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chaplains were not appointed. The officers as- C HA P.
LVIII. sumed the spiritual duty, and united it with their military functions. During the intervals of action, 1645. they occupied themselves in sermons, prayers, exhortations; and the same emulation, there, attended them, which, in the field, is so necessary to support the honour of that profession. Rapturous ecstasies supplied the place of study and reflection; and while the zealous devotees poured out their thoughts in unpremeditated harangues, they mistook that eloquence, which, to their own surprise, as well as that of others, flowed in upon them, for divine illuminations, and for illapses of the Holy Spirit. Wherever they were quartered, they excluded the minister from his pulpit; and, usurping his place, conveyed their sentiments to the audience, with all the authority which followed their power, their valour, and their military exploits, united to their appearing zeal and servour. The private soldiers, seized with the same spirit, employed their vacant hours in prayer, in perusing the Holy Scriptures, in ghostly conferences, where they compared the progress of their souls in grace, and mutually stimulated each other to farther advances in the great work of their salvation. When they were marching to battle, the whole field resounded, as well with psalms and spiritual songs adapted to the occa-, sion, as with the instruments of military music; and every man endeavoured to drown the sense of present danger, in the prospect of that crown of glory which was set before him. In so holy a cause, wounds were esteemed meritorious; death, martyrdom, and the hurry and dangers of action, instead of banishing their pious visions, rather served to impress their minds more strongly with them.
The royalists were desircus of throwing a ridicule on this fanaticism of the parliamentary armies, with
© LviLL apprehend by the king at al, if not superj by a ver
her, to theilt. That
had risen to .
Wilmot, a mirit of disordfard Granville,
CHAP. out being sensible how much reason they had to ** apprehend its dangerous consequences. The forces 1645
assembled by the king at Oxford, in the west, and in other places, were equal, if not superior, in numþer, 'to their adversaries; but actuated by a very different spirit. That licence, which had been introduced by want of pay, had risen to a great height among them, and rendered them more formidable to their friends than to their enemies. Prince Rupert, negligent of the people, fond of the soldiery, had indulged the troops in unwarrantable liberties : Wilmot, a man of dissolute manners, had promoted the same spirit of disorder: And the licentious Goring, Gerrard, sir Richard Granville, now carried it to a great pitch of enormity. In the west especially, where Goring commanded, universal spoil and havoc were committed ; and the whole country was laid waste by the rapine of the army. All distinction of parties being in a manner dropped, the most devoted friends of the church and monarchy wished there for such success to the parliamentary forces, as might put an end to these'oppressions. The country people, despoiled of their substance, flocked together in several places, armed with clubs and staves; and though they professed an enmity to the soldiers of both parties, their hatred was in most places levelled chiefly against the royalists, from whom they had met with the worst treatment." Many thousands of these tumultuary peasants were assembled in different parts of England; who destroyed all such straggling soldiers as they met with, and much'infested the armies."
THE disposition of the forces on both sides was as follows: Part of the Scottish army was employed in taking Pomfret, and other towns in Yorkshire: Part of it besieged Carlisle, valiantly defended by sir
Thomas, * Rush. vol. vii. p. 52. 61, 62. Whitlocke, p. 130, 131. 133. 135. Clarendon, vol. v. p. 665.
Thomas Glenham. Chester, where Biron com-C HA P. manded, had long been blockaded by sir William Brereton; and was reduced to great difficulties. The 1645. king, being joined by the princes Rupert and Maurice, lay at Oxford, with a considerable army, about 15,000 men. Fairfax and Cromwel were posted at Windsor, with the new-modelled army, about 22,000 men. Taunton, in the county of Somerset, defended by Blake, suffered a long siege from sir Richard Granville, who commanded an army of about 8000 men; and, though the defence had been . obstinate, the garrison was now reduced to the last extremity. Goring commanded, in the west, an army of nearly the same number. - On opening the campaign, the king formed the project of relieving Chester; Fairfax, that of relieving Taunton. The king was first in motion. When he advanced to Draiton in Shropshire, Biron met him, and brought intelligence, that his approach had raised the siege, and that the parliamentary army had withdrawn. Fairfax, having reached Salisbury in his road westward, received orders from the committee of both kingdoms, appointed for the management of the war, to return and lay siege to Oxford, now exposed by the king's absence. He obeyed, after sending colonel Weldon to the west, with a detachment of 4000 men. On Weldon's approach, Granville, who imagined that Fairfax with his whole army was upon him, raised the siege, and allowed this pertinacious town, now half taken and half burned, to receive relief: But the royalists, being reinforced with 3000 horse under Goring, again advanced to Taunton, and shut up Weldon, with his small army, in that ruinous place.”
The king, having effected his purpose with regard to Chester, returned southwards; and, in his way, sat down before Leicester, a garrison of the parlia
ment's. Rush. vol, vii. p. 18, 19, &c. : Ibid. p. 28.
CHA P. ment's. Having made a breach in the wall, he LVIII.
stormed the town on all sides; and, after a furious assault, the soldiers entered sword in hand, and committed all those disorders to which their natural violence, especially when enflamed by resistance, is so much addicted." A great booty was taken and distributed among them: Fifteen hundred prisoners fell into the king's hands. This success, which struck a great terror into the parliamentary party, determined Fairfax to leave Oxford, which he was beginning to approach ; and he marched towards the king, with an intention of offering him battle. The king was advancing towards Oxford, in order to raise the siege, which he apprehended was now begun; and both armies, ere they were aware, had advanced within six miles of each other. A council of war was called by the king, in order to deliberate concerning the measures which he should now pursue. On the one hand, it seemed more prudent to delay the combat ; because Gerrard, who lay in Wales with 3000 men, might be enabled, in a little time, to join the army; and Goring, it was hoped, would soon be master of Taunton; and having put the west in full security, would then unite his forces to those of the king, and give them an incontestible superiority over the enemy. On the other hand, prince Rupert, whose boiling ardour still pushed him on to battle, excited the impatient humour of the nobility and gentry, of which the army was full; and urged the many difficulties under which the royalists laboured, and from which nothing but a victory could relieve them: The resolution was taken to give battle to Fairfax; and the royal army immediately advanced
upon him. Battle of Ar Naseby was fought, with forces nearly equal, Naseby. this decisive and well-disputed action, between the
king . Clarendon, vol. v. p. 652.
king and parliament. The main body of the c H A P. royalists was commanded by the king himself: The LVIII. right wing by prince Rupert; the left by sir Mar- 16 maduke Langdale. Fairfax, seconded by Skippon, placed himself in the main body of the opposite army: Cromwel in the right wing : Ireton, Cromwel's son-in-law, in the left. The charge was begun, with his usual celerity and usual success, by prince Rupert. Though Ireton made stout resistance, and even after he was run through the thigh with a pike, still maintained the combat, till he was taken prisoner; yet was that whole wing broken, and pursued with precipitate fury by Rupert: He was even so inconsiderate as to lose time in summoning and attacking the artillery of the enemy, which had been left with a good guard of infantry. The king led on his main body, and displayed, in this action, all the conduct of a prudent general, and all the valour of a stout soldier.° Fairfax and Skippon encountered him, and well supported that reputation which they had acquired. Skippon, being dangerously wounded, was desired by Fairfax to leave the field; but he declared that he would remain there as long as one man maintained his ground.” The infantry of the parliament was broken, and pressed upon by the king ; till Fairfax, with great presence of mind, brought up the reserve, and renewed the combat. Meanwhile Cromwel, having led on his troops to the attack of Langdale, overbore the force of the royalists, and by his prudence improved that advantage which he had gained by his valour. Having pursued the enemy about a quarter of a mile, and detached some troops to prevent their rallying, he turned back upon the king's infantry, and threw them into the utmost confusion. One regiment alone preserved its order unbroken, though twice desperately assailed by Fair
fax; • Whitlocke, p. 146. · P. Rush, vol. vii. p. 43. Whitlocke,