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LETTERS XXXVIII., XXXIX.
About the beginning of May, 1648, the general Presbyterian. RDyalist discontent announces itself by tumults in Kent, tumults at Colchester, tumults and rumors of tumult far and near; portending on all sides, that a new Civil War is at hand. The Scotch Army of Forty-thousand is certainly voted; certainly the King is still prisoner at Carisbrook; factious men have yet made no bargain with him ; certainly there will and should be a new War! So reasons Presbyterian Royalism everywhere. Headlong discontented Wales in this matter took the lead.
Wales has been full of confused discontent all Spring; this or the other confused Colonel Poyer, full of brandy and Presbyterian texts of Scripture, refusing to disband till his arrears be better paid, or indeed till the King be better treated. To whom other confused Welsh Colonels, as ColoneJ Powel, Major-General Laughern, join themselves. There have been tumults at Cardiff, tumults here and also there; open shooting and fighting. Drunken Colonel Poyer, a good while ago, in March last, seized Pembroke; flatly refuses to obey the Parliament's Order when Colonel Flemming presents the same.—Poor Flemming, whom we saw some time ago soliciting promotion :* he here, attempting to defeat some insurrectionary party of this Poyer's 'at a Pass' (name of the Pass not given), is himself defeated, forced into a Church, and killed-f Drunken Poyer, in Pembroke strong Castle, defies the Parliament and the world; new Colonels, Parliamentary and Presbyterian-Royalist, are hastening towards him, for and against. Wales, smoking with confused discontent all Spring, has now, by influence of the flaming Scotch comet or Army of Forty-thousand, burst into a general blaze. 'The gentry are all for the King; the common people understand nothing, and follow the gentry.' Chepstow Castle too has been taken 'by a stratagem.' The
• Letter XIX., p 196.
t Rushworth, vii., 1097
country is all up or rising : ' the smiths have all fled, cutting theii bellows before they wentimpossible to get a horse shod,—never saw such a country !* On the whole, Cromwell will have to go. Cromwell, leave being asked of Fairfax, is on the 1st of May ordered to go; marches on Wednesday the 3d. Let him march swiftly!
Horton, one of the Parliamentary Colonels, has already, while Cromwell is on march, somewhat tamed the Welsh humor, by a good beating at St. Fagan's: St. Fagan's Fight, near Cardiff, on the 8th of May, where Laughern, hastening towards Poyer and Pembroke, is broken in pieces. Cromwell marches by Monmouth, by Chepstow (11th May); takes Chepstow Town; attacks the Castle, Castle will not surrender,—he leaves Colonel Ewer to do the Castle: who, after four weeks, does it. Cromwell, by Swansea and Carmarthen, advances towards Pembroke; quelling disturbance, rallying force, as he goes; arrives at Pembroke in some ten days more; and, for want of artillery, was like to have a tedious siege of it.f He has been before Pembroke some three weeks, when the following Letter to Major Saunders goes off".
Of this Major, afterwards Colonel, Thomas Saunders, now lying at Pembroke, there need little be said beyond what the Letter itself says. He is of 'Derbyshire,' it seems ; sat afterwards as a King's-Judge, or at least was nominated to sit, continued true to the Cause, in a dim way, till the very Restoration; and withdrew then into total darkness.
This Letter is endorsed in Saunders's own hand, ' The Lord General's order for taking Sir Trevor Williams, and Mr. Morgan Sheriff of Monmouthshire.' Of which two Welsh individuals, except that Williams had been appointed Commander-in-chief of the Parliament's forces in Monmouthshire some time ago, and Morgan High Sheriff there,J both of whom had now revolted, we know nothing, and need know nothing. The Letter has come
* Rushworth, vii., 1097.
f Abundant details lie scattered in Rushworth, vii.: Poyer and Pembroke Castle, in March, p. 1033; Flemming killed (1 May), p. 1097; Chepstow surprised ('beginning of May'), p. 1109,—retaken (29 May), p. 1130; St Fagan's Fight (8 May), p. 1110; Cromwell's march, pp. 1121-8.
t 10 January, 1645-6, Williams; 17 November, 1647, Morgan: Com icons Journah, in diebui
under cover enclosing another Letter of an official sort, to one 'Mr. Rumsey' (a total stranger to me); and is superscribed EVw Yourself.
• Before Pembroke,' 17th June, 1648.
1 send you this enclosed by itself, because it's of greater moment. The other you may communicate to Mr. Rumsey, as far as you think fit and I have written. I would not have him or other honest men be discouraged that I think it not fit, at present, to enter into contests; it will be good to yield a little, for public advantage : and truly that is my end; wherein I desire you to satisfy them.
I have sent, as my Letter mentions, to have you remove out of Brecknockshire; indeed, into that part of Glamorganshire which lieth next Monmouthshire. For this end: We have plain discoveries that Sir Trevor Williams, of Llangibby,* about two miles from Usk in the County of Monmouth, was very deep in the plot of betraying Chepstow Castle; so that we are out of doubt of his guiltiness thereof. I do hereby authorize you to seize him; as also the High Sheriff of Monmouth, Mr. Morgan, who was in the same plot.
But, because Sir Trevor Williams is the more dangerous man by far, I would have you seize him first, and the other will easily be had. To the end you may not be frustrated and that you be not deceived, I think fit to give you some characters of the man, and some intimations how things stand. He is a man, as I am informed, full of craft and subtlety; very bold and resolute; hath a House at Llangibby well stored with arms, and very strong; his neighbors about him very Malignant, and much for him,—who are apt to rescue him if apprehended, much more to discover anything which may prevent it. He is full of jealousy; partly out of guilt, but much more because he doubts some that were in the business have discovered him, which indeed they have,—and also because he knows that his Servant is brought hither, and a Minister to be examined here, who are able to discover the whole plot.
If you should march directly into that Country and near him, it's odds he either fortify his House, or give you the slip: so also, if you ■hould go to his House, and not find him there; or if you attempt to
* He writes ' Langevie;' 'Munmouth' too.