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Royal hand and signet, for the Earl of Northumberland and the Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, Mr. Pierpointe, the Lord Wenman, and Sir John Hippesley; but hath not admitted Sir John Evelin, of Wilts, to attend him, as being included in the exception made by his Majesty in the letter of the 4th of this month, sent by Mr. Secretary Nicholas to your Lordship, as by the enclosed proclamation (proclaimed at his Majesty's Court at Oxford, and sent with a writ sealed in the county of Wilts) will appear. His Majesty hath likewise commanded me to signify to your Lordship that, in case the Houses shall think fit to send any other person in the place of Sir John Evelin, that is not included in the exception made in Mr. Secretary's letter before mentioned, his Majesty hath commanded all his officers and soldiers and other subjects to suffer him as freely to pass and repass as if bis name had been particularly comprised in this safe-conduct. This being all that I have in commission, I rest
“ Your Lordship’s humble servant,
“Reading, Nov. 6, 1642.
“ For the Right Honourable the Lord Gray of Warke,
Speaker of the House of Peers pro tempore.”'
The messages and discussions that arose respecting the presence of Sir John Evelyn produced some delay in the sending of this Committee. In the mean time the King had marched to Colnbrook, where, on the 11th of November, the Earls of Pembroke and Northumberland, and others, presented the petition of Parliament, of which the object was pacific. The King's answer was in the same spirit, and the favourable report made by the Committee to the Parliament of the King's
Lords' Journals, vol. v. p. 435.
reception, together with the fear now entertained of the Royalist army, might have afforded some hope of accommodation had the King returned to Reading as was intended, or even remained at Colnbrook till he heard again from the Parliament. To this opinion Lord Clarendon (never too favourable a witness to the intentions of Parliament) certainly inclines in his account of these preliminaries to a treaty, and attributes the failure to the impetuosity of Prince Rupert. Without discussing the merits of his military genius, it was clear that the headstrong zeal of this ungoverned Prince was little fitted to cope with the difficulties or to serve the cause in which he was now engaged. Ignorant of the value to be placed on the sources from which he derived information, and with no other ideas but those of conquest and victory in a war of opinion, he was ill able to appreciate the grave questions that were inseparably connected with a struggle for constitutional liberty ;-a struggle which had throughout involved questions less of physical force than of the authority of law and the philosophy of government; a struggle which, when brought to the issue of arms, needed as much the vigilant eye of the statesman as the ready hand of the soldier to bring to a happy termination. The welcome information poured into Prince Rupert's ear that the King had a large party in the capital, and the flattering assurances of the fear with which he himself had inspired the enemy, made him now determine, without orders from the King, the very morning after the Committee returned to London, to advance as far as Hounslow; from thence he sent to Colnbrook, to desire
that the army might follow, which, as Lord Clarendon says, became then a necessity, for, “ if the King had “not advanced, those who were before might very “ easily have been compassed in, and their retreat made 6 very difficult."?
Both Houses were so well pleased with the report of the Committee, that they resolved to send an order to their troops “ that they should not exercise any act of “ hostility towards the King's forces," and sent a messenger to the King to ask “ that there might be the like “ forbearance on his." The messenger found both parties in the height of an engagement at Brentford, and returned to London without seeking to deliver his message, and without therefore the King knowing either that any such had been intended to be given, or that the proposed treaty was now considered by the Parliament at an end. This hostile encounter at Brentford, where many lives were lost on both sides, many prisoners made, and many guns and colours captured by the Royalists, was regarded by the Parliament as an act of premeditated perfidy and treachery on the part of the King, occurring as it did at the moment when a treaty of peace was demanded on both sides, and sincerely intended on theirs. The King returned to Hampton Court and thence to Oatlands, where he received the Parliament's allegations against him for marching upon Brentford, and from Oatlands he returned to Reading. The following declaration, issued from Oatlands, seems to correspond with that which Lord Clarendon describes as being drawn up by Clarendon’s ‘Hist. of the Rebellion,' vol. iii. p. 327.
. Jbid., p. 328.
Lord Falkland, and is not without the characteristic marks both of his style and feelings in the wish for peace and the fearlessness of battle:
“ CHARLES R.
“Oatlands, the 18th of Nov., 1642. “ To the answer of both Houses of Parliament to his Majesty's message of the 12th of November, his Majesty makes this reply:- That his message of the 12th, though not received by them till the 14th, was sent to them first upon the same day upon which it was dated, and meeting with stops by the way was again sent upon the 13th, and taken up on that day at ten in the morning by the Earl of Essex, and, though not unto him directed, was by him opened ; so the slowness of the delivery is not so strange as the stop of the letter said to be sent by Sir Peter Killigrew, which his Majesty hath not yet received, but concludes, from the matter expressed to have been contained in that letter (to wit, to know his pleasure whether he intended the forbearance of hostility), and by the command of such forbearance said to be sent to the Lord of Essex's army, that no such forbearance was already concluded ; and, consequently, neither had his Majesty cause to suppose that he should take any of their forces unprovided and secure in expectation of a fair treaty, neither could any hostile act of his Majesty's forces have been a course unsuitable to his expressions ; much less could an endeavour to prepossess (for so he hoped he might have done) that place, which might have stopped the further march of those forces towards him (which, for aught appeared to him, might as well have been intended to Colebrook as to Brainford), and by that the further effusion of blood, deserve that style. His Majesty further conceives that the printing so out of time of such a declaration as the reply to his answer to theirs of the 26th May, but the day before they voted the delivery of their petition and the march of the Earl of Essex's forces to Brainford, so near to his Majesty, when the Committee at the same time attended him with a petition for a treaty, the Earl of Essex being before possessed of all the other avenues to his army, by his forces at Windsor, Acton, and Kingston, was a more strange introduction to peace than for his Majesty not to suffer himself to be cooped up on all sides, because a treaty had been mentioned, which was so really and so much desired by his Majesty, that this proceeding seems to him purposely by some intending to divert (which it could not do) that his inclination.
'Lord Clarendon describes this declaration, as prepared by Lord Falkland, as one expressive of the King's desire of peace, and as offering some explanation of the grounds of his advancing to Brentford ; and though he speaks of it as being published at Oxford, as no declaration answering to this description is to be found in the journals published at Oxford, it is probable that Lord Clarendon has misdescribed the place from which it was issued. :
“ That his Majesty had no intention to master the City by so advancing, besides his profession, which (how meanly soever they seem to value it) he conceives a sufficient argument (especially being only opposed by suspicions and surmises), may appear by his not pursuing his victory at Brainford, but giving orders to his army to march away to Kingston as soon as he heard that place was quitted, before any notice or appearance of further forces from London ; nor could he find a better way to satisfy them beforehand that he had no such intention, but that his desire of peace and of propositions that might conduce to it still continued, than by that message of the 12th ; for which care of his he was requited by such a reception of his message and messenger as was contrary at once both to duty, civility, and the very custom and law of war and nations, and such as theirs (though after this provocation) hath not found from him.
“ His Majesty wonders that his soldiers should be charged with thirsting after blood, who took above five hundred prisoners in the very heat of the fight, his Majesty having since dismissed