« AnteriorContinuar »
so many years’ industry, toil and pains you have done, and so render you to all rational men in the world as the most contemptiblest generation of silly, low-spirited men in the earth, to be broken and routed by such a despicable, contemptible generation of men as they are, and therefore, Sir, I tell you again, you are necessitated to break them.” We can sympathise with Lilburne now in his desire to establish government by the people, to confirm individual right, and to restrain the commanders of the army from political power Yet, after all, the practical necessities of the hour were on Cromwell’s side.
It was not long before the mutinous spirit to which Lilburne appealed showed itself in the army. A regiment quartered at Salisbury refused obedience to its officers, and roamed about the country seeking for other bodies of troops with which to combine. Fairfax set out from London in chase, and on the night of May 14 Cromwell, by a forced march with his cavalry, overtook the mutineers at Bunfofi. Three were executed, and the remainder submitted to the
It was the more necessary to keep the army in hand, as there was renewed fighting in prospect. The eldest son of the late King, now claiming the title of Charles II., was about to make an effort to seat himself on his father’s throne, and hoped, as his father had hoped before him, to have on his side the forces of Scotland and Ireland. For many years the problem of the relations between the three countries had been inviting a solution. Both Scotland and Ireland had social and political interests of their own, and the natural reluctance of the inhabitants of either country to see these merged in those of the wealthier and more numerous people of England would in any case have called for delicate handling. The rise for the first time of a powerful army in England made her relations with the two other countries even more difficult than before, and had contributed fully as much as zeal for Presbyterianism to the ridiculous scheme of re-establishirig Charles I. as a covenanting King. After the defeat of Hamilton, indeed, Argyle and the Scottish clergy had welcomed Cromwell’s support in the overthrow of the power of the nobility, but the dread of English predominance had not been entirely dispelled, and the King’s execution added a sentimental grievance to other causes of alarm. In refusing to allow any English government to dispose of Scotland, the Scots were undoubtedly within their rights; but when on February 5 they proclaimed Charles II. not merely as King of Scotland, but as King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, they took up a position which no English government could allow to remain unchallenged, whilst in adding a condition that Charles was to be admitted to power only on his engagement
to rule according to the National Covenant and the Solemn League and Covenant, they put forward the monstrous claim to control the religious development of England and Ireland, as well as of their own country.
The necessity—according to these conditions—of coming to an understanding with Charles, made Scotland little dangerous for the moment, and enabled the English Parliament to turn its attention to Ireland, to which Charles I. had looked hopefully after the failure of the Hamilton invasion. Ormond, who had formerly headed Charles’s partisans in Ireland, now returned to that country as the King’s Lord Lieutenant, and brought under his leadership, not only his old followers, but the army of the Confederate Catholics. Though Owen O’Neill, at the head of an army raised amongst the Celts of Ulster, kept aloof, the way seemed open for Ormond to attack Dublin, which was now guarded by a Parliamentary garrison under Michael Jones, and was almost the only place in Ireland still holding out for England. As in Scotland, so in Ireland, the question was not so much whether England was to win forcible mastery over those portions of the British Isles outside her borders, as whether they were to be used to determine the political institutions of England herself. The attacks
' on Ireland and Scotland, which were now to follow, To no man more than Cromwell was this thought present. An Englishman of Englishmen--his bitterest complaint against the late King had been that he had attempted to ‘vassalise’ England to a foreign nation, and when on March I5 he was named to the command, he explained to his brother officers the reasons which inclined him to accept the post. “Truly,” he said, “ this is really believed :—If we do not endeavour to make good our interest there, and that timely, we shall not only have our interest rooted out there, but they will, in a very short time, be able to land forces in England and put us to trouble here; and I confess I have these thoughts with myself that perhaps may be carnal and foolish : I had rather be overrun with a Cavalierish interest than a Scottish interest; had rather be overrun by a Scottish interest than an Irish interest, and I think of all this is most dangerous; and, if they shall be able to carry on their work, they will make this the most miserable people in the earth ; for all the world knows their barbarism—not of any religion almost any of them, but, in a manner, as bad as Papists—and truly it is thus far that the quarrel is brought to this State that we can hardly return into that tyranny that formerly we were under the yoke of. . . but we must at the same time be subject to the kingdom of Scotland and the kingdom of Ireland for the bringing in of the King. Now it should awaken all Englishmen who perhaps are willing enough he should have come in upon an accommodation; but now he must come in from Ireland or Scotland.” In these words are revealed the convictions that dominated Cromwell’s action at this period of his life. So far as it lay in him, he would never admit that Scotland, still less that Ireland, should impose a government upon England. On July I2 he set out for Ireland. Before he could embark he received the welcome news that Michael Jones had defeated Ormond at Rathmines, and that Dublin was consequently out of danger. When he landed at Dublin, his intention was, as soon as possible, to make his way into Munster and rally round him the Protestant colonists who formed a considerable part of the population of the towns on the coast. It was, however, necessary first to protect Dublin from an attack from the north, from which quarter Owen O’Neill, who, after long hesitation, had thrown in his lot with Ormond, was expected to advance. Accordingly, on September 1, Cromwell marched upon Drogheda, which was held for the King by a garrison of about 2,800 men, mainly composed of Irishmen, under Sir Arthur Aston. On the 10th Cromwell summoned the place, and on the refusal of the governor to surrender opened a cannonade on the south-eastern angle. It was impossible for the garrison—short of ammunition as it was—to hold out long, and on the second day, when a breach had been effected, Crom
were in a certain sense acts of defensive warfare.