Imágenes de páginas

his army, in short, had no advantage but that of numbers over the well-disciplined and fiery enthusiasts who followed Cromwell. They neither trusted God nor kept their powder dry.

Though the invading army entered England by way of Carlisle, Cromwell marched against them not through Lancashire but through Yorkshire. He had to supply his men with shoes and stockings from Northampton and Coventry, and to halt at Doncaster to pick up the artillery which was forwarded him from Hull, as well as to rejoin Lambert, who was in command of the small force which it had been possible to despatch to the North whilst Cromwell was detained at Pembroke, and who had been doing his best to delay the progress of the Scots till Cromwell was ready to strike home. On its march through Lancashire, Hamilton's army, some 21,000 strong, pushed slowly forward in a long straggling column, the van and the rear at too great distance from each other to be able to concentrate in case of an attack. On August 17, when Cromwell had crossed the hills into Ribblesdale and was close at hand upon his left flank, Hamilton, who had pushed on his cavalry to Wigan sixteen miles in advance, sent the bulk of his infantry across the Ribble at Preston, leaving Sir Marmaduke Langdale with 3,600 English Royalists on the north bank, whilst another detachment was some miles in the rear. It did not need much generalship to overwhelm an

army under such leadership as this. Cromwell fell upon Langdale, who had posted his small force to the greatest advantage behind hedges, and after a hard tussle, carried che position and captured the greater part of the division. Then lining the steep northern bank of the Ribble with musketeers, he drove Hamilton from the flat southern bank and, later on, across the Darwen which, near this point, flows into the Ribble. What followed was little more than mere pursuit The Scots, half starved and discouraged, were beaten wherever they attempted to make a stand, and Hamilton at last surrendered at Uttoxeter, eight days after the battle.

It was Cromwell's first victory in an independent command, and if the Scottish leader had played into his hands, he had been wanting in no part of an efficient general to profit by his folly. Once more, in the despatch in which he announced his success to the Speaker, he harped upon the old string, the duty of the Parliamentary Government to give protection to the ' people of God'. "Surely, Sir," he wrote, " this is nothing but the hand of God, and wherever anything in this world is exalted or exalts itself, God will put it down; for this is the day wherein He alone will be exalted. It is not fit for me to give advice, nor to say a word what use you should make of this; more than to pray you and all that acknowledge God,

that they would take courage to do the work of the Lord in fulfilling the end of your magistracy in seeking the peace and welfare of this land; that all that will live peaceably may have countenance from you, and they that are incapable and will not leave troubling the land may speedily be destroyed out of the land."

On August 27, ten days after the victory at Preston, Colchester capitulated, and as far as England was concerned, the second civil war was brought to an end, only a few fortresses in the North—incapable of prolonged resistance without succour from any army in the field—still holding out It remained to be considered what policy should be adopted towards the defeated Scots, and first of all towards the thousands of prisoners captured at Preston and in the pursuit which followed. Of these a division was made—those who had been pressed into the service being set at liberty under an engagement never again to bear arms against the Parliament of England. Those who had voluntarily taken service under Hamilton were transported to Barbados or Virginia, not, as is commonly said, as slaves, but as servants subjected for a term of years to a master who, though he usually dealt with them far more harshly than with his negro slaves, was at least bound to set them at liberty at the end of the appointed time.

The decision in this matter rested with Parliament —not with Cromwell. It was for Cromwell to follow up the relics of the Scottish army left behind to the north of Preston, and which, after the defeat of their comrades, had retreated to Scotland. Nor could it be doubted that the word of the victorious general would have great weight with Parliament in that settlement of the outstanding complaints against Scotland which was now impending. It was fortunate that this was so, as Cromwell was just the man to turn to the best advantage the dispute between the Scottish parties now bursting into a flame. The defeat of Hamilton left the way open to Argyle and that party of the more fanatical clergy whose followers in the strongly Presbyterian West were known as Whiggamores, an appellation from which the later appellation of Whig was derived. The West rose in arms, and the Whiggamore Raid—as it was called—swept from power those few partisans of Hamilton who were still at liberty, and placed Scotland once more in the hands of Argyle and the clergy. On September 21, whilst the conflict was yet undecided, Cromwell entered Scotland, demanding the surrender of Berwick and Carlisle, still occupied by Scottish garrisons. Argyle, glad of English support to strengthen his nascent authority, gave a hearty consent; and, to display the overwhelming strength of the English army to the Scottish people, Lambert was sent forward in advance, Cromwell following with the bulk of the army and arriving in Edinburgh on October 4. On the 7th Cromwell returned to England, leaving

Argyle under the protection of Lambert at the head of two regiments of horse. In the meanwhile Cromwell had come to an understanding with Argyle that no Scotsman who had supported the Engagement with Charles should be allowed to retain office, a stipulation as much in accordance with Argyle's wishes as with his own. A fanatic might have objected that it was unfitting that a tolerationist should give his support to the most intolerant clergy in Protestant Europe. As a statesman, Cromwell could but remember that unless England were to assume the direct control over the Government of Scotland, it must leave such matters to local decision, especially as there were few or no Independents in Scotland to be wronged by any action which the new Government at Edinburgh might take. Yet there was undoubtedly a danger for the future in the divergency of aim between the followers of Argyle in Scotland and those of Cromwell in England.

Cromwell transferred his forces into Yorkshire to hasten the surrender of Pontefract and Scarborough, which still held out. The political interest of the day had shifted to the South. Parliament, as soon as it was relieved from danger, had determined to reopen the negotiation with the King, and the conference— known as The Treaty of Newport—commenced in the Isle of Wight on September 18. In the regiments under Cromwell's command, as well as in Fairfax's

« AnteriorContinuar »