[Footnote 1: Journals, viii. 309, 329, 360, 374, 475. Baillie, ii. 207, 209. Rush. vi. 280-297. The last who submitted to take down the royal standard was the marquess of Worcester. He was compelled to travel, at the age of eighty, from Ragland Castle to London, but died immediately after his arrival. As his estate was under sequestration, the Lords ordered a sum to be advanced for the expenses of his funeral.—Journals, viii. 498, 616. See Note (B) at the end of the volume.]
[Footnote 2: The following was the chief point in dispute. Each had alleged texts of Scripture in support of his favourite opinion, and each explained those texts in an opposite meaning. It was certainly as unreasonable that Charles should submit his judgment to Henderson, as that Henderson should submit his to that of Charles. The king, therefore, asked who was to be judge between them. The divine replied, that Scripture could only be explained by Scripture, which, in the opinion of the monarch, was leaving the matter undecided. He maintained that antiquity was the judge. The church government established by the apostles must have been consonant to the meaning of the Scripture. Now, as far as we can go back in history, we find episcopacy established: whence it is fair to infer that episcopacy was the form established by the apostles. Henderson did not allow the inference. The church of the Jews had fallen into idolatry during the short absence of Moses on the mount, the church of Christ might have fallen into error in a short time after the death of the apostles. Here the controversy ended with the sickness and death of the divine.—See Charles's Works, 75-90.]
leaders, however, came with political arguments to the aid of their champion. They assured[a] the king that his restoration to the royal authority, or his perpetual exclusion from the throne, depended on his present choice. Let him take the covenant, and concur in the establishment of the Directory, and the Scottish nation to a man, the English, with the sole exception of the Independents, would declare in his favour. His conformity in that point alone could induce them to mitigate the severity of their other demands, to replace him on the throne of his ancestors, and to compel the opposite faction to submit. Should he refuse, he must attribute the consequences to himself. He had received sufficient warning: they had taken the covenant, and must discharge their duty to God and their country.
It was believed then, it has often been repeated since, that the king's refusal originated in the wilfulness and obstinacy of his temper; and that his repeated appeals to his conscience were mere pretexts to disguise his design of replunging the nation into the horrors from which it had so recently emerged. But this supposition is completely refuted by the whole tenour of his secret correspondence with his queen and her council in France. He appears to have divided his objections into two classes, political and religious. 1. It was, he alleged, an age in which mankind were governed from the pulpit: whence it became an object
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. July 13.]
of the first importance to a sovereign to determine to whose care that powerful engine should be intrusted. The principles of Presbyterianism were anti-monarchical; its ministers openly advocated the lawfulness of rebellion; and, if they were made the sole dispensers of public instruction, he and his successors might be kings in name, but would be slaves in effect. The wisest of those who had swayed the sceptre since the days of Solomon had given his sanction to the maxim "no bishop no king;" and his own history furnished a melancholy confirmation of the sagacity of his father. 2. The origin of episcopacy was a theological question, which he had made it his business to study. He was convinced that the institution was derived from Christ, and that he could not in conscience commute it for another form of church government devised by man. He had found episcopacy in the church at his accession; he had sworn to maintain it in all its rights; and he was bound to leave it in existence at his death. Once, indeed, to please the two houses, he had betrayed his conscience by assenting to the death of Strafford: the punishment of that transgression still lay heavy on his head; but should he, to please them again, betray it once more, he would prove himself a most incorrigible sinner, and deserve the curse both of God and man.
The king had reached Newark in May: it was the end of July before the propositions of peace were submitted[a] to his consideration. The same in substance with those of the preceding year, they had yet been aggravated by new restraints, and a more numerous
[Footnote 1: For all these particulars, see the Clarendon Papers, ii. 243, 248, 256, 260, 263, 265, 274, 277, 295; Baillie, ii. 208, 209, 214, 218, 219, 236, 241, 242, 243, 249.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. July 24.]
list of proscriptions. On the tenth day,[a] the utmost limit of the time allotted to the commissioners, Charles replied that it was impossible for him to return an unqualified assent to proposals of such immense importance; that without explanation he could not comprehend how much of the ancient constitution it was meant to preserve, how much to take away; that a personal conference was necessary for both parties, in order to remove doubts, weigh reasons, and come to a perfect understanding; and that for this purpose it was his intention to repair to Westminster whenever the two houses and the Scottish commissioners would assure him that he might reside there with freedom, honour, and safety.
This message, which was deemed evasive, and therefore unsatisfactory, filled the Independents with joy, the Presbyterians with sorrow. The former disguised no longer their wish to dethrone the king, and either to set up in his place his son the duke of York, whom the surrender of Oxford had delivered into their hands, or, which to many seemed preferable, to substitute a republican for a monarchical form of government. The Scottish commissioners sought to allay the ferment, by diverting the attention of the houses. They expressed[b] their readiness not only to concur in such measures as the obstinacy of the king should make necessary, but on the receipt of a compensation for their past services, to withdraw their army into their own country. The offer was cheerfully accepted; a committee assembled to balance the accounts between
[Footnote 1: Journals, viii. 423, 447, 460. The king now wished to escape from the Scots. Ashburnham was instructed to sound Pierpoint, one of the parliamentarian commissioners, but Pierpoint refused to confer with him.—Ashburn. ii. 78.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. August 2.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. August 11.]
the nations; many charges on both sides were disputed and disallowed; and at last the Scots agreed[a] to accept four hundred thousand pounds in lieu of all demands, of which one half should be paid before they left England, the other after their arrival in Scotland.
At this moment an unexpected vote[b] of the two houses gave birth to a controversy unprecedented in history. It was resolved that the right of disposing of the king belonged to the parliament of England. The Scots hastened to remonstrate. To dispose of the king was an ambiguous term; they would assume that it meant to determine where he should reside until harmony was restored between him and his people. But it ought to be remembered that he was king of Scotland as well as of England; that each nation had an interest in the royal person; both had been parties in the war; both had a right to be consulted respecting the result. The English, on the contrary, contended that the Scots were not parties, but auxiliaries, and that it was their duty to execute the orders of those whose bread they ate, and whose money they received. Scotland was certainly an independent kingdom. But its rights were confined within its own
[Footnote 1: Journals, viii. 461, 485. Baillie, ii. 222, 223, 225, 267. Rush. vi. 322-326. To procure the money, a new loan was raised in the following manner. Every subscriber to former loans on the faith of parliament, who had yet received neither principal nor interest, was allowed to subscribe the same sum to the present loan, and, in return, both sums with interest were to be secured to him on the grand excise and the sale of the bishops' lands. For the latter purpose, three ordinances were passed; one disabling all persons from holding the place, assuming the name, and exercising the jurisdiction of archbishops or bishops within the realm, and vesting all the lands belonging to archbishops and bishops in certain trustees, for the use of the nation (Journals, 515); another securing the debts of subscribers on these lands (ibid. 520); and a third appointing persons to make contracts of sale, and receive the money.—Journals of Commons, Nov. 16.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. Sept. 5.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. Sept. 21.]
limits; it could not claim, it should not exercise, any authority within the boundaries of England. This altercation threatened to dissolve the union between the kingdoms. Conferences were repeatedly[a][b] held. The Scots published their speeches; the Commons ordered the books to be seized, and the printers to be imprisoned; and each party obstinately refused either to admit the pretensions of its opponents, or even to yield to a compromise. But that which most strongly marked the sense of the parliament, was a vote[c] providing money for the payment of the army during the next six months; a very intelligible hint of their determination to maintain their claim by force of arms, if it were invaded by the presumption of their allies.
This extraordinary dispute, the difficulty of raising an immediate loan, and the previous arrangements for the departure of the Scots, occupied the attention of the two houses during the remainder of the year. Charles had sufficient leisure to reflect on the fate which threatened him. His constancy seemed to relax; he consulted[d] the bishops of London and Salisbury: and successively proposed several unsatisfactory expedients, of which the object was to combine the toleration of episcopacy with the temporary or partial establishment of Presbyterianism. The lords voted[e] that he should be allowed to reside at Newmarket; but the Commons refused[f] their consent; and ultimately both houses fixed on Holmby, in the vicinity of Northampton. No notice was taken of the security
[Footnote 1: Journals, 498, 534. Commons', Oct. 7, 13, 14, 16. Rush. vi. 329-373. Baillie, ii. 246.]
[Footnote 2: "Holdenby or Holmby, a very stately house, built by the lord chancellor Hatton, and in King James's reign purchased by Q. Anne for her second son."—Herbert, 13. It was, therefore, the king's own property.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. Oct. 1.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. Oct. 7.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1646. Oct. 13.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1646. Sept. 30.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1646. Dec. 16.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1646. Dec. 31.]
which he had demanded for his honour and freedom, but a promise was given that respect should be had to the safety of his person in the defence of the true[a] religion and the liberties of the two kingdoms, according to the solemn league and covenant. This vote was communicated to the Scottish commissioners at Newcastle, who replied that they awaited the commands[b] of their own parliament.
In Scotland the situation of the king had been the subject of many keen and animated debates. In the parliament his friends were active and persevering; and their efforts elicited a resolution that the commissioners[c] in London should urge with all their influence his request of a personal conference. Cheered by this partial success, they proposed a vote expressive of their determination to support, under all circumstances, his right to the English throne. But at this moment arrived the votes of the two houses for his removal to Holmby: the current of Scottish loyalty was instantly checked; and the fear of a rupture between the nations induced the estates to observe a solemn fast, that they might deserve the blessing of Heaven, and to consult the commissioners of the kirk, that they might proceed with a safe conscience. The answer was such as might have been expected from the bigotry of the age: that it was unlawful to assist in the restoration of a prince, who had been excluded from the government of his kingdom, for his refusal of the propositions respecting religion and the covenant. No man ventured to oppose the decision of the kirk. In a house of two hundred
[Footnote 1: Clarendon Papers, ii. 265, 268, 276. Journals, 622, 635, 648, 681. Commons' Journals, Dec. 24. His letter to the bishop of London is in Ellis, iii. 326, 2nd ser.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. Jan. 6.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. Jan. 12.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1646. Dec. 16.]
members, not more than seven or eight were found to speak in favour of their sovereign. A resolution was voted that he should be sent to Holmby, or some other of his houses near London, to remain there till he had assented to the propositions of peace; and all that his friends could obtain was an amendment more expressive of their fears than of their hopes, that no injury[a] or violence should be offered to his person, no obstacle be opposed to the legitimate succession of his children, and no alteration made in the existing government of the kingdoms. This addition was cheerfully adopted by the English House of Lords; but the Commons did not vouchsafe to honour it with their notice. The first[b] payment of one hundred thousand pounds had already been made at Northallerton: the Scots, according to[c] agreement, evacuated Newcastle; and the parliamentary commissioners, without any other ceremony, took charge of the royal person. Four days later the Scots[d] received the second sum of one hundred thousand pounds; their army repassed the border-line between the two kingdoms; and the captive monarch, under a[e] strong guard, but with every demonstration of respect, was conducted to his new prison at Holmby.
The royalists, ever since the king's visit to Newark, had viewed with anxiety and terror the cool calculating policy of the Scots. The result converted their suspicions into certitude: they hesitated not to accuse them of falsehood and perfidy, and to charge them with having allured the king to their army by deceitful promises, that, Judas-like, they might barter him for money with his enemies. Insinuations so injurious
[Footnote 1: Journals, viii. 686, 689, 695, 699, 713. Commons', Jan. 25, 26, 27. Baillie, ii. 253. Rush. vi. 390-398. Whitelock, 233. Thurloe, i. 73, 74.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. Jan. 25.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. Jan. 21.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1647. Jan. 30.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1647. Feb. 3.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1647. Feb. 16.]
to the character of the nation ought not to be lightly admitted. It is, indeed, true that fanaticism and self-interest had steeled the breasts of the Covenanters against the more generous impulses of loyalty and compassion; and that, by the delivery of the king to his enemies, they violated their previous pledge of personal safety, which, if once given, though by word only, ought to have been sacredly fulfilled. But there is no ground for the statement, that they held out promises to delude the unfortunate prince. It was with reluctance that they consented to receive him at all; and, when at last he sought an asylum in their army, he came thither, not allured by invitation from them, but driven by necessity and despair. 2. If the delivery of the royal person, connected as it was with the receipt of L200,000, bore the appearance of a sale, it ought to be remembered, that the accounts between the two nations had been adjusted in the beginning of September; that for four months afterwards the Scots never ceased to negotiate in favour of Charles; nor did they resign the care of his person, till the votes of the English parliament compelled them to make the choice between compliance or war. It may be, that in forming their decision their personal interest was not forgotten; but there was another consideration which had no small weight even with the friends of the monarch. It was urged that by suffering the king to reside at Holmby, they would do away with the last pretext for keeping on foot the army under the command of Fairfax; the dissolution of that army would annihilate the influence of the Independents, and give an undisputed ascendancy to the Presbyterians; the first the declared enemies, the others the avowed advocates of Scotland, of the kirk, and of the king; and the necessary consequence must be, that the two parliaments would be left at liberty to arrange, in conformity with the covenant, both the establishment of religion and the restoration of the throne.
Charles was not yet weaned from the expectation of succour from Ireland. At Newcastle he had consoled the hours of his captivity with dreams of the mighty efforts for his deliverance, which would be made by Ormond, and Glamorgan, and the council at Kilkenny. To the first of these he forwarded two messages, one openly through Lanark, the Scottish secretary, the other clandestinely through Lord Digby, who proceeded to Dublin from France. By the first Ormond received a positive command to break off the treaty with the Catholics; by the second he was told to adhere to his former instructions, and to obey no order which was not transmitted to him by the queen or the prince.[a] The letter to Glamorgan proves more clearly the distress to which he was reduced, and the confidence which he reposed in the exertions of that nobleman. "If," he writes, "you can raise a large sum of money by pawning my kingdoms for that purpose, I am content you should do it; and if I recover them, I will fully repay that money. And tell the nuncio, that if once I can come into his and your hands, which ought to be extremely wish'd"
[Footnote 1: See the declarations of Argyle in Laing, iii. 560; and of the Scottish commissioners, to the English parliament, Journals, ix. 594, 598. "Stapleton and Hollis, and some others of the eleven members, had been the main persuaders of us to remove out of England, and leave the king to them, upon assurance, which was most likely, that this was the only means to get that evil army disbanded, the king and peace settled according to our minds; but their bent execution of this real intention has undone them, and all, till God provide a remedy."—Baillie, ii. 257.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. July 20.]
for by you, both, as well for the sake of England as Ireland, since all the rest, as I see, despise me, I will do it. And if I do not say this from my heart, or if in any future time I fail you in this, may God never restore me to my kingdoms in this world, nor give me eternal happiness in the next, to which I hope this tribulation will conduct me at last, after I have satisfied my obligations to my friends, to none of whom am I so much obliged as to yourself, whose merits towards me exceed all expressions that can be used by
Your constant friend,
But religion was still the rock on which the royal hopes were destined[a] to split. The perseverance of the supreme council at Kilkenny prevailed in appearance over the intrigues of the nuncio and the opposition of the clergy. The peace was reciprocally signed; it was published with more than usual parade in the cities of Dublin and Kilkenny; but at the same time a national synod at Waterford not only condemned it[b] as contrary to the oath of association, but on that ground excommunicated its authors, fautors, and abettors as guilty of perjury. The struggle between the advocates and opponents of the peace was soon terminated. The men of Ulster under Owen O'Neil, proud of their recent victory (they had almost annihilated
[Footnote 1: Birch, Inquiry, 245. I may here mention that Glamorgan, when he was marquess of Worcester, published "A Century of the "Names and Scantlings of such Inventions," &c., which Hume pronounces "a ridiculous compound of lies, chimeras, and impossibilities, enough to show what might be expected from such a man." If the reader peruse Mr. Partington's recent edition of this treatise, he will probably conclude that the historian had never seen it, or that he was unable to comprehend it.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. July 29.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. August 6.]
the Scottish army in the sanguinary battle of Benburb), espoused the cause of the clergy; Preston, who commanded the forces of Leinster, after some hesitation, declared also in their favour; the members of the old council who had subscribed the treaty were imprisoned, and a new council was established, consisting of eight laymen and four clergymen, with the nuncio at their head. Under their direction, the two armies marched to besiege Dublin: it was saved by the prudence of Ormond, who had wasted the neighbouring country, and by the habits of jealousy and dissension which prevented any cordial co-operation between O'Neil and Preston, the one of Irish, the other of English descent. Ormond, however, despaired of preserving the capital against their repeated attempts; and the important question for his decision was, whether he should surrender it to them or to the parliament. The one savoured of perfidy to his religion, the other[a] of treachery to his sovereign. He preferred the latter. The first answer to his offer he was induced to reject as derogatory from his honour: a second negotiation followed; and he at last consented to resign to the parliament the sword, the emblem of his office, the[b] castle of Dublin, and all the fortresses held by his troops, on the payment of a certain sum of money, a grant of security for his person, and the restoration of his lands, which had been sequestrated. This agreement was performed. Ormond came to England, and the king's hope of assistance from Ireland was once more disappointed.
Before the conclusion of this chapter, it will be
[Footnote 1: Journals, viii. 519, 522; ix. 29, 32, 35. The reader will find an accurate account of the numerous and complicated negotiations respecting Ireland in Birch, Inquiry, &c., p. 142-261.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. Oct. 14.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. Feb. 22.]
proper to notice the progress which had been made in the reformation of religion. From the directory for public worship, the synod and the houses proceeded to the government of the church. They divided the kingdom into provinces, the provinces into classes, and the classes into presbyteries or elderships; and established by successive votes a regular gradation of authority among these new judicatories, which amounted, if we may believe the ordinance, to no fewer than ten thousand. But neither of the great religious parties was satisfied. 1. The Independents strongly objected to the intolerance of the Presbyterian scheme; and though willing that it should be protected and countenanced by the state, they claimed a right to form, according to the dictates of their consciences, separate congregations for themselves. Their complaints were received with a willing ear by the two houses, the members of which (so we are told by a Scottish divine who attended the assembly at Westminster) might be divided into four classes: the Presbyterians, who, in number and influence, surpassed any one of the other three; the Independents, who, if few in number, were yet distinguished by the superior talents and industry of their leaders; the lawyers, who looked with jealousy on any attempt to erect an ecclesiastical power independent of the legislature; and the men of irreligious habits, who dreaded the stern and scrutinizing discipline of a Presbyterian kirk. The two last occasionally
[Footnote 1: Under the general name of Independents, I include, for convenience, all the different sects enumerated at the time by Edwards in his Gangraena,—Independents, Brownists, Millenaries, Antinomians, Anabaptists, Arminians, Libertines, Familists, Enthusiasts, Seekers, Perfectists, Socinians, Arianists, Anti-Trinitarians, Anti-Scripturists, and Sceptics.—Neal's Puritans, ii. 251. I observe that some of them maintained that toleration was due even to Catholics. Baillie repeatedly notices it with feelings of horror (ii. 17, 18, 43, 61).]
served to restore the balance between the two others, and by joining with the Independents, to arrest the zeal, and neutralize the votes of the Presbyterians.[a] With their aid, Cromwell, as the organ of the discontented religionists, had obtained the appointment of a "grand committee for accommodation," which sat four months, and concluded nothing. Its professed object was to reconcile the two parties, by inducing the Presbyterians to recede from their lofty pretensions, and the Independents to relax something of their sectarian obstinacy. Both were equally inflexible. The former would admit of no innovation in the powers which Christ, according to their creed, had bestowed on the presbytery; the latter, rather than conform, expressed their readiness to suffer the penalties of the law, or to seek some other clime, where the enjoyment of civil, was combined with that of religious, freedom.
2. The discontent of the Presbyterians arose from a very different source. They complained that the parliament sacrilegiously usurped that jurisdiction which Christ had vested exclusively in his church. The assembly contended, that "the keys of the kingdom of heaven were committed to the officers of the church, by virtue whereof, they have power respectively 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." These claims of the divines were zealously supported by their brethren in parliament, and as fiercely opposed by all who were not of their communion. The divines claimed for the presbyteries the right of inquiring into the private lives of individuals, and of suspending the unworthy[b]
[Footnote 1: Baillie, i. 408, 420, 431; ii. 11, 33, 37, 42, 57, 63, 66, 71.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Sept. 13.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. March 5.]
from the sacrament of the Lord's supper; but the parliament refused the first, and confined the second to cases of public scandal. They arrogated to themselves the power of judging what offences should be deemed scandalous; the parliament defined the particular offences, and appointed civil commissioners in each province, to whom the presbyteries should refer every case not previously enumerated. They allowed of no appeal from the ecclesiastical tribunals to the civil magistrate; the parliament empowered all who thought themselves aggrieved to apply for redress to either of the two houses. This profane mutilation of the divine right of the presbyteries excited the alarm and execration of every orthodox believer. When the ordinance for carrying the new plan into execution was in progress through the Commons, the ministers generally determined not to act under its provisions. The citizens of London, who petitioned against it, were indeed silenced by a vote[a] that they had violated the privileges of the house; but the Scottish commissioners came to their aid with a demand that religion should be regulated to the satisfaction of the church; and the assembly of divines ventured to remonstrate, that they could not in conscience submit to an imperfect and anti-scriptural form of ecclesiastical government. To the Scots a civil but unmeaning answer was returned:[b] to alarm the assembly, it was resolved that the remonstrance was a breach of privilege, and that nine questions should be proposed to the divines, respecting the nature and object of the divine right to which they pretended. These questions had been prepared by the ingenuity of Selden and Whitelock,
[Footnote 1: Journals, vii. 469. Commons', Sept. 25, Oct. 10, March 5.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. March 26.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. April 22.]
ostensibly for the sake of information, in reality to breed dissension and to procure delay.
When the votes of the house were announced to the assembly, the members anticipated nothing less than the infliction of those severe penalties with which breaches of privilege were usually visited. They observed a day of fasting and humiliation, to invoke the protection of God in favour of his persecuted church; required the immediate attendance of their absent colleagues; and then reluctantly entered on the consideration of the questions sent to them from the Commons. In a few days, however, the king took refuge in the Scottish army, and a new ray of hope cheered their afflicted spirits. Additional petitions were presented; the answer of the two houses became more accommodating; and the petitioners received thanks for their zeal, with an assurance in conciliatory language that attention should be paid to their requests. The immediate consequence was the abolition of the provincial commissioners; and the ministers, softened by this condescension, engaged to execute the ordinance in London and Lancashire. At the same time the assembly undertook the composition of a catechism and confession of faith; but their progress was daily retarded by the debates respecting the nine questions; and the influence of their party was greatly diminished by the sudden death of the earl of Essex.[a]
[Footnote 1: Journals, viii. 232. Commons', March 23, April 22. Baillie, ii. 194. "The pope and king," he exclaims, "were never more earnest for the headship of the church, than the plurality of this parliament" (196, 198, 199, 201, 216).]
[Footnote 2: These were the only places in which the Presbyterian government was established according to law.]
[Footnote 3: Baillie says, "He was the head of our party here, kept altogether who now are like, by that alone, to fall to pieces. The House of Lords absolutely, the city very much, and many of the shires depended on him" (ii. 234).]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. .Sept. 14.]
It was, however, restored by the delivery of the king into the hands of the parliament: petitions were immediately presented, complaining of the growth of[a] error and schism; and the impatience of the citizens[b] induced them to appoint a committee to wait daily at the door of the House of Commons, till they should receive a favourable answer. But another revolution, to be related in the next chapter, followed; the custody of the royal person passed from the parliament to the army: and the hopes of the orthodox were utterly extinguished.
[Footnote 1: Baillie, ii. 207, 215, 216, 226, 234, 236, 250. Journals, viii. 332, 509; ix. 18, 72, 82. Commons', May 26, Nov. 27, Dec. 7, March 25, 30.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. Feb. 18.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. March 17.]
Opposite Projects Of The Presbyterians And Independents—The King Is Brought From Holmby To The Army—Independents Driven From Parliament—Restored By The Army—Origin Of The Levellers—King Escapes From Hampton Court, And Is Secured In The Isle Of Wight—Mutiny In The Army—Public Opinion In Favour Of The King—Scots Arm In His Defence—The Royalists Renew The War—The Presbyterians Assume The Ascendancy—Defeat Of The Scots—Suppression Of The Royalists—Treaty Of Newport—The King Is Again Brought To The Army—The House Of Commons Is Purified—The King's Trial—Judgment—And Execution—Reflections.
The king during his captivity at Holmby divided his time between his studies and amusements. A considerable part of the day he spent in his closet, the rest in playing at bowls, or riding in the neighbourhood. He was strictly watched; and without an order from the parliament no access could be obtained to the royal presence. The crowds who came to be touched for the evil were sent back by the guards; the servants who waited on his person received their appointment from the commissioners; and, when he refused[a] the spiritual services of the two Presbyterian ministers sent to him from London, his request[b] for the attendance of any of his twelve chaplains was equally refused.[c]
[Footnote 1: "He frequently went to Harrowden, a house of the Lord Vaux's, where there was a good bowling-green with gardens, groves, and walks, and to Althorp, a fair house, two or three miles from Holmby, belonging to the Lord Spenser, where there was a green well kept."—Herbert, 18.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. Feb. 17.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. March 6.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1647. March 8.]
Thus three months passed away without any official communication from the two houses. The king's patience was exhausted; and he addressed them in a[a] letter, which, as it must have been the production of his own pen, furnishes an undoubted and favourable specimen of his abilities. In it he observed that the want of advisers might, in the estimation of any reasonable man, excuse him from noticing the important propositions presented to him at Newcastle; but his wish to restore a good understanding between himself and his houses of parliament had induced him to make them the subjects of his daily study; and, if he could not return an answer satisfactory in every particular, it must be attributed not to want of will, but to the prohibition of his conscience. Many things he would cheerfully concede: with respect to the others he was ready to receive information, and that in person, if such were the pleasure of the Lords and Commons. Individuals in his situation might persuade themselves that promises extorted from a prisoner are not binding. If such were his opinion, he would not hesitate a moment to grant whatever had been asked. His very reluctance proved beyond dispute, that with him at least the words of a king were sacred.
After this preamble he proceeds to signify his assent to most of the propositions; but to the three principal points in debate, he answers: 1. That he is ready to confirm the Presbyterian government for the space of three years, on condition that liberty of worship be allowed to himself and his household; that twenty divines of his nomination be added to the assembly at Westminster; and that the final settlement of religion at the expiration of that period be made in the regular way by himself and the two houses: 2. he is willing
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. May 12.]
that the command of the army and navy be vested in persons to be named by them, on condition that after ten years it may revert to the crown; and 3. if these things be accorded, he pledges himself to give full satisfaction with respect to the war in Ireland. By[a] the Lords the royal answer was favourably received, and they resolved by a majority of thirteen to nine that the king should be removed from Holmby to Oatlands; but the Commons neglected to notice the subject, and their attention was soon occupied by a question of more immediate, and therefore in their estimation of superior importance.
The reader is aware that the Presbyterians had long viewed the army under Fairfax with peculiar jealousy. It offered a secure refuge to their religious, and proved the strongest bulwark of their political, opponents. Under its protection, men were beyond the reach of intolerance. They prayed and preached as they pleased; the fanaticism of one served to countenance the fanaticism of another; and all, however they might differ in spiritual gifts and theological notions, were bound together by the common profession of godliness, and the common dread of persecution. Fairfax, though called a Presbyterian, had nothing of that stern, unaccommodating character which then marked the leaders of the party. In the field he was distinguished by his activity and daring; but the moment his military duties were performed, he relapsed into habits of ease and indolence; and, with the good-nature and the credulity of a child, suffered himself to be guided by the advice or the wishes of
[Footnote 1: These particulars appear in the correspondence in Clar. Pap. 221-226; Journals, 19, 69, 193, 199; Commons', Feb. 25; March 2, 9; May 21.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. May 20.]
those around him—by his wife, by his companions, and particularly by Cromwell. That adventurer had equally obtained the confidence of the commander-in-chief and of the common soldier. Dark, artful, and designing, he governed Fairfax by his suggestions, while he pretended only to second the projects of that general. Among the privates he appeared as the advocate of liberty and toleration, joined with them in their conventicles, equalled them in the cant of fanaticism, and affected to resent their wrongs as religionists and their privations as soldiers. To his fellow-officers he lamented the ingratitude and jealousy of the parliament, a court in which experience showed that no man, not even the most meritorious patriot, was secure. To-day he might be in high favour; tomorrow, at the insidious suggestion of some obscure lawyer or narrow-minded bigot, he might find himself under arrest, and be consigned to the Tower. That Cromwell already aspired to the eminence to which he afterwards soared, is hardly credible; but that his ambition was awakened, and that he laboured to bring the army into collision with the parliament, was evident to the most careless observer.
To disband that army was now become the main object of the Presbyterian leaders; but they disguised their real motives under the pretence of the national benefit. The royalists were humbled in the dust; the Scots had departed; and it was time to relieve the country from the charge of supporting a multitude of
[Footnote 1: As early as Aug. 2, 1648, Huntingdon, the major in his regiment, in his account of Cromwell's conduct, noticed, that in his chamber at Kingston he said, "What a sway Stapleton and Hollis had heretofore in the kingdom, and he knew nothing to the contrary but that he was as well able to govern the kingdom as either of them."—Journals, x. 411.]
men in arms without any ostensible purpose. They carried, but with considerable opposition, the following resolutions: to take from the army three regiments of horse and eight regiments of foot, for the service in Ireland; to retain in England no greater number of infantry than might be required to do the garrison duty, with six thousand cavalry for the more speedy suppression of tumults and riots; and to admit of no officer of higher rank than colonel, with the exception of Fairfax, the commander-in-chief. In addition it was voted that no commission should be granted to any member of the lower house, or to any individual who refused to take the solemn league and covenant, or to any one whose conscience forbade him to conform to the Presbyterian scheme of church government.
The object of these votes could not be concealed from the Independents. They resolved to oppose their adversaries with their own weapons, and to intimidate those whom they were unable to convince. Suddenly, at their secret instigation, the army, rising from its cantonments in the neighbourhood of Nottingham, approached the metropolis, and selected quarters in the county of Essex. This movement was regarded and resented as a menace: Fairfax, to excuse it, alleged the difficulty of procuring subsistence in an exhausted and impoverished district.[a] At Saffron Walden he was met by the parliamentary commissioners, who called a council of officers, and submitted to their consideration proposals for the service of
[Footnote 1: Journals of Commons, iv., Feb. 15, 19, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27; March 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. On several divisions, the Presbyterian majority was reduced to ten; on one, to two members. They laboured to exclude Fairfax, but were left in a minority of 147 to 159.—Ibid. March 5. "Some," says Whitelock, "wondered it should admit debate and question" (p. 239).]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. March 21.]
Ireland; but instead of a positive answer, inquiries were made and explanations demanded, while a remonstrance against the treatment of the army was circulated for signatures through the several regiments. In it the soldiers required an ordinance of indemnity to screen them from actions in the civil courts for their past conduct, the payment of their arrears, which amounted to forty-three weeks for the horse, and to eighteen for the infantry; exemption from impressment for foreign service; compensation for the maimed; pensions for the widows and families of those who had fallen during the war, and a weekly provision of money, that they might no longer be compelled to live at free quarters on the inhabitants. This remonstrance was presented to Fairfax to be forwarded by him to the two houses. The ruling party became alarmed: they dreaded to oppose petitioners with swords in their hands; and, that the project might be suppressed in its birth, both houses sent instructions to the general, ordered all members of parliament holding commands to repair to the army, and issued a declaration,[a] in which, after a promise to take no notice of what was past, they admonished the subscribers that to persist in their illegal course would subject them to punishment "as enemies to the state and disturbers of the public peace."
The framers of this declaration knew little of the temper of the military. They sought to prevail by intimidation, and they only inflamed the general discontent. Was it to be borne, the soldiers asked each other, that the city of London and the county of Essex should be allowed to petition against the army,
[Footnote 1: Journals, ix. 66, 72, 82, 89, 95, 112-115. Commons', v. March 11, 25, 26, 27, 29.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647 March 29.]
and that they, who had fought, and bled, and conquered in the cause of their country, should be forbidden either to state their grievances or to vindicate their characters? Hitherto the army had been guided, in appearance at least, by the council of officers; now, whether it was a contrivance of the officers themselves to shift the odium to the whole body of the military, or was suggested by the common men, who began to distrust the integrity of their commanders, two deliberating bodies, in imitation of the houses at Westminster, were formed; one consisting of the officers holding commissions, the other of two representatives from every troop and company, calling themselves adjutators or helpers; a name which, by the ingenuity of their enemies, was changed into that of agitators or disturbers. Guided by their resolves, the whole army seemed to be animated with one soul; scarcely a man could be tempted to desert the common cause by accepting of the service in Ireland; each corps added supernumeraries to its original complement; and language was held, and projects were suggested, most alarming to the Presbyterian party. Confident, however, in their own power, the majority in the house[a]
[Footnote 1: Hobbes, Behemoth, 587. Berkeley, 359. This, however, was not the first appearance of the agitators. "The first time," says Fairfax, "I took notice of them was at Nottingham (end of February), by the soldiers meeting to frame a petition to the parliament about their arrears. The thing seemed just; but not liking the way, I spoke with some officers who were principally engaged in it, and got it suppressed for that time."—Short Memorials of Thomas Lord Fairfax, written by himself. Somers's Tracts, v. 392. Maseres, 446.]
[Footnote 2: Several bodies of troops in the distant counties had been disbanded; but the army under Fairfax, by enlisting volunteers from both parties, royalists as well as parliamentarians, was gradually increased by several thousand men, and the burthen of supporting it was doubled.—See Journals, ix. 559-583.]
[Sidebar a: A.D. 1647. April 27.]
resolved that the several regiments should be disbanded on the receipt of a small portion of their arrears. This vote was scarcely past, when a deputation from the agitators presented to the Commons a defence of the remonstrance. They maintained that by becoming soldiers they had not lost the rights of subjects; that by purchasing the freedom of others, they had not forfeited their own; that what had been granted to the adversaries of the commonwealth, and to the officers in the armies of Essex and Waller, could not in justice be refused to them; and that, as without the liberty of petitioning, grievances are without remedy, they ought to be allowed to petition now in what regarded them as soldiers, no less than afterwards in what might regard them as citizens. At the same time the agitators addressed to Fairfax and the other general officers a letter complaining of their wrongs, stating their resolution to obtain redress, and describing the expedition to Ireland as a mere pretext to separate the soldiers from those officers to whom they were attached, "a cloak to the ambition of men who having lately tasted of sovereignty, and been lifted beyond their ordinary sphere of servants, sought to become masters, and degenerate into tyrants." The tone of these papers excited alarm; and Cromwell, Skippon, Ireton, and Fleetwood were[a] ordered to repair to their regiments, and assure them that ordinances of indemnity should be passed, that their arrears should be audited, and that a considerable payment should be made previous to their dismissal from the service.[b] When these officers announced, in the words of the parliamentary order, that they were come to quiet "the distempers in the army," the councils replied, that they knew of no[b]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. April 30.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. May 8.]
distempers, but of many grievances, and that of these they demanded immediate redress.
Whitelock, with his friends, earnestly deprecated a course of proceeding which he foresaw must end in defeat; but his efforts were frustrated by the inflexibility or violence of Holles, Stapleton, and Glyn, the leaders of the ruling party, who, though they condescended to pass[a] the ordinance of indemnity, and to issue[b] money for the payment of the arrears of eight weeks, procured[c] instructions for the lord general to collect the several regiments in their respective quarters, and to disband them without delay. Instead of obeying, he called together the council of officers, who resolved, in answer to a petition to them from the agitators, that the votes of parliament were not satisfactory; that the arrears of payment for eight weeks formed but a portion of their just claim, and that no security had been given for the discharge of the remainder; that the bill of indemnity was a delusion, as long as the vote declaring them enemies of the state was unrepealed; and that, instead of suffering themselves to be disbanded in their separate quarters, the whole army ought to be drawn together, that they might consult in common for the security of their persons and the reparation of their characters. Orders were despatched at the same time to secure the park of artillery at Oxford, and to seize the sum of four thousand pounds destined for the garrison in that city. These measures opened the eyes of their adversaries. A proposal was made in parliament to expunge the offensive declaration from the journals, a more comprehensive bill of indemnity was introduced, and other
[Footnote 1: Journals, ix. 164. Commons', Ap. 27, 30. Whitelock, 245, 246. Rushworth, vi. 447, 451, 457, 469, 480, 485.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. May 21.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. May 25.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1647. May 29.]
votes were suggested calculated to remove the objections of the army, when the alarm of the Presbyterian leaders was raised to the highest pitch by the arrival of unexpected tidings from Holmby.
Soon after the appointment of the agitators, an officer had delivered to the king a petition from the army, that he would suffer himself to be conducted to the quarters of their general, by whom he should be restored to his honour, crown, and dignity.[a] Charles replied, that he hoped one day to reward them for the loyalty of their intention, but that he could not give his consent to a measure which, must, in all probability, replunge the nation into the horrors of a civil war. He believed that this answer had induced the army to abandon the design; but six weeks later, on Wednesday the 2nd of June, while he was playing at bowls at Althorp, Joyce, a cornet in the general's lifeguard, was observed standing among the spectators; and late in the evening of the same day, the commissioners in attendance upon him understood that a numerous party of horse had assembled on Harleston Heath, at the distance of two miles from Holmby.[b] Their object could not be doubted; it was soon ascertained that the military under their orders would offer no resistance; and Colonel Greaves, their commander, deemed it expedient to withdraw to a place of safety. About two in the morning a body of troopers appeared before the gates, and were instantly admitted.[c] To the questions of the commissioners, who was their commander, and what was their purpose, Joyce replied, that they were all commanders, and that they had
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 248, 250. Holles, 92. Journals, 207, 222, 226-228. Commons', May 14, 21, 25, 28, June 1, 4, 5. Rushworth, vi. 489, 493, 497-500, 505.]
[Transcriber's Note: Footnote 2 not found in the text.]
[Footnote 2: Clarendon Papers, ii. 365.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. April 21] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. June 2] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1647. June 3]
come to arrest Colonel Greaves, and to secure the person of the king, that he might not be carried away by their enemies. With a pistol in his hand he then demanded admission to Charles; but the grooms of the bedchamber interposed; and, after a violent altercation, he was induced to withdraw. During the day the parliamentary guards were replaced by these strangers; about ten at night Joyce again demanded admission to the royal bedchamber, and informed the king that his comrades were apprehensive of a rescue, and wished to conduct him to a place of greater security. Charles signified his assent, on the condition that what then passed between them in private should be repeated in public; and at six the next morning, took his station on the steps at the door, while the troopers drew up before him, with Joyce a little in advance of the line. This dialogue ensued:—
KING.—Mr. Joyce, I desire to ask you, what authority you have to take charge of my person and convey me away?
JOYCE.—I am sent by authority of the army, to prevent the design of their enemies, who seek to involve the kingdom a second time in blood.
KING.—That is no lawful authority. I know of none in England but my own, and, after mine, that of the parliament. Have you any written commission from Sir Thomas Fairfax?
JOYCE.—I have the authority of the army, and the general is included in the army.
KING.—That is no answer. The general is the head of the army. Have you any written commission?
JOYCE.—I beseech your majesty to ask me no more questions. There is my commission, pointing to the troopers behind him.
KING, with a smile—I never before read such a commission; but it is written in characters fair and legible enough; a company of as handsome proper gentlemen as I have seen a long while. But to remove me hence, you must use absolute force, unless you give me satisfaction as to these reasonable and just demands which I make: that I may be used with honour and respect, and that I may not be forced in any thing against my conscience or honour, though I hope that my resolution is so fixed that no force can cause me to do a base thing. You are masters of my body, my soul is above your reach.
The troopers signified their assent by acclamation; and Joyce rejoined, that their principle was not to force any man's conscience, much less that of their sovereign. Charles proceeded to demand the attendance of his own servants, and, when this had been granted, asked whither they meant to conduct him. Some mentioned Oxford, others Cambridge, but, at his own request, Newmarket was preferred. As soon as he had retired, the commissioners protested against the removal of the royal person, and called on the troopers present to come over to them, and maintain the authority of parliament. But they replied with one voice "None, none;" and the king, trusting himself to Joyce and his companions, rode that day as far as Hinchinbrook House, and afterwards proceeded to Childersley, not far from Cambridge.
[Footnote 1: Compare the narrative published by the army (Rushw. vi. 53), with the letters sent by the commissioners to the House of Lords, Journals, 237, 240, 248, 250, 273, and Herbert's Memoirs, 26-33. Fairfax met the king at Childersley, near Cambridge, and advised him to return to Holmby. "The next day I waited on his majesty, it being also my business to persuade his return to Holmby; but he was otherwise resolved.... So having spent the whole day about this business, I returned to my quarters; and as I took leave of the king, he said to me, Sir, I have as good interest in the army as you.... I called for a council of war to proceed against Joyce for this high offence, and breach of the articles of war; but the officers, whether for fear of the distempered soldiers, or rather (as I suspected) a secret allowance of what was done, made all my endeavours in this ineffectual." Somers's Tracts, v. 394. Holles asserts that the removal of the king had been planned at the house of Cromwell, on the 30th of May (Holles, 96); Huntingdon, that it was advised by Cromwell and Ireton.—Lords' Journals, x. 409.]
This design of seizing the person of the king was openly avowed by the council of the agitators, though the general belief attributed it to the secret contrivance of Cromwell. It had been carefully concealed from the knowledge of Fairfax, who, if he was not duped by the hypocrisy of the lieutenant-general and his friends, carefully suppressed his suspicions, and acted as if he believed his brother officers to be animated with the same sentiments as himself, an earnest desire to satisfy the complaints of the military, and at the same time to prevent a rupture between them and the parliament. But Cromwell appears to have had in view a very different object, the humiliation of his political opponents; and his hopes were encouraged not only by the ardour of the army, but also by the general wishes of the people.
1. The day after the abduction of the king[a] from Holmby, the army rendezvoused at Newmarket, and entered into a solemn engagement, stating that, whereas several officers had been called in question for advocating the cause of the military, they had chosen certain men out of each company, who then chose two or more out of themselves, to act in the name and behalf of the whole soldiery of their respective regiments; and that they did now unanimously declare and promise that the army should not disband, nor volunteer for the service in Ireland, till
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. June 5.]
their grievances had been so far redressed, and their subsequent safety so far secured, as to give satisfaction to a council composed of the general officers, and of two commissioned officers, and two privates, or agitators, chosen from each regiment.
2. The forcible removal of the king had warned the Presbyterian leaders of the bold and unscrupulous spirit which animated the soldiery; yet they entertained no doubt of obtaining the victory in this menacing and formidable contest. So much apparent reverence was still paid to the authority of the parliament, so powerful was the Presbyterian interest in the city and among the military, that they believed it would require only a few concessions, and some judicious management on their part, to break that bond of union which formed the chief element of strength possessed by their adversaries. But when it became known that a friendly understanding already existed between the officers and the king, they saw that no time was to be lost. In their alarm the measures, which they had hitherto discussed very leisurely, were turned through the two houses; the obnoxious declaration was erased from the journals; a most extensive bill of indemnity was passed; several ordinances were added securing more plentiful pay to the disbanded soldiers, and still more plentiful to those who should volunteer for the service in Ireland. Six commissioners—the earl of Nottingham and Lord Delaware from the House of Lords, and Field-Marshal General Skippon, Sir Henry Vane the younger, and two
[Footnote 1: Parl. Hist. iii. 64.]
[Footnote 2: Skippon had been appointed commander-in-chief of the forces in Ireland, with the title of field-marshal, and six pounds per day for his entertainment.—Journals, ix. 122, Ap. 6. He also received the sum of one thousand pounds for his outfit—Holles, p. 250.]
others, from the House of Commons—were appointed to superintend the disbandment of the forces; and peremptory orders were despatched to the lord general, to collect all the regiments under his immediate command on Newmarket Heath on Wednesday the 9th of June, and to second to the utmost of his power the proceedings on the part of the six deputies. He professed obedience; but of his own authority changed the place of rendezvous to Triploe Heath, between Cambridge and Royston, and the day also from Wednesday to Thursday, apparently with a view to the convenience of the two houses.
It was only on the morning of Wednesday that the earl of Nottingham, with his five companions, was able to set out from London on their important mission; and, while they were on the road, their colleagues at Westminster sought to interest Heaven in their favour by spending the day, as one of fasting and humiliation, in religious exercises, according to the fashion of the time.[a] Late in the evening the commissioners reached Cambridge, and immediately offered the votes and ordinances, of which they were the bearers, to the acceptance of Fairfax and his council. The whole, however, of the next morning was wasted (artfully, it would seem, on the part of the officers) in trifling controversies on mere matters of form, till at last the lord general deigned to return an answer which was tantamount to a refusal.[b] To the proposals of parliament he preferred the solemn engagement already entered into by the army on Newmarket Heath, because
[Footnote 1: The orders of the parliament with respect to the time and place are in the Lords' Journals, ix. 241. Yet the debates on the concessions did not close before Tuesday, nor did the negotiation between the commissioners and the military council conclude till afternoon on Thursday.—Ibid. 247, 353.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. June 9.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. June 10.]
the latter presented a more effectual way of disbanding the forces under his command without danger, and of extinguishing satisfactorily the discontent which pervaded the whole nation. If, however, the commissioners wished to ascertain in person the real sentiments of the soldiery, he was ready with his officers to attend upon them, whilst they made the inquiry. It was now one in the afternoon; every corps had long since occupied its position on the heath; and there is reason to believe, that the opportunity afforded by this delay had been improved to prepare each regiment separately, and particular agents in each regiment, against the arrival and proposals of the commissioners. The latter dared not act on their own discretion, but resolved to obey their instructions to the very letter. Proceeding, therefore, to the heath, they rode at once to the regiment of infantry of which Fairfax was colonel. The votes of the two houses were then read to the men, and Skippon, having made a long harangue in commendation of the votes, concluded by asking whether, with these concessions, they were not all satisfied. "To that no answer can be returned," exclaimed a voice from the ranks, "till your proposals have been submitted to, and approved by, the council of officers and agitators." The speaker was a subaltern, who immediately, having asked and obtained permission from his colonel to address the whole corps, called aloud, "Is not that the opinion of you all?" They shouted, "It is, of all, of all." "But are there not," he pursued, "some among you who think otherwise?" "No," was the general response, "no, not one." Disconcerted and abashed, the commissioners turned aside, and, as they withdrew, were
[Footnote 1: The correspondence is in the Journals, ibid.]
greeted with continual cries of "Justice, justice, we demand justice."
From this regiment they proceeded to each of the others. In every instance the same ceremony was repeated, and always with the same result. No one now could doubt that both officers and men were joined in one common league; and that the link which bound them together was the "solemn engagement." Both looked upon that engagement as the charter of their rights and liberties. No concession or intrigue, no partiality of friendship or religion, could seduce them from the faith which they had sworn to it. There were, indeed, a few seceders, particularly the captains, and several of the lord general's life-guard; but after all, the men who yielded to temptation amounted to a very inconsiderable number, in comparison with the immense majority of those who with inviolable fidelity adhered to the engagement, and, by their resolution and perseverance, enabled their leaders to win for them a complete, and at the same time a bloodless victory.
3. On the next day a deputation of freeholders from the county of Norfolk, and soon afterwards similar deputations from the counties of Suffolk, Essex, Herts, and Buckingham, waited with written addresses upon Fairfax. They lamented that now, when the war with the king was concluded, peace had not brought with it the blessings, the promise of which by the parliament had induced them to submit to the evils and privations of war; a disappointment that could be attributed only to the obstinacy with which certain individuals clung to the emoluments of office
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, vi. 518. Whitelock, 251. Holles, 252.]
[Footnote 2: Nottingham's Letter in the Lords' Journals, ix. 253.]
and the monopoly of power. To Fairfax, therefore, under God, they appealed to become the saviour of his country, to be the mediator between it and the two houses. With this view, let him keep his army together, till he had brought the incendiaries to condign punishment, and extorted full redress of the grievances so severely felt both by the army and the people.
The chiefs, however, who now ruled at Westminster, were not the men to surrender without a struggle. They submitted, indeed, to pass a few ordinances calculated to give satisfaction, but these were combined with others which displayed a fixed determination not to succumb to the dictates of a mutinous soldiery. A committee was established with power to raise forces for the defence of the nation: the favourite general Skippon was appointed to provide for the safety of the capital; and the most positive orders were sent to Fairfax not to suffer any one of the corps under his command to approach within forty miles of London. Every day the contest assumed a more threatening aspect. A succession of petitions, remonstrances, and declarations issued from the pens of Ireton and Lambert, guided, it was believed, by the hand of Cromwell. In addition to their former demands, it was required that all capitulations granted by military commanders during the war should be observed; that a time[a] should be fixed for the termination of the present parliament; that the House of Commons should be purged of every individual disqualified by preceding ordinances;
[Footnote 1: Lords' Journals, 260, 263, 277. Holles says that these petitions were drawn by Cromwell, and sent into the counties for subscriptions.—Holles, 256.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. June 14.]
and, in particular, that eleven of its members, comprising Holles, Glyn, Stapleton, Clotworthy, and Waller, the chief leaders of the Presbyterian party, and members of the committee at Derby House, should be excluded, till they had been tried by due course of law for the offence of endeavouring to commit the army with the parliament. To give weight to these demands, Fairfax, who seems to have acted as the mere organ of the council of officers, marched successively to St. Alban's, to Watford, and to Uxbridge.[a] His approach revealed the weakness of his opponents, and the cowardice, perhaps hypocrisy, of many, who foresaw the probable issue of the contest, and deemed it not their interest to provoke by a useless resistance the military chiefs, who might in a few hours be their masters.[b] Hence it happened that men, who had so clamorously and successfully appealed to the privileges of parliament, when the king demanded the five members, now submitted tamely to a similar demand, when it was made by twelve thousand men in arms. Skippon, their oracle, was one of the first deserters. He resigned the several commands which he held, and exhorted the Presbyterians to fast and pray, and submit to the will of God.[c] From that time it became their chief solicitude to propitiate the army. They granted very ingeniously leave of absence to the eleven accused members; they ordered the new levies for the defence of the city to be disbanded, and the
[Footnote 1: "From the time they declared their usurped authority at Triploe Heath (June 10th), I never gave my free consent to any thing they did; but being yet undischarged of my place, they set my name in way of course to all their papers, whether I consented or not."—Somers's Tracts, v. 396. This can only mean that he reluctantly allowed them to make use of his name; for he was certainly at liberty to resign his command, or to protest against the measures which he disapproved.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. June 12.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. June 25.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1647. June 21.]
new lines of communication to be demolished; they sent a month's pay to the forces under Fairfax, with a vote declaring them the army of the parliament, and appointed commissioners to treat with commissioners from the military council, as if the latter were the representatives of an independent and coequal authority.
This struggle and its consequences were viewed with intense interest by the royalists, who persuaded themselves that it must end in the restoration of the king; but the opportunities furnished by the passions of his adversaries were as often forfeited by the irresolution of the monarch. While both factions courted his assistance, he, partly through distrust of their sincerity, partly through the hope of more favourable terms, balanced between their offers, till the contest was decided without his interference. Ever since his departure from Holmby, though he was still a captive, and compelled to follow the marches of the army, the officers had treated him with the most profound respect; attention was paid to all his wants; the general interposed to procure for him occasionally the company of his younger children; his servants, Legge, Berkeley, and Ashburnham, though known to have come from France with a message from the queen, were permitted to attend him; and free access was
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, vi. 518-596. Whitelock, 251-256. Holles, 104. Journals, 249, 257, 260, 263, 275, 277, 284, 289, 291, 298. Commons', June 7, 11, 12, 15, 18, 25, 26, 28. On divisions in general, the Presbyterians had a majority of forty; but on the 28th, the first day after the departure of their leaders, they were left in a minority of eighty-five to one hundred and twenty-one.—Ibid.]
[Footnote 2: "I returned with instructions to endeavour by the best means imaginable such a compliance between his majesty and the army, as might have influence, and beget a right understanding between his majesty and the parliament"—Ashburnham's Letter, in 1648, p. 5.]
given to some of his chaplains, who read the service in his presence publicly and without molestation. Several of the officers openly professed to admire his piety, and to compassionate his misfortunes; even Cromwell, though at first he affected the distance and reserve of an enemy, sent him secret assurances of his attachment; and successive addresses were made to him in the name of the military, expressive of the general wish to effect an accommodation, which should reconcile the rights of the throne with those of the people. A secret negotiation followed through the agency of Berkeley and Ashburnham; and Fairfax, to[a] prepare the public for the result, in a letter to the two houses, spurned the imputation cast upon the army, as if it were hostile to monarchical government, justified the respect and indulgence with which he had treated the royal captive, and maintained that "tender, equitable, and moderate dealing towards him, his family, and his former adherents," was the most hopeful course to lull asleep the feuds which divided the nation. Never had the king so fair a prospect of recovering his authority.
In the treaty between the commissioners of the parliament and those of the army, the latter proceeded with considerable caution. The redress of military grievances was but the least of their cares; their great object was the settlement of the national tranquillity on what they deemed a solid and permanent basis. Of this intention they had suffered some hints to transpire; but before the open announcement of their plan, they resolved to bring the city, as they had brought the parliament, under subjection. London,
[Footnote 1: Journals, ix. 323, 324. Ashburn. ii. 91. Also Huntingdon's Narrative, x. 409.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. July 2.]
with its dependencies, had hitherto been the chief support of the contrary faction; it abounded with discharged officers and soldiers who had served under Essex and Waller, and who were ready at the first summons to draw the sword in defence of the covenant; and the supreme authority over the military within the lines of communication had been, by an ordinance of the last year, vested in a committee, all the members of which were strongly attached to the Presbyterian interest. To wrest this formidable weapon from the hands of their adversaries, they forwarded a request to the two houses, that the command of the London militia might be transferred from disaffected persons to men distinguished by their devotion to the cause of the country. The Presbyterians in the city were alarmed; they suspected a coalition between the king and the Independents; they saw that the covenant itself was at stake, and that the propositions of peace so often voted in parliament might in a few days be set aside. A petition was presented[a] in opposition to the demand of the army; but the houses, now under the influence of the Independents, passed[b] the ordinance; and the city, on its part, determined[c] to resist both the army and the parliament. Lord Lauderdale, the chief of the Scottish commissioners, hastened to the king to obtain his concurrence; a new covenant, devised in his favour, was exposed at Skinners' Hall, and the citizens and soldiers, and probably the concealed royalists, hastened in crowds to subscribe their names. By it they bound themselves, in the presence of God, and at the risk of their lives and fortunes, to bring the sovereign to Westminster, that he might confirm the concessions which he had made in his letter from Holmby, and
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. July 14.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. July 23.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1647. July 24.]
might confer with his parliament on the remaining propositions. But the recent converts to the cause of the army hastened to prove the sincerity of their conversion. Both Lords and Commons voted this engagement an act of treason against the kingdom; and the publication of the vote, instead of damping the zeal, inflamed the passions of the people. The citizens petitioned a second time, and received a second refusal. The moment the petitioners departed, a multitude of apprentices, supported by a crowd of military men, besieged the doors of the two houses; for eight hours they continued, by shouts and messages, to call for the repeal of the ordinance respecting the militia, and of the vote condemning the covenant; and the members, after a long resistance, worn out with fatigue, and overcome with terror, submitted to their demands. Even after they had been suffered to retire, the multitude suddenly compelled the Commons to return, and, with the speaker in the chair, to pass a vote[a] that the king should be conducted without delay to his palace at Westminster. Both houses adjourned for three days, and the two speakers, with most of the Independent party and their proselytes, amounting to eight peers and fifty-eight commoners, availed themselves of the opportunity to withdraw from the insults of the populace, and to seek an asylum in the army.
In the mean while the council of officers had completed their plan "for the settlement of the nation," which they submitted first to the consideration of Charles, and afterwards to that of the parliamentary commissioners. In many points it was similar to the
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 260, 261. Journals, ix. 377, 393. Holles, 145. Leicester's Journal in the Sydney Papers, edited by Mr. Blencowe, p. 25.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. July 25.]
celebrated "propositions of peace;" but contained in addition several provisions respecting the manner of election, and the duration of parliament and the composition of the magistracy, which may not be uninteresting to the reader even at the present day. It proposed that a parliament should meet every year, to sit not less than a certain number of days, nor more than another certain number, each of which should be fixed by law; that if at the close of a session any parliamentary business remained unfinished, a committee should be appointed with power to sit and bring it to a conclusion; that a new parliament should be summoned every two years, unless the former parliament had been previously dissolved with its own consent; that decayed and inconsiderable boroughs should be disfranchised, and the number of county members increased, such increase being proportionate to the rates of each county in the common charges of the kingdom; that every regulation respecting the reform of the representation and the election of members should emanate from the House of Commons alone, whose decision on such matters should have the force of law, independently of the other branches of the legislature; that the names of the persons to be appointed sheriffs annually, and of those to be appointed magistrates at any time, should be recommended to the king by the grand jury at the assizes; and that the grand jury itself should be selected, not by the partiality of the sheriff, but equally by the several divisions of the county; that the excise should be taken off all articles of necessity without delay, and off all others within a limited time; that the land-tax should be equally apportioned; that a remedy should be applied to the "unequal, troublesome, and contentious way of ministers' maintenance by tithes;" that suits at law should be rendered less tedious and expensive; that the estates of all men should be made liable for their debts; that insolvent debtors, who had surrendered all that they had to their creditors, should be discharged; and that no corporation should exact from their members oaths trenching on freedom of conscience. To these innovations, great and important as they were, it was not the interest, if it had been the inclination, of Charles to make any serious objection: but on three other questions he felt much more deeply,—the church, the army, and the fate of the royalists: yet there existed a disposition to spare his feelings on all three; and after long and frequent discussion, such modifications of the original proposals were adopted, as in the opinion of his agents, Berkeley and Ashburnham, would insure his assent. 1. Instead of the abolition of the hierarchy, it was agreed to deprive it only of the power of coercion, to place the liturgy and the covenant on an equal footing, by taking away the penalties for absence from the one, and for refusal of the other; and to substitute in place of the oppressive and sanguinary laws still in force, some other provision for the discovery of popish recusants, and the restraint of popish priests and Jesuits, seeking to disturb the state. 2. To restore to the crown the command of the army and navy at the expiration of ten years. 3. And to reduce the number of delinquents among the English royalists to be excluded from pardon, to five individuals. Had the king accepted these terms, he would most probably have been replaced on the throne; for his agents, who had the best means of forming a judgment, though
[Footnote 1: Charles's Works, 579. Parl. History, ii. 738.]
they differed on other points, agreed in this, that the officers acted uprightly and sincerely; but he had unfortunately persuaded himself—and in that persuasion he was confirmed both by the advice of several faithful royalists and by the interested representations of the Scottish commissioners—that the growing struggle between the Presbyterians and Independents would enable him to give the law to both parties; and hence, when "the settlement" was submitted to him for his final approbation, he returned an unqualified refusal. The astonishment of his agents was not less than that of the officers. Had he dissembled, or had he changed his mind? In either case both had been deceived. They might suppress their feelings; but the agitators complained aloud, and a party of soldiers, attributing the disappointment to the intrigues of Lord Lauderdale, burst at night into the bedchamber of that nobleman, and ordered him to rise and depart without delay. It was in vain, that he pleaded his duty as commissioner from the estates of Scotland, or that he solicited the favour of a short interview with the king: he was compelled to leave his bed and hasten back to the capital.
Before this, information of the proceedings in London had induced Fairfax to collect his forces and march towards the city. On the way he was joined by the speakers of both houses, eight lords and fifty-eight commoners, who in a council held at Sion House solemnly bound themselves "to live and die with the army." Here it was understood that many royalists
[Footnote 1: Compare the narratives of Berkeley, 364, Ashburnham, ii. 92, Ludlow, i. 174, and Huntingdon (Journals, x. 410) with the proposals of the army in Charles's Works, 578. The insult to Lauderdale is mentioned in the Lords' Journals, ix. 367.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. July 30.]
had joined the Presbyterians, and that a declaration had been circulated in the name of the king, condemning all attempts to make war on the parliament. The officers, fearing the effect of this intelligence on the minds of the military, already exasperated by the refusal of their proposals, conjured Charles to write a conciliatory letter to the general, in which he should disavow any design of assisting the enemy, should thank the army for its attention to his comfort, and should commend the moderation of their plan of settlement in many points, though he could not consent to it in all. The ill-fated monarch hesitated; the grace of the measure was lost by a delay of twenty-four hours; and though the letter was at last[a] sent, it did not arrive before the city had[b] made an offer of submission. In such circumstances it could serve no useful purpose. It was interpreted as an artifice to cover the king's intrigues with the Presbyterians, instead of a demonstration of his good will to the army.
To return to the city, Holles and his colleagues had resumed the ascendancy during the secession of the Independents. The eleven members returned to the house; the command of the militia was restored to the former committee; and a vote was passed that the king should be invited to Westminster. At the same time the common council resolved to raise by subscription a loan of ten thousand pounds, and to add auxilairies to the trained bands to the amount of eighteen regiments. Ten thousand men were already in arms; four hundred barrels of gunpowder, with other military stores,
[Footnote 1: Journals, 359, 375. Heath, 140. Ludlow, i. 181. Charles afterwards disavowed the declaration, and demanded that the author and publisher should be punished.—Whitelock, 267. There are two copies of his letter, one in the Clarendon Papers, ii. 373; another and shorter in the Parliamentary History, xv. 205.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. August 3.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. August 4.]
were drawn from the magazine in the Tower; and the Presbyterian generals, Massey, Waller, and Poyntz, gladly accepted the command. But the event proved that these were empty menaces. In proportion as it was known that Fairfax had begun his march, that he had reviewed the army on Hounslow Heath, and that he had fixed his head-quarters at Hammersmith, the sense of danger cooled the fervour of enthusiasm, and the boast of resistance was insensibly exchanged for offers of submission.[a] The militia of Southwark openly fraternized with the army; the works on the line of communication were abandoned; and the lord mayor, on a promise that no violence should be offered to the inhabitants, ordered the gates to be thrown open. The next morning was celebrated the triumph of the Independents.[b] A regiment of infantry, followed by one of cavalry, entered the city; then came Fairfax on horseback, surrounded by his body-guards and a crowd of gentlemen; a long train of carriages, in which were the speakers and the fugitive members, succeeded; and another regiment of cavalry closed the procession. In this manner, receiving as they passed the forced congratulations of the mayor and the common council, the conquerors marched to Westminster, where each speaker was placed in his chair by the hand of the general. Of the lords who had remained in London after the secession, one only, the earl of Pembroke, ventured to appear; and he was suffered to make his peace by a declaration that he considered all the proceedings during the absence of
[Footnote 1: Journals, x. 13, 16, 17.]
[Footnote 2: Whitelock, 261-264. Leicester's Journal, 27. Baillie calls this surrender of the city "an example rarely paralleled, if not of treachery, yet at least of childish improvidence and base cowardice" (ii. 259). The eleven members instantly fled.—Leicester, ibid.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. August 5.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. August 6.]
the members compulsory, and therefore null. But in the lower house the Presbyterians and their adherents composed a more formidable body; and by their spirit and perseverance, though they could not always defeat, frequently embarrassed the designs of their opponents. To many things they gave their assent; they suffered Maynard and Glyn, two members, to be expelled, the lord mayor, one of the sheriffs, and four of the aldermen, to be sent to the Tower, and the seven peers who sat during the secession of their colleagues, to be impeached. But a sense of danger induced them to oppose a resolution sent from the Lords, to annul all the votes passed from the 20th of July to the 6th of August. Four times,[a] contrary to the practice of the house, the resolution was brought forward, and as often, to the surprise of the Independents, was rejected. Fairfax hastened to the aid of his friends. In a letter to the speaker, he condemned the conduct of the Commons as equivalent to an approval of popular violence, and hinted the necessity of removing from the house the enemies of the public tranquillity. The next morning[b] the subject was resumed: the Presbyterians made the trial of their strength on an amendment, and finding themselves outnumbered, suffered the resolution to pass without a division.
The submission of the citizens made a considerable change in the prospects of the captive monarch. Had any opposition been offered, it was the intention of the officers (so we are told by Ashburnham) to have unfurled the royal standard, and to have placed Charles at their head. The ease with which they had subdued their opponents convinced them of their own superiority