« AnteriorContinuar »
CIVIL WAR AND INVASION REPRESSED. Hamilton, having entered England with a numerous, although undisciplined, army, durst not unite his forces with those of Langdale; because the English royalists had refused to take the covenant; and the Scottish presbyteriaps, though engaged for the king, refused to join them on any other terms. The two armies marched together, thongh at some distance; nor could even the approach of the parliamentary army, under Cromwel, oblige the covenanters to consult their own safety, by a close union with the royalists. When principles are so absurd and so destructive of human society, it may safely be averred, that the more sincere and the more disinterested they are, they only become the more ridiculous and more odious.
Cromwel feared not to oppose 8000 men, to the nu. merous armies of 20,000, commanded by Hamilton and Langdale. He attacked the latter by surprise, near Preston in Lancashire;87 and, though the royalists made a brave resistance, yet not being succoured in time by their confederates, they were almost entirely cut in pieces. Hamilton was next attacked, put to rout, and pursued to Utoxeter, where he surrendered himself prisoner. Cromwel followed his advantage ; and marching into Scotland with a considerable body, joined Argyle, who was also in arms; and having suppressed Laneric, Monro, and other moderate presbyterians, he placed the power entirely in the hands of the violent party. The ecclesiastical authority, exalted above the civil, exercised the severest vengeance on all who had a share in Hamilton's engage. ment, as it was called; nor could any of that party recover trust, or even live in safety, but by doing solemn and public penance for taking arms, by authority of parliament, in defence of their lawful sovereign.
The chancellor Loudon, who had, at first, countenanced Hamilton's enterprise, being terrified with the menaces of the clergy, had, some time before, gone over to the other party; and he now openly in the church, though invested with the highest civil character in the kingdom, did
penance for his obedience to the parliament, which he termed a carnal self-seeking. He accumpanied his penance with so many tears, and such pathetical addresses to the people for their prayers in this his uttermost sorrow and distress, that an universal weeping and lamentation took place among the deluded audience. 88
The loan of great sums of money, often to the ruin of fámilies, was exacted from all such as lay under any suspicion of favouring the king's party, though their conduct had been ever so inoffensive. This was a device, fallen upon by the ruling party, in order, as they said, to reach Heart Malignants.89 Never, in this island, was known a more severe and arbitrary government, than was generally exercised by the patrons of liberty in both kingdoms.
The siege of Colchester terminated in a manner no less unfortunate than Hamilton's engagement, for the royal cause. After suffering the utmost extremities of famine, after feeding on the vilest aliments; the garrison desired, at last, to capitulate. Fairfax required them to surrender at discretion; and he gave such an explanation to these terms, as to reserve to himself power, if he pleased, to put them all instantly to the sword. The officers endea. voured, though in vain, to persuade the soldiers, by making“ a vigorous sally, to break through, at least to sell their lives as dear as possible. They were obliged 90 to accept of the conditions offered; and Fairfax, instigated by Treton, to whom Cromwel, in his absence, had consigned over the government of the passive general, seized sir Charles Lucas and sir George Lisle, and resolved to make them instant sacrifices to military justice. This unusual severity was loudly exclaimed against by all the prisoners. Lord Capel, fearless of danger, reproached Ireton with it; and challenged him, as they were all engaged in the same honourable cause, to exercise the same impartial vengeance on all of them. Lucas was first shot, and he himself gave orders to fire, with the same alacrity as if he had commanded a platoon of his own soldiers. Lisle instantly ran and kissed the dead body, then cheerfully presented himself to a like fate. Thinking that the
soldiers, destined for his execution, stood at too great a distance, he called to them to come nearer: one of them replied, I'U warrant you, sir, we'll hit you: he answered, smiling, Friends, I have been nearer you when you have missed me. Thus perished this generous spirit, not less beloved for his modesty and humanity, than esteemed for his courage and military conduct.
Soon after, a gentleman appearing in the king's presence, clothed in mourning for sir Charles Lucas ; that humane prince, suddenly recollecting the hard fate of bis friends, paid them a tribute, which none of his own unparalleled misfortunes ever extorted from him: he dissolved into a flood of tears.91
THE KING SEIZED AGAIN BY THE ARMY.
By these multiplied successes of the army, they had subdued all their enemies; and none remained but the helpless king and parliament, to oppose their violent measures. From Cromwel's suggestion, a remonstrance was drawn by the council of general officers, and sent to the parliament. They there complain of the treaty with the king; demand his punishment for the blood spilt during the war; require a dissolution of the present parliament, and a more equal representation for the future; and assert, that, though servants, they are entitled to represent these important points to their masters, who are themselves no better than servants and trustees of the people.
At the same time, they advanced with the army to Wind· sor, and sent colonel Eure to seize the king's person at
Newport, and convey him to Hurst castle in the neighbourhood, where he was detained in strict conînement.
This measure being foreseen some time before, the king was exhorted to make his escape, which was conceived to be very easy: but having given his word to the parliament not to attempt the recovery of his liberty during the treaty, and three weeks after, he would not, by any persuasion, be induced to hazard the reproach of violating that promise. In vain was it urged, that a promise given
to the parliament could no longer be binding ; since they could no longer afford him protection from violence, threatened him by other persons, to whom he was bound by no tie or engagement. T'he king would indulge no refinements of casuistry, however plausible, in such delicate subjects; and was resolved, that what depredations soever Fortune should commit upon him, she never should bereave him of his honour. 92
The parliament lost not courage, notwithstanding the dauger with which they were so nearly menaced. Though without any plan for resisting military usurpations, they resolved to withstand them to the uttermost; and rather to bring on a violent and visible subversion of government, than lend their authority to those illegal and sanguinary measures which were projected. They set aside the remonstrance of the army, without deigning to answer it; they voted the seizing of the king's person to be without their consent, and sent a message to the general, to know by what authority that enterprise had been executed; and they issued orders, that the army should advance no nearer to London.
Hollis, the present leader of the presbyterians, was a man of unconquerable intrepidity; and many others of that party seconded his magnanimous spirit. It was proposed by them, that the generals and principal officers should, for their disobedience and usurpations, be proclaimed traitors by the parliament.
But the parliament was dealing with men who would not be frightened by words, nor retarded by any scrupulous delicacy. The generals, under the name of Fairfax (for he still allowed them to employ his name), marched the army to London, and placing guards in Whitehall, the Meuse, St. James's, Durham-house, Covent-garden, and Palace-yard, surrounded the parliament with their hostile armaments.
THE HOUSE PURGED. Dec. 6. The parliament, destitute of all hopes of prevailing, retained, however, courage to resist. They attempted, in the face of the army, to close their treaty with the king ; and, though they had formerly voted his concessions with regard to the church and delinquents to be unsatisfactory, they now took into consideration the final resolution with regard to the whole. After a violent debate of three days, it was carried, by a majority of 129 against 83, in the house of commons, that the king's concessions were a foundation for the houses to proceed upon in the settlement of the kingdom.
Next day, when the commons were to meet, colonel Pride, formerly a drayman, had environed the house with two regiments; and, directed by lord Grey of Groby, he seized in the passage forty-one members of the presbyterian party, and sent them to a low room, which passed by the appellation of hell ; whence they were afterwards carried to several inns. Above 160 members more were excluded ; and none were allowed to enter but the most furious and the most determined of the independents; and these exceeded not the number of fifty or sixty. This invasion of the parliament commonly passed under the name of colonel Pride's purge; so much disposed was the nation to make merry with the dethroning of those members, who had violently arrogated the whole authority of government, and deprived the king of his legal prerogatives.
The subsequent proceedings of the parliament, if this diminutive assembly deserve that honourable name, retain not the least appearance of law, equity, or freedom. They instantly reversed the former vote, and declared the king's concessions unsatisfactory. They determined, that no member, absent at this last vote, should be received, till he subscribed it as agreeable to his judgment. They renewed their former vote of non-addresses. And they committed to prison sir William Waller, sir John Clotworthy, the generals Massey, Brown, Copley, and other leaders of the presbyterians. These men, by their credit and au