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to be desired. They shattered and destroyed Authority, whether of clergy or laity, or of a king by the grace of God. Finally, they dealt one of the blows that seem so naturally to mark the course of all modern revolutions, to History as a moral power. For it is the essence of every appeal to reason or to the individual conscience to discard the heavy woven garments of tradition, custom, inheritance, prerogative, and ancient institution. History becomes, in Milton's own exorbitant phrase, no more than the perverse iniquity of sixteen hundred years. Uniformity, authority, history -. to shake these was to move the foundations of the existing world in England. History, however, shows itself a standing force. It is not a dead, but a living hand. The sixteen hundred years that Milton found so perverse had knit fibres into our national growth that even Cromwell and all the stern fervour of puritanism were powerless to pluck out.
Events made toleration in its full Miltonic breadth the shibboleth. In principle and theory it enlarged its way both in parliament and the army, in association with the general ideas of political liberalism, and became a practical force. Every war tends to create a peace party, even if for no other cause, yet from the innate tendency of men to take sides. By the end of the year of Marston Moor, political differences of opinion upon the terms of peace had become definitely associated with the ecclesiastical difference between presbyterian and independent. The presbyterians were the peace men, and the independents were for relentless war until the ends of war should be gained. Henceforth these are the two great party names, and of the independents Cromwell's energy and his military success rapidly made him the most powerful figure.
CHAP. II CROMWELL AN INDEPENDENT 147
When it was that Cromwell embraced independent views of church organisation, we cannot with precision tell, nor does it matter. He deferred signing the presbyterian covenant as long as possible (February 1644). He was against exclusion and proscription, but on grounds of policy, and from no reasoned attachment to the ideal of a free or congregational church. He had a kindness for zealots, because zeal, enthusiasm, almost fanaticism, was in its best shape his own temper, and even in its worst shape promoted or protected his own policy. When his policy of war yet hung in the balance, it was the independents who by their action, views, and temper created his opportunity. By their warmth and sincerity they partially impressed him with their tenets, and opened his mind to a range of new ideas that lay beyond their own. Unhappily in practice when the time came, puritan toleration went little farther than Anglican intolerance.
THE NEW MODEL
AFTER the victory at Marston, followed as it was by the surrender of York, men expected other decisive exploits from Lord Manchester and his triumphant army. He was directed to attend on the motions of the indomitable Rupert, in whom the disaster before the walls of York seemed to have stirred fresh energy. Manchester saw a lion in every path. The difficulties he made were not devoid of reason, but a nation in a crisis seeks a general whom difficulties confront only to be overcome.
Essex (September 1644) had been overtaken by grievous disaster in the south-west. Escaping by sea from Plymouth, he left his army to find their way out by fighting or surrender as best they could. So great was his influence and popularity, that even in face of this miscarriage, Essex almost at once received a new command. Manchester was to co-operate with him in resisting the king's eastward march from Cornwall to his fixed headquarters at Oxford. He professes to obey, but he loiters, delays, and finds excuses, until even the Derby House Committee lose patience, and send a couple of their members to kindle a little fire in him, just as in the next century the French Convention used to send two commissioners to spur on the revolutionary generals. “Destroy but the king's army,” cried
CHAP. IV ATTACK ON LORD MANCHESTER 149 Waller, " and the work is ended.” At length the forces of Essex, Waller, and Manchester combined, and attacked the king at Newbury. In this second battle of Newbury (October 27, 1644), though the parliamentarians under Manchester and Waller were nearly two to one, the result was so little conclusive that the king made his way almost without pursuit from the field. He even returned within a fortnight, offered battle once more on the same ground, and as the challenge was declined returned at his ease to Oxford.
At length vexation at inactivity and delay grew so strong that Cromwell (November 25), seizing the apt moment as was his wont, startled the House by opening articles of charge against his commander. Manchester, he said, ever since the victory of Marston Moor, had acted as if he deemed that to be enough ; had declined every opportunity of further advantage upon the enemy; and had lost occasion upon occasion, as if he thought the king too low and the parliament too high. No man had ever less in him than Cromwell of the malcontent subordinate. “At this time,” Waller says of him early in 1645, “ he had never shown extraordinary parts, nor do I think he did himself believe that he had them; for although he was blunt, he did not bear himself with pride or disdain. As an officer he was obedient, and did never dispute my orders or argue upon them.” His letters to Fairfax at a later date are a pattern of the affectionate loyalty due from a man second in command to a general whom he trusts. What alarmed him was not Manchester's backwardness in action, his aversion to engagement, his neglect of opportunities, but the growing certainty that there was behind all this half-heartedness some actual principle of downright unwillingness to prosecute the war to a full victory, and a deliberate design not to push the king too hard nor to reduce him too low. Cromwell recalled many expressions of Manchester that plainly betrayed a desire not to end the war by the sword, but to make a peace on terms that were to his own taste. On one occasion the advocates of a fight urged that to let the king get off unassailed would strengthen his position at home and abroad, whereas if they only beat him now, he and his cause were for ever ruined. Manchester vehemently urged the alternative risks. “ If we beat the king ninety-nine times,” he cried, “ he will be king still and his posterity, and we subjects still ; but if he beat us but once, we shall be hanged and our posterity undone.” “ If that be so," said Cromwell, “ why did we take up arms at first ? This is against fighting ever hereafter. If so, let us make peace, let it be never so basely.”
Recriminations were abundant. The military question became a party question. It was loudly flung out that on one of the disputed occasions nobody was so much against fighting as Cromwell, and that after Newbury Cromwell, when ordered to bring up his horse, asked Manchester in a discontented manner whether he intended to flay the horse, for if he gave them more work he might have their skins, but he would have no service. He once made a speech very nearly a quarter of an hour long against running the risk of an attack. While insinuating now that Manchester had not acted on the advice of his councils of war, yet had he not at the time loudly declared that any man was a villain and a liar who said any such thing? He was always attributing to himself all the praise of other men's actions. Going deeper than such stories as these, were the reports of Cromwell's inflammatory sayings; as that he once declared to Lord Manchester his hatred of all peers, wishing there was never a lord in England, and that it would never be well till Lord Manchester was plain Mr. Montagu. Then he expressed himself with contempt of the Westminster divines, of whom he said that they were persecutors of honester