« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
rotten-hearted lords. The former, especially, Deing easily distinguishable by their habit; and being the object of violent hatred to all the sectaries, were exposed to the most dangerous insults. The archbishop of York, having been abused by the populace, hastily called a meeting of his brethren. By his advice a protestation was drawn up, and addressed to the king and the house of lords. The bishops there set forth, that though they had an undoubted right to sit and vote in parliament, yet, in coming thither they had been menaced, assaulted, and affronted, by the unruly multitude, and could no longer with safety attend their duty in the house. For this reason they protested against all laws, votes, and resolutions, as null and invalid, which should pass during the time of their forced absence. This protestation, which, though just and legal, was certainly ill-timed, was signed by twelve bishops, and communicated to the king, who hastily approved it. As soon as it was presented to the lords, that house desired a conference with the commons, whom they informed of this unexpected protestation. The opportunity was seized with joy and triumph. An impeachment of high treason was immediately sent up against the bishops, as endeavouring to subvert the fundamental laws, and to invalidate the authority of the legislature. They were now, therefore, dismissed from parliament, and committed to custody; no man in either house venturing to speak a word in their vindication. This was a fatal blow to the royal interest; but it was soon to receive a much greater from the imprudence of the king himself. Charles had long suppressed his resentment, and strove earnestly to gratify the commons by the greatness of his concessions; but, finding that all this had but increased their demands, he could no longer bow to them. He gave orders to Herbert, the attorney-general, to enter an accusation of high treason, in the house of peers, against lord Kimboltou, one of the most popular men of his party, together with five commoners, Sir Arthur Haslerig, Hollis, Hampden, Pym, and Strode. The articles were, that they had traitorously endeavoured to subvert the fundamental laws and government of the kingdom, to deprive the king of his regal power, and to impose on his subjects an arbitrary and tyrannical authority; that they had invited a foreign army to invade the kingdom ; that they had aimed at subverting the very right and being of parliaments; and actually raised and countenanced tumults against the king. Men had scarcely leisure to wonder at the precipitancy and imprudence of this impeachment, when they were astonished by another measure still more rash and unsupported. A Serjeant at arms, in the king's name, demanded of the house the five members, and was sent back without any positive answer. This was followed by a conduct still more extraordinary. The next day the king himself entered the house of commons alone, advancing through the hall, while ail the members stood up to receive him. The speaker withdrew from his chair, and the king took possess:on of it. Having seated himself, and looked tound him for some time, he told the house, that he was sorry for the occasion that
forced him thither; that he was come in person to seize the members whom he had accused of high treason, seeing they would not deliver them up to his Serjeant at arms. Then addlessing himself to the speaker, he desired to know whether any of them were in the house; but the speaker falling on his knees, replied, that he had neither eyes to see, nor tongue to speak, in that
filace, but as the house was pleased to direct lim; and he asked pardon for being able to give no other answer. The king sat for some time, to see if the accused were present; but they had escaped a few minutes before his eutry. Thus disappointed, perplexed, and not knowing on whom to rely, he next proceeded amidst the invectives of the populace, who continued to cry out, 'Privilege! privilege 1'to the common council of the city, and made his complaint to them. The common council answered his complaints by a contemptuous silence; and, on his return, one of the populace, more insolent than the rest, cried out, 'To your tents, O Israel 1' a watch word among the Jews, when they intended to abandon their princes. The commons assembled the next day, when they professed the greatest alarm: 'and passed a unanimous vote, that the king had violated their privileges, and that they could not assemble again in the same place, till they should obtain satisfaction. The king had retired to Windsor, and thence he wrote to the parliament, making every concession, and promising every satisfaction in his power. But they were resolved to accept of nothing, unless he would discover his advisers in that illegal measure; a condition to which, they knew, that, without rendering himself for ever contemptible, he could not possibly submit. The commons had already stripped the king of almost all his privileges; the bishops were fled, the judges were intimidated; it now only remained, after securing the church and the law, that they should get possession of the sword also. The power of appointing governors and generals, and of levying armies, was still a remaining prerogative of the crown. Having therefore first magnified their terrors of Popery, which perhaps they actually dreaded, they proceeded to petition that the tower might be put into their hands; and that Hull, Portsmouth, and the fleet, should be intrusted to persons of their choosing:— requests, the complying with which subverted what remained of the constitution; however, such was the necessity of the times, that they were first contested, and then granted. At last the commons desired to have a militia, raised and governed by such officers and commanders as they should nominate, under pretence of securing them from the Irish Papists, of whom they were under great apprehension. Charles now ventured to put a stop to his concessions. He was then at Dover, attending the queen and the princess of Orange, who thought it prudent to leave the kingdom. He replied to the petition, that he had not now leisure to consider a matter of such great importance; arid therefore would defer an answer till his return. But the commons alleged, that the danger* and distempers of the nation were such as could endure no longer delay; and. unless the king should speedily comply with their demands, they would be obliged, both for his safety, and that of the kingdom, to embody a militia by the authority of both houses. In their remonstrances to the king, they desired even to be permitted to command the army for an appointed time; which so exasperated him, that he exclaimed, 'No, not for an hour.' This answer broke off the treaty; and both sides resolved to have recourse to arms. Charles, taking the prince of Wales with him, retired to York, where he found the people more loyal, and his cause supported by a more numerous party than he had expected. The queen, who was in Holland, was also making successful levies of men and ammunition, by selling the crown jewels. But, before war was openly declared, a negociation was carried on, with a design to please the people. The parliament sent the king the conditions on which they were willing to come to an agrcemeat. Their demands were contained in nineteen propositions, and amounted to almost a total surrender of monarchical authority. They required that no man should remain in the council who was not agreeable to parliament; that no deed of the king's should have validity unless it passed the council, and was attested under their hand; and that all the officers of state should be chosen with consent of parliament; that none of the royal family should marry without consent of parliament or council; that the laws should be executed against Catholics; that the votes of popish lords should be excluded; that the reformation of the liturgy and church government should take place according to the advice of parliament; that the ordinance with regard to the militia should be submitted to; that the justice of parliament should pass upon all delinquents; that a general pardon should be granted, with such exceptions as should be advised by parliament; that the forts and castles should be disposed of by consent of parliament ; and no peer made but with consent of both houses. War on any terms was esteemed by the king, and all his counsellors, preferable to so ignominious a peace. Charles accordingly resolved to support his authority by force of arms. 'His towns, he said, 'were taken from him; his ships, his army, and his money: but there still remained to him a good cause, and the hearts of his loyal subjects; which, with God's blessing, he doubted not, would recover all the rest.' Collecting, therefore, some forces, he advanced southwards, and erected the royal standard at Nottingham.
The king found himself supported in the civil war, which now ensued, by the nobility and principal gentry; who, dreading a total confusion of rank, from the fury of the populace, inlisted themselves under the banner of the monarch. The concurrence of the bishops and the church also increased the adherents of the king; but, it must be added, that the high monarchical doctrine so much inculcated by the clergy, had done him much ill. The majority of the nobility and gentry, who now attended him, breathed the spirit of liberty as well as of loyalty: and, in the hopes of his submitting to a limited and legal government, they were willing to sacrifice their lives and fortunes. On the
other band, the city of London, and most of the great corporations, took part with the parliament; and adopted with zeal those democratical principles on which these assemblies were founded. JTie example of the Dutch commonwealth too, where liberty had so happily supported industry, made the commercial part of the nation desirous to see a similar form of government in England. At first every advantage seemed to lie against the royal cause. The king was totally destitute of money. London, and all the sea-ports, except Newcastle, being in the hands of parliament, they were secure of a considerable revenue; and, the seamen naturally following the disposition of the ports to which they belonged, they had also the entire dominion of the sea. All the magazines of arms and ammunition they also seized; and their fleet intercepted the greatest part of those sent by the queen from Holland.
The king, in order to arm his followers, was obliged to borrow the weapons of the trained bands, under promise of restoring them as soon as peace should be settled; and the rank and quality of his adherents gave the king some hopes of compensation for all the advantages possessed by his adversaries. More bravery and activity were expected from the nobles and gentry, than from the multitude. And as the landed gentlemen, at their own expense, levied and armed their tenants, besides their attachment to their masters, greater courage and exertions were to be expected from these rustic troops, than from the vicious and enervated populace of cities. Had the parliamentary forces, however, exerted themselves at first, they might have easily dissipated the small number the king had been able to collect, and which amounted to no more than 800 horse, and 300 foot; while his enemies were within a few days' march of him with 6000 men. In a short time the parliamentary army were ordered to march to Northampton; and the earl of Essex, who had joined them, found the whole to amount to 15,000. The king's army too was increased from all quarters; but still, having no force capable of coping with the parliamentarians, he thought it prudent to retire to Derby, and thence to Shrewsbury, to countenance the levies which his friends were making in those parts. At Wellington, a day's march from Shrewsbury, he caused his orders to be read at the head of every regiment. He here protested solemnly before his whole army, that he would maintain the Protestant religion according to the church of England; that he would govern according to the known statutes and customs of the kingdom; and, particularly, that he would observe inviolably the laws to which he had given his consent during this parliament, &c. While Charles lay at Shrewsbury, he received the news of an action, the first which had happened in this contest, and wherein his party was victorious. On the appearance of commotions in England, the princes Rupert and Maurice, sons of the unfortunate elector-palatine, had offered their services to the king; and the former at that time commanded a body of horse which had been sent to Worcester to watch the motion: of Essex, who was marching towards that city. Wo scorer nad the prince arrived, than he saw some cavalry of the enemy approaching the gates. . Without delay he briskly attacked them, as they were defiling from a lane, and forming themselves. Colonel Sandys, their commander, was killed, the whole party routed, and pursued above a mile. In 1642, October 23d, a general engagement took place at Edgehill, in which, though the royalists were at first victorious, their impetuosity lost the advantage they had gained; and 5000 men were found dead on the field of battle. Soon after the king took Banbury and Reading; and defeated two regiments of the enemy at Brentford, taking 500 prisoners. Thus ended the campaign of 1642; in which, though the king had the advantage, yet the parliamentary army had increased to 24,000 men, and was much superior to his : notwithstanding which they offered terms of peace. In 1643, the treaty was carried on, but without any cessation of hostilities; and indeed the negociation went no farther than the first demand on each side; for the parliament, finding no probability of coming to an accommodation, suddenly recalled their commissioners. On the 27th April, Reading surrendered to the parliamentary forces under the earl of Essex, who commanded a body of 18,000 men. The earl of Northumberland united in a league for the king the counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and the bishopric; and some time after engaged other counties in the same association. He also took possession of York, and dislodged the forces of the parliament at Tadcaster, but his victory was not J. Other advantages were also gained by the royalists; the most important of which was in the battle of Stratton, where the poet Waller, who commanded the parliamentary army, was entirely defeated, and forced to fly with only a few horse to Bristol. This happened on the 13th July; and was followed by o siege of that city, which surrendered to prince Rupert on the 25th of the same month. Such a tide of success on the part of the royalists had greatly dispirited the opposite party; and such confusion now prevailed at London, that some proposed to the king to march directly to that city, and thus put an end to the civil disorders at once. This advice, however, was rejected, and it was resolved first to reduce Gloucester, in consequence of which the king would have the whole course of the Severn under his command. The siege of that city commenced August 10; but being defended by Massey, a resolute governor, and well garrisoned, it made a vigorous defence. The consternation in London, however, was as great as if the enemy had been already at their gates; and, in the midst of the general confusion, a design was formed by Waller of forcing the parliament to accept of some reasonable conditions of peace. This design he imparted to some others; but, a discovery being made of their proceedings, heand two of his coadjutors were condemned to death. Waller, however, escaped with a fine of £10,000. The city of Gloucester in the mean time was reduced to the utmost extremity; and the parliament, as their last resource, despatched Essex with an army of 14,000 men, in order to raise the siege. This he accomplished; and when he
entered, found only one barrel of gunpowder left and other provisions in the same proportion. On his return to London, he was intercepted by the king's army, with whom a desperate battle ensued at Newbury, which lasted till night. Though the victory was left undecided, Essex next morning proceeded on his march, and reached London in safety. The king followed him; and having taken possession of Reading after the earl left it, he there established a garrison. During this summer, the earl, now marquis of Newcastle, had raised a considerable force for the king in the north; and great hopes of success were entertained from that quarter. There appeared, however, in opposition to him, two men on whom the event of the war finally depended, and who began about this time to be remarked for their valor and military conduct. These were Sir Thomas Fairfax, son to the lord of that name; and Oliver Cromwell. The former gained a considerable advantage over the royalists at Wakefield, and took general Goring prisoner; the latter obtained a victory at Gainsborough over a party commanded by the gallant Cavendish, who perished in the action. But both these defeats were more than compensated by the total rout of lord Fairfax at Atherton Moor, and the dispersion of his army, which happened on the 31st of July. After this victory the marquis of Newcastle sat down before Hull, with an army of 15,000 men; but afterwards thought proper to raise the siege. About the same time, Manchester, who advanced from the eastern associated counties, having joined Cromwell and young Fairfax, obtained a considerable victory over the royalists at Horn Castle. See Cromwell. The king's party, however, still remained much superior in those parts of England; and had it not been for the garrison of Hull, which kept Yorkshire in awe, a conjunction of the northern forces with the army in the south, might have been made. The battle of Newbury was attended with such loss on both sides, that it put an end to the campaign of 1643, by obliging both parties to retire into winter quarters. The event of the war being now very doubtful, both the king and parliament began to look for assistance from other nations. The former cast his eyes on Ireland, the latter looked to Scotland. At the commencement of the dissensions, the parliament of England had invited the Scots to interpose their mediation, which they knew would be very little favorable to the king, and which for that reason he had declined. Early in the spring of 1643 this offer of mediation had been renewed, with no better success. The parliament, being now in great distress, sent commissioners to Edinburgh, to treat of a more close confederacy with the Scottish nation. The person they principally trusted to on this occasion was the eloquent and able Sir Henry Vane. By his advice was framed at Edinburgh the solemn league and covenant: which exceeded all former protestations and vows taken in both kingdoms, and long maintained its credit and authority. See Coven ANT. Great were the rejoicings among the Scots, that they should be the happy instruments of extending their mode of religion, and dissipating the profound darkness in which the neighbouring nations were involved. Being determined that the sword should carry conviction to all refrac* tory minds, they acceded to the English proposals; and prepared with great vigilance and activity for military enterprises; so that, having added to their other forces the troops which they had recalled from Ireland, they were ready about the end of the year to enter England, under their old general the earl of Leven, with an army of above 20,000 men. The king, in the interim, concluded a cessation of arms with the Irish rebels, and recalled a considerable part of his army from Ireland. Some Irish Catholics came over with these troops, and joined the royal army, where they continued the same cruelties and disorders to which they had been accustomed. The parliament now voted, therefore, that no quarter in anyaetion should be given them. But prince Rupert, by making some reprisals, soon repressed this inhumanity.
The campaign of 1644 proved at first favorable to the royal cause, though afterwards quite the reverse. The Irish forces besieged and took the castles of Hawarden, Beeston, Acton, and Deddington House. No place in Cheshire or the neighbourhood now adhered to the parliament, except Nantwich; and to this place Biron laid siege in the depth of winter. Sir Thomas Fairfax, alarmed at his progress, assembled an army of 4000 men in Yorkshire; and, having joined Sir William Brereton, attacked the camp of the royalists:—when the swelling of the river by a thaw divided their army. That part exposed to Fairfax, being beat from their post, retired into the church of Acton, where they were all taken prisoners. The other retreated with precipitation; and thus was dissipated the whole body of forces which had come from Ireland. This happened on the 25th of January; and, on the 11th of April, colonel Bellasis was totally defeated at Selby in Yorkshire, by Sir Thomas Fairfax, who had returned from Cheshire. Being afterwards joined by lord Leven, the two generals sat down before York; but, being unable to invest that city completely, they contented themselves with incommoding it by a loose blockade. Hopeton, having assembled a body of 14,000 men, endeavoured to break into Sussex and Kent, but was defeated by Waller at Cherington. At Newark, however, prince Rupert totally defeated the parliamentary army which besieged that place; and thus preserved the communication open between the king's northern and southern forces. . Manchester on the other hand, having taken Lincoln, had united his army to that of Leven and Fairfax; and reduced York to the last extremity. At this time prince Rupert, having joined Sir Charles Lucas who commanded Newcastle's horse, hastened to its relief with an army of 20,000 men; when the Scots and parliamentary generals raised the siege, and drew up on Marston Moor. The prince, hurried on by his natural impetuosity, gave immediate orders for fighting. The battle it is well known (see Cromwell) was lost, the royal army entirely pushed off the field, and the train of artillery taken. Immediately after this, the marquis of Newcastle left the kingdom, prince Rupert retired into Lancashire, York was surrendered in a few days, and Newcastle Liken by storm.
On the 27th of October another battle was fought at Newbury, in which the royalists were worsted, but soon after retrieved their honor at Dennington Castle, which finished the campaign of 1644.
In 1645 a negociatioo was again set on foot, and the commissioners met at Uxbridge on the 30th of January; but it was soon found impossible to come to any agreement. The demands of the parliament were exorbitant; and even these their commissioners owned to be nothing but preliminaries. The king was required to attaint, and except from a general pardon, forty of the most considerable of his English subjects, and nineteen of bis Scots, together with all the popish recusants who had borne arms for him. It was insisted that forty-eight more, with all the members of either house who had sat in the parliament called by the king at Oxford, and all lawyers and divines who had embraced the king's party, should be rendered incapable of any office, be prohibited from coming within the verge of the court, and forfeit the third of their estates to the parliament. Whoever had borne arms for the king was also to forfeit the tenth of their estates, or, if that did not suffice, the sixth, for the payment of the public debts. It was also demanded that the court of wards should be abolished; that all the considerable officers of the crown, and all the judges should be appointed by parliament; and that the right of peace and war should not be exercised without their consent. A little before the commencement of this fruitless treaty, the parliament, to show their determined resolution to proceed in the same haughty method in which they had begun, brought archbishop Laud to the block.
While the king's affairs thus went to ruin in England, they seemed to revive a little in Scotland, through the conduct and valor of the earl of Montrose, a young nobleman newly returned from his travels. He had been introduced to the king, but, not meeting with an agreeable reception, had gone over to the covenanters, and been active in forwarding all their violence. Being commissioned, however, by the Tables, to wait upon king Charles, while the army lay at Berwick, he was so gained by the caresses of that monarch, that he thenceforth devoted himself entirely, though secretly, to his service. For attempting to form an association in favor of the royal cause, Montrose was quickly thrown into prison; but, being again released, he found the king ready to give ear to his counsels, which were of the boldest and most daring kind. The defeat at Marston Moor had left him no hopes of any succours from England; he was therefore obliged to stipulate with the earl of Antrim, a nobleman of Ireland, for some supply of men from that country. And he himself having used various disguises, and passed through many dangers, arrived in Scotland, where he lay for some time concealed in the borders of the Highlands. The Irish did not esceed 1100 foot, very ill armed. Montrose immediately put himself at their head; and, being joined by 1300 Highlanders, attacked lord Elcho, who lay at Perth with 6000 men, utterly defeated him, and killed 2000 of the covenanters. He next matched northwards, to rouse again the marquis of Huntly
and the Gordons, who had taken arms before, but had been suppressed by the covenanters. For other particulars of his brilliant career, see Montrose.
We need here only add that having prevailed in many battles, which his vigor always rendered as decisive as they were successful, he prepared for marching into the southern provinces, in order to put a total period to the power of the covenanters, and disperse the parliament, which with great pomp and solemnity they had ordered to meet at St. Johnstone's.
Fairfax, or rather Oliver Cromwell under his name, employed himself meanwhile in bringing in a new model into the parliamentary army, and never surely was a more singular army established. To the greatest number of the regiments chaplains were not appointed. The officers assumed the spiritual duty, and united it with their military functions. During the intervals of action, they occupied themselves in sermons, prayers, and exhortations. Rapturous ecstacies supplied the place of study and reflection; and, while the zealous devotees poured out their thoughts in unpremeditated harangues, they mistook that eloquence, which to their own surprise, as well as that of others, flowed in upon them, for divine illuminations. V herever they were quartered, they excluded the minister from his pulpit, and conveyed their sentiments to the audience with all the authority that followed their power, their valor, and their military exploits. Even private soldiers were seized with the same spirit: and an army of devotees paraded the country. The parliament also greatly increased their popularity at this time, passing an act called the self-denying ordinance, viz. that no member of their house should have a command in the army. The royalists ridiculed this fanaticism of the parliamentary armies, without being sensible how much reason they had to dread it. They were at this time equal, if not superior, in numbers to their enemies; but so licentious, that they were become as formidable to their friends as their foes. The natural consequence was, that equal numbers of the king's forces, could no longer maintain their ground against those of the parliament. This appeared in the decisive battle of Naseby, June 4th, 1645, where the forces were nearly equal; but, after an obstinate engagement, Charles was entirely defeated; 500 of his officers and 4000 private men made prisoners; all his artillery and ammunition taken, and his infantry totally dispersed; so that no victory could be more complete.
Charles, after this battle, retired first to Hereford, then to Abergavenny; and remained some time in Wales, in the vain hope of raising a body of infantry. Fairfax on the 17th of June retook Leicester. On the 10th of July he raised the siege of Taunton; and the royalists retired to Lamport, an open town in the county of Somerset. Here they were attacked by Fairfax, and beat from their post, with the loss of 300 killed and 1400 prisoners. This was followed by the loss of Bridgewater, which that commander took three days after; making the garrison, to the number of 2600 men, prisoners
of war. He then reduced Bath and Sherborne; and, on the 11th of September, Bristol was surrendered by prince Rupert, though a few days before he had boasted in a letter to Charles, that he would defend the place for four months. This so enraged the king, that he immediately recalled all the prince's commissions, and sent him a pass to go beyond sea. The Scots in the mean time, having made themselves masters of Carlisle after an obstinate siege, marched southwards and invested Hereford; but were obliged to raise the siege on the king's approach : and this was the last glimpse of success that attended his arms. Having marched to the relief of Chester, which was anew besieged by the parliamentary forces under colonel Jones, his rear was attacked by Pointz, and an engagement immediately ensued. While the fight was continued with great obstinacy, and victory seemed to incline to the royalists, Jones fell upon them from the other side, and defeated them with the loss of 600 killed and 1000 taken prisoners. The king with the remains of his army fled to Newark; and thence to Oxford, where he shut himself up during the winter. After the surrender of Bristol, Fairfax and Cromwell having divided their forces, the former marched westwards to complete the conquest of Devonshire and Corn wall; the latter attacked the king's garrisons e.i-1 of Bristol. At last news arrived that Montrose himself, after some more successes, was defeated; and thus the last hope of the royal party was destroyed. Nothing could be more affecting than the situation in which the king now found himself. He resolved to grant the parliament their own terms, and sent them repeated messages to this purpose, but they did not deign to make him any reply. At last, after reproaching him with the blood spilt during the war, they told him that they were preparing some bills, to which, if he would consent, they would then be able to judge of his pacific inclinations. Fairfax, in the meantime, was advancing with a victorious army to lay siege to Oxford; and Charles, rather than submit to be taken captive and led in triumph by his insolent English subjects, resolved to give himself up to the Scots, who had never testified such implacable animosity against him, and to confide himself to their loyalty. Passing by various cross-roads, he arrived in company with only two persons, Dr. Hudson and Mr. Ashburnham, at the Scots camp before Newark, and discovered himself to lord Leven their general. The reception he met with was such as might be expected from a set of men more influenced by bigotry, than the principles of honor or humanity. Instead of endeavouring to alleviate the distresses of their sovereign, they suffered him to be insulted by their clergymen, and immediately sent an account of his arrival to the English parliament. The Scots thought this a proper time for the recovery of the arrears due to them by the English. A considerable sum of money was really due to them, and they probably claimed more. At last, after various debates between them and the parliament, it was agreed, that, upon payment of £400,000, the Scots, to their everlasting disgrace, should deliver up the king to his enemies. The