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on the night of the tenth day, September 5th, the Gloucester people see his signal-fire flame up, amid the dark rain, 'on the top of Presbury Hill;'—and understand that they should live and not die. The King 'fired his huts,' and marched off without delay. He never again had any real chance of prevailing in this War. Essex having relieved the west, returns steadily home again, the King's-forces hanging angrily on his rear; at Newbury in Berkshire, he had to turn round, and give them battle,— First Newbury Battle, 20th September, 1643, wherein he came ofl* rather. superior.* Poor Lord Falkland, in his ' clean shirt,' was killed here. This steady march, to Gloucester and back again, by Essex, was the chief feat he did during the War; a considerable feat, and very characteristic of him, the slow-going inarticulate, indignant, somewhat elephantine man. j September 22d. The House of Commons and the Assembly of
/ Divines take the Covenant, the old Scotch Covenant, slightly modified now into a 'Solemn League and Covenant;' in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, f They lifted up their hands seriatim, and then ' stept into the chancel to sign.' Oliver Cromwell signs; and next after him young Sir Henry Vane. There sign in all
i about 220 honorable Members that day. The whole ParliamenV tary Party, down to the lowest constable or drummer in their pay, gradually signed. It was the condition of assistance from the Scotch; who are now calling out 'all fencible men from sixteen to sixty,' for a third expedition into England. A very solemn Covenant, and Vow of all the People; of the awfulness of which, we, in these days of Customhouse oaths and loose regardless talk, cannot form the smallest notion.—Duke Hamilton, seeing his painful Scotch diplomacy end all in this way, flies to the King at Oxford,—is there 'put under arrest,' sent to Pendennis Castle near the Land's End.J
Lincolnshire, which has now become one of the Associated Seven,§ is still much infested with Newarkers: Earl Newcastle, or Marquis Newcastle, overflowing all the North, has besieged
* Clarendon, ii., 460; Whitlocke, p. 70.
the Lord Fairfax in Hull; who has been obliged to ship his brave Son Sir Thomas Fairfax, with all the horse, as useless here, across the Humber, to do service under the Earl of Manchester. Cromwell and this younger Fairfax have united about Boston: here, after much marching and skirmishing, is an account of Winceby Fight, their chief exploit in those parts, which cleared the country of the Newarkers and renegade Sir John Hendersons; —as recorded by loud-spoken Vicars. In spite of brevity we must copy the Narrative. Cromwell himself was nearer death
fin this action than ever in any other; the victory, too, made its
\ue figure, and 'appeared in the world.'
Winceby, a small upland Hamlet, in the Wolds, not among the Fens, of Lincolnshire, is some five miles west of Horncastle. The confused memory of this Fight is still fresh there; the Lane along which the chase went bears ever since the name of' Slash Lane,' and poor Tradition maunders about it as she can. Hear Vicars, a poor human soul zealously prophesying as if through the organs of an ass,—in not a mendacious, yet loud-spoken, exaggerative, more or less asinine manner :*
j * * * 'x\\ that night,' Tuesday, 10th October, 1643,'we were drawing our horse to the appointed rendezvous; and the next morning, being Wednesday, my Lord' Manchester 'gave order that the whole force, both horse and foot, should be drawn up to Bolingbroke Hill, where he would expect the enemy, being the only convenient ground to fight with him. But Colonel Cromwell was no way satisfied that we should fight; our horse being extremely wearied with hard duty two or three days together.
'The enemy also drew, that' Wednesday ' morning, their whole body of horse and dragooners into the field, being 74 colors of horse, and 21 colors of dragoons, in all 95 colors. We had not many more than half so many colors of horse and dragooners; but I believe we had as many men,—besides our foot, which in
* Third form of Vicars: God's Ark overtopping the World's Waves, or the Third Part of the Parliamentary Chronicle: by John Vicars (London, Printed by M. Simons and J. Meecock, 1646), p. 45 There are three editions or successive forms of this Book of Vicars's (See Bliss's Wood, in voce): it is always, unless the contrary be expressed, the second (of 1644) that we refer to here.
deed cculd not be drawn up until it was very late. The enemy's word was "Cavendish ;" '—he that was killed in the Bog; 'and ours was " Religion." I believe that as we had no notice of the enemy's coming toward us, so they had as little of our preparation to fight with them. It was about twelve of the clock ere our horse and dragooners were drawn up. After that we marched about a mile nearer the enemy; and then we began to descry him, by little and little, coming toward us. Until this time we did not know we should fight; but so soon as our men had knowledge of the enemy's coming, they were very full of joy and resolution, thinking it a great mercy that they should now fight with him. Our men went on in several bodies, singing Psalms. Quartermaster-General Vermuyden with five troops had the forlorn-hope, and Colonel Cromwell the van, assisted with other of my Lord's troops, and seconded by Sir T. Fairfax. Both armies met about Ixbie, if I mistake not the Town's name,1—you do mistake, Mr. Vicars; it is Winceby, a mere hamlet and not a town.
'Both they and we had drawn up our dragooners; who gave the first charge; and then the horse fell in. Colonel Cromwell fell with brave resolution upon the enemy, immediately after their dragooners had given him the first volley; yet they were" so nimble, as that within half pistol-shot, they gave him another: his horse was killed under him at the first charge, and fell down J upon him; and as he rose up, he was knocked down again by the Gentleman who charged him, who 'twas conceived was Sir Ingram Hopton: but afterwards he' the Colonel 'recovered a poor horse in a soldier's hands, and bravely mounted himself again. Truly this first charge was so home-given, and performed with so much admirable courage and resolution by our troops, that the enemy stood not another; but were driven back upon their own body, which was to have seconded them; and at last put these into a plain disorder; and thus in less than half an hour's fight, they were all quite routed, and'—driven along Slash Lane at a terrible rate, unnecessary to specify. Sir Ingram Hopton, who had been so near killing Cromwell, was himself killed. 'Above a hundred of their men were found drowned in ditches,' in quagmires that would not bear riding; the ' dragooners now left on foot' were taken prisoners; the chase lasted to Horncastle or be
yond it,—and Henderson the renegade Scot was never heard of in those parts more. My Lord of Manchester's foot did not get up till the battle was over.
This will suffice for Winceby Fight, or Horncastle Fight, of 11th October, 1643; and leave the reader to imagine that Lincolnshire too was now cleared of the 'Papist Army,' as we violently nickname it,—all but a few Towns on the Western border, which will be successfully besieged when the Spring comes.
Friday, January 19th. The Scots enter England by Berwick, 21,000 strong; on Wednesday they left Dunbar 'up to the knees in snow:' such a heart of forwardness was in them.* Old Lesley, now Earl of Leven, was their General, as before; a Committee of Parliamenteers went with him. They soon drove in Newcastle's 'Papist Army' within narrower quarters; in May, got Manchester with Cromwell and Fairfax brought across the Humber to join them, and besieged Newcastle himself in York. Which brings us to Marston Moor, and Letter Eighth.
Let us only remark first that Oliver in the early months of 1644 had been to Gloucester, successfully convoying Ammunition thither, and had taken various strong houses by the road.f After which the due Sieges and successes in the Western parts of Lim colnshire had followed, till Summer came, and the Cavaliers were all swept out of that county.
In these same weeks:): there is going on a very famous Treaty once more, 'Treaty of Uxbridge;' with immense apparatus of King's Commissioners, and Parliament and Scotch Commissioners; of which, however, as it came to nothing, there need nothing here be said. Mr. Christopher Love, a young eloquent divine, of hot Welsh blood, of Presbyterian tendency, preaching by appointment in the place, said, He saw no prospect of an agreement, he for one; "Heaven might as well think of agreeing with Hell words which were remembered against Mr. Christopher. The
• Rushworth, v. 603-6.
t Newspapers, 5 March, Cromwelliana, p. 8; Whitlocke, p. 78.
j 29 January—5 March, Rushworth, v. 844-946; Whitlocke, p. 123-3.
§ Wood, iii., 281: Commons Journals, &c
King will have nothing to do with Presbyterianism, will not stir a step without his Surplices at Allhallowtide; there remains only War; a supreme managing 'Committee of Both Kingdoms;' combined forces, and war. On the other hand, his Majesty, to counterbalance the Scots, had agreed to a 'Cessation in Ireland,' gent for his 'Irish Army' to assist him here,—and indeed already got them as good as ruined, or reduced to a mere marauding apparatus.* A new 'Papist' or partly 'Papist Army,' which gave great scanda., this country. By much the remarkablest man in it was Colonel George Monk; already taken at Nantwich, and lodged in the Tower.
More interesting to us; in this same month of January, 22d day of it, Colonel Cromwell had transiently appeared in his place in Parliament; complaining much of my Lord Willoughby, as of a backward General, with strangely dissolute people about him, a great sorrow to Lincolnshire ;f—and craving that my Lord Manchester might be appointed there instead: which, as we see, was done; with good result.
In which same days indeed, end of January, 1644, Oliver, as Governor of Ely, had transiently appeared in Ely Cathedral itself: for the Four Surplices were put down by Act of Parliament; and the Reverend Mr. Hitch was somewhat too scrupulous about obeying. Whereupon Oliver ordered him, " Leave off your fooling, and come down, Sir !"J—in a voice, still audible to this Editor; | which Mr. Hitch instantly gave ear to.
* Rushworth, v., 547 (Cessation, 15 September, 1643); v., 299-303 (Si«r,« of Nantwich, 21 November), t D'Ewe's Mss, vol. iv., f. 29) b. f Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, Part ii, p. 23.