The History of England
By John Lingard
Public Domain Books
Treaty At Uxbridge–Victories Of Montrose In Scotland–Defeat Of The King At Naseby–Surrender Of Bristol–Charles Shut Up Within Oxford–Mission Of Glamorgan To Ireland–He Is Disavowed By Charles, But Concludes A Peace With The Irish–The King Intrigues With The Parliament, The Scots, And The Independents–He Escapes To The Scottish Army–Refuses The Concessions Required–Is Delivered Up By The Scots.
Whenever men spontaneously risk their lives and fortunes in the support of a particular cause, they are wont to set a high value on their services, and generally assume the right of expressing their opinions, and of interfering with their advice. Hence it happened that the dissensions and animosities in the court and army of the unfortunate monarch were scarcely less violent or less dangerous than those which divided the parliamentary leaders. All thought themselves entitled to offices and honours from the gratitude of the sovereign; no appointment could be made which did not deceive the expectations, and excite the murmurs, of numerous competitors; and complaints were everywhere heard, cabals were formed, and the wisest plans were frequently controlled and defeated, by men who thought themselves neglected or aggrieved. When Charles, as one obvious remedy, removed the lord Wilmot from the command of the cavalry, and the lord Percy from that of the ordnance, he found that he had only aggravated the evil; and the dissatisfaction of the army was further increased by the substitution of his nephew Prince Rupert, whose severe and imperious temper had earned him the general hatred, in the place of Ruthen, who, on account of his infirmities, had been advised to retire.
Another source of most acrimonious controversy was furnished by the important question of peace or war, which formed a daily subject of debate in every company, and divided the royalists into contending parties. Some there were (few, indeed, in number, and chiefly those whom the two houses by their votes had excluded from all hopes of pardon) who contended that the king ought never to lay down his arms till victory should enable him to give the law to his enemies; but the rest, wearied out with the fatigues and dangers of war, and alarmed by the present sequestration of their estates, and the ruin which menaced their families, most anxiously longed for the restoration of peace. These, however, split into two parties; one which left the conditions to the wisdom of the monarch; the other which not only advised, but occasionally talked of compelling a reconciliation, on almost any terms, pretending that, if once the king were reseated on his throne, he must quickly recover every prerogative which he might have lost. As for Charles himself, he had already suffered too much by the war, and saw too gloomy a prospect before him, to be indifferent to the subject; but, though he was now prepared to make sacrifices, from which but two years before he would have recoiled with horror, he had still resolved never to subscribe to conditions irreconcilable with his honour and conscience; and in this temper of
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, ii. 482, 513, 554.]
mind he was confirmed by the frequent letters of Henrietta from Paris, who reminded him of the infamy which he would entail on himself, were he, as he was daily advised, to betray to the vengeance of the parliament the Protestant bishops and Catholic royalists, who, trusting to his word, had ventured their all for his interest. He had now assembled hisparliament for the second time; but the attendance of the members was scarce, and the inconvenience greater than the benefit. Motions were made ungrateful to the feelings, and opposed to the real views of the king, who, to free himself from the more obtrusive and importunate of these advisers, sent them
[Footnote 1: This is the inference which I have drawn from a careful perusal of the correspondence between Charles and the queen in his Works, p. 142-150. Some writers have come to a different conclusion: that he was insincere, and under the pretence of seeking peace, was in reality determined to continue the war. That he prepared for the resumption of hostilities is indeed true, but the reason which he gives to the queen is satisfactory, “the improbability that this present treaty should produce a peace, considering the great strange difference (if not contrariety) of grounds that are betwixt the rebels’ propositions and mine, and that I cannot alter mine, nor will they ever theirs, until they be out of the hope to prevail by force” (p. 146). Nor do I see any proof that Charles was governed, as is pretended, by the queen. He certainly took his resolutions without consulting her, and, if she sometimes expressed her opinion respecting them, it was no more than any other woman in a similar situation would have done. “I have nothing to say, but that you have a care of your honour; and that, if you have a peace, it may be such as may hold; and if it fall out otherwise, that you do not abandon those who have served you, for fear they do forsake you in your need. Also I do not see how you can be in safety without a regiment of guard; for myself, I think I cannot be, seeing the malice which they have against me and my religion, of which I hope you will have a care of both. But in my opinion, religion should be the last thing upon which you should treat; for if you do agree upon strictness against the Catholics, it would discourage them to serve you; and if afterwards there should be no peace, you could never expect succours either from Ireland, or any other Catholic prince, for they would believe you would abandon them after you have served yourself” (p. 142, 143).]
into honourable exile, by appointing them[a] to give their attendance on his queen during her residence in France.
In the last summer the first use which he had made of each successive advantage, was to renew[b] the offer of opening a negotiation for peace. It convinced the army of the pacific disposition of their sovereign, and it threw on the parliament, even among their own adherents, the blame of continuing the war. At length,[c] after the third message, the houses gave a tardy and reluctant consent; but it was not before they had received from Scotland the propositions formerly voted as the only basis of a lasting reconciliation, had approved of the amendments suggested by their allies, and had filled up the blanks with the specification of the acts of parliament to be passed, and with the names of the royalists to be excepted from the amnesty. It was plain to every intelligent man in either army that to lay such a foundation of peace was in reality to proclaim perpetual hostilities. But the king, by the advice of his council, consented to make it the subject of a treaty, for two ends; to discover whether it was the resolution of the houses to adhere without any modification to these high pretensions; and to make the experiment, whether it were not possible to gain one of the two factions, the Presbyterians or the Independents, or at least to widen
[Footnote 1: See the letters in Charles’s Works, 142-148. “I may fairly expect to be chidden by thee for having suffered thee to be vexed by them (Wilmot being already there, Percy on his way, and Sussex within a few days of taking his journey), but that I know thou carest not for a little trouble to free me from great inconvenience."–Ibid. 150.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, vii. 53. The very authors of the propositions did not expect that the king would ever submit to them.–Baillie, ii. 8, 43, 73.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. July 4.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Sept. 5.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. Nov. 23.] the breach between them by furnishing new causes of dissension.
At Uxbridge, within the parliamentary quarters, the commissioners from the two parties met each other.[a] Those from the parliament had been commanded to admit of no deviation from the substance of the propositions already voted; to confine themselves to the task of showing that their demands were conformable to reason, and therefore not to be refused; and to insist that the questions of religion, the militia, and Ireland, should each be successively debated during the term of three days, and continued in rotation till twenty days had expired, when, if no agreement were made, the treaty should terminate. They demanded that episcopacy should be abolished, and the Directory be substituted in place of the Book of Common Prayer; that the command of the army and navy should be vested in the two houses, and intrusted by them to certain commissioners of their own appointment; and that the cessation in Ireland should be broken, and hostilities should be immediately renewed. The king’s commissioners replied, that his conscience would not allow him to consent to the proposed change of religious worship, but that he was willing to consent to a law restricting the jurisdiction of the bishops within the narrowest bounds, granting every reasonable indulgence to tender consciences, and raising on the church property the sum of one hundred thousand
[Footnote 1: Charles was now persuaded even to address the two houses by the style of “the Lords and Commons assembled in the parliament of England at Westminster,” instead of “the Lords and Commons of parliament assembled at Westminster,” which he had formerly used.–Journals, vii. 91. He says he would not have done it, if he could have found two in the council to support him.–Works, 144, Evelyn’s Mem. ii. App. 90. This has been alleged, but I see not with what reason, as a proof of his insincerity in the treaty.]
[Sidenote: A.D. 1645. Jan. 30.]
pounds, towards the liquidation of the public debt; that on the subject of the army and navy he was prepared to make considerable concessions, provided the power of the sword were, after a certain period, to revert unimpaired to him and his successors; and that he could not, consistently with his honour, break the Irish treaty, which he had, after mature deliberation, subscribed and ratified. Much of the time was spent in debates respecting the comparative merits of the episcopal and presbyterian forms of church government, and in charges and recriminations as to the real authors of the distress and necessity which had led to the cessation in Ireland. On the twentieth day nothing had been concluded. A proposal to prolong the negotiation was rejected by the two houses, and the commissioners returned to London and Oxford.[a] The royalists had, however, discovered that Vane, St. John, and Prideaux had come to Uxbridge not so much to treat, as to act the part of spies on the conduct of their colleagues; and that there existed an irreconcilable difference of opinion between the two parties, the Presbyterians seeking the restoration of royalty, provided it could be accomplished with perfect safety to themselves, and with the legal establishment of their religious worship, while the Independents sought nothing less than the total downfall of the throne, and the extinction of the privileges of the nobility.
Both parties again appealed to the sword, but with very different prospects before them; on the side of the royalists all was lowering and gloomy, on that of the parliament bright and cheering. The king had
[Footnote 1: See Journals, vii. 163, 166, 169, 174, 181, 195, 211, 231, 239, 242-254; Clarendon, ii. 578-600.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Feb. 22.]
derived but little of that benefit which he expected from the cessation in Ireland. He dared not withdraw the bulk of his army before he had concluded a peace with the insurgents; and they, aware of his difficulties, combined their demands, which he knew not how to grant, with an offer of aid which he was unwilling to refuse. They demanded freedom of religion, the repeal of Poyning’s law, a parliamentary settlement of their estates, and a general amnesty, with this exception, that an inquiry should be instituted into all acts of violence and bloodshed not consistent with the acknowledged usages of war, and that the perpetrators should be punished according to their deserts, without distinction of party or religion. It was the first article which presented the chief difficulty. The Irish urged the precedent of Scotland; they asked no more than had been conceded to the Covenanters; they had certainly as just a claim to the free exercise of that worship, which had been the national worship for ages, as the Scots could have, to the exclusive establishment of a form of religion which had not existed during an entire century. But Charles, in addition to his own scruples, feared to irritate the prejudices of his Protestant subjects. He knew that many of his own adherents would deem such a concession an act of apostasy; and he conjured the Irish deputies not to solicit that which must prove prejudicial to him, and therefore to themselves: let them previously enable him to master their common enemies; let them place him in a condition “to make them happy,” and he assured them on the word of a king, that he would not “disappoint their just expectations." They were not, however, to be satisfied
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, Irish Rebellion, 25.]
with vague promises, which might afterwards be interpreted as it suited the royal convenience; and Charles, to throw the odium of the measure from himself on his Irish counsellors, transferred the negotiation to Dublin, to be continued by the new lord lieutenant, the marquess of Ormond. That nobleman was at first left to his own discretion. He was then authorized to promise the non-execution of the penal laws for the present, and their repeal on the restoration of tranquillity; and, lastly, to stipulate for their immediate repeal, if he could not otherwise subdue the obstinacy, or remove the jealousy of the insurgents. The treaty at Uxbridge had disclosed to the eyes of the monarch the abyss which yawned before him; he saw “that the aim of his adversaries was a total subversion of religion and regal power;” and he commanded Ormond to conclude the peace whatever it might cost, provided it should secure the persons and properties of the Irish Protestants, and the full exercise of the royal authority in the island.
[Footnote 1: Carte’s Ormond, ii. App. xii. xiv. xv. xviii. iii. cccxxxi. He thus states his reasons to the lord lieutenant:–"It being now manifest that the English rebels have, as far as in them lies, given the command of Ireland to the Scots” (they had made Leslie, earl of Leven, commander-in-chief of all the English as well as Scottish forces in Ireland), “that their aim is the total subversion of religion and regal power, and that nothing less will content them, or purchase peace here; I think myself bound in conscience not to let slip the means of settling that kingdom (if it may be) fully under my obedience, nor lose that assistance which I may hope from my Irish subjects, for such scruples as in a less pressing condition might reasonably be stuck at by me.... If the suspension of Poining’s act for such bills as shall be agreed upon between you there, and the present taking away of the penal laws against papists by a law, will do it, I shall not think it a hard bargain, so that freely and vigorously they engage themselves in my assistance against my rebels of England and Scotland, for which no conditions can be too hard, not being against conscience or honour."–Charles’s Works, 149, 150.]
In Scotland an unexpected but transient diversion had been made in favour of the royal cause. The earls, afterwards marquesses, of Antrim and Montrose had met in the court at Oxford. In abilities Montrose was inferior to few, in ambition to none. The reader is aware that he had originally fought in the ranks of the Covenanters, but afterwards transferred his services to Charles, and narrowly escaped the vengeance of his enemies. Now, that he was again at liberty, he aspired to the glory of restoring the ascendancy of the royal cause in Scotland. At first all his plans were defeated by the jealousy or wisdom of Hamilton; but Hamilton gradually sunk, whilst his rival rose in the esteem of the sovereign. Antrim, his associate, was weak and capricious, but proud of his imaginary consequence, and eager to engage in undertakings to which neither his means nor his talents were equal. He had failed in his original attempt to surprise the castle of Dublin; and had twice fallen into the hands of the Scots in Ulster, and twice made his escape; still his loyalty or presumption was unsubdued, and he had come to Oxford to make a third tender of his services.
[Footnote 1: When Hamilton arrived at Oxford, Dec. 16, 1643, several charges were brought against him by the Scottish royalists, which with his answers may be seen in Burnet, Memoirs, 250-269. Charles pronounced no opinion; but his suspicions were greatly excited by the deception practised by Hamilton on the lords of the royal party at the convention, and his concealment from them of the king’s real intentions. On this account Hamilton was arrested, and conveyed to Pendennis Castle, in Cornwall, where he remained a prisoner till the place was taken by the parliamentary forces. Hamilton’s brother Lanark was also forbidden to appear at court; and, having received advice that he would be sent to the castle of Ludlow, made his escape from Oxford to his countrymen in London, and thence returned to Edinburgh. His offence was, that he, as secretary, had affixed the royal signet to the proclamation of August 24, calling on all Scotsmen to arm in support of the new league and covenant.–See p. 36.]
Both Antrim and Montrose professed themselves the personal enemies of the earl of Argyle, appointed by the Scottish estates lieutenant of the kingdom; and they speedily arranged a plan, which possessed the double merit of combining the interest of the king with the gratification of private revenge. Having obtained the royal commission, Antrim proceeded to Ulster, raised eleven or fifteen hundred men among his dependants, and despatched them to the opposite coast of Scotland under the command of his kinsman Alaster Macdonald, surnamed Colkitto. They landed at Knoydart: the destruction of their ships in Loch Eishord, by a hostile fleet, deprived them of the means of returning to Ireland; and Argyle with a superior force cautiously watched their motions.[a] From the Scottish royalists they received no aid; yet Macdonald marched as far as Badenoch, inflicting severe injuries on the Covenanters, but exposed to destruction from the increasing multitude of his foes. In the mean time, Montrose, with the rank of lieutenant-general, had unfurled the royal standard at Dumfries;[b] but with so little success, that he hastily retraced his steps to Carlisle, where by several daring actions he rendered such services to the royal cause, that he received the title of marquess from the gratitude of the king. But the fatal battle of Marston Moor induced him to turn his thoughts once more towards Scotland;[c] and having ordered his followers to proceed to Oxford, on
[Footnote 1: He was authorized to treat with the confederate Catholics for ten thousand men; if their demands were too high, to raise as many men as he could and send them to the king; to procure the loan of two thousand men to be landed in Scotland; and to offer Monroe, the Scottish commander, the rank of earl and a pension of two thousand pounds per annum, if with his army he would join the royalists. Jan. 20, 1644.–Clarendon Papers, ii. 165.]
[Footnote 2: MacColl Keitache, son of Coll, the left-handed.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. July 8.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. April 13.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. May 6.]
the third day he silently withdrew with only two companions, and soon afterwards reached in the disguise of a groom the foot of the Grampian Hills. There he received intelligence of the proceedings of Macdonald, and appointed to join him in Athole.[a] At the castle of Blair, which had surrendered to the strangers, the two chieftains met: Montrose assumed the command, published the royal commission, and called on the neighbouring clans to join the standard of their sovereign. The Scots, who had scorned to serve under a foreigner, cheerfully obeyed, and to the astonishment of the Covenanters an army appeared to rise out of the earth in a quarter the most remote from danger; but it was an army better adapted to the purpose of predatory invasion than of permanent warfare. Occasionally it swelled to the amount of several thousands: as often it dwindled to the original band of Irishmen under Macdonald. These, having no other resource than their courage, faithfully clung to their gallant commander in all the vicissitudes of his fortune; the Highlanders, that they might secure their plunder, frequently left him to flee before the superior multitude of his foes.
The first who dared to meet the royalists in the field, was the lord Elcho, whose defeat at Tippermuir gave to the victors the town of Perth, with a plentiful supply of military stores and provisions.[b] From Perth they marched towards Aberdeen; the Lord Burley with his army fled at the first charge; and the pursuers entered the gates with the fugitives.[c] The sack of the town lasted three days: by the fourth many of the Highlanders had disappeared with the spoil; and Argyle approached with a superior force.[d] Montrose, to avoid the enemy, led his followers into Banff, proceeded
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. August 1.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Sept. 1.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1644. Sept. 12.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1644. Sept. 19.]
along the right bank of the Spey, crossed the mountains of Badenoch, passed through Athole into Angus, and after a circuitous march of some hundred miles, reached and took the castle of Fyvie. There he was overtaken by the Covenanters, whom he had so long baffled by the rapidity and perplexity of his movements.[a] But every attempt to force his position on the summit of a hill was repelled; and on the retirement of the enemy, he announced to his followers his intention of seeking a safer asylum in the Highlands. Winter had already set in with severity; and his Lowland associates shrunk from the dreary prospect before them; but Montrose himself, accompanied by his more faithful adherents, gained without opposition the braes of Athole.
To Argyle the disappearance of the royalists was a subject of joy. Disbanding the army, he repaired, after a short visit to Edinburgh, to his castle of Inverary, where he reposed in security, aware, indeed, of the hostile projects of Montrose, but trusting to the wide barrier of snows and mountains which separated him from his enemy. But the royal leader penetrated through this Alpine wilderness,[b] compelled Argyle to save himself in an open boat on Loch Tyne, and during six weeks wreaked his revenge on the domains and the clansmen of the fugitive. At the approach of Argyle with eleven hundred regular troops, he retired; but suddenly turning to the left, crossed the mountains, and issuing from Glennevis, surprised his pursuers at Inverlochy in Lochabar.[c] From his galley in the Frith Argyle beheld the assault of the enemy, the shock of the combatants, and the slaughter of at least one half of his whole force.[d] This victory placed the north of Scotland at the mercy of the conquerors.
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Oct. 28.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1644. Dec. 13.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645. Jan. 28.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1645. Feb. 2.]
From Inverlochy they marched to Elgin, and from Elgin to Aberdeen, ravaging, as they passed, the lands, and burning the houses of the Covenanters. But at Brechin, Baillie opposed their progress with a[a] numerous and regular force. Montrose turned in the direction of Dunkeld; Baillie marched to Perth. The former surprised the opulent town of Dundee; the latter arrived in time to expel the plunderers. But[b] he pursued in vain. They regained the Grampian hills, where in security they once more bade defiance to the whole power of the enemy. Such was the short and eventful campaign of Montrose. His victories, exaggerated by report, and embellished by the fancy of the hearers, cast a faint and deceitful lustre over the declining cause of royalty. But they rendered no other service. His passage was that of a meteor, scorching every thing in its course. Wherever he appeared, he inflicted the severest injuries; but he made no permanent conquest; he taught the Covenanters to tremble at his name, but he did nothing to arrest that ruin which menaced the throne and its adherents.
England, however, was the real arena on which the conflict was to be decided, and in England the king soon found himself unable to cope with his enemies. He still possessed about one-third of the kingdom. From Oxford he extended his sway almost without interruption to the extremity of Cornwall: North and South Wales, with the exception of the castles of Pembroke and Montgomery, acknowledged his authority; and the royal standard was still unfurled in several
[Footnote 1: See Rushworth, v. 928-932; vi. 228; Guthrie, 162-183; Baillie, ii. 64, 65, 92-95; Clarendon, ii. 606, 618; Wishart, 67, 110; Journals, vii. 566; Spalding, ii. 237.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. March 25.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. April 4.]
towns in the midland comities. But his army, under the nominal command of the prince of Wales, and the real command of Prince Rupert, was frittered away in a multitude of petty garrisons, and languished in a state of the most alarming insubordination. The generals, divided into factions, presumed to disobey the royal orders, and refused to serve under an adversary or a rival; the officers indulged in every kind of debauchery; the privates lived at free quarters; and the royal forces made themselves more terrible to their friends by their licentiousness than to their enemies by their valour. Their excesses provoked new associations in the counties of Wilts, Dorset, Devon, Somerset, and Worcester, known by the denomination of Clubmen, whose primary object was the protection of private property, and the infliction of summary vengeance on the depredators belonging to either army. These associations were encouraged and organized by the neighbouring gentlemen; arms of every description were collected for their use; and they were known to assemble in numbers of four, six, and even ten thousand men. Confidence in their own strength, and the suggestions of their leaders, taught them to extend their views; they invited the adjoining counties to follow their example, and talked of putting an end by force to the unnatural war which depopulated the country. But though they professed to observe the strictest neutrality between the contending parties, their meetings excited a well-founded jealousy
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, vi. 18-22.]
[Footnote 2: Clarendon, ii. 604, 633, 636, 642, 661, 668. “Good men are so scandalized at the horrid impiety of our armies, that they will not believe that God can bless any cause in such hands."–Lord Culpeper to Lord Digby. Clarendon Papers, ii. 189. Carte’s Ormond, iii. 396, 399.]
on the part of the parliamentary leaders; who, the moment it could be done without danger, pronounced such associations illegal, and ordered them to be suppressed by military force.
On the other side, the army of the parliament had been reformed according to the ordinance. The members of both houses had resigned their commissions, with the exception of a single individual, the very man with whom the measure had originated,–Lieutenant-General Cromwell. This by some writers has been alleged as a proof of the consummate art of that adventurer, who sought to remove out of his way the men that stood between him and the object of his ambition; but the truth is, that his continuation in the command was effected by a succession of events which he could not possibly have foreseen. He had been sent with Waller to oppose the progress of the royalists in the west; on his return he was ordered to prevent the junction of the royal cavalry with the forces under the king; and he then received a commission to protect the associated counties from insult.
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, ii. 665. Whitelock, March, 4, 11, 15. Rushw. vi. 52, 53, 61, 62. But the best account of the Clubmen is to be found in a letter from Fairfax to the committee of both kingdoms, preserved in the Journals of the Lords, vii. 184. They wore white ribbons for a distinction, prevented, as much as they were able, all hostilities between the soldiers of the opposite parties, and drew up two petitions in the same words, one to be presented to the king, the other to the parliament, praying them to conclude a peace, and in the meantime to withdraw their respective garrisons out of the country, and pledging themselves to keep possession of the several forts and castles, and not to surrender them without a joint commission from both king and parliament. Fairfax observes, that “their heads had either been in actual service in the king’s army, or were known favourers of the party. In these two counties, Wilts and Dorset, they are abundantly more affected to the enemy than to the parliament. I know not what they may attempt."–Ibid. At length the two houses declared all persons associating in arms without authority, traitors to the commonwealth.–Journals, vii. 549.]
While he was employed in this service, the term appointed by the ordinance approached; but Fairfax expressed his unwillingness to part with so experienced an officer at such a crisis, and the two houses consented that he should remain forty days longer with the army. Before they expired, the great battle of Naseby had been fought: in consequence of the victory the ordinance was suspended three months in his favour; and afterwards the same indulgence was reiterated as often as it became necessary.
It was evident that the army had lost nothing by the exclusion of members of parliament and the change in its organization. The commanders were selected from those who had already distinguished themselves by the splendour of their services and their devotion to the cause; the new regiments were formed of privates, who had served under Essex, Manchester, and Waller, and care was taken that the majority of both should consist of that class of religionists denominated Independents. These men were animated with an enthusiasm of which at the present day we cannot form an adequate conception. They divided their time between military duties and prayer; they sang psalms as they advanced to the charge; they called on the name of the Lord, while they were slaying their enemies. The result showed that fanaticism furnished a more powerful stimulus than loyalty; the soldiers of God proved more than a match for the soldiers of the monarch.
[Footnote 1: Journals, Feb. 27, May 10, June 16, Aug. 8. Lords’ Journ. vii. 420, 535.]
[Footnote 2: Essex, Manchester, and Denbigh reluctantly tendered their resignations the day before the ordinance passed. The first died in the course of the next year (Sept. 14); and the houses, to express their respect for his memory, attended the funeral, and defrayed the expense out of the public purse.–Lords’ Journals, viii. 508, 533.]
Charles was the first to take the field. He marched from Oxford at the head of ten thousand men, of whom more than one-half were cavalry; the siege of Chester[a] was raised at the sole report of his approach; and Leicester, an important post in possession of the parliament,[b] was taken by storm on the first assault. Fairfax[c] had appeared with his army before Oxford, where he expected to be admitted by a party within the walls; but the intrigue failed, and he received orders to proceed[d] in search of the king. On the evening of the[e] seventh day his van overtook the rear of the royalists between Daventry and Harborough. Fairfax and his officers hailed with joy the prospect of a battle. They longed to refute the bitter taunts and sinister predictions of their opponents in the two houses; to prove that want of experience might be supplied by the union of zeal and talent; and to establish, by a victory over the king, the superiority of the Independent over the Presbyterian party. Charles, on the contrary, had sufficient reason to decline an engagement. His numbers had been diminished by the necessity of leaving a strong garrison in Leicester, and several reinforcements were still on their march to join the royal standard. But in the presence of the Roundheads the Cavaliers never listened to the suggestions of prudence. Early[f] in the morning the royal army formed in line about a mile south of Harborough. Till eight they awaited with patience the expected charge of the enemy; but
[Footnote 1: Lords’ Journals, vii. 429, 431.]
[Footnote 2: So little did Charles anticipate the approach of the enemy, that On the 12th he amused himself with hunting, and on the 13th at supper time wrote to secretary Nicholas that he should march the next morning, and proceed through Landabay and Melton to Belvoir, but no further. Before midnight he had resolved to fight.–See his letter in Evelyn’s Memoirs, ii. App. 97.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. May 7.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. May 15.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645. May 31.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1645. June 6.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1645. June 13.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1645. June 14.]
Fairfax refused to move from his strong position near Naseby, and the king, yielding to the importunity of his officers, gave the word to advance. Prince Rupert commanded on the right. The enemy fled before him; six pieces of cannon were taken, and Ireton, the general of the parliamentary horse, was wounded, and for some time a prisoner in the hands of the victors. But the lessons of experience had been thrown away upon Rupert. He urged the pursuit with his characteristic impetuosity, and, as at Marston Moor, by wandering from the field suffered the victory to be won by the masterly conduct of Oliver Cromwell.
That commander found himself opposed to a weak body of cavalry under Sir Marmaduke Langdale. By both the fight was maintained with obstinate valour; but superiority of numbers enabled the former to press on the flanks of the royalists, who began to waver, and at last turned their backs and fled. Cromwell prudently checked the pursuit, and leaving three squadrons to watch the fugitives, directed the remainder of his force against the rear of the royal infantry. That body of men, only three thousand five hundred in number, had hitherto fought with the most heroic valour, and had driven the enemy’s line, with the exception of one regiment, back on the reserve; but this unexpected charge broke their spirit; they threw down their arms and asked for quarter. Charles, who had witnessed their efforts and their danger, made every exertion to support them; he collected several
[Footnote 1: Ireton was of an ancient family in Nottinghamshire, and bred to the law. He raised a troop of horse for the parliament at the beginning of the war, and accepted a captain’s commission in the new-modelled army. At the request of the officers, Cromwell had been lately appointed general of the horse, and, at Cromwell’s request, Ireton was made commissary-general under him.–Journals, vii. 421. Rushworth, vi. 42.]
bodies of horse; he put himself at their head; he called on them to follow him; he assured them that one more effort would secure the victory. But the appeal was made in vain. Instead of attending to his prayers and commands, they fled, and forced him to accompany them. The pursuit was continued with great slaughter almost to the walls of Leicester; and one hundred females, some of them ladies of distinguished rank, were put to the sword under the pretence that they were Irish Catholics. In this fatal battle, fought near the village of Naseby, the king lost more than three thousand men, nine thousand stand of arms, his park of artillery, the baggage of the army, and with it his own cabinet, containing private papers of the first importance. Out of these the parliament made a collection, which was published, with remarks, to prove to the nation the falsehoods of Charles, and the justice of the war.
[Footnote 1: For this battle see Clarendon, ii. 655; Rushworth, vi. 42; and the Journals, vii. 433-436. May asserts that not more than three hundred men were killed on the part of the king, and only one hundred on that of the parliament. The prisoners amounted to five thousand.–May, 77. The publication of the king’s papers has been severely censured by his friends, and as warmly defended by the advocates of the parliament. If their contents were of a nature to justify the conduct of the latter, I see not on what ground it could be expected that they should be suppressed. The only complaint which can reasonably be made, and which seems founded in fact, is that the selection of the papers for the press was made unfairly. The contents of the cabinet were several days in possession of the officers, and then submitted to the examination of a committee of the lower house; by whose advice certain papers were selected and sent to the Lords, with a suggestion that they should be communicated to the citizens in a common hall. But the Lords required to see the remainder; twenty-two additional papers were accordingly produced; but it was at the same time acknowledged that others were still kept back, because they had not yet been deciphered. By an order of the Commons the papers were afterwards printed with a preface contrasting certain passages in them with the king’s former protestations.–Journals, June 23, 26, 30, July 3, 7; Lords’, vii. 467, 469. Charles himself acknowledges that the publication, as far as it went, was genuine (Evelyn’s Memoirs, App. 101); but he also maintains that other papers, which would have served to explain doubtful passages, had been purposely suppressed.–Clarendon Papers, ii. 187. See Baillie, ii. 136.]
After this disastrous battle, the campaign presented little more than the last and feeble struggles of an expiring party. Among the royalists hardly a man could be found who did not pronounce the cause to be desperate; and, if any made a show of resistance, it was more through the hope of procuring conditions for themselves, than of benefiting the interests of their sovereign. Charles himself bore his misfortunes with an air of magnanimity, which was characterized as obstinacy by the desponding minds of his followers. As a statesman he acknowledged the hopelessness of his cause; as a Christian he professed to believe that God would never allow rebellion to prosper; but, let whatever happen, he at least would act as honour and conscience called on him to act; his name should not descend to posterity as the name of a king who had abandoned the cause of God, injured the rights of his successors, and sacrificed the interests of his faithful and devoted adherents. From Leicester he retreated[a] to Hereford; from Hereford to Ragland Castle, the seat of the loyal marquess of Worcester; and thence to Cardiff, that he might more readily communicate with Prince Rupert at Bristol. Each day brought him a repetition of the most melancholy intelligence. Leicester had surrendered almost at the[b] first summons; the forces under Goring, the only body of royalists deserving the name of an army, were defeated by Fairfax at Lamport; Bridgewater, hitherto[c] deemed an impregnable fortress, capitulated after a[d]
[Transcriber’s Note: No footnote 1 in the text]
[Footnote 1: Rushworth vi. 132. Clarendon, ii. 630.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645 July 3.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645 June 17.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645 July 10.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1645 July 23.]
short siege; a chain of posts extending from that town to Lime, on the southern coast, cut off Devonshire and Cornwall, his principal resources, from all communication with the rest of the kingdom; and, what was still worse, the dissensions which raged among his officers and partisans in those counties could not be appeased either by the necessity of providing for the common safety, or by the presence and authority of the prince of Wales. To add to his embarrassments, his three[a] fortresses in the north, Carlisle, Pontefract, and Scarborough,[b] which for eighteen months had defied all the efforts of the enemy, had now fallen, the first into the[c] hands of the Scots, the other two into those of the parliament. Under this accumulation of misfortunes many of his friends, and among them Rupert himself, hitherto the declared advocate of war, importuned him to yield to necessity, and to accept the conditions offered by the parliament. He replied that they viewed[d] the question with the eyes of mere soldiers and statesmen; but he was a king, and had duties to perform, from which no change of circumstances, no human power could absolve him,–to preserve the church, protect his friends, and transmit to his successors the lawful rights of the crown. God was bound to support his own cause: he might for a time permit rebels and traitors to prosper, but he would ultimately humble them before the throne of their sovereign. Under
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, ii. 663, et seq. Rushw. vi. 50, 55, 57. Carte’s Ormond, iii. 423.]
[Footnote 2: Clarendon, ii. 679. Lords’ Journals, vii. 667. Only three days before his arrival at Oxford, he wrote (August 25) a letter to secretary Nicholas, with an order to publish its contents, that it was his fixed determination, by the grace of God, never, in any possible circumstances, to yield up the government of the church to papists, Presbyterians, or Independents, nor to injure his successors by lessening the ecclesiastical or military power bequeathed to him by his predecessors, nor to forsake the defence of his friends, who had risked their lives and fortunes in his quarrel.–Evelyn’s Memoirs, ii. App. 104.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. June 28.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. July 21.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645. July 25.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1645. July 31.]
this persuasion, he pictured to himself the wonderful things to be achieved by the gallantry of Montrose in Scotland, and looked forward with daily impatience to the arrival of an imaginary army of twenty thousand men from Ireland. But from such dreams he was soon awakened by the rapid increase of disaffection in the population around him, and by the rumoured advance of the Scots to besiege the city of Hereford. From Cardiff he hastily crossed the kingdom to Newark. Learning that the Scottish cavalry were in pursuit, he[a] left Newark, burst into the associated counties, ravaged the lands of his enemies, took the town of Huntingdon,[b] and at last reached in safety his court at Oxford.[c] It was not that in this expedition he had in view any particular object. His utmost ambition was, by wandering from place to place, to preserve himself from falling into the hands of his enemies before the winter. In that season the severity of the weather would afford him sufficient protection, and he doubted not, that against the spring the victories of Montrose, the pacification of Ireland, and the compassion of his foreign allies, would enable him to resume hostilities with a powerful army, and with more flattering prospects of success.
At Oxford Charles heard of the victory gained at Kilsyth, in the neighbourhood of Stirling, by Montrose, who, if he had been compelled to retreat from Dundee, was still able to maintain the superiority in the Highlands. The first who ventured to measure[d] swords with the Scottish hero was the veteran general
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, ii. 677. Rushw. vi. 131. Carte’s Ormond, iii. 415, 416, 418, 420, 423, 427. Baillie, ii, 152.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. August 21.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. August 24.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645. August 28.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1645. May 5.]
Hurry: but the assailant fled from the conflict at Auldearn, and saved himself, with the small remnant of his force, within the walls of Inverness. To Hurry[a] succeeded with similar fortune Baillie, the commander-in-chief. The battle was fought at Alford, in the shire of Aberdeen; and few, besides the principal officers and the cavalry, escaped from the slaughter. A new army of ten thousand men was collected: four days were spent in fasting and prayer; and the host of God marched to trample under foot the host of the king. But the experience of their leader was controlled by the presumption of the committee of estates; and he, in submission to their orders, marshalled his men in a position near Kilsyth: his cavalry was broken by the[b] royalists at the first charge; the infantry fled without a blow, and about five thousand of the fugitives are said to have perished in the pursuit, which was continued for fourteen or twenty miles. This victory placed the Lowlands at the mercy of the conqueror. Glasgow and the neighbouring shires solicited his clemency; the citizens of Edinburgh sent to him the prisoners who had been condemned for their adherence to the royal cause; and many of the nobility, hastening to his standard, accepted commissions to raise forces in the name of the sovereign. At this news the[c] Scottish cavalry, which, in accordance with the treaty of “brotherly assistance,” had already advanced to Nottingham, marched back to the Tweed to protect their own country; and the king on the third day left Oxford with five thousand men, to drive the infantry
[Footnote 1: It was probably on account of the heat of the season that Montrose ordered his men to throw aside their plaids–vestes molestiores–and fight in their shirts; an order which has given occasion to several fanciful conjectures and exaggerations;–See Carte, iv. 538.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. July 2.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. August 15.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645. August 26.]
from the siege of Hereford. They did not wait his arrival, and he entered the city amidst the joyful acclamations of the inhabitants.
But Charles was not long suffered to enjoy his[a] triumph. Full of confidence, he had marched from Hereford to the relief of Bristol; but at Ragland Castle learned that it was already in possession of the enemy. This unexpected stroke quite unnerved him. That a prince of his family, an officer whose reputation for courage and fidelity was unblemished, should surrender in the third week of the siege an important city, which he had promised to maintain for four months, appeared to him incredible. His mind was agitated with suspicion and jealousy. He knew not whether to attribute the conduct of his nephew to cowardice, or despondency, or disaffection; but he foresaw and lamented its baneful influence on the small remnant of his followers. In the anguish of his mind[b] he revoked the commission of the prince, and commanded him to quit the kingdom; he instructed the council to watch his conduct, and on the first sign of disobedience to take him into custody; and he ordered the arrest of his friend Colonel Legge, and appointed Sir Thomas Glenham to succeed Legge, as governor of Oxford. “Tell my sone,” he says in a letter to Nicholas, “that I shall lesse grieeve to hear that he is knoked in the head, than that he should doe so meane an act as is the rendering of Bristoll castell and fort upon the termes it was."
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, vi. 230. May. Guthrie, 194. Baillie, ii. 156, 157, 273. This defeat perplexed the theology of that learned man. I confess I am amazed, and cannot see to my mind’s satisfaction, the reasons of the Lord’s dealing with that land.... What means the Lord, so far against the expectation of the most clear-sighted, to humble us so low, and by his own immediate hand, I confess I know not."–Ibid.]
[Footnote 2: Clarendon, ii. 693. Rushworth, vi. 66-82. Journals, vi. 584. Ellis, iii. 311. Evelyn’s Memoirs, ii. App, 108. The suspicion of Legge’s fidelity was infused into the royal mind by Digby. Charles wished him to be secured, but refused to believe him guilty without better proof.–Ibid, 111.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Sept. 10.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. Sept. 14.]
Whilst the king thus mourned over the loss of Bristol, he received still more disastrous intelligence from Scotland. The victory of Kilsyth had dissolved the royal army. The Gordons with their followers had returned to their homes; Colkitto. had led back the Highlanders to their mountains; and with the remnants not more than six hundred repaired to the borders to await the arrival of an English force which had been promised, but not provided, by Charles. In the mean while David Leslie had been detached with four thousand cavalry from the Scottish army in England. He crossed the Tweed,[a] proceeded northward, as if he meant to interpose himself between the enemy and the Highlands; and then returned suddenly to surprise them in their encampment at Philiphaugh. Montrose spent the night at Selkirk in preparing despatches for the king; Leslie, who was concealed at no great distance, crossing the Etrick at dawn, under cover of a dense fog, charged[b] unexpectedly into the camp of the royalists, who lay in heedless security on the Haugh. Their leader, with his guard of horse, flew to their succour; but, after a chivalrous but fruitless effort was compelled to retire and abandon them to their fate. The greater part had formed themselves into a compact body, and kept the enemy at bay till their offer of surrender upon terms had been accepted. But then the ministers loudly demanded their lives; they pronounced the capitulation sinful, and therefore void; and had the satisfaction to behold the whole body of captives massacred in
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Sept. 6.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. Sept. 13.]
cold blood, not the men only, but also every woman and child found upon the Haugh. Nor was this sacrifice sufficient. Forty females, who had made their escape, and had been secured by the country people, were a few days later delivered up to the victors, who, in obedience to the decision of the kirk, put them to death by throwing them from the bridge near Linlithgow into the river Avon. Afterwards the Scottish parliament approved of their barbarities, on the pretence that the victims were papists from Ireland; and passed an ordinance that the “Irische prisoners taken at and after Philiphaughe, in all the prisons in the kingdom, should be execut without any assaye or processes conform to the treatey betwixt both kingdoms." Of the noblemen and gentlemen who fled with Montrose, many were also taken; and of these few escaped the hands of the executioner: Montrose himself threaded back his way to the Highlands, where he once more raised the royal standard, and, with a small force and diminished reputation, continued to bid defiance to his enemies. At length, in obedience to repeated messages from the king, he dismissed his followers, and reluctantly withdrew to the continent. With the defeat of Montrose at Philiphaugh vanished those brilliant hopes with which the king had consoled himself for his former losses; but the activity of his enemies allowed him no leisure to indulge his grief; they had already formed a lodgment within the
[Footnote 1: Balfour, iii. 341. Thurloe, i. 72. The next year the garrison of Dunavertie, three hundred men, surrendered to David Leslie “at the kingdom’s mercie.” “They put to the sword,” says Turner, “everie mother’s sonne except one young man, Machoul, whose life I begged."–Turner’s Memoirs, 46, also 48.]
[Footnote 2: Rush. vi. 237. Guthrie, 301. Journals, vi. 584. Wishart, 203. Baillie, ii. 164.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Dec. 23.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. Sept. 3.]
suburbs of Chester, and threatened to deprive him of that, the only port by which he could maintain a communication with Ireland. He hastened to its relief, and was followed at the distance of a day’s journey by Pointz, a parliamentary officer. It was the king’s intention[a] that two attacks, one from the city, the other from the country, should be simultaneously made on the camp of the besiegers; and with this view he left the greater part of the royal cavalry at Boutenheath, under Sir Marmaduke Langdale, while he entered Chester himself with the remainder in the dusk of the evening. It chanced that Pointz meditated a similar attempt with the aid of the besiegers, on the force under Langdale; and the singular position of the armies marked the following day with the most singular vicissitudes of fortune. Early in the morning[b] the royalists repelled the troops under Pointz; but a detachment from the camp restored the battle, and forced them to retire under the walls of the city. Here, with the help of the king’s guards, they recovered the ascendancy, but suffered themselves in the pursuit to be entangled among lanes and hedges lined with infantry, by whom they were thrown into irremediable disorder. Six hundred troopers fell in the action, more than a thousand obtained quarter, and the rest were scattered in every direction. The next night Charles repaired to Denbigh, collected the fugitives around him, and, skilfully avoiding Pointz, hastened[c] to Bridgenorth, where he was met by his nephew Maurice from the garrison of Worcester.
The only confidential counsellor who attended the king in this expedition was Lord Digby. That nobleman,
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, ii. 712. Thurloe, i. 3. Rush. vi. 117. Journals, vi. 608.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Sept. 23.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. Sept. 23.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645. Sept. 30.]
unfortunately for the interests of his sovereign, had incurred the hatred of his party: of some, on account of his enmity to prince Rupert; of the general officers, because he was supposed to sway the royal mind, even in military matters; and of all who desired peace, because to his advice was attributed the obstinacy of Charles in continuing the war. It was the common opinion that the king ought to fix his winter quarters at Worcester; but Digby, unwilling to be shut up during four months in a city of which the brother of Rupert was governor, persuaded him to proceed[a] to his usual asylum at Newark. There, observing that the discontent among the officers increased, he parted[b] from his sovereign, but on an important and honourable mission. The northern horse, still amounting to fifteen hundred men, were persuaded by Langdale to attempt a junction with the Scottish hero, Montrose, and to accept of Digby as commander-in-chief. The first achievement of the new general was the complete dispersion of the parliamentary infantry in the neighbourhood of Doncaster; but in a few days his own followers were dispersed by Colonel Copley at Sherburne. They rallied[c] at Skipton, forced their way through Westmoreland and Cumberland, and penetrated as far as Dumfries, but could nowhere meet with intelligence of their Scottish friends. Returning to the borders, they disbanded near Carlisle, the privates retiring to their homes, the officers transporting themselves to the Isle of Man. Langdale remained at Douglas; Digby proceeded to the marquess of Ormond in Ireland.
Charles, during his stay at Newark, was made to
[Transcriber’s Note: Footnote 1 not found in the text]
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, Hist. ii. 714. Clarendon Papers, ii. 199. Rushworth, vi. 131.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Oct. 4.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. Oct. 12.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645. Oct. 15.]
feel that with his good fortune he had lost his authority. His two nephews, the Lord Gerard, and about twenty other officers, entered his chamber, and, in rude and insulting language, charged him with ingratitude for their services, and undue partiality for the traitor Digby. The king lost the command of his temper, and, with more warmth than he was known to have betrayed on any other occasion, bade them quit his presence for ever. They retired, and the next morning received passports to go where they pleased. But it was now[a] time for the king himself to depart. The enemy’s forces multiplied around Newark, and the Scots were advancing to join the blockade. In the dead of the night[b] he stole, with five hundred men, to Belvoir Castle; thence, with the aid of experienced guides, he threaded the numerous posts of the enemy; and on the second day reached, for the last time,[c] the walls of Oxford. Yet if he were there in safety, it was owing to the policy of the parliament, who deemed it more prudent to reduce the counties of Devon and Cornwall, the chief asylum of his adherents. For this purpose Fairfax, with the grand army, sat down before Exeter: Cromwell had long ago swept away the royal garrisons between that city and the metropolis.
The reader will have frequently remarked the king’s impatience for the arrival of military aid from Ireland. It is now time to notice the intrigue on which he founded his hopes, and the causes which led to his disappointment. All his efforts to conclude a peace with the insurgents had failed through the obstinacy of the ancient Irish, who required as an indispensable
[Footnote 1: Clarendon, ii. 719-723. Rushworth, vi. 80-95. Journals, 671, 672.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Oct. 29.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. Nov. 3.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645. Nov. 5.]
condition the legal establishment of their religion. The Catholics, they alleged, were the people of Ireland; they had now regained many of the churches, which, not a century before, had been taken from their fathers; and they could not in honour or conscience resign them to the professors of another religion. Charles had indulged a hope that the lord lieutenant would devise some means of satisfying their demand without compromising the character of his sovereign; but the scruples or caution of Ormond compelled him to look out for a minister of less timid and more accommodating disposition, and he soon found one in the Lord Herbert, a Catholic, and son to the marquess of Worcester. Herbert felt the most devoted attachment to his sovereign. He had lived with him for twenty years in habits of intimacy: in conjunction with his father, he had spent above two hundred thousand pounds in support of the royal cause; and both had repeatedly and publicly avowed their determination to stand or fall with the throne. To him, therefore, the king explained his difficulties, his views, and his wishes. Low as he was sunk, he had yet a sufficient resource left in the two armies in Ireland. With them he might make head against his enemies, and re-establish his authority. But unfortunately this powerful and necessary aid was withheld from him by the obstinacy of the Irish Catholics, whose demands were such, that, to grant them publicly would be to forfeit the affection and support of all the Protestants in his dominions. He knew but of one way to elude the difficulty,–the employment of a secret and
[Footnote 1: Rinuccini’s MS. Narrative.]
[Footnote 2: See the correspondence in Carte’s Ormond, ii. App. xv. xviii. xx. xxii.; iii. 372, 387, 401; Charles’s Works, 155.]
confidential minister, whose credit with the Catholics would give weight to his assurances, and whose loyalty would not refuse to incur danger or disgrace for the benefit of his sovereign. Herbert cheerfully tendered his services. It was agreed that he should negotiate with the confederates for the immediate aid of an army of ten thousand men; that, as the reward of their willingness to serve the king, he should make to them certain concessions on the point of religion; that these should be kept secret, as long as the disclosure might be likely to prejudice the royal interests; and that Charles, in the case of discovery, should be at liberty to disavow the proceedings of Herbert, till he might find himself in a situation to despise the complaints and the malice of his enemies.
For this purpose Herbert (now[a] created earl of Glamorgan) was furnished, 1. with a commission to levy men, to coin money, and to employ the revenues of the crown for their support; 2. with a warrant[b] to grant on certain conditions to the Catholics of Ireland such concessions as it was not prudent for the king or the lieutenant openly to make; 3. with a promise on the part of Charles to ratify whatever engagements his envoy might conclude, even if they were contrary to law; 4. and with different letters for the pope, the nuncio, and the several princes from whom subsidies might be expected. But care was taken that none of these documents should come to the knowledge of the council. The commission was not sealed in the usual manner; the names of the persons to whom the letters were to be addressed were not inserted; and all the papers were in several respects informal; for this purpose, that the king might have a plausible pretext to
[Footnote 1: Clarendon Papers, ii. 201.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Jan. 2.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. March 12.]
deny their authenticity in the event of a premature disclosure.
Glamorgan proceeded on his chivalrous mission, and after many adventures and escapes, landed in safety in Ireland. That he communicated the substance of his instructions to Ormond, cannot be doubted; and, if there were aught in his subsequent proceedings of which the lord lieutenant remained ignorant, that ignorance was affected and voluntary on the part of Ormond. At Dublin both joined in the negotiation with the Catholic deputies: from Dublin Glamorgan proceeded to Kilkenny, where the supreme council, satisfied with his authority, and encouraged by the advice of Ormond, concluded with him a treaty,[a] by which it was stipulated that the Catholics should enjoy the public exercise of their religion, and retain all churches, and the revenues of churches, which were not actually in possession of the Protestant clergy; and that in return they should, against a certain day, supply the king with a body of ten thousand armed men, and should devote two-thirds of the ecclesiastical revenues to his service during the war.
[Footnote 1: See the authorities in Note (A).]
[Footnote 2: See the same.]
[Footnote 3: Dr. Leyburn, who was sent by the queen to Ireland in 1647, tells us, on the authority of the nuncio and the bishop of Clogher, “that my lord of Worcester (Glamorgan) was ready to justify that he had exactly followed his instructions, and particularly that concerning the lord lieutenant, whom he had made acquainted with all that he had transacted with the Irish, of which he could produce proof."–Birch, Inquiry, 322. Nor will any one doubt it, who attends, to the letter of Ormond to Lord Muskerry on the 11th of August, just after the arrival of Glamorgan at Kilkenny, in which, speaking of Glamorgan, he assured him, and through him the council of the confederates, that he knew “no subject in England upon whose favour and authority with his majesty they can better rely than upon his lordship’s, nor ... with whom he (Ormond) would sooner agree for the benefit of this kingdom."–Birch, 62. And another to Glamorgan himself on Feb. 11th, in which he says, “Your lordship may securely go on in the way you have proposed to yourself, to serve the king, without fear of interruption from me, or so much as inquiring into the means you work by."–Ibid. 163. See also another letter, of April 6th, in Leland, iii. 283.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. August 25.]
To the surprise of all who were not in the secret, the public treaty now proceeded with unexpected facility. The only point in debate between the lord lieutenant and the deputies, respected their demand to be relieved by act of parliament from all penalties for the performance of the divine service and the administration of the sacraments, after any other form than that of the established church. Ormond was aware of their ulterior object: he became alarmed, and insisted on a proviso, that such article should not be construed to extend to any service performed, or sacraments administered, in cathedral or parochial churches. After repeated discussions, two expedients were suggested; one, that in place of the disputed article should be substituted another, providing that any concession with respect to religion which the king might afterwards grant should be considered as making part of the present treaty; the other, that no mention should be made of religion at all, but that the lieutenant should sign a private engagement, not to molest the Catholics in the possession of those churches which they now held, but leave the question to the decision of a free parliament. To this both parties assented;[a] and the deputies returned to Kilkenny to submit the result of the conferences to the judgment of the general assembly.
But before this, the secret treaty with Glamorgan, which had been concealed from all but the leading members of the council, had by accident come to the
[Footnote 1: Compare Carte, i. 548, with Vindiciae Cath. Hib. 11, 13.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Nov. 11.]
knowledge of the parliament. About the middle of October, the titular archbishop of Tuam was slain in a skirmish[a] between two parties of Scots and Irish near Sligo; and in the carriage of the prelate were found duplicates of the whole negotiation. The discovery was kept secret; but at Christmas Ormond received a copy of these important papers from a friend, with an intimation that the originals had been for some weeks in possession of the committee of both nations in London. It was evident that to save the royal reputation some decisive measure must be immediately taken. A council was called. Digby, who looked upon himself as the king’s confidential minister, but had been kept in ignorance of the whole transaction, commented on it with extreme severity. Glamorgan had been guilty of unpardonable presumption. Without the permission of the king, or the privity of the lord lieutenant, he had concluded a treaty with the rebels, and pledged the king’s name to the observance of conditions pregnant with the most disastrous consequences. It was an usurpation of the royal authority; an offence little short of high treason. The accused, faithful to his trust, made but a feeble defence, and was committed to close custody. In the despatches from the council to Charles, Digby showed that he looked on the concealment which had been practised towards him as a personal affront, and expressed his sentiments with a warmth and freedom not the most grateful to the royal feelings.
[Footnote 1: Rushworth, vi. 239, 240. Carte’s Ormond, iii. 436-440. “You do not believe,” writes Hyde to secretary Nicholas, “that my lord Digby knew of my lord Glamorgan’s commission and negotiation in Ireland. I am confident he did not; for he shewed me the copies of letters which he had written to the king upon it, which ought not in good manners to have been written; and I believe will not be forgiven to him, by those for whose service they were written."–Clarendon Papers, ii. 346.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. Oct. 17.]
The unfortunate monarch was still at Oxford devising new plans and indulging new hopes. The dissensions among his adversaries had assumed a character of violence and importance which they had never before borne. The Scots, irritated by the systematic opposition of the Independents, and affected delays of the parliament, and founding the justice of their claim on the solemn league and covenant confirmed by the oaths of the two nations, insisted on the legal establishment of Presbyterianism, and the exclusive prohibition of every other form of worship. They still ruled in the synod of divines; they were seconded by the great body of ministers in the capital, and by a numerous party among the citizens; and they confidently called for the aid of the majority in the two houses, as of their brethren of the same religions persuasion. But their opponents, men of powerful intellect and invincible spirit, were supported by the swords and the merits of a conquering army. Cromwell, from the field of Naseby, had written to express his hope, that the men who had achieved so glorious a victory might be allowed to serve God according to the dictates of their consciences. Fairfax, in his despatches, continually pleaded in favour of toleration. Seldon and Whitelock warned their colleagues to beware how they erected among them the tyranny of a Presbyterian kirk; and many in the two houses began to maintain that Christ had established no particular form of church government, but had left it to be settled under convenient limitations by the authority of the state. Nor were their
[Footnote 1: Baillie, ii. 111, 161, 169, 183. Rushw. vi. 46, 85. Whitelock, 69, 172. Journals, vii. 434, 476, 620.]
altercations confined to religious matters. The decline of the royal cause had elevated the hopes of the English leaders. They no longer disguised their jealousy of the projects of their Scottish allies; they accused them of invading the sovereignty of England by placing garrisons in Belfast, Newcastle, and Carlisle; and complained that their army served to no other purpose than to plunder the defenceless inhabitants. The Scots haughtily replied, that the occupation of the fortresses was necessary for their own safety; and that, if disorders had occasionally been committed by the soldiers, the blame ought to attach to the negligence or parsimony of those who had failed in supplying the subsidies to which they were bound by treaty. The English commissioners remonstrated with the parliament of Scotland, the Scottish with that of England; the charges were reciprocally made and repelled in tones of asperity and defiance; and the occurrences of each day seemed to announce a speedy rupture between the two nations. Hitherto their ancient animosities had been lulled asleep by the conviction of their mutual dependence: the removal of the common danger called them again into activity.
To a mind like that of Charles, eager to multiply experiments, and prone to believe improbabilities, the hostile position of these parties opened a new field for intrigue. He persuaded himself that by gaining either, he should be enabled to destroy both. He therefore tempted the Independents with promises of ample
[Footnote 1: Journals, vii. 573, 619, 640-643, 653, 668, 689, 697, 703, viii. 27, 97. Baillie, ii. 161, 162, 166, 171, 185, 188.]
[Footnote 2: “I am not without hope that I shall be able to draw either the Presbyterians or Independents to side with me for extirpating the one the other, that I shall be really king again."–Carte’s Ormond, iii. 452.]
rewards and unlimited toleration; and at the same time sought to win the Scots by professions of his willingness to accede to any terms compatible with his honour and conscience. Their commissioners in London had already made overtures for an accommodation to Queen Henrietta in Paris; and the French monarch, at her suggestion, had intrusted[a] Montreuil with the delicate office of negotiating secretly between them and their sovereign. From Montreuil Charles understood that the Scots would afford him an asylum in their army, and declare in his favour, if he would assent to the three demands made of him during the treaty at Uxbridge; a proposal which both Henrietta and the queen regent of France thought so moderate in existing circumstances, that he would accept it with eagerness and gratitude. But the king, in his own judgment, gave the preference to a project of accommodation with the Independents, because they asked only for toleration, while the Scots sought to force their own creed on the consciences of others; nor did he seem to comprehend the important fact, that the latter were willing at least to accept him for their king, while the former aimed at nothing less than the entire subversion of his throne.
From Oxford he had sent several messages[b][c][d][e][f][g] to the parliament, by one of which he demanded passports for commissioners, or free and safe access for himself. To all a refusal was returned, on the ground that he had employed the opportunity afforded him by former treaties to tempt the fidelity of the commissioners, and that it was unsafe to indulge him with more facilities for conducting similar intrigues. Decency, however,
[Footnote 1: Clarendon Papers, ii. 209-211. Baillie, ii. 188. Thurloe, i. 72, 73, 85.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1645. August.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. Dec. 5.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1645. Dec. 15.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1645. Dec. 26.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1645. Dec. 29.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1646. Jan. 15.] [Sidenote g: A.D. 1646. Jan. 17.]
required that in return the two houses should make their proposals; and it was resolved to submit to him certain articles for his immediate and unqualified approval or rejection. The Scots contended in favour of the three original propositions; but their opponents introduced several important alterations, for the twofold purpose, first of spinning out the debates, till the king should be surrounded in Oxford, and secondly of making such additions to the severity of the terms as might insure their rejection.
Under these circumstances Montreuil admonished him that he had not a day to spare; that the Independents sought to deceive him to his own ruin; that his only resource was to accept of the conditions offered by the Scots; and that, whatever might be his persuasion respecting the origin of episcopacy, he might, in his present distress, conscientiously assent to the demand respecting Presbyterianism; because it did not require him to introduce a form of worship which was not already established, but merely to allow that to remain which he had not the power to remove. Such, according to his instructions, was the opinion of the queen regent of France, and such was the prayer of his own consort, Henrietta Maria. But no argument could shake the royal resolution. He returned[a] a firm but temperate refusal, and renewed his request for a personal conference at Westminster. The message was conveyed in terms as energetic as language could supply, but it arrived at a most unpropitious
[Footnote 1: Charles’s Works, 548-550. Journals, viii. 31, 45, 53, 72. Baillie, ii. 144, 173, 177, 184, 190.]
[Footnote 2: Clarendon Papers, ii. 211-214. “Let not my enemies flatter themselves so with their good successes. Without pretending to prophesy, I will foretel their ruin, except they agree with me, however it shall please God to dispose of me."]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. Jan. 20.]
moment, the very day on which the committee of both kingdoms thought proper to communicate to the two houses the papers respecting the treaty between Glamorgan and the Catholics of Ireland. Amidst the ferment and exasperation produced by the disclosure, the king’s letter was suffered to remain unnoticed.
The publication of these important documents imposed[a] on Charles the necessity of vindicating his conduct to his Protestant subjects; a task of no very easy execution, had he not availed himself of the permission which he had formerly extorted from the attachment of Glamorgan. In an additional message to the two houses, he protested that he had never given to that nobleman any other commission than to enlist soldiers, nor authorized him to treat on any subject without the privity of the lord lieutenant; that he disavowed all his proceedings and engagements with the Catholics of Ireland; and that he had ordered the privy council in Dublin to proceed against him for his presumption according to law. That council, however,[b] or at least the lord lieutenant, was in possession of a document unknown to the parliament, a copy of the warrant by which Charles had engaged to confirm whatever Glamorgan should promise in the royal name. On this account, in his answer to Ormond, he was compelled to shift his ground, and to assert that he had no recollection of any such warrant; that it was indeed possible he might have furnished the earl with some credential to the Irish Catholics; but that if he did, it was only with an understanding that it should not be employed without the knowledge and the approbation
[Footnote 1: Clarendon Papers, ii. 213. Journals, viii. 103, 125. Commons’ iv. Jan. 16, 26. Charles’s works, 551. Baillie, ii. 185.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, viii. 132. Charles’s Works, 555.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. Jan. 29.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. Jan. 31.]
of the lord lieutenant. Whoever considers the evasive tendency of these answers, will find in them abundant proof of Glamorgan’s pretentions.
That nobleman had already recovered his liberty. To prepare against subsequent contingencies, and to leave the king what he termed “a starting-hole,” he had been careful to subjoin to his treaty a secret article called a defeasance, stipulating that the sovereign should be no further bound than he himself might think proper, after he had witnessed the efforts of the Catholics in his favour; but that Glamorgan should conceal this release from the royal knowledge till he had made every exertion in his power to procure the execution of the treaty. This extraordinary instrument he now produced in his own vindication: the council ordered him to be discharged upon bail for his appearance when it might be required; and he[a] hastened under the approbation of the lord lieutenant, to resume his negotiation with the Catholics at Kilkenny. He found the general assembly divided into two parties. The clergy, with their adherents, opposed the adoption of any peace in which the establishment of the Catholic worship was not openly recognized; and their arguments were strengthened by the recent imprisonment of Glamorgan, and the secret influence of the papal nuncio Rinuccini, archbishop and prince of Fermo, who had lately landed in Ireland. On the other hand, the members of the council and the lords and gentlemen of the pale strenuously recommended the adoption of one of the two expedients which have
[Footnote 1: Carte, iii. 445-448.]
[Footnote 2: Compare Carte, i. 551, with the Vindiciae, 17. Neither of these writers gives us a full copy of the defeasance. In the Vindiciae we are told that it was this which procured Glamorgan’s discharge from prison.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. Jan. 22.]
been previously mentioned, as offering sufficient security for the church, and the only means of uniting the Protestant royalists in the same cause with the Catholics. At the suggestion of the nuncio, the decision was postponed to the month of May; but Glamorgan did not forget the necessities of his sovereign; he obtained an immediate aid of six thousand men, and the promise of a considerable reinforcement, and proceeded to Waterford for the purpose of attempting to raise the siege of Chester. There, while he waited the arrival of transports, he received the news of the public disavowal of his authority by the king. But this gave him little uneasiness; he attributed it to the real cause, the danger with which Charles was threatened; and he had been already instructed “to make no other account of such declarations, than to put himself in a condition to help his master and set him free." In a short time the more distressing intelligence arrived that Chester had surrendered: the fall of Chester was followed by the dissolution of the royal army in Cornwall, under the command of Lord Hopton; and the prince of Wales, unable to remain there with safety, fled first to Scilly and thence to Jersey. There remained not a spot on the English coast where the Irish auxiliaries could be landed with any prospect of success. Glamorgan dispersed his army. Three hundred men accompanied the Lord Digby to form a guard for the prince; a more considerable body proceeded to Scotland in aid of Montrose; and the remainder returned to their former quarters.
[Footnote 1: Birch, 189.]
[Footnote 2: Had Glamorgan’s intended army of 10,000 men landed in England, the war would probably have assumed a most sanguinary character. An ordinance had passed the houses, that no quarter should be given to any Irishman, or any papist born in Ireland; that they should be excepted out of all capitulations; and that whenever they were taken, they should forthwith be put to death.–Rushworth, v. 729. Oct. 24, 1644. By the navy this was vigorously executed. The Irish sailors were invariably bound back to back, and thrown into the sea. At land we read of twelve Irish soldiers being hanged by the parliamentarians, for whom Prince Rupert hanged twelve of his prisoners.–Clarendon, ii. 623. After the victory of Naseby, Fairfax referred the task to the two houses. He had not, he wrote, time to inquire who were Irish and who were not, but had sent all the prisoners to London, to be disposed of according to law–Journals, vii. 433.]
In the mean while the king continued to consume his time in unavailing negotiations with the parliament, the Scots, and the Independents. 1. He had been persuaded that there were many individuals of considerable influence both in the city and the two houses, who anxiously wished for such an accommodation as might heal the wounds of the country: that the terror inspired by the ruling party imposed silence on them for the present; but that, were he in London, they would joyfully rally around him, and by their number and union compel his adversaries to lower their pretensions. This it was that induced him to solicit a personal conference at Westminster. He[a] now repeated the proposal, and, to make it worth acceptance, offered to grant full toleration to every class of Protestant dissenters, to yield to the parliament the command of the army during seven years, and to make over to them the next nomination of the lord admiral, the judges, and the officers of state. The insulting[b] silence with which this message was treated did not deter him from a third attempt. He asked whether, if he were to disband his forces, dismantle his garrisons, and return to his usual residence in the vicinity of the parliament, they, on their part, would pass their
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. Jan. 29.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. March 23.]
word for the preservation of his honour, person, and estate, and allow his adherents to live without molestation on their own property. Even this proposal could not provoke an answer. It was plain that his enemies dare not trust their adherents in the royal presence; and, fearing that he might privately make his way into the city, they published an ordinance, that if the king came within the lines of communication, the officer of the guard should conduct him to St. James’s, imprison his followers, and allow of no access to his person[a]; and at the same time they gave notice by proclamation that all Catholics, and all persons who had borne arms in the king’s service, should depart within six days, under the penalty of being proceeded against as spies according to martial law.
2. In the negotiation still pending between Montreuil and the Scottish commissioners, other matters were easily adjusted; but the question of religion presented an insurmountable difficulty, the Scots insisting that the presbyterian form of church government should be established in all the three kingdoms; the king consenting that it should retain the supremacy in Scotland, but refusing to consent to the abolition of episcopacy in England and Ireland. To give a colour to the agency of Montreuil, Louis had appointed him the French resident in Scotland, and in that capacity he applied for permission to pass through Oxford on his way, that he might deliver to the king letters from his sovereign and the queen regent.[b] Objections were made; delays were created; but after the lapse of a fortnight, he obtained a passport[c]
[Footnote 1: Charles’s Works, 556, 557. Rushworth, vi. 249. Journals, March 31, 1646. Carte’s Ormond, iii. 452.]
[Footnote 2: Clarendon Papers, ii. 209-215.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. March 31.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. Feb. 16.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1646. March 7.]
from the committee of the two kingdoms, and employed his time at Oxford in persuading Charles of the necessity of concession, and in soliciting from the Scottish commissioners authority to assure their sovereign of safety as to person and conscience in the Scottish army. On the first of April he received from[a] Charles a written engagement, that he would take with him to their quarters before Newark “no man excepted by parliament, but only his nephews and Ashburnham,” and that he would then listen to instruction in the matter of religion, and concede as far as his conscience would permit. In return, Montreuil pledged to him the word of his sovereign and the queen regent of France, that the Scots should receive him as their natural king, should offer no violence to his person or conscience, his servants or followers, and should join their forces and endeavours with his to procure “a happy and well-grounded peace.” On this understanding it was agreed that the king should attempt on the night of the following Tuesday to break through the parliamentary force lying round Oxford, and that at the same time a body of three hundred Scottish cavalry should advance as far as Harborough to receive him, and escort him in safety to their own army.
[Footnote 1: Lords’ Journ. viii. 171. Commons’, Feb. 16, 28, March 4, 5, 7.]
[Footnote 2: Of this paper there were two copies, one to be kept secret, containing a protestation that none of the king’s followers should be ruined or dishonoured; the other to be shown, containing no such protestation. “En l’un desquels, qui m’a esté donné pour faire voir, la protestation n’estoit point. Faite à Oxford ce premier Avril, 1646."–Clarend. Papers ii. 220.]
[Footnote 3: Why so? It had been so settled in Paris, because the negotiation was opened under their auspices, and conducted by their agent.–Clarend. Hist. ii. 750. Papers, ii. 209.]
[Footnote 4: Ibid. 220-222. It had been asked whether Montreuil had any authority from the Scottish commissioners to make such an engagement. I see no reason to doubt it. Both Charles and Montreuil must have been aware that an unauthorized engagement could have offered no security to the king in the hazardous attempt which he meditated. We find him twice, before the date of the engagement, requiring the commissioners to send powers to Montreuil to assure him of safety in person and conscience in their army (Clarendon Pap. ii. 218), and immediately afterwards informing Ormond that he was going to the Scottish army because he had lately received “very good security” that he and his friends should be safe in person, honour, and conscience. See the letter in Lords’ Journals, viii. 366, and account of a letter from the king to Lord Belasyse in pys, ii. 246.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. April 1.]
Two days later Montreuil resumed his pretended journey to Scotland, and repaired to Southwell, within the quarters assigned to the Scots. That they might without inconvenience spare a large escort to meet the[a] king, he had brought with him a royal order to Lord Belasyse to surrender Newark into their hands; but, to his surprise and dismay, he found that the commissioners to the army affected to be ignorant of the authority exercised by him at Oxford, and refused to take upon themselves the responsibility of meeting and receiving the king. They objected that it would be an act of hostility towards the parliament, a breach of the solemn league and covenant between the nations: nor would they even allow him to inform Charles of their refusal, till they should have a personal conference with their commissioners in London. In these circumstances he burnt the order for the surrender of Newark; and the king, alarmed at his unaccountable silence, made no attempt to escape from Oxford. A fortnight was passed in painful suspense. At last the two bodies of commissioners met[b] at Royston; and the result of a long debate was a sort of compromise between the opposite parties that the king should he received, but in such manner that all appearance of previous treaty or concert might be
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. April 3.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. April 11.]
avoided; that he should be requested to give satisfaction on the question of religion as speedily as possible, and that no co-operation of the royal forces with the Scots should be permitted. At first Montreuil, in the anguish of disappointment, was of opinion that no faith was to be put in the word of a Scotsman: now he thought that he discovered a gleam of[a] hope in the resolution taken at Royston, and advised[b] the king to accept the proposal, if no better expedient[c] could be devised. It held out a prospect of safety, though it promised nothing more.
3. During this negotiation the unfortunate monarch, though warned that, by treating at the same time with two opposite parties, he ran the risk of forfeiting the confidence of both, had employed Ashburnham to make proposals to the Independents through Sir Henry Vane. What the king asked from them was to facilitate his access to parliament. Ample rewards were held out to Vane, “to the gentleman, who was quartered[d] with him," and to the personal friends of both; and an assurance was given, that if the establishment of Presbyterianism were still made an indispensable condition of peace, the king would join his efforts with theirs “to root out of the kingdom that tyrannical government.” From the remains of the correspondence it appears that to the first communication Vane had replied in terms which, though not altogether satisfactory, did not exclude the hope of his compliance; and Charles wrote to him a second time,
[Footnote 1: These particulars appear in the correspondence in Clarendon Papers, 221-226. Montreuil left Oxford on Friday; therefore on the 3rd.]
[Footnote 2: This gentleman might be Fairfax or Cromwell; but from a letter of Baillie (ii. 199, App. 3), I should think that he was an “Independent minister,” probably Peters.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. April.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. April 18.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1646. April 20.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1646. March 2.]
repeating his offers, describing his distress, and stating that, unless he received a favourable answer within four days, he must have recourse to some other expedient. The negotiation, however, continued for weeks; it was even discovered by the opposite party, who considered it as an artful scheme on the part of[a] the Independents to detain the king in Oxford, till Fairfax and Cromwell should bring up the army from Cornwall; to amuse the royal bird, till the fowlers had enclosed him in their toils.
Oxford during the war had been rendered one of the strongest fortresses in the kingdom. On three sides the waters of the Isis and the Charwell, spreading over the adjoining country, kept the enemy at a considerable distance, and on the north the city was covered with a succession of works, erected by the most skilful engineers. With a garrison of five thousand men, and a plentiful supply of stores and provisions, Charles might have protracted his fate for several months; yet the result of a siege must have been his captivity. He possessed no army; he had no prospect of assistance from without; and within, famine would in the end compel him to surrender. But where was he to seek an asylum?
[Footnote 1: See two letters, one of March 2, from Ashburnham, beginning, “Sir, you cannot suppose the work is done,” and another without date from Charles, beginning, “Sir, I shall only add this word to what was said in my last.” They were first published from the papers of secretary Nicholas, by Birch, in 1764, in the preface to a collection of “Letters between Colonel Hammond and the committee at Derby House, &c.,” and afterwards in the Clarendon Papers, ii. 226, 227.]
[Footnote 2: See Baillie, App. 3, App. 23, ii. 199, 203. “Their daily treaties with Ashburnham to keep the king still, till they deliver him to Sir Thomas Fairfax, and to be disposed upon as Cromwell and his friend think it fittest for their affairs."–Ibid. A different account is given in the continuation of Macintosh, vi. 21.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. April 23.]
Indignant at what he deemed a breach of faith in the Scots, he spurned the idea of throwing himself on[a] their mercy; and the march of Fairfax with the advanced guard of his army towards Andover admonished him that it was time to quit the city of Oxford. First he inquired by two officers the opinion of Ireton, who[b] was quartered at Waterstock, whether, if he were to disband his forces, and to repair to the general, the parliament would suffer him to retain the title and authority of king. Then, receiving no answer[c] from Ireton, he authorized the earl of Southampton to state to Colonel Rainborowe, that the king was ready to deliver himself up to the army, on receiving a pledge that his personal safety should be respected. But Rainborowe referred him to the parliament; and the unhappy monarch, having exhausted every expedient which he could devise, left Oxford at midnight,[d] disguised as a servant, following his supposed master[e] Ashburnham, who rode before in company with Hudson, a clergyman, well acquainted with the country. They passed through Henley and Brentford to Harrow; but the time which was spent on the road proved either that Charles had hitherto formed no plan in his own mind, or that he lingered with the hope of some communication from his partisans in the metropolis. At last he turned in the direction of St. Alban’s; and, avoiding that town, hastened through bye-ways to Harborough. If he expected to find there a body of[f] Scottish horse, or a messenger from Montreuil, he was disappointed. Crossing by Stamford, he rested at Downham,[g] and spent two or three days in fruitless inquiries for a ship which might convey him to Newcastle or Scotland, whilst Hudson repaired to the French agent
[Footnote 1: Hearne’s Dunstable, ii. 787-790.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. April 22.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. April 25.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1646. April 26.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1646. April 27.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1646. April 28.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1646. April 30.]
at Southwell, and returned the bearer of a short note sent by Montreuil, from whom the messenger understood that the Scots had pledged their word–they would give no written document–to fulfill on their part the original engagement made in their name at Oxford. On this slender security–for he had no[a] alternative–he repaired to the lodgings of Montreuil early in the morning, and about noon was conducted by a troop of horse to the head quarters at Kelham. Leslie and his officers, though they affected the utmost surprise, treated him with the respect due to their sovereign; and London in the name of the commissioners required that he should take the covenant, should order Lord Belasyse to surrender Newark, and should despatch a messenger with the royal command to Montrose to lay down his arms. Charles soon discovered that he was a prisoner, and when, to make the experiment, he undertook to give the word to the guard, he was interrupted by Leven, who said: “I am the older soldier, sir: your majesty had better leave that office to me.”
For ten days the public mind in the capital had been
[Footnote 1: The Scots had made three offers or promises to the king. The first and most important was the engagement of the 1st of April. But the Scottish commissioners with the army shrunk from the responsibility of carrying it into execution; and, as it appears to me, with some reason, for they had not been parties to the contract. The second was the modified offer agreed upon by both bodies of commissioners at Royston. But this offer was never accepted by the king, and consequently ceased to be binding upon them. The third was the verbal promise mentioned above. If it was made–and of a promise of safety there can be no doubt, though we have only the testimony of Hudson–the Scots were certainly bound by it, and must plead guilty to the charge of breach of faith, by subsequently delivering up the fugitive monarch to the English parliament.]
[Footnote 2: Peck, Desid. Curios. I. x. No. 8. Ashburnham, ii. 76. Rushworth, vi. 266, 267, 276. Clarendon, Hist. iii. 22; Papers, ii. 228. Turner, Mem. 41.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. May 5.]
agitated by the most contradictory rumours: the moment the place of the king’s retreat was ascertained, both Presbyterians and Independents united in condemning the perfidy of their northern allies. Menaces of immediate hostilities were heard. Poyntz received orders to watch the motions of the Scots with five thousand horse; and it was resolved that Fairfax should follow with the remainder of the army. But the Scottish leaders, anxious to avoid a rupture, and yet unwilling to surrender the royal prize, broke up their camp before Newark, and retired with precipitation to Newcastle. Thence by dint of protestations and denials they gradually succeeded in allaying the ferment. Charles contributed his share, by repeating his desire of an accommodation, and requesting the two houses to send to him the propositions of peace; and, as an earnest of his sincerity, he despatched a circular order[a] to his officers to surrender the few fortresses which still maintained his cause. The war was at an end; Oxford, Worcester, Pendennis, and Ragland opened[b] their gates; and to the praise of the conquerors it must be recorded, that they did not stain their laurels with blood. The last remnants of the royal army obtained honourable terms from the generosity of Fairfax; easy compositions for the redemption of their estates were held out to the great majority of the
[Footnote 1: See their messages in the Lords’ Journals, viii. 307, 308, 311, 364; Hearne’s Dunstable, ii. 790-800. They protest that they were astonished at the king’s coming to their army; that they believed he must mean to give satisfaction, or he would never have come to them; that his presence would never induce them to act in opposition to the solemn league and covenant; that they should leave the settlement of all questions to the parliaments of the two nations; that there had been no treaty between the king and them; and that the assertion in the letter published by Ormond was “a damnable untruth."]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. June 10.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. August 20.]
royalists; and the policy of the measure was proved by the number of those who hastened to profit by the indulgence, and thus extinguished the hopes of the few who still thought it possible to conjure up another army in defence of the captive monarch.
While the two houses, secure of victory, debated at their leisure the propositions to be submitted for acceptance to the king, the Scots employed the interval in attempts to convert him to the Presbyterian creed. For this purpose, Henderson, the most celebrated of their ministers, repaired from London to Newcastle. The king, according to his promise, listened to the arguments of his new instructor; and an interesting controversy respecting the divine institution of episcopacy and presbyteracy was maintained with no contemptible display of skill between the two polemics. Whether Charles composed without the help of a theological monitor the papers, which on this occasion he produced, may perhaps be doubted; but the author whoever he were, proved himself a match, if not more than a match, for his veteran opponent. The Scottish
[Footnote 1: Journals, viii. 309, 329, 360, 374, 475. Baillie, ii. 207, 209. Rush. vi. 280-297. The last who submitted to take down the royal standard was the marquess of Worcester. He was compelled to travel, at the age of eighty, from Ragland Castle to London, but died immediately after his arrival. As his estate was under sequestration, the Lords ordered a sum to be advanced for the expenses of his funeral.–Journals, viii. 498, 616. See Note (B) at the end of the volume.]
[Footnote 2: The following was the chief point in dispute. Each had alleged texts of Scripture in support of his favourite opinion, and each explained those texts in an opposite meaning. It was certainly as unreasonable that Charles should submit his judgment to Henderson, as that Henderson should submit his to that of Charles. The king, therefore, asked who was to be judge between them. The divine replied, that Scripture could only be explained by Scripture, which, in the opinion of the monarch, was leaving the matter undecided. He maintained that antiquity was the judge. The church government established by the apostles must have been consonant to the meaning of the Scripture. Now, as far as we can go back in history, we find episcopacy established: whence it is fair to infer that episcopacy was the form established by the apostles. Henderson did not allow the inference. The church of the Jews had fallen into idolatry during the short absence of Moses on the mount, the church of Christ might have fallen into error in a short time after the death of the apostles. Here the controversy ended with the sickness and death of the divine.–See Charles’s Works, 75-90.]
leaders, however, came with political arguments to the aid of their champion. They assured[a] the king that his restoration to the royal authority, or his perpetual exclusion from the throne, depended on his present choice. Let him take the covenant, and concur in the establishment of the Directory, and the Scottish nation to a man, the English, with the sole exception of the Independents, would declare in his favour. His conformity in that point alone could induce them to mitigate the severity of their other demands, to replace him on the throne of his ancestors, and to compel the opposite faction to submit. Should he refuse, he must attribute the consequences to himself. He had received sufficient warning: they had taken the covenant, and must discharge their duty to God and their country.
It was believed then, it has often been repeated since, that the king’s refusal originated in the wilfulness and obstinacy of his temper; and that his repeated appeals to his conscience were mere pretexts to disguise his design of replunging the nation into the horrors from which it had so recently emerged. But this supposition is completely refuted by the whole tenour of his secret correspondence with his queen and her council in France. He appears to have divided his objections into two classes, political and religious. 1. It was, he alleged, an age in which mankind were governed from the pulpit: whence it became an object
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. July 13.]
of the first importance to a sovereign to determine to whose care that powerful engine should be intrusted. The principles of Presbyterianism were anti-monarchical; its ministers openly advocated the lawfulness of rebellion; and, if they were made the sole dispensers of public instruction, he and his successors might be kings in name, but would be slaves in effect. The wisest of those who had swayed the sceptre since the days of Solomon had given his sanction to the maxim “no bishop no king;" and his own history furnished a melancholy confirmation of the sagacity of his father. 2. The origin of episcopacy was a theological question, which he had made it his business to study. He was convinced that the institution was derived from Christ, and that he could not in conscience commute it for another form of church government devised by man. He had found episcopacy in the church at his accession; he had sworn to maintain it in all its rights; and he was bound to leave it in existence at his death. Once, indeed, to please the two houses, he had betrayed his conscience by assenting to the death of Strafford: the punishment of that transgression still lay heavy on his head; but should he, to please them again, betray it once more, he would prove himself a most incorrigible sinner, and deserve the curse both of God and man.
The king had reached Newark in May: it was the end of July before the propositions of peace were submitted[a] to his consideration. The same in substance with those of the preceding year, they had yet been aggravated by new restraints, and a more numerous
[Footnote 1: For all these particulars, see the Clarendon Papers, ii. 243, 248, 256, 260, 263, 265, 274, 277, 295; Baillie, ii. 208, 209, 214, 218, 219, 236, 241, 242, 243, 249.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. July 24.]
list of proscriptions. On the tenth day,[a] the utmost limit of the time allotted to the commissioners, Charles replied that it was impossible for him to return an unqualified assent to proposals of such immense importance; that without explanation he could not comprehend how much of the ancient constitution it was meant to preserve, how much to take away; that a personal conference was necessary for both parties, in order to remove doubts, weigh reasons, and come to a perfect understanding; and that for this purpose it was his intention to repair to Westminster whenever the two houses and the Scottish commissioners would assure him that he might reside there with freedom, honour, and safety.
This message, which was deemed evasive, and therefore unsatisfactory, filled the Independents with joy, the Presbyterians with sorrow. The former disguised no longer their wish to dethrone the king, and either to set up in his place his son the duke of York, whom the surrender of Oxford had delivered into their hands, or, which to many seemed preferable, to substitute a republican for a monarchical form of government. The Scottish commissioners sought to allay the ferment, by diverting the attention of the houses. They expressed[b] their readiness not only to concur in such measures as the obstinacy of the king should make necessary, but on the receipt of a compensation for their past services, to withdraw their army into their own country. The offer was cheerfully accepted; a committee assembled to balance the accounts between
[Footnote 1: Journals, viii. 423, 447, 460. The king now wished to escape from the Scots. Ashburnham was instructed to sound Pierpoint, one of the parliamentarian commissioners, but Pierpoint refused to confer with him.–Ashburn. ii. 78.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. August 2.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. August 11.]
the nations; many charges on both sides were disputed and disallowed; and at last the Scots agreed[a] to accept four hundred thousand pounds in lieu of all demands, of which one half should be paid before they left England, the other after their arrival in Scotland.
At this moment an unexpected vote[b] of the two houses gave birth to a controversy unprecedented in history. It was resolved that the right of disposing of the king belonged to the parliament of England. The Scots hastened to remonstrate. To dispose of the king was an ambiguous term; they would assume that it meant to determine where he should reside until harmony was restored between him and his people. But it ought to be remembered that he was king of Scotland as well as of England; that each nation had an interest in the royal person; both had been parties in the war; both had a right to be consulted respecting the result. The English, on the contrary, contended that the Scots were not parties, but auxiliaries, and that it was their duty to execute the orders of those whose bread they ate, and whose money they received. Scotland was certainly an independent kingdom. But its rights were confined within its own
[Footnote 1: Journals, viii. 461, 485. Baillie, ii. 222, 223, 225, 267. Rush. vi. 322-326. To procure the money, a new loan was raised in the following manner. Every subscriber to former loans on the faith of parliament, who had yet received neither principal nor interest, was allowed to subscribe the same sum to the present loan, and, in return, both sums with interest were to be secured to him on the grand excise and the sale of the bishops’ lands. For the latter purpose, three ordinances were passed; one disabling all persons from holding the place, assuming the name, and exercising the jurisdiction of archbishops or bishops within the realm, and vesting all the lands belonging to archbishops and bishops in certain trustees, for the use of the nation (Journals, 515); another securing the debts of subscribers on these lands (ibid. 520); and a third appointing persons to make contracts of sale, and receive the money.–Journals of Commons, Nov. 16.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. Sept. 5.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. Sept. 21.]
limits; it could not claim, it should not exercise, any authority within the boundaries of England. This altercation threatened to dissolve the union between the kingdoms. Conferences were repeatedly[a][b] held. The Scots published their speeches; the Commons ordered the books to be seized, and the printers to be imprisoned; and each party obstinately refused either to admit the pretensions of its opponents, or even to yield to a compromise. But that which most strongly marked the sense of the parliament, was a vote[c] providing money for the payment of the army during the next six months; a very intelligible hint of their determination to maintain their claim by force of arms, if it were invaded by the presumption of their allies.
This extraordinary dispute, the difficulty of raising an immediate loan, and the previous arrangements for the departure of the Scots, occupied the attention of the two houses during the remainder of the year. Charles had sufficient leisure to reflect on the fate which threatened him. His constancy seemed to relax; he consulted[d] the bishops of London and Salisbury: and successively proposed several unsatisfactory expedients, of which the object was to combine the toleration of episcopacy with the temporary or partial establishment of Presbyterianism. The lords voted[e] that he should be allowed to reside at Newmarket; but the Commons refused[f] their consent; and ultimately both houses fixed on Holmby, in the vicinity of Northampton. No notice was taken of the security
[Footnote 1: Journals, 498, 534. Commons’, Oct. 7, 13, 14, 16. Rush. vi. 329-373. Baillie, ii. 246.]
[Footnote 2: “Holdenby or Holmby, a very stately house, built by the lord chancellor Hatton, and in King James’s reign purchased by Q. Anne for her second son."–Herbert, 13. It was, therefore, the king’s own property.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. Oct. 1.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. Oct. 7.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1646. Oct. 13.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1646. Sept. 30.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1646. Dec. 16.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1646. Dec. 31.]
which he had demanded for his honour and freedom, but a promise was given that respect should be had to the safety of his person in the defence of the true[a] religion and the liberties of the two kingdoms, according to the solemn league and covenant. This vote was communicated to the Scottish commissioners at Newcastle, who replied that they awaited the commands[b] of their own parliament.
In Scotland the situation of the king had been the subject of many keen and animated debates. In the parliament his friends were active and persevering; and their efforts elicited a resolution that the commissioners[c] in London should urge with all their influence his request of a personal conference. Cheered by this partial success, they proposed a vote expressive of their determination to support, under all circumstances, his right to the English throne. But at this moment arrived the votes of the two houses for his removal to Holmby: the current of Scottish loyalty was instantly checked; and the fear of a rupture between the nations induced the estates to observe a solemn fast, that they might deserve the blessing of Heaven, and to consult the commissioners of the kirk, that they might proceed with a safe conscience. The answer was such as might have been expected from the bigotry of the age: that it was unlawful to assist in the restoration of a prince, who had been excluded from the government of his kingdom, for his refusal of the propositions respecting religion and the covenant. No man ventured to oppose the decision of the kirk. In a house of two hundred
[Footnote 1: Clarendon Papers, ii. 265, 268, 276. Journals, 622, 635, 648, 681. Commons’ Journals, Dec. 24. His letter to the bishop of London is in Ellis, iii. 326, 2nd ser.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. Jan. 6.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. Jan. 12.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1646. Dec. 16.]
members, not more than seven or eight were found to speak in favour of their sovereign. A resolution was voted that he should be sent to Holmby, or some other of his houses near London, to remain there till he had assented to the propositions of peace; and all that his friends could obtain was an amendment more expressive of their fears than of their hopes, that no injury[a] or violence should be offered to his person, no obstacle be opposed to the legitimate succession of his children, and no alteration made in the existing government of the kingdoms. This addition was cheerfully adopted by the English House of Lords; but the Commons did not vouchsafe to honour it with their notice. The first[b] payment of one hundred thousand pounds had already been made at Northallerton: the Scots, according to[c] agreement, evacuated Newcastle; and the parliamentary commissioners, without any other ceremony, took charge of the royal person. Four days later the Scots[d] received the second sum of one hundred thousand pounds; their army repassed the border-line between the two kingdoms; and the captive monarch, under a[e] strong guard, but with every demonstration of respect, was conducted to his new prison at Holmby.
The royalists, ever since the king’s visit to Newark, had viewed with anxiety and terror the cool calculating policy of the Scots. The result converted their suspicions into certitude: they hesitated not to accuse them of falsehood and perfidy, and to charge them with having allured the king to their army by deceitful promises, that, Judas-like, they might barter him for money with his enemies. Insinuations so injurious
[Footnote 1: Journals, viii. 686, 689, 695, 699, 713. Commons’, Jan. 25, 26, 27. Baillie, ii. 253. Rush. vi. 390-398. Whitelock, 233. Thurloe, i. 73, 74.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. Jan. 25.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. Jan. 21.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1647. Jan. 30.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1647. Feb. 3.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1647. Feb. 16.]
to the character of the nation ought not to be lightly admitted. It is, indeed, true that fanaticism and self-interest had steeled the breasts of the Covenanters against the more generous impulses of loyalty and compassion; and that, by the delivery of the king to his enemies, they violated their previous pledge of personal safety, which, if once given, though by word only, ought to have been sacredly fulfilled. But there is no ground for the statement, that they held out promises to delude the unfortunate prince. It was with reluctance that they consented to receive him at all; and, when at last he sought an asylum in their army, he came thither, not allured by invitation from them, but driven by necessity and despair. 2. If the delivery of the royal person, connected as it was with the receipt of £200,000, bore the appearance of a sale, it ought to be remembered, that the accounts between the two nations had been adjusted in the beginning of September; that for four months afterwards the Scots never ceased to negotiate in favour of Charles; nor did they resign the care of his person, till the votes of the English parliament compelled them to make the choice between compliance or war. It may be, that in forming their decision their personal interest was not forgotten; but there was another consideration which had no small weight even with the friends of the monarch. It was urged that by suffering the king to reside at Holmby, they would do away with the last pretext for keeping on foot the army under the command of Fairfax; the dissolution of that army would annihilate the influence of the Independents, and give an undisputed ascendancy to the Presbyterians; the first the declared enemies, the others the avowed advocates of Scotland, of the kirk, and of the king; and the necessary consequence must be, that the two parliaments would be left at liberty to arrange, in conformity with the covenant, both the establishment of religion and the restoration of the throne.
Charles was not yet weaned from the expectation of succour from Ireland. At Newcastle he had consoled the hours of his captivity with dreams of the mighty efforts for his deliverance, which would be made by Ormond, and Glamorgan, and the council at Kilkenny. To the first of these he forwarded two messages, one openly through Lanark, the Scottish secretary, the other clandestinely through Lord Digby, who proceeded to Dublin from France. By the first Ormond received a positive command to break off the treaty with the Catholics; by the second he was told to adhere to his former instructions, and to obey no order which was not transmitted to him by the queen or the prince.[a] The letter to Glamorgan proves more clearly the distress to which he was reduced, and the confidence which he reposed in the exertions of that nobleman. “If,” he writes, “you can raise a large sum of money by pawning my kingdoms for that purpose, I am content you should do it; and if I recover them, I will fully repay that money. And tell the nuncio, that if once I can come into his and your hands, which ought to be extremely wish’d”
[Footnote 1: See the declarations of Argyle in Laing, iii. 560; and of the Scottish commissioners, to the English parliament, Journals, ix. 594, 598. “Stapleton and Hollis, and some others of the eleven members, had been the main persuaders of us to remove out of England, and leave the king to them, upon assurance, which was most likely, that this was the only means to get that evil army disbanded, the king and peace settled according to our minds; but their bent execution of this real intention has undone them, and all, till God provide a remedy."–Baillie, ii. 257.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. July 20.]
for by you, both, as well for the sake of England as Ireland, since all the rest, as I see, despise me, I will do it. And if I do not say this from my heart, or if in any future time I fail you in this, may God never restore me to my kingdoms in this world, nor give me eternal happiness in the next, to which I hope this tribulation will conduct me at last, after I have satisfied my obligations to my friends, to none of whom am I so much obliged as to yourself, whose merits towards me exceed all expressions that can be used by
Your constant friend,
But religion was still the rock on which the royal hopes were destined[a] to split. The perseverance of the supreme council at Kilkenny prevailed in appearance over the intrigues of the nuncio and the opposition of the clergy. The peace was reciprocally signed; it was published with more than usual parade in the cities of Dublin and Kilkenny; but at the same time a national synod at Waterford not only condemned it[b] as contrary to the oath of association, but on that ground excommunicated its authors, fautors, and abettors as guilty of perjury. The struggle between the advocates and opponents of the peace was soon terminated. The men of Ulster under Owen O’Neil, proud of their recent victory (they had almost annihilated
[Footnote 1: Birch, Inquiry, 245. I may here mention that Glamorgan, when he was marquess of Worcester, published “A Century of the “Names and Scantlings of such Inventions,” &c., which Hume pronounces “a ridiculous compound of lies, chimeras, and impossibilities, enough to show what might be expected from such a man.” If the reader peruse Mr. Partington’s recent edition of this treatise, he will probably conclude that the historian had never seen it, or that he was unable to comprehend it.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. July 29.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. August 6.]
the Scottish army in the sanguinary battle of Benburb), espoused the cause of the clergy; Preston, who commanded the forces of Leinster, after some hesitation, declared also in their favour; the members of the old council who had subscribed the treaty were imprisoned, and a new council was established, consisting of eight laymen and four clergymen, with the nuncio at their head. Under their direction, the two armies marched to besiege Dublin: it was saved by the prudence of Ormond, who had wasted the neighbouring country, and by the habits of jealousy and dissension which prevented any cordial co-operation between O’Neil and Preston, the one of Irish, the other of English descent. Ormond, however, despaired of preserving the capital against their repeated attempts; and the important question for his decision was, whether he should surrender it to them or to the parliament. The one savoured of perfidy to his religion, the other[a] of treachery to his sovereign. He preferred the latter. The first answer to his offer he was induced to reject as derogatory from his honour: a second negotiation followed; and he at last consented to resign to the parliament the sword, the emblem of his office, the[b] castle of Dublin, and all the fortresses held by his troops, on the payment of a certain sum of money, a grant of security for his person, and the restoration of his lands, which had been sequestrated. This agreement was performed. Ormond came to England, and the king’s hope of assistance from Ireland was once more disappointed.
Before the conclusion of this chapter, it will be
[Footnote 1: Journals, viii. 519, 522; ix. 29, 32, 35. The reader will find an accurate account of the numerous and complicated negotiations respecting Ireland in Birch, Inquiry, &c., p. 142-261.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. Oct. 14.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. Feb. 22.]
proper to notice the progress which had been made in the reformation of religion. From the directory for public worship, the synod and the houses proceeded to the government of the church. They divided the kingdom into provinces, the provinces into classes, and the classes into presbyteries or elderships; and established by successive votes a regular gradation of authority among these new judicatories, which amounted, if we may believe the ordinance, to no fewer than ten thousand. But neither of the great religious parties was satisfied. 1. The Independents strongly objected to the intolerance of the Presbyterian scheme; and though willing that it should be protected and countenanced by the state, they claimed a right to form, according to the dictates of their consciences, separate congregations for themselves. Their complaints were received with a willing ear by the two houses, the members of which (so we are told by a Scottish divine who attended the assembly at Westminster) might be divided into four classes: the Presbyterians, who, in number and influence, surpassed any one of the other three; the Independents, who, if few in number, were yet distinguished by the superior talents and industry of their leaders; the lawyers, who looked with jealousy on any attempt to erect an ecclesiastical power independent of the legislature; and the men of irreligious habits, who dreaded the stern and scrutinizing discipline of a Presbyterian kirk. The two last occasionally
[Footnote 1: Under the general name of Independents, I include, for convenience, all the different sects enumerated at the time by Edwards in his Gangraena,–Independents, Brownists, Millenaries, Antinomians, Anabaptists, Arminians, Libertines, Familists, Enthusiasts, Seekers, Perfectists, Socinians, Arianists, Anti-Trinitarians, Anti-Scripturists, and Sceptics.–Neal’s Puritans, ii. 251. I observe that some of them maintained that toleration was due even to Catholics. Baillie repeatedly notices it with feelings of horror (ii. 17, 18, 43, 61).]
served to restore the balance between the two others, and by joining with the Independents, to arrest the zeal, and neutralize the votes of the Presbyterians.[a] With their aid, Cromwell, as the organ of the discontented religionists, had obtained the appointment of a “grand committee for accommodation,” which sat four months, and concluded nothing. Its professed object was to reconcile the two parties, by inducing the Presbyterians to recede from their lofty pretensions, and the Independents to relax something of their sectarian obstinacy. Both were equally inflexible. The former would admit of no innovation in the powers which Christ, according to their creed, had bestowed on the presbytery; the latter, rather than conform, expressed their readiness to suffer the penalties of the law, or to seek some other clime, where the enjoyment of civil, was combined with that of religious, freedom.
2. The discontent of the Presbyterians arose from a very different source. They complained that the parliament sacrilegiously usurped that jurisdiction which Christ had vested exclusively in his church. The assembly contended, that “the keys of the kingdom of heaven were committed to the officers of the church, by virtue whereof, they have power respectively to retain and remit sins, to shut the kingdom of heaven against the impenitent by censures, and to open it to the penitent by absolution.” These claims of the divines were zealously supported by their brethren in parliament, and as fiercely opposed by all who were not of their communion. The divines claimed for the presbyteries the right of inquiring into the private lives of individuals, and of suspending the unworthy[b]
[Footnote 1: Baillie, i. 408, 420, 431; ii. 11, 33, 37, 42, 57, 63, 66, 71.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. Sept. 13.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1645. March 5.]
from the sacrament of the Lord’s supper; but the parliament refused the first, and confined the second to cases of public scandal. They arrogated to themselves the power of judging what offences should be deemed scandalous; the parliament defined the particular offences, and appointed civil commissioners in each province, to whom the presbyteries should refer every case not previously enumerated. They allowed of no appeal from the ecclesiastical tribunals to the civil magistrate; the parliament empowered all who thought themselves aggrieved to apply for redress to either of the two houses. This profane mutilation of the divine right of the presbyteries excited the alarm and execration of every orthodox believer. When the ordinance for carrying the new plan into execution was in progress through the Commons, the ministers generally determined not to act under its provisions. The citizens of London, who petitioned against it, were indeed silenced by a vote[a] that they had violated the privileges of the house; but the Scottish commissioners came to their aid with a demand that religion should be regulated to the satisfaction of the church; and the assembly of divines ventured to remonstrate, that they could not in conscience submit to an imperfect and anti-scriptural form of ecclesiastical government. To the Scots a civil but unmeaning answer was returned:[b] to alarm the assembly, it was resolved that the remonstrance was a breach of privilege, and that nine questions should be proposed to the divines, respecting the nature and object of the divine right to which they pretended. These questions had been prepared by the ingenuity of Selden and Whitelock,
[Footnote 1: Journals, vii. 469. Commons’, Sept. 25, Oct. 10, March 5.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. March 26.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1646. April 22.]
ostensibly for the sake of information, in reality to breed dissension and to procure delay.
When the votes of the house were announced to the assembly, the members anticipated nothing less than the infliction of those severe penalties with which breaches of privilege were usually visited. They observed a day of fasting and humiliation, to invoke the protection of God in favour of his persecuted church; required the immediate attendance of their absent colleagues; and then reluctantly entered on the consideration of the questions sent to them from the Commons. In a few days, however, the king took refuge in the Scottish army, and a new ray of hope cheered their afflicted spirits. Additional petitions were presented; the answer of the two houses became more accommodating; and the petitioners received thanks for their zeal, with an assurance in conciliatory language that attention should be paid to their requests. The immediate consequence was the abolition of the provincial commissioners; and the ministers, softened by this condescension, engaged to execute the ordinance in London and Lancashire. At the same time the assembly undertook the composition of a catechism and confession of faith; but their progress was daily retarded by the debates respecting the nine questions; and the influence of their party was greatly diminished by the sudden death of the earl of Essex.[a]
[Footnote 1: Journals, viii. 232. Commons’, March 23, April 22. Baillie, ii. 194. “The pope and king,” he exclaims, “were never more earnest for the headship of the church, than the plurality of this parliament” (196, 198, 199, 201, 216).]
[Footnote 2: These were the only places in which the Presbyterian government was established according to law.]
[Footnote 3: Baillie says, “He was the head of our party here, kept altogether who now are like, by that alone, to fall to pieces. The House of Lords absolutely, the city very much, and many of the shires depended on him” (ii. 234).]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1644. .Sept. 14.]
It was, however, restored by the delivery of the king into the hands of the parliament: petitions were immediately presented, complaining of the growth of[a] error and schism; and the impatience of the citizens[b] induced them to appoint a committee to wait daily at the door of the House of Commons, till they should receive a favourable answer. But another revolution, to be related in the next chapter, followed; the custody of the royal person passed from the parliament to the army: and the hopes of the orthodox were utterly extinguished.
[Footnote 1: Baillie, ii. 207, 215, 216, 226, 234, 236, 250. Journals, viii. 332, 509; ix. 18, 72, 82. Commons’, May 26, Nov. 27, Dec. 7, March 25, 30.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1647. Feb. 18.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1647. March 17.]