousand pounds, besides having sold lands to the amount of seven hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds. He still prosecuted the exactions of purveyance, wardship, etc., to the great annoyance of his subjects. On the occasion of his son being made a knight, he raised a tax on every knight's fee of twenty shillings, and on every twenty pounds of annual rent from lands held directly of the Crown, thus raising twenty-one thousand eight hundred pounds. On the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth to the[170] Elector Palatine, he levied an aid of twenty thousand five hundred pounds, the last of these odious impositions which were demanded. The Customs on his coming to the throne brought in one hundred and twenty-seven thousand pounds a year; but towards the end of his reign, showing the great increase of commerce, they amounted to one hundred and ninety thousand pounds a year. But this was the tonnage and poundage which was so hateful to the nation, and which James had greatly augmented by his own act and deed; an encroachment which caused Parliament to refuse to his son Charles the usual grant of those duties for life; and his persistence in levying them, in spite of Parliament, was one of the chief causes of his quarrel with that body, and the loss of his crown.

James was also a great trader in titles of nobility. His price for a barony was ten thousand pounds, for the title of viscount, twenty thousand pounds, and for that of earl, thirty thousand pounds. He also invented the new title of baronet, and raised two hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds by it, at the rate of one thousand and ninety-five pounds each baronetcy. From so dignified a source do many of our aristocracy derive their honours.

Charles, though he was driven to such fatal extremities to extort money from his subjects, is calculated to have realised the enormous revenue from 1637 to 1641 inclusive, of eight hundred and ninety-five thousand pounds, of which two hundred and ten thousand pounds arose from Ship-money and other illegal sources. Both he and his father dealt in wholesale monopolies to their courtiers and others, the profits of which were so embezzled by those greedy and unprincipled men, that Clarendon says that of two hundred thousand pounds of such income in Charles's time, only one thousand five hundred pounds reached the royal treasury. Charles raised two hundred thousand pounds in 1626 by a forced loan, and another hundred thousand by exacting the fees or compensation for exemption from the assumption of knighthood by every person worth forty pounds a year.

The income and expenditure of the Commonwealth are stated to have far exceeded those of any monarch who ever sat before on the throne of England, and to have been not less than four million four hundred thousand pounds per annum. The post office, as already stated, brought in ten thousand pounds per annum. A singular tax, called the Weekly Meal, or the price of a meal a week from each person, produced upwards of one hundred thousand pounds a year, or six hundred and eight thousand four hundred pounds in the six years during which it was levied. There was a weekly assessment for the support of the war, which rose from thirty-eight thousand pounds to one hundred and twenty thousand pounds per week, which was continued as a land tax under the Protectorate, producing from 1640 to 1659 no less than thirty-two million one hundred and seventy-two thousand three hundred and twenty-one pounds. The Excise also owes its origin to this period, and produced, it is said, five hundred thousand pounds a year. Large sums were realised by the sales of Crown and Church lands,—from the sale of Crown lands, parks, etc., one million eight hundred and fifty-eight thousand pounds; from the sale of Church lands, ten million pounds; from sequestration of the revenue of the clergy for four years, three million five hundred thousand pounds; eight hundred and fifty thousand pounds from incomes of offices sequestered for the public service; four million five hundred thousand pounds from the sequestration of private estates or compositions for them; one million pounds from compositions with delinquents in Ireland; three million five hundred thousand pounds from the sale of forfeited estates in England and Ireland, etc. The ministers and commanders are asserted to have taken good care of themselves. Cromwell's own income is stated at nearly two million pounds, or one million nine hundred thousand pounds; namely, one million five hundred thousand pounds from England, forty-three thousand pounds from Scotland, and two hundred and eight thousand pounds from Ireland. The members of Parliament were paid at the rate of four pounds a week each, or about three hundred thousand pounds a year altogether; and Walker, in his "History of Independency," says that Lenthall, the Speaker, held offices to the amount of nearly eight thousand pounds a year; that Bradshaw had Eltham Palace, and an estate of one thousand pounds a year, as bestowed for presiding at the king's trial; and that nearly eight hundred thousand pounds were spent on gifts to adherents of the party. As these statements, however, are those of their adversaries, they no doubt admit of ample abatement; but after all deduction, the demands of king and Parliament on the country during the contest, and of the Protectorate in keeping down its enemies, must have been enormous. Notwithstanding this, the rate of interest on money continued through this[171] period to decline. During James's reign it was ten per cent.; in 1625, the last year of his reign, it was reduced to eight per cent., and in 1651 it was fixed by the Parliament at six per cent., at which rate it remained.

James issued various coinages. Soon after his accession he issued a coinage of gold and one of silver. The gold was of two qualities. The first of twenty-three carats three and a half grains, consisting of angels, half-angels, and quarter-angels; value ten shillings, five shillings, and two-and-sixpence. The inferior quality, of only twenty-two carats, consisted of sovereigns, half-sovereigns, crowns, and half-crowns. His silver coinage (see Vol. II., p. 436) consisted of crowns, half-crowns, shillings, sixpences, twopences, pence, and halfpence. The gold coins, being of more value than that amount of gold on the Continent, were rapidly exported, and the value of the finest gold was then raised from thirty-three pounds ten shillings to thirty-seven pounds four shillings and sixpence. The next coinage at this value consisted of a twenty-shilling piece called the unit, ten shillings called the double crown, five shillings or the Britain crown, four shillings or the thistle crown, and two-and-sixpence, or half-crown. (See Vol. II., p. 432.) This value of the gold was not found high enough, and the next year, in a fresh coinage, it was valued at forty pounds ten shillings, and consisted of rose rials of thirty shillings each, spur rials fifteen shillings, and angels at ten shillings each. But gold still rising in value, in 1611 the unit was raised to twenty-two shillings, and the other coins in proportion. In 1612 there was a great rise in gold, and James issued fresh twenty-shilling, ten-shilling, and five-shilling pieces, known as laurels, from the king's head being wreathed with laurel. The unit and twenty-shilling pieces were termed hood pieces. Besides the royal coinage, shopkeepers and other retailers put out tokens of brass and lead, which in 1613 were prohibited, and the first copper coinage in England, being of farthings, was issued.

The coins of Charles were, for the most part, of the same nature as those of his father. During his reign silver rose so much in value that it was melted down and exported to a vast extent. Though between 1630 and 1643 some ten million pounds of silver were coined, it became so scarce that the people had to give a premium for change in silver. In 1637 Charles established a mint at Aberystwith, for coining the Welsh silver, which was of great value to him during the war. From 1628 to 1640 Nicholas Briot, a Frenchman, superintended the cutting of the dies, instituted machinery for the hammer in coining and his coins were of remarkable beauty. (See Vol. II., p. 540.) Charles erected mints at most of his headquarters during the war, as Oxford, Shrewsbury, York, and other places, the coiners and dies of Aberystwith being used, and these coins are distinguished by the Prince of Wales's feathers. Many of these coins are of the rudest character; and besides these there were issued siege pieces, so called from the besieged castles where they were made, as Newark, Scarborough, Carlisle, and Pontefract. Some of these are mere bits of silver plate with the rude stamp of the castle on one side and the name of the town on the other. Others are octagonal, others lozenge-shaped, others of scarcely any regular shape. (See p. 29.)

The Commonwealth at first coined the same coins as the king, only distinguishing them by a P for Parliament. They afterwards adopted dies of their own, having on one side a St. George's cross on an antique shield encircled with a palm and laurel, and on the other two antique shields, one bearing the cross and the other the harp, surrounded by the words God with us. Their small silver coins had the arms only without any legend.

The coins of the Protectorate have on the obverse a bust of Cromwell, round which is this inscription: "Oliver D.G. R.P. Ang. Sco. Hib. &c. Pro." On the reverse they bear a shield, having in the first and fourth quarters St. George's cross, in the second St. Andrew's, in the third a harp, and in the centre a lion rampant on an escutcheon—Cromwell's own arms—surmounted by an imperial crown. The legend on this side is "Pax quæritur bello" (Peace is sought by war). The larger silver pieces have this motto round the edge: "Has nisi periturus mihi adimat nemo" (i.e. "Let no one take from me these letters unless about to die"). In those days the penalty for clipping and filing money was death. (See p. 121.)

The coins of the Commonwealth were the same for Ireland and Scotland as for England. This was not the case in the reigns of James and Charles, and the coins, though bearing the same arms, had generally a very different value. For Ireland James coined silver and copper money of about three-quarters the value of English, and called in the base coinage used by Elizabeth in the time of the rebellion. Charles only coined some silver in 1641, during the government of Lord Ormond, and therefore called Ormonds. Copper halfpence and farthings of that period are supposed to have been coined by the rebel Papists of 1642.


In agriculture and gardening the English were excelled by their neighbours the Dutch and Flemings. Towards the latter part of this period, however, they began to imitate those nations, and to introduce their modes of drainage, their roots and seeds. In 1652 the advantage of growing clover was pointed out by Bligh, in his "Improver Improved," and Sir Richard Weston recommended soon afterwards the Flemish mode of cultivating the turnip for winter fodder for cattle and sheep. Gardening was more attended to, and both vegetables and flowers were introduced. Samuel Hartlib, a Pole, who was patronised by Cromwell, wrote various treatises on agriculture, and relates that in his time old men recollected the first gardener who went into Surrey to plant cabbages, cauliflowers, and artichokes, and to sow early peas, turnips, carrots, and parsnips. Till then almost all the supply of these things in London was imported from Holland and Flanders. About that time (1650), however, cherries, apples, pears, hops, cabbages, and liquorice were rapidly cultivated, and soon superseded the necessity of importation; but onions were still scarce, and the supply of stocks of apple, pear, cherry, vine, and chestnut trees was difficult for want of sufficient nurseries for them. There was a zealous endeavour to promote the production of raw silk, and mulberry trees and silkworms were introduced, but the abundant supply of silk from India, and the perfection of the silk manufactured in France, rendered this scheme abortive.


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Whilst James was hunting and levying taxes without a Parliament, and Charles was in continual strife with his people for unconstitutional power and revenue, literature and art were still at work, and producing or preparing some of the noblest and choicest creations of genius. Shakespeare and Milton were the great lights of the age; but around and beside them burned a whole[173] galaxy of lesser, but not less exquisite, luminaries, whose selected beauties are just as delightful now as they were to their contemporaries. The names of this period, to which we still turn with admiration, reverence, and affection, are chiefly Shakespeare, Milton, Bacon, Marlowe, Massinger, Webster, Selden, Herrick, Herbert, Quarles, Bunyan, Bishop Hall, Hales, Chillingworth, Jeremy Taylor, Raleigh, Sir Thomas Browne, Burton (of the "Anatomy of Melancholy"), and Drummond of Hawthornden. But there are numbers of others, more unequal or more scholastic, to whose works we can occasionally turn, and find passages of wonderful beauty and power.


(From a Contemporary Print.)

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As we come first to Shakespeare, who figured largely on the scene in the days of Queen Bess, and whose poetry we have already reviewed (Vol. II., pp. 373-5), we may take the drama of this period also in connection with him. A formal criticism on Shakespeare would be superfluous. There are whole volumes of comment on this greatest of our great writers, both in this language and others. The Germans, indeed, pride themselves on understanding him better than ourselves. The Scandinavians equally venerate him, and have an admirable translation of his dramas. Even the French, the tone and spirit of whose literature are so different from ours, have, of late years, begun to comprehend and receive him. The fact is, Shakespeare's genius is what the Germans term spherical, or many-sided. He had not a brilliancy in one direction only, but he seemed like a grand mirror, in which is truly reflected every image that falls on it. Outward nature, inner life and passion, town and country, all the features of human nature, as exhibited in every grade of life—from the cottage to the throne—are in him expressed with a truth and a natural strength, that awake in us precisely the same sensations as nature itself. The receptivity of his mind was as quick, as vast, as perfect, as his power of expression was unlimited. Every object once seen appeared photographed on his spirit, and he reproduced these lifelike images in new combinations, and mingled with such an exuberance of wit, of humour, of delicious melodies, and of exquisite poetry, as has no parallel in the whole range of literature.

It has been said that his dramas cast into the shade and made obsolete all that went before him; but, indeed, his great light equally overwhelms also all that has come after him. Where[174] is the second Shakespeare of the stage? He still stands alone as the type of dramatic greatness and perfection, and is likely to continue so. When we recollect his marvellous characters—his Hamlet, his Macbeth, his Lady Macbeth, his Othello, his Shylock, his Lear, his Ophelia, his Beatrice, his Juliet, his Rosalind—the humours and follies of Shallow, Slender, Dogberry, Touchstone, Bottom, Launce, Falstaff—or his ideal creations, Ariel, Caliban, Puck, Queen Mab—we cannot hope for the appearance of any single genius who shall at once enrich our literature with such living and speaking characters, such a profound insight into the depths and eccentricities of human nature, and such a fervent and varied expression of all the sentiments that are dearest to our hearts. But when we survey in addition the vast extent of history and country over which he has roamed, gleaning thence the most kingly personages, the most tragic incidents, the most moving and thrilling as well as the most amusing sensations and fancies, our wonder is the greater. Greece has lent him its Pericles, its Timon, its Troilus and Cressida—Rome its Cæsar, Brutus, Antony, Coriolanus—Egypt its Cleopatra. Ancient Britain, Scotland, and Denmark; all the fairest cities of Italy—Venice, Verona, Mantua; the forests of Illyria and Belgium, and the isles of the Grecian seas, are made the perpetually shifting arena of his triumphs. Through all these he ranged with a free hand, and, with a power mightier than ever was wielded by any magician, recalled to life all that was most illustrious there, giving them new and more piquant effect from the sympathetic nearness into which he brought them with the spectator, and from the enchanting scenery with which he surrounded them. All this was done by the son of the woolcomber of Stratford—the youthful ranger of the woods of Charlecote, and the uplands of Clopton,—the merry frequenter of country wakes, and then the player of London, who, so far as we know, was never out of his native land in his life.

If we are to take it for granted that after the year 1597, when he bought one of the best houses in his native town for his residence, Shakespeare spent his life there, except during the theatrical season, the greater part of his last nineteen years would be passed in the quiet of his country home. We may then settle his Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Comedy of Errors, Love's Labours Lost, All's Well that Ends Well, Richard II. and Richard III., King John, Titus Andronicus (if his), the first part of Henry IV., and Romeo and Juliet, as produced in the bustle of his London life. But the far greater part, and the most magnificent and poetical, of his dramas were composed in the pleasant retirement of his native scenes; namely, the second part of Henry IV., Henry V., A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, and The Merchant of Venice, in 1598 and 1600; the second and third parts of Henry VI., Merry Wives of Windsor, 1601; Hamlet, 1602; Lear, 1608; Troilus and Cressida and Pericles, 1609; Othello (not published till after the author's death, which was the case, too, with all his other plays, though brought on the stage in his lifetime), The Winter's Tale, As You Like It, King Henry VIII., Measure for Measure, Cymbeline, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, Julius Cæsar, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Timon of Athens, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night. Shakespeare died in 1616. Of the envy which the unexampled splendour of Shakespeare's genius produced amongst inferior dramatic writers, we have an amusing specimen in the words of Robert Greene: "There is an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that, with his tiger's heart wrapped in a player's hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you, and, being an absolute Johannes Factotum, is, in his own conceit, the only Shakscene in a country."

Amongst the most remarkable dramatic contemporaries of Shakespeare, or those who immediately followed him, were Chapman, Ben Jonson, Webster, Middleton, Dekker, Marston, Taylor, Tourneur, Rowley, Ford, Heywood, Shirley, and Beaumont and Fletcher. George Chapman (born, 1557; died, 1634) wrote sixteen plays, and, conjointly with Ben Jonson and Marston, one more, as well as three in conjunction with Shirley. The tragedies of Chapman are written in a grave and eloquent diction, and abound with fine passages, but you feel at once that they are not calculated, like Shakespeare's, for acting. They want the inimitable life, ease, and beauty of the great dramatist. Perhaps his tragedy of Bussy D'Ambois is his best, and next to that his Conspiracy and Tragedy of Charles, Duke of Byron. Of his comedies, the best are, Eastward Ho! partly composed by Jonson and Marston, Monsieur d'Olive, and his All Fools. But Chapman's fame now rests on his translation of Homer, which, with all its rudeness of style and extreme quaintness, has always seized on the imagination of poets, and has been declared to be the best translation of the "Iliad" and "Odyssey" that we possess. Pope was greatly indebted to it, having borrowed[175] from it almost all the felicitous double epithets which are found in him.

The most celebrated of Webster's tragedies, The Duchess of Malfi, was revived by Richard Hengist Horne, and put on the stage at Sadler's Wells by Phelps with considerable success. He was the author of three tragedies, Appius and Virginia, Duchess of Malfi, and The White Devil, or, Vittoria Corombona; a tragic comedy, The Devil's Law Case, or, When Women Go to Law, the Devil is full of Business, besides two comedies in conjunction with Rowley, and two others in conjunction with Dekker. Webster exhibits remarkable power of language, and an imagination of wonderful vigour, but rather too fond of horrors. Undoubtedly he was one of the best dramatists of his age, and seemed fully conscious of it. That he had a true poetic vein in him is evidenced by such passages as the "Dirge of Marcello," sung by his mother, which reminds one of the like simple homely ditties in Shakespeare:—

"Call for the robin red-breast and the wren,
Since o'er shady groves they hover,
And with leaves and flowers do cover
The friendless bodies of unburied men.
Call unto his funeral dole
The ant, the field-mouse, and the mole,
To raise him hillocks that shall keep him warm,
And when grey tombs are robbed, sustain no harm."

There are fine truths also scattered through his dramas as:—"To see what solitariness is about dying princes! As heretofore they have unpeopled towns, divided friends, and made great houses inhospitable, so now, O justice, where are their flatterers? Flatterers are but the shadows of princes' bodies; the least thick cloud makes them invisible."

Of Middleton, who wrote from twenty to thirty plays, in some of which, according to a very prevalent fashion of that age, he called in the aid of Rowley, Dekker, Fletcher, and Massinger; of Dekker, who wrote the whole or part of about thirty plays; of John Marston, who wrote eight plays; of Taylor, Tourneur, Heywood, and Ford, we can only say that their dramas abound with fine things, and would well repay a perusal. John Fletcher (born, 1576; died, 1625) and Francis Beaumont (born, 1586; died, 1616) require a more specific notice. They worked together on the same plays to the number of upwards of thirty, whilst John Fletcher wrote fourteen or fifteen himself. In fact, Fletcher, so far as can be known, was the more voluminous writer of the two, Beaumont having written little in his own name, except a masque, a few farces, dramatic pieces, and translations. The style of the two, however, was so much alike, that there is little to distinguish their productions from those of an individual mind. Beaumont and Fletcher were, as stated by Dryden, far more popular in their time than Shakespeare himself. The truth is, that they had less originality and were more compliant with the spirit of their age. They sought their characters more in the range of ordinary life, and therefore hit the tastes of a large and commoner class. They were extremely lively and forcible in dialogue, and had a flowery and dignified style which oftener approached the poetical than became it. We are everywhere met by admirable writing, and a finely-sustained tone, but we travel on without encountering those original characters that can never again be forgotten, and become a part of our world, or those exquisite gushes of poetry and poetic scenery which, like the music of Ariel, ring in the memory long afterwards. At the same time we are continually offended by extreme grossness and jarred by slovenliness and incongruity. They are of the class of great and able playwrights who command the popularity of their age, but whom future ages praise and neglect; and who are only read by the curious for the fragments of good things that they contain.

The fate of Ben Jonson (b., 1574; d., 1637) has been nearly the same. Excepting his comedies of Every Man in his Humour, Volpone, The Silent Woman, and The Alchemist, we are content to read the bulk of his dramas, and wonder at his erudition and his wit. His genius is most conspicuous in his masques and Court pageants, which were the delight of James's queen, Anne of Denmark, and the whole Court. In them the spirits of the woods seem to mingle with those of courts and cities; and fancy and a hue of romance give to royal festivities the impressions of Arcadian life. But the living poetry of the Midsummer Night's Dream or of Comus is yet wanting to touch them with perfection. Hence their chief charm died with the age which patronised them, and having once perused them, we are not drawn to them again by a loving memory, as we are to the Shakespearean woodlands and lyrical harmonies. In Jonson's graver dramas there is a cold classical tone which leaves the affections untouched and the feelings unmoved, while we respect the artistic skill and the learned dignity of the composition.

Philip Massinger (b., 1584; d., 1640), who wrote nearly forty dramatic pieces, is a vigorous writer, eloquent and effective. He is trenchant in his[176] satire, and delights in displaying pride and meanness exposed and punished. Still he is greater as a dramatist than a poet. His New Way to Pay Old Debts and The Fatal Dowry are best known to lovers of the drama. The City Madam is a play which is full of strong features of the times. Dekker assisted him in The Virgin Martyr, and is supposed to have introduced a higher and richer vein of feeling than belonged to Massinger himself.

Altogether the dramatic writing of this period has never been surpassed, and in Shakespeare has never been equalled. There is mingled with much licentiousness and coarseness a manly and healthy strength in the writers of this department; and though the bulk of these compositions have vanished from the stage, they will be long studied with enjoyment by those who delight in living portraiture of past ages, and the strong current of genuine English sense and feeling. The arrival of the Commonwealth put down all theatres and scenic amusements. The solemn religion of the Puritans was death to what they called "the lascivious mirth and levity of players." After their suppression for six years, it was found that the ordinance of the Long Parliament was clandestinely and extensively evaded; and in 1648 an Act was passed ordering all theatres to be pulled down and demolished, and the players to be punished "as rogues according to law." Towards the end of the Protectorate, however, dramatic representations again crept in cautiously, and Sir William Davenant at first giving musical entertainments and declamations at Rutland House, Charterhouse Square, and afterwards in Drury Lane, calling his entertainments "operas," at length gave regular plays. The Restoration at last set the imprisoned drama altogether free.

Besides dramatic writers, poets abounded. It has been calculated that from the reign of Elizabeth to the Restoration, no less than four hundred writers of verse appeared. Some of these, who attained a great reputation in their day, and whose works are still retained in our collections, were rather verse-wrights than poets, and would now tax the patience of poetical readers beyond endurance. Such were William Warner, the author of "Albion's England," a history of England in metre extending from Noah's flood to the reign of Elizabeth; Samuel Daniel, the author of the "Civil Wars of Lancaster and York," in eight books; and Michael Drayton, who also wrote the "Barons' Wars" in verse, "England's Heroical Epistles," and, above all, the "Polyolbion," a topography in Alexandrine verse, in thirty books, and thirty thousand lines. Next came Giles and Phineas Fletcher, who employed their strength in composing allegoric poems. Phineas, under the delusive appellation of "The Purple Island," wrote an anatomical description of the human body, with all its veins, arteries, sinews, and so forth. This was extended to twelve books, on which an abundance of very excellent language was wasted. Besides this, he composed "Piscatory Eclogues," and other poems; and Giles, choosing a worthier subject, wrote "Christ's Victory," in the Italian ottava rima, or eight-lined stanzas. To such perversion of the name of poetry had men arrived in the age of Shakespeare.

There were sundry poets who were also translators. Of these, Edward Fairfax, of the same family as Lord Fairfax, was the most distinguished. He translated with singular vigour and poetic feeling Tasso's "Jerusalem Delivered." It is still referred to with intense pleasure by the lovers of our old poetry. Joshua Sylvester—who wrote like King James against tobacco, but in verse, "Tobacco Battered"—translated, amongst other things, "The Divine Weeks and Works" of the French poet Du Bartas. Sir Richard Fanshawe translated the "Lusiad," by the Portuguese poet Camoens. Fanshawe, moreover, translated the "Pastor Fido" of Guarini, from the Italian, the "Odes" of Horace, the fourth book of the "Æneid," and the "Love for Love's Sake," of the Spaniard Mendoza. Fanshawe seemed to have a peculiar taste for the European languages derived from the Latin as for the Latin itself; thus he translated from Roman, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian poets, and from all with much taste and elegance.

Sir John Denham was a popular poet of the time, and his "Cooper's Hill" is still retained in our collections, and finds readers amongst admirers of descriptive poetry. Writers of much more sterling poetry were Sir John Davies, Drummond of Hawthornden, Bishop Hall, and Donne. Sir John Davies was long Attorney-General, and Chief-Justice of the King's Bench at the time of his death (b., 1570; d., 1626). He is author of a poem on dancing called the "Orchestra," but his great work is his "Nosce Teipsum," or "Know Thyself," a work which treats on human knowledge and the immortality of the soul. It is written in quatrains, or four-lined stanzas, and is one of the finest philosophical poems in the language as it was one of the first. There are a life and feeling in the poem which make it always fresh, like the[177] waters of a pure and deep fountain. Speaking of the soul, he says:—

"Yet under heaven she cannot light on aught,
That with her heavenly nature doth agree;
She cannot rest, she cannot fix her thought,
She cannot in this world contented be.
"For who did ever yet in honour, wealth,
Or pleasure of the sense, contentment find?
Who ever ceased to wish when he had wealth,
Or, having wisdom, was not vexed in mind?
"Then as a bee which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet flowers with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that and this and tasteth all,
But pleased with none, doth rise and soar away."

HAWTHORNDEN IN 1773. (After an Etching by John Clerk of Eldin.)

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Drummond of Hawthornden, near Edinburgh, wrote, besides considerable prose, some exquisite poems and sonnets formed on the Italian model; and Bishop Hall, in his satires, presents some of the most graphic sketches of English life, manners, and scenery. Dr. Donne, who was Dean of St. Paul's, and the most fashionable preacher of his day, was also the most fashionable poet—we do not except Shakespeare. He was the rage, in fact, of all admirers of poetry, and was the head of a school of which Cowley was the most extravagant disciple, and of which Crashaw, Wither, Herrick, Herbert, and Quarles had more or less of the characteristics. In all these poets there was deep feeling of spirituality, religion, and wit, and, in some of them, of nature, dashed and marred by a fantastic style, full of quaintnesses and conceits. In some of them these were so tempered as to give them an original and piquant air, as in Herrick, Herbert, and Quarles; in others, as in Donne and Cowley, they degenerated into disfigurement and absurdity. But Donne (b., 1573; d., 1631) had great and shining qualities, keen, bold satire, profound and intellectual thoughts, and a most sparkling fancy, embedding rich touches of passion and pathos, yet so marred by uncouth and strange conceits, that one scarcely knows how to estimate his compositions. In a word, they are the exact antipodes of the natural style, and this fashion was carried to its utmost extravagance by Cowley. A stanza or two from a parting address of a lover to his[178] mistress may show something of Donne's quality and manner:—

"As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go;
Whilst some of their sad friends do say
The breath goes now, and some say, no;
"So let us melt and make no noise,
No tear-floods nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys,
To tell the laity of our love.
"Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent."

George Wither (b., 1588; d., 1667) has much less of what a contemporary happily styled the "Occult School." He says himself that he took "little pleasure in rhymes, fictions, or conceited compositions for their own sakes," but preferred "such as flowed forth without study;" and indeed, he has far more nature. He was confined for years in the Marshalsea prison, for publishing a biting satire, called "Abuses Stripped and Whipped," and there he wrote a long allegorical poem, called "The Shepherds' Hunting," in which his description of Poetry is a perfect gem of fancy and natural feeling:—

"By the murmur of a spring,
Or the least boughs rustling,
By a daisy, whose leaves spread,
Shut when Titan goes to bed;
Or a shady bush or tree,
She could more infuse in me
Than all Nature's beauties can
In some other wiser man."

Two songs of Wither's, quoted in Percy's "Reliques"—"The Steadfast Shepherd," and the one beginning

"Shall I, wasting in despair,
Die because a woman's fair?
Or make pale my cheeks with care
'Cause another's rosy are?
Be she fairer than the day,
Or the flowery meads in May;
If she be not so to me,
What care I how fair she be?"—

are exquisite lines, that no reader ever forgets.

Crashaw (b., 1616; d., 1650) was of a deeply religious tone of mind, and became a Catholic. His finest poems are his religious ones, and they are full of music and passionate reveries, yet disfigured by the Donne fashion, which Dryden, and after him Johnson, inaccurately termed the Metaphysical School, instead of the Fantastic or Singularity School. His very first poem, called "The Weeper," shows how he treated even sacred subjects:—

"Hail, sister springs!
Parents of silver-forded rills,
Ever-bubbling things!
Thawing crystal, snowy hills,
Still spending, never spent, I mean
Thy fair eyes, sweet Magdalene.
"Heavens thy fair eyes be,
Heavens of ever-falling stars;
'Tis seed-time still with thee,
And stars thou sow'st, whose harvest dares
Promise the earth to countershine,
Whatever makes heaven's forehead shine."

Carew, Suckling, Lovelace are poets whose merits, in their various styles, would deserve a separate examination, but we must pass on to three other poets, who have been more known to modern readers, and who would of themselves have stamped their age as one of genuine inspiration—Herbert, Herrick, and Quarles. Herbert and Herrick, like Donne, were clergymen, and in their quiet country parsonages poured forth some of the most exquisite lyrics which enrich any language. Herrick may be said to be the born poet of nature—Herbert of devotion. Robert Herrick (b., 1591; d., 1674) was of an old family of Leicestershire. His lyrics, so full of grace, are the very soul of Nature's melody and rapture. He revels in all the charms of the country—flowers, buds, fairies, bees, the gorgeous blossoming May, the pathos and antique simplicity of rural life; its marriages, its churchyard histories, its imagery of awaking and fading existence. The free, joyous, quaint, and musical flow and rhythm of his verse have all that felicity and that ring of woodland cadences which mark the snatches of rustic verse which Shakespeare scatters through his dramas. His "Night Piece to Juliet," beginning—

"Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee,
The shooting stars attend thee,
And the elves also
Whose little eyes glow
Like sparks of fire, befriend thee!"

is precisely of that character. His "Daffodils" express the beautiful but melancholy sentiment which he so frequently found in nature:—

"Fair daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early rising sun
Has not attained his noon.
Stay, stay,
Until the hastening day
Has run
But to the evensong,
And having prayed together, we
Will go with you along.


"We have short time to stay as you,
We have as short a spring,
As quick a growth to meet decay
As you, or anything.
We die,
As your hours do; and dry
Like to the summer rain,
Or as the pearls of morning dew,
Ne'er to be found again."

Herrick's works are his "Hesperides" and his "Noble Numbers," the latter being religious, and not equal to the former.

In religious tone, intensity, and grandeur, George Herbert (b., 1593; d., 1633) is his superior. Herbert was in early life a courtier; his eldest brother being the celebrated sceptical writer, Lord Herbert of Cherbury. Herbert's hopes of Court preferment fortunately ceasing with the death of King James, he took orders, grew extremely religious, married an admirable wife, and retired to Bemerton parsonage, about a mile from Salisbury, where he died of consumption at the age of forty. Herbert was the very personification of Chaucer's "Good Parson." His life was one constant scene of piety and benevolence. Beloved by his parishioners, happy in his congenial wife, and passionately fond of music and his poetry, his days glided away as already in heaven. The music which he loved was poured into his poetry, which overflows with tender and profound feeling, the most chaste and seraphic imagination, and the most fervent devotion. James Montgomery, of later times, not a little resembled him in his pure and beautiful piety; but there is in Herbert a greater vigour, more dignity of style, and finer felicity of imagery. There is a gravity, a sublimity, and a sweetness which mingle in his devotional lyrics, and endear them for ever to the heart. His "Temple" is a poetic fabric worthy of a Christian minstrel, and stands as an immortal refutation of the oft-repeated theory, that religious poetry cannot be at once original and attractive. What can be more noble than the following stanzas from his poem entitled "Man"?—

"For us the winds do blow;
The earth doth rest, heavens move, and fountains flow.
Nothing we see but means our good,
As our delight, or as our treasure:
The whole is either our cupboard of food
Or cabinet of pleasure.
"The stars have us to bed;
Night draws the curtain which the sun withdraws,
Music and light attend our head.
All things to our flesh are kind
In their descent and being; to our mind
In their ascent and cause.
"Each thing is full of duty:
Waters united are our navigation;
Distinguished, our habitation;
Below, our drink—above, our meat:
Both are our cleanliness. Hath one such beauty?
Then how are all things neat!
"More servants wait on man
Than he'll take notice of: in every path
He treads down that which doth befriend him
When sickness makes him pale and wan.
Oh! mighty love! man is one world, and hath
Another to attend him."

Besides his "Temple," Herbert wrote a prose work, "The Priest to the Temple; or, the Country Parson," which is charmingly full of the simple, child-like piety of the author. He also collected a great number of proverbs, under the title of "Jacula Prudentum."

The third of the trio of poets who seem to class themselves together by their quaintness, their fancy, and their piety, is Francis Quarles, (b., 1592; d., 1644) a man who has been treated by many critics as a mere poetaster, but who is one of the most sterling poets which English genius has produced. Quarles was a gentleman and a scholar; in his youth he was cup-bearer to Elizabeth of Bohemia, and was finally ruined by taking the Royal side in the Civil Wars. He wrote various poetical works; "Argalus and Parthenia," "A Feast for Worms," "Zion's Elegies," and a series of elegies on the death of a friend, the son of Bishop Aylmer. But the great work of Quarles is his "Emblems," which originated in a Latin poem by Herman Hugo, a Jesuit, called "Pia Desideria." This book, condemned and overlooked by the great critics, like Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," has, from generation to generation, adorned with curious woodcuts, circulated amongst the people in town and country, till it has won an extraordinary popularity: and that it has well deserved it, we need only read such verses as these to convince ourselves:—

"I love, and have some cause to love, the earth:
She is my Maker's creature—therefore good;
She is my mother—for she gave me birth;
She is my tender nurse—she gives me food.
But what's a creature, Lord, compared with Thee?
Or what's my mother, or my nurse, to me?
"I love the air: her dainty sweets refresh
My drooping soul, and to new sweets invite me;
Her shrill-mouthed quires sustain me with their flesh
And with their Polyphonian notes delight me.
But what's the air, or all the sweets that she
Can bless my soul withal, compared to Thee?
"I love the sea: she is my fellow-creature—
My careful purveyor; she provides me store;
She walls me round, she makes my diet greater;
She wafts my treasure from a foreign shore.
But, Lord of oceans, when compared to Thee,
What is the ocean, or her health to me?
"To heaven's high city I direct my journey,
Whose spangled suburbs entertain mine eye;
Mine eye, by contemplation's great attorney,
Transcends the crystal pavement of the sky.
But what is heaven, great God, compared to Thee?
Without Thy presence, heaven's no heaven to me.
"Without Thy presence, earth gives no refection;
Without Thy presence, sea affords no treasure;
Without Thy presence, air's a rank infection;
Without Thy presence, heaven itself's no pleasure.
If not possessed, if not enjoyed in Thee,
What's earth, or sea, or air, or heaven to me?"

William Browne's "Britannia's Pastorals," written at this period, have been much and justly celebrated for their faithful transcripts of nature and country life. There are others, besides, that sue for recognition as among the genuine poets of those times—Raleigh, as a lyrical poet; Sir Henry Wotton; Henry Vaughan, the author of "Silex Scintillans" and "Olor Iscanus," a disciple of Herbert's, who would demand a notice were it only to show how freely Campbell borrowed the poem of "The Rainbow" from him:—

"How bright wert thou when Shem's admiring eye
Thy burning, flaming arch did first descry!
When Zerah, Nahor, Haran, Abram, Lot,
The youthful world's grey fathers in one knot,
Did with attentive looks watch every hour
For thy new light."

And so Campbell:—

"When on the green, undeluged earth,
Heaven's covenant, thou didst shine;
How came the world's grey fathers forth
To watch thy sacred sign."

Altogether, no age—not even our own—has produced such a constellation of poets, nor such a mass of exquisite, superb, and imperishable poetry. Whilst Shakespeare was fast departing, Milton was rising, and during this period wrote many of his inimitable smaller poems. Even honest Andrew Marvell, when freed from his labours in the great struggle for the Commonwealth, solaced himself with writing poetry, English and Latin, and some of it of no contemptible order, as in his boat-song of the exiles of the Bermudas:—

"Thus they sang in the English boat
A holy and a cheerful note,
And all the way, to guide the chime,
They with the falling oars kept time."

So he forgot occasionally polemics and politics in "a holy and a cheerful note" of his own. Even the saturnine Sir Thomas Overbury, whom Somerset and his wife had murdered in the Tower, could brighten up in poetry as in his "Choice of a Wife:"—

"If I were to choose a woman,
As who knows but I may marry,
I would trust the eye of no man,
Nor a tongue that may miscarry;
For in way of love and glory
Each tongue best tells his own story."

The prose of the age was equally remarkable. First and foremost stands Francis Bacon (b., 1561; d., 1626) with his "Novum Organum," a new instrument of discovery in philosophy, and other works of a kindred character. He tells us that in his youth he took a great aversion to the philosophy of Aristotle; being, he said, a philosophy only strong for disputations and contentions, but barren of the production of works for the life of man; and in this mind he continued through life. Besides other works of less note, in 1605 he published one of great importance on "The Advancement of Learning;" soon after he published the outline or groundwork of his "Organum," under the title of "Cogitata et Visa; or, Things Thought Out and Seen," and proudly boasted of it as the greatest birth of time. He afterwards published the "Wisdom of the Ancients," and it was not till 1621, and when he had reached the summit of his profession, and been made Viscount of St. Albans, that he brought out his great work, "The Instauration of the Sciences," of which the "Novum Organum" is the second part. No work was so little understood at the time or has occasioned such a variety of opinions since. Bacon was well aware that such would be the case, for in his will he says that he leaves his name and memory to foreign nations, and to his own countrymen after some time be passed over. Bacon asserted that he had superseded the Aristotelian philosophy, and introduced a new and accurate method of inquiry, both into mind and matter, by experiment and induction. By one party he is declared to be the great renovator of true knowledge, and the father of the modern sciences by this method; by another, that he is nothing of the kind, and that modern discovery would have progressed as well without his New Instrument; that Aristotle pursued this method of induction himself, and that Galileo discovered the motion of the earth by the same means that Bacon taught at the same time. But whoever has acquainted himself with the system of Aristotle, and, still more, with the loose and absurd method by which it was taught in the schools before Bacon's time, must see that Bacon, if he did not altogether introduce the system, reduced it to precision and accuracy, and thus put an end to the windy logic and abortive practice of[181] the schools. They were accustomed to assume false and visionary premises, and reason from them by syllogisms which, of course, proved nothing. Bacon, by proceeding by analysis and synthesis—by first extracting from a substance, or a topic, everything that did not really belong to it, and then bringing these expurgated matters into contrast—drew sure conclusions, and advanced towards positive discovery. True, Galileo worked by the same method; but Bacon taught it, and made it clear to all understandings. To say, therefore, that modern science owes nothing to Bacon is to utter a self-evident falsity. Both in experimental philosophy and in metaphysical inquiry, it is Bacon's light, and not Aristotle's, which is followed. That Bacon himself made no great discoveries in prosecuting his own method proves nothing; because, though he was not sufficiently advanced in the actual knowledge of the properties of Matter, he saw and taught clearly how such knowledge was to be acquired, and applied to the legitimate development of Science. How completely ignorant was the age of real experimental philosophy, is shown by the ridicule and contempt which was cast on the "Novum Organum." Such men as Ben Jonson and Sir Henry Wotton expressed their profound admiration of it, but by the wits of the time Bacon was laughed at as little better than a maniac. King James said, in his almost blasphemous way, that it was like the peace of God—passing all understanding; and Lord Coke said—

"It deserveth not to be read in schools,
But to be freighted in the ship of fools."


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He was represented by men eminent in the world's opinion as "no great philosopher—a man rather of show than of depth, who wrote philosophy like a lord chancellor." Abroad, as Bacon had foreseen, his work was received in a different manner, and pronounced by the learned one of the most important accessions ever made to philosophy. Whoever will carefully study it, will find not merely the exposition of his method, but views stretching into the heights and depths, not only of our own nature but of the nature and life of the Universe in which we move, thoughts which stamp the mind of Bacon as one of the most[182] capacious, many-sided, and profound that ever appeared.

Next to Bacon's we should place the prose writings of John Milton (b., 1608; d., 1674) in general importance and intellectual greatness. As Bacon's were directed to the advancement of true liberty in philosophy, Milton's were directed to the liberation of the Church and State from the tyranny of king and custom. His "Areopagitica," a speech for the liberty of unlicensed printing, is a grand plea for the freedom of the press; his "Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes," and the "Best Means of Removing Hirelings out of the Church," go to the root of all hierarchical corruption. Besides these, his "Defence of the People of England" in reply to Salmasius, his "Second Defence," in reply to Peter du Moulin, and his "Eikonoklastes" in refutation of the "Eikon Basiliké," attributed to Charles I., but written by Dr. Gauden, and others of his prose works, are written in a somewhat stiff but lofty and massive style. They foreshow the great national poet of "Paradise Lost;" and cannot be read without a deep veneration for the great Puritan champion of the liberties and fame of England.

Next to these we should name the great advocates of Protestantism, Hales and Chillingworth. The "Discourse on Schism" is the writing of Hales which brought him into notice, and led to the most important consequences. It struck at the very root of tradition and submission to the authority of the Fathers, which Laud and his party had exerted themselves to establish; and it was followed out by Chillingworth (b., 1602; d., 1644) in his "The Religion of Protestants, a Safe Way to Salvation." In this work, which has since been styled the "bulwark of Protestantism," Chillingworth endeavoured to prove the Divine authority of the Bible on the basis of historic evidence, and having done that to his satisfaction, he declared that the religion of Protestants was the Bible, and nothing but the Bible. By this rule alone they are, in his opinion, to be judged; the Scriptures alone are to be the standard of their doctrines. He thus cut off all the claims of Popery built on tradition, and established the right of private judgment. In this he served not only the Established Church, to which he belonged, but every body of Christians whatever; for they had, according to his reasoning, the same right to interpret the Bible for themselves. This gave great scandal to the bigoted party in the Church. They declared that he had destroyed faith by reducing it to simple reason. He was violently attacked by both Catholics and Puritans. Knott, a Jesuit, and Dr. Cheynell, one of the Assembly of Divines, were his most determined opponents. Cheynell wrote against him, "Chillingworthi Novissima; or, the Sickness, Heresy, Death, and Burial of W. C., with a Profane Catechism selected out of his Works." Not satisfied with this, he attended his funeral, made a violent harangue against him, and flung the "Religion of Protestants" into his grave, crying, "Get thee gone, thou cursed book, which has seduced so many precious souls—get thee gone, thou corrupt, rotten book, earth to earth, dust to dust, go and rot with thy author." The Protestant Church has fully acknowledged the services of Chillingworth. Even those who deem that there are other evidences of Christianity than the historic evidences, or even the deductions of criticism, admit that his arguments go far to demonstrate the genuineness of the Bible records, and therefore of the Christian religion. The highest encomiums have been paid to the reasoning and eloquence of Chillingworth, by Locke, Clarendon, Gibbon, Dugald Stewart, and all our theological writers.

What Chillingworth did for Protestantism, Cudworth, in his great work, "The True Intellectual System of the Universe," did for religion in general, demolishing most completely the philosophy of atheism and infidelity. Barrow, Henry More, and Jeremy Taylor, added much wealth to the theological literature of the age. More and Barrow belong more properly to the next period. Taylor (b., 1613; d., 1677), who was the son of a barber, became one of the most celebrated preachers of that time, and both his sermons and his other works have received from many of our chief critics and historians the most encomiastic praises. He has been represented as a modern Chrysostom. Much of this praise he undoubtedly deserves, but readers coming to him after such extravagant laudation, experience a sensible disappointment. His "Holy Living and Dying" may be taken as the most favourable specimen of his writings; and though grave, pleasing, and consolatory, it does not strike us by any means as highly or brilliantly eloquent. His sermons, especially on the "Marriage Ring" and on the "House of Feasting," are of the same character. They are full of piety, sweetness, and grace, but they are not eloquence of the highest class. His sentences are often wearyingly long, his illustrations do not always appear very pertinent, and his manner is too much that of the father of the fourth century, whom he appears to have greatly formed himself upon.


The writings of Archbishop Ussher and the sermons of Bishop Andrews deserve mention; but the works of Thomas Fuller, the author of the "Worthies of England," "The Church History of Great Britain," "The Holy and Profane States," and other books, are undoubtedly the most witty and amusing of the whole period. Next to Burton's "Anatomy of Melancholy," a work, too, of this time, they have furnished to modern authors more original ideas, more frequent and pregnant sentiments and allusions than any others in the language. They have been rivers of thought to men who had very little of their own. Harrington's "Oceana"—a political romance, written to illustrate the opinion that the great power of nations consists in their property—has ideas to repay a reader who has leisure and patience. A writer who has always taken a high rank for originality is Sir Thomas Browne, the author of "Religio Medici," "Urn Burial," "The Garden of Cyrus," etc. Browne ranges freely from the "quincunx" of the gardens of the ancients to the highest flights of metaphysical speculation. He is quaint, abrupt, and singular, but at the same time he is extremely suggestive of thought, and extends the sphere of human inquiry and sympathy far beyond the physical limits of most writers of his class. There is also a school of historians of this age of eminent merit, at the head of which stands Sir Walter Raleigh with his "History of the World;" Knowles with his able "History of the Turks;" Daniel with his "History of England" to the reign of Edward III.; and Thomas May, with the "History of the Long Parliament," and his "Breviary of the History of Parliament," two invaluable works. Camden's "Britannia" and "Annals" appeared at this epoch. Various chronicles were also issued at this period—Hall's "Union of the Families of York and Lancaster," Grafton's "Chronicle," Holinshed's, and Baker's. The works of Stow and Speed appeared in the early part of it,—Stow's "Summary of the English Chronicles," in 1565; his "Annals," 1573; his "Flores Historiarum," an enlarged edition of his chronicle, 1600; his "Survey of London," 1598. Speed's "Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain" belongs to 1606; and his "History of Great Britain" to 1614. Besides these appeared the "Memoirs" of Rushworth. Thurloe's and Whitelock's were written, but did not appear till a later period. The commencement of the Long Parliament marked also a remarkable era, that of the first English newspapers, under the name of "Diurnals," or daily records of Parliamentary proceedings. The idea once started, newspapers rapidly spread, so that between the Civil War and the Restoration, nearly two hundred were published, but none more frequently than once a week for some time, nor afterwards oftener than twice or three times a week. It was, moreover, an age of political tracts and pamphlets. In science the discovery of the circulation of the blood by Harvey, and the invention of logarithms by Napier, were the great events of that department. On the whole, the intellectual development of the age was as great and marvellous as was its political advance. To no other modern nation can we point, which in one and the same period has produced three such men as Shakespeare, Milton, and Bacon, amid a host of lesser, but scarcely less precious lights, at the same time that it was working out one of the most stupendous revolutions in human government, and the imperishable principles of it, that the world has seen. On reviewing this period, well might Wordsworth exclaim:—

"Great men have been amongst us; hands that penned,
And tongues that uttered wisdom, better none;
The later Sydney, Marvell, Harrington,
Young Vane, and others who called Milton friend.
These moralists could act and comprehend;
They knew how genuine glory is put on;
Taught us how rightfully a nation shone
In splendour."

And well did he add:—

"We must be free, or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakespeare spoke: the faith and morals hold
That Milton held. In everything we are sprung
Of earth's best blood—have titles manifold."

Some of the eminent musical composers already mentioned (See Vol. II., pp. 378-9) continued to embellish the reign of James. Amongst these were Ford, Ward, Weelkes, and Orlando Gibbons. The first three are distinguished for their madrigals, and Weelkes for ballads, which are unrivalled. Ward's "Die not, Fond Man," is still as popular as ever. Gibbons composed both madrigals and cathedral music. He was organist of the Royal Chapel, and was made Doctor of Music by the University of Oxford. The sacred music of Gibbons is enough of itself to exempt England from the often advanced charge of being unmusical. In 1622, Dr. Heyther, a friend of Camden, the antiquary, established a professorship of music at Oxford. Charles I. was not only fond of music, but played himself with considerable skill on the viol da gamba. Dr. William Child, himself an excellent composer, was the organist of his chapel, and Lawes, the friend of Milton, who is referred to in his sonnets and in[184] "Comus," was patronised by him. Lawes was greatly admired, and justly, by other poets, especially Herrick and Waller. Charles I., however, set a bad example, by encouraging foreign musicians instead of his own subjects. He made Lanieri, an Italian, a man in real musical science far inferior to several Englishmen then living, "Master of our Music," and his example was only too diligently followed by princes and nobles in after times.


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The rise of the Commonwealth was the fall of music in England. The stern Puritans, and especially the Scottish Presbyterians, who dubbed an organ "a kist o' whistles," denounced all music as profane, and drove organs and orchestras from the churches. Nothing was tolerated but a simple psalm tune. Cromwell, however, did not partake of this fanaticism. He was fond of music, and frequently had musical entertainments at Whitehall and Hampton Court. The great organ which had been pulled out of Magdalen College, Oxford, he had carefully conveyed to Hampton Court, where it was one of his greatest solaces. Under Cromwell the lovers of music brought out their concealed instruments, and there was once more not only domestic enjoyment of music, but open musical parties.

REDUCED FACSIMILE OF FRONT PAGE OF NO. 26 OF "A PERFECT DIURNALL." (About three-fourths the size of the original.)

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If the Civil War in England was auspicious to liberty, it was disastrous to art. From the time of Henry VIII. the British monarchs had shown a decided taste for the arts. Henry had munificently patronised Holbein, and had made various purchases of foreign chefs-d'œuvre. Prince Henry inherited the taste of his mother, instead of the[185] coarse buffoonery of his father, and showed a strong attachment to men of genius and to works of genius. He began a collection of paintings, bronzes, and medals, which fell to his brother Charles. Charles was an enthusiast in art, and had he not possessed his fatal passion for despotism, would have introduced a new era in England as regarded intellectual and artistic pursuits. The study of Italian models, both in literature and art, by the aristocracy, enabled the nobles to embrace the tastes of the monarch; and England would soon have seen the fine arts flourishing to a degree which they had never enjoyed before, and which would have prevented the dark ages that succeeded. During Charles's early rule the greatest artists of the Continent flocked over to England, and found a liberal reception there. Rubens, Vandyck, Jansen, Vansomer, Mytens, Diepenbeck, Pölemberg, Gentileschi, and others visited London, and Vandyck, the greatest of them all, remained permanently. The works of Vandyck, in England, are numerous, and if we except his famous picture of "The Crucifixion" at Mechlin, we[186] possess the best of his productions. At Windsor Castle, Hampton Court, Blenheim, Wilton House, and Wentworth House, the bulk of his finest pictures are to be seen. His portraits of our princes and the chief nobility of the time are familiar to all English eyes, and place him only second to Titian in that department. At Wilton House alone there are twenty-five of Vandyck's paintings; the portrait of Philip, Earl of Pembroke, with his family, is declared by Walpole to be itself a school of this master. His dramatic portrait of Strafford and his secretary, Mainwaring, at Wentworth House, Walpole asserts to be his masterpiece. Charles had proposed to him to paint the history of the Order of the Garter on the walls of the Banqueting House at Whitehall, but the sum he demanded—said to be eighty thousand pounds, but more probably a misprint for eight thousand pounds—caused Charles to delay it, and his political troubles soon put an end to the scheme. He painted several pictures of Charles on horseback, one of which is at Windsor, and another at Hampton Court.

Rubens came to England only as an ambassador, but Charles seized the opportunity to get him to paint the apotheosis of James, on the ceiling of the Banqueting House at Whitehall. This he, however, merely sketched whilst in London and painted it at Antwerp, receiving three thousand pounds for it. The Duke of Buckingham purchased Rubens's private collection of pictures, chiefly of the Italian school, but containing some of his own, for ten thousand pounds. These were sold by the Long Parliament, and now adorn the palaces of the Escurial at Madrid, and the Belvedere at Vienna. The large pictures in the latter gallery, "St. Francis Xavier preaching to the Indians," and "Loyola casting out Devils," are amongst the very finest of his productions.

Charles, besides making collections, and drawing round him great artists, projected the establishment of an academy of arts on a princely scale. But this remained only an idea, through the breaking out of the Revolution. Parliament, in 1645, caused all such pictures at Whitehall as contained any representation of the Saviour or the Virgin to be burnt, and the rest to be sold. Fortunately there were persons in power who had more rational notions, and much was saved. Cromwell himself secured the cartoons of Raphael for three hundred pounds, and thus preserved them to the nation, and as soon as he had the authority, he put a stop to the sale of the royal collections, and even detained many pictures that had been sold.

The native artists of this period were chiefly pupils of Rubens or Vandyck. Jamesone, called the Scottish Vandyck, was a pupil of Rubens at the same time with Vandyck—Charles sat to him. William Dobson, a pupil of Vandyck, was serjeant-painter to Charles, and Robert Walker, of the Vandyck school, was Cromwell's favourite painter, to whom we owe several admirable portraits of the Protector. There were also several miniature painters of the highest merit—the two Olivers, Hoskins, and Cooper.

Up to this period engravings had become by no means prominent in England. That there had been engravers we know from various books having been illustrated by them. Geminus and Humphrey Lloyd were employed by Ortelius, of Antwerp, on his "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum." Aggas had executed a great plan of London, and Saxon county maps. Various Flemish and French engravers found employment, as Vostermans, De Voerst, and Peter Lombard. Hollar, a Bohemian, was employed extensively till the outbreak of the Civil War, and illustrated Dugdale and other writers. But the chief English engraver of this period was John Payne.

Sculpture was by no means in great advance at this period. There were several foreign artists employed in England on tombs and monuments, but as they did not at that date put their names upon them, it is difficult to attribute to every man his own. Amongst these Le Sœur, who executed the equestrian statue of Charles I. at Charing Cross, Angier, and Du Val were the chief. John Stone, master mason to the king, was by far the most skilful native sculptor. Amongst his best efforts are the monuments of Sir George Holles at Westminster, and the statue of Sir Finnes Holles, also at Westminster. Sir Dudley Carleton's tomb at Westminster, and Sutton's tomb at the Charterhouse are also his. But the greatest boon to sculpture was the introduction at this period, by the Earl of Arundel, of the remains of ancient art, hence called the Arundel Marbles.

This was the epoch of the commencement of classical architecture. The grand old Anglo-Gothic had run its course. It fell with the Catholic Church, or continued only in a mongrel and degraded state, showing continually the progress of its decline. From Henry VIII. to James this state of things continued; the miserable tasteless style, which succeeded the downfall of the picturesque Tudor, being the only architecture.[187] The change to the classical was destined to be made by Inigo Jones, whose is the great name of this period. Jones had studied in Italy, and became aware of the graceful style which Vitruvius had introduced by modulation of the ancient Greek and Roman, and which Palladio had raised to perfection. The merit of Jones is that he imported Palladio's style substantially and completely, ready as it was to his hands, and wholly unknown in England. By this means Jones acquired a reputation for genius to which nothing that he has left justifies his claim. He was first engaged in designing the scenery and machinery of the masques which Ben Jonson wrote for the queen of James I. He was appointed architect to the queen and Prince Henry. On the death of the prince he went back to Italy, but on his return to London he was appointed Surveyor-General of the Royal Buildings. The first thing which he planned was the design for an immense palace for James on the site of Whitehall. There is a simple grandeur in the drawings of it which are left, which may fairly entitle him to a reputation for the introduction of an elegant domestic architecture, although it does not warrant the extravagant terms of eulogy which have been lavished on him. The only portion of this palace which was built is the Banqueting House (afterwards the Chapel Royal) at Whitehall, being the termination of the great façade, and which contains nothing very remarkable. Jones added a chapel to Somerset House, and a west front to St. Paul's, neither of which remains. That he was far from having conceived the true principles of architecture was shown by the fact that his west front of Old St. Paul's was a classical one engrafted on a Gothic building, and this solecism he was continually repeating. One of the most glaring instances of the kind is a classical screen which he raised in the Norman Cathedral of Durham. Amongst the chief remaining buildings of Inigo Jones from which an idea of his talent may be drawn, are the Piazza and St. Paul's Church, Covent Garden, of which Quatremere de Quincy says that the most remarkable thing about it is the reputation that it enjoys; Ashburnham House, Westminster; a house on the west side of Lincoln's Inn Fields originally built for the Earl of Lindsay; an addition to St. John's College, Oxford; and by far his finest work,—if his it be, which is doubtful—Heriot's Hospital at Edinburgh. He also superintended the erection of Old Greenwich Palace.

The general aspect of the towns and streets remained the same at this period as in the former. James issued proclamation after proclamation, ordering the citizens to leave off the half-timbered style, and build the fronts, at least, entirely of brick or stone; but this was little attended to, and many a strange old fabric continued to show the fashions of past ages.

If we are to believe the memoir writers and dramatists of this period, the national manners and morals had suffered a decided deterioration. Licentious as was the court of Queen Elizabeth, there was a certain dignity and outward decorum preserved, but James introduced such coarseness and grossness of manner, such low debauch and buffoonery, that even the salutary restraint which fashion had imposed was stripped away, and all classes exhibited the most revolting features. In the reign of Henry, Edward, and Elizabeth, we had such women as the daughters of Sir Thomas More, Lady Jane Grey, Catherine Parr, and others, who cultivated literature and philosophy, the Queens Mary and Elizabeth themselves setting the example in reading and translating the most illustrious classical authors. But after James came in, notwithstanding all his learned pedantry, you hear nothing more of such tastes amongst the Court ladies, and it is very singular that amid that blaze of genius which distinguished the time under review, we find no traces of feminine genius there. On the contrary, both English dramatists and foreign writers describe the morals and manners of women of rank as almost destitute of delicacy and probity. They are described as mingling with gentlemen in taverns amid tobacco smoke, songs, and conversation of the most ribald character. They allowed liberties which would startle women of the lowest rank in these times, were desperate gamblers, and those who had the opportunity were wholesale dealers in political influence. Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador, boasts of the effect of the bribes that he was accustomed to distribute amongst them. Whilst such women as the infamous and murderous Countess of Essex and the Dowager Countess Villiers were the leading stars of the Court, the tone of morals must have been low indeed. Whilst the ladies were of this stamp, we cannot expect the gentlemen to have been better, and there is no doubt but that the honours and wealth and royal favour heaped on such men as Somerset, Hay, Ramsay, and Buckingham, made debauchery and villainy quite fashionable. The character of Englishmen on their travels, Howell tells us, was expressed in an Italian proverb:—

"Inglese Italianato
E Diavolo incarnato."


"An Italianised Englishman is a devil incarnate." This was said of the debauched conduct of our young men on their travels. At home they were a contemptible mixture of foppery and profanity. Buckingham and the other favourites led the way. We have recorded the audacious behaviour of Buckingham at the courts of France and Spain, and the enormous foppery of his apparel. He had a dress of uncut white velvet, covered all over with diamonds, valued at eighty thousand pounds, a great feather of diamonds, another dress of purple satin covered with pearls, valued at twenty thousand pounds, and his sword, girdle, hatbands, and spurs were thickly studded with diamonds. He had, besides these, five-and-twenty other dresses of great richness, and his numerous attendants imitated him according to their means. They began now to patch their faces with black plaister, because the officers who had served in the German wars wore such to cover their scars; and the ladies did the same. Duelling was now introduced, cheating at play was carried to an immense extent, and the dandy effeminacy of the Cavaliers was unexampled. They had the utmost contempt of all below them, and any attempt to assume the style or courtesies of address which they appropriated to themselves was resented as actual treason. The term "Master" or "Mr." was used only to great merchants or commoners of distinction; and to address such as "gentlemen" or "esquires" would have roused all the ire of the aristocracy. In proceeding through the streets at night, courtiers were conducted with torches, merchants with links, and mechanics with lanthorns.

We may imagine the feeling with which the sober and religious Puritans beheld all this, and the proud contempt with which their strictures were received. When the Civil War broke out, which was a war of religious reform as much as of political, the Puritans displayed a grave manner, a sober dress, and chastened style of speech; and the Cavaliers, in defiance and contempt, swore, drank, and indulged in debauchery all the more, to mark their superiority to the "sneaking Roundhead dogs."

Charles endeavoured to restrain this loose and indecent spirit, but it was too strong for him; and though the Puritans put it effectually down during the Commonwealth, it came back in a flood with the lewd and ribald Charles II. Charles I. also introduced a more tasteful style of Court pageants and festivities. Under James all the old fantastic masques and pageantries—in which heathen gods, goddesses, satyrs, and giants figured—prevailed. Charles gave to his pageantries a more classical character, but when the Puritans came in they put them all down, along with Maypoles, and all the wakes, and church-ales, and the like, which James had encouraged by his "Book of Sports." The Court festivals, so long as the monarchy remained, were marked by all the profusion, displays of jewellery, and dresses of cloth of gold and embroidery, which prevailed in the Tudor times. The old-fashioned country life, in which the gentlemen hunted and hawked, and the ladies spent their leisure in giving bread to the poor and making condiments, preserves, and distilled waters, was rapidly deserted during the gay days of James and Charles, and the fortune-making of favourites.

Merchants and shopkeepers were growing rich, and though they still conducted their businesses in warehouses which would appear mean and miserable to City men of to-day, and in shops with open fronts, before which the master or one of his apprentices constantly paraded, crying, "What d'ye lack?" had stately suburban houses, and vied with the nobles in their furniture and mode of living. The moral condition of the people of London at this period, according to all sorts of writers, was something inconceivably frightful. The apprentices, as we have seen, were a turbulent and excitable race, who had assumed a right to settle political matters, or to avenge any imagined attack on their privileges. At the cry of "Clubs!" they seized their clubs and swords and rushed into the streets to ascertain what was amiss. They were easily led by their ringleaders against any body or any authority that was supposed to be invading popular rights. We have seen them surrounding the Parliament House, demanding such measures as they pleased, and executing their notions of suitable chastisement of offenders by setting fire to Laud's house, and breaking down the benches of the High Commission Court. They were equally ready to encounter and disperse the constabulary or the City Guard, and to fight out their quarrels with the Templars, or others with whom they were at feud.



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The riots of the apprentices, however, had generally something of a John-Bullish assertion of right and justice in them; but the streets and alleys of London were infested with an equally boisterous and much more villainous crew of thieves and cut-purses. Pocket-picking was then, as now, taught as a science, and was carried to a wonderful perfection of dexterity. All kinds of rogueries were practised on country people, the memory of which remains yet in rural districts, and is still believed applicable to the metropolis. These vagabonds had their retreats about the Savoy and the brick-kilns of Islington, but their headquarters were in a part of Whitefriars called Alsatia, which possessed the right of sanctuary and swarmed with debtors, thieves, bullies, and every kind of miscreants, ready on an alarm, made by the sound of a horn, to turn out in mobs and defend their purlieus from constables and sheriffs' officers. Walking the streets in the daytime was dangerous from the affrays often going on between the apprentices and the students of the Temple, or between the butchers and weavers, or from the rude jostling and practical jokes of bullies and swashbucklers; but at night there was no safety except under a strong guard. Then Alsatia, the Savoy, and the numerous other dens of vice and violence, poured forth their myrmidons, and after nine o'clock there was no safety for quiet passengers. If we add to this description the narrowness of the roads and alleys, the unpaved and filthy state of the streets, and undrained and ill-ventilated houses, London was anything at this period but an attractive place. The plague was a frequent visitant, and we are told that kites and ravens were much kept to devour the offal and filth of the streets, instead of scavengers. In the country, things were not much better. The roads were terrible, and were infested by sturdy bands of robbers. In the neighbourhood of London, Finchley, Blackheath, Wimbledon, and Shooter's Hill were places of widespread fame for daring highwaymen. It was high time for the Puritans to come into power, and to put both town and country under a more wholesome discipline. Cromwell's soldiers, quartered in various parts of the metropolis, and his major-generals administering martial law in different parts of the country, soon altered the face of things. He shut up Spring Gardens, a place of nocturnal resort for assignations for traffickers in political corruption, and for various licentiousness; and instead of fellows prowling about the streets with sweetmeats in their pockets to kidnap children, and sell them to the plantations, he sent these scoundrels freely thither themselves. Amongst the gloomy features of this period was the relentless persecution of old[190] women, under the belief that they were witches; a practice commenced by James, but continued by the Puritans, who sent out Hopkins, the notorious witchfinder, who, in the years 1645 and 1646, traversed the country, condemning and putting to death hundreds of them, till he himself was accused of being a wizard, and was subjected to the same fate. From 1640 to the Restoration, four thousand persons are said to have perished under charge of witchcraft. In Scotland this terrible practice was carried on with even aggravated cruelties, in order to extort confession.

The sports of the aristocracy, gentry, and merchants were much the same that they had been hitherto. Hunting was the favourite pastime of James, and therefore was not likely to be neglected by the country gentry. He was also fond of hawking, and kept alive that pastime, which was dying out, some time longer. Ball games had much superseded the jousts and tournaments of other days. Tennis retained its high favour, and billiards and pall-mall, or striking a ball through a ring suspended to a pole, were becoming fashionable. Bowling, cards, dice, dancing, masques, balls, and musical entertainments varied town life. The common people stuck to their foot-ball, quoits, pitching the bar, cricket, shovel-board, bull- and bear-baiting, and cock-fighting. The Puritans put down May-games, Whitsun-ales, morrice-dances, and all amusements that savoured of a Catholic origin. They also humanely suppressed, as far as they could, the savage sports of bear and bull-baiting. Pride and Hewson killed all the bears at the bear-garden to put an end to that cruel pastime, and thence originated Butler's "Hudibras." The bowling-greens of the English were famous, and horse-racing was much in vogue. In Scotland the Reformation put to flight all sorts of games, dancing, and merry-makings, as sinful and unbecoming of Christians, and polemic discussions were the only excitements which relieved the ascetic gloom.

The interiors of houses were in this period greatly embellished, and the splendour of hangings of beds and windows had strikingly increased. Rich velvets and silks embroidered with cloth of gold and cloth of silver, and coloured satins of the most gorgeous hues abounded. The cushions of couches and chairs were equally costly, and instead of the ancient tapestry, paper and leather hangings, richly stamped and gilt, covered the walls. The Flemish artists had been called in to paint the ceilings with historical or mythological scenes, and on the walls hung the masterpieces of Flemish and Italian art. Carpets were beginning to supersede rushes on the floors, but were more commonly used as coverings for tables. In addition to the carved cabinets of oak, ebony, and ivory, and the richly-covered cushioned and high-backed chairs of the Tudor dynasty, Flemish and Dutch furniture of somewhat formal but still elegant design abounded. Superb ornaments of ivory and china had found their way from the East, and became heirlooms in great mansions. Altogether, the houses of the wealthy of those times presented a scene of stately elegance and luxury that has not since been surpassed.

The costume of the reign of James was but a continuation of that of Elizabeth. The men still wore the stiff plated ruff, occasionally varied by a plain horizontal one with lace on its edges. The long peasecod-bellied doublet continued, and the large stuffed Gallic or Venetian hose, slashed and quilted, had assumed more preposterous dimensions from James's timidity; he having both these and the doublets quilted to resist the stabs of the stiletto. Towards the end of his reign a change was noticeable. Instead of the long-waisted doublet there were short jackets, with false hanging sleeves behind; the trunk hose were covered with embroidered straps, tucked short at the thigh, and the hose gartered below the knee. We are told how they covered their cloaks and dresses with jewels on State occasions. They wore feathers at such times in their hats. Taylor, the Water Poet, says the gallants of his time

"Wore a farm in shoestrings edged with gold,
And spangled garters worth a copyhold;
A hose and doublet which a lordship cost,
A gaudy cloak, three mansions' price almost;
A beaver band and feather for the head,
Prized at the church's tithe, the poor man's bread."

The old cloth stockings were obsolete, and stockings of silk, thread, or worsted used.

The ladies of the Court were still in the stiff Elizabethan farthingale, elevated collar, and hair dressed in the lofty style. Anne of Denmark was Elizabeth over again. But in domestic life we find the ladies attired in a far more natural style, without the farthingale, with falling collars, plain or edged with lace, and the hair with ringlets falling on each side; and this simple and more elegant fashion became at length universal in Charles's reign.

The male costume of Charles's time was extremely elegant. At the commencement of the Civil War no contrast could be greater than that of the appearance of the Cavaliers and the[191] Roundheads. The Cavalier dress consisted of a doublet of silk, satin, or velvet, with large loose sleeves slashed up the front, the collar covered by a falling band of the richest point lace, with Vandyck edging. The long breeches, fringed or pointed met the tops of the wide boots, which were also commonly ruffled with lace or lawn. A broad Flemish beaver hat, with a rich hatband and plume of feathers, was set on one side of the head, and a Spanish rapier hung from a most magnificent baldrick, or sword belt, worn sash-wise over the right shoulder, and on one shoulder was worn a short cloak with an air of carelessness. In war this short cloak was exchanged generally for the buff coat, which was also richly laced, and sometimes embroidered with gold and silver, and round the waist was worn a broad silk or satin scarf tied in a large bow behind or over the hip; or a buff jerkin without sleeves was worn over the doublet, and the lace or lawn on the boots dispensed with. The beard was worn very peaked, with small upturned moustaches, and the hair long and flowing on the shoulders. In contrast to this the Parliamentarians wore their hair cut short—whence the name of Roundhead—and studied a sober cut and colour of clothes. The first appearance of Cromwell in Parliament, described by Sir Philip Warwick, has been taken as a sufficient specimen of his costume when Protector. But Cromwell was then but a gentleman-farmer, and appeared in careless rustic habit. "I came one morning into the House," says Warwick, "well clad, and perceived a gentleman speaking whom I knew not, very ordinarily apparelled, for it was a plain cloth suit, which seemed to have been made by an ill country tailor. His hat was without a hatband." But no one knew better than Cromwell what was necessary to the decorum of station, and very different is the account of his appearance when going to be sworn Protector. "His Highness was in a plain but rich suit, black velvet, with cloak of the same; about his hat a broad band of gold."

The ladies' dresses of Charles's time rapidly changed from the stiff ruffs and farthingales to a more natural and elegant style. With Mrs. Turner, their introducer, went out in James's time the yellow starch ruffs and bands, for she appeared, when hanged for her share in Sir Thomas Overbury's murder, in her own yellow ornaments at the gallows. But all ruffs grew obsolete in Charles's reign, and a lady of that day would scarcely be distinguished from a lady of this. The hair was dressed much as in modern manner, the dress fell naturally without hoops, and the broad collar lay gracefully on the shoulders. The citizens' and Puritans' wives, as well as country women, wore the broad high-crowned hat, and country women appeared still in plaited ruff, and a muffler over the mouth in cold weather, tied up to the back of the head. A lady had generally her feather fan in her hand, as the modern one has her parasol.

Armour was fast disappearing; it was of little use against cannon and matchlocks. James thought armour a very good invention, for it hindered a man as much from hurting his enemy as it defended himself. But in his time little but a cuirass for the body and a helmet or bonnet was used. To the rest for the heavy matchlock in this reign was affixed a long rapier blade, called a "swine's feather," or "bristle," and used as a soldier now uses the bayonet. In the Civil War most of the officers wore only a cuirass over a buff coat; and though some of the infantry were almost fully sheathed in armour, it was soon found to be too cumbersome for rapid movements, and with the exception of the cuirassiers, who were clad in armour except the legs, they were seldom defended by more than a back- and breast-plate, and a head-piece. During the war the cavalry was divided into cuirassiers, lancers, arquebusiers, carbineers, and dragoons, according to the different weapon or armour which they carried,—the cuirass, the lance, the musket, the heavy arquebus, the carbine, or the dragon, a sort of blunderbuss. At this period the firelock was introduced by the poultry-stealers of Holland, and called after them the snaphance, or hen-stealer. The superiority of the flint-lock over the match- or cumbrous wheel-lock was soon seen and adopted.

The moral condition of the people, as we have just seen, was at this period deplorable. The neglect of education left the bulk of the working class ignorant and depraved, and the long peace which the reigns of Elizabeth and James maintained had so greatly augmented the wealth and prosperity of the nation, that the insolence of illiterate abundance added to the public exhibition of rudeness and riot. In one respect, however, the whole people had become enlightened—they had learned very extensively their political rights. The rise and opulence of the merchants and middle classes, through commerce and through the confiscation of Church lands, had impressed them with a feeling of their importance, and led them no longer to bow and cringe before the nobles, but to claim their proper authority as the third, and, indeed, the greatest estate. From the[192] time when Henry VIII. set agoing discussions regarding religious liberty, and permitted the Bible to appear in good plain English, the light which sprang up on the subject of human rights was wonderful, and could never be withdrawn or extinguished. The mistake, as regarded royal prerogative, was soon seen, and an endeavour was made to limit the reading of the Bible to the nobles and the learned only, but it was in vain. Those who had the Scriptures soon spread abroad knowledge of their great principles, and as the Stuart government was daily found to be weaker, the sense of popular right was growing stronger and more general. So soon as Parliament began to resist the encroachments of the Crown, and even to do it with arms in their hands, it became necessary to convince the people at large that their rights were at stake, and to explain what these rights were. Such knowledge as this could never be taken back again, and accordingly from this period the principle that all power proceeds from the people and exists for the people, became the great fixed sentiment of the nation.

The physical condition of the kingdom, therefore, during the reign of James, was evidently much improved, and almost justifies the glowing description of Clarendon, made to set off the mischiefs of resistance to royalty. "For twelve years before the meeting of the Long Parliament," he says, "the kingdom enjoyed the greatest calm and the fullest measure of felicity that any people, in any age, for so long a time together, had been blessed with, to the wonder and envy of all other parts of Christendom." It was inevitable that much of this prosperity must be overthrown, or rather interrupted by a ten years' fierce contest, like that which arose between the Crown and the people. That the people were not only severely pressed by taxation to support this contest, but that they were harassed, plundered, and had their agricultural operations impeded, and their crops destroyed by the combatants is certain. Consequently, during the great struggle, the price of country produce rose extremely. Wheat, which in the early part of Charles's reign was as low as 44s. a quarter, rose after 1640 to 73s.; to 85s. in 1648; and in 1649 it was 80s.; but no sooner was the Commonwealth established, and peaceful operations were renewed, than it fell as rapidly, being, in 1650, 76s. 8d., and falling so much that in 1654 it was down to 26s. This was the lowest, and it averaged during the remainder of the Protectorate, 45s., as nearly as possible its price at the commencement of the war. Other articles of life rose and fell from the same causes in the same proportion; the prices of the following articles, except during the War, may be regarded as the average ones for this period:—A fat cygnet, about 8s.; pheasants, from 5s. to 6s.; turkeys, 3s. to 4s.; fat geese, 2s. each; ducks, 8d.; best fatted capons, 2s. 4d.; hens, 1s.; pullets, 1s. 6d.; rabbits, 7d.; a dozen pigeons, 6s.; eggs, three for 1d.; fresh butter, 6d. per pound. Vegetables, being so little cultivated, were very dear: cauliflowers, 1s. 6d. each; potatoes, 2s. per pound; onions, leeks, carrots, and potherbs, dear, but not quite so high-priced. Mutton and beef were about 3-1/2d. per pound. The wages of servants hired by the year and kept, were, for a farm servant man, from 20s. to 50s. a year, according to his qualifications; those obtaining more than 40s. were expected to be able to do all the skilled work, as mowing, threshing, thatching, making ricks, hedging, and killing cattle and pigs for daily consumption. Women servants, who could bake, brew, dress meat, make malt, etc., obtained about 26s. a year, and other women servants, according to age and ability, from that sum down to 14s. a year. A bailiff obtained 52s. Labourers, or artisans hired by the day, during harvest, had, a mower, 5d. a day and his food; a reaper, haymaker, hedger, or ditcher, 4d.; a woman reaper, 3d.; a woman haymaker, 2d.; if no food was given these sums were doubled. At other times labourers received from Easter to Michaelmas, 3d. a day with food, or 7d. without; and from Michaelmas to Easter, 2d. with food, and 6d. without. Carpenters and bricklayers received 8d. a day with meat, or 1s. without; sawyers, 6d. with meat, or 1s. without; and other handicrafts nearly the same, through the year till Michaelmas, after that much less.

The great extension of foreign commerce, and the introduction of coffee, spices, cottons, and other new tropical produce, increased the comfort of domestic life. Yet, with all this prosperity, there still abounded much pauperism and vagabondism. The war naturally had this consequence—great numbers of the dispersed Cavaliers and royal troopers taking to the highways, and to a loose and predatory life. Many parishes, too, were not disposed to burden themselves with the imposition of the poor laws, which had been strengthened by various enactments since the 43rd of Elizabeth, and they therefore drove out of their boundaries the unemployed to seek work elsewhere. This but increased the vagabondism and pilfering, and time alone could enable the Government to bring the poor-law into general operation.





Character of Charles II.—The King's First Privy Council—The Convention Parliament—Submission of the Presbyterian Leaders—The Plight of those who took Part in the late King's Trial—Complaisance of the Commoners—Charles's Income—The Bill of Sales—The Ministers Bill—Settlement of the Church—Trial of the Regicides—Their Execution—Marriage of the Duke of York—Mutilation of the Remains of Cromwell—The Presbyterians Duped—The Revenue—Fifth-Monarchy Riot—Settlements of Ireland and Scotland—Execution of Argyll—Re-establishment of Episcopacy—The new Parliament violently Royalist—The King's Marriage—His Brutal Behaviour to the Queen—State of the Court—Trial of Vane and Lambert—Execution of Vane—Assassination of Regicides—Sale of Dunkirk—The Uniformity Act—Religious Persecution—Strange Case of the Marquis of Bristol—Repeal of the Triennial Act—The Conventicle and Five Mile Acts—War with Holland—Appearance of the Plague—Gross Licentiousness of the Court—Demoralisation of the Navy—Monk's Fight with the Dutch—The Great Fire.

Charles II. did not want sense. He was naturally clever, witty, and capable of a shrewd insight into the natures and purposes of men. He gave proof of all these qualities in the observation which we have recorded, at the close of the day when he was restored to his paternal mansion, that everybody assured him that they had always ardently desired his return, and that if they were to be believed, there was nobody in fault for his not having come back sooner but himself. Yet, with many qualities, which, if united to a fine moral nature, would have made him a most popular monarch, he was utterly destitute of this fine moral nature. He had had much, long, and varied experience of mankind, and had alternately seen their base adulation of royalty in power, and their baser treatment of princes in misfortune. But Charles had not the nobility to benefit by this knowledge. He had familiarised himself with every species of vice and dissipation. He was become thoroughly heartless and degraded. His highest ambition was to live, not for the good and glory of his kingdom, but for mere sensual indulgence. He was habituated to a life of the lowest debauchery, and surrounded by those who were essentially of the same debased and worthless character. To such a man had the nation—after all its glorious struggles and triumphs for the reduction of the lawless pride of royalty, and after the decent and rigorous administration of the Commonwealth—again surrendered its fate and fortunes, and surrendered them without almost any guarantee. The declaration of Breda was the only security which it had, and that was rendered perfectly nugatory by the reservation of all decisions on those questions to a Parliament which the Court could control and corrupt.

Monk presented to the king a paper containing a list of names of such persons as he professed to consider to be the most eligible for the royal service either in the Council or the Ministry. But Clarendon, who was the king's great adviser,[194] having adhered to him and his interests ever since his escape to the Continent, perused the catalogue with no little surprise. It consisted, he tells us, "of the principal persons of the Presbyterian party, to which Monk was thought to be most inclined, at least to satisfy the foolish and unruly inclinations of his wife. There were likewise the names of some who were most notorious in all the factions; and of some who, in respect of their mean qualities and meaner qualifications, nobody could imagine how they came to be named." They were, in fact, such as had been thrust on Monk by the Parliamentary leaders, who were all striving to secure their own interests; not even the Presbyterians foreseeing how severely they were punishing themselves by the restoration of the monarchy. Monk, on the Chancellor's remonstrance as to many of these names—amongst which only those of the Marquis of Hertford and the Earl of Southampton belonged to men who had at all adhered to the Royal cause—soon let him into the secret, that they were such as had importuned him to do them good offices with the king, and that he never intended to do more than forward the paper, and leave the king to do as he pleased. Clarendon soon, therefore, made out a very different list of names for the Privy Council, though he found it politic to insert almost as many names of Presbyterians as of Royalists, but with the purpose of gradually changing them.

The first Privy Council of Charles, therefore, consisted of the king's brothers, the Dukes of York and Gloucester, the Marquis of Ormond, the Earls of Lindsay, Southampton, Manchester, St. Albans, Berkshire, Norwich, Leicester, and Northumberland, the Marquises of Hertford and Dorchester, Lords Saye and Sele, Seymour, Colepepper, Wentworth, Roberts, and Berkeley, Sir Frederick Cornwallis, Sir George Carteret, Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, Sir Edward Nicholas, General Monk, and Morrice, his creature, who had assisted in the negotiations with the king, Colonel Charles Howard, Arthur Annesley, Denzil Holles, and Montague, general, or rather admiral, for as yet no distinctly naval officer was known—military commanders fought both on sea and land.

Amongst these Clarendon was Lord Chancellor and Prime Minister, the Duke of York was already appointed Lord High Admiral, to which was now added the Wardenship of the Cinque Ports and other offices. Sir Edward Nicholas and Morrice were joint Secretaries of State; the Earl of Southampton was made Lord Treasurer, the Marquis of Ormond Lord Steward, and the Earl of Manchester Lord Chamberlain. Monk was appointed Commander-in-Chief of all the forces in the three kingdoms, according to stipulation, and to this office was now added Master of the Horse, and he was created Duke of Albemarle, in addition to several inferior titles. His wife, who was originally a milliner, and after that had been his mistress, now figured boldly and ambitiously amongst the ladies of the Court.

The Parliament, both Lords and Commons, lost no time in seizing all such of the late king's judges as survived or were within the kingdom. The Parliament, which had no proper election—having been summoned by no lawful authority, but at Monk's command, and had obtained the name of Convention Parliament—passed an Act, which Charles authenticated, to legalise themselves, notwithstanding which it was still called by the old name of the Convention. Before the king could arrive, however, they had seized Clement, one of the king's judges, and ordered the seizure of the goods and estates of all the other regicides. On the king's arrival Denzil Holles and the Presbyterians—whose resentment against the Independents, who had so often put them out of Parliament, was blinded by desire of vengeance to the fact that the Royalists would not be long in turning on them who had done their best to dethrone Charles I., though they had not joined in putting him to death—now went in a body to Whitehall, and throwing themselves at Charles's feet, confessed that they were guilty of the horrid crime of rebellion, and implored the king's grace and pardon. Charles affected the most magnanimous clemency, and advised them to pass a Bill of Indemnity, which he had promised from Breda. But this apparent liberality was only the necessary step to the completion of his vengeance, for the declaration left to Parliament such exceptions as it thought proper; and in the present complying mood of Parliament, these exceptions would be just as numerous as the Court required. Monk had, in negotiating with Charles and Clarendon, recommended that only four should be excepted, but Clarendon and the king had long made up their minds that few of the king's judges should escape; and in this they were boldly urged on by the Royalists, who, says Clarendon, could not bear to meet the men on the king's highways, now they were the king's again, who rode on the very horses they had plundered them of, and had their houses and estates in possession.

The Commons were as ready as the Court for vengeance against their late successful rivals and[195] masters; and though Monk again urged that not more than seven should be excepted on a capital charge, they decided that ten should be tried for their lives, namely, Scott, Holland, Lisle, Barkstead, Harrison, Saye, Jones, Coke, the solicitor, Broughton, clerk to the High Court of Justice, and Dendy, who had acted as serjeant-at-arms during the trial. They then requested the king to order by proclamation all those concerned in his late father's trial to surrender themselves within fourteen days. About a score felt it much the safest to escape across the sea, but nineteen surrendered—all, but the ten doomed to death, imagining they should escape with some minor punishment. But the thirst for vengeance became every day more violent. The Commons named twenty more for exception, whose lives were to be spared, but who were to suffer forfeiture of estate and perpetual imprisonment. These were Vane, St. John, Haselrig, Ireton, brother of the deceased major-general, Desborough, Lambert, Fleetwood, Axtel, Sydenham, Lenthall, Burton, Keeble, Pack, Blackwell, Pyne, Deane, Creed, Nye, Goodwin, and Cobbett. Moreover, all such as had not surrendered to the late proclamation were excluded from the benefit of the Bill of Indemnity.

This sanguinary list, however, did not satisfy the Lords when the Bill was sent up to them. They had suffered such indignities from the Independent leaders, that they could not bring themselves to forgive, and they altered the Bill, voting that every man who had sat on the king's trial, or signed the death-warrant, should be tried as a traitor for his life. They went even further, and excepted six others, who had neither sat nor voted—namely, Vane, Hacker, Lambert, Haselrig, Axtel, and Peters; and, as if luxuriating in revenge, they allowed the relatives of several of their own body who had been put to death under the Commonwealth, amongst whom were the Earl of Derby and the Duke of Hamilton, to sit as judges. The Commons accepted the Bill as thus altered, and would have made it still more atrocious, but Charles, who was extremely pressed for money, sent desiring them to come to an end with this Bill, and hasten the money Bill.

The Commons voted the king seventy thousand pounds a month for present necessities, and then proceeded to pass not only the Indemnity Bill, but to vote the king a liberal permanent revenue. In striking contrast to the early Parliaments of his father, they at once gave him the tonnage and poundage for life. Although this was one of the chief causes of the quarrel between Charles I. and his Parliament, and one of the main causes of the war and of his decapitation, this Parliament yielded the point at once. They, moreover, ordered that the army, of which Charles was afraid, should be disbanded, and that the 29th of May should be kept as a day of perpetual thanks giving to Providence, for having restored his majesty to the nation. All these favours to Charles they offered with the humility of men who were seeking favours for themselves, and being urged by Charles to settle the amount of his revenue altogether, they appointed a committee of inquiry on the subject, which decided that, as the income of his father had been about one million one hundred thousand pounds, his income should, considering the different value of money, be fixed at the unexampled sum of one million two hundred thousand pounds per annum. This income was to be settled by a Bill in the next session.

The question of religion, and the question of forfeited property, whether belonging to the Crown, the Church, or individuals, was next brought on, and led to most stormy discussions. The result was that two Bills were passed, called the Bill of Sales and the Ministers Bill. By the Bill of Sales all the Crown lands were ordered to be restored forthwith; but the Church lands were left in abeyance for the present; the lands of individuals were also deferred to a future session. The Ministers Bill was intended to expel from the pulpits of the Church all such ministers as had been installed there since the Parliament came into power. It did not, however, give satisfaction to the Church, for it admitted all such as entered on livings legally vacant at the time to retain them. A considerable number of Presbyterian clergymen thus remained in possession, but the Independents were thoroughly excited by a clause which provided that all ministers who had not been ordained by an ecclesiastic, who had interfered in the matter of infant baptism, or had been concerned in the trial of the king, or in its justification from press or pulpit, should be excluded. Thus the Royalists were incensed at the Bill of Sales, which they called an indemnity Bill for the king's enemies, and of oblivion for his friends, and the clergy of the Church were equally enraged to see a great number of livings still left to the Presbyterians.

On the 13th of September Charles prorogued the Parliament till the 6th of November, and promised during the recess to have what was called the "healing question of religion," that is, the[196] settlement of the Church, discussed by competent parties, and to publish a declaration on the subject. Accordingly the Presbyterians were very soon promised a meeting with some of the Episcopalian clergy, and they were quite willing, seeing that they could no longer have matters their own way in the Church, to accept a platform of compromise laid down by Archbishop Ussher before his death, in which scheme the Church was to be governed by a union of suffragan bishops and synods or presbyteries, so as to unite the two great sects. But the foremost prelates and clergy of the Episcopalian Church, who were resolved to have the whole State Church to themselves, would listen to nothing so liberal or unorthodox. They refused to meet the Presbyterian clergy, and therefore Charles summoned the leaders of this sect to meet some of his chief privy councillors and ministers, as well as various bishops, at Whitehall, where Baxter and Calamy again proposed Ussher's scheme, which was as zealously rejected by the Episcopalians. The Presbyterians quoted the Eikon Basilike, to show that Charles I. was favourable to Ussher's plan, but Charles, who knew very well that the book was Dr. Gauden's, and not his father's, drily remarked that all in that work was not gospel. But what proved a complete damper to all parties, was a proposal read by Clarendon as having the king's approbation, namely, that others, besides the two parties in question, should have full liberty for religious worship, and should not be disturbed by magistrate or peace officer, provided they themselves did not disturb the peace. This was at once felt to mean toleration to the Catholics as well as the Nonconformists, and was received with silent repugnance.

On the 25th of October was issued the promised declaration for healing the strife. It went to unite the Presbyterian form of government with the Episcopal. There were to be presbyteries and synods, and no bishop was to ordain ministers or exercise the censures of the Church without the advice and assistance of the presbyteries. Presbyters were to be elected deans and canons; a number of divines of each sect were to be chosen by the king to revise the Liturgy, and all points of difference should be left unsettled till this revision was made; and no person should be molested on account of taking the Sacrament standing or kneeling, for making or not making the sign of the cross in baptism, for bowing or not bowing at the name of Jesus, for wearing or not wearing the surplice. The Presbyterians were delighted at the prospect thus afforded of free admission to good livings and dignities; but the Episcopalians intended nothing less than that any such thing should ever come to pass.

With more earnest intention the Government proceeded to judge the Regicides, and soon stepped up to the knees in blood. On the 9th of October the trials commenced at the Old Bailey, before thirty-four Commissioners appointed for the purpose. True bills were found against twenty-nine of the prisoners—namely, Sir Hardress Waller, Harrison, Carew, Cook, Hugh Peters, Scott, Clement, Scrope, Jones, Hacker, Axtel, Heveningham, Marten, Millington, Tichbourne, Row, Kilburn, Harvey, Pennington, Smith, Downes, Potter, Garland, Fleetwood, Meyn, J. Temple, P. Temple, Hewlet, and Waite.

The first man tried was Waller, who pleaded guilty, and had his life spared; the second was Harrison, the late Major-General. Harrison was a sincere and honest Fifth-Monarchy man. He said, "I humbly conceive that what was done, was done in the name of the Parliament of England; that what was done, was done by their power and authority; and I do humbly conceive it is my duty to offer unto you in the beginning, that this court, or any court below the High Court of Parliament, hath no jurisdiction of their actions." But all argument was useless addressed to such ears. Sir Orlando Bridgeman, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, who had the management of the trials, told the grand jury in his charge that no authority whatever, either of a single person or of Parliament, had any coercive power over the king. This man had received very different treatment under the Protectorate. He had submitted to Cromwell, who had not only accepted his submission, but had allowed him privately to practise the law, and in this capacity he had acted as spy and agent for Cromwell. He continually interrupted Scott, Carew, and others, when they justified their conduct on the same ground of Parliamentary sanction. The people, notwithstanding their late acclamations, could not help raising loud murmurs at these arbitrary interruptions. The prisoners defended themselves with calm intrepidity, and when Bridgeman retorted on Carew that the Parliament that he talked of was the Commons alone, a thing without precedent, Carew replied, "there never was such a war, or such a precedent;" and he boldly upbraided Bridgeman with giving evidence as a witness whilst sitting as a judge. All these were condemned to death. The clever and facetious Harry Marten made a most ingenious and persevering defence,[197] and extremely puzzled the Commissioners. He took exception to the indictment, declaring that he was not even mentioned in it. When he was shown the name Henry Marten, he objected that that was not his name, which was Harry Marten. This was overruled, but he went on to plead that the statute of Henry VIII. exempted from high treason any one acting under a king de facto, though he should not be king de jure; that the Parliament at that time was the supreme power, including the functions of both king and Parliament; that it was, in fact, the only authority there was in the country; and that it had from age to age been contended and admitted that God indicated the rightful power by giving it victory. Such was the authority that God at the time had set over them, and under that they had acted. His arguments were thrown away, and it was on this occasion that the absurd story—a typical example of many other silly stories that continued to be circulated for generations—was first given in evidence by a soldier, of him and Cromwell, on the signing of the death-warrant of the king, wiping their pens on each other's faces.


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After a trial in which every ingenious and valid plea was advanced by the prisoners to deaf ears, all were condemned to death, but ten only were at present executed—Harrison, Scott, Carew, Jones, Clement, Scrope, Coke, Axtel, Hacker, and Hugh Peters, Cromwell's chaplain. Peters, by his enthusiasm and wild eloquence, had undoubtedly roused the spirit of the Parliamentarians, and especially of the army, but he had had no particular concern in the king's death, and had often exerted himself to obtain mercy and kind treatment not only for the king, but for suffering Royalists. He declared on the trial that he had never been influenced by interest or malice in all[198] that he had done; that he never received a farthing from Cromwell for his services; and that he had no hand in exciting the war, for he was abroad fourteen years, and found the war in full action on his return. Peters, whose character has been greatly maligned by the Cavaliers and their historians, appears really to have been a sincere and upright patriot; but his pleas were as useless as those of all the others.

Harrison was drawn first to Charing Cross on a hurdle. His conduct was cheerful and even animated, as with triumph he declared that many a time he had begged the Lord, if He had any hard, any reproachful, or contemptible service to be done by His people, that he might be employed in it; and that now his prayers were answered. Several times he cried out as he was drawn along, that he suffered in the most glorious cause in the world; and when a low wretch asked him, "Where's your good old cause now?" he replied, "Here it is!" clapping his hand on his heart, "and I am going to seal it with my blood." He was put to death with all the horrors of the most barbarous times, cut down alive, his bowels torn out whilst he was alive, and then his quivering heart held up to the people. Charles witnessed this revolting scene at a little distance, and yet that heartless man let the whole of the condemned suffer the same bloody barbarities. They all went to their hideous death with the same heroic spirit, and in order to daunt the old preacher, Hugh Peters, he was taken to see the hanging, drawing, and quartering of Coke, but it only seemed to animate him the more. The effect of this and of the addresses of the undaunted Regicides from the scaffold was such, that the people began to show evident disgust of these cruelties; and when Scott's turn came, the executioners endeavoured to drown his words, so that he said it must be a very bad cause that could not hear the words of a dying man. But the words and noble courage of these dying men, Bishop Burnet observes, "their show of piety, their justifying all they had done, not without a seeming joy for their suffering on that account, caused the king to be advised not to proceed further, or at least not to have the scene so near the Court as Charing Cross."

About a month before Harrison's execution, the Duke of Gloucester died of small-pox; and scarcely were the royal shambles closed for awhile when the Princess of Orange, who had come over to congratulate her brother, the king, died of small-pox, too. "At Court," says Pepys, "things are in very ill condition, there being so much emulation, poverty, and the vices of drinking, swearing, and loose amours, that I know not what will be the end of it but confusion; and the clergy are so high that all people that I meet with do protest against their practice." Sober people must have looked back with a strange feeling to the earnest and manly times of the Protectorate. But death and marriage merriments were oddly mingled in this bacchanalian Court. The daughter of old Clarendon, Ann Hyde, was married to the Duke of York, and was delivered of a son just six weeks afterwards. The queen-mother (Henrietta Maria), the Princess of Orange, and the Princess Henrietta, were violently opposed to so unroyal a marriage, but the old Chancellor had the influence with Charles to carry it through, and, instead of a disgrace, to convert it into a triumph. The wily politician pretended himself to have been not only grossly deceived in the matter, but to be intensely angry, and told Charles, according to his own account in his autobiography, on hearing the news, that if the marriage had really taken place, he would advise that "the king should immediately cause the woman to be sent to the Tower, and to be cast into a dungeon, under so strict a guard, that no living person should be permitted to come to her; and then that an Act of Parliament should be immediately passed for cutting off her head, to which he would not only give his consent, but would very willingly be the first to propose it." This picture of the heroism of a savage, however, ill agrees with the accounts of the Chancellor's real concern in the matter. Evelyn, in his diary, says, "The queen would fain have undone it, but it seems that matters were reconciled on great offers of the Chancellor's to befriend her, who was so much in debt, and was now to have the settlement of her affairs go through his hands." Accordingly, about six weeks after the arrival of Henrietta Maria at Whitehall the marriage was publicly acknowledged.

Amid all these disgraceful transactions Parliament met on the 6th of November, 1660. They proceeded to pass into a Bill the king's "healing declaration" regarding religion. The Presbyterians were in high spirits, but they were soon made to feel their folly in bringing back the Episcopalian Church with its Episcopalian head. The clergy were not so high for nothing. They knew very well what the king would do when the matter was pressed to an issue, and accordingly the expectant Presbyterians found the Court party not only voting, but openly speaking against the Bill.[199] Morrice, the creature of Monk, and now Secretary of State, and Heneage Finch, the Solicitor-General, strenuously opposed it, Finch not scrupling to avow that "it was not the king's desire that the Bill should proceed." It was thrown out, and the duped Presbyterians, instead of being persecutors, found persecution let loose upon them. The Convention Parliament, having satisfied the Court in this measure, on the 8th of December voted the attainder of Oliver Cromwell, Ireton, and Bradshaw, and, having got this sanction, on the 30th of January, 1661, the Court, under cover of the clergy's pious zeal, sent a rabble of constables to tear open the graves of these great Regicides, to drag their decaying corpses to Tyburn on hurdles, to hang them, to cut them down and behead them, and then, throwing their putrid bodies into a hole under the gallows, to stick their heads on poles on the top of Westminster Hall. They proceeded to perpetrate the same revolting atrocities on the bodies of innocent and virtuous women, and on some of the most illustrious men of our annals. The remains of the brave old mother of Cromwell; of his amiable daughter, Lady Claypole; of Dorislaus, the envoy of the Parliament who had been murdered by the retainers of this Charles II. at the Hague; of May, the historian of the Parliament, and the excellent translator of Lucan's "Pharsalia;" of Pym, the great and incorruptible champion of English liberty; and of Blake, the most famous admiral that the country had yet produced, whose name alone gave it a world-wide renown, were dragged forth out of their resting-places. These, and every other body which had been buried in the Abbey whilst the Commonwealth lasted, were flung into a pit in St. Margaret's churchyard.

The settlement of the revenue by the Convention Parliament was more successful than the legislation with regard to the Church. It was determined at all events to get rid of the vexatious duties of feudal tenure; for, though they had long ceased to have any real meaning, fines were still executed on alienation of property, and reliefs exacted on the accession to his property of each new Crown tenant. Minors were still wards of the Crown, and were still liable to the odious necessity of marrying at the will of their guardian. All these claims of the Crown were now abolished. Their place was supplied, not as might naturally be supposed by a land-tax, but by an excise upon beer and other liquors, the landed interests thus finding means to shift the burden upon the shoulders of the whole nation. The sum at which the revenue was fixed was one million two hundred thousand pounds a year.

This great bargain having been completed at the close of the year, the Convention Parliament was dissolved. The year 1661 opened with a Fifth-Monarchy riot. Though Harrison and some others of that faith were put to death, and others, as Overton, Desborough, Day, and Courtenay, were in the Tower, there were secret conventicles of these fanatics in the City, and one of these in Coleman Street was headed by a wine-cooper of the name of Venner, who, as we have already seen, gave Cromwell trouble in his time. On the night of the 6th of January, Venner, with fifty or sixty other enthusiasts, rushed from their conventicle, where he had been counselling his followers not to preach, but to act. They marched through the City towards St. Paul's, calling on the people to come forth and declare themselves for King Jesus. They drove some of the train-bands before them, broke the heads of opposing watchmen, but were at length dispersed by the Lord Mayor, supported by the citizens, and fled to Caen Wood, between Highgate and Hampstead. On the 9th, however, they returned again, confident that no weapons or bullets could harm them, and once more they put the train-bands and the king's life-guards to the rout. At length, however, they were surrounded, overpowered, and, after a considerable number were killed, sixteen were taken prisoners, including Venner himself. He and eleven others were hanged, the rest being acquitted for want of evidence. Pepys says there were five hundred of the insurgents, and their cry was, "The King Jesus, and their heads upon the gates!" that is, the heads of their leaders who had been executed and stuck there.

Charles at the time was at Portsmouth with his mother, and Clarendon made the most of the riot, representing it as an attempt to liberate the Regicides in the Tower, and restore the Commonwealth. Fresh troops were raised and officered with staunch Royalists, and a large standing army of that stamp would soon have been formed, had not strong remonstrances been made by the Earl of Southampton and others, and equally strong obstacles being existent in the want of money. The House of Commons, moreover, spoke out plainly before its dissolution, as to the raising of a new army, saying, they were grown too wise to be fooled into another army, for they had discovered that the man who had the command of it could make a king of himself, though he was none before. The known intention to put the Duke of[200] York at the head of it was another strong objection. So the design for the present was abandoned.

ARREST OF ARGYLL. (See p. 201.)

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In England, Scotland, and Ireland the king was, of course, beset by the claims of those who had stood by his father, or could set up any plea of service. There were claims for restoration of estates, and claims for rewards. Charles was not the man to trouble himself much about such matters, except to get rid of them. In Ireland the Catholics and Protestants equally advanced their claims. The Protestants declared that they had been the first in Ireland to invite him back, and the Catholics that they had been strongly on the late king's side, had fought for him both in Scotland and England, and had suffered severely from the late usurpers. The Protestants, however, were in possession of the forfeited estates, and Charles dared not rouse a Protestant opposition by doing justice to the Catholics, who, though the more numerous, were far the weaker party. Besides, the different interests of the claiming parties were so conflicting, that to satisfy all sides was impossible. Some of the Protestants were Episcopalians, some Presbyterians. The latter had been vehement for the Commonwealth, but to ward off the royal vengeance they had, on the fall of Richard Cromwell, been the first to tender their allegiance to Charles, and propitiate him by an offer of a considerable sum of money. Then there were Protestant loyalists, whose property under the Commonwealth had been confiscated, and there were the Catholics, who had suffered from both parties, even when ready to serve the king. There were officers who had served in the Royal army before 1649, and had never received the arrears of their pay; there were also the widows and orphans of such. To decide these incompatible demands Charles appointed a Commission. But little good could possibly accrue from this, for though there were lands sufficient to have pacified all who had just claims, these had been lavishly bestowed on Monk, the Duke of York, Ormond, Kingston, and others. Every attempt to take back lands, however unjustly held by Protestants, threatened to excite a Protestant cry of a dangerous favouring of Catholics, and of a design to reinstate the[201] Papists, who, they averred, had massacred a hundred thousand Protestants during the rebellion. Charles satisfied himself with restoring the bishops and the property of the Episcopalian Church, and left the Commission to settle the matter. But appeals from this impassive tribunal were made to himself, and he at length published his celebrated declaration for the settlement of Ireland, by which the adventurers and soldiers who had been planted on the estates of the Irish by the Commonwealth were to retain them, except they were the estates of persons who had remained entirely neutral, in which case adventurers and soldiers were to have an equivalent from the fund for reprisals. But this settled nothing, for so many charges were advanced against those who pleaded they were innocent, that few were allowed to be so. The matter was next brought before the Irish Parliament, and there again was division. The Commons, who had been appointed through the influence of the soldiers and adventurers, voted that the king's declaration should pass into law. The Lords, on the contrary, protested that it would ruin all the old families, both Catholic and Protestant. The contending parties once more appealed to the king, who, wearied with the interminable strife, seized the opportunity of the discovery of a paper formerly signed by Sir Nicholas Plunket, one of the agents of the appellants, offering Ireland to the Pope or any Catholic power who would defend them against the Parliament, to dismiss their appeal, and the Bill, based on the Royal declaration, was passed. It was soon found, however, that it was not easy to carry this law into execution.

Scotland was restored to its condition of an independent kingdom. The survivors of the Committee of Estates, which had been left in management on Charles's disastrous march into England, previous to the battle of Worcester, were ordered to resume their functions. Middleton was appointed Lord Commissioner; Glencairn Lord Chancellor; the Earl of Lauderdale Secretary of State; Rothes President of the Council; and Crawford Lord Treasurer. A Parliament was summoned to meet in Edinburgh in January, 1661, and its first measure was to restore the Episcopal hierarchy. To completely destroy every civil right of the Presbyterian Kirk, Middleton procured the passing of an Act to annul all the proceedings of the Scottish Parliament since the commencement of the contest with the late king. Even the Lord Treasurer Crawford opposed this measure, declaring that as the late king had been present at one of these Parliaments, and the present one at another, therefore to repeal the Acts of these Parliaments would be to rescind the Act of Indemnity and the approval of the Engagement. Middleton carried his point, and levelled every political right of the Kirk at a blow. The ministers of the Kirk in astonishment met to consult and to protest; they sent a deputation to the king with a remonstrance; but they arrived at a time likely to inspire them with awe, and did not escape without a painful evidence that they were no longer in the proud position of their fathers. Charles had shed the blood of vengeance plentifully in England, and there were those in Scotland whom he looked on with a menacing eye. The chief of these was the Marquis of Argyll. Argyll had been the head and leader of the Covenanters. He had counselled with and encouraged the General Assembly in its resistance to the late king's measures. He had been his most persevering enemy, and, finally, he had encouraged the invasion of England by the Scots, and had been the first to support Cromwell, even sitting in the Parliament of his son Richard. Argyll was well aware that he was an object of resentment, and kept himself secure in the Highlands. But his son, Lord Lorne, had been a steady and zealous opponent of Cromwell and the Commonwealth, and he was one of the first to congratulate Charles on his restoration. To lay hold on Argyll in his mountains was no easy matter, but if he could be beguiled from his fastnesses to Court, he might be at once punished. No symptoms of the remembrance of the past, therefore, escaped the king or his ministers, and Argyll deceived by this, and by the friendly reception of his son, wrote proposing to pay his respects to his sovereign in the capital. Charles returned him a friendly answer, and the unwary victim was not long in making his appearance in London. But he was not admitted to an audience at Whitehall, but instantly arrested and committed to the Tower. He was then sent down to Scotland to be tried by the king's ministers there, some of them, as Lauderdale and Middleton, hideous to their own age and to posterity for their sanguinary cruelty. Besides, they were eager to possess themselves of Argyll's splendid patrimony, and they pursued his impeachment with an unshrinking and unblushing ferocity which astonished even the king.

Argyll pleaded that he had only acted as the whole nation had done, and with the sanction of Parliament; that the late king had passed an Act of Oblivion for all transactions prior to 1641,[202] and the present king had given an Act of Indemnity up to 1651; that, up to that period, he could not, therefore, be called in question; that he had been out of the country during the time that most of the barbarities alleged had been committed; and that as to the Marquis of Montrose, he had been the first to commence a system of burning and extermination, and that they were compelled to treat him in the same manner. And finally, his compliance with Cromwell was not a thing peculiar to himself. They had all been coerced by that successful man; so much so, that his Majesty's Lord Advocate, then his persecutor, had taken the Engagement to him. This latter plea was the most unfortunate one that he could have used, for nothing but augmented malice could be the result of it, and there was enough of that already in the minds of his judges. Fletcher, the Lord Advocate, was thrown into a fury by the remark, called the marquis an impudent villain, and added an additional article to the charges against him—that of having conspired the late king's death.

Lord Lorne procured a letter from Charles, ordering the Lord Advocate to introduce no charge prior to 1651, and directing that on the conclusion of the trial, the proceedings should be submitted to the king before judgment was given. This would have defeated Argyll's foes had the king been honest in the matter; but Middleton represented to Charles that to stay judgment till the proceedings had been inspected by the king would look like distrust of the Parliament, and might much discourage that loyal body. Charles allowed matters, therefore, to take their course; but Middleton was again disappointed by Gilmore, the President of the Court of Sessions, declaring that all charges against the marquis since 1651 were less valid for the purposes of an attainder than those which had excited so much controversy in the cause of the Earl of Strafford, and he carried the Parliament with him. Argyll and his friends now calculated on his escape, but this was not intended. A number of letters were hunted out, said to have been written to Monk and other Commonwealth men whilst they were in power, expressing his attachment to their cause, and his decided disapprobation of the king's proceedings. These were decisive. Though the time was passed when fresh evidence could legally be introduced, these letters were read in Parliament, and the effect was that of a thunderbolt falling in the midst of Argyll's friends. They at once disappeared, overwhelmed with confusion, and sentence of death was passed on the marquis. That no time might be allowed for an appeal to the king, who wished to be excused refusing the favour of his life to his son, Argyll's execution was ordered in two days. In vain the unfortunate nobleman pleaded for ten days, in order that the king's pleasure might be ascertained; it was denied him, and understanding from that the determination of the king, he remarked, "I set the crown on his head at Scone, and this is my reward." He employed the short space left him in earnest prayer, and in the midst of his devotions, believing that he heard a voice saying, "Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee!" he was wonderfully consoled and strengthened, and ascended the scaffold with a calm intrepidity which astonished and disappointed his enemies. Before laying his head on the block, he declared his ardent attachment to the Covenanters in words which flew to every quarter of Scotland, and raised him to the rank of a martyr in the estimation of the people. His head was stuck on the same spike that had received that of Montrose.

Next to Argyll, the malice of the king and Cavaliers was fiercest against Johnston of Warriston, and Swinton. Warriston was the uncle of Bishop Burnet, a most eloquent and energetic man, who had certainly done his utmost for the maintenance of the Covenant, and against the tyranny of Charles I. He was now an old man, but he fled to France, where, however, he was not long safe, for the French Government gave him up, and he was sent back and hanged. Swinton, who had turned Quaker, escaped, perhaps through Middleton's jealousy of Lauderdale, who had obtained the gift of Swinton's estate, but more probably by a substantial benefit from the estate to the Court.

The wrath of Charles next fell on the deputation of twelve eminent ministers, who had dared to present a remonstrance against the suppression of the privileges of the Kirk. They were thrown into prison, but were ultimately dismissed except Guthrie, one of the most daring and unbendable of them. He had formerly excommunicated Middleton, and had been one of the authors of the tract, "The Causes of God's Wrath." Since the Restoration he had called a public meeting to remind the king of having taken the Covenant, and to warn him against employing Malignants. Guthrie was hanged, and along with him a Captain Govan, who had, whilst the king was in Scotland, deserted to Cromwell; but why he was selected from among a host of such offenders no one could tell. This closed the catalogue of Scottish political executions for the present.


But in another form Charles and his brutal ministers were preparing deluges of fresh blood in another direction. Middleton assured Charles that the restoration of prelacy was now the earnest desire of the nation, and a proclamation was issued announcing the king's intention. Only one of the bishops of Laud's making was now alive, Sydserfe, a man of no estimation, who was sent to the distant see of Orkney, though he aspired to the archiepiscopal one of St. Andrews. That dignity was reserved for a very different man, Sharp, a pretended zealot for the Kirk, who, at the same time that he urged Middleton to restore episcopacy, persuaded his clerical brethren to send him up to London to defend the independence of the Kirk. He went, and to the astonishment and indignation of the ministers and people, returned Archbishop of St. Andrews. He endeavoured, in a letter to Middleton of May 28th, to prove that he had served the Kirk faithfully till he saw that it was of no avail, and that he took the post to keep out violent and dangerous men. This, after such a change, could be only regarded as the poor excuse of an unprincipled man. His incensed and abandoned friends heaped on him execrations, and accused him of incontinency, infanticide, and other heinous crimes. By this measure, and the co-operation of Middleton and Lauderdale, all the old bitterness was revived, and the horrors of a persecution which has scarcely an example in history, were witnessed. By Sharp's advice three other bishops were appointed, Fairfowl to the see of Glasgow, Hamilton to Galloway, and Dr. Robert Leighton to Dunblane. Leighton was the son of that Dr. Leighton whom Laud had so unmercifully treated and mutilated for his tract against prelacy. And now his son embraced prelacy, but was a very different man to Sharp—pious, liberal, learned, and a real ornament to the Church, though entering it by such a change. The four bishops went up to London to receive ordination, which was administered to them by Sheldon, Bishop of London, at Westminster, with a splendour which greatly offended the Puritan simplicity of Leighton. They were invited to take their seats in the House of Parliament, where Leighton had very soon an opportunity of opposing the introduction of the oath of Allegiance and Supremacy, which, however, all men were required to take. Sharp drove on this and other irritating measures; all meetings of presbyteries and synods were prohibited under penalty of treason, and Sharp soon recommended the enforcement of an oath abjuring the Solemn League and Covenant; and with these terrible weapons in their hands, Middleton, Sharp, and Lauderdale drove the Presbyterians from all offices in the Church, State, or magistracy, and many were compelled to flee from the country. The most astonishing thing was, that the spirit of the people had been so subdued by the arms and supremacy of Cromwell, that, instead of rising as their fathers did, they submitted in passive surprise. It required fresh indignities and atrocities to raise them again to the fighting pitch, and they came. In a short time the number of prelates was augmented to fourteen, and the Kirk appeared to be extinguished in Scotland.

Whilst these things were taking place in Ireland and Scotland, in England the king and his Cavalier courtiers were running a high career, and the new Parliament proved violently Royalist. The old great families, the old gentry, the Cavaliers, and the clergy, were all united to strain every old corrupt practice to pack a Parliament of their own fashion. Royalists, Cavaliers, and the sons of Cavaliers predominated in the new Parliament, which met on the 8th of May, 1661. Not more than fifty or sixty of the Presbyterian party were elected, for the Cavaliers everywhere proclaimed them the enemies of the monarchy, and they were scared into silence. This Parliament acquired the name of the Pension Parliament, and, to the disgrace of the country, continued to sit much longer than the so-called Long Parliament, of which the constitution was so altered as occasion demanded that it could not be properly regarded as one Parliament from 1640 to 1660—it continued eighteen years. The Parliament and the Church far outran the Court in zeal for the destruction of liberty and the restoration of a perfect despotism. The Commons commenced their proceedings by requiring every member, on pain of expulsion, to take the Sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England. They ordered, in conjunction with the Lords, the Solemn League and Covenant to be burnt by the common hangman; they proposed to annul all the statutes of the Long Parliament, and restore the Star Chamber and Court of High Commission, but in this they failed. They passed a Bill declaring that neither House, nor both Houses together, had any legislative power without the king; that in him resided the sole command of the militia, and all other forces of land and sea; and that an oath should be taken, by all members of corporations, magistrates, and other persons bearing office, to this effect:—"I do declare and believe that it is not lawful upon any pretence whatever[204] to take arms against the king, and that I do abhor that traitorous position of taking arms by his authority against his person, or against those commissioned by him." This was called the Corporation Oath. They restored the bishops to their seats in the House of Peers; they made Episcopalian ordination indispensable to Church preferment; they revived the old Liturgy without any concession to the prejudices of the Presbyterians, and thus drove two thousand ministers from the Church in one day; they reminded the sufferers that the Long Parliament had done the same, but they did not imitate that Parliament in allowing the ejected ministers an annuity to prevent them from starving; they declared it a high misdemeanour to call the king a Papist, that is, to speak the truth, for he was notoriously one; increased the rigour of the law of treason, and knocked on the head the last chance of popular liberty by abolishing the right of sending petitions to Parliament with more than twenty names attached, except by permission of three justices of the peace, or the majority of the grand jury. When this Parliament had done these notable feats, and passed a Bill of Supply, Charles prorogued it till the 28th of November.

On assembling at this date Parliament was alarmed by Clarendon with rumours of fresh conspiracies in the country. The object was to obtain the death of more of the Regicides. The Commons fell readily into the snare. To make a spectacle of disaffected men, they ordered three eminent Commonwealth men—Lord Monson, Sir Henry Mildmay, and Sir Robert Wallop, to be drawn with ropes round their necks from the Tower to Tyburn and back again, to remain perpetual prisoners. But this did not satisfy them; they must have more blood, and though Charles had promised their lives to Sir Harry Vane and General Lambert, they demanded their trial and execution; and Charles, who had no more regard for his word than his father, complied. They were to be tried the next session. Parliament then proceeded to draw up a more stringent Conformity Bill, which passed both Houses. This Bill enacted that every clergyman should publicly, before his congregation, declare his assent to everything contained in the Common Prayer Book, and that every preacher who had not received Episcopal ordination must do so before the next feast of St. Bartholomew. They added some new collects, in one of which they styled the lecherous monarch "our most religious king." They made the 30th of January a holiday for ever, in memory of "King Charles the martyr;" and voted the king a subsidy of one million two hundred thousand pounds, and a hearth tax for ever. The king then prorogued them on the 19th of May, 1662, with many professions of economy and reformation of manners, one of which he observed as much as the other.

Of the improvement of his morals he soon gave a striking example. The Duke of York, as has been stated, had married Anne Hyde, though she had been his mistress and was on the point of being delivered of an illegitimate child, which Charles Berkeley publicly claimed as his own, and brought forward the Earls of Arran, Talbot, Jermyn, and others to testify to her loose conduct. Berkeley was afterwards brought to contradict his own statement; but these circumstances, and James's gloomy and bigoted temper, rendered it desirable that Charles should marry. Heirs and heiresses he had in abundance, had they been legitimate. Besides Lucy Walters or Barlow, by whom he had the Duke of Monmouth, though the paternity of the child was generally awarded to the brother of Algernon Sidney—for Mrs. Walters or Barlow was very liberal of her favours—Charles had, on arriving in London, established a connection with the wife of a Mr. Palmer, whose maiden name was Barbara Villiers. The husband's connivance was purchased with the title of Earl of Castlemaine, and the countess was afterwards advanced to the rank of the Duchess of Cleveland.

As it was requisite for Charles, however, to marry, his ministers looked about for a suitable wife. Nothing could reconcile him to the idea of a German bride, and the Catholic princesses of the south were regarded by the nation with suspicion, both from the memory of the last queen, and the suspected tendency of Charles himself to Popery. Whilst Charles was in France, in 1659, he made an offer to the niece of Cardinal Mazarin, which that shrewd politician—who showed himself, however, a bad prophet—politely declined, for Charles was then a mere fugitive, and the cardinal did not foresee so sudden a change.

On the recall of Charles to the throne, both Mazarin and his master, Louis XIV., saw their mistake, for they had not only treated Charles with as much indifference as if it were a moral certainty that he could never again reach the throne of England, but had even sent him out of the country at the demand of Cromwell. Mazarin now offered his niece, but the scene was changed, and Charles no longer stooped to the niece of a[205] cardinal. Louis, who had no suitable princess of France to offer him, and who wanted to prevent Portugal from falling into the power of Spain, recommended to him Donna Catarina of Braganza, the Portuguese monarch's sister. Could he accomplish this match, Louis, who was bound by treaty with Spain to offer no aid to Portugal, might be able to do it under cover of the King of England. The king's ministers, after some apprehension on the score of the lady's religion, were of opinion that the match was desirable, if it were only for the great dowry offered—five hundred thousand pounds, the Settlements of Tangier in Africa, and Bombay in the East Indies, besides a free trade to all the Portuguese colonies. De Mello, the Portuguese ambassador in London, was informed that the proposal met the approbation of the king. To link the interests of France and England closer, the Princess Henrietta, Charles's youngest sister, was married to the Duke of Orleans, the only brother of the French king.




On the 13th of May the Portuguese princess arrived at Spithead; Charles was not there to receive her, pretending pressure of Parliamentary business, but he sent to request of her that the marriage ceremony after the Catholic form, which he had promised, might be waived. Catherine would not consent. On the 20th, Charles having arrived at Portsmouth, they were, therefore, married in private by Catherine's almoner, Stuart D'Aubigny, in the presence of Philip, afterwards Cardinal Howard, and five other witnesses, and subsequently in public by the Bishop of London.


On the journey to Hampton Court, and for a few days afterwards, Charles appeared extremely pleased with his wife, who—though she could not compete in person with the dazzling Lady Castlemaine, and has been described by some contemporaries as a homely person, as "a little swarthy body, proud, and ill-favoured"—is stated by others also to have been "a most pretty woman." According to Lely's portrait of her, she is a very pleasing brunette beauty, and by all accounts she was extremely amiable; but the misfortune was, that she had been brought up as in a convent, completely secluded from society, and therefore was little calculated, by the amount of her information, or the graces of her manners, to fascinate a person of Charles's worldly and volatile character.

How was such a woman to support her[206] influence with such a man against the beauty and determined temper of Lady Castlemaine, a woman as dissolute and unprincipled as she was handsome? In her fits of passion she often threatened the king to tear their children to pieces, and set his palace on fire; and when she was in these tempers, a contemporary says, "she resembled Medusa less than one of her dragons." Charles was the perfect slave of her charms and her passions. She had wrung from him a promise that his marriage should not cause him to withdraw himself from her, and having borne him a son a few days after his marriage, she only awaited her convalescence to take her place as one of the queen's own ladies. Catherine had heard of his amour before coming to England, for it was the talk of Europe, and her mother had bade her never to allow her name to be mentioned in her presence. But very soon the king presented her a list of the ladies of her household, and the first on the list she saw, to her astonishment, was Lady Castlemaine. She at once struck it out and, notwithstanding the king's remonstrances, declared that sooner than submit to such an indignity, she would return to Portugal. But she was not long in learning that no regard to her feelings was to be expected from this sensual and unfeeling monster. He brought Lady Castlemaine into the Queen's chamber, leading her by the hand, and presenting her before the assembled Court. Such a scandalous offence to public decorum, such a brutal insult to a young wife in a strange land, was perhaps never perpetrated before. Catherine, who did not recognise the name uttered by the king, received her graciously, and permitted her to kiss her hand; but a whisper from one of the Portuguese ladies made her aware of the outrage. She burst into tears, the blood gushed from her nostrils in the violent effort to subdue her feelings, and she fell senseless into the arms of her attendants. Instead of feeling any compunction for the pain thus inflicted on his wife, the demoralised reprobate was enraged at her for thus, as he called it, casting a slur on the reputation of the fair lady. He abused the queen for her perversity, and vowed that she should receive Lady Castlemaine as a lady of her bedchamber, as a due reparation for this public insult. It was in vain, however, that he stormed at his unhappy wife; she remained firm in her resolve, either to be freed from the pollution of the mistress's presence, or to return to Portugal. Clarendon and Ormond ventured to remonstrate with Charles on his cruelty, but Charles was especially indignant that they should "level the mistresses of kings and princes with other lewd women, it being his avowed doctrine that they ought to be looked upon as above other men's wives." However opposed such a doctrine may be to the more refined taste and purer morality of the present age, it was quite in harmony with the habits and feelings which regulated the social system of Europe at that period. Charles was at least no worse than Louis XIV., whose mistresses were admitted to the intimacy of married ladies of approved virtue and chastity. The same, too, may be said of the English Court under the first two kings of the House of Brunswick.

The part which Clarendon played on this occasion is greatly at variance with that reputation for honour, wisdom, virtue, and true dignity with which his admirers invest him. It shows that however much he might recoil at it, however deeply disgraceful and degrading he might feel it, he was ready to stoop to this disgrace and degradation, rather than sacrifice his interest at Court. Accordingly Charles let him know that he expected him not only to cease to object to his unmanly conduct to his wife, but to make himself the instrument of inducing her to submit to the ignominy; and the hoary moralist, the great minister and historian, showed himself humbly pliant, and set to work in earnest to bend the mind of this virtuous and outraged woman to the shame of receiving her husband's harlot as her daily companion and attendant. And this Clarendon did perseveringly, and at length successfully. When Catherine talked of returning to Portugal, he bade her understand that she was utterly in the power of her husband; that so far from going to Portugal, she could not even go out of the palace without his permission; and, in fact, he so worked upon the poor creature's terrors, backed by the savage threats of the king, that he broke her spirit, and taught her to acquiesce in an example of profligacy, which at once scandalised and corrupted the morals of the age. Charles, when Catherine repeated her determination to return to Portugal, told her rudely that she must first see whether her mother would receive her, and that he would send her Portuguese servants to ascertain that point; and he discharged all her attendants. Thus abandoned in a foreign country, the miserable queen told the Chancellor that she had to struggle with greater difficulties than any woman of her condition before; but that pattern minister only showed her that it was the more necessary to submit. And thus Clarendon complacently writes:—"In all this the king preserved his point; the lady[207] came to Court, was lodged there, was every day in the queen's presence, and the king in continual conference with her, whilst the queen sat untaken notice of; and if her Majesty rose at the indignity, and retired into her chamber, it may be one or two attended her; but all the company remained in the room she left, and too often said those things aloud which nobody ought to have whispered. She alone was left out in all jollities, and not suffered to have any part of those pleasant applications and caresses which she saw made abroad to everybody else; a universal mirth in all company but in hers, and in all places but in her chamber, her own servants showing more respect and more diligence to the person of the lady than towards their own mistress, who, they found, could do them less good. All these mortifications were too heavy to be borne, so that at last, when it was least expected or suspected, the queen of a sudden let herself fall first to conversation, and then to familiarity, and even in the same instant to a confidence with the lady; was merry with her in public, talked kindly of her, and in private used nobody more friendly."

Catherine was subdued to her yoke, and this was the treatment of an English king to a princess who brought him besides a splendid money dowry, the Settlement of Tangier, which might in any reign of sense and policy have been made a commanding station in the Mediterranean, and Bombay, our first Settlement in India, the nucleus of our present magnificent Indian empire.

Whilst these scenes had been passing in the palace, the lives of Cromwell's supporters were brought into question without. Vane and Lambert were put upon their trial before the Court of King's Bench on the 2nd of June. The prominent actors in the drama of the late Rebellion had both in their different ways done immense damage to Royalty; and though the Convention Parliament had requested Charles to leave them unpunished—notwithstanding that they were not included in the Bill of Indemnity—and Charles had assented, the Cavaliers could not rest satisfied without their blood. Lambert had been one of Cromwell's chief generals—one of his major-generals—and to the last he had done his best to maintain the cause of the Commonwealth by his sword, and had attempted to prevent the march of Monk at the very time that he was planning the return of the king. Vane had been one of the very ablest counsellors and diplomatists that the Commonwealth had had. True, he had not sat on the trial of the king, he had had no hand whatever in his death; but he had done two things which could never be forgotten or forgiven by the Royalists. He had furnished the minutes of the Privy Council from his father's cabinet, which determined the fate of Strafford, and the Court held him to be the real author of his death; next, though he did not assist in condemning the king, he accepted office under what was now termed the rebel Government. Besides and beyond these, he was a man of the highest diplomatic abilities, and of a spotless character and high religious temperament, which caused the vile spirit and lives of the new reigning power and party to look even viler by the contrast. The prisoners were charged with conspiring and compassing the death of the present king, and the recent acts in proof of this were alleged to be consulting with others to bring the king to destruction, and to keep him out of his kingdom and authority, and actually assembling in arms. These were vague and general charges, which might have been applied to all who had been engaged in the late Government, and on the same pleas all the Commonwealth men might have been put to death.

Lambert, who had been most courageous in the field, appeared, before a court of justice, a thorough coward. His late transactions had shown that he was a man of no military genius, and now he trembled at the sight of his judges. He assumed a very humble tone, pretended that when he opposed General Monk he did not know that he was a favourer of the house of Stuart, and he threw himself on the royal clemency. As there was clearly nothing to be feared from such a man, he received judgment of death, but was then sent to a prison in Guernsey for life, where he amused himself with painting and gardening.

But Vane showed by the ability with which he defended himself that he was a most dangerous man to so corrupt and contemptible a dynasty as now reigned. The nobility of his sentiments, the dignity of his conduct, and the acuteness of his reasonings, all marked a man who kept alive most perilous and disparaging reminiscences. Every plea that he advanced, and the power with which he advanced it, which before a fair and independent tribunal would have excited admiration, and ensured his acquittal, here only inspired terror and rage, and ensured his destruction. He contended that he was no traitor. By all principles of civil government, and by the statute of Henry VII., he had only contended against a man who was no longer king de facto. The Parliament, he said, before his union with it, had entered on[208] the contest with the late king, and put him, on what they held to be sufficient grounds, out of his former position and authority. Moreover, by the law of the land—the statute of the 11th of Henry VII., and the practice based upon it—the Parliament were become the reigning and rightful power. Under that power, and by the constitutional, acknowledged Government he had acted, taking no part in the shedding of the king's blood; and what he did after he did by the authority of the only ruling Government. He therefore denied the right of any court but the High Court of Parliament to call him in question, and he demanded counsel to assist him in any case in rebutting the charges against him. But every argument that he advanced only the more militated against himself. The court was met to condemn him and get rid of him, and the more he could prove its incompetence, the worse must their arbitrary injustice appear. The more he could prove the Commonwealth a rightful Government, the more must the present Government hate and dread him. The judges declared that Charles had never ceased to be king either de facto or de jure from the moment of his father's death. That he was not king de facto, but an outcast from England, deprived of all power and name, was notorious enough, but that mattered little; they were resolved to have it so. In order to induce Vane to plead, they promised him counsel, but when he had complied, and pleaded not guilty, they answered his demand for counsel by telling him they would be his counsel.

Before such a tribunal there could be but one result—right or wrong, the prisoner must be condemned; but Vane made so able and unanswerable a defence, that the counsel employed against him were reduced to complete silence: whereupon Chief-Justice Foster said to his colleagues, "Though we know not what to say to him, we know what to do with him." And when he adverted to the promise of the king that he should not be condemned for what was past, and to his repeated demand for counsel, the Solicitor-General exclaimed, "What counsel does he think would dare to speak for him in such a manifest case of treason, unless he could call down the heads of his fellow traitors—Bradshaw or Coke—from the top of Westminster Hall?" He might have added—in that vile state of things, that disgraceful relapse of the English public into moral and political slavery—what jury would dare to acquit him? The king was so exasperated at the accounts carried to him at Hampton Court of the bold and unanswerable defence of Vane, that he wrote to Clarendon, "The relation that hath been made to me of Sir Harry Vane's carriage yesterday in the hall is the occasion of this letter, which, if I am rightly informed, was so insolent as to justify all that he had done, acknowledging no supreme power in England but Parliament, and many things to that purpose. You have had a true account of all, and if he has given new occasion to be hanged, certainly he is too dangerous a man to let live, if we can honestly put him out of the way. Think of this, and give me some account of it to-morrow." What account Clarendon gave we may imagine, for he is careful in his own autobiography to pass over altogether so small a matter as the trial and death of this eminent man.

Vane was condemned, and executed on Tower Hill on the 14th of June, 1662, on the very spot where Strafford suffered, thus studiously making his death an act of retribution for his evidence against that nobleman. On taking leave of his wife and friends, Sir Harry confidently predicted—as the former victims, Harrison, Scott, and Peters had done—that his blood would rise from the ground against the reigning family in judgment, on earth as well as in heaven. "As a testimony and seal," he said, "to the justness of that quarrel, I leave now my life upon it, as a legacy to all the honest interests in these three nations. Ten thousand deaths rather than defile my conscience, the chastity and purity of which I value beyond all this world." So alarmed were the king and courtiers at the impression which this heroic and virtuous conduct was likely to make on the public, that they took every means to prevent the prisoner from being heard on the scaffold. They placed drummers and trumpeters under the scaffold, to drown his voice when he addressed the people. When he complained of the unfairness of his trial, Sir John Robinson, the Lieutenant of the Tower, rudely and furiously contradicted him, saying, "It's a lie; I am here to testify that it is a lie. Sir, you must not rail at the judges." When he began again, the drummers and trumpeters made the loudest din that they could, but he ordered them to be stopped, saying he knew what was meant by it. Again, as he attempted to proceed, they burst forth louder than ever; and Robinson, furious, attempted to snatch the paper out of his hand which contained his notes. Vane, however, held it firmly, and then Robinson, seeing several persons taking notes of what the prisoner said, exclaimed in a rage, "He utters rebellion, and you write it;" and the books were seized, or all that[209] could be discovered. They next, two or three of them, attempted to wrest his papers from him, and thrust their hands into his pockets, on pretence of searching for others. A more indecent scene never was witnessed, and Vane, seeing that it was useless to attempt being heard, laid his head on the block, and it was severed at a stroke.


From the painting by F. W. W. TOPHAM, R.I.


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But the effect of Vane's words and conduct died not with him. The people, degraded as they had become, could not avoid perceiving that the spirit of evil was abroad; that revenge was being taken for the virtue and the great principles of the Commonwealth; that the base and worthless were exterminating the true—those who were the real glory of the nation. Burnet says, "It was generally thought that the Government lost more than it gained by the death of Vane;" and even the gossiping Pepys said that he was told that "Sir Harry Vane was gone to heaven, for he died as much a saint and martyr as ever man did, and that the king had lost more by that man's death than he would get again for a long while."


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But these plain signs could not stop the thirst for blood. Colonels Okey, Corbet, and Barkstead, three of the Regicides, had got away to Holland, as Goffe, Whalley, and Dixwell had to the New England settlements. The last three managed, in various disguises, but in continual fears, to escape; but Okey, Corbet, and Barkstead were hunted out by Downing, who, having been Cromwell's ambassador at the Hague, had made his peace with the new Government, and was ready to earn favour by making himself its bloodhound in running down his former friends. He had once been chaplain to Okey's regiment. Having secured them, the States were mean enough to surrender them, and they suffered all the horrors of hanging and embowelling at the gallows. General Ludlow, Mr. Lisle, and others of the Commonwealth men had retired to Switzerland, which nobly refused to give them up; but the Royalists determined to assassinate them if they could not have them to hack and mangle at the gibbet. Murderers were sent after them to dog them, and though Ludlow escaped, as by a miracle, from several attempts, Lisle was shot, on Sunday of all days, as he was entering the church at Lausanne; and the murderers rode[210] away shouting, "God save the king!" and made their escape into France.

If the country was discontented at the destruction of its most eminent and virtuous men, it found that it must prepare to see its foreign prestige sold to France. The king wanted money; Louis XIV. wanted Dunkirk back again, which Cromwell had wrested from France, and which remained a proof of the ascendency of England under that great ruler. Clarendon, who should have endeavoured to save the nation from that disgrace, did not know where else to look for the necessary supplies for Charles's pleasures, and if he did not suggest, actually counselled the measure. It was contended that Dunkirk was useless to England, and that the expense of maintaining it was onerous. But not only France, but Spain and Holland, knew very well its value as a bulwark against the notorious designs of Louis of adding Belgium, and if possible Holland, to France. Charles knew this very well, too, and was ready to sell it to the highest bidder. Spain and Holland were eager to make the purchase, but Charles was expecting other favours from France, and could not get them if he sold Dunkirk to either of those nations. He was in treaty with Louis for ten thousand foot and a body of cavalry, to enable him to tread down the remaining liberties of the people. He therefore gave the preference to France—for not a patriotic feeling, but the most base personal views swayed him in such matters—and struck a bargain with D'Estrades for five million livres. Charles struggled for the payment in cash, but Louis would only give bills for the amount; and then, knowing Charles's necessity, he privately sent a broker, who discounted the bills at sixteen per cent.; and Louis himself boasts, in his published works, that he thus saved five hundred thousand livres out of the bargain, without Charles being aware of it. The indignation of the public at this transaction was loud and undisguised; the merchants of London had in vain offered themselves to advance the king money, so that Dunkirk might not be sacrificed, and now the people openly said that the place was sold only to satisfy the rapacity of the king's mistresses, of whom he was getting more and more—Miss Stewart, Nell Gwynn, and others of less mark. The reprobation of the affair was so universal and violent, and Clarendon was so fiercely accused of being a party to it, that from this hour his favour with the nation was gone for ever.

Whilst the king was thus spilling the best blood, and selling the possessions of the country, the Nonconformists were vainly hoping for his fulfilment of his Declaration of Breda, as it regarded liberty to tender consciences. The Act of Uniformity came into force on the 24th of August, St. Bartholomew's Day, on which day the deprivation of two thousand Presbyterian ministers would be enforced. They therefore petitioned for three months' delay, which Charles promised, on condition that during that time they should use the Book of Common Prayer. But no sooner was this promise given than the Royalists, and especially the bishops, contended that the king was under no obligation to keep the Declaration of Breda, inasmuch as it had only been made to the Convention Parliament, which had never called for its fulfilment. Clarendon did not venture to counsel Charles to break his word, but he advised the summoning of the bishops to Hampton Court, where the question was discussed in the presence of Ormond, Monk, and the chief law-officers and ministers of State. The bishops expressed much disgust at "those fellows," the Nonconformists, still insisting on interrupting the king in the exercise of his undoubted prerogative; they were supported by the Crown lawyers, and the Act was enforced in all its rigour, despite the royal promise, which had over and over lost its slightest value. The storm of persecution burst forth on the Nonconformists with fury. Their meetings were forcibly broken up by soldiery, and their preachers and many of themselves thrust into prison on charges of heresy and violation of the laws. Numbers again prepared for flight to New England, and to prevent this sweeping emigration of useful artisans, the Earl of Bristol, the former impetuous and eccentric Lord Digby of the Civil Wars, and Ashley Cooper planned a scheme which should at once relieve both Dissenters and Catholics. This was to induce the king, on the plea of fulfilling his Declaration of Breda, to issue a declaration of indulgence of a broad and comprehensive character. This was supported in the Council by Robartes, Lord Privy Seal, and Bennet, the new Secretary of State. Accordingly, Charles, on the 6th of December, issued his declaration, called "a Declaration for Refuting Four Scandals cast on the Government"—namely, that the Act of Indemnity had been merely intended to be temporary; that there was an intention to keep a large standing army; that the king was a persecutor; and that he was a favourer of Popery. In answer to the third scandal, he declared he would submit to Parliament a Bill for ample indulgence to tender consciences; and though he would not refuse to[211] make the Catholics, like the rest of his subjects, a partaker in this privilege, yet to show the fallacy of the fourth scandal, if they abused his goodness he would pursue them with all the rigour of the laws already existing against them.


From the Picture by E. M. Ward, R.A.
In the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington.

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This announcement was received with an outburst of indignation by all parties except the Independents and the other Dissenters who partook of their ideas of general toleration. But the Presbyterians adhered to their ancient bigotry so firmly, that rather than Catholics should enjoy toleration, they were ready to forego it themselves. The Church, and a vast number of people of no religion at all, joined in the cry out of their hereditary alarm at Popery. The moment that the session of 1663 opened, on the 18th of February, both houses attacked the Declaration, and the Commons, though the Bill was not before them, sent an address to the king, thanking him for the other parts of the Declaration, but represented the third clause as pregnant with schism, endless liberties and importunities of sects, and certain disturbance of the national tranquillity. In the Lords the Lord-Treasurer led the opposition, and the bishops supported him with all their energies, and, to the astonishment of Charles himself, Clarendon, who had been laid up with gout, on the second day of the debate went to the House, and attacked it with a vehemence of language which gave great offence to the king. Probably Clarendon calculated on more serious damage from the popular feeling, of which his Dunkirk policy had recently given him a sharp taste, than on any strong resentment of Charles, but he was mistaken; the Bill was defeated, but the king expressed his wrath to Southampton, the Treasurer, and Clarendon, in such terms as struck terror into them, and from that time it was evident that neither of them possessed his confidence any longer. Nor did he spare the bishops. He reproached them with bigotry and ingratitude. He told them that it was owing to his Declaration of Breda that they owed their restoration, and that now they were driving him to break that promise. The intolerance of the bishops in his father's time had caused, he said, the destruction of the hierarchy, and done much to ruin the monarchy itself; and no sooner were they reinstated, than they were pursuing the same blind and fatal course. From that day, too, his manner to them changed, and his courtiers, quick to perceive the change, imitated it, and, glad to excuse their profligacy, indulged in ridicule of their persons, and mockery of their sermons.

But though Charles had boldly spoken much severe truth in the moment of his resentment, all parties calculated too well on the evanescence of anything in him like a wise or virtuous perseverance, and they pursued their object with an obstinacy which compelled the ease-loving monarch to give way. The Commons passed a Bill to check the growth of Popery, and another that of Nonconformity, but though strongly supported in the Lords, they were defeated by the Presbyterian and Catholic members. They then changed their tack, and presented an address to the king, praying him to put in force all the penal laws against the Catholics and sectaries of every description. Having expressed their wishes, the Commons granted the king four subsidies, and he was about to prorogue Parliament, when a strange incident delayed this event for some time. The king, during the discussion on the Supplies, made a statement which seemed to commit the Earl of Bristol with Parliament. The earl and the king becoming warm in mutual explanation before Lord Arlington, Charles used strong language, and Bristol, losing his temper, reproached the king with his amours, his indolence, and the sacrifice of his best friends to the malice of Clarendon, and vowed that unless justice was done him within twenty-four hours, he would do a thing that would astonish both the king and the Chancellor. This thing was to impeach Clarendon of high treason on the ground that he had, both publicly and privately, endeavoured to fix the character of a papist on the king, and had represented that he alone protected the Protestant establishment. Bristol's hasty temper had betrayed him into a charge which he could not substantiate. He was foiled with disgrace, and he only escaped being arrested by flight.

When the next session of Parliament opened, on the 16th of March, 1664, the Commons returned with unabated animus, and circumstances in the interim had occurred, which, as they favoured both the orthodox scheme and a scheme of the king's, enabled them to carry their point by conceding his. In October, a trifling insurrection broke out at Farnley Wood, in Yorkshire. The people, who were of an obscure class, appeared to be Fifth-Monarchy men and Republicans, who complained of the persecutions for religion, and of the violation of the Triennial Act, and contended that as the present Parliament had sat more than three years, it was illegal, and the people had nothing to do but to elect another of their own accord. This was a mistake; the Act did not limit the duration of Parliament, but the interval between one Parliament and another. The Triennial Act,[212] passed in the 16th of Charles I., when his Parliament wrung a number of those guarantees from him, authorised the sheriffs to issue writs for an election after any Parliament had ceased to sit three years, if the Government did not summon one, and in default of the sheriffs issuing such writs, the people might assemble, and proceed to election without writs.

The Government wanted to be rid of this Act, and therefore the Duke of Buckingham set Gere, sheriff of Yorkshire, and others, to send incendiaries amongst the people to excite them to proceedings of this sort. They were then arrested to the number of about fifty persons in Yorkshire and Westmoreland, on the plea that they were assembled without lawful cause, the Parliament, so far from having ceased to sit three years, being still sitting. The ignorant people had been probably purposely misinformed, and some of them were hanged for it. The end of Charles was gained. He told the Parliament that the Act thus encouraged seditious meetings, and that though he never wished to be without a Parliament for three years, he was resolved never to allow of a Parliament summoned by such means as prescribed by that Act. The Parliament readily repealed the Act, and passed another, still requiring a Parliament at farthest after three years' interval, but sweeping away what Charles called the "wonderful clauses" of the Bill.

In return for this favour, the Commons now solicited his assent to the Conventicle Act, which it was hoped would extinguish Dissent altogether. This was a continuation of those tyrannic Acts which were passed in this infamous reign, some of which, as the Corporation and Test Acts, even survived the revolution of 1688. The Test Act, the Act of Uniformity, by which Bishop Sheldon, the Laud of his time, ejected two thousand ministers, now the Conventicle, and soon after this the Five Mile Act, completed the code of despotism.

Here was the king, who, in the last session of Parliament, published his declaration for the indulgence of tender consciences, now wheeling round like a weathercock, and consenting to the Conventicle Act. And what was this Act? It forbade more than five persons to meet together for worship, except that worship was according to the Common Prayer Book. All magistrates were empowered to levy ten pounds on the ministers, five pounds on every hearer, and twenty pounds on the house where this conventicle, as it was called, was held. This fine, or three months' imprisonment, was the punishment for the first offence; ten pounds a hearer or six months' imprisonment for the second offence; one hundred pounds a hearer or seven years' transportation for the third; and death without benefit of clergy in case of return or escape. This diabolical Act Clarendon applauded, and said that if rigorously executed, it would have produced entire Conformity. What was Clarendon's idea of rigour?

Sheldon, the Bishop of London, let loose all the myrmidons of the law on the devoted country. The houses of Nonconformists were invaded by informers, constables, and the vilest and lowest rabble of their assailants. They broke open the houses of all Nonconformists, in search of offenders, but still more in search of plunder; they drove them from their meetings with soldiery, and thrust them into prisons—and such prisons! No language can describe the horrors and vileness of the pestiferous prisons of those days. The two thousand Nonconformist ministers were starving. "Their wives and children," says Baxter, "had neither house nor home." Such as dared to preach in fields and private houses were dragged to those horrible prisons; those who ventured to offer them food or shelter, if discovered, were treated the same. To prevent the Nonconformist ministers from remaining amongst their old friends, Sheldon, the very next session, procured the Five Mile Act, which restrained all dissenting clergy from coming within five miles of any place where they had exercised their ministry, and from teaching school, under a penalty of forty pounds for each offence.[213]


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In Scotland it was not against sects, but against the whole Presbyterian Church that the fury of the persecutors was directed. The Presbyterians had effectually crushed out all Dissenters, and now they themselves felt the iron hand of intolerance. No sooner did the Conventicle Act pass in England than the Royalist Parliament passed one there in almost the same terms, and another Act offering Charles twenty thousand foot and two thousand horse to march into England, to assist in putting down his subjects there, if necessary. Sharp was wonderfully elated by the Conventicle Act, and, establishing what proved to be a High Commission Court, he managed to place his creature, Lord Rothes, at the head of the law department as Chancellor, who brow-beat magistrates and lawyers, and twisted the laws as Sharp thought fit. The prisons were soon crammed as full as those in England, and proceedings of the law courts more resembled those of an inquisition than anything else, till the peasantry rose and endeavoured to defend themselves. The names of Lauderdale and Archbishop Sharp are made immortal for the infliction of infernal tortures; their racks and thumbscrews, their iron boots and gibbets are riveted fast and firm to their names.[214]


And now the king was about to plunge into war to serve the purposes of his paymaster, the ambitious French king. Whatever could weaken or embarrass Holland suited exactly the plans of Louis XIV., and to have England contending with Holland whilst he was contemplating an attack on Spain was extremely convenient. The immediate cause, however, came from the complaints of the merchants, or rather of the Duke of York. The duke was governor of an African company, which imported gold dust from the coast of Guinea, and was deeply engaged in the slave trade, supplying West Indian planters with negroes. The Dutch complained of the encroachments of the English, both there and in the East Indies, and the English replied by similar complaints. The duke advocated hostilities against the Dutch, but found Charles unwilling to be diverted from his pleasures by the anxieties of war. He was worked on, however, by appeals to his resentment against the Louvestein faction in Holland, which had treated him with great indignity whilst he was an exile, and though the differences might have been readily settled by a little honest negotiation, the duke was desirous of a plea for further aggression on the Dutch, and his plans were fostered by Downing, the ambassador at the Hague, a most unprincipled man, who under Cromwell had held the same post, and traded most profitably on the fears of the Dutch.

In the spring of 1664, James's admiral, Sir Robert Holmes, arrived on the coast of Africa with a few small ships of war, to recover the castle of Cape Coast, which the Dutch had claimed and seized. He exceeded his commission as an officer of the African Company, and not only reduced the castle of Cape Coast, but the forts of Goree, and then sailed away to America, and cast anchor at the settlement of New Amsterdam, lately taken from the Dutch by Sir Richard Nicholas, and named it after his patron, New York. The Dutch ambassador now presented the strongest remonstrances, and the king, excusing himself on the plea that Holmes had gone out on a private commission, assured the ambassador that he would have him recalled and put upon his trial. Holmes, indeed, was recalled, and sent to the Tower, but was soon after liberated. The Dutch were not disposed to sit down under this indignity, and De Ruyter attacked the English settlements on the coast of Guinea, committed great depredations, and then, sailing to the West Indies, captured above twenty sail of English merchantmen. There was now a vehement cry for war, and Charles appealed to Parliament, which granted the unprecedented supply of two millions and a half. The City of London also presented several large sums of money, for which they received the thanks of Parliament. A very remarkable circumstance attended the Act granting this Parliamentary supply. The ancient mode of subsidies was abandoned, and a mode of assessment, copied from the plan of the Commonwealth, was adopted; the first time that the Royalists practically paid homage to the Republican superiority of finance. The tax was to be raised by quarterly assessments. Moreover, the clergy, instead of voting their money separately in Convocation, were called upon to pay their taxes with the laity, and thus ended the separate jurisdiction of Convocation: it became a mere form.

The Duke of York, who, with all his faults, was by no means destitute of courage, took the command of the fleet as Lord Admiral against the Dutch, and showed much ability in his command. He divided the fleet into three squadrons, one of which he commanded himself, the second he gave to Prince Rupert, who here again appeared in English affairs, and the third to the Earl of Sandwich, formerly Admiral Montagu. The whole fleet consisted of ninety-eight sail of the line and four fire-ships. On the 4th of June, 1665, he came to an engagement near Lowestoft with the Dutch under Admiral Opdam, a gallant and experienced seaman, followed by a hundred and thirteen men-of-war, manned by the most spirited and distinguished youth of Holland. The battle was terrible, but James, discharging all his guns into Opdam's vessel, caused it to blow up, and thus destroyed the admiral with five hundred men.[215] The Dutch having lost their chief commander, drew off towards the Texel, but Van Tromp collected the scattered vessels, and there was a prospect of a second fight; but the duke went to bed, and Lord Brounker, a gentleman of the bedchamber, went on deck and ordered Penn to slacken sail. The consequence was that the Dutch were allowed to retire in safety, and much of the honour won by the duke was lost again by this circumstance. It was said that the duke knew nothing of it, and that Brounker had given the order of his own accord; but the prevailing opinion was that the duke thought he had got honour enough, and the Earl of Montague, who was serving as a volunteer, said the duke had been much impressed by seeing, in the heat of the action, the Earl of Falmouth, Lord Muskerry, and Boyle, son of the Earl of Burlington, killed by his side. Penn, moreover, was said to have told the duke that if they engaged again, the fight would be more bloody than ever, for the Dutch would grow desperate with revenge. The fleet, therefore, made homeward, and, says Pepys, the duke and his officers returned from sea "all fat and ruddy with being in the sun." It was given out as a great victory, and the duke received one hundred and twenty thousand pounds for his services; but the public was far from satisfied, and Lord Sandwich far less so. He complained to Pepys that he had borne the brunt of the battle, and that all the honour was given to the duke in the printed account. That there was much in these statements was sanctioned by the fact that the duke was removed from the fleet, and the command restored to the brave but unprincipled Sandwich. In the battle the Dutch are stated to have lost seven thousand men, and eighteen sail burnt, sunk, or taken. The English are reported to have lost only one ship, and six hundred men in killed and wounded. Amongst the slain were the Earls of Marlborough and Portland, and Admirals Lawson and Sampson.

Sandwich was scarcely in independent command when he heard of a most magnificent chance. Two Dutch merchant fleets, one from the East Indies and one from the Levant, to avoid the English fleet at the Texel, united and sailed round the north of Ireland and Scotland, and took shelter in the neutral harbour of Bergen, in Norway. They were jointly valued at twenty-five millions of livres. Sandwich sailed thither after them, and the King of Denmark, the sovereign of Norway, though at peace with the Dutch, was tempted, by the hope of sharing the booty, to let Sandwich attack them in port. Sandwich, however, was not satisfied to give the king half, as demanded, and in spite of Alefeldt, the governor, who begged him to wait till the terms were finally settled with the monarch, he ordered Captain Tyddiman to dash in and cut the ships out and all the Dutch vessels. But Tyddiman found himself between two fires; the Dutch defended themselves resolutely and the Danes, resenting this lawless proceeding, fired on them from the fort and batteries. Five of Sandwich's commanders were killed, one ship was sunk, much damage was done to the fleet, and it was glad to escape out of the harbour. Sandwich, however, was lucky enough soon after to secure eight men-of-war and about thirty other vessels, including two of the richest Indiamen, which were dispersed by a storm whilst under the convoy of De Witt. The unscrupulous Sandwich made free to appropriate two thousand pounds' worth of the booty, and allowed his officers to do the same, which occasioned his dismissal from the fleet; but to soften his disgrace, he was sent as ambassador to Spain. Parliament, to carry on the war, granted the king a fresh supply of one million two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, and, at the same time, voted the one hundred and twenty thousand pounds to the duke.

Whilst these events had been transpiring the plague had been raging in the City of London, and had thence spread itself to various parts of the country. It raged with a fury almost unexampled in any age or nation. It had shown itself during the previous winter in a few individual cases, and as spring advanced, it terribly extended its devastations. In May it burst forth with frightful violence in St. Giles's, and, spreading over the adjoining parishes, soon threatened both Whitehall and the City. The nobility fled to the country, the Court retreated to Salisbury, and left Monk to represent the Government in his own person, and he boldly maintained his ground through the whole deadly time. As the hot weather advanced the mortality became terrible, and the people fled in crowds into the country, till the Lord Mayor refused to grant fresh bills of health, and the people of the neighbouring towns and villages declined to receive any one from London into them. Those who escaped out of the metropolis had to camp in the fields, whichever way they turned the inhabitants being in arms to drive them away. In June the City authorities put in force an Act of James I. They divided the City into districts, and allotted to each a staff of examiners, searchers, nurses, and watchmen. As soon as the plague was[216] ascertained to be in a house, they made a red cross upon the door a foot in length, and wrote over, "Lord, have mercy upon us!" No one was allowed to issue out of the houses bearing that fatal sign for a month, if they could keep them in. Persons escaping out of these infected houses, and mingling with others, were liable to suffer death as felons. But to remain in these houses was to perish of plague or famine, and numbers broke wildly from them at all hazards, thus carrying the infection on all sides. Many in their frenzy jumped naked from the windows, rushed wildly through the streets, and plunged into the river.

It was calculated that forty thousand work-people and servants were left destitute by the flight of their employers, and subscriptions were made to prevent them from starving, for they were not allowed to leave the City. The king gave one thousand pounds a week, the City, six hundred pounds, the Queen Dowager, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and many noblemen contributed liberally. But the aspect of the place was terrible. The dead carts were going to and fro continually to collect the bodies put out into the streets, announced by the tinkling of a bell, and at night by the glare of links. The corpses were cast into pits, and covered up as fast as possible. The most populous and lately busy streets were grass-grown; the people who walked through them kept along the middle, except they were meeting others, and then they got as far from each other as possible. Amid all this horror, the sight of ghastly death, and the ravings of delirium, whilst some brave souls devoted themselves to the assistance of the suffering and dying, crowds of others rushed to taverns, theatres, and places of debauch, and a strange maniacal mirth startled the silence of the night, and added horror to the work of death. The weekly numbers who perished rose from one thousand to eight thousand. The wildest rumours of apparitions and strange omens were afloat. The ghosts of the dead were said to be seen walking round the pits where their bodies lay; a flaming sword was said to stretch across the heavens from Westminster to above the Tower, and men, raised by the awful excitement of the scene into an abnormal state, went about, as was done at the destruction of Jerusalem, announcing the judgments of God. One man cried as he passed, "Yet forty days, and London shall be destroyed;" another stalked nakedly along, bearing on his head a chafing-dish of burning coal, and declaring that the Almighty would purge them with fire. Another came suddenly from side streets and alleys in the darkness of the night, or in open day, uttering in a deep and fearful tone, the unvarying exclamation, "Oh, the great and dreadful God!" The confounded people declared that it was a judgment of God on the nation for its sins, and especially the sins of the King and Court, and the dreadful persecution of the religious by the Government and clergy. The Presbyterian ejected preachers frequently mounted into the pulpits now deserted by their usual occupants, and preached with a solemn eloquence to audiences who listened to them from amid the shadows of death, and thus gave great offence to the incumbents, who had abandoned their own charges. This was made one plea, after the danger was over, for passing the Five Mile Act in October of this year (1665). Many other metropolitan clergy stood by their flocks, and displayed the noblest characters during the pestilence. This terrible plague swept off upwards of one hundred thousand people during the year; and though it ceased with the winter, it raged the following summer in Colchester, Norwich, Cambridge, Salisbury, and even in the Peak of Derbyshire.

Whilst the plague had been raging, numbers of the Republicans, Algernon Sidney among the rest, had gone over to Holland and taken service in its army, urging the States to invade England, and restore the Commonwealth, and a conspiracy was detected in London itself for seizing the Tower and burning the City. Rathbone, Tucker, and six others, were seized and hanged, but Colonel Danvers, their leader, escaped. Parliament attainted a number of the conspirators by name, and also every British subject who should remain in the Dutch service after a fixed day. But neither plague nor insurrection had any effect in checking the wild licence and riot of the Court. The same scenes of drinking, gambling, and debauchery went on faster than ever after the Court removed from Salisbury to Oxford. The king was in pursuit of a new flame, Miss Stewart, one of the queen's maids of honour, and the Duke of York was as violently in love with her. Charles could not eat his breakfast till he visited both her and Castlemaine; and even Clarendon complains that "it was a time when all licence in discourse and in actions was spread over the kingdom, to the heart-breaking of many good men, who had terrible apprehensions of the consequences of it."[217]


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The war, meanwhile, went on, and now assumed a more formidable aspect, for Louis XIV. made a sudden veer round in his politics, and joined the Dutch. He was actually under conditions of peace and assistance with them, and they called[218] upon him to fulfil his engagements; but they publicly would have called in vain, had not Charles of late become too independent of his French paymaster, by having received liberal supplies from Parliament. Louis liked extremely to see Holland and England exhausting one another whilst he was aiming at the acquisition of the Netherlands; but it was not his policy to leave Charles free from his control. Charles, meanwhile, had been neglecting the very sailors who were to fight his battles against the united power of France and Holland. The sailors who had fought so gallantly last summer had lain during the winter in the streets, having received no pay. Pepys says that, whilst the plague was raging in London, they were besieging the Navy Office with clamorous demands. "Did business, though not much, at the Navy Office, because of the horrible crowd and lamentable moan of the poor seamen that lie starving in the streets for lack of money, which do trouble and perplex me to the heart; and more at noon when we were to go through them, for then above a whole hundred of them followed us, some cursing, some swearing, and some praying to us."

Whilst the royal duke had received one hundred and twenty thousand pounds for fighting one battle and leaving it unfinished, and the poor men were thus turned adrift to starvation and danger of death from the plague, the fleet had lost nearly all its experienced officers, who had been turned off because of their having helped the immortal Blake to shed glory on the Commonwealth, and their places were supplied by young, insolent, ignorant sprigs of the aristocracy, who neither knew their business, nor were disposed to do it if they did. Pepys, who, as Secretary to the Admiralty, saw all this, says that Admiral Penn spoke very freely to him on the subject, and lamented the loss which the fleet had experienced in the cashiered officers.

Such was the state of our navy when it put to sea to face the enemy. The command was entrusted to Monk and Prince Rupert. And here were fresh proofs of the wretched management of this miserable monarch. Monk had taken desperately to drinking, and to this commander the fortunes of England were entrusted in conjunction with Rupert, who, with the courage of a lion, was never in the right place at the right time. On the 1st of June, 1666, Monk discovered the Dutch fleet under De Ruyter and De Witt lying at anchor off the North Foreland. They had eighty-four sail, and Monk would have had an equal number, but Rupert had received an order to go in quest of the French fleet with thirty sail. Monk, therefore, having little more than fifty sail, was strongly advised by Sir John Harman and Sir Thomas Tyddiman not to engage with such unequal numbers, especially as the wind and sea were such as would prevent the use of their lower tier of guns. But Monk, who was probably drunk, would not listen, and was encouraged by the younger and more inexperienced officers. He bore down rapidly on the Dutch fleet, having the weather gauge, and the Dutchmen were taken so much by surprise that they had not time to weigh anchor, but cut their cables, and made for their own coast. But there they faced about, and Monk, in his turn, was obliged to tack so abruptly, that his topmast went by the board, and whilst he was bringing his vessel into order, Sir William Berkeley, who had not noticed the accident, was amid the thick of the enemy, and, being unsupported, was soon killed on his quarter-deck, and his ship and a frigate attending him were taken. Sir Thomas Tyddiman refused to engage, and Sir John Harman, surrounded by the Dutch, had his masts shot away, and was severely wounded. The masts and rigging of the English vessels were cut to pieces by chain shot, a new invention of Admiral De Witt's, and Monk, with his disabled ships, had to sustain a desperate and destructive fight till it was dark. He then gave orders to make for the first English port, but in their haste and the darkness they ran upon the Galloper Sand, where the Prince Royal, the finest vessel in the fleet, grounded, and was taken by the Dutch. The next day Monk continued a retreating fight, and would probably have lost the whole fleet, but just then Rupert, with the White squadron, appeared in sight. The next morning the battle was renewed with more equal forces till they were separated by a fog, and when that cleared away the Dutch were seen in retreat. Both sides claimed the victory, but the English had certainly suffered most, and lost the most ships. The only wonder was that they had not lost the whole. Nothing, however, could exceed the lion-like courage of the seamen. "They may be killed," exclaimed De Witt, "but they cannot be conquered." They very soon reminded him of his words, for before the end of June they were at sea again, fought, and defeated him and De Ruyter, pursued them to their own coast, entered the channel between Vlie and Schelling, and destroyed two men-of-war, one hundred and fifty merchantmen, and reduced the town of Brandaris to ashes. De Witt, enraged at this devastation, vowed to[219] Almighty God that he would never sheath the sword till he had taken ample revenge.

In August a French fleet, under the Duke of Beaufort, arrived from the Mediterranean to join the Dutch fleet, under De Ruyter, which was already in the Channel watching for position. Rupert, however, was on the look-out, and De Ruyter took refuge in the roadstead of Boulogne, but whilst Rupert was preparing to prevent the advance of Beaufort up the Channel, a storm obliged him to retreat to St. Helier, by which Beaufort was enabled to reach Dieppe; and the Dutch, severely damaged by the tempest, returned home. But this storm had produced a terrible catastrophe on land. A fire broke out in the night, between the 2nd and 3rd of September, in Pudding Lane, near Fish Street, where the Monument to commemorate the event now stands. It occurred in a bakehouse, which was built of wood and had a pitched roof, and the buildings in general being of timber, it soon spread. The wind was raging furiously from the east, and the neighbourhood being filled with warehouses of pitch, tar, resin, and other combustible materials, the conflagration rushed along with wonderful force and vehemence. The summer had been one of the hottest and driest ever known, and the timber houses were in a state to catch and burn amazingly. Clarendon says, "The fire and the wind continued in the same excess all Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, till afternoon, and flung and scattered brands into all quarters; the nights more terrible than the days, and the light the same, the light of the fire supplying that of the sun." The timidity of the Lord Mayor favoured the progress of the flames. He at first refused to admit the military to prevent the plunder of the houses, and to keep off the crowds where efforts were attempted to stop the fire; but nothing of this sort could be done, for the pipes from the New River were found to be empty, and the machine which raised water from the Thames was burnt to ashes. It was proposed to blow up some of the houses with gunpowder, to arrest the progress of the fire; but the aldermen, whose houses would be the first to be exploded, would not allow it, and thus permitted the advance of the raging element without saving their own property. Nearly the whole of the City from the Tower to Temple Bar was soon one raging mass of fire, the glare of which lit up the country for ten miles around.

The terrors of the catastrophe were fearfully aggravated by the wild rumours and suspicions that flew to and fro. It was declared to be the doings of the Papists in combination with the French and Dutch, and the pipes of the New River works at Islington being empty confirmed it. One Grant, a Catholic and partner in the works, was accused of having turned off the water on the preceding Saturday, and carried away the keys; but it was afterwards shown by the books of the company that Grant was not a partner there till the 25th of September, three weeks afterwards. There were plenty of people ready to depose that they had seen men carrying about parcels of combustibles, which, on being crushed, burst out in inextinguishable flame, and others throwing fire-balls into houses. There were twenty thousand French resident in the city, and they were declared to be engaged with the Catholics to massacre the whole population during the confusion of the fire. Distraction and terror spread on every side—some were labouring frantically to extinguish the flames, others were hurrying out their goods and conveying them away, others flying from the expected massacre, and others coming out armed to oppose the murderers. Not a foreigner or Catholic could appear in the streets without danger of his life. What made it worse, an insane Frenchman, of the name of Hubert, declared that it was he who set fire to the first house, and that his countrymen were in the plot to help him. He was examined, and was so evidently crazed, the judges declared to the king that they gave no credit whatever to his story, nor was there the smallest particle of proof produced; but the jury, in their fear and suspicion, pronounced him guilty, and the poor wretch was hanged. The inscription on the Monument after the fire, however—and which was not erased till December, 1830—accused the Catholics of being the incendiaries, for which reason, Pope, a Catholic, referring to this particular libel, says:—

"Where London's Column, pointing at the skies,
Like a tall bully, lifts the head and lies."

"Let the cause be what it would," says Clarendon, "the effect was terrible, for above two parts of three of that great city, and those the most rich and wealthy parts, where the greatest warehouses and the best shops stood, the Royal Exchange, with all the streets about it—Lombard Street, Cheapside, Paternoster Row, St. Paul's Church, and almost all the other churches in the City, with the Old Bailey, Ludgate, all Paul's Churchyard, even to the Thames, and the greatest part of Fleet Street, all which were places the best inhabited, were all burnt without one house[220] remaining. The value or estimate of what that devouring element consumed over and above the houses, could never be computed in any degree." The houses were calculated at thirteen thousand two hundred, covering, more or less, one hundred and thirty-six acres. Eighty-nine churches were consumed.


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Towards the evening on Wednesday the wind abated, and buildings were blown up to clear the ground round Westminster Abbey, the Temple Church, and Whitehall. The next day, the weather being calm, the danger was thought to be over, but in the night the fire burst out again in the neighbourhood of the Temple, in Cripplegate, and near the Tower. The king, the Duke of York, and many noblemen assisted to blow up houses in those quarters, and thus contributed to save those places, and finally stop the conflagration. Nothing is said so completely to have roused Charles as this catastrophe, and both he and the duke were indefatigable in giving their personal attendance, encouragement, and assistance. They placed guards to prevent thieving, and distributed food to the starving inhabitants. In the fields about Islington and Highgate two hundred thousand people were seen occupying the bare ground, or under huts and tents hastily constructed, with the remains of their property lying about them. Charles was indefatigable in arranging for the accommodation of this unfortunate mass of people in the neighbouring towns and villages, till their houses could be rebuilt. But for months afterwards the enormous field of ruins presented a burning and smoking chaos. Had Charles and his brother conducted themselves at other times as during this brief but awful time, they had left very different names and effects behind them. The great misfortune for the moment even softened down the acrimony of bigotry and party; but this did not last long. An inquiry was instituted, both by the Commons and the Privy Council, into the cause of the calamity, but nothing was elicited to prove it the work of incendiaries.

The people at large firmly believed that the plague and the fire were judgments for the sins of the King and Court.



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REIGN OF CHARLES II. (continued).

Demands of Parliament—A Bogus Commission—Crushing the Covenanters in Scotland—The Dutch in the Thames—Panic in London and at Court—Humiliation of England—Peace is Signed—Fall of Clarendon—The Cabal—Sir William Temple at the Hague—The Triple Alliance—Scandals at Court—Profligacy of the King and the Duke of Buckingham—Attempt to Deprive the Duke of York of the Succession—Persecution of Nonconformists—Trial of Penn and Mead—The Rights of Juries—Secret Treaty with France—Suspicious Death of Charles's Sister—"Madam Carwell"—Attack on Sir John Coventry—National Bankruptcy—War with Holland—Battle of Southwold Bay—William of Orange saves his Country—Declaration of Indulgence—Fall of the Cabal—Affairs in Scotland and Ireland—Progress of the Continental War—Mary Marries William of Orange—Louis Intrigues with the Opposition—Peace of Nimeguen—The Popish Plot—Impeachment of Danby—Temple's Scheme of Government—The Exclusion Bill—Fresh Persecutions in Scotland—Murder of Archbishop Sharp—Bothwell Bridge—Anti-Catholic Fury—Charges against James—Execution of Lord Stafford.

The career of vice which Charles had run since his restoration to the throne of England, the scandalous scenes and ruinous extravagance at Court, the loose women and debauched courtiers who figured there, and the great calamities which had latterly fallen on the nation, and, as it was generally believed, in consequence of the flagrant wickedness of the ruling persons, had by this time[222] produced a profound impression on the public mind. Unprecedented sums had been voted for the prosecution of the Dutch War, and some terrible battles had been fought at sea; but these, so far from bringing any solid advantage to the nation, had ruined its finances, and greatly damaged the navy. Besides this, there was a general and well-founded belief that the money which should have gone to fit out the navy and pay the brave seamen, had been squandered on the royal mistresses and minions. The sailors had been left in destitution, and remained so; their tickets, which had been given them as tokens of their demands for wages, had to a large extent never been redeemed, whilst the effeminate courtiers made fortunes.

When Parliament met on the 21st of September, 1666, more money was demanded, and the Commons liberally voted one million eight hundred thousand pounds, but on several conditions, one of which was that the laws should be put in force against the Catholics, who were suspected to have fired the capital. Though a Committee appointed to consider this charge failed to connect the Papists with the Fire, yet the cry remained, and Charles was compelled to order by proclamation all priests and Jesuits to quit the kingdom; all recusants to be proceeded against according to law; all Papists to be disarmed, and officers and soldiers to be dismissed from the army who should refuse the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy. There had been a demand from the aristocracy and their tenants in England, in 1663, to prevent the importation of cattle from Ireland. The landlords wanted high rents, and the tenants cried out that they could not pay them if they were to be undersold by the Irish; as if Ireland were not a part of the empire as well as England, and justly entitled to the same privileges. It was in vain that the more liberal and enlightened members asked how Ireland was to purchase our manufactured goods, if we would not take her raw produce. The Bill was passed, and sixty thousand beeves and a large quantity of sheep were thus refused entrance annually at our ports. To obviate this difficulty, the Irish slaughtered the cattle, and sent them over as dead carcasses. This was violently opposed, and this session a Bill passed, also excluding the meat. But the third and last demand on Charles was the most alarming. It was no other than that a Parliamentary Commission should be appointed to examine and audit the public accounts. It was well known that not only the king's mistresses, but many other persons about the Court, had made very free with the public revenue with the connivance of Charles. Lady Castlemaine was commonly declared to carry on a great trade in selling favours, and receiving bribes from the subjects, and lavish grants from the king.

The alarm which the passing of a Bill for this Commission of Inquiry through the Commons carried into all the courtly recesses of corruption was excessive. The whole Court was in a turmoil of consternation; there was a terrible outcry that if this were allowed, there was an end of the prerogative. Lord Ashley, the Treasurer of the Prize Money, and Carteret, the Treasurer of the Navy, were aghast, and implored Charles to declare openly that he would never consent to it. The grave and virtuous Lord Clarendon strenuously supported them, telling the king that he must not "suffer Parliament to extend their jurisdiction to cases that they had nothing to do with." He desired the king to "be firm in the resolution he had taken, and not to be put from it." And he promised when the Bill came into the Lords he would oppose it with all his power. And this was the advice of a man who himself tells us in his "Life" of the corruptions practised—of the corruptions of these very men, Ashley and Carteret; of the good round sums taken from the privy purse by "the lady," as she was called, and of the extensive grants to her of lands in Ireland, where they were not so likely to be inquired about; of the miserable condition of the navy; the dissolute life of the king; his own remonstrances, and the constant endeavours of the courtiers to divert the king's attention from anything serious.

But there was a cause much more influential than public good or public virtue which forwarded the Bill, in spite of the Court. The Duke of Buckingham had a quarrel with "the lady," and she prejudiced the king against him, and the duke was determined to have his revenge by exposing "the lady's" gross peculations. The Bill, therefore, passed the Commons, and came into the Lords, where Buckingham and his party supported it, and Clarendon and the guilty courtiers opposed it. Buckingham himself was as dissolute and unprincipled a man as any about Court, not even excepting the king and the licentious Lord Rochester. The Bill passed, and the king, in his resentment, disgraced Buckingham, deprived him of all his employments, and ordered his committal to the Tower, which he avoided only by absconding. Buckingham, however, once out of the way, the king and his virtuous Chancellor soon managed[223] to be allowed to appoint the Commission of Inquiry themselves, by which the whole affair was converted into a mockery, and came to nothing.

During this session of Parliament, wild work had been going on in the west of Scotland. The people there had resisted the ejectment of their ministers from their pulpits by Episcopalian clergy; they received them with curses, and often with showers of stones. When the Act against conventicles was passed, they still met with their old pastors in barns and moorlands, and then the soldiery under Sir James Turner were let loose upon them. They flew to arms and fought the soldiers, and made a prisoner of Turner himself. Their ministers, Semple, Maxwell, Welsh, Guthrie, and others, incited them to wield the sword of the Lord and of Gideon, and to resist the Malignants to the death. Lauderdale was in London, and the ministers told the people that the fire of London had given enough to the Government to do at home. But Sharp was in Scotland, and he put himself at the head of two troops of horse and a regiment of foot guards, and assisted by Dalziel, a man of considerable military reputation, he pursued the Covenanters to Rullion Green, in the Pentlands. There, on the 28th of November, 1666, they came to a pitched battle, in which the Covenanters were defeated, fifty being killed, and a hundred and thirty taken prisoners. The Covenanters had treated Turner and all others who fell into their hands with great lenity, but none was shown to them by Sharp. Ten of them, were hanged on one gallows in Edinburgh, and thirty-five were sent to Galloway, Ayr, and Dumfries, and there gibbeted in the face of their own friends. The implacable archbishop, with the fury of a renegade, made keen search after all who had been concerned in the affair; it was declared that eternal damnation was incurred by the rebels against the Church, and the horrors of the rack, thumbscrews, and iron boot were put vigorously into operation again. A young preacher, Maccail, whom Sir Walter Scott has represented under the name of Macbriar, was hideously tortured, but died in a rapture of joy, not a syllable of disclosure escaping him. Dalziel, a brutal and drunken captain, revelled in cruelty and outrage amongst the Whigs or Whiggamores, as they were called; hanged a man because he would not betray his own father; quartered his soldiers on people to ruin them, and perpetrated such atrocities that the Earls of Tweeddale and Kincardine went up to Court to warn the king against driving the people once more to desperation. Their representations were not without effect, but this leniency was of short duration.

The war with the Dutch and French being still continued, it was necessary for Charles to put his fleet once more in order; but his Exchequer exhibited its usual emptiness, and the Parliamentary supply would be some time before it reached the treasury. The customary resource had been to send for the bankers and capitalists of London, and make over to them some branches of the public revenue for immediate advances, these advances to be at the rate of eight per cent., and to be repaid by the taxes till all were discharged. But the losses by the fire had incapacitated the money-lenders at this crisis, and Charles, therefore, unwisely listened to the suggestion of Sir William Coventry, to lay up the principal ships in ordinary, and send out only two light squadrons to interrupt the enemy's trade in the Channel and the German Ocean. The Duke of York at once declared that this was directly to invite Holland to insult the English coasts, and plunder the maritime counties; but the want of money overruled the duke, and the consequences were precisely what he foresaw.

Charles hoped to evade the danger of this unguarded state by a peace. Louis XIV., who was anxious to conquer Flanders, made overtures through Lord Jermyn, now Earl of St. Albans, who lived in Paris, and was said to be married to the queen-mother, and he also at the same time opened negotiations with Holland, to enforce an abstinence of aid to the Flemings from that quarter, and to make peace between Holland and England. These measures effected, he would be set free from any demands of Holland to assist them against England, and he would bind Charles to afford no aid to the Spaniards. Charles was perfectly willing to accede to these plans, so that he might not be called on for more money, and after a time it was agreed that Commissioners should meet at Breda to settle the terms of peace. France was to restore the West Indian Islands taken from England, and England was to oppose no obstacle to Louis' designs against Spain. But as hostilities were not suspended, De Witt, the Dutch minister, still burning for revenge for the injuries committed by the English on the coast of Holland, declared that he would "set such a mark upon the English coast as the English had left upon that of Holland."

He knew the unprotected state of the Thames, and he ordered the Dutch fleet, to the amount of seventy sail, to draw together at the Nore. The[224] command was entrusted to De Ruyter and the brother of De Witt. The English, roused by the danger, threw a chain across the Medway at the stakes, mounted the guns on the batteries, and got together a number of fire-ships: but here the consequence of the heartless conduct of the Government to the seamen and workmen who had been employed by them hitherto and defrauded of their pay became apparent. No sense of patriotism could induce them to work for the Government. The Commissioners of the Navy were nine hundred thousand pounds in debt, notwithstanding the liberal supplies of Parliament, and the merchants would not furnish further stores except for ready money. One portion of the Dutch fleet sailed up as far as Gravesend, the other was ordered to destroy the shipping in the Medway (June, 1667). The fort at Sheerness was in such a miserable condition, that it was soon levelled to the ground. Monk had been sent down to defend the mouth of the Medway, and he raised batteries, sank ships in the narrowest part of the channel before the boom, and placed guard-ships for its protection. But the Dutch found out another channel accessible at high water, and running their fire-ships on the boom, broke the chain, silenced the batteries, and burnt the guard-ships. Monk retreated to Upnor Castle, but the Dutch soon appeared before it with their squadron; the castle was not supplied with powder, and few of the ships in the river had any. The Royal Charles was taken, the finest ship in the English fleet, the Royal James, the Royal Oak, and the London were burnt. A still greater mortification was to find numbers of the incensed English sailors manning the Dutch vessels, who shouted, "Before we fought for tickets, now we fight for dollars." Had De Ruyter pushed on for London, he might have destroyed all the merchant ships in the river; but Prince Rupert at Woolwich having sunk a number of ships to block up the channel, and raised batteries to sweep the pa