« PreviousContinue »
"Poslscriptum, 20th March, 1643.—Kight worthy Sir, The abovesaid on Friday was unhappily left behind ; for which I am sorry; as also that I utterly forgot to send your plate. On Friday night the Coloney brought in hither with him the prisoners taken at Lowestoff, and Mr. Trott of Beccles. On Saturday night, with one troop, they sent all the prisoners to Cambridge ' Castle.' Sir John Wentworth is come off with the payment of lOOOi. On Saturday, Dr. Corbett of Norwich, and Mr Henry Cooke* the Parliament man, and our old 'Alderman' Danieli were taken in Suffolk. Last night, several troops went out; some to Lynn-ward, it's thought; others to Thetford-ward, it's supposed,—be* cause they had a prisoner with them. Sir, I am in great haste, and remember nothing else at present.
"Sir Richard Berney sent to me, last night, and showed and gave me the Colonel's Note to testify he had paid him the 50Z.—a forced contri-. bution levied by the Association Committee upon poor Berney, who had shown himself 'backward:' let him be quiet henceforth, and study to conform.
This was the last attempt at Royalism in the Association where Cromwell served. The other ' Associations,' no man duly forward to risk himself being present in them, had already fallen, or were fast falling, to ruin; their Counties had to undergo the chance of War as it came. Huntingdon County soon joined itself with this Eastern Association.f Cromwell's next operations, as we shall perceive, were to deliver Lincolnshire, and give it the power of joining, which in September next took effect.J Lincoln, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridge, Herts, Hunts: these are thenceforth the 'Seven Associated Counties,' called often the """"""^Association' simply, which make a great figure in the old Books, —and kept the War wholly out of their own borders, having had a man of due forwardness among them.
* Corbett is or was * Chancellor of Norwich DioceseHenry Cooke is Son of Coke upon Lyttleton,—has left his place in Parliament, and got into dangerous courses.
t 26th May, Husbands' Second Collection (London, 1646), p. 163
% lb., p. 327.
Let the following Letter, the first of Cromwell's ever published in the Newspapers, testify what progress he is making towards delivering Lincolnshire; which is sadly overrun with the Marquis of Newcastle's Northern ' Popish' Army: an Army ' full of Papists,' as is currently reported; officered by renegade Scots, 'Sir * John Hendersons,'and the like unclean creatures. The Marquis, in spite of the Fairfaxes, has overflowed Yorkshire; has fortified himself in Newark over Trent, and is a sore affliction to the wellaffected of those parts. 'That valiant soldier Colonel Cromwell' has written on this occasion to an official Person of name not now discoverable:
'Grantham, 13 May, 1643.'
God hath given us, this evening, a glorious victory over our enemies. They were, as we are informed, one-and-twenty colore of horse-troops, and three or four of dragoons.
It was late in the evening when we drew out; they came and faced us within two miles of the town. So soon as we had the alarm, we drew out our forces, consisting of about twelve troops,—whereof some of them so poor and broken, that you shall seldom see worse: with this handful it pleased God to cast the scale. For after we had stood a little, above musket-shot the one body from the other; and the dragooners had fired on both sides, for the space of half an hour or more; they not advancing towards us, we agreed to charge them. And, advancing the body after many shots on both sides, we came on with our troops a pretty round trot; they standing firm to receive us: and our men charging fiercely upon them, by God's providence they were immediately routed, and ran all away, and we had the execution of them two or three miles.
I believe some of our soldiers did kill two or three men apiece in the pursuit; but what the number of dead is we are not certain. We took forty-five Prisoners, besides divers of their horse and arms, and rescued many Prisoners whom they had lately taken of ours; and we took four or five of their colors. 'I rest'
* * *
On inquiry at Grantham, there is no vestige of tradition as to the scene of this skirmish; which must have been some two miles out on the Newark road. There was in these weeks a combined plan, of which Cromwell was.an element, for capturing*Newark; there were several such; but this and all the rest proved abortive, one element or another of the combination always failing. Newark did not surrender till the end of the War.
The King, at present, is in Oxford: Treaty, of very slow gestation, came to birth in March last, and was carried on there by Whitlocke and others till the beginning of April; but ended in absolute nothing.f The King still continues in Oxford,—his head-quarters ibr three years to come. The Lord General Essex is lying scattered about Thame, and Brickhill in Buckinghamshire, in a very dormant, discontented condition. J Colonel Hampden is with him. There is talk of making Colonel Hampden Lord General. The immediate hopes of the world, however, are turned on 'that valiant soldier and patriot of his country' Sir William Waller, who has marched to discomfit the Malignants of the West.
On the 9th of this May, Cheapside Cross, Charing Cross, and other Monuments of Papist Idolatry, were torn down by authority, 'troops of soldiers sounding their trumpets, and all the people shouting;' the Book of Sports also was burnt upon the ruins of the same.§ In which days, too, all the people are working at the Fortification of London.||
* Perfect Diurnal of the Passages in Parliament, 22-29 May, 1643; completed from Vicars, p. 332, whose copy, however, is not, except as to sens* and facts, to be relied on.
f Whitlocke, 1st edition, pp 63-5; Husbands, ii., 48-119.
t Rushworth, v., 290.
§ Vicars, p. 327 || lb , p. 331.
Cromwell's next achievement was the raising of the Siege of Croyland (exact date not discoverable); concerning which there are large details in loud-spoken Vicars :* How the reverend godly Mr. Ram and godly Sergeant Home, both of Spalding, were 'set upon the walls to be shot at,' when the Spalding people rose to deliver Croyland; how ' Colonel Sir Miles Hobart' and other Colonels rose also to deliver it,—and at last how 'the valiant active Colonel Cromwell' rose, and did actually deliver it.f
Again, on ' Tuesday, July 27th, news reach London,' that he has taken Stamford. Whereupon the Cavaliers from Newark and Belvoir Castle came hovering about him: he drove them into Burleigh House; and laid siege to the same: 'at three in the morning' battered it with all his shot, and stormed it at last.
The Queen in late months has landed in these Northern parts, with Dutch ammunition purchased by English Crown Jewels; is stirring up all manner of' Northern Papists ' to double animation; tempting Hothams and other waverers to meditate treachery, for which they will pay dear. She marches Southward, much agitating the skirts of the Eastern Association; joins the King ' on Keinton field' or Edgehill field, where he fought last autumn. She was impeached of treason by the Commons. She continued in England till the following summerthen quitted it for long years.
Cromwell has been at Nottingham, he has been at Lynn, he has been here and then swiftly there, encountering many things,
* * Thou that with ale, or viler liquors,
Didst inspire Withers, Prynne and Vicars'
Hudibras, canto i., 645.
t Vicars, p. 322-5.
X From February, 1642-3 to July, 1644 (Clarendon, ii., 195; Rushworlh v., 684.)
all summer;—take this as a token, gathered still luminous from the authentic but mostly inane opacities of the Commons Journals :* '21 June, 1643, Mr. Pym reports from the Committee of the Safety of the Kingdom,' our chief authority at present, to this effect, that Captain Hotham, son of the famed Hull Hotham, had, as appeared by Letters from Lord Gray and Colonel Cromwell, How at Nottingham, been behaving very ill; had plundered divers persons without regard to the side they were of; had, on one occasion, 'turned two pieces of ordnance against 'Colonel Cromwell;' nay once, when Lord Gray's quartermaster was in some huff with Lord Gray 'about oats,' had privily offered to the said quartermaster that they should draw out their men, and have a fight for it with Lord Gray;—not to speak of frequent correspondences with Newark, with Newcastle, and the Queen now come back from Holland: wherefore he is arrested there in Nottingham, and locked up for trial.
This was on the Wednesday, this report of Pym's: and, alas, while Pym reads it, John Hampden, mortally wounded four days ago in the skirmish at Chalgrove Field, lies dying at Thame ;— died on the Saturday following!—Here is Cromwell's Letter: about Lord Willoughby of Parham, and of the relief of Gainsborough ' with powder and match:'
To the Committee of the Association silling at Cambridge.
Huntingdon, 31st July, 1643.
It hath pleased the Lord to give your servant and soldiers a notable victory now at Gainsborough. I marched after the taking of Burleigh House upon Wednesday to Grantham, where I met about 300 horse and dragooners of Nottingham. With these, by agree ment, we met the Lincolneers at North Scarle, which is about ten miles from Gainsborough, upon Thursday in the evening; where we tarried until two of the clock in the morning; and then with our whole bodv advanced towards Gainsborough.
About a mile and a half from the Town, we met a forlorn-hope of the enemy of near 100 horse. Our dragooners labored to beat them back; but not alighting off their horses, the enemy charged them, and