Page images

poor Essex to escape to Plymouth by the Fleet,* and leave his Army to shift for itself as best might be: the horse under Balfour to cut their way through; the foot under Skippon to lay down their arms, cease to be soldiers, and march away 'with staves in their hands' into the wide world. This surrender was effected 1st September, 1644, two months after Marston Moor. . The Parliament made no complaint of Essex; with a kind of Roman dignity, they rather thanked him. They proceeded to recruit Waller and him, summoned Manchester with Cromwell his Lieutenant-General to join them; by which three bodies, making again a considerable army, under the command of Manchester and Waller (for Essex at London lay 'sick,' or seeming to be sick), the King, returning towards Oxford from his victory, was intercepted at Newbury; and there, on Sunday, 27th October, 1644, fell out the Second Battle of Newbury .j Wherein his Majesty, after four hours confused fighting, rather had the worse; yet contrived to march off, unmolested, 'by moonlight at 10 o'clock,' towards Wallingford, and got safe home. Manchester refused to pursue; though urged by Cromwell, and again urged. Nay twelve days after, when the King came back, and openly revictualled Dennington Castle, an important strongplace hard by,—Manchester, in spite of Cromwell's urgency, still refused to interfere.

> They in fact came to a quarrel here, these two :—and much else that was represented by them came to a quarrel; Presbytery and Independency, to wit. Manchester was reported to have said, If they lost this Army pursuing the King, they had no other; the King ' might hang them all.' To Cromwell and the thoroughgoing party, it had become very clear that high Essexes and Manchesters, of limited notions and large estates and anxieties, who besides their fear of being themselves beaten utterly, and forfeited and 'hanged,' were afraid of beating the King too well, would never end this Cause in a good way. Whereupon ensue some six months of very complex manipulation, and public and

•His own distinct, downright, and somewhat sulky Narrative, Rushworth, v., 701. t Clarendon, ii., 717.

private consultation, which these Three Fragments of Speeches are here to represent for us.

I. In the House of Commons, on Monday, 25th November, 1644, Lieutenant-General Cromwell did, as ordered on the Saturday before, exhibit a charge against the Earl of Manchester, to this effect:

That the said Earl hath always been indisposed and backyard to - engagements, and the ending of the War by the sword; and 'always for such a Peace as a ' thorough' victory would be a disadvantage to; —and hath declared this by principles express to that purpose, and 'by' a continued series of carriage and actions answerable.

That since the taking of York * as if the Parliament had now advantage fully enough, he hath declined whatsoever tended to farther advantage upon the Enemy"; 'hath' neglected and studiously shifted off opportunities to that purpose, as if he thought the King too low, and the Par liament too high,—especially at Dennington Castle.

That he hath drawn the army into, and detained them in, such a po& tare as to give the Enemy fresh advantages; and this, before his conjunction with the other Armies,f by his own absolute will, against or without his Council of War, against many commands of the Committee of Both Kingdoms, and with contempt and vilifying of those commands; —and, since the conjunction, sometimes against the Councils of War and sometimes by persuading and deluding the Council to neglect one opportunity with pretence of another, and this again of a third, and at last by persuading ' them' that it was not fit to fight at all.J

To these heavy charges, Manchester makes heavy answer, at great length, about a week after: of which we shall remember only this piece of counter-charge, How his Lordship had once in those very Newbury days, ordered Cromwell to proceed to somo rendezvous with the horse, and Cromwell, very unsuitably for a Lieutenant-General, had answered, The horses were already worn off their feet; "if your Lordship want to have the skins of the horses, this is the way to get them !"—Through which small slit, one looks into large seas of general discrepancy in those old months! Lieutenant-General Cromwell is also reported to have said, in a moment of irritation surely, "There would never be a

* Directly after Marston Moor. f Waller's and Essex's at Newbury, t Rushworth, v. 732 ; Common Journals, iii , 703, 5.

good time in England till we had done with Lords."* But the most appalling report that now circulates in the world is this, of his saying once, "If he met the King in battle, he would fire his pistol at the King as at another ;"—pistol, at our poor semi-divine misguided Father fallen insane: a thing hardly conceivable to the Piesbyterian human mind !.f

II. In the House of Commons, on Wednesday, 9th December, all sitting n Grand Committee,' there was a general silence for a good space of .ime? one looking upon the other to see who would break the ice, in regard to this delicate point of getting our Essexes and Manchesters softly ousted from the Army; a very delicate point indeed,when Lieutenant-General Cromwell stood up, and spake shortly to this effect:

It is now a time to speak, or for ever hold the tongue. The important occasion now, is no less than to save a Nation, out of a bleeding, nay almost dying condition; which the long continuance of this War hath already brought it into; so that without a more speedy, vigorous and effectual prosecution of the War,—casting off* all lingering proceedings like 'those of soldiers-of-fortune beyond sea, to spin out a war,—we shall make the kingdom weary of us, and hate the name of a Parliament.

For what do the enemy say? Nay, what do many say that were friends at the beginning of the Parliament? Even this, That the Members of both Houses have got great places and commands, and the sword into their hands; and, what by interest in Parliament, what by power in the Army, will perpetually continue themselves in grandeur, and not , permit the War speedily to end, lest their own power should determine with it. This ' that' I speak here to our own faces, is but what others do utter abroad behind our backs. I am far from reflecting on any. 1 know the worth of those Commanders, Members of both Houses, who are yet in power: but if I may speak my conscience without reflection upon any, I do conceive if the Army be not put into another method, and the War more vigorously prosecuted, the People can bear the war no longer, and will enforce you to a dishonorable Peace.

But this I would recommend to your prudence, Not to insist upon any complaint or oversight of any Commander-in-chief upon any occasion whatsoever; for as I must acknowledge myself guilty of oversights, so I know they can rarely be avoided in military affairs. Therefore waving a strict inquiry into the causes of these things, let us apply ourselves to me remedy; which is most necessary. And I hope we have such true

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

English hearts, and zealous affections towards the general weal of our Mother Country, as no Members of either House will scruple to deny themselves, and their own private interests, for the public good ; nor account it to be a dishonor done to them, whatever the Parliament shall resolve upon in this weighty matter.*

III. On the same day, seemingly at a subsequent part of the delate, Lieutenant-General Cromwell said likewise, as follows:

Mr. Speaker,—I am not of the mind that the calling of the Members to sit in Parliament will break, or scatter our Armies. I can speak this for my own soldiers, that they look not upon me, but upon you ; and for you they will fight, and live and die in your Cause; and if others be of that mind that they are of, you need not fear them. They do not idolise me, but look upon the Cause they fight for. You may lay upon them what commands you please, they will obey your commands in that Cause they fight for.t

To be brief, Mr. Zouch Tate, Member for Northampton, moved this day a Self-denying Ordinance; which, in a few days more was passed in the Commons. It was not so easily got througl the Lords; but there too it had ultimately to pass. One of tht most important clauses was this, introduced not without difficulty, That religious men might now serve without taking the Covenant as a first preliminary,—perhaps they might take it by and by. This was a great ease to tender consciences; and indicates a deep split, which will grow wider and wider, in our religious affairs. The Scots Commissioners have sent for Whitlocke and Maynard to the Lord General's, to ask in judicious Scotch dialect, Whether there be not ground to prosecute Cromwell as an 'incendiary' ?" You ken varry weel!"—The two learned gentlemen shook their heads.!

This Self-denying Ordinance had to pass; it and the New Model wholly; by the steps indicated below.§ Essex was grati

* Rushworth, vi. 4.

t Cromwelliana, p. 12.

\ Whitlocke, iii., p. Ill (December, 1644)

§ Rushworth, vi., 7, 8: Self-denying Ordinance passed in the Commons 19th December, and is sent to the Lords; Conference about it, 7th January; rejected by the Lords 15th January—because " we do not know what shape the Army will now suddenly take." Whereupon, 21st January, ' Faiifax i« fied by a splendid Pension,—very little of it ever'actually paid; for indeed he died some two years after: Manchester was put on the Committee of Both Kingdoms: the Parliament had its New Model Army, and soon saw an entirely new epoch in its affairs.

nominated General;' and on the 19th February, the New Model is completed and passed: " This is the shape the Army is to take." A second Self-denying Ordinance, now introduced, got itself finally passed 3d Apri" 1645.

« PreviousContinue »