The Life of John Milton Vol. 3 1643-1649
by David Masson
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Some hundreds of persons in Oxford at the time of its surrender must have had their movements for the next few months determined by this article. Among these was Milton's father-in-law, Mr. Richard Powell.

The view we arrived at as to the condition of the Powell family before the Civil War was (Vol. II. p. 499) that they were then "an Oxfordshire family of good standing, keeping up appearances with the neighbour- gentry, and probably more than solvent if all their property had been put against their debts, but still rather deeply in debt, and their property heavily mortgaged." During the war, we have now to record, on the faith of a statement afterwards made by Mr. Powell himself, the losses of the family in one way or another had amounted to at least 3,000l. Remembering this heavy item, I will try to present in figures the state of Mr. Powell's affairs while he was shut up in Oxford:—


1. Lease, till 1672, of the Forest-hill mansion and L estate, worth about . . . . . . . . 270 a year. 2. Furniture, household-stuff, and corn in the Forest- hill mansion and appurtenances, valued at . 500 3. Wood and timber stacked about the Forest-hill premises, worth . . . . . . . . . 400 4. Property in land and cottages at Wheatley, valued at . . . . . . . . . . . 40 a year. 5. Debts owing to Mr. Powell . . . . . . . . 100


1. Due to Mr. John Milton, by recognisance since 1627, as unpaid part of an original debt of L500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300 2. Promised to the said Mr. Milton, when he married Mr. Powell's eldest daughter, a marriage portion of. . . . . . . . . 1,000 3. Due to Mr. Edward Ashworth, or his representatives, in redemption of a mortgage on the Wheatley property since 1631, a capital sum (besides arrears of interest) of . . . . 400 4. Due to Sir Robert Pye, in redemption of a mortgage on the Forest-hill mansion and property since 1640, a capital sum (besides arrears of interest) of . . . . . . . . . . . 1,400 5. Other debts, as estimated by Mr. Powell . . . 1,200

It is difficult to square this ragged account (which, however, is the best one can produce); [Footnote: My authorities for it are—(1) My own previous accounts of the state of Mr. Powell's affairs before the ware, Vol. II. pp. 492-9, based on authorities there cited. (2) "A Particular of the Real and Personal Estate of Richard Powell of Forest-hill," after the surrender of Oxford, attested by himself Nov. 21, 1646, and given in the Appendix to Hamilton's Milton's Papers. (3) Other papers in the same Appendix, especially an attestation of Milton himself at p. 95. (4) The documents relative to Milton's Nuncupative Will printed by Todd and others.] but the general effect is that Mr. Powell's affairs were in a woful condition. It was almost mockery now to style him Mr. Powell of Forest-hill and Wheatley; for, before he could call these Oxfordshire properties his own, with their joint revenue of 310l. a year, he had to clear off a debt of 1,400l. to Sir Robert Pye, and another of 400l. to one Ashworth, each with heavy arrears of interest. Actually, in furniture, goods, corn, and timber in the house at Forest-hill and its premises, and in debts owing to him, he fancied himself worth 1,000l.; but his debts, apart from those to Pye and Ashworth, and apart also from the 300l. legally owing to his son-in-law Milton (which, with the promised marriage-portion of 1,000l., might stand over to a convenient time), amounted to 1,200l. Nay, this is too favourable a view; for, while the siege of Oxford had been going on, incidents had happened which much increased Mr. Powell's difficulties:—(l) The terms of the mortgage of the Forest-hill mansion and estate to Sir Robert Pye had been that the mortgage was to be void if Mr. Powell should pay Sir Robert a sum of 1,510l. by the 1st of July, 1641. This not having been done, Sir Robert had had, ever since that date, a legal right to eject Mr. Powell from the mansion and lands and take possession of them for his debt. A friendly compromise appears to have been arranged on the subject in May, 1642, by the payment to Sir Robert of l10l., being the difference between the original debt and the higher sum which was to void the mortgage. Nevertheless the right to take possession remained with Sir Robert; and that he had not exercised it may have been as much owing to the fact that Oxford was difficult of access to a Parliamentarian creditor during the war as to neighbourly forbearance. But, now that Parliament was at the gates of Oxford, and its troops quartered in and about Forest-hill, it was but common prudence in Sir Robert to use the only method left of saving himself from the loss of his 1,400l. with the unpaid interest. Some time in May, accordingly, or early in June, while the siege of Oxford was in progress, he caused his servant, or agent, Laurence Farre, to take formal possession of the Forest-hill premises. At the date of the surrender of Oxford, therefore, Mr. Powell was no longer owner of the Forest-hill manor and mansion; they belonged to his neighbour, Sir Robert Pye. There was, perhaps, a temporary convenience in this for Mr. Powell. If he had lost the property, his debt to Sir Robert was cancelled by the loss in the meantime; and, if at any future time he or his heirs should be in a position to re-acknowledge the debt with arrears, arrangements for the redemption of the property would be easier with the Pye family than with strangers. Besides, Sir Robert had taken possession of the property just in time to anticipate its sequestration by Parliament as part of the estate of a Delinquent; and in this too there may have been some intention of neighbourly service, or saving of future trouble, to Mr. Powell. Still it was a hard thing for the Powells to know that their lease of their family residence and estate was gone, and they were no longer the Powells of Forest-hill. [Footnote: The vouchers for the statements in the text about the transfer of Forest-hill to Sir Robert Pye in May or June, 1646, are in various documents printed in Mr. Hamilton's Milton Papers. See especially p. 56 and Documents xxii., xli., xlii., and xlv. in the Appendix. The Forest-hill property, we shall find, did eventually come back to the Powell family; but it is worthy of remark that in Mr. Powell's own "Particular" of the state of his property in 1646 the Forest-hill lease is not mentioned, but only the goods and household stuff on the premises. On the other hand, of course, the 1,400l. and arrears of interest due to Sir Robert Pye are omitted from the list of debts, as cancelled by the loss of the property.] (2). But not only was the lease of the family house and lands gone. There had come a sequestration, and worse than a sequestration, upon the goods, household stuff, and timber on the Forest-hill premises, which formed now the best part of Mr. Powell's worldly all. The order for the sequestration was issued by the Committee of Parliamentary Sequestrations for the County of Oxford just after Sir Robert Pye had possessed himself of the premises; and, on the 16th of June, while Mr. Powell and his family were in Oxford with the rest of the besieged, three of the sequestrators, John Webb, Richard Vivers, and John King, with assistants and spectators, were rummaging the rooms and offices at Forest-hill, and taking an inventory and valuation of all the furniture, goods, and stock of every kind contained in them. The inventory still exists, and has been used in our description of the house when Milton went to fetch his bride from it (Vol. II. pp. 500, 501). Now, however, it comes in more sadly. A copy of the Inventory, with the prices of the goods as they were appraysed the 16th of June 1646, is the title of the document; and, as we read it, we see the sequestrators, with their pens behind their ears, going round the house, and through the house, and in among the wood- yards, attended by gaping country-people, and jotting down particulars. A trunk of linen first attracts them, and they set down its contents, including "1 pair of sheets, 3 napkins, 6 yards of broad tiffany," at 16s. Next is a heavier entry—to wit, "240 pieces of tymber, 200 loades of firewood, 4 carts, 1 wain, 2 old coaches, 1 mare colt, 3 sows, 1 boar, 2 ewes, 3 parcels of boards," valued in the aggregate at 156l. l2s. And so on they go, pell-mell, putting down "hops in the wool-house" at 2l., "a bull" at 1l. 10s., "14 quarters of mastline" at l4l., "5 quarters of malt" at 5l., "6 bushels of wheat" at 1l. 2s., two more parcels of wood at 100l. and 60l. respectively, a piece of growing corn at 42l., a piece of growing wheat at 6l. l3s. 4d., and even two fields of meadow, which they leave unappraised for the good reason that they had been "eaten up by the souldiers." At this point also are mentioned, as also unappraised, some bit of land at Forest-hill, apparently not included in the lease that had gone to Sir Robert Pye, and also Mr. Powell's property at Wheatley. Then, having concluded the outer survey, and brought the total, so far as appraised, up to 400l. or a little more, the sequestrators proceed to a separate and special inventory of the household goods. "In the hall" they find furniture which they value at 1l. 4s.; "in the great parlour" 7l.; "in the little parlour" 3l.; "in the study or boys' chamber" 2l. l3s.; and so on through the other rooms—"Mrs. Powell's chamber," as the best furnished of all, counting for 8l. 4s., while "Mr. Powell's study" goes for only 1l. l4s. Altogether the household stuff amounts in their estimate to a little over 70l. It was a monstrously good bargain to any one who would give that sum for it. Nor, in fact, had the sequestrators been taking all the trouble of the inventory without inducement. Going about with them all the while, and possibly haggling with them over the values, was an intending purchaser in the person of a certain Matthew Appletree from London—one of those dealers who followed in the wake of the Parliamentary forces as they advanced into Royalist districts, with a view to pick up good bargains for ready money in the confiscated property of Delinquents. To this Appletree the aforesaid sequestrators, Webb, Vivers, and King, did sell all the household stuff they had inventoried, together with the best part of the out-of-door-stock, including the carts, wain, and old coaches, the mare, the bull, and other animals, and all of the timber except 100%, worth in keeping of a Mr. Eldridge. The sum which Appletree was to give for the whole was 335l., whereas the real value may have been about 800l. or 900l.; and no sooner had he concluded his bargain than he began to cart some of the lighter things away. We can tell what went off in the first cart. They were: "1 arras work chayre, 6 thrum chayres, 6 wrought stooles, 2 old greene carpetts, 1 tapestry carpett, 1 wrought carpett, 1 carpett greene with fringe, 3 window curtaines." [Footnote: Document xxvi. in Appendix to Hamilton's Milton Papers, with references to other Documents in same Appendix.] All this took place on the 16th of June, 1646, eight days before the surrender of Oxford. On the preceding day, June 15, Cromwell had been at Halton, close to Forest-hill, seeing his daughter Bridget married to Ireton.

The reader now understands the state of Mr. Powell's affairs, when he was released from Oxford, as well as he did himself, if not better. It was all very well that the Articles of Capitulation had provided for the liberty of all persons among the besieged to return to their several places of abode and resume their estates and callings, subject only to composition with Parliament within six months according to the fixed rates of fine for Delinquency. This may have been a privilege for many; but it was poor comfort for the Powells. In the first place, they had now no home of their own to go to. Forest-hill was in possession of their old friend, Sir Robert Pye, who was preparing to fit up the mansion afresh for himself or some of his family, its redemption by Mr. Powell being now out of the question. But what remained was worse. Though the house and manor of Forest-hill were gone, Mr. Powell, by the terms of the Treaty, might still hope to compound for the wreck of his other property which lay under sequestration—viz. the small Wheatley estate; the goods, furniture, timber, &c., which he had left on the Forest-hill premises; and also, it appears, some odd bits of land about Forest-hill not included in the mortgage to Sir Robert Pye. With what grief and anger, then, must the family, on the surrender of Oxford, have learnt that even this poor remainder of their property was for the most part irrecoverable—that not only had it been sequestrated by the County Commissioners, but most of it sold and some actually dispersed. There appears, indeed, to have been some very harsh, if not unfair and underhand, dealing on the part of the sequestrating Commissioners in this matter of the hurried sale of Mr. Powell's goods to Matthew Appletree. It became afterwards, as we shall find, the subject of legal complaint by the Powells, and of a long and tedious litigation on their behalf. Only two facts need at present be noted. One is the significant fact that among the members of the County Committee who issued the order for the sequestration was a "Thomas Appletree," clearly a relative of the "Matthew Appletree" who purchased the goods, while a third Appletree, named Richard, was also concerned somehow in the transaction. [Footnote: Hamilton's Milton Papers: Appendix, Documents xlv. and xlvii.] One suspects some collusion between the public sequestrators and the private purchaser. Then again, when the transaction came to be litigated, one observes a discrepancy between the two parties as to its alleged date. The preserved copy of the inventory and valuation, signed by the sequestrators, Webb, Vivers, and King, is distinctly dated "the 16 of June 1646," and as distinctly declares that day to have been the date of the sale to Appletree. [Footnote: Ibid. Document xxvi.] If this is correct, the sale had occurred while the Treaty for the surrender of Oxford was in progress, but exactly four days before it was completed and the Articles of Surrender signed (June 20). On the other hand, the Powells afterwards invariably represented the sale as a violation of the Articles; they quoted June 17, and not June 16, as the date of the order for sequestration issued by "the Committee for the County of Oxford sitting at Woodstock;" and they laid stress on the fact that the sequestrators Webb, Vivers, and King had sold the goods to Appletree "within few days after the granting of the said Articles." [Footnote: Hamilton's Milton Papers: Appendix, Documents xxviii. and xiv.] How the discrepancy is to be accounted for one does not very well see; but one again suspects over-eagerness to injure Powell by obliging Appletree. Can the sequestrators possibly have inventoried and sold the goods, as they themselves declared, on the 16th, though the sequestrating Order was not formally issued till the 17th? If so, they were evidently in a hurry to push through the business before the Treaty for the Surrender of Oxford was signed, so as to deprive Mr. Powell, if possible, of any advantage from it. Or, after all, can there have been any contrivance of ante- dating, to disguise the fact that the sale, though intended on the 16th, was really pushed through between Saturday the 20th of June, when the Articles were signed, and Wednesday the 24th, when the surrender took place? In either case it must have been a sore sight to Mr. Powell, when, on this latter day, or the day after, he was free to walk over to Forest- hill, to find some of his goods already gone and Mr. Matthew Appletree superintending the carting away of the rest-all except the timber, which remained upon the premises till its removal should be convenient. [Footnote: This appears from an extract from "the Certificate of the Solicitor for Sequestration in the County of Oxford," not given in Mr. Hamilton's Milton Papers, but in Hunter's Milton Gleanings, pp. 31, 32.]


What was to be done? Only one thing was possible. Mr. Powell must go to London to compound for what shreds of his sequestrated property survived the sale to Appletree, and at the same time to see whether he could have any redress at head-quarters against the Oxfordshire Committee of Sequestrations. On other grounds, too, a removal to London was advisable or necessary. There, in Mr. Milton's house, the family would have a roof over their heads until some new arrangement could be made and while Mr. Powell prosecuted the composition business. Accordingly, on the 27th of June, or three days after the surrender of Oxford, Mr. Powell obtained Fairfax's pass, as follows:-"Suffer the bearer hereof, Mr. Richard Powell, of Forest-hill in the county Oxon., who was in the city and garrison of Oxford at the surrender thereof, and is to have the full benefit of the Articles agreed unto upon the surrender, quietly and without let or interruption to pass your guards, with his servants, horses, arms, goods, and all other necessaries, and to repair unto London or elsewhere upon his necessary occasions: And in all places where he shall reside, or whereto he shall remove, to be protected from any violence to his person, goods, or estate, according to the said Articles, and to have full liberty, at any time within six months, to go to any convenient port and to transport himself, with his servants, goods, and necessaries, beyond the seas: And in all other things to enjoy the benefit of the said Articles. Hereunto due obedience is to be given by all persons whom it may concern, as they will answer the contrary. Given under my hand and seal the 27th day of June, 1646. (Signed) T. FAIRFAX." [Footnote: From the Composition Papers: Document i. in Hamilton's Appendix VOL. III.] Provided with this pass, Mr. Powell and Mrs. Powell, with some of their sons and daughters, arrived in London some time early in July, and took up their abode for the while at their son-in-law Milton's in the Barbican. That they were there, and a pretty large party of them too, we learn from Phillips. "In no very long time after her [the wife's] coming [back to Milton] she had a great resort of her kindred with her in the house: viz. her father and mother and several of her brothers and sisters, which were in all pretty numerous." The surrender of Oxford and the loss of Forest-hill were the immediate causes of this crowding of the Barbican house with the Powell kindred, unless we are to suppose that some of them had preceded Mr. Powell thither.

Poor Mr. Powell's perplexities were never to have an end. He cannot have been more than a fortnight in London when he became aware not only that he had small chance of redress at head-quarters against the injury already done him by the Oxfordshire sequestrators, but that Parliamentarian public opinion in Oxfordshire was pursuing him to London with fell intent of farther damage. July 15, 1646, we read in the Lords Journals, "A Petition of the inhabitants of Banbury was read, complaining that the one half of the town is burnt down, and part of the church and steeple pulled down; and, there being some timber and boards at one Mr. Powell's house, a Malignant, near Oxford, they desire they may have these materials assigned them for the repair of their church and town. It is Ordered, that this House thinks fit to grant this Petition, and to desire the concurrence of the House of Commons therein, and that an Ordinance may be drawn up to that purpose." The Commons concurred readily; for, in the Commons Journals of the very next day, July 16, we read, "The humble Petition of the inhabitants of Banbury was read; and it is thereupon Ordered: That the Timber and Boards cut down by one Mr. Powell, a Malignant, out of Forest Wood near Oxford, and sequestered, being not above the value of 300%., be bestowed upon the inhabitants of the town of Banbury, to be employed for the repair of the Church and Steeple, and rebuilding of the Vicarage House and Common Gaol there; and that such of the said Timber and Boards as shall remain of the uses aforesaid shall be disposed, by the members of both Houses which are of the Committee for Oxfordshire, to such of the well-affected persons of the said town, for the rebuilding of their houses, as to the said members, or major part of them, shall seem meet." Here was a confiscation by Parliament itself of every moveable thing belonging to Mr. Powell that had been left at Forest-hill after the sale to Appletree. All the precious timber, including that bought by the harpy Appletree, but not yet removed by him, was voted to these cormorants of the town of Banbury: Mr. Powell's condition was to be that of Job at his worst. He had come to London to plead the benefit of the Articles of Surrender; and behold, enemies in Oxfordshire and Parliament in London had conspired to strip him totally bare!

One sees the poor gentleman in his son-in-law's house utterly broken down with the accumulation of his misfortunes, hanging his head in a corner of the room where they all met, letting his wife and daughters come round him and talk to him, but refusing to be comforted. What mattered it to him to be told of better times that might be coming, or even of the new little creature of his own blood that was then daily expected into the world? To Mrs. Powell, however, this expected event was of more consequence. She was a person of some temper and spirit; and, even in her troubles, there was some spur upon her in her present motherly duty. And so, when, on the 29th of July, 1646, being Wednesday, and the day of the monthly Fast, Milton's first-born child saw the light, at about half-past six in the morning, and was reported to be a daughter, what could they do but agree to name the little thing ANNE in honour of her grandmother? [Footnote: Pedigree of the Milton Family by Sir Charles Young, Garter King at Arms, prefixed to Pickering's edition of Milton's Works, 1851. But the original authority was an inscription in Milton's own hand on a blank leaf of his wife's Bible:—"Anne, my daughter, was born July the 29th, the day of the monthly Fast, between six and seven, or about half an hour after six in the morning, 1646." This, with subsequent entries on the same leaf, was copied by Birch, Jan. 6, 1749-50, when the Bible was shown him by Mrs. Foster, granddaughter to Milton (daughter to his youngest daughter Deborah), then keeping a chandler's shop in Cock Lane, near Shoreditch Church. It was the Bible in which Milton had written the dates of his children's births. It was, however, his wife's book: "I am the book of Mary Milton" was written on it in her hand.—The fact that the 29th of July, 1846, on which Milton's first child was born, was Wednesday and a day of public Fast, is verified by a reference to the Commons Journals. The Commons had but a brief sitting that day after hearing Fast-day sermons by Mr. Caryl and Mr. Whittaker; and their chief business was to pass thanks to these two preachers for the same.] It was the name also of Milton's sister, once Mrs. Phillips, now Mrs. Agar; but there is little doubt that this can have been thought of only incidentally, and that the real compliment was to Mrs. Powell. The babe was, of course, shown to Mr. Powell in his sadness, and also to its other grandfather, then in the house, who could be cheerier over it, as having less reason for melancholy. "A brave girl," is Phillips's description of the new-born infant; "though, whether by ill constitution, or want of care, she grew up more and more decrepit." The poor girl, in fact, turned out a kind of cripple. This, however, was not foreseen, and for the present there was nothing but the misfortunes of the Powells to mar the joy in the Barbican household over the appearance of this little pledge of the reconciliation of Milton and his wife about a year before.

After the little girl was born, they did rouse Mr. Powell to take the necessary steps for the recovery of what could be recovered of his property, if that should prove to be anything whatsoever. The first of these steps consisted in appearing personally, or by petition, before a certain Committee at Goldsmiths' Hall, in Foster-lane, Cheapside, to whom had been entrusted by Parliament the whole business of arranging the compositions with Delinquents whose estates had been sequestrated. To this Committee, which must have had a very busy time of it at the end of the war, when would-be compounders were flocking in from north, south, and west, Mr. Powell, among others, addressed his petition on the 6th of August, 1646, in these terms: "To the Honourable the Committee sitting at Goldsmiths' Hall for Compositions, the humble Petition of Richard Powell, of Forest-hill, in the County of Oxon., Esq., sheweth—That your Petitioner's estate for the most part lying in the King's quarters, he did adhere to his Majesty's party against the forces raised by Parliament in this unnatural war; for which his Delinquency his estate lieth under sequestration. He is comprised within those Articles at the surrender of Oxford; and humbly prays to be admitted to his composition according to the said Articles. And he shall pray, &c.—RICHARD POWELL." [Footnote: Hamilton's Milton Papers Appendix, Document ii.] This was all he could do in the meantime. As soon as the Committee should have leisure to attend to his case, he could take the other necessary steps. Among these would be the preparation of the most perfect schedule of his estate, real and personal, which he could draw up, the verification of every item of the same, and (which would be the most difficult part of the business) his argument with the Committee that, by the Articles of Oxford, he ought to be reinstated both in the goods and furniture which had been sold, at an under value, by the Oxford sequestrators to Appletree, and in the 300l., worth of his timber which had been hastily bestowed by Parliament on the people of Banbury. To these matters it would be time enough to attend when the Committee at Goldsmiths' Hall had returned their answer to his Petition. Not till then either need he go through the formality of subscribing the Covenant in the presence of a parish- minister or other authorized person. That was, indeed, an indispensable formality for any Delinquent who would sue out his composition, or otherwise signify his submission to Parliament. But it was a formality which a Delinquent in Mr. Powell's circumstances would willingly put off to the last moment.

Milton's father-in-law was not the only one of his relatives who were engaged about this time in the disagreeable business of compounding for their Delinquency. His younger brother, Christopher Milton, was in the same predicament. Our last glimpse of this gentleman was after the surrender of Reading to the Parliamentarian Army under Essex, in April 1643. He was then, we found (Vol. II. pp. 488-490), a householder in Reading, and decidedly a Royalist; and, after the siege, when his father came from Reading to London, to reside with his Parliamentarian brother, he himself remained at Reading, a Royalist still. In the interim he had even been rather active as a Royalist, having been "a Commissioner for the King, under the great seal of Oxford, for sequestering the Parliament's friends of three Counties." Latterly, in some such capacity, he had gone to Exeter; and he had been residing in that city, if not in 1644, when Queen Henrietta Maria was there, at least some time before its siege by the New Model Army. On the surrender of Exeter (April 10, 1646), on Articles similar to those afterwards given to Oxford, he had come to London on very much the same errand as that on which Mr. Powell came three months later. More forward in one respect than Mr. Powell, he had at once begun his submission to Parliament by taking the Covenant. He did so before William Barton, minister of John Zachary, in Alders-gate Ward, on the 20th of April, or almost immediately on his arrival in London. That preliminary over, he had been residing, most probably, in the house of his mother-in-law. Widow Webber, in St. Clement's Churchyard, Strand, where Milton had boarded his wife while the house in Barbican was getting ready. Not till August 7, the day after Mr. Powell had sent in his Petition for compounding to the Goldsmiths' Hall Committee, did Christopher Milton send in his petition to the same body. Then, still styling himself "Christopher Milton, of Reading, in the county of Berks, Esq., a Councillor at Law," he acknowledged his Delinquency in having served as a Commissioner of Sequestrations for the King, but prayed that he might have the benefit of the Exeter Articles of Surrender, so as to be allowed to compound for his little property now sequestered in turn. "I am seized in fee, to me and to my heirs," he said in his accompanying statement, "in possession of and in a certain messuage or tenement situate, standing, and being within St. Martin's parish, Ludgate, called the sign of the Cross Keys, and was of the yearly value, before these troubles, 40l. Personal estate I have none but what hath been seized and taken from me and converted to the use of the State. This is a true particular of all my estate, real and personal, for which I only desire to compound to free it out of sequestration, and do submit unto and undertake to satisfy and pay such fine as by this Committee for Compositions with Delinquents shall be imposed and set to pay for the same in order to the freedom and discharge of my person and estate." Two years' value of an estate was about the ordinary fine for Delinquency; but different grades of Delinquency were recognised, and the fines for very pronounced Delinquency were heavier. [Footnote: Particulars about Christopher Milton and his Delinquency are from Hamilton's Milton Papers, pp. 62-64, and from Documents lxii. and lxiii. in Appendix.]

We have arrived, biographically as well as historically, at August 1646. In this month, while Mr. Powell and Christopher Milton had begun severally to sue out their compositions for Delinquency, it is on a rather crowded domestic tableau round Milton in Barbican that the curtain drops. On one side of him was his own old father, on the other was his father-in-law; the mother-in-law, Mrs. Powell, was there, with her married daughter Mrs. Milton, and the little baby Anne; how many of Mrs. Milton's brothers and sisters were in the group can hardly be guessed; the two boys Phillips, and one knows not how many other pupils, fill up the interstices between the larger people in front; and one sees Christopher Milton, his wife Thomasine, their children, and perhaps the Widow Webber, as visitors in the background. Of the whole company, I should say, the mother-in law, Mrs. Powell, was, for the time being, and whether to Milton's private satisfaction or not, the chief in command.


AUGUST 1646—JANUARY 1648-9.










Charles himself becomes now the central object. For now, one may say, he was left to think and act wholly for himself, and to work out by his own cogitations and conduct the rest of the long problem between him and his subjects. From this point, therefore, one follows him with a more sympathetic interest than can be accorded to any part of his previous career. When his captivity began (which may be said to have been when the Scots withdrew with him to Newcastle, May 1646) he was forty-five years and six months old. His hair was slightly grizzled; but otherwise he was in the perfect strength and health of a man of spare and middle-sized frame, whose habits had been always careful and temperate.

Henrietta-Maria was nine years younger than her husband. For two years they had not seen each other, her co-operation during that time having been given from her residence at or near Paris. There her effort had been to induce the French Queen Regent and Cardinal Mazarin to interfere actively for Charles, with or without the help of the Pope; and, when she had not succeeded in that, she had contented herself with sending to Charles from time to time her criticisms of his procedure and her notions of the kind of arrangement he ought to try to make with his subjects in the last extremity. The influence she had acquired over him was so great that these missives were perfectly efficient substitutes for her black eyes and French-English tongue when she had been with him. Unfortunately, however, the co-agency with his absent Queen to which he thus felt himself obliged, and to which indeed he had solemnly pledged himself, had become the more perplexing because, in the particular of greatest practical moment to both, he and she tended different ways. Of the two main concessions involved in any possible treaty with the Parliament, that of the abandonment of Episcopacy and that of the surrender of the Militia, Charles was most tenaciously predetermined against the first. It was a matter of conscience with him. Next to the death of Strafford, the thing in his past life which caused him the most continued private remorse was his assent, in Feb. 1641-2, to the Bill excluding Bishops from Parliament: whatever happened, he would sin no more in that direction. He would consent to any restriction of his kingly power in the Militia and other matters, rather than do more in repudiation of Episcopacy. Nay, he had reasoned himself into a belief that the course thus most to his conscience would be also the most expedient. Buoying himself up with a hope that, though Parliament demanded both concessions, they might let him off with one, he was of opinion that kingly power in the Militia and other matters might be more easily fetched back by a retained Episcopacy than a lost Episcopacy could be restored by any remnant of his power in the Militia. With Queen Henrietta-Maria the reasoning was different. To her, a Roman Catholic, back now among her co- religionists, what were all the disputes of British Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Independents, but battles of kites and crows? If her husband's kind of Protestant Church could have been retained, that of course would have been well; but, as things were, she had no patience with those scruples of conscience for which he would sacrifice the most substantial interests of himself and his family. His main object ought to be to retain as much of real kingly power as possible, to be enjoyed by himself and her, and transmitted to their descendants; and might not this be attained by a frank concession to the English of the Presbyterian settlement, only with a personal dispensation to the King if he desired it very much, a reservation of liberty for the Roman Catholics of Ireland and England, and, of course, a toleration for the Queen herself in her private Roman Catholic worship?

Actually, with all the King's firmness within himself on the Episcopacy question, the Queen's influence had so far prevailed as to bring him into a position where her views rather than his had chances in their favour. That he was now a captive at all, that he was still in Great Britain to maintain passively the struggle in which he had failed actively, was very much the Queen's doing. Again and again since the blow of Naseby, or at least since Montrose's ruin at Philiphaugh, it had been in the King's mind to abandon the struggle for the time, and withdraw to Holland, Denmark, or some other part of the Continent. That he had not, while the sea was open to him, adopted this course, was owing in part to his own irresolution, but very considerably to his dread of the Queen's displeasure. She did not want him to be on the Continent with her, a dependent on her relatives of the French Court or on the Dutch Stadtholder; she wanted him to remain in Britain and struggle on, somehow, anyhow. Nay, she had devised a particular way for him, and almost compelled him to it. A flight to the Scots and a pact with them on the basis of some acceptance of their Presbyterianism even for England: this was the course which she had urged on him ever since his defeat by Parliament had become certain; this was the course she had arranged for him by causing the French Court to send over Montreuil to negotiate for his reception among the Scots; and, though things had not turned out quite as she expected, and the Scots had shown no disposition to save Charles from the tremendous Nineteen Propositions of the English Parliament, still she did not regret that the course had been taken. It was for the King now to extricate himself from the Nineteen Propositions by his utmost ingenuity, and she did not doubt that this would be most easily done by adhering to the Scots, humouring them in all those parts of the Propositions that related to Presbytery, and evading or refusing the rest. [Footnote: For this and last paragraph see Charles I. in 1646, Introduction by Mr. Bruce, and the King's own Letters passim; Clar. 591-600 (Hist.) and 961 (Life); Hallam's Const. Hist. (10th ed.), II. 182-188, with notes.]

Irritating as the Queen's conduct in the main had been to Hyde, Hopton, and others of the Royalist exiles, there were particulars of selfishness in it which positively disgusted them. Having persisted in her determination that the Prince of Wales should reside with herself, and nowhere else, she had carried that point, as she did every other, with Charles; and since July the Prince, as well as his infant sister, the Princess Henrietta-Maria, had been under her charge. Rather than accompany the Prince to Paris, and undertake the responsibility of advising him in matters in which it would be necessary to detach him from his mother, Hyde, Hopton, and Lord Capel had remained in Jersey, happy for a time in their mutual society, and Hyde, as he tells us, passing the pleasantest hours of his life in the composition of parts of his History. Others of the King's late counsellors, such as Cottington, the Earl of Bristol, and Secretary Nicholas, had domiciled themselves in Rouen, Caen, or elsewhere in France, away from Paris. But round the Queen, in Paris or at St. Germains, there had gathered not a few of the exiles, gratifying the King more, as it proved, by this compliance than the others did by their prudery. Among these were Lord Jermyn, Lord Digby, Lord Percy, Lord Wilmot, and even Lord Colepepper, though he had at first agreed with Hyde in opposing the removal of the Prince from Jersey. Conspicuous in the same group of refugees was the veteran Thomas Hobbes, Not that he had gone to Paris at that time, as the others had done, in the mere course of Royalist duty. He had been there for several years on his own account, that he might be out of the turmoil of affairs at home, and free to pursue his speculations in quiet, with the relaxation of walks about Notre Dame and the Sorbonne, and much of the agreeable company of M. Gassendi. But the Prince could not be without a tutor, and Hobbes was chosen to instruct him in mathematics and whatever could be brought under that head. If what Clarendon says is true, the philosopher must have had curious remarks to make on the relations between his royal pupil and his mother, and on that lady's own behaviour. Though the Prince was sixteen years of age, she governed him with a high hand. "He never put his hat on before the Queen," says Clarendon; "nor was it desired that he should meddle in any business, or be sensible of the unhappy condition the royal family was in. The assignation which was made by the Court of France for the better support of the Prince was annexed to the monthly allowance given to the Queen, and received by her and distributed as she thought fit; such clothes and other things provided for his Highness as were necessary; her Majesty desiring to have it thought that the Prince lived entirely upon her, and that it would not consist with the dignity of the Prince of Wales to be a pensioner to the King of France. Hereby none of his Highness's servants had any pretence to ask money, but they were contented with what should be allowed them; which was dispensed with a very sparing hand; nor was the Prince himself ever master of ten pistoles to dispose as he liked. The Lord Jermyn was the Queen's chief officer, and governed all her receipts; and he loved plenty so well that he would not be without it, whatever others suffered who had been more acquainted with it." In this last sentence there is an insinuation of more than meets the eye. Henry Jermyn, originally one of the members for Bury St. Edmunds in the Long Parliament, and created Baron Jermyn by Charles (Sept. 8, 1643) for his conspicuous Royalism, had long been the special favourite of the Queen and the chief of her household; after Charles's death he became the Queen's second husband by a secret marriage; and so cautious a writer as Hallam does not hesitate to countenance the belief that his relations to the Queen were those of a husband while Charles was yet alive. [Footnote: Clar. 594-602 and 640; Hallam, Const. Hist. (10th ed.), II. 183 and 188, with footnotes; and Letters of the King, to the Queen, numbered xxvii., xxviii., xxxii., xxxv., and xxxviii. in Brace's Charles I. in 1646. In the last of these letters, dated Newcastle, July 23, Charles writes:—"Tell Jermyn, from me, that I will make him know the eminent service he hath done me concerning Pr. Charles his coming to thee, as soon as it shall please God to enable me to reward honest men. Likewise thank heartily, in my name, Colepepper, for his part in that business; but, above all, thou must make my acknowledgments to the Queen of England (for none else can do it), it being her love that maintains my life, her kindness that upholds my courage; which makes me eternally hers, CHARLES R."]

Such were Charles's circumstances, such was his real isolation, when his captivity began. It was to last all the rest of his life, or for more than two years and a half. The form and place of his captivity were indeed to be varied. There were to be four stages of it in all, the first only being his detention among the Scots at Newcastle. At the point which we have reached in our narrative, viz. the conclusion of the Civil War, three months of this first stage of the long captivity (May-August 1646) had already elapsed. We have now, therefore, to follow the King, with an eye also for the course of events round him, through the remainder of this stage of his captivity, and through the three stages which succeeded it.


Balancings of Charles between the Presbyterians and the Independents—His Negotiations in the Presbyterian direction: The Hamiltons his Agents among the Scots—His Attempt to negotiate with the Independents: Will Murray in London—Interferences of the Queen from France: Davenant's Mission to Newcastle—The Nineteen Propositions unanswered: A Personal Treaty offered—Difficulties between the Scots and the English Parliament—Their Adjustment: Departure of the Scots from England, and Cession of Charles to the English—Westminster Assembly Business, and Progress of the Presbyterian Settlement.

Three months of Scottish entreaty and argumentation had failed to move Charles. He would not take the Covenant; he would not promise a pure and simple acceptance of Presbytery; and to the Nineteen Propositions of the English Parliament he had returned only the vaguest and most dilatory answer.

The English Parliamentarians, as a body, were furious, and the milder of them, with the Scots, were in despair. "We are here, by the King's madness, in a terrible plunge," Baillie writes from London, Aug. 18; "the powerful faction desires nothing so much as any colour to call the King and all his race away." In another letter on the same day he says, "We [the Scots in London] strive every day to keep the House of Commons from falling on the King's answer. We know not what hour they will close their doors and declare the King fallen from his throne; which if they once do, we put no doubt but all England would concur, and, if any should mutter against it, they would be quickly suppressed." And again and again in subsequent letters, through August, September, and October, the honest Presbyterian writes in the same strain, breaking his heart with the thought of the King's continued obstinacy. [Footnote: Baillie, II. 389 et seq.]

It must not be supposed that Charles was merely idle or inert in his obstinacy. In the wretched phrase of those who regard politics as a kind of game, he was "playing his cards" as well as he could. What was constantly present to his mind was the fact that his opponents were a composite body distracted by animosities among themselves. He saw the Presbyterians on the one wing and the Independents on the other wing of the English or main mass, and he saw this main mass variously disposed to the smaller and very sensitive Scottish mass, to whose keeping he had meanwhile entrusted himself. Hence he had not even yet given up the hope, which he had been cherishing and expressing only a month before his flight to the Scots, that he "should be able so to draw the Presbyterians or the Independents to side with him for extirpating one the other, that he should really be King again." [Footnote: From a letter to Lord Digby, dated March 26, 1646, quoted by Godwin (II. 132-3) from Carte.] He could not now, of course, pursue that policy in a direct manner or with the expectation of immediate success. But he could pursue it indirectly. He could extract from the Nineteen Propositions the two main sets of concessions which they demanded—the concession of Presbytery and what went along with that, and the concession of the Militia and what went along with that; and, holding the two sets of concessions in different hands, he could alternate between that division of his opponents which preferred the one set and that which preferred the other, so as to find out with which he could make the best arrangement. By a good deal of yielding on the Episcopacy question, coupled with a promise to suppress Sects and Heresy, might he not bribe the Scots and Presbyterians to join him against the Independents? By a good deal of yielding on the Militia question, coupled with a promise of Toleration for the Sects, might he not bribe the Independents to join him against the Presbyterians, and perhaps even save Episcopacy? Which course would be the best? Might not that be found out most easily by trying both?

In accordance so far with the advices from France, Charles had begun with the Presbyterian "card," and had played it first among the Scots. We have seen the classification he had made of the Scots, from his observation of them at Newcastle, into the four parties of the Montroses, the Neutrals, the Hamiltons, and the Campbells. The Montroses, or absolute Royalists, were now nowhere. After having lurked on in his Highland retreat, with the hope of still performing some feat of Hannibal in the service of his captive Majesty, Montrose had reluctantly obeyed the orders to capitulate and disband which had been sent to him as well as to all the Royalist commanders of garrisons in England, and, without having been permitted the consolation of going to Newcastle to kiss his Majesty's hand, had embarked, with a few of his adherents, at Stonehaven, Sept. 3, in a ship bound to Norway. The first of the four parties of Scots in the King's reckoning of them being thus extinct, and the second or Neutrals making now no separate appearance, the real division, if any, was into the Hamiltons and the Campbells. The division was not for the present very apparent, for Hamilton and his brother Lanark had not been ostensibly less urgent than Argyle and Loudoun that his Majesty would accept the Nineteen Propositions. But underneath this apparent accord his Majesty had discerned the slumbering rivalry, and the possibility of turning it to account. He had regained the Hamiltons. When the Duke, indeed, came to Newcastle in July to kiss the hand of his royal kinsman from whom he had been estranged, and by whose orders he had been in prison for more than two years, the meeting had been rather awkward. Both had "blushed at once." But forgiveness had passed between them; and, though the King in his letters to the Queen continued to speak of the "bragging" of the Hamiltons, and of his "little belief" in them, the two black-haired brothers did not know that, but were glad to hear themselves again addressed familiarly by the King as "Cousin James" and "Lanark." Through these Hamiltons might not a party among the Scots be formed that should be less stiff than Argyle, Loudoun, and the others were for concurrence with the English in all the Nineteen Propositions? The experiment was worth trying, and in the course of September the King did try it in a very curious manner.

The Duke of Hamilton, who had meanwhile paid a visit to Scotland, had then returned to Newcastle at the head of a new deputation from the Committee of the Scottish Estates, charged with the duty of reasoning with his Majesty. Besides the Duke, there were in the deputation the Earls of Crawford and Cassilis, Lords Lindsay and Balmerino, three lesser barons, and three burgesses. They had had an interview with the King, and had pressed upon him the Covenant and the Nineteen Propositions by all sorts of new arguments, but without effect. The next day, however, they received a communication from his Majesty in writing. After expressing his regret that his conversation with them the day before had not been satisfactory, he explains more fully an arrangement which he had then proposed. Whatever might be his own opinion of the Covenant, he by no means desired from the Scots anything contrary to their Covenant. But was it not the main end of the Covenant that Presbyterial Government should be legally settled in England? Well, he was willing to consent to this after a particular scheme. "Whereas I mentioned that the Church- government should be left to my conscience and those of my opinion, I shall be content to restrict it to some few dioceses, as Oxford, Winchester, Bristol, Bath and Wells, and Exeter, leaving all the rest of England fully under the Presbyterian Government, with the strictest clauses you shall think upon against Papists and Independents." In other words, Charles offered a scheme by which Presbytery and Episcopacy should share England between them on a strict principle of non-toleration of anything else, Presbytery taking about four-fifths, and Episcopacy about one-fifth. He argues eagerly for this scheme, and points out its advantages. "It is true," he says, "I desire that my own conscience and those that are of the same opinion with me might be preserved; which I confess doth not as yet totally take away Episcopal Government: but then consider withal that this [scheme] will take away all the superstitious sects and heresies of the Papists and Independents; to which you are no less obliged by your Covenant than the taking away of Episcopacy." How far this scheme of the King was discussed or even published does not appear. It was one which the Scottish Commissioners collectively could not even profess to entertain; and, however well disposed Hamilton may have been privately to abet it, he dared not give it any countenance openly. [Footnote: Authorities for this and the last paragraph are— Napier's Montrose, 631 et seq.; Burnet's Lives of the Hamiltons (ed. 1852), 359-375; Rushworth, VI. 232, and 327-329; King's Letters l. and lxiii. in Brace's Charles I, in 1646. The remarkable Paper of the King proposing a compromise between Episcopacy and Presbytery is given entire both by Rushworth and by Burnet It is not dated, but is one of several letters given by both these authorities as written by the King in September 1646. Burnet, who had a copy before him in Lanark's hand, notes the absence of the date. In a postscript to the letter, however, as given in Rushworth, the King says: "I require you to give a particular and full account hereof to the General Assembly in Scotland;" and in Burnet's copy the words are "to the General Assembly now sitting in Scotland." This phrase would refer the Paper to some time between June 3 and June 18 when the Assembly was last in session, its next meeting not being till August 4, 1647. In that case the Paper must have been delivered not to the deputation mentioned in the text, but to the prior deputation from Scotland. of which Lanark was one (ante, pp. 412-418), This is possible; but it does not lessen the significance of the document in connexion with the King's dealings with the Hamiltons in September, The extant copy of the Paper seen by Burnet was in Lanark's hand; it must therefore have been mainly through the Hamiltons that Charles wanted to feel the pulse of Scotland respecting his proposal; and the proposal, if first made in June, must have been a topic between the King and the Hamiltons in subsequent months. Altogether, however, I suspect, the proposal did not go far beyond the King and the Hamiltons, I have found no distinct cognisance of it in Baillie or in the Acts of the Assembly of 1646.]

And so, with a heavy heart, Hamilton, in the end of September, returned to Scotland. Foreseeing the King's ruin, he had resolved to withdraw altogether from the coil of affairs, and retire to some place on the Continent. In vain did his brother Lanark fight against this resolution; and not till he had received several affectionate letters from the King did he consent to remain in Britain on some last chance of being useful. Actually, from this time onwards, Hamilton and Lanark, though not yet daring a decidedly separate policy from that of Argyle and his party in Scotland, did work for the King as much as they could within limits. He continued to correspond with both, but chiefly with Lanark.

Not the less, while the King was trying to bargain with the Presbyterians through the Hamiltons, was he intriguing in the opposite direction. His agent here was a certain Mr. William Murray, son of the parish-minister of Dysart in Scotland, and known familiarly as Will Murray. He had been page or "whipping-boy" to Charles in his boyhood, had been in his service ever since, had been recently in France, but had returned early in 1646. His connexions with the King being so close, and his wiliness notorious, he had been arrested by Parliament and committed to the Tower as a spy; and it had cost the Scottish Commissioners some trouble—Baillie for one, but especially Gillespie, who was related to Murray by marriage—to procure his release on bail. This having been accomplished in August, he had been allowed to go to his master in Newcastle, the Scottish Commissioners vouching that he would use all his influence to bring the King into the right path. He had been well instructed by Baillie as to all the particulars of the duty so expected from him, not the least of which, in Baillie's judgment, was that he should get the King to dismiss Hobbes from the tutorship of the Prince at Paris. Once with the King, however, Murray had forgotten Baillie's lectures, and relapsed into his wily self. "Will Murray is let loose upon me from London," the King writes to the Queen Sept. 7; but on the 14th he writes that Murray has turned out very reasonable, and that, though he will not absolutely trust him, the rather because he is not a client of the Hamiltons, but "plainly inclines more to Argyle," yet he hopes to make good use of him. On the 2lst we hear of "a private treaty" he has made with Murray; and the result was that, in October, Murray, created Earl of Dysart in prospect, was back in London on a secret mission, the general aim of which was the conciliation of the Independents. On the condition that the King should surrender on the Militia question, give up the Militia even for his whole life, would the Parliamentary leaders consent to the restoration of a Limited Episcopacy after three or five years? It was a dangerous mission for Murray, "so displeasing that it served only to put his neck to a new hazard;" and he was obliged to keep himself and his proposals as much within doors as he could. [Footnote: Baillie, II. 391-396, and Appendix to same vol., 509, 510; Burnet's Hamiltons, 378; and Hallam, II. 187-8, and Notes.] To the Queen at Paris her husband's continued hesitation on the Episcopacy question seemed positively fatuous. Her letters, as well as Jermyn's and Colepepper's, had not ceased to urge bold concession on that question, and a paction with the Scots for Presbytery. Now, accordingly, their counsels to this effect became more emphatic. The Queen thought the King perfectly right in refusing his personal signature to the Covenant, and advised him to remain steady to that refusal, and also to his resolution not to let the Covenant be imposed upon others; she was moreover sure that he ought not to abandon Ireland or the English Roman Catholics to the mercies of Parliament; but, with these exceptions, she would close with the Scots and Presbyterians in the matter of Church- government, if by that means she could save the Militia and the real substance of kingly prerogative. "We must let them have their way in what relates to the Bishops," she wrote to Charles, Oct. 9/19; "which thing I know goes quite against your heart, and, I swear to you, against mine too, if I saw any one way left of saving them and not destroying you. But, if you are lost, they are without resource; whereas, if you should be able again to head an army, we shall restore them. Keep the Militia, and never give it up, and by that all will come back—(Conservez-vous la Militia, et n'abandonnez jamais, et par cela tout reviendra)." Colepepper, always rough-speaking, used more decided language. Nothing remained for the King, he wrote, but a union with the Scottish nation and the English Presbyterians against the Independents and Anti-monarchists; and to secure such a union Episcopacy must go overboard. His Majesty's conscience! Did his Majesty really believe that Episcopacy only was jure divino, and that there could be no true Church without Bishops? If so, Colepepper personally did not agree with him, and doubted whether there were six Protestants in the world that did. "Come," he breaks out at last, "the question in short is whether you will choose to be a King of Presbytery, or no King and yet Presbytery or perfect Independency to be." [Footnote: Baillie, II. 389 et seq.; Rushworth VI. 327 et seq.; Clarendon, 605; Hallam, II. 185-6; and Queen's Letter in the original French in Appendix to Mr. Bruce's Charles I. in 1646.]

It was not only by letter that such counsels from France reached Charles. Bellievre, who had succeeded Montreuil as French ambassador in England, and had been much with the King at Newcastle, plying him with the same counsels, had reported to Mazarin that some person of credit among the English exiles should be sent over, expressly to reason with Charles on the all-important point. They seem to have had some difficulty at Paris in finding a proper person for the mission. To have sent Hobbes, even if he would have gone, would have been too absurd. Hobbes a successor of Alexander Henderson in the task of persuading the King to accept Presbytery! The person sent, however, was the one next to Hobbes in literary repute among the Royalist exiles, the one most liked by Hobbes, and oftenest in his company. He was no other than the laureate and dramatist Will Davenant, known on the London boards by that name for a good many years before the war, but now Sir William Davenant, knighted by the King in Sept. 1643 for his Army-plotting and his gallant soldiering. He was over forty years of age, and had just turned, or was turning, a Roman Catholic in Paris, or perhaps rather a Roman Catholic Hobbist. Clarendon, with a sneer at Davenant's profession of play-writer, makes merry over the choice of such an agent by the Queen, Jermyn, and Colepepper, and relates the result with some malice. Arrived at Newcastle late in September, or early in October, Davenant had delivered his letters to the King, and proceeded to argue according to his instructions. Charles had heard him for a while with some patience, but in a manner to show that he did not like the subject of his discourse. Determined, however, to do his work thoroughly, Davenant had gone on, becoming more fluent and confidential, It was the advice of all his Majesty's friends that he should yield on the question of Episcopacy! "What friends?" said the King. "My Lord Jermyn," replied Davenant. His Majesty was not aware that Lord Jermyn had given his attention to Church questions. "My Lord Colepepper," said Davenant, trying to mend his answer. "Colepepper has no religion," said the King, bluntly; and then he asked whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer (i.e. Clarendon himself, then Sir Edward Hyde) agreed with Colepepper and Jermyn. Davenant could not say he did, for Sir Edward was not in Paris with the Prince, as he ought to have been, but in Jersey: and he proceeded to convey from the Queen some insinuations to Hyde's discredit. The King, Clarendon is glad to tell, had defended him, and said he had perfect trust in him, and was sure he would never desert the Church. Something of the wit, or of the Roman Catholic Hobbist and freethinker, had then flashed out in the speech of the distressed envoy. He "offered some reasons of his own in which he mentioned the Church slightingly." On this the King had blazed into proper indignation, given poor Davenant "a sharper reprehension than he ever did to any other man," told him never to show his face again, and frowned him to the door. And so, says Clarendon, "the poor man, who had indeed very good affections," returned to Paris crestfallen. [Footnote: Clar. 606, and Wood's Ath. III. 801, 805. The King's Letters mention Davenant's presence at Newcastle and the purport of his argument, but without tolling of any such scene between him and Davenant as Clarendon describes. Davenant had not arrived at Newcastle Sept. 26, but was there Oct. 3. He was back in Paris in November.]

Perturbed by the Queen's difference from him on the matter he had most at heart, and saddened by the failure of his own schemings in opposite directions, Charles appears to have sunk for a time into a state of sullen passiveness, varied by thoughts of abdication or escape. By December, however, he had again roused himself. By that time, Will Murray having returned to him with fresh suggestions from London, he had made up his mind to send to the English Parliament an Answer to their Nineteen Propositions in detail. He had prepared such an Answer, and on the 4th of December he sent a draft of it to the Earl of Lanark in Edinburgh. In this draft he goes over the Propositions one by one, signifying his agreement where it is complete, or the amount of his agreement where it is only partial. In such matters as the management of Ireland, laws against the Roman Catholics, &c., he will yield to Parliament; but he would like an act of general oblivion for Delinquents. In the matter of the Militia his offer is to resign all power for ten years. In the matter of the Church he offers his consent to Presbytery for three years, as had been settled by Parliament, with these provisions—(l) that there be "such forbearance to those who through scruple of conscience cannot in everything practise according to the said rules as may consist with the rule of the Word of God and the peace of the kingdom;" (2) "that his Majesty and his household be not hindered from that form of God's service which they have formerly done;" and (3) that he be allowed to add twenty persons of his own nomination to the Westminster Assembly, to aid that body and Parliament in considering what Church-government shall be finally adjusted after the three years' trial of Presbytery. Altogether, the concessions were the largest he had yet offered, and an elated consciousness of this appears in the letter which conveyed the Draft to Lanark for the consideration of him and his friends in Scotland. Only on one point is he dubious. The clause promising a toleration for scrupulous consciences may not please the Scots! He explains, however, that that clause had been inserted "purposely," to make the whole "relish the better" with the English Independents, and adds, "If my native subjects [the Scots] will so countenance this Answer that I may be sure they will stick to me in what concerns my temporal power, I will not only expunge that clause, but likewise make what declarations I shall be desired against the Independents, and that really without any reserve or equivocation." This was Charles all over!—Alas! Lanark's reply was unfavourable. The Toleration clause, he wrote, was but one of the stumbling-blocks. As far as he could ascertain Scottish opinion, he dared not "promise the least countenance" to the King's proposals about the Church, omitting as they did all mention of the Covenant, and contemplating an entire re-opening of the debate on Presbytery. Nor was it from Lanark only that the Draft met discouragement. From the Queen, to whom also a copy had been sent, the comments that came, though from a point of view different from Lanark's, were far more cutting. The surrender of the Militia for ten years amazed her. "By that you have also confirmed them the Parliament for ten years; which is as much as to say that we shall never see an end to our misfortunes. For while the Parliament lasts you are not King; and, for me, I shall never again set foot in England. And with this shift of your granting the Militia you have cut your own throat (Et avec le biais que vous avez accorde la Milice, vous vous este coupe la gorge)." On the promised concession with respect to Ireland she remarks: "I am astonished that the Irish do not give themselves to some foreign king; you will force them to it at last, seeing themselves made a sacrifice."—The result was that, though the terms of Charles's draft Answer got about, and he was in a manner committed to them, the message which he did formally send to Parliament, on the 20th of December, was quite different from the Draft. It explained that, though he had bent all his thoughts on the preparation of a written Answer to the Nineteen Propositions, "the more he endeavoured it he more plainly saw that any answer he could make would be subject to misinformations and misconstructions." He repeats, therefore, his earnest desire for a personal treaty in London. [Footnote: Burnet's Hamiltons, 381-389 (for the interesting correspondence between the King and Lanark); King's Letters, liii.-lxii. in Bruce's Charles I. in 1646, and Queen's Letters in Appendix to the same: Rushworth, VI. 393; and Parl. Hist. III. 537.]

Meanwhile, quite independently of the King, his messages, or his wishes, matters had been creeping on to a definite issue. For four months now there had been a most intricate debate between the Scots and the English Parliament on the distinct and yet inseparable questions of the Disposal of the King's Person and the Settlement of Money Accounts. Though the reasoning on both sides on the first question was from Law and Logic, it was heated by international animosity. Lord Loudoun was the chief speaker for the Scottish Commissioners in the London conferences; the great speech on the English side was thought to be that of Mr. Thomas Challoner, a Recruiter for Richmond in Yorkshire; but the speeches, published and unpublished, were innumerable, and a mere abstract of them fills forty pages in Rushworth. Not represented by so much printed matter now, but as prolix then, was the dispute on the question of Accounts. The claim of the Scots for army-arrears and indemnity was for a much vaster sum than the English would acknowledge. This item and that item were contested, and the Accounts of the two nations could not be brought to correspond. Not even when the Scots consented to a composition for a slump sum roughly calculated was there an approach to agreement. The Scots thought 500,000l. little enough; the English thought the sum exorbitant. Equally on this question as on the other it was the Independents that were fiercest against the Scots and the most careless of their feelings; and again and again the Presbyterians had to deprecate the rudeness shown to their "Scottish brethren." And so on and on the double dispute had wound its slow length between the two sets of Commissioners, the English Parliament looking on and interfering, and the Scottish Parliament, after its meeting on the 3rd of November, contributing its opinions and votes from Edinburgh. [Footnote: Rushworth, VI. 322-372.]

To Charles in Newcastle all this had been inexpressibly interesting. A rupture between the English and the Scots, such as would occasion the retreat of the Scots into their own country, carrying him with them, was the very greatest of his chances; and it was in the fond dream of such a chance that he had procrastinated his direct dealings with the English Parliament. But from this dream there was to be a rude awakening. It came in December, precisely at the time when he was corresponding with the Queen and Lanark over his proposed compromises on all the Nineteen Propositions. Already, indeed, there had been signs that the dispute between the two nations was working itself to an end. By laying entirely aside the question of the Disposal of the King's person, and prosecuting the question of Accounts by itself, difficulties had been removed and progress made. It had been agreed that the sum to be paid to the Scots should be 400,000l. in all, one-half to be paid before they left England, and the rest in subsequent instalments; and actually on the 16th of December the first moiety of 200,000l. was off from London in chests and bags, packed in thirty-six carts, to be under the charge of Skippon in the North till it should be delivered to the Scots. Yes! but would it ever be delivered to the Scots? Not a word was in writing as to the surrender of the King by the Scots, but only about their surrender of the English towns and garrisons held by them; and, so far as appeared, the money was to be theirs even if they kept the King. Here, however, lay the very skill of the policy that had been adopted. Instead of persisting in the theoretical question of the relative rights of the two nations in the matter of the custody of the King, and wrangling over that question in its unfortunate conjunction with a purely pecuniary question, it had been resolved to close the pecuniary question by putting down the money in sight of the Scots as undisputedly theirs on other grounds, and allowing them to decide for themselves, under a sense of their duty to all the three kingdoms, whether they would let Charles go to Scotland with them or would leave him in England. Precisely in this way was the issue reached. But oh! with what trembling among the Scots, what wavering of the balance to the very last! Dec. 16, the very day when the money left London, there was a debate in the Scottish Parliament or Convention of Estates in Edinburgh, the result of which was a vote that the Scottish Commissioners in London should be instructed to "press his Majesty's coming to London with honour, safety, and freedom," for a personal treaty, and that resolutions should go forth from the Scottish nation "to maintain monarchical government in his Majesty's person and posterity, and his just title to the crown of England." This vote, passing over altogether the question of the surrender of the King, and pledging the Scots to his interests generally, was a stroke in his favour by the Hamilton party in the Convention, carried by their momentary preponderance. But the flash was brief. There was in Edinburgh another organ of Scottish opinion, more powerful at that instant than even the Convention of Estates. This was the Commission of the General Assembly of the Kirk, or that Committee of the last General Assembly whose business it was to look after all affairs of importance to the Kirk till the next General Assembly should meet. The Commission then in power, by appointment of the Assembly of June 1646, consisted of eighty-nine ministers and about as many lay-elders; and among these latter were the Marquis of Argyle, the Earls of Crawford, Marischal, Glencairn, Cassilis, Dunfermline, Tullibardine, Buccleuch, Lothian, and Lanark, besides many other lords and lairds. It was in fact a kind of ecclesiastical Parliament by the side of the nominal Parliament, and with most of the Parliamentary leaders in it, but these so encompassed by the clergy that the Hamilton influence was slight in it and the Argyle policy all- prevailing. Now, on the very day after that of the Hamilton resolutions in Parliament for the King (Dec. 17), and when Parliament was again in debate, the Commission spoke out. In "A Solemn and Seasonable Warning to all Estates and Degrees of Persons throughout the Land" they proclaimed their view of the national duty. Nothing could be more dangerous, they said, than that his Majesty should be allowed to come into Scotland, "he not having as yet subscribed the League and Covenant, nor satisfied the lawful desires of his loyal subjects in both nations;" and they therefore prayed that this might be prevented, and that, in justice to the English, to whom the Scots were bound by the Covenant, the King should not be withdrawn at that moment from English influence and surroundings. This opinion of the Commission at once turned the balance in the Convention. The resolutions of the previous day were rescinded; and on that and the few following days it was agreed, Hamilton and Lanark protesting, that nothing less than the King's absolute consent to the Nineteen Propositions would be satisfactory, and that, unless he made his peace with the English, he could not be received in Scotland. When the letters with this news reached Charles at Newcastle, he was playing a game of chess. He read them, it is said, and went on playing. He had a plan of escape on hand about the time, and the very ship was at Tynemouth. But it could not be managed. [Footnote: Rushworth, VI. 389-393; Burnet's Hamiltons, 389-393; Baillie, III. 4, 5; Parl. Hist. III. 533-536.]

January 1646-7 was an eventful month. On the 1st it was settled by the two Houses that Holdenby House, usually called Holmby House, in Northamptonshire, should be the King's residence during farther treaty with him; and on the 6th the Commissioners were appointed who should receive him from the Scots, and conduct him to Holmby. The Commissioners for the Lords were the Earls of Pembroke and Denbigh and Lord Montague; those for the Commons were Sir William Armyn (for whom Sir James Harrington was substituted), Sir John Holland, Sir Walter Earle, Sir John Coke, Mr. John Crewe, and General Browne. On the 13th these Commissioners set out from London, with two Assembly Divines, Mr. Stephen Marshall and Mr. Caryl, in their train, besides a physician and other appointed persons. On the 23rd they were at Newcastle. On the whole, the King seemed perfectly content. When the English Commissioners first waited on him and informed him that they were to convey him to Holmby, he "inquired how the ways were." On Saturday, Jan. 30, the Scots marched out of Newcastle, leaving the King with the English Commissioners, and Skippon marched in. Within a few days more, the 200,000l. having been punctually paid, and receipts taken in most formal fashion, as prescribed by a Treaty signed at London Dec. 23, the Scots were out of England. The Scottish political Commissioners (Loudoun, Lauderdale, and Messrs. Erskine, Kennedy, and Barclay) had left London immediately after the conclusion of the Treaty. [Footnote: Commons Journals, Jan. 7 and 12, 1646-7; Rushworth, VI. 393-398; Parl. Hist. III. 533-536; Burnet's Hamiltons, 393-397. Burnet has a curious blunder here, and founds a joke on it. Before the Scottish Commissioners left London, he says, there was a debate in the Commons as to the form of the thanks to be tendered to them. It was proposed, he says, to thank them for their civilities and good offices, but the Independents carried it by 24 votes to strike out the words good offices and thank them for their civilities only. "And so all those noble characters they were wont to give the Scottish Commissioners on every occasion concluded now in this, that they were well-bred gentlemen." On turning to the Commons Journals for the day in question (Dec. 24, 1646), one finds what really occurred. It was reported that Loudoun, Lauderdale, and the other Scottish Commissioners, were about to take their leave, and that they desired to know whether they could do any service for the English Parliament with the Parliament of Scotland. The vote was on the question whether thanks should be returned to them for all their civilities and for this their last kind offer. The Independents (Haselrig and Evelyn, tellers) wanted it to stand so; the Presbyterians (Stapleton and Sir Roger North, tellers) wanted an addition to be made, i.e., I suppose, wanted some particular use to be made of the offer of the Commissioners to convey a message to the Scottish Parliament. Actually it was carried by 129 to 105 that the question should stand as proposed by the Independents; and, the Lords concurring next day, the Commissioners were thanked in those terms.]

With the Scottish lay Commissioners, there returned to Scotland at this time a Scot who has been more familiar to us in these pages than any of them. For a long time, and especially since Henderson had gone, Baillie had been anxious to return home. Having now obtained the necessary permission, he had packed up his books, had taken a formal farewell of the Westminster Assembly, in which he had sat for more than three years, had received the warmest thanks of that body and the gift of a silver cup, and so, in the company of Loudoun and Lauderdale, had made his journey northwards, first to Newcastle, thence to Edinburgh, and thence to his family in Glasgow. On the whole, he had left the Londoners, and the English people generally, at a moment when the state of things among them was pleasing to his Presbyterian heart. For, both in the Parliament and in the Westminster Assembly, notwithstanding the engrossing interest of the negotiations with and concerning the King, there had been, in the course of the last five months, a good deal of progress towards the completion of the Presbyterian settlement. Thus, in Parliament, there had been (Oct. 9) "An Ordinance for the abolishing of Archbishops and Bishops within the Kingdom of England and the Dominion of Wales, and for settling their lands and possessions upon Trustees for the use of the Commonwealth." It was an Ordinance the first portion of which may seem but the unnecessary execution of a long-dead corpse; but the second portion was of practical importance, and prepared the way for another measure (Nov. 16), entitled "An Ordinance for appointing the sale of the Bishops' lands for the use of the Commonwealth." Then in the Westminster Assembly there had been such industry over the Confession of Faith that nineteen chapters of it had been presented to the Commons on Sept. 25, a duplicate of the same to the Lords Oct. 1, and so with the residue, till on Dec. 7 and Dec. 12 the two Houses respectively had the text of the entire work before them. The Houses had not yet passed the work, or permitted it to be divulged, but had only ordered a certain number of copies to be printed for their own use; nay they had, with what seemed an excess of punctiliousness, required the Assembly to send in their Scriptural proofs for all the Articles of the Confession; but still, when Baillie left London, that great business might be considered off the Assembly's hands. A good deal also had been done in the Catechisms by the Assembly; and, if the Assembly's revised edition of Rous's Metrical Version of the Psalms had not received full Parliamentary enactment, that was because the Lords still stood out for Mr. Barton's competing Version. It was satisfactory to Baillie that, on his return to Scotland, he could report to his countrymen that so much had been done for the Presbyterianizing of England. There were, indeed, drawbacks. Both in London and in Lancashire, where the machinery of Presbytery was already in operation, the procedure was a little languid; and in other parts of England, "owing to the sottish negligence of the ministers and gentry of the shires more than the Parliament," they were wofully slow in setting up the Elderships and the Presbyteries. Even worse than this was the unchecked abundance of Sects and Heresies throughout England, and the prevalence of the poisonous tenet of Toleration. An Ordinance for the suppression of Blasphemies and Heresies, which had been occupying a Grand Committee of the Commons through September, October, November, and December, had not yet emerged into light. These were certainly serious causes of regret to Baillie, but his mood altogether was one of thankfulness and hope. "This is the incomparably best people I ever knew if they were in the hands of any governors of tolerable parts," had been his verdict on the English in a letter of Dec. 7, when he was preparing to take leave of them. An Ordinance against Heresies and Blasphemies would make them perfect, and till that came were there not substitutes? Had not a number of the orthodox ministers of London put forth a famous treatise, called Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici, arguing for the Divine Right of Presbytery in a manner which left nothing to be desired? The Second Part of Baillie's own Dissuasive from the Errors of the Time, published just as he was leaving London (Dec. 28, 1646), and intended as a parting-gift to the English, might also do some good! And, though he himself was no longer to sit in the Westminster Assembly, had he not left there his excellent colleagues, Samuel Rutherford and George Gillespie? [Footnote: Baillie, II. 397-403, 406-7, 410-416, and III. 1-5; Rushworth, VI. 373-388; Parl. Hist. III. 518; Commons and Lords Journals of dates given; Neal's Puritans III. 350-51.]


The King's Manner of Life at Holmby—New Omens in his favour from the Relations of Parliament to its own Army—Proposals to disband the Army and reconstruct part of it for service in Ireland—Summary of Irish Affairs since 1641—Army's Anger at the proposal to disband it—View of the State of the Army: Medley of Religious Opinions in it: Passion for Toleration: Prevalence of Democratic Tendencies: The Levellers— Determination of the Presbyterians for the Policy of Disbandment, and Votes in Parliament to that effect—Resistance of the Army: Petitions and Remonstrances from the Officers and Men: Regimental Agitators—Cromwell's Efforts at Accommodation: Fairfax's Order for a General Rendezvous— Cromwell's Adhesion to the Army—The Rendezvous at Newmarket, and Joyce's Abduction of the King from Holmby—Westminster Assembly Business: First Provincial Synod of London: Proceedings for the Purgation of Oxford University.

Holmby or Holdenby House in Northamptonshire had been built by Lord Chancellor Hatton in Elizabeth's time, but afterwards purchased by Queen Anne for her son Charles while he was but Duke of York. It was a stately mansion, with gardens, very much to the King's taste. It was not till the 16th of February that he arrived there, the journey from Newcastle having been broken by halts at various places, at each of which crowds had gathered respectfully to see him, and poor people had begged for his royal touch to cure them of the king's evil. Near Nottingham he had been met by General Fairfax, who had dismounted, kissed his hand, and then turned back, conveying him through that town, and conversing with him. [Footnote: Rushworth, VI. 398; Whitlocke (ed. 1853), II. 115; Sir Thomas Herbert's Memoirs of the last Two Years of the Reign of King Charles I..(1813), 13-15. Herbert was a kinsman and protege of the Pembroke family, who had travelled much in the East, published an account of his travels, and had acquired quiet and aesthetic tastes. He had been in various posts of Parliamentary employment, procured for him by Philip, Earl of Pembroke; but, having accompanied that Earl when he went to Newcastle as one of the Commissioners to take charge of the King, he had attracted the King's regard, so that, on the dismissal of some of the King's attendants at Holmby, he was selected to be one of the grooms of the bedchamber. He remained faithfully with the King to his death, cherished his memory afterwards, was made a baronet by Charles II. after the Restoration, and died in 1681. Two or three years before his death he wrote, at a friend's request, the above-mentioned Memoirs, containing interesting reminiscences and anecdotes of Charles in his captivity. They were reprinted in 1702 and again in 1813 (see a memoir of Herbert in Wood's Ath. IV. 15-42).]

During the four months of the King's stay at Holmby his mode of life was very regular and pleasant. The house and its appurtenances, being large, easily accommodated not only the King and all his permitted servants, but also the Parliamentary Commissioners and their retinue, besides Messrs. Marshall and Caryl, Colonel Graves as military commandant, and the under- officers and soldiers of the guard. The allowance of Parliament for the King's own expenses was 50l. a day, so that "all the tables were as well furnished as they used to be when his Majesty was in a peaceful and flourishing state." At meal-times the Commissioners always waited upon his Majesty, and the two chaplains were generally also present. It was almost his only complaint that Parliament persisted in keeping these two reverend gentlemen about him, and would not let him have chaplains of his own persuasion. But, though he declined the religious services of Messrs. Marshall and Caryl, and said grace at table himself rather than ask them to do so, he was civil to them personally, and allowed such of his servants as chose to attend their sermons. On Sundays Charles kept himself quite retired to his private devotions and meditations, and on other days two or three hours were always spent in reading and study. Among his favourite English books were Bishop Andrewes's Sermons, Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, Herbert's Poems, Fairfax's Tasso, Harrington's Ariosto, Spenser's Faery Queene, and, above all, Shakespeare's Plays, his copy of the Second Folio Edition of which is still in extant, with the words "Dum spiro spero: C. R." written on it by his own hand. But he read also in Greek and Latin, and fluently in French, Italian, and Spanish. At dinner and supper he ate of but a few dishes, and drank sparingly of beer, or wine and water mixed by himself. He disliked tobacco extremely, and was offended by any whiff of it near his presence. His chief relaxations were playing at chess after meals, and walking much in the garden; but, not unfrequently, as he was fond of bowls and there was no good bowling-green at Holmby, he would ride to Lord Spencer's house at Althorp, about three miles off, or even to Lord Vaux's at Harrowden, nine miles off, at both of which places there were excellent bowling-greens and beautiful grounds. In these rides, of course, he was well attended and watched, but still not so strictly but that a packet could sometimes be conveyed to him by a seeming country- bumpkin on a bridge, or a letter in cipher entrusted to a sure hand. Always through the night at Holmby a light was kept burning in the King's chamber, in the form of a wax-cake and wick inside a large silver basin on a low table by the bed, on which also were placed the King's two watches and the silver bell with which he called his grooms. This custom had begun at Oxford and had become invariable. [Footnote: Rushworth, VI. 452-4; Parl. Hist. III. 551 and 557-9; Clar. 608; but chiefly Herbert's Memoirs, 15-25, 61-65, 124-126, and 131. It is remarkable that Herbert, who mentions the other favourite English books of Charles named in the text, does not mention Shakespeare; for Charles's copy of the Second Folio, now in the Royal Library at Windsor, was given to Herbert himself by Charles before his death, and bears, in addition to the inscription in Charles's hand, this in Herbert's, "Ex dono Serenissimi Regis Car. servo suo humiliss. T. Herbert" (Lowndes by Bohn, 2,257). Herbert mentions that Dum spiro spero was a favourite motto with Charles, inscribed by him on many books. But that Shakespeare was a prime favourite of Charles we have Milton's authority in the well-known phrase in the [Greek: Gakonoklastaes]—"one whom we well know was the closet companion of these his solitudes, William Shakespeare."]

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