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held the inner line, and when at last, on August 27, Cromwell advanced towards Queensferry, he found Leslie across his path, posted behind a morass. He could but turn back once more to Musselburgh, after which, giving up the game he had been playing for some weeks, he found himself, on September I, at Dunbar. Leslie followed, taking care to avoid a battle and drawing up his army on Doon Hill, whose steep slopes looked down on the flatter ground on which Cromwell’s forces lay. Blocking the route to England by occupying the defile at Cockburnspath, Leslie had but to remain where he was to force Cromwell—now commanding less than half his former numbers—either to surrender or to ship the best part of his force for England—the fleet which accompanied him not affording space for the accommodation of his whole army. “The enemy,” wrote Cromwell, “ lieth so upon the hills that we know not how to come that way without difficulty, and our lying here daily consumeth our men who fall sick beyond imagination.” There could be little doubt that even if the army secured its retreat to its own country, its failure to defeat the Scots would be followed by a general rising of the Cavaliers in England.
Humanly speaking. the prospect was a dark one, and Cromwell could but console himself with his trust in divine assistance. “All,” he wrote, “shall work for good; our spirits are comfortable, praised be the Lord. though our present condition be as it is, and indeed we have much hope in the Lord, of Whose mercy we have had large experience.” \Vith him faith in Divine protection was consistent with the adoption of every military measure by which an adversary’s mistakes could be turned to his own advantage. It was otherwise with the clergy and their adherents, who exercised so much influence on the Doon Hill. There had been fresh purging of the Scottish army, and soldiers had again been dismissed—not for any lack of military efficiency, but because their views of the Covenant were insufficiently exalted. It is said that the men who were thus weakening their own fighting power, were impatient with Leslie for not crushing the enemy by an immediate onslaught. Even if this be true, other
causes must have combined to make the postponement of a conflict almost impossible. There was no water on the Doon Hill, and provisions for 23,000 men must have been hard to come by in that bleak region. At all events, on the 2nd the Scots began to move down the Hill. The struggle was to be transformed from a competition in strategy to a competition in tactics, and Cromwell, sure of mastery in that field, was rejoiced at the sight which met his eyes. The stream which divided Cromwell’s camping-ground from the slopes by which the Scots must descend, flowed between banks so high as to render it practically impassable by a hostile force, save at one spot. For that spot in the early morning of the 3rd, the Scottish army made. They were at once charged by a heavy cavalry force under Lambert. lfthat had been all, Leslie’s numbers might still have prevailed. Cromwell, however, had taken the precaution to send round a strong body to attack the enemy on the right flank. Taken between two fires, the Scots, after a brave resistance, broke and fled. As the sun rose out of the sea, Cromwell, with the joyful exclamation on his lips: “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered,” pushed his victorious cavalry in pursuit. Before they drew rein, 3,000 of the enemy had been slain, and 10,000 captured together with the whole of the artillery. Never again did a Scottish army take the field to impose its religion upon a recalcitrant England.
“Surely,” wrote Cromwell, after the battle had been won, “it’s probable the Kirk has done their do. I believe their King will set up upon his own score now, wherein he will find many friends.” Charles himself seems to have taken the same view of the situation if it be true that, on receiving the news from Dunbar, he gave thanks to God “that he was so fairly rid of his enemies.” At all events the key to the history of the next twelve months in Scotland is the attempt to convert a clerical into a national resistance. To Cromwell, an attempt to force England into political conformity with Scotland, was as much to be resisted as an attempt to impose on her the Scottish religion. It was the despotic tendencies, not the fervour of that religion, that he disliked. The
association of the laity with the clergy in the government of the
Unluckily there was no response amongst the Scottish laymen to such
In England, the news of the great victory was enthusiastically received. One hundred and sixty Scottish flags were hung up in Westminster Hall, and Parliament ordered that a medal, known as the “Dunbar Medal,” the first war medal granted to an English army, should bear Cromwell’s likeness on one side. Against this glorifying of himself Cromwell protested in vain, and for all that he could say, his own lineaments were not excluded. Ilis work in Scotland was however far from being accomplished. The victory of Dunbar was in time followed by the surrender of Edinburgh Castle, brought about, it is said, by the treachery of the governor, but it was in vain that the conqueror attempted to win over the extreme Covenanters who held out in the west under Strachan and Ker, and in the end he had to send Lambert against them. Lambert fell upon them at Hamilton
In the meantime, the tendency to resist the pretensions of the clergy was slowly making its way. On January I, I651, Charles was duly crowned at Scone, swearing not only to approve of the Covenants in Scotland, but to give his Royal assent to acts and ordinances of Parliament, passed and to be passed, enjoining the same in his other dominions. The young King protested his sincerity and begged the Ministers present to show him so much favour as “ that if in any time coming they did hear or see him breaking that Covenant, they would tell him of it, and put him in mind of his oath.” For all that, Charles was busily undermining the party of the Covenant. One by one the leaders of the Hamilton partyHamilton himself—a brother of the Duke who had been beheaded at \Vestminster, —and who, when still only Earl of Lanark, had been deeply concerned in patching up the Engagement with Charles I.— Middleton, the rough soldier who had fought Charles I., and Lauderdale, the ablest of those Presbyterians who had rallied to the throne, were admitted, after humbly acknowledging their offences to the Kirk, to take their seats in Parliament, and to place their swords at the King’s disposal. Argyle, who had triumphed over these men in his prosperity, was driven to seek refuge in his Highland home at lnverary. His policy of heading a democratic party organised by the clergy had fallen to the ground without hope of recovery. The national movement had passed into the hands of the nobility.
In the spring and early summer of I651, Cromwell had thus to face a resistance based on a national policy rather than on extreme Covenanting grounds. For the present he had to leave his enemies unassailed. He was lying at Edinburgh, stricken down by illness, and for some time his life was despaired of. More than ever, indeed, he had the strength of England to fall back on. Englishmen had no desire to submit to Scottish dictation. Conspiracies for a Royalist insurrection were firmly suppressed, and suspected Royalists committed to prison as a preventive measure. At the same time a body of the new militia, which had been recently organised, was entrusted to Harrison—the fierce enthusiast who had been left in charge of the forces
remaining in England, and who was now directed to guard the northern border against the Scottish invasion.
At last Cromwell was himself again. In the first days of June Charles’s new army lay at Stirling. The seizure and imprisonment of his English partisans had deprived him of all hope of raising a diversion in the south, and Leslie was compelled to fall back on the defensive tactics by which he had guarded Edinburgh the year before. During the first fortnight of July Cromwell laboured in vain to bring on an engagement. Leslie, strongly posted amongst the hills to the south of Stirling, was not to be induced to repeat the error he had committed at Dunbar, and this time provisions and water could be obtained without difficulty. If Cromwell did not intend to waste his army away, he must transfer it to the enemy's rear, with a certain result of leaving the road open for their advance into England. Six months before, whilst the chiefs of English royalism were still at large, it would have been a most hazardous plan. Now that they were under arrest, it might be attempted with impunity. Lambert was sent across to North Queensferry, and on July 20 he defeated, at Inverkeithing, a Scottish force sent out from Stirling against him. Before long Cromwell followed his lieutenant, and on August 2, Perth fell into his hands. The communications of the Scottish army at Stirling were thus cut, and there was nothing before it but to march southwards, on the uncertain prospect of being still able to find allies in England. That Cromwell had been able to accomplish this feat was owing partly to his command of the sea, which had enabled him with safety to send Lambert across the Forth, partly to his knowledge that the materials of the Scottish army were far inferior to those of his own. Had Leslie been at the head of a force capable of meeting the invaders in the field, Cromwell at Perth might indeed have found himself in an awkward position, as, in case of defeat, he might easily have been driven back to perish in the Highlands. On the other hand, it must be acknowledged that the English General had been learning from his opponent. Hitherto—unless the campaign of Preston be excepted, when his march upon Hamilton’s