Text in italics in the original is surrounded by underscores.
An additional transcriber's note will be found at the end of the text.
HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH PEOPLE
JOHN RICHARD GREEN, M.A. Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford
PURITAN ENGLAND, 1642-1660. THE REVOLUTION, 1660-1683
London MacMillan and Co., Ltd. New York: MacMillan & Co. 1896 All rights reserved
First Edition 1879; Reprinted 1882, 1886, 1891. Eversley Edition, 1896
PURITAN ENGLAND. 1642-1660
PAGE CHAPTER IX
THE CIVIL WAR. 1642-1646 1
THE ARMY AND THE PARLIAMENT. 1646-1649 43
THE COMMONWEALTH. 1649-1653 70
THE PROTECTORATE. 1653-1660 92
THE REVOLUTION. 1660-1760
THE RESTORATION. 1660-1667 160
THE POPISH PLOT. 1667-1683 244
I. MAP OF MARSTON MOOR[vii:1] Pages 20, 21
II. MAP OF NASEBY FIGHT[vii:1] To face page 38
III. MAP OF EUROPE, WITH FRANCE AS IT WAS UNDER LEWIS XIV. To face page 293
[vii:1] By permission of Mr. Markham.
THE CIVIL WAR
The breaking off of negotiations was followed on both sides by preparations for immediate war. Hampden, Pym, and Holles became the guiding spirits of a Committee of Public Safety which was created by Parliament as its administrative organ. On the twelfth of July 1642 the Houses ordered that an army should be raised "for the defence of the king and the Parliament," and appointed the Earl of Essex as its captain-general and the Earl of Bedford as its general of horse. The force soon rose to twenty thousand foot and four thousand horse; and English and Scotch officers were drawn from the Low Countries. The confidence on the Parliamentary side was great. "We all thought one battle would decide," Baxter confessed after the first encounter; for the king was almost destitute of money and arms, and in spite of his strenuous efforts to raise recruits he was embarrassed by the reluctance of his own adherents to begin the struggle. Resolved however to force on a contest, he raised the Royal Standard at Nottingham "on the evening of a very stormy and tempestuous day," the twenty-second of August, but the country made no answer to his appeal. Meanwhile Lord Essex, who had quitted London amidst the shouts of a great multitude with orders from the Parliament to follow the king, "and by battle or other way rescue him from his perfidious councillors and restore him to Parliament," was mustering his army at Northampton. Charles had but a handful of men, and the dash of a few regiments of horse would have ended the war; but Essex shrank from a decisive stroke, and trusted to reduce the king peacefully to submission by a show of force. But while Essex lingered Charles fell back at the close of September on Shrewsbury, and the whole face of affairs suddenly changed. Catholics and Royalists rallied fast to his standard, and the royal force became strong enough to take the field. With his usual boldness Charles resolved to march at once on the capital and force the Parliament to submit by dint of arms. But the news of his march roused Essex from his inactivity. He had advanced to Worcester to watch the king's proceedings; and he now hastened to protect London. On the twenty-third of October 1642 the two armies fell in with one another on the field of Edgehill, near Banbury. The encounter was a surprise, and the battle which followed was little more than a confused combat of horse. At its outset the desertion of Sir Faithful Fortescue with a whole regiment threw the Parliamentary forces into disorder, while the Royalist horse on either wing drove their opponents from the field; but the reserve of Lord Essex broke the foot, which formed the centre of the king's line, and though his nephew, Prince Rupert, brought back his squadrons in time to save Charles from capture or flight, the night fell on a drawn battle.
[Sidenote: Charles at Oxford.]
The moral advantage however rested with the king. Essex had learned that his troopers were no match for the Cavaliers, and his withdrawal to Warwick left open the road to the capital. Rupert pressed for an instant march on London, where the approach of the king's forces had roused utter panic. But the proposal found stubborn opponents among the moderate Royalists, who dreaded the complete triumph of Charles as much as his defeat; and their pressure forced the king to pause for a time at Oxford, where he was received with uproarious welcome. When the cowardice of its garrison delivered Reading to Rupert's horse, and his daring capture of Brentford in November drew the royal army in his support almost to the walls of the capital, the panic of the Londoners was already over, and the junction of their train-bands with the army of Essex forced Charles to fall back again on his old quarters. But though the Parliament rallied quickly from the blow of Edgehill, the war, as its area widened through the winter, went steadily for the king. The fortification of Oxford gave him a firm hold on the midland counties; while the balance of the two parties in the North was overthrown by the march of the Earl of Newcastle, with a force he had raised in Northumberland, upon York. Lord Fairfax, the Parliamentary leader in that county, was thrown back by Newcastle's attack on the manufacturing towns of the West Riding, where Puritanism found its stronghold; and the arrival of the queen in February 1643 with arms from Holland encouraged the royal army to push its scouts across the Trent, and threaten the eastern counties, which held firmly for the Parliament. The stress of the war was shown by the vigorous efforts of the Houses. Some negotiations which had gone on into the spring were broken off by the old demand that the king should return to his Parliament; London was fortified; and a tax of two millions a year was laid on the districts which adhered to the Parliamentary cause.
[Sidenote: The Cornish rising.]
In the spring of 1643 Lord Essex, whose army had been freshly equipped, was ordered to advance upon Oxford. But though the king held himself ready to fall back on the West, the Earl shrank from again risking his raw army in an encounter. He confined himself to the recapture of Reading, and to a month of idle encampment round Brill. But while disease thinned his ranks and the Royalists beat up his quarters the war went more and more for the king. The inaction of Essex enabled Charles to send a part of his small force at Oxford to strengthen a Royalist rising in the West. Nowhere was the royal cause to take so brave or noble a form as among the Cornishmen. Cornwall stood apart from the general life of England: cut off from it not only by differences of blood and speech, but by the feudal tendencies of its people, who clung with a Celtic loyalty to their local chieftains, and suffered their fidelity to the Crown to determine their own. They had as yet done little more than keep the war out of their own county; but the march of a small Parliamentary force under Lord Stamford upon Launceston forced them into action. In May 1643 a little band of Cornishmen gathered round the chivalrous Sir Bevil Greenvil, "so destitute of provisions that the best officers had but a biscuit a day," and with only a handful of powder for the whole force; but, starving and outnumbered as they were, they scaled the steep rise of Stratton Hill, sword in hand, and drove Stamford back on Exeter with a loss of two thousand men, his ordnance and baggage-train. Sir Ralph Hopton, the best of the Royalist generals, took the command of their army as it advanced into Somerset, and drew the stress of the war into the West. Essex despatched a picked force under Sir William Waller to check their advance; but Somerset was already lost ere he reached Bath, and the Cornishmen stormed his strong position on Lansdowne Hill in the teeth of his guns. The stubborn fight robbed the victors of their leaders; Hopton was wounded, Greenvil slain, and with them fell the two heroes of the little army, Sir Nicholas Slanning and Sir John Trevanion, "both young, neither of them above eight-and-twenty, of entire friendship to one another, and to Sir Bevil Greenvil." Waller too, beaten as he was, hung on their weakened force as it moved for aid upon Oxford, and succeeded in cooping up the foot in Devizes. But in July the horse broke through his lines; and joining a force which Charles had sent to their relief, turned back, and dashed Waller's army to pieces in a fresh victory on Roundway Down.
[Sidenote: Hampden and the War.]
The Cornish rising seemed to decide the fortune of the war; and the succours which his queen was bringing him from the army of the North determined Charles to make a fresh advance upon London. He was preparing for this advance, when Rupert sallied from Oxford to beat up the quarters of the army under Essex, which still remained encamped about Thame. Foremost among this Parliamentary force were the "Greencoats" of John Hampden. From the first outbreak of warfare Hampden had shown the same energy in the field that he had shown in the Parliament. He had contributed two thousand pounds to the loan raised by the Houses for the equipment of an army. He had raised a regiment from among his own tenantry, with the parson of Great Hampden for their chaplain. The men wore his livery of green, as those of Holles or Brooke or Mandeville wore their leaders' liveries of red, and purple, and blue; the only sign of their common soldiership being the orange scarf, the colour of Lord Essex, which all wore over their uniform. From the first the "Greencoats" had been foremost in the fray. While Essex lay idly watching the gathering of an army round the king, Hampden was already engaged with the royal outposts. It was the coming up of his men that turned the day at Edgehill; and that again saved Lord Brooke from destruction in the repulse of the royal forces at Brentford. It was Hampden's activity that saved Reading from a second capture. During the gloomy winter, when the fortunes of the Houses seemed at their worst, his energy redoubled. His presence was as necessary in the Parliament as in the field; and he was continually on the road between London and Westminster. It was during these busy months that he brought into practical shape a league which was destined to be the mainstay of the Parliamentary force. Nowhere was the Puritan feeling so strong as in the counties about London, in his own Buckinghamshire, in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and the more easterly counties of Huntingdon, Cambridge, and Northampton. Hampden's influence as well as that of his cousin, Oliver Cromwell, who was already active in the war, was bent to bind these shires together in an association for the aid of the Parliament, with a common force, a common fund for its support, and Lord Manchester for its head. The association was at last brought about; and Hampden turned his energies to reinforcing the army of Essex.
[Sidenote: Rupert's raid.]
The army was strengthened; but no efforts could spur its leader into activity. Essex had learned his trade in the Thirty Years War; and like most professional soldiers he undervalued the worth of untrained levies. As a great noble, too, he shrank from active hostilities against the king. He believed that in the long run the want of money and of men would force Charles to lay down his arms, and to come to a peaceful understanding with the Parliament. To such a fair adjustment of the claims of both a victory of the Parliament would, he thought, be as fatal as a victory of the king. Against this policy of inaction Hampden struggled in vain. It was to no purpose that he urged Essex to follow Charles after Edgehill, or to attack him after his repulse before Brentford. It was equally to no purpose that he urged at the opening of 1643 an attack upon Oxford. Essex drew nearer to the town indeed; but at the news of the queen's junction with her husband, and of the successes of the Cornishmen, he fell back to his old cantonment about Thame. Hampden's knowledge of the country warned him of danger from the loose disposition of the army, and he urged Essex to call in the distant outposts and strengthen his line; but his warnings were unheeded. So carelessly were the troops scattered about that Rupert resolved to beat up their quarters; and leaving Oxford in the afternoon of Saturday, the 17th of June, he seized the bridge over the Thame at Chiselhampton, and leaving a force of foot to secure his retreat, threw himself boldly with his horsemen into the midst of the Parliamentary army. Essex with the bulk of his men lay quietly sleeping a few miles to the northward at Thame as Rupert struck in the darkness through the leafy lanes that led to the Chilterns, and swooped on the villages that lay beneath their slopes. At three in the morning he fell on the troops quartered at Postcombe, then on those at Chinnor. Here some fifty were slain, and more taken prisoners, as they sprang half-naked from their beds. The village was fired, and Rupert again called his men together to pursue their foray. But the early summer sun had now risen; it was too late to attack Wycombe as he had purposed; and the horsemen fell back again through Tetsworth to secure their retreat across the Thame.
[Sidenote: Death of Hampden.]
It was time to think of retreat, for Hampden was already in pursuit. He had slept at Watlington; but the tidings of the foray in the village hard by roused him from slumber, and he at once despatched a trooper to Essex to bid the Earl send foot and horse and cut off the Prince from Chiselhampton bridge. Essex objected and delayed till Hampden's patience broke down. The thought of his own village blazing in that Sunday dawn, his own friends and tenants stretched dead in the village streets, carried him beyond all thought of prudence. A troop of horse volunteered to follow him; and few as they were, he pushed at once with them for the bridge. The morning was now far gone; and Rupert had reached Chalgrove Field, a broad space without enclosures, where he had left his foot drawn up amidst the standing corn to secure his retreat. To Hampden the spot was a memorable one; it was there, if we trust a Royalist legend, that "he first mustered and drew up men in arms to rebel against the king." But he had little time for memories such as these. His resolve was to hold Rupert by charge after charge till Essex could come up; and the arrival of these troops of horse with some dragoons enabled him to attack. The attack was roughly beaten off, and the assailants thrown into confusion, but Hampden rallied the broken troops and again led them on. Again they were routed, and Rupert drew off across the river without further contest. It was indeed only the courage of Hampden that had fired his little troop to face the Cavaliers; and he could fire them no more. In the last charge a shot struck him in the shoulder and disabled his sword-arm. His head bending down, his hands resting on his horse's neck, he rode off the field before the action was done, "a thing he never used to do." The story of the country-side told how the wounded man rode first towards Pyrton. It was the village where he had wedded the wife he loved so well, and beyond it among the beech-trees of the Chilterns lay his own house of Hampden. But it was not there that he was to die. A party of Royalists drove him back from Pyrton, and turning northwards he paused for a moment at a little brook that crossed his path, then gathering strength leaped it, and rode almost fainting to Thame. At first the surgeons gave hopes of his recovery, but hope was soon over. For six days he lay in growing agony, sending counsel after counsel to the Parliament, till on the twenty-fourth of June the end drew near. "O Lord, save my country," so ended Hampden's prayers; "O Lord, be merciful to——!" here his speech failed him, and he fell back lifeless on his bed. With arms reversed and muffled flags, his own men bore him through the lanes and woods he knew so well to the little church that still stands unchanged beside his home. On the floor of its chancel the brasses of his father and his grandfather mark their graves. A step nearer to the altar, unmarked by brass or epitaph, lies the grave in which, with bitter tears and cries, his greencoats laid the body of the leader whom they loved. "Never were heard such piteous cries at the death of one man as at Master Hampden's." With him indeed all seemed lost. But bitter as were their tears, a noble faith lifted these Puritans out of despair. As they bore him to his grave they sang, in the words of the ninetieth psalm, how fleeting in the sight of the Divine Eternity is the life of man. But as they turned away the yet nobler words of the forty-third psalm broke from their lips, as they prayed that the God who had smitten them would send out anew His light and His truth, that they might lead them and bring them to His holy hill. "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou so disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise him, which is the help of my countenance, and my God!"
[Sidenote: Relief of Gloucester.]
To Royalists as to Parliamentarians the death of Hampden seemed an omen of ruin to the cause he loved. Disaster followed disaster: Essex, more and more anxious for a peace, fell back on Uxbridge; while a cowardly surrender of Bristol to Prince Rupert gave Charles the second city of the kingdom, and the mastery of the West. The news of the loss of Bristol fell on the Parliament "like a sentence of death." The Lords debated nothing but proposals of peace. London itself was divided. "A great multitude of the wives of substantial citizens" clamoured at the door of the Commons for peace; and a flight of six of the few peers who remained at Westminster to the camp at Oxford proved the general despair of the Parliament's success. From this moment however the firmness of the Parliamentary leaders began slowly to reverse the fortunes of the war. If Hampden was gone, Pym remained; and while weaker men despaired Pym was toiling night and day to organize a future victory. The spirit of the Commons was worthy of their great leader: and Waller was received on his return from Roundway Hill "as if he had brought the king prisoner with him." The Committee of Public Safety were lavish of men and money. Essex was again reinforced. The new army of the associated counties, which had been placed under the command of Lord Manchester, was ordered to check the progress of Newcastle in the North. But it was in the West that the danger was greatest. Prince Maurice continued his brother Rupert's career of success, and his conquest of Barnstaple and Exeter secured Devon for the king. Gloucester alone interrupted the communications between the royal forces in Bristol and those in the North; and at the opening of August Charles moved against the city with hope of a speedy surrender. But the gallant resistance of the town called Essex to its relief. It was reduced to a single barrel of powder when the Earl's approach forced Charles to raise the siege on the sixth of September; and the Puritan army fell steadily back again on London after an indecisive engagement near Newbury, in which Lord Falkland fell, "ingeminating 'Peace, peace!'" and the London train-bands flung Rupert's horsemen roughly off their front of pikes.
[Sidenote: League with Scotland.]
The relief of Gloucester proved to be the turning-point of the war. It was not merely that Charles had met with a repulse; it was that he had missed a victory, and that in the actual posture of affairs nothing but a great victory could have saved the king. For the day which witnessed the triumphant return of Essex witnessed the solemn taking of the Covenant. Pym had resolved at last to fling the Scotch sword into the wavering balance; and in the darkest hour of the Parliament's cause Sir Harry Vane had been despatched to Edinburgh to arrange the terms on which the aid of Scotland would be given. First amongst these terms stood the demand of a "unity in Religion"; an adoption, in other words, of the Presbyterian system by the Church of England. To such a change Pym had been steadily opposed. He had even withstood Hampden when, after the passing of the bill for the expulsion of bishops from the House of Peers, Hampden had pressed for the abolition of episcopacy. But events had moved so rapidly since the earlier debates on Church government that some arrangement of this kind had become a necessity. The bishops to a man, and the bulk of the clergy whose bent was purely episcopal, had joined the royal cause, and were being expelled from their livings as "delinquents." Some new system of Church government was imperatively called for by the religious necessities of the country; and though Pym and the leading statesmen were still in opinion moderate Episcopalians, the growing force of Presbyterianism, and still more the absolute need of Scottish aid and the needs of the war, forced them to seek such a system in the adoption of the Scotch discipline.
[Sidenote: England swears to the Covenant.]
Scotland, for its part, saw that the triumph of the Parliament was necessary for its own security. Whatever difficulties stood in the way of Vane's wary and rapid negotiations were removed in fact by the policy of the king. While the Parliament looked for aid to the North, Charles had been seeking assistance from the Irish rebels. Wild tales of the supposed massacre had left them the objects of a vengeful hate unknown before in England, but with the king they were simply counters in his game of kingcraft. Their rising had now grown into an organized rebellion. In October 1642 an Assembly of the Confederate Catholics gathered at Kilkenny. Eleven Catholic bishops, fourteen peers, and two hundred and twenty-six commoners, of English and Irish blood alike, formed this body, which assumed every prerogative of sovereignty, communicated with foreign powers, and raised an army to vindicate Irish independence. In spite of this Charles had throughout the year been intriguing with the confederates through Lord Glamorgan; and though his efforts to secure their direct aid were for some time fruitless he succeeded in September in bringing about an armistice between their forces and the army under the Earl of Ormond which had as yet held them in check. The truce left this army at the king's disposal for service in England; while it secured him as the price of this armistice a pledge from the Catholics that they would support his cause. With their aid Charles thought himself strong enough to strike a blow at the Government in Edinburgh; and the Irish Catholics promised to support by their landing in Argyleshire a rising of the Highlanders under Montrose. None of the king's schemes proved so fatal to his cause as these. On their discovery officer after officer in his own army flung down their commissions, the peers who had fled to Oxford fled back again to London, and the Royalist reaction in the Parliament itself came utterly to an end. Scotland, anxious for its own safety, hastened to sign the Covenant; and on the twenty-fifth of September 1643 the Commons, "with uplifted hands," swore in St. Margaret's church to observe it. They pledged themselves to "bring the Churches of God in the three Kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in religion, confession of faith, form of Church government, direction for worship, and catechizing; that we, and our posterity after us, may as brethren live in faith and love, and the Lord may delight to live in the midst of us"; to extirpate Popery, prelacy, superstition, schism, and profaneness; to "preserve the rights and privileges of the Parliament, and the liberties of the Kingdom"; to punish malignants and opponents of reformation in Church and State; to "unite the two Kingdoms in a firm peace and union to all posterity." The Covenant ended with a solemn acknowledgement of national sin, and a vow of reformation. "Our true, unfeigned purpose, desire, and endeavour for ourselves and all others under our power and charge, both in public and private, in all duties we owe to God and man, is to amend our lives, and each to go before another in the example of a real reformation."
[Sidenote: Pym's plan for 1644.]
The conclusion of the Covenant had been the last work of Pym. He died on December 6, 1643, and a "Committee of the Two Kingdoms" which was entrusted after his death with the conduct of the war and of foreign affairs did their best to carry out the plans he had formed for the coming year. The vast scope of these plans bears witness to his amazing ability. Three strong armies, comprising a force of fifty thousand men, appeared in the field in the spring of 1644, ready to co-operate with the Scots in the coming campaign. The presence of the Scottish army indeed changed the whole face of the war. With Lord Leven at its head, it crossed the Border in January "in a great frost and snow"; and Newcastle, who was hoping to be reinforced by detachments from Ormond's army, was forced to hurry northward single-handed to arrest its march. He succeeded in checking Leven at Sunderland, but his departure freed the hands of Fairfax, who in spite of defeat still clung to the West-Riding. With the activity of a true soldier, Fairfax threw himself on the forces from Ormond's army who had landed at Chester, and after cutting them to pieces at Nantwich on the twenty-fifth of January, marched as rapidly back upon York. Here he was joined by the army of the Associated Counties, a force of fourteen thousand men under the command of Lord Manchester, but in which Cromwell's name was becoming famous as a leader. The two armies at once drove the force left behind by Newcastle to take shelter within the walls of York, and formed the siege of that city. The danger of York called Newcastle back to its relief; but he was too weak to effect it, and the only issue of his return was the junction of the Scots with its besiegers. The plans of Pym were now rapidly developed. While Manchester and Fairfax united with Lord Leven under the walls of York, Waller, who with the army of the West had held Prince Maurice in check in Dorsetshire, marched quickly to a junction with Essex, whose army had been watching Charles; and the two forces formed a blockade of Oxford.
[Sidenote: Marston Moor.]
Charles was thrown suddenly on the defensive. The Irish troops, on which he counted as a balance to the Scots, had been cut to pieces by Fairfax or by Waller, and both in the North and in the South he seemed utterly overmatched. But he was far from despairing. Before the advance of Essex he had answered Newcastle's cry for aid by despatching Prince Rupert from Oxford to gather forces on the Welsh border; and the brilliant partizan, after breaking the sieges of Newark and Lathom House, burst over the Lancashire hills into Yorkshire, slipped by the Parliamentary army, and made his way untouched into York. But the success of this feat of arms tempted him to a fresh act of daring. He resolved on a decisive battle; and on the second of July 1644 a discharge of musketry from the two armies as they faced each other on Marston Moor brought on, as evening gathered, a disorderly engagement. On the one flank a charge of the king's horse broke that of the Scotch; on the other, Cromwell's brigade won as complete a success over Rupert's troopers. "God made them as stubble to our swords," wrote the general at the close of the day; but in the heat of victory he called back his men from the chase to back Manchester in his attack on the Royalist foot, and to rout their other wing of horse as it returned breathless from pursuing the Scots. Nowhere had the fighting been so fierce. A young Puritan who lay dying on the field told Cromwell as he bent over him that one thing lay on his spirit. "I asked him what it was," Cromwell wrote afterwards. "He told me it was that God had not suffered him to be any more the executioner of His enemies."
At nightfall all was over; and the Royalist cause in the North had perished at a blow. Newcastle fled over sea: York surrendered, and Rupert, with hardly a man at his back, rode southward to Oxford. The blow was the more terrible that it fell on Charles at a moment when his danger in the South was being changed into triumph by a series of brilliant and unexpected successes. After a month's siege the king had escaped from Oxford; had waited till Essex, vexed at having missed his prey, had marched to attack what he looked on as the main Royalist force, that under Maurice in the West; and then, turning fiercely on Waller at Cropredy Bridge, had driven him back broken to London, two days before the battle of Marston Moor. Charles followed up his success by hurrying in the track of Essex, whom he hoped to crush between his own force and that under Maurice; and when, by a fatal error, Essex plunged into Cornwall, where the country was hostile, the king hemmed him in among the hills, and drew his lines tightly round his army. On the second of September the whole body of the foot were forced to surrender at his mercy, while the horse cut their way through the besiegers, and Essex himself fled by sea to London. Nor was this the only reverse of fortune which brought hope to the royal cause. The day on which the army of Essex surrendered to the king was marked by a Royalist triumph in Scotland which promised to undo what Marston Moor had done. The Irish Catholics fulfilled their covenant with Charles by the landing of Irish soldiers in Argyle; and as had long since been arranged, Montrose, throwing himself into the Highlands, called the clans to arms. Flinging his new force on that of the Covenanters at Tippermuir, he gained a victory which enabled him to occupy Perth, to sack Aberdeen, and to spread terror to Edinburgh. The news at once told. The Scottish army in England refused to march further from its own country; and used the siege of Newcastle as a pretext to remain near the Border. With the army of Essex annihilated and the Scots at a safe distance, no obstacle seemed to lie between the king and London; and as he came up from the West Charles again marched on the capital. But if the Scots were detained at Newcastle the rest of the victors at Marston Moor lay in his path at Newbury; and their force was strengthened by the soldiers who had surrendered in Cornwall, but whom the energy of the Parliament had again brought into the field. On the twenty-seventh of October Charles fell on this army under Lord Manchester's command; but the charges of the Royalists failed to break the Parliamentary squadrons, and the soldiers of Essex wiped away the shame of their defeat by flinging themselves on the cannon they had lost, and bringing them back in triumph to their lines. Cromwell seized the moment of victory, and begged hard to be suffered to charge with his single brigade. But Manchester shrank like Essex from a crowning victory over the king. Charles was allowed to withdraw his army to Oxford, and even to reappear unchecked in the field of his defeat.
The quarrel of Cromwell with Lord Manchester at Newbury was destined to give a new colour to the war. Pym, in fact, had hardly been borne to his grave in Westminster Abbey before England instinctively recognized a successor of yet greater genius in the victor of Marston Moor. Born in the closing years of Elizabeth's reign, the child of a cadet of the great house of the Cromwells of Hinchinbrook, and of kin, through their marriages, with Hampden and St. John, Oliver had been recalled by his father's death from a short stay at Cambridge to the little family estate at Huntingdon, which he quitted for a farm at St. Ives. We have seen his mood during the years of personal rule, as he dwelt in "prolonging" and "blackness" amidst fancies of coming death, the melancholy which formed the ground of his nature feeding itself on the inaction of the time. But his energy made itself felt the moment the tyranny was over. His father had sat, with three of his uncles, in the later Parliaments of Elizabeth. Oliver had himself been returned to that of 1628, and the town of Cambridge sent him as its representative to the Short Parliament as to the Long. It is in the latter that a courtier, Sir Philip Warwick, gives us our first glimpse of his actual appearance. "I came into the House one morning, well clad, and perceived a gentleman speaking whom I knew not, very ordinarily apparelled, for it was a plain cloth suit, which seemed to have been made by an ill country tailor. His linen was plain, and not very clean; and I remember a speck or two of blood upon his little band, which was not much larger than his collar. His hat was without a hat-band. His stature was of a good size; his sword stuck close to his side; his countenance swoln and reddish; his voice sharp and untuneable, and his eloquence full of fervour."
[Sidenote: The Ironsides.]
He was already "much hearkened unto," but his power was to assert itself in deeds rather than in words. He appeared at the head of a troop of his own raising at Edgehill; but with the eye of a born soldier he at once saw the blot in the army of Essex. "A set of poor tapsters and town apprentices," he warned Hampden, "would never fight against men of honour"; and he pointed to religious enthusiasm as the one weapon which could meet and turn the chivalry of the Cavalier. Even to Hampden the plan seemed impracticable; but the regiment of a thousand men which Cromwell raised for the Association of the Eastern Counties, and which in later times were known as his Ironsides, was formed strictly of "men of religion." He spent his fortune freely on the task he set himself. "The business . . . hath had of me in money between eleven and twelve hundred pounds, therefore my private estate can do little to help the public. . . . I have little money of my own (left) to help my soldiers." But they were "a lovely company," he tells his friends with soldierly pride. No blasphemy, drinking, disorder, or impiety were suffered in their ranks. "Not a man swears but he pays his twelve pence." Nor was his choice of "men of religion" the only innovation Cromwell introduced into his new regiment. The social traditions which restricted command to men of birth were disregarded. "It may be," he wrote, in answer to complaints from the Committee of the Association, "it provokes your spirit to see such plain men made captains of horse. It had been well that men of honour and birth had entered into their employments; but why do they not appear? But seeing it is necessary the work must go on, better plain men than none: but best to have men patient of wants, faithful and conscientious in their employment, and such, I hope, these will approve themselves." The words paint Cromwell's temper accurately enough; he is far more of the practical soldier than of the reformer; though his genius already breaks in upon his aristocratic and conservative sympathies, and catches glimpses of the social revolution to which the war was drifting. "I had rather," he once burst out impatiently, "have a plain russet-coated captain, that knows what he fights for and loves what he knows, than what you call a gentleman, and is nothing else. I honour a gentleman that is so indeed!" he ends, with a return to his more common mood of feeling, but the outburst was none the less a characteristic one.
[Sidenote: The Independents.]
The same practical temper broke out in a more startling innovation. Against dissidents from the legal worship of the Church the Presbyterians were as bitter as Laud himself. But Nonconformity was rising into proportions which made its claim of toleration, of the freedom of religious worship, one of the problems of the time. Its rise had been a sudden one. The sects who rejected in Elizabeth's day the conception of a National Church, and insisted on the right of each congregation to freedom of worship, had all but disappeared at the close of the queen's reign. Some of the dissidents, as in the notable instance of the congregation that produced the Pilgrim Fathers, had found a refuge in Holland; but the bulk had been driven by persecution to a fresh conformity with the Established Church. As soon however as Abbot's primacy promised a milder rule, the Separatist refugees began to venture timidly back again to England. During their exile in Holland the main body had contented themselves with the free developement of their system of independent congregations, each forming in itself a complete Church, and to these the name of Independents attached itself at a later time. A small part however had drifted into a more marked severance in doctrine from the Established Church, especially in their belief of the necessity of adult baptism, a belief from which their obscure congregation at Leyden became known as that of the Baptists. Both of these sects gathered a Church in London in the middle of James's reign, but the persecuting zeal of Laud prevented any spread of their opinions under that of his successor; and it was not till their numbers were suddenly increased by the return of a host of emigrants from New England, with Hugh Peters at their head, on the opening of the Long Parliament, that the Congregational or Independent body began to attract attention.
[Sidenote: The Parliament and Uniformity.]
Lilburne and Burton declared themselves adherents of what was called "the New England way"; and a year later saw in London alone the rise of "fourscore congregations of several sectaries," as Bishop Hall scornfully tells us, "instructed by guides fit for them, cobblers, tailors, felt-makers, and such-like trash." But little religious weight however could be attributed as yet to the Congregational movement. Baxter at this time had not heard of the existence of any Independents. Milton in his earlier pamphlets shows no sign of their influence. Of the hundred and five ministers present in the Westminster Assembly only five were Congregational in sympathy, and these were all returned refugees from Holland. Among the one hundred and twenty London ministers in 1643, but three were suspected of leaning towards the Sectaries. The struggle with Charles in fact at its outset only threw new difficulties in the way of religious freedom. The great majority of the Parliament were averse from any alterations in the constitution or doctrine of the Church itself; and it was only the refusal of the bishops to accept any diminution of their power and revenues, the growth of a party hostile to Episcopalian government, the necessity for purchasing the aid of the Scots by a union in religion as in politics, and above all the urgent need of constructing some new ecclesiastical organization in the place of the older organization which had become impossible from the political attitude of the bishops, that forced on the two Houses the adoption of the Covenant. But the change to a Presbyterian system of Church government seemed at that time of little import to the bulk of Englishmen. The dogma of the necessity of bishops was held by few; and the change was generally regarded with approval as one which brought the Church of England nearer to that of Scotland, and to the reformed Churches of the Continent. But whatever might be the change in its administration, no one imagined that it had ceased to be the Church of England, or that it had parted with its right to exact conformity to its worship from the nation at large. The Tudor theory of its relation to the State, of its right to embrace all Englishmen within its pale, and to dictate what should be their faith and form of worship, remained utterly unquestioned by any man of note. The sentiments on which such a theory rested indeed for its main support, the power of historical tradition, the association of "dissidence" with danger to the State, the strong English instinct of order, the as strong English dislike of "innovations," with the abhorrence of "indifferency" as a sign of lukewarmness in matters of religion, had only been intensified by the earlier incidents of the struggle with the king.
[Sidenote: Growth of dissidence.]
The Parliament therefore was steadily pressing on the new system of ecclesiastical government in the midst of the troubles of the war. An Assembly of Divines, which was called together in 1643 at Westminster, and which sat in the Jerusalem Chamber during the five years which followed, was directed to revise the Articles, to draw up a Confession of Faith, and a Directory of Public Worship; and these with a scheme of Church government, a scheme only distinguished from that of Scotland by the significant addition of a lay court of superior appeal set by Parliament over the whole system of Church courts and assemblies, were accepted by the Houses and embodied in a series of Ordinances. But while the Divines were drawing up their platform of uniform belief and worship, dissidence was growing fast into a religious power. In the terrible agony of the struggle against Charles individual conviction became a stronger force than religious tradition. Theological speculation took an unprecedented boldness from the temper of the times. The shock of war had broken the bonds of custom, and given a violent impulse to the freest thought. "Behold now this vast city!" cried Milton from London, "a city of refuge, the mansionhouse of liberty, encompassed with God's protection! The shop of war hath not there more anvils and hammers working to fashion out the plates and instruments of armed justice in defence of beleaguered truth than there be pens and heads there, sitting by their studious lamps, musing, searching, revolving new notions and ideas wherewith to present us, as with their homage and fealty, the approaching reformation; others as fast reading, trying all things, according to the force of reason and convincement." The poet himself had drifted from his Presbyterian standpoint and saw that "new Presbyter is but old Priest writ large." The same change was going on widely about him. Four years after the war had begun a horror-stricken pamphleteer numbered sixteen religious sects as existing in defiance of the law; and, widely as these bodies differed among themselves, all were at one in repudiating any right of control in faith or in worship on the part of the Church or its clergy. Above all, the class which became specially infected with the spirit of religious freedom was the class to whose zeal and vigour the Parliament was forced to look for success in the struggle. Cromwell had wisely sought for good fighting men among the "godly" farmers of the Associated Counties. But where he found such men he found dissidents, men who were resolved to seek God after their own fashion, and who were as hostile to the despotism of the National Church as to the despotism of the king.
[Sidenote: Cromwell and the dissidents.]
The problem was a new and a difficult one; but Cromwell met it in the same practical temper which showed itself in his dealings with the social difficulties that stood in the way of military organization. The sentiments of these farmers were not his own. Bitter as had been his hatred of the bishops, and strenuously as he had worked to bring about a change in Church government, Cromwell, like most of the Parliamentary leaders, seems to have been content with the new Presbyterianism, and the Presbyterians were more than content with him. Lord Manchester "suffered him to guide the army at his pleasure." "The man, Cromwell," writes the Scotchman Baillie, "is a very wise and active head, universally well beloved as religious and stout." But they were startled and alarmed by his dealings with these dissident recruits. He met the problem in his unspeculative fashion. He wanted good soldiers and good men; and, if they were these, the Independent, the Baptist, the Leveller found entry among his troops. "You would respect them, did you see them," he answered the panic-stricken Presbyterians who charged them with "Anabaptistry" and revolutionary aims: "they are no Anabaptists: they are honest, sober Christians; they expect to be used as men." But he was busier with his new regiment than with theories of Church and State; and his horsemen were no sooner in action than they proved themselves such soldiers as the war had never seen yet. "Truly they were never beaten at all," their leader said proudly at its close. At Winceby fight they charged "singing psalms," cleared Lincolnshire of the Cavaliers, and freed the eastern counties from all danger from Newcastle's partizans. At Marston Moor they faced and routed Rupert's chivalry. At Newbury it was only Manchester's reluctance that hindered them from completing the ruin of Charles.
[Sidenote: Self-denying Ordinance.]
Cromwell had shown his capacity for organization in the creation of the Ironsides; his military genius had displayed itself at Marston Moor. Newbury raised him into a political leader. "Without a more speedy, vigorous, and effective prosecution of the war," he said to the Commons after his quarrel with Manchester, "casting off all lingering proceedings, like those of soldiers of fortune beyond sea to spin out a war, we shall make the kingdom weary of us, and hate the name of a Parliament." But under the leaders who at present conducted it a vigorous conduct of the war was hopeless. They were, in Cromwell's plain words, "afraid to conquer." They desired not to crush Charles, but to force him back, with as much of his old strength remaining as might be, to the position of a constitutional king. The old loyalty, too, clogged their enterprise; they shrank from the taint of treason. "If the king be beaten," Manchester urged at Newbury, "he will still be king; if he beat us he will hang us all for traitors." To a mood like this Cromwell's reply seemed horrible: "If I met the king in battle I would fire my pistol at the king as at another." The army, too, as he long ago urged at Edgehill, was not an army to conquer with. Now, as then, he urged that till the whole force was new modelled, and placed under a stricter discipline, "they must not expect any notable success in anything they went about." But the first step in such a reorganization must be a change of officers. The army was led and officered by members of the two Houses, and the Self-denying Ordinance, which was introduced by Cromwell and Vane, declared the tenure of military or civil offices incompatible with a seat in either.
[Sidenote: The New Model.]
The long and bitter resistance which this measure met in either House was justified at a later time by the political results that followed the rupture of the tie which had hitherto bound the Army to the Parliament. But the drift of public opinion was too strong to be withstood. The country was weary of the mismanagement of the war, and demanded that military necessities should be no longer set aside on political grounds. The Ordinance passed the Houses on the third of April 1645, and its passage brought about the retirement of Essex, Manchester, and Waller. The new organization of the army went rapidly on through the spring under a new commander-in-chief, Sir Thomas Fairfax, the hero of the long contest in Yorkshire, and who had been raised into fame by his victory at Nantwich and his bravery at Marston Moor. But behind Fairfax stood Cromwell; and the principles on which Cromwell had formed his brigade were carried out on a larger scale in the "New Model." The one aim was to get together twenty thousand "honest" men. "Be careful," Cromwell wrote, "what captains of horse you choose, what men be mounted. A few honest men are better than numbers. If you choose godly honest men to be captains of horse, honest men will follow them." The result was a curious medley of men of different ranks among the officers of the New Model. The bulk of those in high command remained men of noble or gentle blood, Montagues, Pickerings, Fortescues, Sheffields, Sidneys, and the like. But side by side with these, though in far smaller proportion, were seen officers like Ewer, who had been a serving-man, like Okey, who had been a drayman, or Rainsborough, who had been a "skipper at sea." A result hardly less notable was the youth of the officers. Amongst those in high command there were few who, like Cromwell, had passed middle age. Fairfax was but thirty-three years old, and most of his colonels were even younger.
[Sidenote: The Army and the dissidents.]
Equally strange was the mixture of religions in its ranks. The remonstrances of the Presbyterians had only forced Cromwell's mind forward on the road of toleration. "The State, in choosing men to serve it," he wrote before Marston Moor, "takes no notice of these opinions. If they be willing faithfully to serve it, that satisfies." Marston Moor spurred him to press on the Parliament the need of at least "tolerating" dissidents; and he succeeded in procuring the appointment of a Committee of the Commons to find some means of effecting this. But the conservative temper of the bulk of the Puritans was at last roused by his efforts. "We detest and abhor," wrote the London clergy in 1645, "the much endeavoured Toleration"; and the Corporation of London petitioned Parliament to suppress all sects "without toleration." The Parliament itself too remained steady on the conservative side. But the fortunes of the war told for religious freedom. Essex and his Presbyterians only marched from defeat to defeat. Though a large proportion of the infantry was composed of pressed recruits, the cavalry was for the most part strongly Puritan, and in that part of the army especially, as in Cromwell's horsemen drawn from among the farmers from the eastern counties, dissidence of every type had gained a firm foothold.
[Sidenote: Negotiations at Uxbridge.]
Of the political and religious aspect of the New Model we shall have to speak at a later time; as yet its energy was directed solely to "the speedy and vigorous prosecution of the war." At the very moment when Fairfax was ready for action the policy of Cromwell was aided by the policy of the king. From the hour when Newbury marked the breach between the peace and war parties in the Parliament, and when the last became identified with the partizans of religious liberty, the Scotch Commissioners and the bulk of the Commons had seen that their one chance of hindering what they looked on as revolution in Church and State lay in pressing for fresh negotiations with Charles. These were opened at Uxbridge, and prolonged through the winter; but the hopes of concession which the king held out were suddenly withdrawn in the spring of 1645. He saw, as he thought, the Parliamentary army dissolved and ruined by its new modelling at an instant when news came from Scotland of fresh successes on the part of Montrose, and of his overthrow of the troops under Argyle's command in a victory at Inverlochy. "Before the end of the summer," wrote the conqueror, "I shall be in a position to come to your Majesty's aid with a brave army." He pressed Charles to advance to the Scottish border, where a junction of their armies might still suffice to crush any force the Parliament could bring against them. The party of war at once gained the ascendant in the royal councils. The negotiations at Uxbridge were broken off, and in May Charles opened his campaign by a march to the north.
At first all went well for the king. Leicester was stormed, the blockade of Chester raised, and the eastern counties threatened, until Fairfax, who had hoped to draw Charles back again by a blockade of Oxford, was forced to hurry on his track. Cromwell, who had been suffered by the House to retain his command for a few days in spite of the Ordinance, joined Fairfax as he drew near the king, and his arrival was greeted by loud shouts of welcome from the troops. On the fourteenth of June 1645 the two armies met near Naseby, to the north-west of Northampton. The king was eager to fight; "Never have my affairs been in as good a state," he cried; and Prince Rupert was as impatient as his uncle. On the other side, even Cromwell doubted as a soldier the success of his newly-drilled troops, though his religious enthusiasm swept away doubt in the assurance of victory. "I can say this of Naseby," he wrote soon after, "that when I saw the enemy draw up and march in gallant order towards us, and we a company of poor ignorant men, to seek to order our battle, the general having commanded me to order all the horse, I could not, riding alone about my business, but smile out to God in praises, in assurance of victory, because God would by things that are not bring to nought things that are. Of which I had great assurance, and God did it." The battle began with a furious charge of Rupert uphill, which routed the wing opposed to him under Ireton; while the Royalist foot, after a single discharge, clubbed their muskets and fell on the centre under Fairfax so hotly that it slowly and stubbornly gave way. But the Ironsides were conquerors on the left. A single charge broke the northern horse under Langdale, who had already fled before them at Marston Moor; and holding his troops firmly in hand, Cromwell fell with them on the flank of the Royalist foot in the very crisis of its success. A panic of the king's reserve, and its flight from the field, aided his efforts. It was in vain that Rupert returned with forces exhausted by pursuit, that Charles in a passion of despair called on his troopers for "one charge more." The battle was over: artillery, baggage, even the royal papers, fell into the conqueror's hands; five thousand men surrendered; and only two thousand followed the king in his headlong flight from the field.
[Sidenote: Close of the War.]
The war was ended at a blow. While Charles wandered helplessly along the Welsh border in search of fresh forces, Fairfax marched rapidly on the south-west, where an organized royal force alone existed; routed Goring's force at Langport, in Somersetshire; broke up the Royalist army; and in three weeks was master to the Land's End. A victory at Kilsyth, which gave Scotland for the moment to Montrose, threw a transient gleam over the darkening fortunes of his master's cause; but the surrender of Bristol to the Parliamentary army, and the dispersion of the last force Charles could gather from Wales in an attempt to relieve Chester, were followed in September by news of the crushing and irretrievable defeat of the "Great Marquis" at Philiphaugh. In the wreck of the royal cause we may pause for a moment over an incident which brings out in relief the best temper of both sides. Cromwell, who was sweeping over the southern counties to trample out the last trace of resistance, "spent much time with God in prayer before the storm" of Basing House, where the Marquis of Winchester had held stoutly out through the war for the king. The storm ended its resistance, and the brave old Royalist was brought in a prisoner with his house flaming around him. He "broke out," reports a Puritan bystander, "and said, 'that if the king had no more ground in England but Basing House, he would adventure it as he did, and so maintain it to the uttermost,' comforting himself in this matter 'that Basing House was called Loyalty.'" Of loyalty such as this Charles was utterly unworthy. The seizure of his papers at Naseby had hardly disclosed his earlier intrigues with the Irish Catholics when the Parliament was able to reveal to England a fresh treaty with them, which purchased no longer their neutrality, but their aid, by the simple concession of every demand they had made. The shame was without profit, for whatever aid Ireland might have given came too late to be of service. The spring of 1646 saw the few troops who still clung to Charles surrounded and routed at Stow. "You have done your work now," their leader, Sir Jacob Astley, said bitterly to his conquerors, "and may go to play, unless you fall out among yourselves."
THE ARMY AND THE PARLIAMENT
[Sidenote: The new struggle.]
With the close of the Civil War we enter on a time of confused struggles, a time tedious and uninteresting in its outer details, but of higher interest than even the war itself in its bearing on our after history. Modern England, the England among whose thoughts and sentiments we actually live, began, however dimly and darkly, with the triumph of Naseby. Old things passed silently away. When Astley gave up his sword the "work" of the generations which had struggled for Protestantism against Catholicism, for public liberty against absolute rule, in his own emphatic phrase, was "done." So far as these contests were concerned, however the later Stuarts might strive to revive them, England could safely "go to play." English religion was never to be more in danger. English liberty was never to be really in peril from the efforts of kings after a personal rule. Whatever reaction might come about, it would never bring into question the great constitutional results that the Long Parliament had wrought. But with the end of this older work a new work began. The constitutional and ecclesiastical problems which still in one shape or another beset us started to the front as subjects of national debate in the years between the close of the Civil War and the death of the king. The great parties which have ever since divided the social, the political, and the religious life of England, whether as Independents and Presbyterians, as Whigs and Tories, as Conservatives and Liberals, sprang into organized existence in the contest between the Army and the Parliament. Then for the first time began a struggle which is far from having ended yet, the struggle between political tradition and political progress, between the principle of religious conformity and the principle of religious freedom.
[Sidenote: Religious liberty.]
It was the religious struggle which drew the political in its train. The victory of Naseby raised a wider question than that of mere toleration. "Honest men served you faithfully in this action," Cromwell wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons from the field. "Sir, they are trusty: I beseech you in the name of God not to discourage them. He that ventures his life for the liberty of his country, I wish he trust God for the liberty of his conscience." The storm of Bristol encouraged him to proclaim the new principle yet more distinctly. "Presbyterians, Independents, all here have the same spirit of faith and prayer, the same presence and answer. They agree here, have no names of difference; pity it is it should be otherwise anywhere. All that believe have the real unity, which is the most glorious, being the inward and spiritual, in the body and in the head. For being united in forms (commonly called uniformity), every Christian will for peace' sake study and do as far as conscience will permit. And from brethren in things of the mind we look for no compulsion but that of light and reason." The increasing firmness of Cromwell's language was due to the growing irritation of his opponents. The two parties became every day more clearly defined. The Presbyterian ministers complained bitterly of the increase of the Sectaries, and denounced the toleration which had come into practical existence without sanction from the law. Scotland, whose army was still before Newark, pressed for the execution of the Covenant and the universal enforcement of a religious uniformity. Sir Harry Vane, on the other hand, who now headed the party which advocated religious freedom in the Commons, strove to bring the Parliament round to less rigid courses by the introduction of two hundred and thirty new members, who filled the seats left vacant by the withdrawal of Royalist members, and the more eminent of whom, such as Ireton and Algernon Sidney, were inclined to support the Independents. But the majority in both Houses still clung to the Tudor tradition of religious uniformity; and it was only the pressure of the New Model, and the remonstrances of Cromwell as its mouthpiece, that hindered any effective movement towards persecution.
[Sidenote: Charles in the Scotch camp.]
Amidst the wreck of his fortunes Charles seized on the growing discord among his opponents as a means of retrieving all. He trusted that the dread of revolution would at last rally the whole body of conservative Englishmen round the royal standard; and it is likely enough that had he frankly flung himself on the side of the Parliament at this juncture he might have regained much of his older power. But, beaten and hunted as he was from place to place, he was determined to regain not much but all. The terms which the Houses offered were still severe; and Charles believed that a little kingcraft would free him from the need of accepting any terms whatever. He intrigued therefore busily with both parties, and promised liberty of worship to Vane and the Independents at the moment when he was negotiating with the Parliament and with the Scots. His negotiations were quickened by the march of Fairfax upon Oxford. Driven from his last refuge at the close of April 1646, the king had to choose between a flight from the realm or a surrender to one of the armies about him. Charles had no mind to forsake England when all seemed working for his success; and after some aimless wanderings he made his appearance in May in the camp of the Scots. The choice was dexterous enough. The Parliament and the Army were still left face to face. On the other hand the Scots were indignant at what they regarded as a breach of faith in the toleration which existed in England, and Charles believed that his presence would at once rekindle their loyalty to a king of Scottish blood. But the results of his surrender were other than he had hoped. To the world at large his action seemed simply the prelude to an accommodation with his opponents on the ground of religious uniformity. This new aspect of affairs threatened the party of religious freedom with ruin. Hated as they were by the Scots, by the Lords, by the City of London, the apparent junction of Charles with their enemies destroyed their growing hopes in the Commons, where the prospects of a speedy peace on Presbyterian terms at once swelled the majority of their opponents. The two Houses laid their conditions of peace before the king without a dream of resistance from one who seemed to have placed himself at their mercy. They required for the Parliament the command of the army and fleet for twenty years; the exclusion of all "Malignants," or Royalists who had taken part in the war, from civil and military office; the abolition of Episcopacy; and the establishment of a Presbyterian Church. Of toleration or liberty of conscience they said not a word.
The Scots, whose army had fallen back with its royal prize to Newcastle, pressed these terms on the king "with tears." His friends, and even the queen, urged their acceptance. But the aim of Charles was simply delay. His surrender had not brought about the results he had hoped for; but he believed that time and the dissensions of his enemies were fighting for him. "I am not without hope," he wrote coolly, "that I shall be able to draw either the Presbyterians or the Independents to side with me for extirpating one another, so that I shall be really king again." With this end he refused the terms offered by the Houses. His refusal was a crushing defeat for the Presbyterians. "What will become of us," asked one of them, "now that the king has rejected our proposals?" "What would have become of us," retorted an Independent, "had he accepted them?" The vigour of Holles and the Conservative leaders in the Parliament rallied however to a bolder effort. It was plain that the king's game lay in balancing the Army against the Parliament, and that the Houses could hope for no submission to these terms so long as the New Model was on foot. Nor could they venture in its presence to enforce religious uniformity, or to deal as they would have wished to deal with the theories of religious freedom which were every day becoming more popular. But while the Scotch army lay at Newcastle, and while it held the king in its hands, they could not insist on dismissing their own soldiers. It was only a withdrawal of the Scots from England and their transfer of the king's person into the hands of the Houses that would enable them to free themselves from the pressure of their own soldiers by disbanding the New Model.
[Sidenote: Surrender of the king.]
In his endeavour to bring these two measures about Holles met with an unexpected success. Hopeless of success in the projects of accommodation which they laid before the king, and unable to bring him into Scotland in face of the refusal of the General Assembly to receive a sovereign who would not swear to the Covenant, the Scottish army in January 1647 accepted L400,000 in discharge of its claims, handed Charles over to a Committee of the Houses, and marched back over the Border. The success of their diplomacy restored the confidence of the Houses. The Presbyterian leaders looked on themselves as masters of the king, and they resolved to assert their mastery over the New Model and the Sectaries. They voted that the army should be disbanded, and that a new army should be raised for the suppression of the Irish rebellion with Presbyterian officers at its head. It was in vain that the men protested against being severed from "officers that we love," and that the Council of Officers strove to gain time by pressing on the Parliament the danger of mutiny. Holles and his fellow-leaders were resolute, and their ecclesiastical legislation showed the end at which their resolution aimed. Direct enforcement of conformity was impossible till the New Model was disbanded; but the Parliament pressed on in the work of providing the machinery for enforcing it as soon as the army was gone. Vote after vote ordered the setting up of Presbyteries throughout the country, and the first-fruits of these efforts were seen in the Presbyterian organization of London, and in the first meeting of its Synod at St. Paul's. Even the officers on Fairfax's staff were ordered to take the Covenant.
[Sidenote: Temper of the New Model.]
All hung however on the disbanding of the New Model, and the New Model showed no will to disband itself. Its attitude can only fairly be judged by remembering what the conquerors of Naseby really were. They were soldiers of a different class and of a different temper from the soldiers of any other army that the world has seen. Their ranks were filled for the most part with young farmers and tradesmen of the lower sort, maintaining themselves, for their pay was twelve months in arrear, mainly at their own cost. They had been specially picked as "honest," or religious men, and, whatever enthusiasm or fanaticism they may have shown, their very enemies acknowledged the order and piety of their camp. They looked on themselves not as swordsmen, to be caught up and flung away at the will of a paymaster, but as men who had left farm and merchandise at a direct call from God. A great work had been given them to do, and the call bound them till it was done. Kingcraft, as Charles was hoping, might yet restore tyranny to the throne. A more immediate danger threatened that liberty of conscience which was to them "the ground of the quarrel, and for which so many of their friends' lives had been lost, and so much of their own blood had been spilt." They would wait before disbanding till these liberties were secured, and if need came they would again act to secure them. But their resolve sprang from no pride in the brute force of the sword they wielded. On the contrary, as they pleaded passionately at the bar of the Commons, "on becoming soldiers we have not ceased to be citizens." Their aims and proposals throughout were purely those of citizens, and of citizens who were ready the moment their aim was won to return peacefully to their homes. Thought and discussion had turned the army into a vast Parliament, a Parliament which regarded itself as a representative of "godly" men in as high a degree as the Parliament at Westminster, and which must have become every day more conscious of its superiority in political capacity to its rival. Ireton, the moving spirit of the New Model, had no equal as a statesman in St. Stephen's: nor is it possible to compare the large and far-sighted proposals of the Army with the blind and narrow policy of the two Houses. Whatever we may think of the means by which the New Model sought its aims, we must in justice remember that, so far as those aims went, the New Model was in the right. For the last two hundred years England has been doing little more than carrying out in a slow and tentative way the scheme of political and religious reform which the army propounded at the close of the Civil War.
[Sidenote: Its seizure of the king.]
It was not till the rejection of the officers' proposals had left little hope of conciliation that the army acted, but its action was quick and decisive. It set aside for all political purposes the Council of Officers, by which its action had hitherto been directed, and elected a new Council of Agitators or Agents, two members being named by each regiment, which summoned a general meeting of the army at Triploe Heath, where the proposals of pay and disbanding made by the Parliament were rejected with cries of "Justice." While the army was gathering, in fact, the Agitators had taken a step which put submission out of the question. A rumour that the king was to be removed to London, a new army raised by the Parliament in his name, and a new civil war begun, roused the soldiers to madness. Five hundred troopers appeared on the fourth of June before Holmby House, where the king was residing in charge of Parliamentary Commissioners, and displaced its guards. "Where is your commission for this act?" Charles asked the cornet who commanded them. "It is behind me," said Joyce, pointing to his soldiers. "It is written in very fine and legible characters," laughed the king. The seizure had in fact been previously concerted between Charles and the Agitators. "I will part willingly," he told Joyce, "if the soldiers confirm all that you have promised me. You will exact from me nothing that offends my conscience or my honour." "It is not our maxim," replied the cornet, "to constrain the conscience of any one, still less that of our king." After a first burst of terror at the news, the Parliament fell furiously on Cromwell, who had relinquished his command and quitted the army before the close of the war, and had ever since been employed as a mediator between the two parties. The charge of having incited the mutiny fell before his vehement protest, but he was driven to seek refuge with the army, and on the twenty-fifth of June it was in full march upon London. Its demands were expressed with perfect clearness in an "Humble Representation" which it addressed to the Houses. "We desire a settlement of the Peace of the kingdom and of the liberties of the subject according to the votes and declarations of Parliament. We desire no alteration in the civil government: as little do we desire to interrupt or in the least to intermeddle with the settling of the Presbyterial government." What they demanded in religious matters was toleration; but "not to open a way to licentious living under pretence of obtaining ease for tender consciences, we profess, as ever, in these things when the State has made a settlement we have nothing to say, but to submit or suffer." It was with a view to such a settlement that they demanded the expulsion of eleven members from the Commons, with Holles at their head, whom the soldiers charged with stirring up strife between the Army and the Parliament, and with a design of renewing the civil war. After fruitless negotiations the New Model drew close upon London; the terror of the Londoners forced the eleven to withdraw; and the Houses named Commissioners to treat on the questions at issue.
[Sidenote: The Army negotiates with the King.]
Though Fairfax and Cromwell had been forced from their position as mediators into a hearty co-operation with the army, its political direction rested at this moment with Cromwell's son-in-law, Henry Ireton, and Ireton looked for a real settlement, not to the Parliament, but to the king. "There must be some difference," he urged bluntly, "between conquerors and conquered"; but the terms which he laid before Charles were terms of studied moderation. The vindictive spirit which the Parliament had shown against the Royalists and the Church disappeared in the terms exacted by the New Model; and the Army contented itself with the banishment of seven leading "delinquents," a general Act of Oblivion for the rest, the withdrawal of all coercive power from the clergy, the control of Parliament over the military and naval forces for ten years, and its nomination of the great officers of State. Behind these demands however came a masterly and comprehensive plan of political reform which had already been sketched by the army in the "Humble Representation," with which it had begun its march on London. Belief and worship were to be free to all. Acts enforcing the use of the Prayer-Book, or attendance at Church, or the enforcement of the Covenant were to be repealed. Even Catholics, whatever other restraints might be imposed, were to be freed from the bondage of compulsory worship. Parliaments were to be triennial, and the House of Commons to be reformed by a fairer distribution of seats and of electoral rights; taxation was to be readjusted; legal procedure simplified; a crowd of political, commercial, and judicial privileges abolished. Ireton believed that Charles could be "so managed" (says Mrs. Hutchinson) "as to comply with the public good of his people after he could no longer uphold his violent will." But Charles was equally dead to the moderation and to the wisdom of this great Act of Settlement. He saw in the crisis nothing but an opportunity of balancing one party against another; and believed that the Army had more need of his aid than he of the Army's. "You cannot do without me—you are lost if I do not support you," he said to Ireton as he pressed his proposals. "You have an intention to be the arbitrator between us and the Parliament," Ireton quietly replied, "and we mean to be so between the Parliament and your Majesty."
[Sidenote: Flight of the king.]
But the king's tone was soon explained. If London had been panic-stricken at the approach of the army, its panic soon disappeared. The great city was goaded to action by the humiliation of the Parliament, and still more by the triumph of religious liberty which seemed to be approaching through the negotiations of the Army with the king. A mob of Londoners broke into the House of Commons and forced its members to recall the eleven. The bulk of Vane's party, some fourteen peers and a hundred commoners, fled to the army; while those who remained at Westminster prepared for an open struggle with it and invited Charles to return to London. But the news no sooner reached the camp than the army was again on the march. "In two days," Cromwell said coolly, "the city will be in our hands." On the sixth of August the soldiers entered London in triumph and restored the fugitive members; the eleven were once more expelled; and the army leaders resumed their negotiations with the king. The indignation of the soldiers at his delays and intrigues made their task hourly more difficult: but Cromwell, who now threw his whole weight on Ireton's side, clung to the hope of accommodation with a passionate tenacity. His mind, conservative by tradition, and above all practical in temper, saw the political difficulties which would follow on the abolition of Monarchy, and in spite of the king's evasions he persisted in negotiating with him. But Cromwell stood almost alone. The Parliament refused to accept Ireton's proposals as a basis of peace; Charles still evaded; and the army grew restless and suspicious. There were cries for a wide reform, for the abolition of the House of Peers, for a new House of Commons; and the Agitators called on the Council of Officers to discuss the question of abolishing Royalty itself. Cromwell was never braver than when he faced the gathering storm, forbade the discussion, adjourned the Council, and sent the officers to their regiments. But the strain was too great to last long, and Charles was still resolute to "play his game." He was in fact so far from being in earnest in his negotiation with Cromwell and Ireton that at the moment they were risking their lives for him he was conducting another and equally delusive negotiation with the Parliament, fomenting the discontent in London, and preparing for a fresh Royalist rising. What he still more counted on was aid from the North. The intervention of the Scots had ruined his cause, but their intervention might again restore it. The practical suspension of the Covenant and the triumph of the party of religious liberty in England had produced a violent reaction across the Tweed. Argyle and the zealous Presbyterians still clung to the alliance between the two countries, though it disappointed their hopes; but Hamilton, who had now become a Duke, put himself at the head of the more moderate religionists, and carried the elections for a new Parliament. Charles at once saw the results of the Duke's success. "The two nations," he wrote joyously, "will soon be at war." All that was needed for the success of these schemes was his own liberty: and in November 1647, in the midst of their hopes of an accommodation, the army leaders learned that they had been duped throughout, and that the king had fled.
[Sidenote: The second Civil War.]
The flight fanned the excitement of the New Model into frenzy, and only the courage of Cromwell averted an open mutiny in its gathering at Ware. But even Cromwell was powerless to break the spirit which now pervaded the soldiers, and the king's perfidy left him without resources. "The king is a man of great parts and great understanding," he said, "but so great a dissembler and so false a man that he is not to be trusted." The danger from his escape indeed soon passed away. By a strange error Charles had ridden from Hampton Court to the Isle of Wight, perhaps with some hope from the sympathy of Colonel Hammond, the Governor of Carisbrook Castle, and again found himself a prisoner. But the wider perils remained. Foiled in his effort to put himself at the head of the new civil war, the king set himself to organize it from his prison; and while again opening delusive negotiations with the two Houses he signed a secret treaty with the Scots for the invasion of the realm. All that Hamilton needed to bring the new Scotch Parliament to an active support of the king was his assent to a stipulation for the re-establishment of Presbytery in England. This Charles at last brought himself to give in the spring of 1648, and the Scots at once ordered an army to be levied for his support. In England the whole of the conservative party, with many of the most conspicuous members of the Long Parliament at its head, was drifting in its horror of the religious and political changes which seemed impending towards the king; and at the close of May the news from Scotland gave the signal for fitful insurrections in almost every quarter. London was only held down by main force, old officers of the Parliament unfurled the royal flag in South Wales, and surprised Pembroke. The seizure of Berwick and Carlisle opened a way for the Scotch invasion. Kent, Essex, and Hertford broke out in revolt. The fleet in the Downs sent their captains on shore, hoisted the king's pennon, and blockaded the Thames.
[Sidenote: The Houses and the Army.]
"The hour is come," cried Cromwell, "for the Parliament to save the kingdom and to govern alone." But the Parliament showed no will to "govern alone." It looked on the rising and the intervention of the Scots as means of freeing it from the control under which it had been writhing since the expulsion of the eleven. It took advantage of the crisis to profess its adherence to Monarchy, to reopen the negotiations it had broken off with the king, and to deal the fiercest blow at religious freedom which it had ever received. The Presbyterians flocked back to their seats; and an "Ordinance for the Suppression of Blasphemies and Heresies," which Vane and Cromwell had long held at bay, was passed by triumphant majorities. Any man—ran this terrible statute—denying the doctrine of the Trinity or of the Divinity of Christ, or that the books of Scripture are "the Word of God," or the resurrection of the body, or a future day of judgement, and refusing on trial to abjure his heresy, "shall suffer the pain of death." Any man declaring (amidst a long list of other errors) "that man by nature hath free will to turn to God," that there is a Purgatory, that images are lawful, that infant baptism is unlawful; any one denying the obligation of observing the Lord's day, or asserting "that the Church government by Presbytery is antichristian or unlawful," shall, on a refusal to renounce his errors, "be commanded to prison." It was plain that the Presbyterians counted on the king's success to resume their policy of conformity, and had Charles been free, or the New Model disbanded, their hopes would probably have been realized.
[Sidenote: The Scotch Invasion.]
But Charles was still safe at Carisbrook; and the New Model was facing fiercely the danger which surrounded it. The wanton renewal of the war at a moment when all tended to peace swept from the mind of Fairfax and Cromwell, as from that of the army at large, every thought of reconciliation with the king. Soldiers and generals were at last bound together again in a stern resolve. On the eve of their march against the revolt all gathered in a solemn prayer-meeting, and came "to a very clear and joint resolution, 'That it was our duty, if ever the Lord brought us back again in peace, to call Charles Stuart, that man of blood, to account for the blood he has shed and mischief he has done to his utmost against the Lord's cause and people in this poor nation.'" The stern resolve was followed by vigorous action. In a few days Fairfax had trampled down the Kentish insurgents, and had prisoned those of the eastern counties within the walls of Colchester, while Cromwell drove the Welsh insurgents within those of Pembroke. Both towns however held stubbornly out; and though a rising under Lord Holland in the neighbourhood of London was easily put down, there was no force left to stem the inroad of the Scots, who poured over the Border at the opening of July some twenty thousand strong. Luckily the surrender of Pembroke at this critical moment set Cromwell free. Pushing rapidly northward with five thousand men, he called in a force under Lambert which had been gallantly hanging on the Scottish flank, and pushed over the Yorkshire hills into the valley of the Ribble, where the Duke of Hamilton, reinforced by three thousand Royalists of the North, had advanced as far as Preston. With an army which now numbered ten thousand men, Cromwell poured down on the flank of the Duke's straggling line of march, attacked the Scots on the seventeenth of August as they retired behind the Ribble, passed the river with them, cut their rearguard to pieces at Wigan, forced the defile at Warrington, where the flying enemy made a last and desperate stand, and drove their foot to surrender, while Lambert hunted down Hamilton and the horse. Fresh from its victory, the New Model pushed over the Border, while the peasants of Ayrshire and the West rose in a "Whiggamore raid" (notable as the first event in which we find the name "Whig," which is possibly the same as our "Whey," and conveys a taunt against the "sour-milk" faces of the fanatical Ayrshiremen), and, marching upon Edinburgh, in September, dispersed the Royalist party and again installed Argyle in power.
[Sidenote: Demand of justice on the king.]
Argyle welcomed Cromwell as a deliverer, but the victorious general had hardly entered Edinburgh when he was recalled by pressing news from the South. The temper with which the Parliament had met the Royalist revolt was, as we have seen, widely different from that of the Army. It had recalled the eleven members, and had passed the Ordinance against heresy. At the moment of the victory at Preston the Lords were discussing charges of treason against Cromwell, while in September commissioners were again sent to the Isle of Wight, in spite of the resistance of the Independents, to conclude peace with the king. Royalists and Presbyterians alike pressed Charles to grasp the easy terms which were now offered him. But if his hopes from Scotland had utterly broken down, they had given place to hopes of a new war with the aid of an army from Ireland; and the negotiators of the Houses saw forty days wasted in useless chicanery. "Nothing," Charles wrote to his friends, "is changed in my designs." With Ireland and Scotland on his side, with Royalists still in arms in the eastern counties, with the Houses at issue with the Army, and as it seemed on the point of yielding unconditionally to the king in their dread of organic changes, he believed that the hour of his triumph was at last at hand. But the surrender of Colchester to Fairfax in August and Cromwell's convention with Argyle had now set free the Army, and it at once struck fiercely at its foes. Petitions from its regiments demanded "justice on the king." A fresh "Remonstrance" from the Council of Officers called for the election of a new Parliament; for electoral reform; for the recognition of the supremacy of the Houses "in all things"; for the change of kingship, should it be retained, into a magistracy elected by the Parliament, and without veto on its proceedings. Above all they demanded "that the capital and grand author of our troubles, by whose commissions, commands, and procurements, and in whose behalf and for whose interest only, of will and power, all our wars and troubles have been, with all the miseries attending them, may be specially brought to justice for the treason, blood, and mischief he is therein guilty of."