HotFreeBooks.com
The Life of John Milton Vol. 3 1643-1649
by David Masson
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Of course there were continued negotiations between Charles and the Parliament. Anything done in this way, however, during the four months of the stay at Holmby, hardly deserves notice. For at that time there was a huge new clouding of the air in England, pregnant with no one knew what changes, and making the postponement of conclusions between the King and the Parliament quite natural on both sides. All the world has heard of the extraordinary quarrel between the Long Parliament and its own victorious Army.

The war being over, and the troublesome Scots out of England at last, what remained but to disband the Parliamentarian Army, and enter on a period of peace, retrenched expense, and renewed industry? This was what all the orthodox politicians, and especially all the Presbyterians, were saying. In the very act of saying it, however, they faltered and explained. By disbanding they did not mean complete disbanding; some force must still be kept up in England for garrison duty, as a police against fresh Royalist attempts; they meant the disbanding of all beyond the moderate force needed for such use; nay, they did not even then mean actual disbanding of all the surplus; they contemplated the immediate re- enlistment and re-organization of a goodly portion of the surplus for service in another employment. What that was, who needed to be told? Did there not remain for England a tremendous and long-postponed duty beyond her own bounds? Now at length, now at length, was there not leisure to attend to the case of unhappy Ireland?

Unhappy Ireland! Her history at any time is hard to write; but no human intellect could make a clear story of those five particular years of triple distractedness which intervene between the murderous Insurrection of 1641-2 (Vol. II. pp. 308-314) and the beginning of 1647. One can but note a few points.

Through the first year or more of the Insurrection there seemed to be but two parties in Ireland. There was the vast party of the Insurgents, or Confederates, including the whole Roman Catholic population of the island, both the old Irish natives, who had mainly begun the Rebellion, and the Catholics of English descent who had joined in it. Gradually the mere spasmodic atrocity of the first Rebels had been changed into something like an organized warfare, commanded in chief by Generals Preston and Owen Roe O'Neile, while the political conduct of the Rebellion and the government of Confederate Ireland had been provided for by the assembling at Kilkenny of a Parliament of Roman Catholic lords, prelates, and deputies from towns and counties, and by the appointment by that body of county-councils, provincial councils, and a supreme executive council. The other party in Ireland was the small Protestant party, consisting of the mixed English and Scottish population of certain districts of the east and north coasts, with the surviving Protestants from other parts amongst them, and with Dublin and other strongholds still in their possession. At their head ought to have been the Earl of Leicester, Stafford's successor in the Irish Lord-Lieutenancy. But, as Leicester had been detained in England by the King, the management had devolved on the Lords Justices and Councillors resident in Dublin, and on their military assessor, James Butler, 12th Earl of Ormond, who had been Lieutenant-General of the Irish forces under Strafford. In fact it was this able Ormond that had to fight the Rebellion. Though supplies and forces, with some good officers, were sent over from England, and a special army of Scots under General Monro had been lent to the English Parliament for service in Ulster, it was still Ormond that had to direct in chief. His success had been very considerable.

In the course of 1643, however, after the Civil War had begun in England, Ireland and the Rebellion there had become related in a strangely complex manner to the struggle between the King and the Parliament. Whatever share the King may have had, through the Queen, in first exciting the Roman Catholics, he had come to regard the Irish distraction as a magazine of chances in his favour. If he could get into his own hands the command of the Protestant forces employed in putting down the Rebellion, he would have an army in Ireland ready for his service generally, and the policy would then be to come to an arrangement with the Roman Catholic Insurgents, so as to free that army, and perhaps the Insurgents too, for his service in England. Now, though the Lords Justices and most of the Councillors in Dublin were Parliamentarian in their sympathies, Ormond was a Royalist, of a family old in Ireland, far from fanatical in his own Protestantism, and with many relatives and friends among the Roman Catholics. Willing enough, therefore, to fight on against the Confederates, he was yet as willing, on instructions from Oxford, to make an arrangement with them in the King's interests. Actually, on the 15th of September, 1643, he did make a year's truce with the Rebels, which permitted the despatch of some portions of his own force, mixed with Irish Roman Catholics, to the King's assistance in England. Vehement had been the outcry of the English Parliamentarians over this breach of the King's compact with them to leave the conduct of the Irish war wholly to the Parliament; and from that moment there were two Protestant powers or trusteeships for the management of the Irish Rebellion. Ormond, made a Marquis, and raised to the Lord-Lieutenancy in Leicester's place (Jan. 1643-4), was trustee for the King, and continued to rule in Dublin, bound by his truce. In other parts of Ireland, however, the war was maintained in the interests of Parliament and by instructions from London—in Munster by Lord Inchiquin; in Connaught by Sir Charles Coote; and in Ulster by Monro and his Scots, in conjunction with English officers and advisers. So the imbroglio had gone on, a mere chaos of mutual sieges and skirmishes in bogs, and Ireland in fact, through the stress of the Civil War at home, all but abandoned to herself in the meantime. The Confederates were stronger after the end of Ormond's year of truce than they had been before; and in 1645 they were up again against Ormond, as well as against Inchiquin, Coote, and Monro. They had already received help from France and Spain, and in Oct. 1645 there arrived among them no less than a Papal nuncio, Archbishop Rinuccini, with a retinue of other Italians, to take possession of the tumult in the name of his Holiness, and regulate it sacerdotally. In this complexity Ormond had still kept his footing. He had kept it even in the midst of a sudden shock given to his Vice-royalty by Charles himself.

Without Ormond's knowledge, Charles had been trafficking for months with the Confederate Irish Catholics through another plenipotentiary. In Jan. 1645-6 it came out, by accident, that the Roman Catholic Earl of Glamorgan, to whose presence in Ireland for some months no particular significance had been attached, had been treating, in Charles's name, for a Peace with the Confederates on the basis not merely of a repeal of all penal laws against their Religion, but even of its establishment in Ireland. All Britain and Ireland were aghast at the discovery, and even Ormond reeled. Recovering himself, however, he did what he could to save Charles from the results of his own double-dealing. Glamorgan was imprisoned for a time, with tremendous threats; all publicity was given to Charles's letters authorizing proceedings against him as "one who either out of falseness, presumption, or folly, hath so hazarded the blemishing of his Majesty's reputation with his good subjects, and so impertinently framed these Articles out of his own head;" and meanwhile Charles's letters of consolation to Glamorgan, with his thanks, and promises of "revenge and reparation," remained private.

One consequence of the Glamorgan exposure, happening as it did when the King had been all but completely beaten in England, was a resolution of Parliament that Irish affairs should be managed thenceforward not by the mere Committee for these affairs meeting at Derby House, Westminster, and communicating with Inchiquin, Coote, and others in Ireland, but by "a single person of honour," in fact a Parliamentary Lord-Lieutenant. For this high post there was chosen Philip Sidney, Viscount Lisle, M.P. for Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight. This was partly a tribute to Lord Lisle's own zeal and to service he had already rendered in Ireland, partly a compliment to his father, the Earl of Leicester, whom Charles had displaced from the Lord-Lieutenancy to make way for Ormond. Accordingly, from April 1646, while Ormond remained in power for Charles at Dublin, it was in the name of Lord Lisle, as "Lord Lieutenant-General," that all commissions for Parliament respecting Ireland were issued. Lord Lisle, however, had not gone over to Ireland, but had been waiting till he could take troops with him. It remained, therefore, for Ormond to do what he finally could in Ireland for the fallen King. He had been in negotiation with the Confederates for a Peace on more respectable terms than Glamorgan's, and yet valuable for the King; and though, after Charles's flight to the Scots, letters had come from Newcastle (June 11) countermanding previous instructions, Ormond had persevered. On the 28th of July, 1646, Ormond's Articles of Peace with the Irish Rebels were signed at Dublin and published for general information. They promised the repeal of all acts against the Roman Catholic Religion in Ireland, and admission of Roman Catholics to a proportion of all places of public trust; and the recompense was to be an army of 10,000 Irish for his Majesty's assistance in England. The indignation among the Parliamentarians in Ireland, and throughout England and Scotland, was immense, and Ormond was the best-abused man living. Fortunately for him, he was extricated from the consequences of his own Treaty. The Papal Nuncio disowned it as insulting to the Church after Glamorgan's; the Roman Catholic clergy gathered round the Nuncio; there were riots wherever it was proclaimed; excommunications were thundered against its adherents; the Confederate Commissioners who had made the Treaty were imprisoned; the Nuncio himself became generalissimo, and, with Owen Roe O'Neile's army on one side of him and General Preston's on the other, declared war afresh against Ormond, and marched in his robes upon Dublin. For Ormond then there remained one plain duty. To save English rule and the existence of Protestantism in Ireland, he must hand over Dublin and the entire management of the war to the English Parliament. Having procured the King's full consent, he began a treaty with Parliament to this effect in Nov. 1646. As he was staunch in his desire to make the best bargain for the King he could, he was in no hurry; so that in February 1646-7, when the King was taken to Holmby, Ormond was still in Dublin, going on with the Treaty. In reality, however, by that time Ireland was as good as transferred to the Parliament. They had acted on the knowledge. Dec. 23,1646, "Resolved that this House doth declare that they will prosecute and carry on an offensive war in Ireland for the regaining of that kingdom to the obedience of the kingdom of England;" Jan. 4, 1646-7, "Resolved that an Ordinance be forthwith prepared and brought in for establishing and settling the same Form of Church- government in the kingdom of Ireland as is or shall be established in the kingdom of England;" such were two momentous votes of the Commons when the King was about to leave Newcastle. Nay, on the 28th of January, when the Scots were handing over the King to the English, Lord Lisle had left London for Ireland to assume his Lord-Lieutenancy. A new sword of State had been made for him; his Irish Council, of nine members at L500 a year each, had been nominated; and, at his special request, Major Thomas Harrison of the New Model had accompanied him. [Footnote: Authorities for the summary of Irish affairs from 1641 to 1647 given in the text are— Rushworth, VI. 238-249; Clar. 641, and at various other points; Whitlocke under Jan. 25 and 28 and March 9, 1646-7; Godwin, I. 245 et seq., and II. 102 et seq.; Commons Journals of dates given, with other entries from Dec. 1646 to Feb. 1646-7; and Carte's Ormond. Carte's large book is of some value from the abundance of information that was at his disposal, but is intrinsically silly.]

What could Lord Lisle do without troops? Now was the time for England to perform fully for "the gasping and bleeding Island" that duty of which, with all the excuse of her own pressing needs, she had been long too negligent. Now was the time to revenge the massacre of 1641, and re- subject Ireland to English rule and the one only right faith and worship. And were not the means at hand? An army of 25,000 or 30,000 Englishmen was now standing idle: why not disband and cashier part of them, and recast the rest into a new army for the service of Ireland? The question was obvious and natural to all; but it was put most loudly by the Presbyterians, because of a peculiar interest in it. They had never liked the Army of the New Model; all its victories had not reconciled them to it, or made them cease to regret the Army of the Old Model, That had been a respectable army, with the Earl of Essex at its head; this was an army of Independents, Sectaries, Tolerationists. Might not the disbanding of this army be so managed as to be at once a deliverance of England from a great danger and the salvation of Ireland? What was necessary in the process was to get rid of Cromwell, his followers among the officers, and the most peccant parts of the soldiery, so as to leave a sufficient mass to be re-formed, with additions, into an army of the Old Model type, the command of which might be given to Fairfax if he would take it, or perhaps to honest Skippon, or, best of all, to Sir William Waller.

This had been the understanding between the English Presbyterians and their Scottish friends since the close of the war. [Footnote: In a letter of Baillie's October 2, 1646, he expects "the Sectarian Army disbanded and that party humbled."] There was, however, another party likely to have a voice in the business. This was the Army itself.

Never under the sun had there been such an army before. It was not large according to our modern ideas of armies: only some 25,000 or 30,000 men, four-fifths of them foot-soldiers and the rest horse-troopers and dragoons. But imagine these all hardy men, thoroughly drilled and disciplined, and conscious that it was they who had done the work, they who had fought the battles, they who had saved England. Imagine farther that this Army had somehow come to be constituted, through its entire mass, on Cromwell's extraordinary principle, announced by him to Hampden at the beginning of the war, that the power of an army depends ultimately on the "spirit," or intrinsic moral mood, of the individuals composing it. Imagine that the atoms of this army were all "men of a spirit," men who had not fought as hirelings, but as earnest partakers in a great cause. Imagine them, if you like, as an army of fanatics. This phrase, however, might mislead, unless qualified.

The common conception of an army of fanatics is that of an army mad for one set of tenets. Now the Parliamentary Army was really, as the Presbyterians called it, an Army of Sectaries. It was a miscellany of all the forms of Puritan belief known in England, with forms of belief included that were not Puritan. The much largest proportion, after Presbyterians, of whom there were many, and ordinary Independents, of whom there were more, were Sectaries of the fervid and devout sorts, such as Baptists, Old Brownists, and Antinomians, with mystical Millenaries and Seekers, all passionately Scriptural, saturated with the language and history of the Old Testament, and zealously Anti-Romanist and Anti- prelatic; and these, on the whole, were the men after Cromwell's heart. Such, among others, was Harrison—whom Baxter, who had seen much of him, classes at this time among the Anabaptists and Antinomians, telling us "he would not dispute at all [with Baxter], but he would in good discourse very fluently pour out himself in the extolling of Free Grace, which was savoury to those that had right principles, though he had some misunderstandings of Free Grace himself:" a man, adds Baxter, "of excellent natural parts for affection and oratory, but not well seen in the principles of his Religion; of a sanguine complexion; naturally of such a vivacity, hilarity, and alacrity, as another man hath when he hath drunken a cup too much;" and whom Baxter had once heard, in a battle, when the enemy began to flee, "with a loud voice break forth into the praises of God, with fluent expressions, as if he had been in a rapture." But there were also in the army Sectaries of a cooler or easier order— Arminians, Anti-Sabbatarians, Anti-Scripturists, Familists, and Sceptics. Hardly a form of odd opinion mentioned in our conspectus of English Sects in a former chapter but had representatives in the Army; nay, new speculative oddities had broken out in some regiments; and it may be doubted whether even in the English mind of our own time there is any form of speculation so peculiar as not to have had its prototype or lineal progenitor in that mass of steel-clad theorists contemporary with the Westminster Assembly. Nor did each man keep his theory to himself. There were constant prayer-meetings in companies and regiments, and meetings for theological debate; troopers or foot-soldiers off duty would expound or harangue to their fellows in camp, or even from the pulpits of parish-churches when such were convenient; whenever the Army halted there was a hum of holding-forth. There were army-chaplains, it is true, and some of them, such as Peters, Dell, and Saltmarsh, great favourites; but, on the whole, the regular cloth was in disrepute: those who belonged to it were spoken of as the Levites or priests by profession; the need for such a profession was voted obsolete; and any man was held to be as good for the preaching office as any other, if he had the preaching gift. And with the respect for ordination had vanished the respect for most of the regular Church-forms and symbols. Not only did preaching officers and troopers, when they chanced to enter parish-churches, often eject the regular ministers from the pulpits, and hold forth themselves instead—in which kind of practice Colonel Hewson and Major Axtell are reported to have been conspicuous; but the contempt for established decencies of worship had vented itself, at least in occasional instances, in very profane humours. Soldiers had scandalized country-congregations by sitting with their hats on during prayer and singing; and Hewson's men were said once to have kept possession of a parish-church for eight days, having a fire in the chancel, and smoking tobacco ad libitum. Such were, doubtless, mere excesses here and there, which would have been rebuked by the more serious men who formed the bulk of the Army; but it is quite certain that even among these that extreme kind of Independency had become common which repudiated a National Church of any kind whatsoever, nay denied that there was any Church on earth at all, any system of spiritual ordinances visibly from God, anything but a great invisible brotherhood of Saints, walking in this life's darkness, passionately using meanwhile this symbol and that to feature forth the unimaginable, glad above all in the great glow of the present Bible, but expecting also, each soul for itself, rays and shafts from the Light beyond. Of this kind of indifferency to all competing forms of external worship, and even of doctrine, combined with either a mystical and dreamy piety, or a wildly-fervid enthusiasm, Dell and Saltmarsh, among the army- chaplains, seem to have been the most noted exponents; but it was really a modification of that which is already known to us as the Seekerism of Roger Williams. At all events, that absolute doctrine of Toleration which Roger Williams had propounded, and which was logically inseparable in his mind from Independency at its purest, had found its largest discipleship in the Parliamentary Army. Toleration to some extent was the universal Army tenet; even the Presbyterians of the Army, with some exceptions, had learnt to be Tolerationists in some degree. But a very full principle of Toleration had possessed most, and the most absolute possible principle was avowed by many. "If I should worship the Sun or Moon. like the Persians, or that pewter-pot on the table, nobody has anything to do with it," one sectary had been heard to say; and some even had "justified the Irish Rebellion," on the ground that the Irish "did it for the liberty of their consciences and for their country." If this last extreme application of the Toleration doctrine did actually come from the mouth of a sectary serving in the Army (which is not quite clear from the report), it must be regarded, I suspect, as one of those eccentricities of mess-table debate which, when Baxter talked of them to Colonel Purefoy, vouching that he had heard such things himself, that officer indignantly refused to credit, saying, "If Noll Cromwell should hear any soldier speak but such a word, he would cleave his crown." Precisely the Toleration doctrine, however, was that in which Cromwell himself was most thorough-going and most distinctly the representative of the whole Army. Even Baxter, after his two years of army-chaplaincy, spent in observing the medley of sects around him and combating their errors, could not refer Cromwell with positive certainty to any one of the Sects. He seemed most for the Anabaptists, Antinomians, and Seekers, but "did not openly profess what opinion he was of himself." But on Toleration of Religious Differences he was explicit and decided. All that were most to his mind in the Army "he tied together by the point of Liberty of Conscience, which was the common interest in which they did unite." [Footnote: This description of the Parliamentary Army is a digest of the best knowledge I have been able to form from various readings in contemporary books and study of Army documents; but particulars of it are from Baxter's Autobiography (1696), Part I. 52-57, and Edwards's Gangraena, Parts II. and III. passim. The good, though narrow and hypochondriac, Baxter may be thoroughly relied on for whatever he vouches as a fact known to himself; otherwise, cum grano. Edwards has to be put into the witness- box and cross-examined unmercifully, not as a wilful liar, but as an incredibly spiteful collector of gossip for the Presbyterians. After all, many of the so-called ribaldries and profanities reported by him of the Army Sectaries turn out innocent enough, or only very rough jokes, as when a soldier told a godly old woman that, if she did not believe in universal redemption, she would be damned. Perhaps his most horrible story is that of some soldiers taking a horse into a village church in Hunts and baptizing him in all due form at the font, giving him the name of Esau because he was hairy. The story, with a certificate of its truth by seven of the villagers, will be found in Gangraena, Part III. 17, 18. But, if the atrocity ever did occur, its date, according to Edwards himself, was June 2, 1644, i.e. in the time of the Old Model Army, to which the very objection of Cromwell and others was that it did not consist sufficiently of "men of a spirit."]

There were three reasons why this extraordinary Army should object to being disbanded:—(1) They had large and long-deferred claims upon the Parliament for arrears of pay, compensation for losses, provision for the wounded and disabled and for widows and orphans, indemnity also for illegal or questionable acts done in the time of war. Was the Army to let itself be disbanded without due security on these points? (2) There was the unsettled question of Religious Toleration. The whole drift of things in the Parliament and in the Westminster Assembly seemed to be to a uniform and compulsory Presbyterianism; and was that a prospect to which the Army, or nine-tenths of it, could look forward placidly? The Army did not want to undo the Presbyterian settlement as already decreed, but they were unwilling to disband before a Toleration under that settlement had been arranged. (3) Over and above these two reasons, and in powerful conjunction with them, was another. The Army, although an Army, had not ceased to regard itself as a portion of the English people; nay, it had come to regard itself as a select portion of that people, whose opportunities of thinking and reasoning on political affairs had been peculiarly good. It had come to be, in its own belief, an organ of political opinion, representing wishes and feelings of large parts of the population which were not represented in Parliament, and representing these in the form of conclusions for the future more radical and more definite than any that Parliament alone was ever likely to work out. In short, those democratic ideas the prevalence of which in the Army had so surprised Baxter when he first joined it had now become paramount. It was not only that the Army had formed views more severe than those of the Presbyterians as to the proper terms of the settlement to be made with the King; it was that the Army thought the present the time for discussing the whole subject of the constitution of the country. The House of Lords, for example! Whether there should be a Peerage at all, legislating in a separate House by mere hereditary right, might be a very fair question, and was one on which the Army had pretty decided opinions But that the House of Lords then sitting—not the assembled Peerage of England at all, but a mere fifth-part of that Peerage, in the shape of some twenty-eight persons meeting from day to day, sometimes as few as half-a-dozen of them at a time, and not only partaking with the other House in the legislation, but often obstructing that House, thwarting it, throwing out its measures,—that this should continue who would maintain? No! the House of Lords must go, and the sole House in England must be the other House, the "House of Representers." But here too there was room for improvement. The House of Commons then sitting was numerically substantial enough, now that it had been Recruited; and no one could look back on the great things which the House had done without gratitude and admiration. But were there not signs of exhaustion, debility, and wrong- headedness, even in that House, arising partly from its long independence of the People, partly from the imperfect system of suffrage under which it had been elected. Only in an imperfect sense could the existing House be called a "House of Representers;" and, as soon as should be convenient, it must be dissolved and succeeded by a House fully deserving that name. For the election of such a House there must be a reform of the details of the electoral system, including the abolition of such anomalies as the return of one-twelfth of the whole House by the single and remote county of Cornwall, and a redistribution of seats in accordance with the proportions of population and property in the various parts of England. All these ideas, and many more, anticipating with surprising exactness the Parliamentary Reform movements of much later times, were agitating the Parliamentary Army while the King was in his captivity at Holmby. Pamphlets from London, actively circulated among the regiments, aided the discussion and supplied it with topics and catch- words. Especially popular among the soldiers, and keeping up their excitement more particularly against the House of Lords, were the pamphlets that came from John Lilburne and an associate of his named Richard Overton.—Lilburne, whom we left in October 1645, just released from the short imprisonment to which he had been committed by the Commons (ante, p. 390), had gone on again in his old pugnacious way, till, by Prynne's contrivance, he found himself in the clutches of the Lords. Called before that House, in June 1646, for a Letter he had printed, called The Just Man's Justification, he had amazed the Peers by conduct such as they had never seen before. He had refused to kneel, refused to take off his hat, refused to hear the charges against him, stopped his ears while they were read, denied the jurisdiction of the Peers, stamped at them, glared at them, told them his whole mind about them, appealed to the Commons as the sole power in the State, and altogether behaved like a mad ox. They had consequently fined him L4,000, and committed him to Newgate for seven years. For similar offences to the Peers, and similar contumacy when charged with them, Richard Overton, a printer and assiduous publisher of pamphlets, had also been sent to prison two months afterwards (Aug. 1646). There was considerable sympathy with both among the Londoners, and the Independents in the Commons had taken up Lilburne's case and procured the appointment of a Committee on it. Nor even in Newgate, it appears, had he been debarred the use of pen and ink; for, in addition to his former pamphlets, there had come from him fiercer and fresh ones—Anatomy of the Lords' Tyranny, London's Liberty in Chains, The Free Man's Freedom, The Oppressed Man's Oppressions, The Resolved Man's Resolution, &c. These were the pamphlets of Lilburne which, together with Overton's, one of which was An Arrow Shot into the Prerogative Bowels of the Arbitrary House of Lords, were popular with the common soldiers of the Parliamentary Army, and nursed that especial form of the democratic passion among them which longed to sweep away the House of Lords and see England governed by a single Representative House.—Baxter, who reports this growth of democratic opinion in the Army from his own observation, distinctly recognises in it the beginnings of that rough ultra-Republican party which afterwards became formidable under the name of THE LEVELLERS. All the while, however, there was also a quiet formation, in some of the superior and more educated minds of the Army, of sentiments essentially Republican, but more reserved and tentative in the style of their Republicanism. Among these minds too it had become a question whether a mere settlement with the King even on the basis of the Nineteen Propositions would suffice, and whether the hour had not come for organic changes in the Constitution of England. Perhaps the leader of Army thought in this direction was Cromwell's son-in-law Ireton. [Footnote: Baxter ut supra; Gangraena, part III. passim; Lords Journals, June 10, 11, 23, and July 11, 1646 (Lilburne's case), and Aug. 11 (Overton's); Godwin, II. 407 et seq.; Wood's Ath. III. 353] That the English Presbyterians, bereft now even of that overrated support which had been afforded them by the presence of a Scottish Army in England, should have rushed into a struggle with the English Army, such as it has been described, without trying so much as a compromise on the Toleration question, is one of the greatest examples of political stupidity on record. They seem to have calculated mainly on the fact that they had a majority in Parliament. Of the few Lords forming the Upper House they could count nearly all as decidedly with them. In the Commons, too, where the balance had always been more nearly equal, Presbyterianism had of late been gaining force. Why it had been so is not very obvious. The latest Recruiters may have been politicians of a more Presbyterian type than the earlier ones; and of these earlier Recruiters some who had come in as Independents may have veered round. Men whose opinions are not very decided tend naturally to the winning side, and the King's flight to the Scots and their long possession of him had put Presbyterianism in the likelihood to win. However it had happened, the Presbyterians had of late been preponderating in the Commons. In a vote on Sept. 1, 1646, affecting the relations of the Parliament to the Scots, the Presbyterians had beaten the Independents by 140 to 101; in another vote on Dec. 25, on the question whether the words "according to the Covenant" should be added to a Resolution, the Yeas or Presbyterians had beaten by 133 to 91; and in an interesting vote on Dec. 31, on the question whether the words "or expound the Scriptures" should be added to a Resolution forbidding unordained persons to preach, the Yeas or Presbyterians had beaten by no fewer than 105 to 57. In this last vote Cromwell was one of the Tellers for the Noes or Independents. In testing divisions these numbers may be taken as representing the relative strengths of the two parties in the end of 1646 and the beginning of 1647. But, even with a considerable majority in the Commons, and with the Lords all but wholly a Presbyterian House, the confidence of the Presbyterians in confronting the Army can be accounted for only by reckless leadership. Holles and Stapleton, their most forward men in the Commons, appear to have been men of but ordinary faculty and decidedly rash temper, incomparably inferior to their great opponents. One argument they had, of which they did not fail to make the most. The City of London was eminently and staunchly Presbyterian; and would that great city, the central money-power of the nation, allow the Government to be dictated to by an Army of Sectaries? [Footnote: Commons Journals of dates given, with divisions generally between Aug. 1646 and Feb. 1646-7; Godwin, II. 263 et seq.]

The struggle, long foreseen, began actually in the first two months and a half of the King's stay at Holmby, i.e. in February, March, and April, 1646-7. The gauntlet was thrown down by Parliament. Feb. 19, in an unusually full House, it was carried by 158 (Holles and Stapleton tellers) against 148 (Haselrig and Evelyn tellers), that no force of Foot beyond what was necessary for garrisons should be kept up in England, but only a certain force of Horse. On the 5th of March there came a vote on the important question who should be the Commander-in-chief of the retained Army, and so jealous had the Presbyterians become even of Fairfax, because of his connexion with the existing Army, that the Independents, though going for him to a man, carried his appointment but by a majority of 12. Subsequent resolutions, carried without division, were that no member of the House should hold a military command (Cromwell's Self-denying Ordinance cleverly repeated against himself), that no officer in the future Army under Fairfax should be above the rank of Colonel, and that all officers should take the Covenant; and when, on the farther and more outrageous proposition, that all officers must conform to the Presbyterian Church-government, the Independents forced a division; they lost by 108 Noes (Haselrig and Evelyn), against 136 Yeas (Holies and Stapleton). By additional Resolutions of March 29 and April 8 the arrangements were completed. It was formally resolved that all the Foot of the existing Army not required for the garrisons should be disbanded, and that the future Army of Horse under Fairfax should consist of nine regiments of 600 each, or 5,400 in all, recruited out of the existing Army or otherwise. The Colonels for the nine re- modelled regiments were named, some of them cavalry Colonels of the existing Army, but not all. Cromwell's own regiment, or the regiment that should be built out of any safe shred of it with other materials, was to go to the Presbyterian Major Huntingdon.——So much for England and Wales; but what of the new Army for Ireland? That also had been arranged for. March 6, it was voted by the Commons that the Army for Ireland should consist of 8,400 foot, 3,000 horse, and 1,200 dragoons, to be recruited as far as possible from the existing English Army. But how about the command of this Army and the government of Ireland while it should be serving there? Lord Lisle, then in Ireland as Lord-Lieutenant for the Parliament, was one of Cromwell's disciples, and had been appointed by Cromwell's influence. It would not do to leave him in command. Fortunately, he had been appointed but for a year; and, to avoid re-appointing him, it was resolved (April 1) that the previous vote of the Houses for the management of Ireland through "a single person of honour" should be rescinded, and that, while the Civil Government should revert to the two Lords-Justices in Dublin, the military command should be in the hands of a Field-Marshal, attended by Parliamentary Commissioners. Sir William Waller was named for this Field-Marshalship; but the Presbyterians did not go to the vote for him; and Skippon, then at Newcastle, and unaware of the honour intended for him, was unanimously chosen (April 2). The Presbyterian Massey was to be his Lieutenant- General. As an inducement to officers and soldiers of the English Army to re-enlist for the Irish service, high pay was promised, with an option of taking part of it in the valuable form of Irish lands. [Footnote: Commons Journals of the dates given.]

0, if you had been at Saffron Walden in Essex, where the bulk of the English Army was quartered, when the news of these votes of the Commons reached them! What murmurs among the common soldiers, what consultations among the officers! The officers, as was fitting, took the lead. A deputation of four Colonels and five Lieutenant-colonels had already gone to London (March 22) with a Petition and Remonstrance. They had been received graciously enough by the Lords, but coldly and with rebuke by the Commons. Then, a great Petition being in preparation throughout the Army, to be signed by both officers and men, and addressed to Fairfax as Commander-in-chief, there had come, on a hasty motion by Holles, a Declaration of the two Houses (March 29-30) voting the same dangerous and mutinous, and threatening proceedings against such as should go on with it. With vast self-control on the part of the Army, and much good management on the part of Fairfax, the offensive Petition had been suppressed; and through a great part of April the dispute took the form of conferences between Fairfax and his officers and five Commissioners sent down to the Army from Parliament (Waller and Massey among them) to argue for the disbandment and promote re-enlistment for Ireland. At these conferences the questions of arrears, indemnity, the rate of pay in Ireland, &c., were all discussed, and the Commissioners tried to give satisfactory explanations. It was a great point with the Army whether Skippon would accept the Irish Field-Marshalship; and at one of the conferences, when Colonel Hammond was expressing this for his comrades, and saying that nothing would be more likely to induce them to enlist for Ireland than the knowledge that that "great soldier" was to be in command, "All, all!" cried the assembled officers, "Fairfax and Cromwell, and we all go!" No real conciliation, however, was effected; and on the 26th of April the Commissioners, in their "perfect list" of officers who had agreed individually to go to Ireland, could report but three Colonels, and a proportionate following of Captains and subalterns. Among the men it was worse. In one company, eight score strong, twenty-six had volunteered to go with their Captain; in another the Captain could not get a single man to join him. Parliament was taken aback by this ill success; but Holles and his party were undaunted. It was a gleam in their favour that Skippon, coming to London from Newcastle, did at length (April 27) accept the Irish Field-Marshalship. The Houses voted him their thanks and a gift of 1,000l.and on the same day it was carried in the Commons, by the overwhelming majority of 114 to 7 (the Independents evidently abstaining from the vote), that the Army, horse and foot, should be immediately disbanded with payment of six weeks of arrears. Orders were also issued for the appearance at the bar of the House of some of the most refractory superior officers and the arrest of several subalterns; and at the same moment the Common Council of the City of London proved their Presbyterian zeal by ejecting Alderman Pennington and other prominent Independents from the Committee of the City Militia. On the very day of this concurrence of Presbyterian demonstrations (April 27) there was presented to the Commons a "Humble Petition of the Officers in behalf of themselves and the Soldiers," with an accompanying "Vindication" of their recent conduct. Lieutenant-general Thomas Hammond headed the list of Petitioners; next came Colonels Whalley, Lambert, Robert Lilburne, Rich, Hewson, Robert Hammond, and Okey; then Lieutenant-colonels Pride, Kelsay, Reade, Jubbs, Grimes, Ewer, and Salmon; then Majors Rogers, Axtell, Cowell, Smith, Horton, and Desborough; and there followed about 130 captains and inferior officers. Such an Officers' Petition might well have given the Presbyterians pause; but three days afterwards (April 30) there came something more extraordinary. It was a Letter brought to town, and delivered to Skippon and Cromwell for presentation to the House, by three private troopers, professing to be "agents" or "agitators" or "adjutators" for some regiments in the Army. It used very high language indeed. It complained of the "scandalous and false suggestions" current against the Army, spoke darkly of "a plot contrived by some men who had lately tasted of sovereignty," and declared flatly that the soldiers "would neither be employed for the service of Ireland nor suffer themselves to be disbanded till their desires were granted, and the rights and liberties of the subjects should be vindicated and maintained." The amazed House ordered the three troopers who had brought the Letter, and who were waiting outside, to be brought in. They came in, gave their names as Edward Saxby, William Allen, and Thomas Sheppard, and stood stoutly to their business. Holles and his clique were for committing them to prison; but, Skippon certifying that they were honest men, and another member suggesting that, if they were committed at all, it should be "to the best inn of the town, and sack and sugar provided for them," the more good- humoured counsel prevailed, and they were dismissed. Nay, their appearance and their Letter had produced an impression. In Holles's own words, "the House flatted," began to think it had been too peremptory, and resolved that Skippon, Cromwell, Ireton, and Fleetwood, should go at once to Saffron Walden, as mediators between it and the Army. [Footnote: Commons Journals of all the cited dates; Rushworth, VI. 444-475; Whitlocke, II. 121-137; Parl. Hist. III. 560-576; Holles's Memoirs by himself (1699), pp. 88-90.]

Agents, or Agitators, or Adjutators, the three bold troopers had called themselves; and it was the first time the Houses had heard the name. It announced, however, an important reality. The common soldiers had made up their minds that they could not leave the struggle for the Army's rights wholly in the hands of the officers, and that it might assist these officers if they, the rank and file, with the corporals and sergeants, formed an organization among themselves for the same ends. Accordingly, trusty men in each regiment had been chosen to meet and consult with others of other regiments, and the name "Agitators" or "Adjutators" had been given to these deputies. Very soon the organization was so perfect that every troop or company had its two Agitators, every regiment its distinct Agitatorship composed of the Agitators of the several troops or companies, and so by gradation upwards to general meetings of the Agitators of the whole Army and special meetings of Committees for maturing business more privately. Too obvious a connexion between this association and the higher army-officers was inconvenient; but it was useful to have connecting links in officers of the lower ranks; and the Presidency of the Agitators came, at length, to be vested in one such officer. This was James Berry, one of the captains of Fairfax's own horse-regiment, in which Desborough was Major. He had been a clerk in some iron-works in the west of England, and was "of very good natural parts, especially mathematical and mechanical." Before the war he and Richard Baxter had been bosom friends; but, since he had come into the Army and been much in the society of Cromwell, he had become, says Baxter, a man of new lights in religion, regarding the old Puritans of his acquaintance as "dull, self-conceited men of a lower form." During Baxter's two years of army-chaplaincy, Berry had never visited him, nor even seen him, except once or twice accidentally. [Footnote: Rushworth, VI. 485: Holles, 86, 87; Baxter's Autobiography, Part I. 57 and 97.]

Through the greater part of May, Fairfax being then in London, Cromwell, and his fellow-commissioners, Skippon, Ireton, and Fleetwood, remained at Saffron Walden, busy in their work of mediation. Three successive letters to Speaker Lenthall reported the amount of their success. It was next to nothing. They had obtained, they say in the last of the three letters (May 17), a complete statement of the grievances of the Army, in the form of papers which they would bring to town; but meanwhile they found the soldiers so unsettled that they did not think it safe to leave them. Skippon and Ireton, in fact, did remain; but Cromwell and Fleetwood returned to town, May 21, to report to the House in greater detail. Among the documents they brought with them, representing the opinions and demands of the Army, was one which had been prepared with extraordinary care. The various votes relating to the Army having been read to each regiment by its commanding officer, the regimental Agitatorships (apparently now first fully constituted) had reported the opinions and demands of the regiments severally, and these opinions and demands had been digested into one Draft at a conference of the chief officers, on the principle of including only such demands as were made unanimously by all the regiments. Rushworth does not give the document, but describes it as fair and moderate, and tells us in particular that, while it complained of misrepresentations and ill-treatment, and desired reparation, it denounced only one person by name. One is not surprised to learn that this was the Rev. Mr. Edwards. His Gangraena, it was said, had been written expressly to make the Army odious. [Footnote: Letters in Appendix IX. to Carlyle's Cromwell; Commons Journals of May 21; and Rushworth, VI. 485-6.]

Moderate or not, the Army's ultimatum obtained but an unfriendly hearing in the two Houses; and, between the 22nd and the 28th of May, Fairfax having meanwhile returned to the Army, they issued their opposed ultimatum in a sharp series of orders. The entire army of Foot was to be disbanded, willing or unwilling, on the terms fixed: Fairfax's own regiment at Chelmsford on June 1, Hewson's at Bishop's Stortford on June 3, Lambert's at Saffron Walden on June 5, and so on regiment by regiment, each on a named day and at a named place, a Committee of the two Houses to be present at each disbanding, and Skippon also to be present to enlist such of the disbanded men as would go to Ireland. These orders reached Fairfax at Bury St. Edmund's in Suffolk, to which he had removed his head-quarters. They threw the Army into an ungovernable uproar, which subsided in a day or two into an ominous calm. For a great resolution had been taken. The Agitators, at a meeting on Saturday, May 29, had drawn up a petition to Fairfax for a speedy Rendezvous of the whole Army at one place for united action; and a council of officers, to the number of 200, with Ireton among them, had declared themselves on the same day to the same effect. They advised Fairfax to grant the Rendezvous, telling him that, if he did not, the men would hold one themselves and it was sure then to end in tumult. Fairfax had taken the advice; and in the last days of May orders were out for the "contraction of the Army's quarters" by drawing the dispersed regiments closer together, and for a general "Rendezvous" at Kentford Heath, close to Newmarket, on Friday the 4th of June. [Footnote: Parl. Hist. III. 582-588, and Rushworth, VI. 494-500.] Fairfax, with whatever hesitation, had thus thrown in his lot with the Army. Skippon, though he had accepted the Irish Field-Marshalship, almost repented having done so, and was one at heart with his old comrades. Of the other officers only a small minority, whether from Presbyterian predilections or out of mere respect for authority, wavered towards Parliament. The chief of these were Colonels Harley, Herbert, Fortescue, Sheffield, Butler, Sir Robert Pye, and Graves, this last being the Colonel in charge of the King at Holmby. On the other side, round Fairfax, and sustaining him, were Generals Ireton and Hammond, as next in rank; with Whalley, Rich, Okey, Rainsborough, Robert Lilburne, Sir Hardress Waller, Robert Hammond, Lambert, Hewson, Ewer, Kelsay, Ingoldsby, Pride, Axtell, Jubbs, Desborough, and other Colonels, Lieutenant-Colonels, and Majors, among whom is not to be forgotten the enthusiast Harrison, back from Ireland just at the right moment. But what of Fleetwood and Cromwell, left in their places in the House of Commons? Which way they would go nobody could doubt; but the question was whether they might not be seized as hostages by the Presbyterians and detained in London. As far as Fleetwood was concerned, the danger was over on the 2nd of June; on which day he had leave from the House "to go into the country," and went we can imagine whither. For Cromwell the danger was greater. He too, however, had made his arrangements. On the evening of the 3rd of June, or early on the following morning, just in time to avoid the arrest and impeachment which Holles and the Presbyterians were preparing for him, he rode quietly out of London in the direction of the Army. As far as can be ascertained, he had waited purposely to cover Fleetwood's departure, and be himself the last army-man to leave the Commons. [Footnote: Commons Journals, June 2; Whitlocke, May 31; Rushworth, VI. 464-8 and 495; Holles 85, 86; Clar. 611; Godwin, II. 311, 312. Cromwell's so-called "Flight to the Army" is an incident made much of by Royalist and Presbyterian writers, and Clarendon's account of it and what preceded it is a perfect jumble of incompatible dates and confused rumours. What all those writers (Holles, Clement Walker, Clarendon, Baxter, Burnet, &c.) wanted to make out, and really succeeded in transmitting as a fact, was that Cromwell's whole conduct through the dispute between the Army and Parliament, up to the moment of his flight, had been a tissue of the profoundest craft and hypocrisy. He had pushed on the policy of disbandment in the Parliament on the one hand, and on the other he had fomented the mutiny in the Army through the Agitators; to lull suspicion when it was roused, he had at the last moment protested in the House in the presence of Almighty God that he knew the Army would lay down their arms; and not till his flight was the whole depth of his dissimulation known! On these statements, and the disposition of mind that could invent them or believe in them, see Mr. Carlyle's impressive words (Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, I. 220-222). The real facts are to be gathered or inferred from the Commons Journals. Cromwell had been in London through February, March, and April, while the votes for disbandment, &c. were passed, unable to resist those votes, but anxious to prevent a rupture, and doing his best to that end: and not till after his return from his mission of mediation to the Army (May 21), or even till after the Army's resolution for a Rendezvous (May 29), were his hopes of a reconciliation utterly gone.]

The general Rendezvous of the Army was duly held, as appointed, near Newmarket, in Cambridgeshire, on Friday the 4th of June. There were present seven foot-regiments and six regiments of horse—a full representation of the Army, though not the whole. There was the utmost display of resolution. One great general Petition was agreed to; a solemn engagement was drawn up and signed by officers and soldiers; Fairfax rode from regiment to regiment, addressed each, and was received with outcries of applause. The proceedings were not over on the 4th, but protracted themselves into the next day. On that day it was that a strange excitement or suspense, which had been visible in all faces from the very beginning of the Rendezvous, in consequence of news then received, was relieved by the arrival of farther news. "Joyce has done it! Joyce has done it!" were the words that might then have been heard through the assembled Army, caught up and repeated by group after group of talking soldiers over the heath. [Footnote: Rushworth, VI. 504-512.]

Who was Joyce, and what had he done? These questions take us back to the King at Holmby.—His Majesty, watching the course of the struggle between the Parliament and the Army, had at last, on the 12th of May, sent in his long-deferred Answer to the Nineteen Propositions. It was substantially the Draft which he had submitted to the Queen and the Earl of Lanark in the preceding December, but had suppressed (ante, pp. 505-6). He offered the surrender of the Militia for ten years, and assent to Presbytery for three years, but with a reserve of the Liturgy for himself and his household, and the right of adding twenty divines to the Westminster Assembly to assist in the final settlement of the Church- question. The clause about a toleration for tender consciences, inserted in the former Draft as a bait for the Independents, was now totally omitted. In other words, Charles had thought the moment favourable for re-opening negotiations with the Presbyterians. The reception of his Letter by Parliament had been encouraging. It had been read in the Lords, May 18; and it had then been carried in that House by a majority of 15 to 9 that his Majesty should be brought at once from Holmby to some place nearer London, for the convenience of treating with him. Oatlands in Surrey had been named, and the concurrence of the Commons requested. Actually on May 21, the very day when Cromwell and Fleetwood returned to the Commons from their mission to the Army, the matter had been mentioned in that House. Although no decision had been come to, the Independents and the Army had taken alarm. Colonel Graves, commanding the guard at Holmby, was a Presbyterian; some of those everlasting Scottish Commissioners were back in London, in their old quarters at Worcester House; nay, one of them, the Earl of Dunfermline, had obtained leave from the two Houses (May 13) to visit the King at Holmby! What might not be in agitation under this proposal of a removal of the King to Oatlands? What so easy as for the Presbyterians, with Colonel Graves for their agent, to secure the King wholly to themselves, and so, having bargained with him on their own terms, to invite back the Scots and defy the Army? Such had been questions gossiped over in the Army at the very time when for other reasons the resolution was taken for a general Rendezvous. This very danger of some Presbyterian plot for removing the King from Holmby was an additional reason for the Rendezvous and the contraction of the Army's quarters. But the Rendezvous was not enough. Simultaneously with the Rendezvous, and to turn it to full account, something else was necessary. What that was had also been discussed among the Agitators with every precaution of secrecy; select parties of troopers from different regiments had been told off for the enterprise; and a George Joyce, once a tailor, but now cornet in Fairfax's lifeguard, had been appointed to take the lead. [Footnote: Lords and Commons Journals of dates given; and Parl. Hist. III. 577-581, containing the King's Letter.]

As early as Wednesday June 2, or two days before the Rendezvous at Newmarket, there had been a suspicious appearance of parties of horse gathering to a body near Holmby. That night there was no doubt about it; and Colonel Graves, who had reasons for thinking that he was their main object, had just made his escape, when, about one in the morning of June 3, the troopers were in the park and meadows surrounding the house. Before daylight they were within the gates, Graves's men having let them in and at once fraternized with them. The whole of that day was spent by the troopers, Joyce acting as their spokesman, in a parley with the Commissioners in charge of the King—viz.: Lord Montague of Boughton, Sir John Coke, Mr. Crewe, and General Browne—the King meanwhile aware of what was going on, but keeping his privacy. Messengers had been sent off from the Commissioners to London; where, accordingly, on Friday the 4th, there was great excitement in the two Houses. That same morning the news was known in the Army at Newmarket, just before the proceedings of the Rendezvous began, not much to the surprise of some there perhaps, but certainly to the surprise of Fairfax himself. He could not then countermand the Rendezvous; but at once he detached Whalley and his horse-regiment, to gallop to Holmby, take Colonel Graves's place, and see that no harm was done. By that time, however, Joyce had completed his business. Passing from his first topic with the Commissioners, which had been Colonel Graves and his plot, he had insisted on seeing the King; had compelled the Commissioners late at night on the 3rd to introduce him into his Majesty's bedchamber; had there apologized, talked with his Majesty, answered his questions, and distinctly informed him that he had authority from the Army to carry him away from Holmby. The King, amused and interested, as it seemed, rather than displeased, had taken the night to think over the matter; and by six o'clock next morning he had left his chamber, and was again in colloquy with Joyce, who had his troopers all mounted and ready where they could be seen. His Majesty did not seem disinclined to go, but was naturally inquisitive as to the authority by which Joyce acted. Had he a commission from Fairfax? Mr. Joyce could not say he had. Had he any commission at all? "There is my commission, your Majesty," said Joyce at last, pointing to his mounted troopers. "A fair commission and well-written," said the King, smiling: "a company of as handsome, proper gentlemen as ever I saw in my life." In short, as there was no help for it, he supposed he must go. And so, actually, after vain protests and solemn threats by the Commissioners, and especially by General Browne, to all which Joyce listened unmoved, the party did set off at a trot from Holmby, about two o'clock in the afternoon of June 4, with Joyce at their head, and the King in their charge, accompanied by the Commissioners. The Scottish Earl of Dunfermline, who had witnessed much of the affair, had posted off to London, The Rendezvous at Newmarket was then going on. [Footnote: Original accounts of Joyce's conduct at Holmby and abduction of the King are (1) Letters of the Commissioners from Holmby, June 3 and 4, and from Childersley June 8, addressed to Manchester as Speaker of the Lords, and given in the Lords Journals; (2) Fairfax's Letters to Speaker Lenthall, of June 4 and 7, in the Commons Journal giving Fairfax's account of the information he had collected, and of his own proceedings in consequence; (3) A very curious and interesting contemporary account called "An Impartial Narration, &c.," reprinted by Rushworth in five folio pages (VI. 513-517). On reading this paper, one soon finds, from lapses from the third into the first personal pronoun, that the writer is Joyce himself. The narrative, though by a man stiff at the pen and rather elated by the importance of his act, appears perfectly trustworthy, and supplies, many particulars. Clarendon's version of the incident is very loose and inaccurate. He huddles into one day what was really an affair of two, &c.]

Joyce having given the King the option, within a certain extent, of the place to which he would be conveyed, his Majesty himself had suggested Newmarket. Thither, accordingly, they were bound. The evening of the 4th brought them to Huntingdon, where his Majesty rested that night in the mansion-house of Hinchinbrook, once the property of Cromwell's uncle, Sir Oliver, but now of Colonel Edward Montague. Next day (Saturday, June 5) they were again on their march for Newmarket, when they were met, about four miles from Cambridge, by Whalley and his regiment of horse. Joyce, of course, then retired from the management. Whalley, in accordance with his instructions, was willing to convey the King and the Commissioners back to Holmby; but this his Majesty positively declined. Till there should be farther deliberation, therefore, his Majesty was quartered at the nearest convenient house, which chanced to be Sir John Cutts's at Childersley, near Cambridge. Here he remained over Sunday the 6th and Monday the 7th. Meanwhile both in London and at Newmarket the commotion was boundless. The full news had reached the two Houses on Saturday the 5th. Next day, though it was Sunday, they re-assembled for prayer and business; but nothing practical could be thought of; all was panic, passing into a mood of submissiveness to the Army. The only show of anger, even in words, up to the mark of the occasion, was in a paper given in to a Committee of the two Houses by the Scottish Commissioners, with a speech in their name by the Earl of Lauderdale. The Scottish nation had been insulted; its resentment might be expected; it would co- operate at once with the Parliament for "the rescuing and defending his Majesty's person," &c.! It was easier for the Scottish Commissioners to speak in this strain than for the Parliament to take corresponding action. The opportunity was now wholly with the Army. That they would adopt Joyce's deed, and take the full benefit of it, could not be doubted; or, if it could, the procedure of Fairfax at once put an end to the doubt. On Saturday and Sunday he was lifting his Rendezvous from Newmarket; by Monday the 7th he had brought his army bodily round about Cambridge, so as to encircle the King; and on that day he, Cromwell, Treton, and Hammond, with Whalley, Waller, Lambert, and other chief officers, were assembled in interview with the King and the Commissioners at Childersley House. No persuasion could induce his Majesty to go back to Holmby. Much of the conversation turned on Joyce's daring act and his authority for it; and Joyce, having been called in, underwent a long examination and cross-examination on this point. Very little could be got out of him, except that he had had no commission from Fairfax, and yet that he considered his authority perfectly sufficient. Let the question, he said, be put to the Army itself whether they approved of what he had done, and, if three-fourths or four-fifths did not approve with acclamations, he would be hanged with pleasure. The Commissioners thought Joyce deserved hanging in any case; but the King, who had taken a liking for him, told him that, though it was a great treason he had done, he might consider himself pardoned. Joyce having then withdrawn, and the King, having consented to remain with the Army, it was agreed that he should be conveyed to Newmarket next day. [Footnote: Lords and Commons Journals of June 5 and 6; Parl. Hist. III. 591-594; Rushworth, VI. 545- 550, with the previously-mentioned "Impartial Narration" of Joyce. To this day nothing more is positively known of the real origin of the scheme of the King's abduction than Joyce allowed himself to reveal. We have Fairfax's own solemn word "as in the presence of God" that he was utterly ignorant of the transaction till it was over; and in the same Letter (June 7) he "dares be confident" the officers and the body of the Army were equally ignorant. Royalist and Presbyterian writers attribute the act directly to Cromwell. It was planned, says Holles, at a meeting at Cromwell's house in London, May 30; and Clarendon and others lay stress on the fact that the very day of Cromwell's flight from London "was the day of Joyce's appearance at Holmby. The Presbyterian Major Huntingdon, Cromwell's own Major, afterwards distinctly declared, Aug. 1648, that Joyce had his instructions from Cromwell, and that Joyce himself averred this to excuse himself from Fairfax's displeasure (Parl. Hist. III. 967-8). I suspect that, whatever Cromwell and Ireton may have privately sanctioned, the thing was managed among the Agitators; and it does not seem impossible that the original design was to seize Graves at Holmby, quash his supposed plotting there with Lord Dunfermline, and take possession of the King for the Army without removing him. As to the abduction, Joyce may have been left a discretion.]

Before we pass on, with the King, into the third stage of his captivity, we have to report briefly the progress that had been made, during his stay at Holmby, in one or two matters of public concern, not directly involved in the feud between the Parliament and the Army.

In April 1647, there had been a vigorous resumption of the Church- question in the Commons, in consequence of the Report of a Committee on obstructions which had arisen to the Presbyterian settlement. There was great sluggishness all over the country in establishing elderships and classes; returns from counties were deficient; even in London the Provincial Synod had not yet met! To remove these obstructions various orders were passed, the Lords concurring (April 20-29). The most important of these was one for the immediate meeting of the FIRST PROVINCIAL PRESBYTERIAN SYNOD OF LONDON. It met in the Convocation House of St. Paul's, on Monday, May 3, 1647, and consisted of 108 representatives of the London classes or Presbyteries, in the proportion of three ministers and six lay-elders from each. Dr. Gouge, of Blackfriars, was chosen Prolocutor or Moderator of this first Synod, and the term of the Moderatorship and of the Synod itself was to be for half a year, or till November 1647; after which the Second Synod, similarly elected, was to meet, with a new Moderator; and so on, every six months, Synod after Synod, in Presbyterian London for ever. Of the First Synod, under Dr. Gouge, we need only say that they arranged to meet twice a week, and that, with the leave of the Parliament, they transferred their meeting-place from St. Paul's to Sion College. The discussions there may have been a little crippled by the fact that the new Presbyterian Church of England was not yet provided with an authorized Confession of Faith. The text of such a document, as prepared by the Westminster Assembly, had been before the two Houses since Dec. 1646 (ante, p. 512); the Lords on the 16th of February had urged the Commons in almost reproachful terms to quicken their pace in that business; the Commons on the 22nd of April had at length roused themselves so far as to order the Westminster Assembly to send in the Scriptural proofs which they had been preparing according to a previous order; but, though on the 29th of April these proofs were actually received and the Assembly thanked, it was not till the 19th of May that the Commons did begin, Math printed copies of the Confession before them, to examine the work, paragraph by paragraph. On that day and May 28 they considered and passed, without division, and apparently without much debate, the three first chapters of the Confession—viz.: Chap. I. Of the Holy Scriptures (ten paragraphs); Chap. II. Of God and the Holy Trinity (three paragraphs); Chap. III. Of God's Eternal Decrees. The next chapter, entitled Of Creation, was to be proceeded with punctually on Wednesday next, June 2; but, when that day came, Fairfax's orders for the Army Rendezvous were out, Joyce was prowling about Holmby, and the "Creation" had to be postponed. [Footnote: Commons and Lords Journals of the days given (also a curious entry in Commons Journals of April 27); Rushworth, VI. 476; Neal, III. 356-358.]

A matter on which the Parliament had been intent for some time was the purgation and regulation of the University of Oxford. If Parliamentary purgation had been found necessary for Cambridge three years before (ante, pp. 92-96), how much more was this process needed in Oxford, always the more Prelatic University of the two, and recently, as the King's head-quarters through the Civil War, more deep-dyed in Prelacy than ever! Where but in Oxford, amid courtiers and cavaliers, had ex- bishops, Anglican doctors, and other dangerous persons, found house-room for the last few years? Whence but from the colleges at Oxford had come all the Prelatic sermons, pamphlets, and squibs against the Parliament, the Covenant, and Presbytery, including the official Royalist newspaper, the Mercurius Aulicus, edited by Mr. John Birkenhead and a society of his brother-wits? Accordingly, since the surrender of Oxford in June 1646, punishment for the University had been in preparation. For various reasons, however, it had been administered first in a didactic form. Preachers of the right Presbyterian type had been sent down to Oxford by authority in Aug. 1646; and these had been followed by such a rush of volunteer zealots of all varieties that the loyal Oxford historian, Anthony Wood, shuddered to his life's end at the recollection. "Hell was broke loose," he says, "upon the poor remnant" of the scholars, so that most of them "did either leave the University or abscond in their respective houses till they could know their doom." That doom came at length in the form of an Ordinance of the two Houses for the Visitation of the University (May 1, 1647). It empowered twenty-four persons, not members of Parliament, among whom were Sir Nathaniel Brent, William Prynne, and thirteen other lawyers, the rest being divines, to visit Oxford, inquire into abuses and delinquencies, impose the Covenant on Heads of Houses, Fellows, &c., and report the results to a standing Committee of both Houses, consisting of twenty-six Peers and fifty-two of the Commons. Under this Ordinance the Visitors issued a citation to the Heads of Houses and others to meet them in the Convocation House at Oxford on the 4th of June. That was the day of the Army Rendezvous and of the King's abduction; beyond which point we do not go at present. Suffice it to say that there was to be a most strenuous resistance by the Oxonians, headed by their Vice-Chancellor Dr. Fell. [Footnote: Wool's Fasti Oxon. II 100-1 and 106-7; Lords Journals, May 1; Neal, III. 395 et seq.]

THIRD STAGE OF THE CAPTIVITY: THE KING WITH THE ARMY, JUNE-NOV. 1647.

Effects of Joyce's Abduction of the King—Movements of the Army: their Denunciation of Eleven of the Presbyterian Leaders: Parliamentary Alarms and Concessions—Presbyterian Phrenzy of the London Populace: Parliament mobbed, and Presbyterian Votes carried by Mob-law: Flight of the two Speakers and their Adherents: Restoration of the Eleven—March of the Army upon London: Military Occupation of the City: The Mob quelled, Parliament reinstated, and the Eleven expelled—Generous Treatment of the King by the Army: His Conferences with Fairfax, Cromwell, and Ireton—The Army's Heads of Proposals, and Comparison of the same with the Nineteen Propositions of the Parliament—King at Hampton Court, still demurring privately over the Heads of Proposals, but playing them off publicly against the Nineteen Propositions: Army at Putney—Cromwell's Motion for a Recast of the Nineteen Propositions and Re-application to the King on that Basis: Consequences of the Compromise: Intrigues at Hampton Court: Influence of the Scottish Commissioners there: King immoveable—Impatience of the Army at Putney: Cromwell under Suspicion: New Activity of the Agitatorships: Growth of Levelling Doctrines among the Soldiers: Agreement of the People— Cromwell breaks utterly with the King: Meetings of the Army Officers at Putney: Proposed Concordat between the Army and Parliament: The King's Escape to the Isle of Wight,

The effects of Joyce's abduction of the King from Holmby may be summed up by saying that for the next five months the Army and the Independents were in the ascendant, and the Presbyterians depressed. There were to be vibrations of the balance, however, even during this period.

What the Presbyterians dreaded was an immediate march of the Army upon London, to occupy the city and coerce Parliament. With no wish to resort to such a policy so long as it could be avoided, the Army-leaders, for a time, kept moving their head-quarters from spot to spot in the counties north and west of London, now approaching the city and again receding, and paying but slight respect to the injunctions of the Parliament not to bring the Army within a distance of forty miles. On the 10th of June there was a Rendezvous 21,000 strong at Triplow Heath, near Royston; thence, on the 12th, they came to St. Alban's, only twenty miles from London, spreading such alarm in the City by this movement that guards were posted, shops shut, &c.; and they remained at St. Alban's till the 24th, when they withdrew to Berkhampstead. Through this fortnight negotiations had been going on between the Army-leaders and Parliamentary Commissioners who had been sent down expressly; letters had also passed between the Army-leaders and the City; and certain general "Representations" and "Remonstrances" had been sent forth by the Army, penned by Ireton and Lambert, but signed by Rushworth in the name of Fairfax and the whole Council of War. In these it was distinctly repeated that the Army had no desire to overturn or oppose Presbyterian Church- government as it had been established, and only claimed Liberty of Conscience under that government; but there were also clear expressions of the opinion that a dissolution of the existing Parliament and the election of a new one on a more popular system ought to be in contemplation. Nay, till the time should come for a dissolution, one thing was declared essential. In order that the existing Parliament might be brought somewhat into accord with public necessities and interests, and so made endurable, it must be purged of its peccant elements. Not only must Royalist Delinquents who still lurked in it be ejected, but also those conspicuous Presbyterian enemies of the Army who had occasioned all the recent troubles! That there might be no mistake, eleven such members of the House of Commons were named—to wit, Holles, Stapleton, Sir William Lewis, Sir John Clotworthy, Sir William Waller, John Glynn, Esq., Anthony Nichols, Esq. (original members), and Sir John Maynard, Major-general Massey, Colonel Walter Long, and Colonel Edward Harley (Recruiters). This Army denunciation of eleven chiefs of the Commons, dated from St. Alban's June 14, had greatly perplexed the House; but in the course of their debates on it they recovered spirit, and in a vote of June 25 they stood out for Parliamentary privilege. As there had been votes of the two Houses about bringing the King to Richmond for a treaty, and other more secret signs of Presbyterian activity, the Army then again applied the screw. They advanced to Uxbridge, some of the regiments showing themselves even closer to the City (June 26). This had the intended effect. The eleven consented to withdraw from their places in the Commons, for a time at least (June 26); votes favourable to the Army were passed by both Houses (June 26-29); and, though these were mingled with others not quite so satisfactory, the Army had no pretext for a severer pressure. They withdrew, therefore, to Wycombe in Bucks. Here, at a Council of War (July 1), a Commission of ten officers (Cromwell, Ireton, Fleetwood, Lambert, Rainsborough, Sir Hardress Waller, Rich, Robert Hammond, Desborough, and Harrison) was appointed to treat farther with new Commissioners of the Parliament (the Earl of Nottingham, Lord Wharton, Vane, Skippon, &c.). Then surely all seemed in a fair way. [Footnote: Parl. Hist. III. 591-662; Rushworth, VI. 545-597; Godwin, II. 323-354; Carlyle's Cromwell, I. 226-232.]

While Parliament, however, was thus yielding to the Army, the dense Presbyterianism of the City and the district round was more reckless and indignant. Whatever Parliament might do, the great city of London would be true to its colours! Accordingly, in addition to various Petitions already presented to the two Houses from the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council, all of an anti-Army character, a new one in the same sense, but purporting to be simply "for payment of the soldiery and a speedy settlement of the Nation," was presented July 2. A public and responsible body like the Common Council could express itself only in such general terms; but the Presbyterian "young men and apprentices of the City," the number of whom was legion, and whose ranks and combinations could easily be put in motion by the higher powers, were able to speak out boldly. On the 14th of July a Petition, said to be signed by 10,000 such, was presented to both Houses, praying for strict observance of the Covenant, the defence of his Majesty's person and just power and greatness, the disbandment of the Army, the thorough settlement of Presbyterian Government, the suppression of Conventicles, and defiance to the crotchet of Toleration. This audacious document having been received even with politeness by the Lords, and only with cautious reserve by the Commons, the City was stirred through all its Presbyterian depths, made no doubt it could control Parliament, and grew more and more violent to that end. Crowds came daily to Palace Yard and Westminster Hall, signifying their anger at the seclusion of the Presbyterian Eleven, and at all the other concessions made to the Army and the Independents. What roused the City most, however, was the acquiescence of Parliament in a demand of the Army that the Militia of London should be restored to the state in which it had been before the 27th of April last. On that day the Common Council, in whose trust the business was, had placed the direction of the Militia in a Committee wholly Presbyterian, excluding Alderman Pennington and other known Independents; and what was desired by the Army was that Parliament, resuming the power, should bring back the Independents into the Committee. An Ordinance to that effect had no sooner passed the two Houses,—carried in the Commons by a majority of 77 to 46 (July 22), and accepted by the Lords without a division (July 23), —than the City broke out in sheer rebellion. By this time there had been formed in the City and its purlieus a vast popular association, called "A Solemn Engagement of the Citizens, Officers, and Soldiers of the Trained Bands and Auxiliaries, Young Men and Apprentices of the Cities of London and Westminster, Sea-Commanders, Seamen, and Watermen, &c. &c.," all pledged by oath to an upholding of the Covenant and the furthering of a Personal Treaty between King and Parliament, without interference from the Army. A copy of this Engagement, said by Presbyterian authorities to have been signed by nearly 100,000 hands, with an accompanying Petition in the same sense, which had been addressed by the Engagers to the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council, was brought before both Houses on the 24th of July. They declared it insolent and dangerous, and adjudged all who should persevere in it guilty of high treason. That day was Saturday, and the next day's Sabbath stood between the Houses and the wrath they were provoking. But on Monday the 26th they were called to a mighty reckoning. A Petition came in upon them from the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council, praying for a revocation of the Militia Ordinance of the 23rd, and enclosing Petitions to the same effect which the Common Council had received from "divers well-affected Citizens" and from the "Young Men, Citizens and others, Apprentices." That was not all. Another Petition came in, from "the Citizens, Young Men, and Apprentices" themselves, complaining of the "pretended Declaration" of the 24th against their Engagement, and of the seclusion of the Eleven. Even that was not all. While the Petitions were under consideration, the Young Men, Citizens, and Apprentices, with Seamen, Watermen, Trained-Bands, and others, their fellow-Engagers, were round the Houses in thousands in Palace Yard, and swarming in the lobbies, and throwing stones in upon the Lords through the windows, and kicking at the doors of the Commons, and bursting in with their hats on, all to enforce their demands. The riot lasted eight hours. Speaker Lenthall, trying to quit the House, was forced back, and was glad to end the uproar by putting such questions to the vote as the intruders dictated. The unpopular Ordinance of the 23rd and the Declaration of the 24th having thus been revoked under mob- compulsion, the Houses were allowed to adjourn. They met next day, Tuesday the 27th, but only to adjourn farther to Friday the 30th. [Footnote: Parl. Hist. III. 664-723; Lords and Commons Journals; Whitlocke, II. 182-185.]

When the Houses did re-assemble on that day, their appearance was most woe-begone. Neither Manchester, the Speaker of the Lords, was to be found, nor Lenthall, the Speaker of the Commons; there were but eight Lords in the one House; and the benches in the other were unusually thin. Nevertheless they proceeded in all due form. Each House elected a new Speaker—the Peers Lord Willoughby of Parham for the day, and the Commons Henry Pelham, Esq., M.P. for Grantham, in permanence; each took notice of its absentees, and commanded their immediate re-attendance—the Commons also restoring the Eleven, Ly special enumeration, to their places; and each went on for six or seven days, transacting business or trying to transact it. A good deal of the business related to military preparations to make good the position the City had taken. Sir William Waller and General Massey, two of the Eleven, were added to a Committee for consultation with the City Committee of the Militia; this City Committee was empowered to choose a commander-in-chief and other commanders of the London forces; and, when the Committee named Massey for the command-in- chief, and Waller for the command of the Horse, the Houses gave their cordial assent. In short, the two Houses, as they met during this extraordinary week from July 30 to Aug. 5, consisted mainly of a forlorn residue of the most fanatical Presbyterians in each, regarding the riots of the 26th as a popular interposition for right principles, and anxiously considering whether, with such a zealous London round them, and with Massey, Waller, Poyntz, and perhaps Browne, for their generals, they might not be able to face and rout the Army of Fairfax. There may, however, have been some who remained with the residuary Houses on lazier or more subtle principles. The restored Eleven, with Sir Robert Pye, Sir Robert Harley, and a few other typical Presbyterians, certainly led the business of the Commons in this extraordinary week; but among those that remained in that House how are we to account for Selden? [Footnote: Lords and Common Journals, July 30-Aug. 5, 1647.]

The City-tumults, intended as such a brave stroke for Presbytery, had been, in fact, a suicidal blunder. Manchester and Lenthall, the missing Speakers, though themselves Presbyterians, had withdrawn in disgust from the dictation of a London mob of mixed Presbyterian young men and Royalist intriguers, and had been joined by about fourteen Peers, some of them also eminently Presbyterian, and a hundred Commoners, mostly Independents. Deliberating what was to be done, these seceders had resolved to place themselves under the protection of Fairfax, make common cause with him and the Army, and act as a kind of Parliamentary Council to him until they could resume their places in a Parliament free from mob-law. Meanwhile Fairfax, acting for himself, was on the march towards London. On the day of the tumults in London his headquarters had been as far off as Bedford; but, starting thence on the 30th of July, he had reached Colnbrook on Sunday Aug. 1. Next day he came on to Hounslow; and here it was that, at an imposing Review of his Army, horse, foot, and artillery, over 20,000 strong, the seceding Peers and Commoners came in, and were received by the soldiers with acclamations, and cries of "Lords and Commons, and a Free Parliament!" Only ten miles now intervened between the Army and the Common Council of the City of London consulting with their Militia commanders at Guildhall, and somewhat less than that distance between the Army and the presumptuous fragment of the two Houses at Westminster. Both these bodies, but especially the citizens, had begun to come to their senses. The tramp, tramp, of Fairfax's approaching Army had cooled their courage. At Guildhall, indeed, as Whitlocke tells us, whenever a scout brought in the good news that the Army had halted, the people would still cry "One and all;" but the cry would be changed into "Treat, Treat" a moment afterwards, when they heard that the march had been resumed. At Hounslow, therefore, Fairfax received the most submissive messages and deputations, with entreaties to spare the City. His reply, in effect, was that the City need fear no unnecessary harshness from the Army, but that the late "prodigious violence" had brought things into such a crisis that the Army must and would set them right. Nothing more was to be said: the rest was action. On the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 4, a brigade of the Army under Rainsborough, which had been despatched across the Thames to approach London on the south side, was in peaceable possession of the borough of Southwark, and had two cannon planted against the fort on London Bridge till the citizens thought good to yield it up. That day and the next other defences on the Thames, eastwards and westwards, were seized or surrendered. On Friday the 6th, Fairfax with his main Army, all with laurel-leaves in their hats, and conducting the Lords and Commoners in their coaches, marched in from Hammersmith by Kensington to Hyde Park, where the Lord Mayor and Aldermen joined them, and so to Charing Cross, where the Common Council made their obeisances, and thence to Palace Yard, Westminster. There the two Speakers were ceremoniously reinstated, the Houses properly reconstituted, and Fairfax and the Army thanked. Finally, on Saturday the 7th, the grand affair was wound up by another deliberate march of the Army through the main streets of the City itself, all the more impressive to the beholders from the perfect order kept, and the abstinence from every act, word, or gesture, that could give offence. The Tower was made over to Fairfax on the 9th; and his head-quarters for some time continued to be in London or its immediate neighbourhood. [Footnote: Parl. Hist. III. 723-756; Whitlocke, II, 187-193; Godwin, II. 371-387.]

By the Army's march through the City events were brought back so far into the channel of regular Parliamentary debate, but with Independency naturally more powerful than ever. All acts done by the two Houses during the week's Interregnum of riot were voted null; and there were measures of retaliation against those who had been most prominent in that Interregnum. Six of the culpable Eleven—viz. Holles, Stapleton, Sir William Waller, Clotworthy, Lewis, and Long—having fled abroad together, had been chased at sea and overtaken, but let escape; and Stapleton had died at Calais immediately after his landing. Massey had gone to Holland, with Poyntz; but Glynn and Maynard, remaining behind, were expelled the House, impeached, and sent to the Tower (Sept. 7). Seven out of the nine Peers who had formed the Lords' House through the wrong-headed week were similarly impeached and committed—viz. the Earls of Suffolk, Lincoln, and Middlesex, and Lords Willoughby, Hunsdon, Berkeley, and Maynard. The Lord Mayor and four Aldermen were disabled, impeached, and imprisoned (Sept. 24); several officers of the City Trained Bands were called to account; and one result of inquiries respecting culprits of a lower grade was an order by the Commons (Sept. 28 and Oct. 1) for the arrest and indictment for high treason of twelve persons, most of them young men and apprentices, ascertained to have been ringleaders in the dreadful outrage on the two Houses on the 26th of July. As there was a "John Milton, junior" among these young rioters, one would like to have known whether they were found and how they fared. In truth, however, nothing very terrible was intended by such indictments and arrests. As the Army's treatment of the conquered City had been studiously magnanimous, so what was chiefly desired by the leaders now in power was that, by the removal from public sight of persons like the Seven in the one House, the Eleven in the other, and their City abettors, there might be a Parliament and Corporation reasonably in sympathy with the Army. As respected the Parliament, this object had been attained. From the reinstatement of the two Houses by Fairfax, Aug. 6, on through the rest of that month and the months of September and October, what we see at Westminster is a small Upper House of from half-a-dozen to a dozen Peers, most of them moderately Presbyterian, but several of them avowed Independents, co- operating with a Commons' House from which the Presbyterians had withdrawn in large numbers, so that the average voting-attendance ranged from 90 to 190, and the divisions were mainly on new questions arising among the Independents themselves. [Footnote: Lords and Commons Journals of dates given, and generally from Aug. 6 to the beginning of November.— The Peers who formed the Lords' House through this period were the Earl of Manchester (Speaker), the Earls of Northumberland, Pembroke (whose error in remaining in the House through the week of intimidation had been condoned), Kent, Salisbury, Mulgrave, Nottingham, and Denbigh, Viscount Saye and Sele, and Lords Wharton, Grey of Wark, Howard of Escrick, and Delawarr, with occasionally Lords Montague, North, and Herbert of Cherbury. In the Commons I find one division (Sept. 25) when only 41 voted, and another (Nov. 3) when the number rose to 264. At a call of the House, Oct. 9, note was taken of about 240 absentees; and of these 59, whose excuses were not considered sufficient, were fined 20l. each. A good few of these were Independents.]

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19     Next Part
Home - Random Browse