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see never a nobleman in England’. He is even reported to have assured Manchester that it would never be well till he was known as plain Mr. Montague. Manchester persisted in doing nothing till a distinct order was given him to march to the defence of London, now laid open by Essex’s mishap.
Manchester’s reluctance to engage in military operations was probably strengthened by the knowledge that Vane, who, since Pym’s death in the winter of 1643, was the most prominent personage amongst the war party at Westminster, had come down to York, at the time of the siege, to urge the generals, though in vain, to consent to the deposition of the King, and he could not but suspect that the arrival of Charles Louis, Elector Palatine, the eldest surviving son of Charles’s sister Elizabeth, on August 30, had something to do with a design for placing him on his uncle’s throne. The design, if it really existed, came to nothing, probably because it was hopeless to carry it out in the teeth of the generals. It was only with the utmost difficulty that Manchester’s hesitation was overcome, and that he was induced to face Charles’s army at Newbury. The battle fought there on October 27 was a drawn one. That it did not end in a Parliamentary victory was mainly owing to Manchester’s indecision. When, a few days later, the King reappeared on the scene, he was allowed to relieve Donnington Castle, in the immediate neigh
bourhood of Newbury, no attempt whatever being made to hinder his operations. In the controversy which followed, Manchester went to the root of the matter when he said. “If we beat the King ninety and nine times, yet he is King still, and so will his posterity be after him; but if the King beat us once we shall all be hanged, and our posterity made slaves”. “ My Lord,” answered Cromwell, “if this be so why did we take up arms at first? This is against fighting ever hereafter. If so, let us make peace, be it never so base.” Each of the two men had fixed upon one side of the problem which England was called upon to solve. Manchester was appalled by the political difi-iculty. There stood the Kingship accepted by generation after generation, fenced about with safeguards of law and custom, and likely to be accepted in one form or another by generations to come. A single decisive victory gained by Charles would not only expose those who had dared to make war on him to the hideous penalties of the law of treason— but would enable him to measure the terms of submission by his own resolves. If Manchester had had the power of looking into futurity, he would have argued that no military success—not even the abolition of monarchy, and the execution of the monarch—would avail to postpone the restoration of Charles’s heir for more than a little while.
Cromwell’s reply did not even pretend to meet the difficulty. It was not in him to forecast the prospects of kingship in England, or to vex his mind with the consequences of a problematical Royalist victory. It was enough for him to grasp the actual situation. It is true that, at this time, he had not got beyond the position from which the whole of the Parliamentary party had started at the beginning of the war—the position that the war must be ended by a compact between King and Parliament. To Cromwell, therefore, whose heart was set upon the liberation of those who in his eyes were the people of God, and the overthrow of ceremonial observances, the immediate duty of the moment was to secure that, when the time of negotiation arrived, the right side should be in possession of sufiicient military force to enable it to dictate the terms of peace. It was his part not to consider what the King might do if he proved victorious, but to take good care that he was signally defeated. Strange to say, the folly of the Presbyterian party—strong in the two Houses, and in the support of the Scottish army—was playing into Cromwell’s hands. On November 20, ten days after Cromwell’s altercations with Manchester, Parliament sent to Oxford terms of peace so harsh as to place their acceptance outside the bounds of possibility. The royal power was to be reduced to a cipher, whilst such a form of religion as might be agreed upon by
the Houses in accordance with the Covenant was to _ be imposed on all Englishmen, without toleration either for the sects favoured by Cromwell, or for the Church of Andrewes and Laud which found one of its warmest and most conscientious supporters in Charles. Every man in the three kingdoms, including the King himself, was to be bound to swear to the Such a demand natur“There are three
observance of the Covenant.
On November 25 Cromwell appeared in Parliament to urge on the one thing immediately necessary, the forging of an instrument by which the King
might be ruined in the field. The existing military
system by which separate armies, to a great ex- '
tent composed of local forces, and therefore unable to subordinate local to national objects, had been '\ placed under commanders selected for their political or social eminence, had completely broken down. So welllwas this recognised that, two days before Cromwell’s arrival at Westminster, a committee had been appointed without opposition to ‘consider of a frame or model of the whole militia’. It was perhaps to
assist the committee to come to a right conclusion
that, upon his arrival at Westminster, Cromwell indignantly assailed Manchester as guilty of all the errors which had led to the deplorable result at Newbury. Manchester was not slow in throwing all the blame on Cromwell, and it seemed as if the gravest political questions were to be thrust aside by a personal altercation. So angry were the Scottish members of the Committee of both kingdoms, a body which had recently been appointed to direct the movements of the armies, that they won over the Presbyterian leaders, Essex and Holles, to look favourably on a scheme for bringing an accusation against Cromwell
as an incendiary who was doing his best to divide the King from his people, and one of the kingdoms from
the other. At a meeting held at Essex House the Scottish Earl of Loudoun asked the English lawyers present whether an incendiary who was punishable by the law of Scotland was also punishable by the law of England. The English lawyers threw cold water on the scheme, Whitelocke asking to see the evidence on which the charge was founded, whilst Maynard declared that ‘ Lieutenant-General Cromwell is a person of great favour and interest with the House of Commons, and with some of the Peers likewise, and therefore there must be proofs, and the most clear and evident against him, to prevail with the Parliament to adjudge him to be an incendiary’. Neither
Whitelocke nor Maynard was eager to bell the cat;