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pushing forward their proposal of manhood suffrage, he obtained a vote from the Army Council directing that both officers and Agitators should be sent back to their regiments. There can be little doubt that the danger was greater than was thus indicated, and that there was truth in a story which charged the Levellers with intending, at this time, to purge the Parliament and to bring the King to trial. On the nth, at all events, the brave but fanatical Colonel Harrison was calling for the prosecution of the King, and on the same day Cromwell sent to Whalley, who commanded the guard at Hampton Court, to provide against any attempt on Charles's person. Similar warnings had reached Charles himself, and on the evening of the same day he quietly made his escape. On the 14th, after the failure of a scheme for the provision of a vessel from Southampton to carry him to France, he reached Carisbrooke, where the Governor of the Castle was Robert Hammond, Cromwell's cousin. Cromwell's first task was to ensure the discipline of the army. His persistent efforts to keep up negotiation with the King had exposed him to the distrust of the Levellers, and it is said that some of them had resolved to murder him in his bed. There was no time to be lost. On the 15th a rendezvous of a third part of the army was to be held on Corkbush Field, not far from Ware, and there could be no doubt that the Levellers would make desperate attempts to seduce the regiments from their military obedience. To meet the danger, a manifesto was issued in the name of Fairfax and the Army Council, in which Fairfax offered to give his support to the early dissolution of Parliament and to a plan for making the House of Commons 'as near as may be, an equal representative of the people that are to elect'. For the rest, every soldier would be expected to sign a form of adhesion to the General and the Council. Speaking broadly, the conflict was between the men who knew the importance of maintaining the discipline of the army, and those who would reduce it to an armed mob eager to compel Parliament to adopt the democratic system of The Agreement of the People. On the 15th the soldiers gathered to the appointed rendezvous on Cork bush Field, where most of the regiments, with more or less reluctance, submitted to their officers. Two, those of Harrison and Robert Lilburne, both of which had been ordered elsewhere, mutinously made their appearance with copies of The Agreement of the People in their hats, as well as the motto " England's Freedom! Soldiers' Rights!" A few words from Fairfax reduced Harrison's regiment to obedience. Cromwell, finding that Lilburne's men defied his order to remove the papers from their hats, rode into the ranks with his sword drawn, on which the regiment, with one accord, did as it was bidden. Three of the ringleaders were condemned to death by a court-martial held on the spot, and then ordered to throw dice for their lives. He who threw lowest was shot in the presence of the whole force, and the mutiny was brought to an end.
By this time the weary round of negotiation was beginning afresh. Charles sent up new proposals to the Parliament, proposals which, if he were in earnest, might possibly serve as a foundation for an agreement. It concerned Parliament and army alike to discover whether Charles, who for many months had shown no sign of eagerness for settlement, was now aiming at anything more than an excuse to enable him to gain time for an arrangement with the Scots. So suspicious had the officers grown that Ireton was heard to say that if peace were to be made between King and Parliament, he hoped it would be such as that the army 'might, with a safe conscience, fight against both'. If we are to believe a story, told indeed only after the Restoration, but which has inherent probability in it, Cromwell and Ireton, having reason to suppose that a letter from Charles to the Queen would be carried by a man who was to stay the night at the Blue Boar in Holborn, disguised themselves as troopers, and waited in the inn drinking beer till the messenger arrived. Then, ripping up his saddle, they found the expected letter, from which they learnt that 'the King had acquainted the Queen that he was now courted by both the factions, the Scotch Presbyterians and the army, and which bid fairest for him should have him, but he thought he should close with the Scots sooner than the other'. According to another account, the letter also assured Henrietta Maria that she need not concern herself about any concessions he might make, as 'he should not look upon himself as obliged to keep any promises made so much on compulsion whenever he had power enough to break them'.
Whatever may be the exact truth about the intercepted letter, it is exceedingly likely that Cromwell, in some way or other, received intelligence which confirmed his growing belief in Charles's untrustworthiness. This view of the case is confirmed by the fact that, not long after, the Parliament prepared four Bills, not as a basis of a settlement, but as a test to show whether Charles was in earnest or not, principally by asking him to abandon his control over the militia. On the other hand Charles so misconceived his position as to send Berkeley to Fairfax with a request that he would support him in asking for a personal treaty unfettered by any conditions whatsoever. When, on November 28, Berkeley arrived at head-quarters, Fairfax briefly referred him to Parliament, whilst neither Cromwell nor Ireton would enter into conversation with him. To the soldiers who had mistrusted him Cromwell professed 'that the glories of this world had so dazzled his eyes that he could not discern clearly the great works the Lord was doing; that he was resolved to humble himself, and desired the prayers of the saints, that God would be pleased to forgive his self-seeking'. On the following morning he sent a message to Berkeley in a more worldly strain, bidding him 'be assured he would serve His Majesty as long as he could do it without his own ruin, but desired that he would not expect that he should perish for his sake'. Such at least was the form given to the message by Berkeley when he wrote his Memoirs at a later date, and we may at least take it as established that Cromwell made it clear to Charles that, after what had happened, it was perfectly hopeless to expect the army to bring pressure on Parliament in his favour.
Charles turned to the Scots. There were two parties in Scotland—the party of the ministers of the Kirk, headed by the Marquis of Argyle, and the party of the nobility, headed by the Duke of Hamilton, of which the leading members were the Duke's brother, the Earl of Lanark, and the Earl of Lauderdale, both of whom, like many other Scottish nobles, had thrown themselves into the Presbyterian movement so long as it was directed against Bishops, but had rallied to the Crown as soon as the Ministers strove to make themselves independent of the nobility. It was this latter party that was represented by the Scottish Commissioners in England, and on December 26 Charles