In the meanwhile, the Catholics, by the establishment of a federative government, had consolidated their power, and given an uniform direction to their efforts. It was the care of their leaders to copy the example given by the Scots during the successful war
[Footnote 1: Carte's Ormond, i. 421, 441; iii. 76, 125, 135.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, v. 226.]
[Footnote 3: Clarendon, iii. 415-418, 424. Carte's Ormond, iii. 155, 162, 164.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. April 3.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. August 1.]
of the Covenant. Like them they professed a sincere attachment to the person, a profound respect for the legitimate authority of the monarch; but like them they claimed the right of resisting oppression, and of employing force in defence of their religion and liberties. At their request, and in imitation of the general assembly of the Scottish kirk, a synod of Catholic prelates and divines was convened at Kilkenny; a statement[a] of the grievances which led the insurgents to take up arms was placed before them; and they decided that the grounds were sufficient, and the war was lawful, provided it were not conducted through motives of personal interest or hatred, nor disgraced by acts of unnecessary cruelty. An oath and covenant was ordered to be taken, binding the subscribers to protect, at the risk of their lives and fortunes, the freedom of the Catholic worship, the person, heirs, and rights of the sovereign, and the lawful immunities and liberties of the kingdom of Ireland, against all usurpers and invaders whomsoever; and excommunication was pronounced against all Catholics who should abandon the covenant or assist their enemies, against all who should forcibly detain in their possession the goods of English or Irish Catholics, or of Irish Protestants not adversaries to the cause, and against all who should take advantage of the war, to murder, wound, rob, or despoil others. By common consent a supreme council of twenty-four members was chosen, with Lord Mountgarret as president; and a day was appointed for a national assembly, which, without the name, should assume the form and exercise the rights of a parliament.
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 516. Vindiciae Cath. Hib. 4-7. This work has often been attributed to Sir Rich. Belling, but Walsh (Pref. to Hist. of Remonstrance, 45) says that the real author was Dr. Callaghan, presented by the supreme council to the see of Waterford.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1642. May 10.]
This assembly gave stability to the plan of government devised by the leaders. The authority of the statute law was acknowledged, and for its administration a council was established[a] in each county. From the judgment of this tribunal there lay an appeal to the council of the province, which in its turn acknowledged the superior jurisdiction of "the supreme council of the confederated Catholics in Ireland." For the conduct of the war four generals were appointed, one to lead the forces of each province, Owen O'Neil in Ulster, Preston in Leinster, Barry Garret in Munster, and John Burke in Connaught, all of them officers of experience and merit, who had relinquished their commands in the armies of foreign princes, to offer their services to their countrymen. Aware that these regulations amounted to an assumption of the sovereign authority, they were careful to convey to the king new assurances of their devotion to his person, and to state to him reasons in justification of their conduct. Their former messengers, though Protestants of rank and acknowledged loyalty, had been arrested, imprisoned, and, in one instance at least, tortured by order of their enemies. They now adopted a more secure channel of communication, and transmitted their petitions through the hands of the commander-in-chief. In these the supreme council detailed a long list of grievances which they prayed might be redressed. They repelled with warmth the imputation of disloyalty or rebellion. If they had taken up arms, they had been compelled by a succession of injuries beyond human endurance, of injuries in their religion, in their
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1642. Oct. 1.]
honour and estates, and in the liberties of their country. Their enemies were the enemies of the king.
The men who had sworn to extirpate them from their native soil were the same who sought to deprive him of his crown. They therefore conjured him to summon a new parliament in Ireland, to allow them the free exercise of that religion which they had inherited from their fathers, and to confirm to Irishmen their national rights, as he had already done to his subjects of England and Scotland.
The very first of these petitions, praying for a cessation of arms, had suggested a new line of policy to the king. He privately informed the marquess of Ormond of his wish to bring over a portion of his Irish army that it might be employed in his service in England; required him for that purpose to conclude[a] an armistice with the insurgents, and sent to him instructions for the regulation of his conduct. This despatch was secret; it was followed by a public warrant; and that was succeeded by a peremptory command. But much occurred to retard the object, and irritate the impatience of the monarch. Ormond, for his own security, and the service of his sovereign, deemed it politic to assume a tone of superiority, and to reject most of the demands of the confederates, who, he saw, were already divided into parties, and influenced by opposite counsels. The ancient Irish and the clergy, whose efforts were directed by Scaramp, a papal envoy, warmly opposed the project. Their enemies, they observed, had been reduced to extreme distress; their victorious army under Preston made daily inroads to the very gates of the capital. Why should they descend from the vantage-ground which they had
[Footnote 1: Carte, iii. 110, 111, 136.]
[Footnote 2: Carte, iii. 90.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. April 23.]
gained? why, without a motive, resign the prize when it was brought within their reach? It was not easy to answer their arguments; but the lords of the pale, attached through habit to the English government, anxiously longed for an armistice as the preparatory step to a peace. Their exertions prevailed. A cessation of arms was concluded[a] for twelve months; and the confederates, to the surprise of their enemies, consented to contribute towards the support of the royal army the sum of fifteen thousand pounds in money, and the value of fifteen thousand pounds in provisions.
At the same time Charles had recourse to other expedients, from two of which he promised himself considerable benefit, 1. It had been the policy of the cardinal Richelieu to foment the troubles in England as he had previously done in Scotland; and his intention was faithfully fulfilled by the French ambassador Senneterre. But in the course of the last year both Richelieu and Louis XIII. died; the regency, during the minority of the young king, devolved on Anne of Austria, the queen-mother; and that princess had always professed a warm attachment for her sister-in-law, Henrietta Maria. Senneterre was superseded
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 548. Carte, ii. App. 1; iii. 117, 131, 159, 160, 166, 168, 172, 174. No one, I think, who has perused all the documents, can doubt that the armistice was necessary for the preservation of the army in Ireland. But its real object did not escape the notice of the two houses, who voted it "destructive to the Protestant religion, dishonourable to the English nation, and prejudicial to the interests of the three kingdoms;" and, to inflame the passions of their partisans, published a declaration, in which, with their usual adherence to truth, they assert that the cessation was made at a time when "the famine among the Irish had made them, unnatural and cannibal-like, eat and feed one upon another;" that it had been devised and carried on by popish instruments, and was designed for the better introduction of popery, and the extirpation of the Protestant religion.—Journals, vi. 238, 289.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. Sept. 15.]
by the count of Harcourt, a prince of the house of Lorrain, with the title of ambassador extraordinary. The parliament received him with respect in London, and permitted him to proceed to Oxford. Charles, whose circumstances would not allow him to spend his time in diplomatic finesse, immediately[a] demanded a loan of money, an auxiliary army, and a declaration against his rebellious subjects. But these were things which the ambassador had no power to grant. He escaped[b] with difficulty from the importunity of the king, and returned to the capital to negotiate with the parliament. There, offering himself in quality of mediator, he requested[c] to know the real grounds of the existing war; but his hope of success was damped by this cold and laconic answer, that, when he had any proposal to submit in the name of the French king, the houses would be ready to vindicate their conduct. Soon afterwards[d] the despatches from his court were intercepted and opened; among them was discovered a letter from Lord Goring to the queen; and its contents disclosed that Harcourt had been selected on her nomination; that he was ordered to receive his instructions from her and the king; and that Goring was soliciting succour from the French court. This information, with an account of the manner in which it had been obtained, was communicated to the ambassador, who immediately[e] demanded passports and left the kingdom.
2. Experience had proved to Charles that the very name of parliament possessed a powerful influence over the minds of the lower classes in favour of his adversaries.
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, iii. 398-403. Journals, vi. 245, 302, 305, 309, 375, 379, 416. Commons, Sept. 14; Oct. 11; Nov. 15, 22; Jan. 10, 12; Feb. 12.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643 Oct. 18.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643 Nov. 15.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1643 Nov. 22.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644 Jan. 10.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1644 Feb. 12.]
To dispel the charm, he resolved to oppose the loyal members to those who remained at Westminster, and summoned by proclamation both houses to meet him at Oxford on the twenty-second of January in the[a] succeeding year. Forty-three peers and one hundred and eighteen commoners obeyed; the usual forms of parliament were observed, and the king opened the session with a gracious speech, in which he deplored[b] the calamities of the kingdom, desired them to bear witness to his pacific disposition, and promised them all the freedom and privileges belonging to such assemblies. Their first measure was a letter subscribed by all the members of both houses, and directed to the earl of Essex, requesting him to convey to those "by whom he was trusted," their earnest desire that commissioners might be appointed[c] on both sides to treat of an accommodation. Essex, having received instructions, replied that he could not deliver a letter which, neither in its address nor in its contents, acknowledged the authority of the parliament. Charles himself was next brought forward.[d] He directed his letter to "the lords and commons of parliament assembled at Westminster," and requested, "by the advice of the lords and commons of parliament assembled at Oxford," the appointment
[Footnote 1: If we may believe Whitelock (80), when the two houses at Westminster were called over (Jan. 30), there were two hundred and eighty members present, and one hundred employed on different services. But I suspect some error in the numbers, as the list of those who took the covenant amounts only to two hundred and twenty names, even including such as took it after that day. (Compare Rushworth, v. 480, with the Journals.) The lords were twenty-two present, seventy-four absent, of whom eleven were excused.—Journals, vi. 387. The two houses at Oxford published also their lists of the members, making the commons amount to one hundred and seventy-five, the lords to eighty-three. But of the latter several had been created since the commencement of the war.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Jan. 22.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Jan. 29.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. Jan. 30.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. March. 3.]
of commissioners to settle the distractions of the kingdom, and particularly the manner "how all the members of both houses might meet in full and free convention of parliament, to consult and treat upon such things as might conduce to the maintenance of the true Protestant religion, with due consideration to the just ease of tender consciences, to the settling of the rights of the crown and of parliament, the laws of the land, and the liberties and property of the subject." This message the two houses considered an insult,[a] because it implied that they were not a full and free convention of parliament. In their answer they called on the king to join them at Westminster; and in a public declaration denounced the proceeding as "a popish and Jesuitical practice to allure them by the specious pretence of peace to disavow their own authority, and resign themselves, their religion, laws, and liberties, to the power of idolatry, superstition, and slavery." In opposition, the houses at Oxford declared that the Scots had broken the act of pacification, that all English subjects who aided them should be deemed traitors and enemies of the state, and that the lords and commons
[Footnote 1: Journals, vi. 451, 459. The reader will notice in the king's letter an allusion to religious toleration ("with due consideration to the ease of tender consciences"), the first which had yet been made by authority, and which a few years before would have scandalized the members of the church of England as much as it did now the Presbyterians and Scots. But policy had taught that which reason could not. It was now thrown out as a bait to the Independents, whose apprehensions of persecution were aggravated by the intolerance of their Scottish allies, and who were on that account suspected of having already made some secret overtures to the court. "Bristol, under his hand, gives them a full assurance of so full a liberty of their conscience as they could wish, inveighing withal against the Scots' cruel invasion, and the tyranny of our presbytery, equal to the Spanish inquisition."—Baillie, i. 428.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. March 9.]
remaining at Westminster, who had given their consent to the coming in of the Scots, or the raising of forces under the earl of Essex, or the making and using of a new great seal, had committed high treason, and ought to be proceeded against as traitors to the king and kingdom. Thus again vanished the prospect of peace; and both parties, with additional exasperation of mind, and keener desires of revenge, resolved once more to stake their hope of safety on the uncertain fortune of war.
But the leaders at Westminster found it necessary to silence the murmurs of many among their own adherents, whose anxiety for the restoration of peace led them to attribute interested motives to the advocates of war. On the first appearance of a rupture, a committee of safety had been appointed, consisting of five lords and ten commoners, whose office it was to perform the duties of the executive authority, subject to the approbation and authority of the houses; now that the Scots had agreed to join in the war, this committee, after a long resistance on the part of the Lords, was dissolved,[a] and another established in its place, under the name of the committee of the two kingdoms, composed of a few members from each house, and of certain commissioners from the estates of Scotland. On this new body the Peers looked with an eye of jealousy, and, when the Commons, in consequence of unfavourable reports, referred to it the task of "preparing some grounds for settling a just and safe peace in all the king's dominions," they objected not
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, iii. 440-454. Journals, 399, 404, 451, 459, 484, 485; Dec. 30; Jan. 16, 30; March 6, 11. Rushworth, v. 559-575, 582-602.]
[Footnote 2: Journals of Commons, Jan. 30; Feb. 7, 10, 12, 16; of Lords, Feb. 12, 16.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Feb. 16.]
to the thing, but to the persons, and appointed for the same purpose a different committee. The struggle lasted six weeks: but the influence of the upper. house had diminished with the number of its members, and the Lords were compelled to submit,[a] under the cover of an unimportant amendment to maintain their own honour. The propositions now[b] brought forward as the basis of a reconciliation were in substance the following: that the covenant with the obligation of taking it, the reformation of religion according to its provisions, and the utter abolition of episcopacy, should be confirmed by act of parliament; that the cessation of war in Ireland should be declared void by the same authority; that a new oath should be framed for the discovery of Catholics; that the penalties of recusancy should be strictly enforced; that the children of Catholics should be educated Protestants; that certain English Protestants by name, all papists, who had borne arms against the parliament, and all Irish rebels, whether Catholics or Protestants, who had brought aid to the royal army, should be excepted from the general pardon; that the debts contracted by the parliament should be paid out of the estates of delinquents; and that the commanders of the forces by land and sea, the great officers of state, the deputy of Ireland and the judges, should be named by the parliament, or the commissioners of parliament, to hold their places during their good behaviour. From the tone of these propositions it was evident that the differences between the parties had become wider than before, and that peace depended on the subjugation of the one by the superior force or the better fortune of the other.
[Footnote 1: Journals, March 15, 20, 23, 29, 30; April 3, 5, 13, 16. On the question whether they should treat in union with the Scots, the Commons divided sixty-four against sixty-four: but the noes obtained the casting vote of the speaker.—Baillie, i. 446. See also the Journals of the Lords, vi. 473, 483, 491, 501, 514, 519, 527, 531. Such, indeed, was the dissension among them, that Baillie says they would have accepted the first proposal from the houses at Oxford, had not the news that the Scots had passed the Tweed arrived a few hours before. This gave the ascendancy to the friends of war.—Baillie, i. 429, 430.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. April 25.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. April 29.]
Here the reader may pause, and, before he proceeds to the events of the next campaign, may take a view of the different financial expedients adopted by the contending parties. Want of money was an evil which pressed equally on both; but it was more easily borne by the patriots, who possessed an abundant resource in the riches of the capital, and were less restrained in their demands by considerations of delicacy or justice. 1. They were able on sudden emergencies to raise considerable supplies by loan from the merchants of the city, who seldom dared to refuse, or, if they did, were compelled to yield by menaces of distraint and imprisonment. For all such advances interest was promised at the usual rate of eight per cent., and "the public faith was pledged for the repayment of the capital." 2. When the parliament ordered their first levy of soldiers, many of their partisans subscribed considerable sums in money, or plate, or arms, or provisions. But it was soon asked, why the burthen should fall exclusively on the well-affected; and the houses improved the hint to ordain that all non-subscribers, both in the city and in the country, should be compelled to contribute the twentieth part of their estates towards the support of the common cause. 3. Still the wants of the army daily increased, and, as a temporary resource, an order was made that each county should provide for the subsistence of the men whom it had furnished; 4. and this was followed by a more permanent expedient, a weekly assessment of ten thousand pounds on the city of London, and of twenty-four thousand pounds on the rest of the kingdom, to be levied by county-rates after the manner of subsidies. 5. In addition, the estates both real and personal of all delinquents, that is, of all individuals who had borne arms for the king, or supplied him with money, or in any manner, or under any pretence, had opposed the parliament, were sequestrated from the owners, and placed under the management of certain commissioners empowered to receive the rents, to seize the moneys and goods, to sue for debts, and to pay the proceeds into the treasury. 6. In the next place came the excise, a branch of taxation of exotic origin, and hitherto unknown in the kingdom. To it many objections were made; but the ample and constant supply which it promised insured its adoption; and after a succession of debates and conferences, which occupied the houses during three months, the new duties, which were in most instances to be paid by the first purchaser, were imposed both on the articles already subject to the customs, and on a numerous class of commodities of indigenous growth or manufacture. Lastly, in aid of these several sources of revenue, the houses did not refuse another of a more singular description. It was customary for many of the patriots to observe a weekly fast for the success of their cause; and, that their purses might not profit by the exercise of their piety,
[Footnote 1: It should be observed that the excise in its very infancy extended to strong beer, ale, cider, perry, wine, oil, figs, sugar, raisins, pepper, salt, silk, tobacco, soap, strong waters, and even flesh meat, whether it were exposed for sale in the market, or killed by private families for their own consumption.—Journals, vi. 372.] they were careful to pay into the treasury the price of the meal from which they had abstained. If others would not fast, it was at least possible to make them pay; and commissioners were appointed by ordinance to go through the city, to rate every housekeeper at the price of one meal for his family, and to collect the money on every Tuesday during the next six months. By these expedients the two houses contrived to carry on the war, though their pecuniary embarrassments were continually multiplied by the growing accumulation of their debts, and the unavoidable increase of their expenditure. With respect to the king, his first resource was in the sale of his plate and jewels, his next in the generous devotion of his adherents, many of whom served him during the whole war at their own cost, and, rather than become a burthen to their sovereign, mortgaged their last acre, and left themselves and their families without the means of future subsistence. As soon as he had set up his standard, he solicited loans from his friends, pledging his word to requite their promptitude, and allotting certain portions of the crown lands for their repayment—a very precarious security as long as the issue of the contest should remain uncertain. But the appeal was not made in vain. Many advanced considerable sums without reserving to themselves any claim to remuneration, and others lent so freely and abundantly, that this resource was productive beyond his most sanguine expectations. Yet, before the commencement of the third campaign,
[Footnote 1: Journals, v. 460, 466, 482; vi. 108, 196, 209, 224, 248, 250, 272. Commons' Journals, Nov. 26, Dec. 8, 1642; Feb. 23, Sept. 1643; March 26, 1644. Rushworth, v. 71, 150, 209, 313, 748. It should be recollected that, according to the devotion of the time, "a fast required a total abstinence from all food, till the fast was ended."—Directory for the Publique Worship, p. 32.]
he was compelled to consult his parliament at Oxford. By its advice he issued privy seals, which raised one hundred thousand pounds, and, in imitation of his adversaries, established the excise, which brought him in a constant, though not very copious supply. In addition, his garrisons supported themselves by weekly contributions from the neighbouring townships, and the counties which had associated in his favour willingly furnished pay and subsistence to their own forces. Yet, after all, it was manifest that he possessed not the same facilities of raising money with his adversaries, and that he must ultimately succumb through poverty alone, unless he could bring the struggle to a speedy termination.
For this purpose both parties had made every exertion, and both Irishmen and Scotsmen had been called into England to fight the battles of the king and the parliament. The severity of the winter afforded no respite from the operations of war. Five Irish regiments, the first fruits of the cessation in Ireland, arrived[a] at Mostyn in Flintshire; their reputation, more than their number, unnerved the prowess of their enemies; no force ventured to oppose them in the field; and, as they advanced, every post was abandoned or surrendered. At length the garrison of Nantwich arrested[b] their progress; and whilst they were occupied with the siege, Sir Thomas Fairfax approached with a superior force from Yorkshire. For two hours[c] the Anglo-Irish, under Lord Byron, maintained an obstinate resistance against the assailants from without, and the garrison from within the town; but in a moment of despair one thousand six hundred men in the works threw down their arms,
[Footnote: 1 Rushworth, v. 580, 601. Clarendon, ii. 87, 453.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. November.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Jan. 15.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. Jan. 25.]
and, with a few exceptions, entered the ranks of their adversaries. Among the names of the officers taken, occurs that of the celebrated Colonel Monk, who was afterwards released from the Tower to act a more brilliant part, first in the service of the Commonwealth, and then in the re-establishment of the throne.
A few days before this victory, the Scots had passed the Tweed.[a] The notion that they were engaged in a holy crusade for the reformation of religion made them despise every difficulty; and, though the weather was tempestuous, though the snow lay deep on the ground, their enthusiasm carried them forward in a mass which the royalists dared not oppose. Their leader sought to surprise Newcastle; he was disappointed by the promptitude of the marquess of Newcastle, who, on the preceding day,[b] had thrown himself into the town; and famine compelled the enemy, after a siege of three weeks, to abandon the attempt.[c] Marching up the left bank of the Tyne,[d] they crossed the river at Bywell,[e] and hastening by Ebchester to Sunderland, took possession of that port to open a communication by sea with their own country. The marquess, having assembled his army, offered them battle, and, when they refused to fight, confined them for five weeks within their own quarters. In proportion as their advance into England had elevated the hopes of their friends in the capital, their subsequent inactivity provoked surprise and complaints. But Lord Fairfax, having been joined by his victorious son from Cheshire, dispersed the royalists at Leeds,[f] under Colonel Bellasis, the son of Lord Falconberg; and the danger of being enclosed between two armies induced the marquess of Newcastle to retire[g] from Durham
[Footnote 1: Rush. v. 299, 303. Fairfax, 434, ed. of Maseres.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Jan. 16.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Feb. 2.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. Feb. 28.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. March 2.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1644. March 4.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1644. April 11.] [Sidenote g: A.D. 1644. April 23.]
to York. He was quickly followed by the Scots; they were joined by Fairfax, and the combined army sat down before the city. Newcastle at first despised their attempts; but the arrival[a] of fourteen thousand parliamentarians, under the earl of Manchester, convinced him of his danger, and he earnestly solicited[b] succour from the king.
But, instead of proceeding with the military transactions in the north, it will here be necessary to advert to those which had taken place in other parts of the kingdom. In the counties on the southern coast several actions had been fought, of which, the success was various, and the result unimportant. Every eye fixed itself on the two grand armies in the vicinity of Oxford and London. The parliament had professed a resolution to stake the fortune of the cause on one great and decisive battle; and, with this view, every effort had been made to raise the forces of Essex and Waller to the amount of twenty thousand men. These generals marched in two separate corps, with the hope of enclosing the king, or of besieging him in Oxford. Aware of his inferiority, Charles, by a skilful manoeuvre,
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 222. Baillie, ii. 1, 6, 10, 28, 32. Journals, 522.]
[Footnote 2: When Essex left London he requested the assembly of divines to keep a fast for his success. The reader may learn from Baillie how it was celebrated. "We spent from nine to five graciously. After Dr. Twisse had begun with a brief prayer, Mr. Marshall prayed large two hours, most divinely confessing the sins of the members of the assembly in a wonderful, pathetick, and prudent way. After Mr. Arrowsmith preached an hour, then a psalm; thereafter Mr. Vines prayed near two hours, and Mr. Palmer preached an hour, and Mr. Seaman prayed near two hours, then a psalm; after Mr. Henderson brought them to a sweet conference of the heat confessed in the assembly, and other seen faults to be remedied, and the conveniency to preach against all sects, especially Anabaptists and Antinomians. Dr. Twisse closed with a short prayer and blessing. God was so evidently in all this exercise, that we expect certainly a blessing."—Baillie, ii. 18, 19.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. April 20.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. June 3.]
passed with seven thousand men between the hostile divisions, and arrived in safety at Worcester.[a] The jealousy of the commanders did not allow them to act in concert. Essex directed his march into Dorsetshire;[b] Waller took on himself the task of pursuing the fugitive monarch. Charles again deceived him. He pretended to advance along the right bank of the Severn from Worcester to Shrewsbury;[c] and when Waller, to prevent him, hastened from Broomsgrove to take possession of that town, the king turned at Bewdley, retraced his steps to Oxford,[d] and, recruiting his army, beat up the enemy's quarters in Buckinghamshire. In two days Waller had returned to the Charwell, which separated the two armies; but an unsuccessful action at Copredy Bridge[e] checked his impetuosity, and Charles, improving the advantage to repass the river, marched to Evesham in pursuit of Essex. Waller did not follow; his forces, by fatigue, desertion, and his late loss, had been reduced from eight thousand to four thousand men, and the committee of the two kingdoms recalled their favourite general from his tedious and unavailing pursuit.
During these marches and counter-marches, in which the king had no other object than to escape from his pursuers, in the hope that some fortunate occurrence might turn the scale in his favour, he received the despatch already mentioned from the marquess of Newcastle. The ill-fated prince instantly saw the danger which threatened him. The fall of York would deprive him of the northern counties, and the subsequent junction of the besieging army with his opponents in the south would constitute a force
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 670-676. Clarendon, iv. 487-493, 497-502. Baillie, ii. 38.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. June 3.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. June 6.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. June 15.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. June 20.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1644. June 29.]
against which it would be useless to struggle. His only resource was in the courage and activity of Prince Rupert. He ordered[a] that commander to collect all the force in his power, to hasten into Yorkshire, to fight the enemy, and to keep in mind that two things were necessary for the preservation of the crown,—both the relief of the city, and the defeat of the combined army.
Rupert, early in the spring, had marched from his quarters at Shrewsbury, surprised the parliamentary army before Newark,[b] and after a sharp action, compelled it[c] to capitulate. He was now employed in Cheshire and Lancashire, where he had taken Stockport, Bolton, and Liverpool, and had raised[d] the siege of Latham House, after it had been gallantly defended during eighteen weeks by the resolution of the countess of Derby. On the receipt of the royal command, he took with him a portion of his own men, and some regiments lately arrived from Ireland; reinforcements poured in on his march, and on his approach the combined army deemed it prudent to abandon the works before the city. He was received[e] with acclamations of joy; but left York the next day[f] to fight the bloody and decisive battle of Marston Moor. Both armies, in accordance with the military tactics of the age, were drawn up in line, the infantry in three divisions, with strong bodies of cavalry on each flank. In force they were nearly equal, amounting to twenty-three or twenty-five thousand men; but there was this peculiarity in the arrangement of the parliamentarians, that in each division the
[Footnote 1: See his letter in Evelyn's Memoirs, ii. App. 88. It completely exculpates Rupert from the charges of obstinacy and rashness in having fought the subsequent battle of Marston Moor.]
[Footnote 2: Rushworth, v. 307, 623, 631.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. June 14.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. March 21.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. May 25.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. June 11.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1644. July 1.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1644. July 2.]
English and the Scots were intermixed, to preclude all occasion of jealousy or dispute. It was now five in the afternoon, and for two hours a solemn pause ensued, each eyeing the other in the silence of suspense, with nothing to separate them but a narrow ditch or rivulet. At seven the signal was given, and Rupert, at the head of the royal cavalry on the right, charged with his usual impetuosity, and with the usual result. He bore down all before him, but continued the chase for some miles, and thus, by his absence from the field, suffered the victory to slip out of his hands.
At the same time the royal infantry, under Goring, Lucas, and Porter, had charged their opponents with equal intrepidity and equal success. The line of the confederates was pierced in several points; and their generals, Manchester, Leven, and Fairfax, convinced that the day was lost, fled in different directions. By their flight the chief command devolved upon Cromwell, who improved the opportunity to win for himself the laurels of victory. With "his ironsides" and the Scottish horse he had driven the royal cavalry, under the earl of Newcastle, from their position on the left. Ordering a few squadrons to observe and harass the fugitives, he wheeled round on the flank of the royal infantry, and found them in separate bodies, and in disorder, indulging in the confidence and license of victory. Regiment after regiment was attacked and dispersed; but the "white coats," a body of veterans raised by Lord Newcastle, formed in a circle; and, whilst their pikemen kept the cavalry at bay, their
[Footnote 1: Sir Thomas Fairfax says that at first he put to flight part of the loyal cavalry, and pursued them on the road to York. On his return he found that the rest of his wing had been routed by the prince.—Fairfax, 438.]
musketeers poured repeated volleys into the ranks of the enemy. Had these brave men been supported by any other corps, the battle might have been restored; but, as soon as their ammunition was spent, an opening was made, and the white coats perished, every man falling on the spot on which he had fought.
Thus ended the battle of Marston Moor. It was not long, indeed, before the royal cavalry, amounting to three thousand men, made their appearance returning from the pursuit. But the aspect of the field struck dismay into the heart of Rupert. His thoughtless impetuosity was now exchanged for an excess of caution; and after a few skirmishes he withdrew. Cromwell spent the night on the spot; but it was to him a night of suspense and anxiety. His troopers were exhausted with the fatigue of the day; the infantry was dispersed, and without orders; and he expected every moment a nocturnal attack from Rupert, who had it in his power to collect a sufficient force from the several corps of royalists which had suffered little in the battle. But the morning brought him the pleasing intelligence that the prince had hastened by a circuitous route to York. The immediate fruit of the victory were fifteen hundred prisoners and the whole train of artillery. The several loss of the two parties is unknown; those who buried the slain numbered the dead bodies at four thousand one hundred and fifty.
This disastrous battle extinguished the power of the
[Footnote 1: For this battle see Rushworth, v. 632; Thurloe, i. 39; Clarendon, iv. 503; Baillie, II, 36, 40; Whitelock, 89; Memorie of the Somervilles, Edin. 1815. Cromwell sent messengers from the field to recall the three generals who had fled. Leven was found in bed at Leeds about noon; and having read the despatch, struck his breast, exclaiming, "I would to God I had died upon the place."—Ibid.; also Turner, Memoirs, 38.]
royalists in the northern counties. The prince and the marquess had long cherished a deeply-rooted antipathy to each other. It had displayed itself in a consultation respecting the expediency of fighting; it was not probable that it would be appeased by their defeat. They separated the next morning; Rupert, hastening to quit a place where he had lost so gallant an army, returned to his former command in the western counties; Newcastle, whether he despaired of the royal cause, or was actuated by a sense of injurious treatment, taking with him the lords Falconberg and Widerington, sought an asylum on the continent. York, abandoned to its fate, opened its gates to the enemy, on condition that the citizens should not be molested, and that the garrison should retire to Skipton. The combined army immediately separated by order of the committee of both kingdoms. Manchester returned into Nottinghamshire, Fairfax remained in York, and the Scots under Leven retracing their steps, closed the campaign with the reduction of Newcastle. They had no objection to pass the winter in the neighbourhood of their own country; the parliament felt no wish to see them nearer to the English capital.
In the mean time Essex, impatient of the control exercised by that committee, ventured to act in opposition to its orders; and the two houses, though they reprimanded him for his disobedience, allowed him to pursue the plan which he had formed of dissolving with his army the association of royalists in Somersetshire, Devonshire, and Cornwall.[a] He relieved Lime, which had long been besieged by Prince Maurice, one[a] of the king's nephews, and advanced in the direction
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, ii. 504.]
[Sidenote a: A.D.. 1644. June 25.]
of Exeter, where the queen a few days before[a] had been delivered of a daughter. That princess, weary of the dangers to which she was exposed in England, repaired to Falmouth, put to sea[b] with a squadron of ten Dutch or Flemish vessels, and, escaping the keen pursuit of the English fleet from Torbay, reached[c] in safety the harbour of Brest.
Essex, regardless of the royalists who assembled in the rear of his army, pursued[d] his march into Cornwall. To most men his conduct was inexplicable. Many suspected that he sought to revenge himself on the parliament by betraying his forces into the hands of the enemy. At Lestwithiel he received[e] two letters, one, in which he was solicited by the king to unite with him in compelling his enemies to consent to a peace, which while it ascertained the legal rights of the throne, might secure the religion and liberties of the people; another from eighty-four of the principal officers in the royal army, who pledged themselves to draw the sword against the sovereign himself, if he should ever swerve from the principles which he had avowed in his letter. Both were disappointed. Essex sent the letters to the two houses, and coldly replied that his business was to fight, that of the parliament to negotiate.
[Footnote 1: I doubt whether Essex had any claim to that generosity of character which is attributed to him by historians. The queen had been delivered of a princess, Henrietta Maria, at Exeter, and sent to him for a passport to go to Bath or Bristol for the recovery of her health. He refused, but insultingly offered to attend her himself, if she would go to London, where she had been already impeached of high treason.—Rushworth, v. 684. I observe that even before the war, when the king had written to the queen to intimate his wish to Essex, as lord chamberlain, to prepare the palace for his reception, she desired Nicholas to do it adding, "their lordships are to great princes to receave anye direction from me."—Evelyn's Mem. ii. App. 78.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. June 16.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. July 14.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. July 15.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. June 26.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1644. August 6.]
But he now found himself in a most critical situation, cut off from all intercourse with London, and enclosed between the sea and the combined forces of the king, Prince Maurice, and Sir Richard Grenville.[a] His cavalry, unable to obtain subsistence, burst in the night, though not without loss, through the lines of the enemy. But each day the royalists won some of his posts; their artillery commanded the small haven of Foy, through which, alone he could obtain provisions; and his men, dismayed by a succession of disasters, refused to stand to their colours. In this emergency Essex, with two other officers, escaped from the beach in a boat to Plymouth; and Major-General Skippon offered to capitulate for the rest of the army.[b] On the surrender of their arms, ammunition, and artillery, the men were allowed to march to Pool and Wareham, and thence were conveyed in transports to Portsmouth, where commissioners from the parliament met them with a supply of clothes and money. The lord general repaired to his own house, calling for an investigation both into his own conduct and into that of the committee, who had neglected to disperse the royalists in the rear of his army, and had betrayed the cause of the people, to gratify their own jealousy by the disgrace of an opponent. To soothe his wounded mind, the houses ordered a joint deputation to wait on him, to thank him for his fidelity to the cause, and to express their estimation of the many and eminent services which he had rendered to his country.
This success elevated the hopes of the king, who, assuming a tone of conscious superiority, invited all his
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 683, 684, 690-693, 699-711. Clarend. iv. 511-518-527.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Aug 30.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Sept. 1.]
subjects to accompany him to London, and aid him in compelling the parliament to accept of peace.[a]But the energies of his opponents were not exhausted. They quickly recruited their diminished forces; the several corps under Essex, Waller, and Manchester were united; and, while the royalists marched through Whitechurch to Newbury, a more numerous army moved in a parallel direction through Basingstoke to Reading.[b]There the leaders (the lord general was absent under the pretence of indisposition), hearing of reinforcements pouring into Oxford, resolved to avail themselves of their present superiority, and to attack, at the same moment, the royalist positions at Show on the eastern, and at Speen on the western side of the town. The action in both places was obstinate, the result, as late as ten at night, doubtful; but the king, fearing to be surrounded the next day, assembled his men under the protection of Donnington Castle, and[c] marched towards Wallingford, a movement which was executed without opposition by the light of the moon, and in full view of the enemy.[d]In a few days he returned with a more numerous force, and, receiving the artillery and ammunition, which for security he had left in Donnington Castle, conveyed it without molestation to Wallingford. As he passed and repassed, the parliamentarians kept within their lines, and even refused the battle which he offered. This backwardness, whether it arose from internal dissension, or from inferiority of numbers, provoked loud complaints, not only in the capital, where the conflict at Newbury had been celebrated as a victory, but in the two houses, who had ordered the army to follow up its success. The generals, having dispersed their troops in winter quarters, hastened to vindicate their
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Sept. 30.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Oct. 27.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. Nov. 6.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. Nov. 9.]
own conduct. Charges of cowardice, or disaffection, or incapacity, were made and retorted by one against the other; and that cause which had nearly triumphed over the king seemed now on the point of being lost through the personal jealousies and contending passions of its leaders.
The greater part of these quarrels had originated in the rivalry of ambition; but those in the army of the earl of Manchester were produced by religious jealousy, and on that account were followed by more important results. When the king attempted to arrest the five members, Manchester, at that time Lord Kymbolton, was the only peer whom he impeached. This circumstance endeared Kymbolton to the party; his own safety bound him more closely to its interests. On the formation of the army of the seven associated counties, he accepted, though with reluctance, the chief command; for his temper and education had formed him to shine in the senate rather than the camp; and, aware of his own inexperience, he devolved on his council the chief direction of military operations, reserving to himself the delicate and important charge of harmonizing and keeping together the discordant elements of which his force was composed. The second in command, as the reader is aware, was Cromwell, with the rank of lieutenant-general. In the parade of sanctity both Manchester and Cromwell seemed equal proficients; in belief and practice they followed two opposite parties. The first sought the exclusive establishment of the presbyterian system; the other contended for the common right of mankind to worship God according to the dictates of conscience. But this difference of opinion
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 715-732. Clarendon, 546-552.]
provoked no dissension between them. The more gentle and accommodating temper of Manchester was awed by the superior genius of Cromwell, who gradually acquired the chief control of the army, and offered his protection to the Independents under his command. In other quarters these religionists suffered restraint and persecution from the zeal of the Presbyterians; the indulgence which they enjoyed under Cromwell scandalized and alarmed the orthodoxy of the Scottish commissioners, who obtained, as a counterpoise to the influence of that officer, the post of major-general for Crawford, their countryman, and a rigid Presbyterian. Cromwell and Crawford instantly became rivals and enemies. The merit of the victory at Marston Moor had been claimed by the Independents, who magnified the services of their favourite commander, and ridiculed the flight and cowardice of the Scots. Crawford retorted the charge, and deposed that Cromwell, having received a slight wound in the neck at the commencement of the action, immediately retired and did not afterwards appear in the field.[a]The lieutenant-general in revenge exhibited articles against Crawford before the committee of war, and the colonels threatened to resign their commissions unless he were removed; while on the other hand Manchester and the chaplains of the army gave testimony in his favour, and the Scottish commissioners, assuming the defence of their countryman, represented him as a martyr in the cause of religion.
But before this quarrel was terminated a second of greater importance arose. The indecisive action at Newbury, and the refusal of battle at Donnington, had
[Footnote 1: Baillie, ii. 40, 41, 42, 49, 57, 60, 66, 69. Hollis, 15.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Sept. 5.]
excited the discontent of the public;[a]the lower house ordered an inquiry into the conduct of the generals and the state of the armies; and the report made by the committee of both kingdoms led to a vote that a plan for the organization of the national force, in a new and more efficient form, should be immediately prepared. Waller and Cromwell, who were both members of the house, felt dissatisfied with the report. At the next meeting each related his share in the transactions which had excited such loud complaints; and the latter embraced the opportunity to prefer a charge of disaffection against the earl of Manchester, who, he pretended, was unwilling that the royal power should suffer additional humiliation, and on that account would never permit his army to engage, unless it were evidently to its disadvantage. Manchester in the House of Lords repelled the imputation with warmth, vindicated his own conduct, and retorted on his accuser, that he had yet to learn in what place Lieutenant General Cromwell with his cavalry had posted himself on the day of battle.
It is worthy of remark, that, even at this early period, Essex, Manchester, and the Scottish commissioners suspected Cromwell with his friends of a design to obtain the command of the army, to abolish the House of Lords, divide the House of Commons, dissolve the covenant between the two nations, and erect a new government according to his own principles. To defeat this project it was at first proposed that the chancellor of Scotland should denounce him as an incendiary, and demand his punishment according to the late treaty; but, on the reply of the
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, v. 732. Journals, Nov. 22, 23, 25. Lords' Journals, vii. 67, 78, 80, 141. Whitelock, 116.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Nov. 25.]
lawyers whom they consulted, that their proofs were insufficient to sustain the charge, it was resolved that Manchester should accuse him before the Lords of having expressed a wish to reduce the peers to the state of private gentlemen; of having declared his readiness to fight against the Scots, whose chief object was to establish religious despotism; and of having threatened to compel, with the aid of the Independents, both king and parliament to accept such conditions as he should dictate.[a]This charge, with a written statement by Manchester in his own vindication, was communicated to the Commons; and they, after some objections in point of form and privilege, referred it to a committee, where its consideration was postponed from time to time, till at last it was permitted to sleep in silence.
Cromwell did not hesitate to wreak his revenge on Essex and Manchester, though the blow would probably recoil upon himself.[b]He proposed in the Commons what was afterwards called the "self-denying ordinance," that the members of both houses should be excluded from all offices, whether civil or military. He would not, he said, reflect on what was passed, but suggest a remedy for the future. The nation was weary of the war; and he spoke the language both of friends and foes, when he said that the blame of its continuance rested with the two houses, who could not be expected to bring it to a speedy termination as long as so many of their members derived from military commands wealth and authority, and consideration. His real object was open to every eye; still the motion met with the concurrence of his own party,
[Footnote 1: Baillie, ii. 76, 77. Journals, Dec. 2, 4; Jan. 18. Lords' Journals, 79, 80. Whitelock, 116, 117. Hollis, 18.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Dec. 2.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Dec. 9.]
and of all whose patience had been exhausted by the quarrels among the commanders; and, when an exemption was suggested in favour of the lord-general, it was lost on a division by seven voices, in a house of one hundred and ninety-three members.[a] However, the strength of the opposition encouraged the peers to speak with more than their usual freedom.[b] They contended, that the ordinance was unnecessary, since the committee was employed in framing a new model for the army; that it was unjust, since it would operate to the exclusion of the whole peerage from office, while the Commons remained equally eligible to sit in parliament, or to fill civil or military employments. It was in vain that the lower house remonstrated.[c] The Lords replied that they had thrown out the bill, but would consent to another of similar import, provided it did not extend to commands in the army.
But by this time the committee of both kingdoms had completed their plan of military reform, which, in its immediate operation, tended to produce the same effect as the rejected ordinance.[d] It obtained the sanction of the Scottish commissioners, who consented, though with reluctance, to sacrifice their friends in the upper house, for the benefit of a measure which promised to put an end to the feuds and delays of the former system, and to remove from the army Cromwell, their most dangerous enemy. If it deprived them of the talents of Essex and Manchester, which they seem never to have prized, it gave them in exchange a commander-in-chief, whose merit they had learned to appreciate during his service in conjunction[e]
[Transcriber's Note: Footnote 1 not found in the text]
[Footnote 1: Journals, Dec. 9, 17; Jan. 7, 10, 13. Lords' Journals, 129, 131, 134, 135. Rushworth, vi. 3-7.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Dec. 17.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Dec. 21.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645. Jan. 15.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1645. Jan. 9.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1645. Jan. 21.]
with their forces at the siege of York. By the "new model" it was proposed that the army should consist of one thousand dragoons, six thousand six hundred cavalry in six, and fourteen thousand four hundred infantry in twelve regiments, under Sir Thomas Fairfax as the first, and Major-General Skippon as the second, in command. The Lords hesitated;[a] but after several conferences and debates they returned it with a few amendments to the Commons, and it was published by sound of drum in London and Westminster.
This victory was followed by another. Many of the peers still clung to the notion that it was intended to abolish their privileges, and therefore resolved not to sink without a struggle. They insisted that the new army should take the covenant, and subscribe the directory for public worship; they refused their approbation to more than one half of the officers named by Sir Thomas Fairfax; and they objected to the additional powers offered by the Commons to that general. On these subjects the divisions in the house were nearly equal, and whenever the opposite party obtained the majority, it was by the aid of a single proxy, or of the clamours of the mob. At length a declaration was made by the Commons, that "they held themselves obliged to preserve the peerage with the rights and privileges belonging to the House of Peers equally as their own, and would really perform the same."[b] Relieved from their fears, the Lords yielded to a power which they knew not how to control; the different bills were passed, and among them a new self-denying ordinance, by which every member of either house was discharged from all[c]
[Footnote 1: Journals, Jan. 9, 13, 25, 27; Feb. 11, 15; of Lords, 159, 175, 169, 193, 195, 204. Clarendon, ii. 569.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Feb. 15.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. March 25.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645. April 3.]
civil and military offices, conferred by authority of parliament after the expiration of forty days.
Hitherto I have endeavoured to preserve unbroken the chain of military and political events: it is now time to call the attention of the reader to the ecclesiastical occurrences of the two last years.
I. As religion was acknowledged to be the first of duties, to put down popery and idolatry, and to purge the church from superstition and corruption, had always been held out by the parliament as its grand and most important object. It was this which, in the estimation of many of the combatants, gave the chief interest to the quarrel; this which made it, according to the language of the time, "a wrestle between Christ and antichrist," 1. Every good Protestant had been educated in the deepest horror of popery; there was a magic in the very word which awakened the prejudices and inflamed the passions of men; and the reader must have observed with what art and perseverance the patriot leaders employed it to confirm the attachment, and quicken the efforts of their followers. Scarcely a day occurred in which some order or ordinance, local or general, was not issued by the two houses; and very few of these, even on the most indifferent subjects, were permitted to pass without the assertion that the war had been originally provoked, and was still continued by the papists, for the sole purpose of the establishment of popery on the ruins of Protestantism. The constant repetition acted on the minds of the people as a sufficient proof of the charge; and the denials, the protestations, the appeals to heaven made by the king, were disregarded and condemned as unworthy artifices, adopted to deceive
[Footnote 1: Journals, Feb. 25, March 21; of Lords, 287, 303.]
the credulous and unwary. Under such circumstances, the Catholics found themselves exposed to insult and persecution wherever the influence of the parliament extended: for protection they were compelled to flee to the quarters of the royalists, and to fight under their banners; and this again confirmed the prejudice against them, and exposed them to additional obloquy and punishment.
But the chiefs of the patriots, while for political purposes they pointed the hatred of their followers against the Catholics, appear not to have delighted unnecessarily in blood. They ordered, indeed, searches to be made for Catholic clergymen; they offered and paid rewards for their apprehension, and they occasionally gratified the zealots with the spectacle of an execution. The priests who suffered death in the course of the war amounted on an average to three for each year, a small number, if we consider the agitated state of the public mind during that period. But it was the property of the lay Catholics which they chiefly sought, pretending that, as the war had been caused by their intrigues, its expenses ought to be defrayed by their forfeitures. It was ordained that two-thirds of the whole estate, both real and personal, of every papist, should be seized and sold for
[Footnote 1: Journals, vi. 133, 254. See their Memoirs in Challoner, ii. 209-319. In 1643, after a solemn fast, the five chaplains of the queen were apprehended and sent to France, their native country, and the furniture of her chapel at Somerset House was publicly burnt. The citizens were so edified with the sight that they requested and obtained permission to destroy the gilt cross in Cheapside. The lord mayor and aldermen graced the ceremony with their presence, and "antichrist" was thrown into the flames, while the bells of St. Peter's rang a merry peal, the city waits played melodious tunes on the leads of the church, the train bands discharged volleys of musketry, and the spectators celebrated the triumph with acclamations of joy.—Parl. Chron. 294, 327.]
the benefit of the nation; and that by the name of papist should be understood all persons who, within a certain period, had harboured any priest, or had been convicted of recusancy, or had attended at the celebration of mass, or had suffered their children to be educated in the Catholic worship, or had refused to take the oath of abjuration; an oath lately devised, by which all the distinguishing tenets of the Catholic religion were specifically renounced.
II. A still more important object was the destruction of the episcopal establishment, a consummation most devoutly wished by the saints, by all who objected to the ceremonies in the liturgy, or had been scandalized by the pomp of the prelates, or had smarted under the inflictions of their zeal for the preservation of orthodoxy. It must be confessed that these prelates, in the season of prosperity, had not borne their facilities with meekness; that the frequency of prosecutions in the ecclesiastical courts had produced irritation and hatred; and that punishments had been often awarded by those courts rigorous beyond the measure of the offence. But the day of retribution arrived. Episcopacy was abolished; an impeachment suspended over the heads of most of the bishops, kept them in a state of constant apprehension; and the inferior clergy, wherever the parliamentary arms prevailed, suffered all those severities which they had formerly inflicted on their dissenting brethren. Their enemies accused them of immorality or malignancy; and the two houses invariably sequestrated their livings, and assigned the profits to other ministers, whose sentiments accorded better with the new
[Footnote 1: Journals, Aug. 17, 1643. Collections of Ordinances, 22.]
standard of orthodoxy and patriotism admitted at Westminster.
The same was the fate of the ecclesiastics in the two universities, which had early become objects of jealousy and vengeance to the patriots. They had for more than a century inculcated the doctrine of passive obedience, and since the commencement of the war had more than once advanced considerable sums to the king. Oxford, indeed, enjoyed a temporary exemption from their control; but Cambridge was already in their power, and a succession of feuds between the students and the townsmen afforded a decent pretext for their interference. Soldiers were quartered in the colleges; the painted windows and ornaments of the churches were demolished; and the persons of the inmates were subjected to insults and injuries. In January, 1644, an ordinance passed for the reform of the university;[a] and it was perhaps fortunate that the ungracious task devolved in the first instance on the military commander, the earl of Manchester, who to a taste for literature added a gentleness of disposition adverse from acts of severity. Under his superintendence the university was "purified;" and ten heads of houses, with sixty-five fellows, were expelled. Manchester confined himself to those who, by their hostility to the parliament, had rendered themselves conspicuous, or through fear had already abandoned their stations; but after his departure, the meritorious undertaking was resumed by a committee, and the number of expulsions was carried to two hundred. Thus the clerical establishment gradually crumbled
[Footnote 1: Journals of Lords, vi. 389; of Commons, Jan. 20, 1644. Neal, 1, iii. c. 3. Walker, i. 112. Querela Cantab. in Merc. Rust. 178-210.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Jan. 22.]
away; part after part was detached from the edifice; and the reformers hastened to raise what they deemed a more scriptural fabric on the ruins. In the month of June, 1643, one hundred and twenty individuals selected by the Lords and Commons, under the denomination of pious, godly, and judicious divines, were summoned to meet at Westminster; and, that their union might bear a more correct resemblance to the assembly of the Scottish kirk, thirty laymen, ten lords, and twenty commoners were voted additional members. The two houses prescribed the form of the meetings, and the subject of the debates: they enjoined an oath to be taken on admission, and the obligation of secrecy till each question should be determined; and they ordained that every decision should be laid before themselves, and considered of no force until it had been confirmed by their approbation. Of the divines summoned, a portion was composed of Episcopalians; and these, through motives of conscience or loyalty, refused to attend: the majority consisted of Puritan ministers, anxious to establish the Calvinistic discipline and doctrine of the foreign reformed churches; and to these was opposed a small but formidable band of Independent clergymen, who, under the persecution of Archbishop Laud, had formed congregations in Holland, but had taken the present opportunity to return from exile, and preach the gospel in their native country. The point at issue between these two parties was one of the first importance, involving in its result the great question of liberty of conscience. The Presbyterians sought to introduce a
[Footnote 1: Journals, vi. 114, 254. Commons, 1643, May 13, June 16, July 6, Sept. 14. Rush. v. 337, 339.]
gradation of spiritual authorities in presbyteries, classes, synods, and assemblies, giving to these several judicatories the power of the keys, that is, of censuring, suspending, depriving, and excommunicating delinquents. They maintained that such a power was essential to the church; that to deny it was to rend into fragments the seamless coat of Christ, to encourage disunion and schism, and to open the door to every species of theological war. On the other hand, their adversaries contended that all congregations of worshippers were co-ordinate and independent; that synods might advise, but could not command; that multiplicity of sects must necessarily result from the variableness of the human judgment, and the obligation of worshipping God according to the dictates of conscience; and that religious toleration was the birthright of every human being, whatever were his speculative creed or the form of worship which he preferred.
The weight of number and influence was in favour of the Presbyterians. They possessed an overwhelming majority in the assembly, the senate, the city, and the army; the solemn league and covenant had enlisted the whole Scottish nation in their cause; and the zeal of the commissioners from the kirk, who had also seats in the assembly, gave a new stimulus to the efforts of their English brethren. The Independents, on the contrary, were few, but their deficiency in point of number was supplied by the energy and talents of their leaders. They never exceeded a dozen in the assembly; but these were veteran disputants, eager, fearless, and persevering, whose attachment to their favourite doctrines had been riveted by persecution and exile, and who had not escaped from the intolerance
[Footnote 1: Baillie, i. 420, 431; ii. 15, 24, 37, 43, 61.]
of one church to submit tamely to the control of another. In the House of Commons they could command the aid of several among the master spirits of the age,—of Cromwell, Selden, St. John, Vane, and Whitelock; in the capital some of the most wealthy citizens professed themselves their disciples, and in the army their power rapidly increased by the daily accession of the most godly and fanatic of the soldiers. The very nature of the contest between the king and the parliament was calculated to predispose the mind in favour of their principles. It taught men to distrust the claims of authority, to exercise their own judgment on matters of the highest interest, and to spurn the fetters of intellectual as well as of political thraldom. In a short time the Independents were joined by the Antinomians, Anabaptists, Millenarians, Erastians, and the members of many ephemeral sects, whose very names are now forgotten. All had one common interest; freedom of conscience formed the chain which bound them together.
In the assembly each party watched with jealousy, and opposed with warmth, the proceedings of the other. On a few questions they proved unanimous. The appointment of days of humiliation and prayer, the suppression of public and scandalous sins, the prohibition of copes and surplices, the removal of organs from the churches, and the mutilation or demolition of monuments deemed superstitious or idolatrous, were matters equally congenial to their feelings, and equally gratifying to their zeal or fanaticism. But when they
[Footnote 1: Baillie, 398, 408; ii. 3, 19, 43. Whitelock, 169, 170.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, 1643, July 5; 1644, Jan. 16, 29, May 9. Journals of Lords, vi. 200, 507, 546. Baillie, i. 421, 422, 471. Rush. v. 358, 749.]
came to the more important subject of church government, the opposition between them grew fierce and obstinate; and day after day, week after week, was consumed in unavailing debates. The kirk of Scotland remonstrated, the House of Commons admonished in vain. For more than a year the perseverance of the Independents held in check the ardour and influence of their more numerous adversaries. Overpowered at last by open force, they had recourse to stratagem; and, to distract the attention of the Presbyterians, tendered to the assembly a plea for indulgence to tender consciences; while their associate, Cromwell, obtained from the lower house an order that the same subject should be referred to a committee formed of lords and commoners, and Scottish commissioners and deputies from the assembly. Thus a new apple of discord was thrown among the combatants. The lords Say and Wharton, Sir Henry Vane, and Mr. St. John, contended warmly in favour of toleration; they were as warmly opposed by the "divine eloquence of the chancellor" of Scotland, the commissioners from the kirk, and several eminent members of the English parliament. The passions and artifices of the contending parties interposed additional delays, and the year 1644 closed before this interesting controversy could be brought to a conclusion. Eighteen months had elapsed since the assembly was first convened, and yet it had accomplished nothing of importance except the composition of a directory for the public worship, which regulated the order of the service, the administration of the sacraments, the ceremony of marriage, the visitation of the sick, and the burial of the dead.
[Footnote 1: Baillie, ii. 57, 61, 62, 66-68. Journals, Sept. 13, Jan. 24; of Lords, 70.]
On all these subjects the Scots endeavoured to introduce the practice of their own kirk; but the pride of the English demanded alterations; and both parties consented to a sort of compromise, which carefully avoided every approach to the form of a liturgy, and, while it suggested heads for the sermon and prayer, left much of the matter, and the whole of the manner, to the talents or the inspiration of the minister. In England the Book of Common Prayer was abolished, and the Directory substituted in its place by an ordinance of the two houses; in Scotland the latter was commanded to be observed in all churches by the joint authority of the assembly and the parliament.
To the downfall of the liturgy succeeded a new spectacle,—the decapitation of an archbishop. The name of Laud, during the first fifteen months after his impeachment, had scarcely been mentioned; and his friends began to cherish a hope that, amidst the din of arms, the old man might be forgotten, or suffered to descend peaceably into the grave. But his death was unintentionally occasioned by the indiscretion of the very man whose wish and whose duty it was to preserve the life of the prelate. The Lords had ordered Laud to collate the vacant benefices in his gift on persons nominated by themselves, the king forbade him to obey. The death[a] of the rector of Chartham, in Kent, brought his constancy to the test. The Lords named one person to the living, Charles another; and the archbishop, to extricate himself from the dilemma, sought to defer his decision till the right should have
[Footnote 1: Baillie, i. 408, 413, 440; ii. 27, 31, 33, 36, 73, 74, 75. Rush. v. 785. Journals, Sept. 24, Nov. 26, Jan. 1, 4, March 5. Journals of Lords, 119, 121. See "Confessions of Faith, &c. in the Church of Scotland," 159-194.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643 Feb. 3.] lapsed to the crown; but the Lords made a peremptory order, and when he attempted to excuse his disobedience, sent a message[a] to the Commons to expedite his trial. Perhaps they meant only to intimidate; but his enemies seized the opportunity; a committee was appointed; and the task of collecting and preparing evidence was committed to Prynne, whose tiger-like revenge still thirsted for the blood of his former persecutor. He carried off[b] from the cell of the prisoner his papers, his diary, and even his written defence; he sought in every quarter for those who had formerly been prosecuted or punished at the instance of the archbishop, and he called on all men to discharge their duty to God and their country, by deposing to the crimes of him who was the common enemy of both.
At the termination of six months[c] the committee had been able to add ten new articles of impeachment to the fourteen already presented; four months later,[d] both parties were ready to proceed to trial, and on the 12th of March, 1644, more than three years after his commitment, the archbishop confronted his prosecutors at the bar of the House of Lords.
I shall not attempt to conduct the reader through, the mazes of this long and wearisome process, which occupied twenty-one days in the course of six months. The many articles presented by the Commons might be reduced to three,—that Laud had endeavoured to subvert the rights of parliament, the laws and the religion of the nation. In support of these, every instance that could be raked together by the industry and ingenuity of Prynne, was brought forward. The familiar discourse, and the secret writings of the
[Footnote 1: Laud's History written by himself in the Tower, 200-206.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1643. April 21.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1643. May 31.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1643. Oct. 23.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. March 4.]
prelate, had been scrutinized; and his conduct both private and public, as a bishop and a counsellor, in the Star-chamber and the High Commission court, had been subjected to the most severe investigation. Under every disadvantage, he defended himself with spirit, and often with success. He showed that many of the witnesses were his personal enemies, or undeserving of credit; that his words and writings would bear a less offensive and more probable interpretation; and that most of the facts objected to him were either the acts of his officers, who alone ought to be responsible, or the common decision of those boards of which he was only a single member. Thus far[a] he had conducted his defence without legal aid. To speak to matters of law, he was allowed the aid of counsel, who contended that not one of the offences alleged against him amounted to high treason; that their number could not change their quality; that an endeavour to subvert the law, or religion, or the rights of parliament, was not treason by any statute; and that the description of an offence, so vague and indeterminate ought never to be admitted;: otherwise the slightest transgression might, under that denomination, be converted into the highest crime known to the law.
But the Commons, whether they distrusted the patriotism of the Lords, or doubted the legal guilt of the prisoner, had already resolved to proceed by attainder. After the second reading[b] of the ordinance, they sent for the venerable prisoner to their bar, and ordered Brown, one of the managers, to recapitulate in his
[Footnote 1: Compare his own daily account of his trial in History, 220-421, with that part published by Prynne, under the title of Canterburies Doome, 1646; and Rushworth, v. 772.]
[Footnote 2: See it in Laud's History, 423.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. March 11.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Nov. 2.]
hearing the evidence against him, together with his answers. Some days later[a] he was recalled, and suffered to speak in his own defence. After his departure, Brown made a long reply; and the house, without further consideration, passed[b] the bill of attainder, and adjudged him to suffer the penalties of treason. The reader will not fail to observe this flagrant perversion of the forms of justice. It was not as in the case of the earl of Strafford. The commons had not been present at the trial of Laud; they had not heard the evidence, they had not even read the depositions of the witnesses; they pronounced judgment on the credit of the unsworn and partial statement made by their own advocate. Such a proceeding, so subversive of right and equity, would have been highly reprehensible in any court or class of men; it deserved the severest reprobation in that house, the members of which professed themselves the champions of freedom, and were actually in arms against the sovereign, to preserve, as they maintained, the laws, the rights, and the liberties of the nation.
To quicken the tardy proceedings of the Peers, the enemies of the archbishop had recourse to their usual expedients. Their emissaries lamented the delay in the punishment of delinquents, and the want of unanimity between the two houses. It was artfully suggested as a remedy, that both the Lords and Commons ought to sit and vote together in one assembly; and a petition, embodying these different subjects, was prepared and circulated for signatures through the city. Such manoeuvres aroused the spirit of the Peers. They threatened[c] to punish all disturbers
[Footnote 1: Journals, Oct. 31, Nov. 2, 11, 16. Laud's History, 432-440. Rushworth, v. 780.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Nov. 11.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Nov. 13.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. Nov. 28.]
of the peace; they replied with dignity to an insulting message from the Commons; and, regardless of the clamours of the populace, they spent several days in comparing the proofs of the managers with the defence of the archbishop. At last,[a] in a house of fourteen members, the majority pronounced him guilty of certain acts, but called upon the judges to determine the quality of the offence; who warily replied, that nothing of which he had been convicted was treason by the statute law; what it might be by the law of parliament, the house alone was the proper judge. In these circumstances the Lords informed the Commons, that till their consciences were satisfied, they should "scruple" to pass the bill of attainder.
It was the eve of Christmas,[b] and to prove that the nation had thrown off the yoke of superstition, the festival was converted, by ordinance of the two houses, into a day of "fasting and public humiliation." There was much policy in the frequent repetition of these devotional observances. The ministers having previously received instructions from the leading patriots, adapted their prayers and sermons to the circumstances of the time, and never failed to add a new stimulus to the fanaticism of their hearers. On the present occasion[c] the crimes of the archbishop offered a tempting theme to their eloquence; and the next morning the Commons, taking into consideration the last message, intrusted[d] to a committee the task of enlightening the ignorance of the Lords. In a conference
[Footnote 1: Journals, vii. 76, 100, 111.]
[Footnote 2: Ibid. 106. In the preceding year, the Scottish commissioners had "preached stoutly against the superstition of Christmas;" but only succeeded in prevailing on the two houses "to profane that holyday by sitting on it, to their great joy, and some of the assembly's shame."—Baillie, i. 411.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644 Dec. 17.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644 Dec. 23.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644 Dec. 26.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1645 Jan. 2.]
the latter were told that treasons are of two kinds: treasons against the king, created by statute, and cognizable by the inferior courts; and treasons against the realm, held so at common law, and subject only to the judgment of parliament; there could not be a doubt that the offence of Laud was treason of the second class; nor would the two houses perform their duty, if they did not visit it with the punishment which it deserved. When the question was resumed, several of the Lords withdrew; most of the others were willing to be persuaded by the reasoning of the Commons; and the ordinance of attainder was passed[a] by the majority, consisting only, if the report be correct, of six members.
The archbishop submitted with resignation to his fate, and appeared[b] on the scaffold with a serenity of countenance and dignity of behaviour, which did honour to the cause for which he suffered. The cruel punishment of treason had been, after some objections, commuted for decapitation, and the dead body was delivered for interment to his friends. On Charles the melancholy intelligence made a deep impression;
[Footnote 1: Journals, 125, 126. Commons, Dec. 26. Laud's Troubles, 452, Rushworth, v. 781-785. Cyprianus Aug. 528. From the journals it appears that twenty lords were in the house during the day: but we are told in the "Brief Relation" printed in the second collection of Somers's Tracts, ii. 287, that the majority consisted of the earls of Kent, Pembroke, Salisbury, and Bolingbroke, and the lords North, Gray de Warke, and Bruce. Bruce afterwards denied that he had voted. According to Sabran, the French ambassador, the majority amounted to five out of nine.—Raumer, ii. 332.]
[Footnote 2: Several executions had preceded that of the archbishop. Macmahon, concerned in the design to surprise the castle of Dublin, suffered Nov. 22; Sir Alexander Carew, who had engaged to surrender Plymouth to the king, on Dec. 23, and Sir John Hotham and his son, who, conceiving themselves ill-treated by the parliament, had entered into a treaty for the surrender of Hull, on the 1st and 2nd of January; Lord Macguire followed on Feb. 20.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Jan. 4.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. Jan. 10.]
yet he contrived to draw from it a new source of consolation. He had sinned equally with his opponents in consenting to the death of Strafford, and had experienced equally with them the just vengeance of heaven. But he was innocent of the blood of Laud; the whole guilt was exclusively theirs; nor could he doubt that the punishment would speedily follow in the depression of their party, and the exaltation of the throne.
The very enemies of the unfortunate archbishop admitted that he was learned and pious, attentive to his duties, and unexceptionable in his morals; on the other hand, his friends could not deny that he was hasty and vindictive, positive in his opinions, and inexorable in his enmities. To excuse his participation in the arbitrary measures of the council, and his concurrence in the severe decrees of the Star-chamber, he alleged, that he was only one among many; and that it was cruel to visit on the head of a single victim the common faults of the whole board. But it was replied, with great appearance of truth, that though only one, he was the chief; that his authority and influence swayed the opinions both of his sovereign and his colleagues; and that he must not expect to escape the just reward of his crimes, because he had possessed the ingenuity to make others his associates in guilt. Yet I am of opinion that it was religious, and not political rancour, which led him to the block; and that, if the zealots could have forgiven his conduct as archbishop, he might have lingered out the remainder of his life in the Tower. There was, however, but little difference in that respect between
[Footnote 1: See his letter to the queen, Jan. 14th, in his Works, 145.]
them and their victim. Both were equally obstinate, equally infallible, equally intolerant. As long as Laud ruled in the zenith of his power, deprivation awaited the non-conforming minister, and imprisonment, fine, and the pillory were the certain lot of the writer who dared to lash the real or imaginary vices of the prelacy. His opponents were now lords of the ascendant, and they exercised their sway with similar severity on the orthodox clergy of the establishment, and on all who dared to arraign before the public the new reformation of religion. Surely the consciousness of the like intolerance might have taught them to look with a more indulgent eye on the past errors of their fallen adversary, and to spare the life of a feeble old man bending under the weight of seventy-two years, and disabled by his misfortunes from offering opposition to their will, or affording aid to their enemies.
[Footnote 1: I have not noticed the charge of endeavouring to introduce popery, because it appears to me fully disproved by the whole tenor of his conduct and writings, as long as he was in authority. There is, however, some reason to believe that, in the solitude of his cell, and with the prospect of the block before his eyes, he began to think more favourably of the Catholic church. At least, I find Rosetti inquiring of Cardinal Barberini whether, if Laud should escape from the Tower, the pope would afford him an asylum and a pension in Rome. He would be content with one thousand crowns—"il quale, quando avesse potuto liberarsi dalle carceri, sarebbe ito volontieri a vivere e morire in Roma, contendandosi di mille scudi annui."—Barberini answered, that Laud was in such bad repute in Rome, being looked upon as the cause of all the troubles in England, that it would previously be necessary that he should give good proof of his repentance; in which case he should receive assistance, though such assistance would give a colour to the imputation that there had always been an understanding between him and Rome. "Era si cattivo il concetto, che di lui avevasi in Roma, cioe che fosse stato autore di tutte le torbolenze d'Inghilterra, che era necessario dasse primo segni ben grandi del suo pentimento. Ed in tal caso sarebbe stato ajutato; sebene saria paruto che nelle sue passate resoluzioni se la fosse sempre intesa con Roma."—From the MS. abstract of the Barberini papers made by the canon Nicoletti soon after the death of the cardinal.]
Treaty At Uxbridge—Victories Of Montrose In Scotland—Defeat Of The King At Naseby—Surrender Of Bristol—Charles Shut Up Within Oxford—Mission Of Glamorgan To Ireland—He Is Disavowed By Charles, But Concludes A Peace With The Irish—The King Intrigues With The Parliament, The Scots, And The Independents—He Escapes To The Scottish Army—Refuses The Concessions Required—Is Delivered Up By The Scots.
Whenever men spontaneously risk their lives and fortunes in the support of a particular cause, they are wont to set a high value on their services, and generally assume the right of expressing their opinions, and of interfering with their advice. Hence it happened that the dissensions and animosities in the court and army of the unfortunate monarch were scarcely less violent or less dangerous than those which divided the parliamentary leaders. All thought themselves entitled to offices and honours from the gratitude of the sovereign; no appointment could be made which did not deceive the expectations, and excite the murmurs, of numerous competitors; and complaints were everywhere heard, cabals were formed, and the wisest plans were frequently controlled and defeated, by men who thought themselves neglected or aggrieved. When Charles, as one obvious remedy, removed the lord Wilmot from the command of the cavalry, and the lord Percy from that of the ordnance, he found that he had only aggravated the evil; and the dissatisfaction of the army was further increased by the substitution of his nephew Prince Rupert, whose severe and imperious temper had earned him the general hatred, in the place of Ruthen, who, on account of his infirmities, had been advised to retire.