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Proceedings in Scotland — Communications between the Parliaments at
Oxford and Westminster — Letter to the Privy Council in Scotland Arrangements respecting the King's Children - The King decides on sending the Prince into the West - Lord Capell appointed one of the Prince's Council — Treaty of Uxbridge – The Prince goes to Bristol — Siege of Taunton, and Military Transactions in the Western Counties.
issued by the King to summon the members of both Houses to assemble at Oxford on the 22nd of January following, upon occasion of the invasion by the Scots.' The Convention of Estates, which was the Parliament of Scotland, had been called together contrary to the King's consent, and without warrant from their own laws;? it was not likely therefore to be very regular in its proceedings. The consequence of its meeting was a proclamation, issued in the King's name, calling upon all to take arms, “between the age of threescore to sixteen,” in order to rescue the King from “the great “ danger which his person was in by the power of “ the Popish and prelatical party in England." To this proclamation the Earl of Lanrick (brother to the Duke of Hamilton) had affixed the King's own signet; a strange example of making war upon the King in his
· Rushworth, vol. v. p. 559,
own name, to rescue him from those dangers in which they knew he did not stand, in order to really expose him to those attendant on a hostile invasion and coalition with his enemies. Many really believed they were summoned by the King himself, and thus the ranks of this invading army were swelled even by his friends as well as foes. The covenant which had been sent to England was returned to Scotland with full approbation, “ both “ Houses of Parliament at Westminster having taken “ it and enjoined it throughout the kingdom." How far the intrigues and treachery of the Duke of Hamilton tended to bring about this state of affairs it is needless here to discuss. Two expedients were now suggested to the King by Sir Edward Hyde (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), which, meeting with the King's approbation, were proposed for deliberation in Council ;4 the one that a letter should be addressed to the Council of State in Scotland, signed by all the peers in Oxford or in the King's service; the other to summon the
· Clarendon's 'Hist. of the Reb.,' Appendix E, vol. iv. p. 627.
2 “ Thereupon the Lords of the Secret Council, and those Committees “ that were appointed to manage the affairs, ordered that whosoever re“ fused to take the covenant should be proceeded against as an enemy to “ both kingdoms, and his estate be sequestered and disposed to the use of “the public; the assembly, likewise, of their kirk pronouncing solemn “excommunications against them.”—Ibid.
3 Lord Clarendon throws on the Duke of Hamilton much of the responsibility of the unskilful or disloyal management of the King's affairs in Scotland ; and his ill opinion of the conduct and designs of the Duke was confirmed, if not formed, on this subject by the evidence given on oath before the Lord Keeper, two Secretaries, the Master of the Rolls, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, by the Earls of Montrose and Kinnoul, Lord Ogilvie, and others. Vol. iv. p. 433.
• Ibid., p. 347.
Parliament to Oxford. The Council decided in favour of these expedients, by both of which it was intended to exhibit equally to the people of England, as to those of Scotland, that, as the Parliament assembled at Westminster was but an inconsiderable portion of the whole body, the major part of both Houses having been driven away by force, it was no longer to be regarded as speaking on behalf of the kingdom, or entitled to the authority of Parliament. On the 4th January, 1643, the Scots entered England, having already possessed themselves of Berwick. On the 22nd of January the Parliament met at Oxford, and on the 29th a letter was written to the Earl of Essex, expressing the hope of his concurrence in the earnest efforts and wishes for peace of all who then addressed him. The reception of the King's two last messages to Westminster, to which no answer had been returned, and the fate of his last messenger, who had been tried for his life in a court of war, and imprisoned ever since, rendered it impossible to again address Parliament. Moreover, any address from his Majesty to Parliament had been prohibited, except through the hands of the Earl of Essex. It was
I “Upon our coming hither (Oxford) we applied ourselves with all “ diligence to advise of such means as might most probably settle the “ peace of this kingdom, the thing most desired by his Majesty and “ ourselves; and because we found many gracious offers of treaty for “ peace, by his Majesty, had been rejected by the Lords and Commons " remaining at Westminster, we deemed it fit to write in our own names, " and thereby make trial whether that might produce any better effect for “ accomplishing our desires and our country's happiness; and they hav“ing, under pain of death, prohibited the address of any letters or mes“ sages to Westminster but by their General, and we conceiving him a “ person who, by reason of their trust reposed in him, had a great influence “ in and power over their proceedings, resolved to recommend it to his
supposed that many of the Parliainentary leaders feared the consequences to themselves should the King's power be restored, and were thus withheld from the desire of peace, and that a promise of the King's pardon, endorsed, as it were, by so large a body of peers and others of the King's party, would tend to reassure them on that score. It was also hoped that Lord Essex's own inclinations would lead him readily to concur with those who addressed him in promoting the overture for peace. The letter was signed by the Prince of Wales and Duke of York, by 43 peers and 118 commoners : five more peers and twenty-three more commoners, who were unable to reach Oxford in time, soon afterwards added their concurrence to those who had signed, making in all no less than 191 who joined in thus addressing the Earl of Essex.? Lord Capell was amongst the five described as “disabled by several acci“ dents to appear sooner, and who have since attended " the service and concurred with us." The letter produced no good results; Lord Essex gave no other answer than enclosing the covenant taken by the kingdoms of England and Scotland, and declined to communicate the letter to Parliament, “as having no address “ to the two Houses of Parliament.” After some
“ care, and to engage him in that pious work.” Vide ' Declaration of Lords and Commons assembled at Oxford.”—Parliamentary Hist., vol. iii. p. 209.
Vide Clarendon's 'Hist. of the Reb.' vol. iv. p. 399. A free and general pardon was offered, in the King's proclamation for assembling the Parliament at Oxford, “ to all the members of either House who should, “at or before the 22nd of January, appear at Oxford and desire the same " without exception.”-Parliamentary Hist., vol. iii. p. 195.
* Rushworth, vol. v. p. 574. See Appendix G. 3 Ibid., p. 567.
further correspondence between the King's general (the Earl of Forth) and the Earl of Essex, the King consented to address the Lords and Commons assembled at Westminster. This produced from them an answer to the letter to Lord Essex, but as little pacific in its intention as it was defying and threatening in its tone.
The other expedient recommended by the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the purpose of averting the warlike movements of the Scots, viz. the letter addressed to “ the Right Honourable the Lords of the “ Privy Council in Scotland and Conservators of Peace “ between both Kingdoms,” met with no better success. It bore the signatures of fifty-two peers, and was designed as a protest against the invitation of Parliament alleged by the Scots in justification of their entering the kingdom with an army. The letter stated how no such invitation would have passed the two Houses of Parliament had they who were now assembled at Oxford been present to give their votes, and how their absence from Westminster had been forced by violence. The name of Lord Capell is amongst the signatures to this letter. Lord Clarendon states that it was sent to Scotland at the end of November ;but there must be some
· See Appendix H.
% Lord Clarendon says, “ That the letter was perused and debated in “ Council, and afterwards in the presence of all the peers :" it was approved and agreed to without one dissenting voice, “ordered to be en“ grossed, and signed by all the peers and privy councillors who were then “ in Oxford, and to be sent to those who were absent in any of the armies “ or in the King's quarters—to be sent to the Marquis of Newcastle, who, “after he had signed it, with those peers who were in those parts, was to “ transmit it to Scotland.” This seems to be one of the mistakes as to dates into which Lord Clarendon is betrayed by writing from memory.