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between the king and the parliament. The main body of the royalists was commanded by the king himself; the right wing by prince Rupert; the left by sir Marmaduke Langdale. Fairfax, seconded by Skippon, placed himself in the main body of the opposite army; Cromwell in the right wing ; Ireton, Cromwell's son-in-law, in the left. The charge was begun by prince Rupert with his usual alacrity and success against the left wing, which was entirely broken. The king displayed in this action all the conduct of a prudent general, and all the valour of a stout soldier; the infantry of the parliament was broken and pressed upon by him, till Fairfax, with great presence of mind, brought up the reserve and renewed the combat. Mean. while Cromwell overbore the left wing of the royalists, and having pursued them about a quarter of a mile, he turned back against the king's infantry, and threw them into the utmost confusion. Charles, after the most courageous resistance, was obliged to quit the field, and leave the victory to the enemy. The slain on the side of the parliament exceeded those on the side of the king; but Fairfax made five hundred officers prisoners, and four thousand private men, took all the king's artillery and ammunition, and totally dissipated his infantry.
Among the other spoils was seized the king's cabinet, with the copies of his letters to the queen, which the parliament ordered afterwards to be published, at least such of them as they thought would more indispose the people against him; yet, upon the whole, they are written with delicacy and tenderness, and give an advantageous idea both of his genius and morals. .
After the battle Charles retired into Wales with the body of horse which remained entire, and Fair. fax marched to Taunton to suppress the only considerable force which now remained to the royalists. On his approach the siege of Taunton was raised, and the royalists retreated into Somersetshire, where they were pursued and defeated by Fairfax, who, after taking Bridgewater, Bath, and Sherborn, laid siege to Bristol, where prince Rupert had thrown himself, and from the strength of the garrison commanded by a governor of such reputation, an obstinate resistance was expected; the more so that prince Rupert had written a letter to the king, in which he promised to defend the place for four months, if no mutiny obliged him to surrender it. No sooner, however, had the parliamentary forces entered the lines by storm, than the prince capitulated and surrendered the city to, Fairfax. At this unexpected event, which was no less fatal to the royal cause than the late defeat, Charles was so displeased, that in his indignation, he instantly recalled all prince Rupert's commissions, and sent him a pass to go beyond sea. ing advantage from those divisions than perplexed with the difficulty of determining which side it would be most for his interest to comply with. The presbyterians were by their principles the least averse to regal authority, but were rigidly bent on the extirpation of prelacy; the independents were resolute to lay the foundation of a republican government, but it might be hoped, that if they obtained a toleration, they would admit the re-establishment of the hierarchy. So great attachment had the king to episcopal jurisdiction, that he was ever inclined to put it in balance even with his own power and kingly office. He had now but a short time for decision, as Fairfax with a powerful and victorious army was approaching to lay siege to Oxford, which must infallibly fall into his hands. In this desperate situation, he adopted a measure, which was suggested to him by Montreuil, the French ambassador, who had solicited the Scottish generals and commissioners to give protection to their distressed sovereign. He had always transmitted, perhaps with some exaggeration, their general professions to the king. As they had been gra. tified in all their demands, Charles hoped that they had nothing more to exact, and that the sight of their prince flying to them in this extremity of distress, would rouse every spark of generosity in their bosom, and procure him their favour and protection; and, impressed with this his last reliance, he determined to quit Oxford, and fly to the Scottish army, which at that time lay before Newark.
The king's affairs now went fast to ruin in all quarters. The Scots made themselves masters of Earlisle. Having marched to the relief of Chester, which was anew besieged by the parliamentary forces, his army was put to rout with the loss of six hundred slain, and one thousand prisoners. Charles, with the remains of his troops, fled to Newark and thence to Oxford, where he shut himself up during the 'winter season.
Fairfax and Cromwell, after the surrender of Bristol, divided their forces; the former marched westwards to complete the conquest of Devonshire and Cornwall; the latter attacked the king's garrisons which lay to the east of Bristol. The Dee' vizes were surrendered to Cromwell; Berkeley castle was taken by storm ; Winchester capitulated;
Basing house was entered sword in hand; and all these middle counties were in a little time reduced to obedience under the parliament.
The same rapid and uninterrupted success attenda ed Fairfax. After taking Exeter, which completed the conquest of the west, he marched with his vic: torious army to the centre of the kingdom, and fixed his camp at Newbury. The Prince of Wales, in pursuance of the king's orders, retired to Jersey, whence he went to Paris, and joined the queen, who had fled thither, when the parliamentary army under Essex was marching to the west.
In the other parts of England, Hereford was taken by surprise; Chester surrendered; Lord Digby was defeated at Sherborne, and Montrose himself, after many important successes, was at last routed, and this only remaining hope of the royal party finally extinguished.
The condition of the king was now quite despea rate; but his vigour of mind which had never deserted him in adversity, seemed now to raise in proportion with his disasters; and he was determined, as he wrote to lord Digby, “ If he could not live as "'a king, to die like a gentleman ; nor should any of as his friends," said he, “ever have reason to blush as for the prince whom they had so unfortunately « served." The affectionate duty of those generous friends who respected his misfortunes and his virtues as much as his dignity, wrung his heart with a new sorrow, when he reflected that such disinterested attachment would so soon expose them to the fury of his implacable enemies. To his repeated attempts for a peaceful and equitable accommodation with the parliament, to several of his messages, in which he desired a passport for com
missioners, they deigned not to make the least reply. At last, after reproaching him with the blood spilt during the war, they told him that they were preparing bills for him, and his passing them would be the best pledge of his inclination towards peace; in other words, he must yield at discretion. He desired a personal treaty, and offered to come to London upon receiving a safe conduct for himself and his attendants; they absolutely refused him ad. mittance, and issued orders for the guarding, that is, for the seizing of his person in case he should attempt to visit them. An imprudent treaty con. cluded at that time in the king's name with the Irish catholics, by the earl of Glamorgan, contrary to his powers and instructions, was a new occasion for increasing those calumnies with which his majesty was so much loaded by his enemies.
Having lost all hopes of prevailing over the parliament either by arms or by negociation, the only resource which remained to the king was derived from the intestine dissentions which existed among his enemies. Presbyterians and independents, even before their victory was fully completed, fell into contests about the division of the spoil, and their religious as well as civil disputes agitated all the kingdom. The presbyterians loudly complained of the universal scandal resulting from the propensity of many in the parliament towards a toleration of the protestant sectaries. They exclaimed that this indulgence made the church of Christ resemble Noah's ark, and rendered it a receptacle for all unclean beasts. They maintained the solemn obligation imposed by the covenant to extirpate heresy and schism; and they menaced all their opponents with the same persecutions under which they themselves had groaned, when held in subjection by the hierarchy.
Charles was less gratified by the prospect of reap
To prevent any suspicion about his majesty's intention, orders were given at every gate in Oxford for allowing three persons to pass; and in the night, the king, accompanied by Dr. Hudson and Mr. Ashburnham, went out at that gate which leads to London. He rode before a portmanteau, and called himself Ashburnham's servant. He passed
the kinging three personen at every par majesty's in