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sacrifice ought to be reckoned inconsiderable. Such were the first proceedings of the mongrel parliament. But Charles, not content with the taxes which even it imposed, issued orders, under the penalty of fire and sword, to the inhabitants of Oxfordshire, and the neighbouring counties, to bring in their corn, hay, &c. for which, indeed, he professed his purpose to pay at moderate rates. His parliament adjourned itself during the summer; and we shall give some accounts of its after proceedings in their place *.
Charles had hitherto been disappointed in his expectations of great assistance from France; but, on the death of Louis XIII. he flattered himself with the prospect of more friendly counsels. To his mortification, however, Mazarine only sent the Count Harcourt to propose a mediation between him and his parliament—which of course ended in nothing f. The arrival *n November 1643, some of the English regiand fate of ments which had been raised for the service of Ire
Irish regi- land, were brought by Charles to England, and were ments' afterwards joined by more; but, though the officers were sufficiently disposed towards the service, the privates were inclined to mutiny against what they conceived to be treason to their religion and country. The officers entertained the most profound contempt for the parliamentary troops, and their first success seemed to justify their presumption;
* Rush. ib. Clar. ib.
+ Clar. vol. iii. p. 398, et seq. State Papers, vol. ii. p. 157. ei seq. Appendix to Evelyn's Mem. p. 263. etscq.
but Sir Thomas Fairfax soon convinced them of their error. Having landed at Moystyne, in North Wales, and been put under the command of Lord Byron, lately Sir John Byron, they took Wawar- den Castle, then Beeston Castle, which was so disgracefully surrendered that the governor was executed for cowardice: Northwich, Crew-house, Dedington-house, and lastly, Acton-church, yielded to them, leaving no place in Cheshire or the neighbourhood in possession of the opposite party except Nantwich; and this town was laid seige to in the depth of winter. Alarmed for so important a place, parliament ordered Sir Thomas Fairfax, in the month of January, when his horse had been greatly injured by the preceding campaign, the foot also much harassed, and the roads very deep, to undertake its relief. The spirit of this gallant commander was instantly infused into his troops, and he led them on to victory. Byron had divided his army, and placed it on opposite sides of the river, but Fairfax in vain attempted to attack one part before the other joined it; for his own artillery was not come up, and the junction was effected before he was prepared for action. The battle was sharp, but of short duration. Byron's forces gave way on all sides, and a great part having retreated to Acton-church, "were caught as in a trap." Two hundred only of the vanquished were slain; but a great number of officers, and fifteen hundred common soldiers were taken prisoners: The victors also took the whole of the enemy's ordnance, and twenty-two pairs of colours: a hundred and twenty women, who, armed with long knives, are reported to have done mischief, also fell into their hands. Amongst the prisoners was the famous Colonel George Monk, who was sent to London, and, after a short interval, joined the parliament party. This victory was gained with the loss of fifty men; and thus, in a great measure, was dissipated that army on which Charles had so much relied, for a great portion abhorring the service, joined the parliament*
Still resolved upon putting into execution his project of introducing the native Irish, the king granted fresh powers to Antrim to seduce Monro, whose army alone, as it was well observed, prevented the Irish from being poured in endless succession upon the western coast f. But Monro was incorruptible, and the native troops which were introduced into England were as unsuccessful as the army which had been raised to reduce and chastise them. As these gave no quarter, but continued that detestable mode of warfare to which they had been accustomed in their rebellion, parliament most properly passed an ordinance against giving them quarter t.
* Whitelocke, p. 81. Rush. vol. v. p. 299, et seq. Carte's Let. vol. i. p. 29. et seq. Clar. vol. iii. p. 456, et seq. Clarendon is wrong in supposing that Fairfax began the attack before both the enemy's divisions were united. Fairfax hoped to have done so, but was disappointed- See his own dispatch. Sir Robert Byron, in a letter to the Marquis of Ormonde, says, that the enclosures prevented the royalist horse from assisting the foot.
t Baillie's Let. vol. i. p. 395. Clar. Papers, vol. ii. p. 165. et seq.
X Rush. vol. v. p. 783. Mr. Hume says, that Prince Rupert, by making some reprisals, soon repressed this inhumanity; but surely if Rupert were justified in making reprisals, the opposite party were, in
In the same month of January, 1644, the Scot- Entrance of tish army, consisting of 17,000 foot and 3000 horse, entered England. The roads were excessively deep, and this brave army wanted those improvements in travelling which render a modern campaign so comparatively easy. The men often marched knee-deep in the snow, and the subsequent thaw rendered their march still more dreadful. Frequently were they obliged to repose in the fields, while the precautions of the enemy reduced them to great straits for subsistence. Having reached Newcastle, they summoned it to surrender in the name of the committee of both kingdoms; but the spirit of the governor and garrison convinced them that it would only be won with difficulty. Their situation was now critical. The Marquis of Newcastle, strengthened with forces from Durham, and twelve troops of horse from Yorkshire, watched their motions with an army of 14,000; and having shewn a disposition to fight, which the nature of the ground prevented the Scots, who in two skirmishes were successful, from meeting with action, retired upon Durham-house with a view of straitening their quarters, when he carried and drove almost everything moveable before him. Five vessels had been sent from Scotland with provisions; but three of them had been wrecked, and the other two, having been
ordaining that no quarter should be given to a body of men that allowed none. The fact is, that the ordinance was invariably acted upon, and that Rupert's denial of quarter occurred some months anterior driven by stress of weather into Sunderland, fell into the enemy's hands. The army was therefore reduced to such a condition, that it was frequently without the necessaries of life, and never had more than a supply for twenty-four hours at a time. In the neighbourhood of Newcastle, however, they might procure provisions for themselves; but they wanted forage for the horses: By advancing they secured the latter, but exposed themselves to the want of the former: By sending forward their horse, while they detained the foot, they would have hazarded the ruin of the army; since the marquis could encounter the foot with all his forces, and then return against the latter. It was prudently determined on, therefore, to march forward, in the face of all difficulties, into the heart of England, leaving the town of Newcastle in the possession of the enemy. A fresh victory of Sir Thomas Fairfax brought them unexpected relief*. The parliament conceiving, that while the marquis watched the motions of the Scottish army, now was the time to reduce the whole of Yorkshire, sent orders to Lord Fairfax, and his son Sir Thomas, to seize the opportunity. The latter having received the orders, left the prosecution of the seige of Latham-house, in which he was then engaged, to his brother Sir William, Colonel Ashton, Rigby, and others, and hastened to join his father. Colonel Bellasis, who had been deputed by the