Page images
PDF
EPUB

multuous fury of wounded pride and disappointed ambition to assume the semblance of principle, and looked towards the ruin of the political franchises and the religion of his country, which he had so sworn to maintain, as to the necessary removal of standing reproaches of his apostacy and barriers to his aggrandizement. Hence there was no scheme so desperate that he hesitated to recommend, none so wicked that he declined to execute. His eulogists have so liberally called in the aid of fiction to their narrative of his exploits, as to represent him as a prodigy of military talent; yet, when we examine his feats through the medium of truth instead of romance, we discover neither the comprehension nor the cool judgment of a great general, who takes in a wide plan of operations. But his abilities were better suited to the measures he projected than higher genius. Misled by his passions, he allowed his presumptuous hopes to direct his understanding, and embarked in undertakings which a calculating head would have rejected; but addressing himself to the wild barbarians of the hills, whose object was plunder, he roused them by intrepidity and decision, and thus seemed, on the sudden, to wield resources of which nobody anticipated his command. As, however, his troops were adapted to him, so was he to them; and, though both were terrible in desultory warfare, neither could act in a higher sphere. His firm adherence to the royal cause af+ ter the detection of his conspiracies against the state, has already been accounted for without re dounding to his credit; an individual of intolerable pride and ambition, whose treachery has reduced him to the humiliating condition of an outcast from one party, has no alternative but to cling to another, which he has perfidiously attempted to serve; and the fortunes, the all, of Montrose, latterly depended upon the success of the royal side. It has been justly remarked, however, as a favourable trait in his character, that though he could not bear an equal, and was always ready to destroy an adversary, whether by heroism in the field or by the cowardly mode of assassination, he was still generous to those who testified their sense of his superiority.

We shall, in their place, relate the events which arose out of the detestable projects devised by him; and, in the mean time, resume our narrative.

The queen having erected her standard, (on which, and other grounds,—as having caused disturbances in Scotland, incited the Irish rebellion, pawned the crown jewels, &c. she was impeached by the parliament of high treason*,) gave great supplies to the Earl of Newcastle, with whom she acted in concert, though, as she preferred her own favourites, jealousy soon sprang up between them f. The king had solemnly denied that he retained Catholics in his army, 'and absurdly retorted the charge upon the adverse party; but, as great part of the Earl's troops were of the Romish persuasion, it was vain for that nobleman to persist in

[ocr errors][graphic]

denying the fact, and while he owned that part of them were papists, he defended the measure by the practice of princes in general, who are indifferent to the religion of their soldiers, and followed the example of his master in charging the parliament with being equally unscrupulous. The junction of the queen and the earl was attended with great effects; but their success was rather apparent than real. Not only were the counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, and Durham, with the town of Newcastle, brought under subjection, but even the northern parts of Yorkshire; and, in spite of the vigorous exertions of Lord Fairfax, and his heroic son Sir Thomas, and of Hull's being in the power of the parliament, the queen and Newcastle still extended their conquests. Fairfax had been too much neglected by the two houses, and he was at one time obliged to intimate to them that, unless he received supplies, he would be obliged to renounce the contest; but he was no stranger to the internal causes of decay which operated on the other side, and the inherent vigour of his own party. Newcastle had pressed a portion of his soldiers, and levied contributions at pleasure, and even allowed his men to pillage the country. Hence, as well as on principle, the inhabitants were everywhere hostile to him, and, in April, when he desired a mutual cessation, not only the troops of Fairfax declared their aversion to it, but the country population in general, unless they were indemnified of the losses they had sustained through the lawless proceedings of his army *. With the country against him, Newcastle could not long maintain his power, since, though the people might for a season be kept down by force, they would naturally avail themselves of any reverse in their oppressor to rise against him. But, in the mean time, he was terrible in that quarter; and afterwards became still more so. What contributed to the temporary misfortunes of Fairfax was, that Newcastle, who had great influence in Nottinghamshire, succeeded, by garrisoning Newark, in cutting off his supplies from the parliamentary party in Lincolnshire. A detachment of Newcastle's army, under Mr. Cavendish, had even taken Grantham, with three hundred prisoners, and all their arms and ammunition. Scarborough Castle too, was delivered up to the queen, and, though it was recovered in the same week, it was again treacherously surrendered. Such, in the early part of the year, was the posture of affairs in the North f.

The West had at first been entirely under the authority of the parliament; but matters had since begun to take a different turn. The Earl of Bedford, at the head of some parliamentary forces, had

* MSS. Brit. Mus. Ayscough, 4162. Extracts from the Register Book of Letters of Ferd. Lord Fairfax. May. Rush. vol. v. p. 131. et seq. 268, ft seq. See there also an account of the queen's haughty reception of Sir William Fairfax, who was sent to her by Lord Fairfax, with the view of inducing her to interpose her influence towards an accommodation.

t Rush. vol. v. p. 66. 264, 265—268, et scq. 2M. Clar. vol. iii. p. 137- et seq. 143-4.

obliged the Marquis of Hertford, who headed the opposite party, to retreat into Wales, and Sir Ralph Hopton, Sir John Berkeley, Ashburnham, and others, to retire into Cornwall. But the ease with which he effected this, produced a contempt of the enemy, which led to memorable consequences. Instead of following up his success, the marquis left the restoration of tranquillity to the commissioners from the parliament, aided by the militia of Devonshire; and as the parliament despised the opposite party in that quarter, as much as the earl did, both the marquis and the rest were thus allowed leisure to recruit their forces and project new measures. The commissioners conceived the plan of proceeding in Cornwall by a legal course against the royalists, for having come armed into that county, and a presentment against them was prepared; but the best quality of that shire, (the same spirit does not appear to have extended to the lower classes,) having been devoted to the crown and high church principles, the bill was thrown out by the grand jury : and matters did not end even there; for a commission from the king to the Marquis of Hertford, as general of that district, and another from that nobleman to Sir R. Falkland having been exhibited, the grand-jury expressed their sense of his majesty's care of them, and their determination to support him. Feeling their strength, they followed the example which had been set them of legal measures, and indicted Sir Alexander Carew, Sir Richard Buller, and the other parliamentary commissioners, for a riot and unlawful assembly at Launceston, and also for riots

« PreviousContinue »