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Chap, xv 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 forever 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
men than themselves. He desired to have none in the army but such as were of the independent judgment, because these would withstand any peace but such as honest men would aim at. He vowed that if he met the king in battle, he would as lief fire his pistol at the king as at anybody else. Of their brethren the Scots he had used contumelious speech, and had even said that he would as cheerfully draw the sword upon them as upon any in the army of the king. The exasperation to which events had brought both the energetic men like Cromwell, and the slower men like Essex, had reached a dangerous pitch. One evening, very late, the two lawyers Whitelocke and Maynard were summoned to attend Lord Essex. They found the Scottish commissioners with him, along with Holles, Stapleton, and others of the presbyterian party. The question was whether by English law Cromwell could be tried as an incendiary, as one who kindles coals of contention and raises differences in the state to the public damage. Of this move the Scots were the authors. "Cromwell is no good friend of ours," they said, "and ever since our army came into England he has used all underhand and cunning means to detract from our credit." He was no friend either to their church. Besides that, he was little of a well-wisher to the lord-general whom they had such good reason to love and honour. Was there law enough in England to clip his wings?The lawyers gave a sage reply. English law, they said, knows, but not very familiarly, the man who kindles the burning flames of contention. But were there proofs that Oliver was such an incendiary? It would never do for persons of so great honour and authority as Essex and the Scots to go upon ground of which they were not sure. Again, had they considered the policy of the thing? "I take Lieutenant-General Cromwell," said Whitelocke, "to be a gentleman of quick and subtle parts, and one who hath, especially of late, gained no small interest in the House of Commons; nor is he wanting of friends in the House of Peers, or of abilities in himself to manage his own defence to the best advantage." The bitter Holles and his presbyterian group were very keen for proceeding: they thought that there was plenty of evidence, and they did not believe Cromwell to be so strong in the Commons as was supposed. In the end it was the Scots who judiciously saved their English allies from falling into the scrape, and at two o'clock in the morning the party broke up. Whitelocke or another secretly told Cromwell what had passed, with the result that he only grew more eager than before.
A hundred and thirty years later a civil war again broke out among the subjects of the British crown. The issues were not in form the same. Cromwell fought for the supremacy of parliament within the kingdom; Washington fought against the supremacy of parliament over Englishmen across the Atlantic Ocean. It is possible that if Charles I. had been as astute and as unscrupulous as George III., the struggle on the English ground might have run a different course. However that may be, in each case the two wars were in their earlier stages not unlike, and both Marston Moor and Bunker Hill rank amongst those engagements that have a lasting significance in history, where military results were secondary to moral effect. It was these encounters that first showed that the champions of the popular cause intended and were able to make a stand-up fight against the forces of the monarchy. In each case the combatants expected the conflict to be short. In each case the battle of popular liberty was first fought by weak bodies, ill-paid, ill-disposed to discipline, mounted on cart-horses and armed Chap, iv SUFFERING OF THE COUNTRY 153
with fowling-pieces, mainly anxious to get back to their homes as soon as they could, and fluctuating from month to month with the humours, the jealousies, or the means of the separate counties in England, or the separate States in America. "Short enlistments," said Washington, "and a mistaken dependence on militia, have been the origin of all our misfortunes; the evils of a standing army are remote, but the consequence of wanting one is certain and inevitable ruin. To carry on the war systematically, you must establish your army on a permanent and national footing." What Washington said in 1776 was just what Cromwell said in 1644. The system had broken down. Officers complained that their forces melted away, because men thought they would be better treated in other counties, and all comers were welcomed by every association. One general grumbles that another general is favoured in money and supplies. The governors of strong towns are in hot feud with the committee of the town. Furious passages took place between pressed men and the county committees. Want of pay made the men sulky and mutinous, and there were always "evil instruments " ready to trade on such moods. The Committee of Both Kingdoms write to a colonel commanding in the west in the year of Naseby, that they have received very great complaints from the country of the intolerable miscarriage of his troopers; already great disservice is done to the parliament by the robbing, spoiling, and plundering of the people, they also giving extreme offence by their swearing, drinking, and all kinds of debaucheries. Exemplary punishment should be inflicted upon such notorious misdemeanants. The sufferings of some parts of the country were almost unbearable. The heavy exactions of the Scots in Cumberland and Westmorland for month