« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
and Foot, in seven or eight regiments, whereof Ormond's owne was one, which was commanded by Sir Edmond Verney. Hoping to break our force upon this siege, they made stout resistance, and we, having entered near a thousand men, were forced out againe. But God was pleased to give a new spirit of courage to our men, they fell on againe and entered it, beating the enemies from their defences, which they had made by three retrenchments to the right and left, which they were forced to quit. The whole garrison was put to the sword; it is believed not twenty escaped, except about seven or eight score which were taken in two towers afterwards, to whom their lives were given, but are reserved in safe custody to be sent to the Barbadoes. It is not known that any one officer escaped but one lieutenant, who, going to the enemy, reports that he was the only man that escaped of all that garrison.
This is all that Frost says of Drogheda, and it is clear that in his view the town fell upon Wednesday, the 12th. His narrative is a summary of Cromwell's despatch to Bradshaw (in which neither days nor dates are named), with the date and one or two trifling particulars added from information given him by Captain Porter.
When Cromwell's two despatches to Lenthall were opened and read in the House on the 2nd of October an order was made for them to be printed. Accordingly the two despatches dated the 17th and 27th of September, together with the letter from Venables enclosed in the second despatch, were published in one pamphlet on the 3rd of October. This pamphlet is the main source of Carlyle's, Gardiner's, and other modern writers' accounts.
The first thing that is noticeable in Cromwell's despatch dated the 17th of September is that it is throughout a day wrong in its dates. Cromwell says that he marched out of Dublin 'on Friday the 30th of August,' when that day was the 31st; that the batteries began to play on the town and that he sent Aston a summons to surrender' upon Monday the ninth,' when Monday was the 10th; finally adding that he stormed Drogheda on Tuesday the 10th. According to this reckoning, if he made a simple mistake, Tuesday, the 11th, was the day on which he put the garrison to the sword, and not Wednesday, the 12th, as Walter Frost asserted.
Secondly, there is a marked absence of any mention of dates after the fatal Tuesday. Cromwell is precise in telling his readers what happened on Tuesday and the 'next day,' but of the rest of the week he says not a word. To this it must be added that the newsbooks' accounts which I shall afterwards quote also mention no dates after the Tuesday in question. It seems tolerably certain that the licenser, so far as he could, brought them all into line with Cromwell's despatch. That he did not succeed ; that, after all, he clumsily allowed one date to transpire and a
whole host of minor details to be set out, is due to the fact that he had never licensed before and had never written a newsbook himself.
Let us now examine this despatch, dated the 17th of September, upon which Cromwell's character for truthfulness hangs.
After describing the events of Monday, the 10th of September, Cromwell goes on:
Upon Tuesday the tenth (sic) of this instant about five of the clock in the evening we began the storm. After some hot dispute we entered about seven or eight hundred men, the enemy disputing it very stifly with us, and, indeed, through the advantages of the place and the courage that God was pleased to give the defenders our men were forced to retreat quite out of the breach, not without some considerable loss, Colonel Cassell being there shot in the head, whereof he presently died, and divers officers and soldiers doing their duty, killed and wounded. There was a tenalia (pincer-shaped trench] to flanker the south wall of the town between Duleek gate and the corner tower before mentioned, which our men entered, wherein they found some forty or fifty of the enemy, which they put to the sword ; and this they held, but it being without the wall and the sally port through the wall with that tenalia being choked up with some of the enemy which were killed in it it proved no use for our entrance into the towne that way. Although our men that stormed the breaches were forced to recoil, as before is expressed, yet being encouraged to recover their loss, they made a second attempt, wherein God was pleased to animate them that they got ground of the enemy and, by the goodness of God, forced him to quit his entrenchments. And, after a very hot dispute, the enemy having both Horse and Foot and we only Foot within the wall, the enemy gave ground, and our men became masters, but 6 of their entrenchments and the church which, indeed, although they made our entrance the more difficult, yet they proved of excellent use to us, so that the enemy could not annoy us with their horse, but thereby we had advantage to make good the ground that so we might let in our own horse which accordingly was done, though with much difficulty. The enemy retreated, divers of them, into the Mill Mount, a place very strong and of difficult access, being exceeding high, having a good graft [moat] and strongly pallisadoed. The governor Sir Arthur Aston, and divers considerable officers being there, our men were ordered by me to put them all to the sword and, indeed being in the heat of action, I forbade them to spare any there were in arms in the town, and I think that night they put to the sword about two thousand men, divers of the officers and soldiers being fled over the bridge into the other part of the town.
In the same pamphlet, the second despatch to Lenthall, dated the 27th of September, ends with a list of the officers and soldiers slain at the storming of Tredah,' the final words of which run: 'Two thousand five hundred foot soldiers besides staff officers, chyrurgeons, &c., and many inhabitants.' Cromwell thus leaves the number of inhabitants slain open to doubt.'
• Without drawing his readers' attention to the fact, Carlyle altered the word 'but' to 'both.' The point is important, as 'but' shows that Cromwell had gained no real advantage.
Carlyle asserted at there was 'no whisper' of the words 'and many inhabitants' in the old pamphlet' from which he copied this despatch, and
For the moment we will leave Cromwell's despatch and turn to the Moderate Intelligencer, published on the following day, Thursday, the 4th of October. This periodical was written by John Dillingham, inventor of the leading article, in times past the leader of the Parliamentary Press, who had more than once been punished for his outspokenness. It was to be expected therefore that Dillingham would have something to say about the suppression of the licensed Press, more especially as he knew he was about to incur a fine of 101. (about 401. of our money). He accordingly indulged in the following remarks at the end of his periodical :
That the author might make publick the first eminent action of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, as he hath done all the former, he hath adventured once more to public view. The work for the future is left to those whom Fame says wants none [i.e. to the official journalists, Frost and Scobel, neither of whom had ever written a newsbook before). It's the opinion of most that a bowl without a bias is best; others, that a little bias is tolerable. Some think a great bias is better than either of the other. Let it then run so, 'a la mode de France.'
Dillingham's words were not complimentary to Messrs. Frost and Scobel.
At the commencement of his pamphlet Dillingham commented on Peters's letter:
Behold a victory remarkable, first discovered by a letter of Mr. Peters, the contents whereof might well be omitted, having been divulged in a whole sheet [i.e. separate pamphlet], but in regard the numbers slain on both sides are so strong, viz, that more were slain of the besieged than of the besiegers in the taking of Tredah, viz, 3000 of the rebels and sixty of the besiegers it is probable the losse was equal during the enemies standing and that the rest were killed not resisting. There is a hint of treachery in the words 'not resisting.'
The following extracts are from a lengthy letter set out by
On the 11. about four in the afternoon, the assault began
.. the violence of the enemy made our men give back, so fierce was the opposition, which the Lord Lieutenant seeing, ran on foot to the soldiers and encouraged them, which occasioned the renewing of the charge, and it was done with such resolution that they immediately carried the
that the Parliamentary history had added them, as usual, giving no reference.' Mrs. S. C. Lomas has pointed out that this is untrue. Not only does the Parliamentary history give as its reference the very same old pamphlet used by Carlyle (and now before the present writer), but Carlyle himself took 'the very considerable liberty indeed' of omitting them. Moreover, the words appear in the Kingdomes Weekly Intelligencer published on Tuesday, the 2nd of October, the day before the old pamphlet' appeared. The writer of this periodical went to hear Cromwell's despatch read in the House on that day and took down the list of slain-the words omitted by him in the list and the phonetic spelling and mistakes proving this—and inserted the list at the very end of his periodical, having left a blank space for the purpose. His version runs : ‘Two thousand five hundred foot soldiers, besides state [sic] officers, chirurgions and many inhabitants.'
town, putting to the sword as fast as they could. In which slaughter there fell Sir Arthur Aston, a Papist, as were most of the garrison, the reason given of his death is said to be the rage of Colonel Castle's soldiers for the death of their colonel, also for that Ashton gave not a civill answer when summoned. Sir Edward [sic] Varney also was slain, who had the charge of the mount [italics mine), also Colonel Fleming, Lieutenant-Colonel Finglass, Major Gerald, Sir Robert Hartpool, captains, lieutenants and cornets of horse eighty-where their horse were we know not, probably they went as common men. Of foot, Colonel William Waller, Colonel Warren, Colonel Burne, the Lord Taaf's brother, an Augustine Frier, of captains and inferior officers of foot 44, 220 reformadoes, 2000 within the town were put to the sword, the rest that had that kind of execution leapt over the wall, who are about 500, which makes in all about 2900 ; being all Papists no doubt, and many of them of that party called Toryes, who used to rob and kill without mercy, and no doubt were of that wretched party that kill'd so many Protestants at the beginning of the rebellion, and so God the Avenger of Murder (which is to kill contrary to his Rule of direction) hath met with them and sooner or later will with all such bloody minded men.
My next extract is from the Kingdomes Faithfull and Impartiall Scout of Daniel Border, the anabaptist, published on Friday, the 5th of October, as follows:
They kept a mount, the strongest that hath bin seen, in which they had 300 foot, 6 great guns, and 50 barrels of powder with match and bullet proportionable, also victuals to have lasted nine months. In it, amongst others of eminency, was Sir Arthur Ashton and Sir Robert Thorold. Which fort was suddenly entered by our men, which put the enemy into such amazement that some fled to the towers of the wall and others to the church, where they were all killed and taken. The Commanders were rich in money and apparell, there was in all about 3000 slain and what was found became free booty.
This is the only passage discoverable which gives the slightest colour to Gardiner's theory that 1000 of the garrison were killed in St. Peter's Church. As will be noticed from the context, the writer's expression implies church ‘steeple.' My next two quotations place this point beyond dispute. To return to Cromwell's despatch, dated the 17th, exactly at the place where we left it :
Where about 100 of them possessed St. Peter's Church steeple, some the west gate, and others a strong Round tower, next the gate called St. Sundays. These being summoned to yield to mercy refused. Whereupon I ordered the steeple of St. Peter's Church to be fired, when one of them was heard to say 'God damn me, God confound me; I burn, I burn.'
Having thus finished describing the events he asserted took place on Tuesday, Cromwell then goes on to the events of his second and final day, which, according to his reckoning, should be Wednesday, the 12th of September :
The next day, the other two towers were summoned, in one of which was about six or seven score; but they refused to yield themselves; and we, knowing that hunger must compel them, set only good guards to secure them from running away until their stomachs were come down. From one
of the said towers, notwithstanding their condition, they killed and wounded some of our men. When they submitted, their officers knocked on the head and every tenth man of the soldiers killed, and the rest shipped for the Barbadoes. The soldiers in the other tower were all spared, as to their lives only, and shipped likewise for the Barbadoes.
On Friday, the 5th of October, Henry Walker's Perfect Occurrences was also published. It contains a letter from his friend John Hewson, the regicide, who personally conducted the operations at the towers and the church. After stating that Cromwell's forces 'entered their great mount where was their garrison with about 200 officers and soldiers, who were all put to the sword, Hewson goes on :
The rest fled over the bridge, where they were closely pursued and most of them slain. Some got into two towers on the wall, and some into the steeple, but, they refusing to come down, the steeple was fired; and then fifty of them got out at the top of the church, but the enrayed soldiers put them all to the sword and thirty of them were burnt in the fire, some of them cursing and crying out 'God damn them and cursed their souls as they were burning. Those in the towers, being about 200, did yield to the General's mercy, where most of them have their lives and be sent to the Barbadoes. In this slaughter there was, by my observation, at least 3000 dead bodies lay in the fort and streets, whereof there could not be 150 of them of our army, for I lost more than any other regiment, and there was not 60 killed outright of my men.
These two extracts prove that the bulk of the garrison was killed, as Hewson says, 'in the fort and streets,' not in the church.
But Cromwell pins himself to the definite assertion that St. Peter's Church steeple was burnt on the night of Tuesday, the 11th. On what day did he intend his readers to infer that the remaining two towers surrendered? Wednesday, the 12th? Hewson's letter reads as if everything had happened on Tuesday, the 11th, and as if he had burnt the church steeple and the other two towers had surrendered on that day.
Cromwell and Hewson both concealed vital facts.
The first was this : Before he fired St. Peter's steeple, Hewson attempted to blow up the whole building with powder, but only succeeded in destroying the church itself.8 Then, the church steeple being of wood (the original tower, a very lofty one, having
• The authority for this is a mutilated tract in the possession of Professor C. H. Firth, quoted by Gardiner, who says that it was written by Nicholas Bernard, vicar of St. Peter's. I have been unable to trace any copy of this. The Moderate Intelligencer of the 4th of October corroborates it as follows : We take notice that the Sunday and last two days before Tredagh was taken Masse was said in the two great churches of the town; where such sottish idolatry is erected and on high the fall, we hope, will still be the greater; and so shall we overcome. These two churches, the one was beat downe, the other blown up, let him continue to plough with an oxe and an asse, believe it he is like to come home with a weeping cross.'