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Title: Monk
Author: Corbett, Julian Stafford, Sir
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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text is indicated by =equals signs=.



English Men of Action


MONK

[Illustration]


[Illustration: MONK

From a Miniature by SAMUEL COOPER in the Royal Collection at Windsor]



    MONK

    BY
    JULIAN CORBETT


    London
    MACMILLAN AND CO.
    AND NEW YORK
    1889

    _All rights reserved_



CONTENTS


    CHAPTER I
                                              PAGE
    DEVONSHIRE AND FOREIGN SERVICE               1


    CHAPTER II

    FOR KING AND PARLIAMENT                     15


    CHAPTER III

    THE KING'S COMMISSION                       33


    CHAPTER IV

    THE PARLIAMENT'S COMMISSION                 46


    CHAPTER V

    THE TREATY WITH THE IRISH NATIONALISTS      56


    CHAPTER VI

    CROMWELL'S NEW LIEUTENANT                   69


    CHAPTER VII

    GENERAL-AT-SEA                              83

    CHAPTER VIII

    GOVERNOR OF SCOTLAND                        95


    CHAPTER IX

    THE ABORTIVE PRONUNCIAMENTO                116


    CHAPTER X

    THE NEGLECTED QUANTITY                     129


    CHAPTER XI

    THE BLOODLESS CAMPAIGN                     144


    CHAPTER XII

    ON THE WINGS OF THE STORM                  160


    CHAPTER XIII

    THE UNCROWNED KING                         178


    CHAPTER XIV

    THE FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY                  195



CHAPTER I

DEVONSHIRE AND FOREIGN SERVICE


In the middle of September, 1625, the great expedition by which
Charles the First and Buckingham meant to revenge themselves upon the
Spaniards for the ignominious failure of their escapade to Madrid was
still choking Plymouth harbour with disorder and confusion. Impatient
to renew the glories of Drake and Raleigh and Essex, the young King
went down in person to hasten its departure. Great receptions were
prepared for him at the principal points of his route, and bitter was
the disappointment at Exeter that he was not to visit the city. For
the plague was raging within its walls, and while holiday was kept
everywhere else, the shadow of death was upon the ancient capital of
the west.

Hardly, however, had the King passed them by when the citizens had
a new excitement of their own. The noise of a quarrel broke in upon
the gloom of the stricken city. Those within hearing ran to the spot
and found a sight worth seeing. For there in the light of day, under
the King's very nose, as it were, a stalwart young gentleman of about
sixteen years of age was thrashing the under-sheriff of Devonshire
within an inch of his life. With some difficulty, so furious was his
assault, the lad was dragged off his victim before grievous bodily harm
was done, and people began to inquire what it was all about.

Every one must have known young George Monk, who lived with his
grandfather, Sir George Smith, at Heavytree, close to Exeter. Sir
George Smith of Maydford was a great Exeter magnate, and his grandson
and godson George belonged to one of the best families in Devonshire,
and was connected with half the rest; and had they known how the
handsome boy was avenging the family honour in his own characteristic
way, they would certainly have sympathised with him for the scrape he
was in.

For the honour of the Monks of Potheridge in North Devon was a very
serious thing. There for seventeen generations the family had lived.
Ever since Henry the Third was King they had looked down from their
high-perched manor-house over the lovely valley of the Torridge just
where the river doubles upon itself in three majestic sweeps as though
it were loath to leave a spot so beautiful. By dint of judicious
marriages they had managed to be still prosperous and well connected.
It was no secret indeed that they claimed royal blood by two descents
on the distaff side. For the grandmother of George's father, Sir
Thomas, was Frances Plantagenet, daughter and co-heiress of Arthur
Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle; and his grandfather's grandmother, as
co-heiress of Richard Champernown of Insworth, had brought him the
Cornish bordure and kinship with King John through Richard, King of the
Romans, and his son, the Earl of Cornwall.

But of late things had been going very hard at Potheridge. Sir
Thomas had succeeded to a heavily encumbered estate, and his attempts
at economy had done little or nothing to better his position. An
increasing family added to his difficulties and his sorrows. Ten
children had already been born to him, and four, including his two
eldest boys, were in the grave. Thomas was now the future heir, and
then came George. After him was his favourite brother, the quiet
studious Nicholas who was to be a parson; and then little Arthur
the baby, who became a soldier like George. George had been born on
December 8th, 1608, and was now nearly seventeen years old. He grew up
a handsome lusty boy, and from his earliest years his daring and spirit
had destined him to be a soldier. It was the career of all younger sons
of metal, and few can have looked forward to it more ardently than
George Monk. It was the tradition of his family. His uncle Richard had
died a captain; his uncle Arthur had fallen in 1602 at the glorious
defence of Ostend by that renowned captain, Sir Francis Vere. His
great-uncle, Captain Francis Monk, had sailed with Drake and Norris in
their famous descent upon Portugal in 1589, and having been severely
wounded at the storm of Corunna, had died a few days afterwards when
the fleet was driven by stress of weather into Peniché.

The very soil he trod was fertile with the romance of war. For George
was born in the heart of the country which bred the greatest of the
Elizabethan heroes. The soldiers and sailors who most adorned the great
Queen's age were living memories in his childhood, their exploits
were the tales of his nursery, their names the first words he learnt
to lisp. Hard by lived his aunt Grace, who had married the brilliant
young Bevil Grenville, heir and grandson of the immortal Sir Richard
himself. His aunt Elizabeth was wife to Luttrell of Hartland Abbey,
and through her he could claim kinship with the Howards; while all
around the home by Tor and Torridge were clustered the old North
Devon families with whom Kingsley's undying romance has made us so
familiar. Nor were these influences lessened as time went on. Sir
George Smith took such a fancy to the fearless high-spirited boy that
he one day offered to educate him if he might live half the year at
Maydford. Poor embarrassed Sir Thomas could only consent, and George
entered a new sphere of life even fuller of romance and adventure than
the old. At Larkbere, within easy distance of his new home, lived
Sir Nicholas Smith, Sir George's eldest son, where the lad found
endless cousins to foster the dreams of Devon boyhood. But all his
games and stories there were tame beside the attractions of his aunt
Frances's house at Farringdon. For Frances Monk had married Sir Lewis
Stukeley, Vice-Admiral of Devon, and there George must have found for a
play-fellow little Tom Rolfe, the child of Pocahontas, whose guardian
Stukeley had become since the Indian beauty's death. Sir Lewis, too,
was a cousin and intimate friend of Raleigh himself, and George must
have seen in the company of his uncle that latest born child of the
sixteenth century and even heard his stirring adventures from his own
lips. He would certainly have missed no opportunity of seeing the
famous navigator. Raleigh was the hero of every lad with an English
spirit or an ear for a tale. His _Discovery of Guiana_ was a book that
was in every one's hands, and George and his cousins must have known by
heart its wonderful stories of El Dorado and the Amazons. At any rate
the lad was old enough to have witnessed with eager eyes the setting
forth of Sir Walter's last expedition to find the land of gold; to
have heard with sinking heart how his uncle Stukeley had gone forth to
arrest the hero upon his disastrous return; to mourn with all England
when Raleigh's head fell on Tower Hill, and to burn with shame and
anger when he heard the cry of execration that rose against his uncle,
the treacherous friend who betrayed the last of the Elizabethans.

It is not difficult to imagine how a boy of George's nature, brought
up in the midst of such surroundings, must have chafed to see his
friends and kinsmen joining their colours while he was too young to
be allowed to go. Richard Grenville, Sir Bevil's brother, whom George
must have known well, was with the expedition, and George can have
wished nothing better than to serve under him. Sir Richard Grenville,
though he afterwards disgraced himself by his excesses in the Civil
War, was then the very hero for a boy like George. He was a typical Low
Country soldier. From an early age he had served with Prince Maurice,
the first captain of his time, in the regiment of that pattern soldier
Lord Vere. In a few years he had risen to the rank of captain, and was
now commanding a company in the regiment of Sir John Borough, chief of
the staff to the expedition. It was a splendid opportunity for George
to begin his career, but it was not to be, and it must have been with
mixed feelings that he heard the expedition was not to be delayed a
year.

When the King came down it was of course impossible that a man of such
a position as Sir Thomas Monk should not go and pay him his respects
like the other county gentlemen. Unfortunately there was an annoying
difficulty in the way. He was by this time hopelessly in debt, and so
many judgments were out against him that he was little better than
a prisoner at Potheridge. To appear in public meant certain arrest.
There was but one escape from the dilemma, and that was to bribe the
under-sheriff. The only question was to whom so delicate a mission was
to be entrusted, and it cannot but raise our opinion of young George
that he was chosen for the task. His mission was successfully carried
out, and in due course Sir Thomas rode out to meet his sovereign
with all the best blood in Devon. But before the royal party came in
sight the proceedings were interrupted by a painful incident. Either
the under-sheriff had blabbed, or George had been boasting of his
diplomacy. At all events the rascally attorney had received a bigger
bribe from the other side, and now at this solemn moment and in face of
the whole county the villain came forward and arrested Sir Thomas.

George Monk was not a boy to sit down quietly under such an indignity.
Without saying anything to anybody he took the first opportunity of
slipping off into Exeter regardless of the plague. Once inside the
gates he went straight to the perfidious attorney, and having told him
in the plainest words what he thought of him, there and then proceeded
to administer the cudgelling in the midst of which he has been already
introduced, and which was to prove his introduction to an eventful
career.

For George was in a desperate scrape. The bruised lawyer threatened
merciless proceedings, and to cudgel an under-sheriff was an outrage
of which the law was likely to take a very serious view. It was clear
that the boy must be concealed till the storm blew over. There was
only one way of doing it. The fleet was lying in Plymouth nearly
ready to sail. Once there he would be safe. So George, to his intense
delight we may be sure, was smuggled off and hurriedly engaged as a
volunteer under his kinsman Sir Richard Grenville. Early in October the
expedition sailed. The baffled attorney had to hang up his unserved
writ on the office-files, and George Monk, by the force of the
straitened circumstances of the family, found himself prematurely a
soldier with the burden of an imperfect education to carry through life.

It is unnecessary to follow closely the disastrous expedition to Cadiz
in 1625. Ill-planned, ill-disciplined, ill-officered, and ill-supplied,
it was doomed from the first to failure. For young George Monk it was
a bitter awakening from the dreams a boy will have of the glories of a
soldier's life. The ship in which he sailed and the company in which
he served, bad as it was, can hardly have been so bad as the rest.
Grenville was at least a soldier by profession and a good officer.
Borough's regiment must at least have tasted discipline. The veteran
general was one of the most distinguished and scholarly soldiers of his
time; a man who had seen grow up under the Veres that immortal English
brigade which by patient effort and undaunted perseverance had wrested
from the Spaniards their till then unchallenged claim to be the finest
infantry in the world. He had seen more service than any man in the
army, and in all questions of military science his word was law.

Thus George began his career under good masters, and two years later
he was fortunate enough to bring himself again under their command. At
the head of another expedition, as ill-found as the first, Buckingham
early in June, 1627, effected a landing on the Isle of Rhé, and laid
siege to St. Martin, the citadel of the island. Its capture proved
a more difficult matter than he had expected. Already nearly a
fortnight had been expended in fruitless attempts when Buckingham's
anxieties were further increased by unwelcome news. A young gentleman
was announced with an important verbal message from the lips of the
King. It was George Monk, who at the risk of his life had made his
way through France; though ignorant of the language he had penetrated
the army which lay before Rochelle, and so reached Rhé with the
intelligence that a large combined naval and military force was being
prepared in France to relieve the island.

For this daring service, the risks of which it is difficult to
exaggerate, Sir John Borough gave him a commission as ensign in his own
regiment, of which Sir Richard Grenville was major, or sergeant-major,
as the rank then was, a rank involving all the duties which are now
performed by adjutants, as well as the command of a company. It was
most probably his kinsman's colours that the young ensign carried,
and this is why he always regarded Sir Richard as his father-in-arms.
For now he had begun in earnest his career as a professional soldier,
and it was with every opportunity of laying the foundations of that
consummate technical knowledge which afterwards distinguished him. To
enforce the sound teaching of his colonel came the appalling disaster
with which the expedition closed. It was a lesson he never forgot, and
long after he would often grieve over the iniquitous mismanagement with
which the whole affair had been conducted.

In the following year he took part with his regiment, which was now
commanded by Grenville, in the last half-hearted attempt to relieve
Rochelle, and then followed a period of inactivity. Buckingham was
dead, and Conway with his policy of non-intervention reigned in his
stead. Richelieu had no desire to retaliate; Spain was too weak to
strike a blow, and England settled down to enjoy her repose. At home
there was no chance of employment for the professional soldier for many
years to come, and adventurous youth must look abroad.

There over the sea was a tempting prospect. Frederick Henry, the young
Prince of Orange, had begun his brilliant career. In the previous
year he had suddenly taken the offensive and snatched Grol from the
very arms of the great Spinola. His treasury was overflowing with the
plunder of the plate-fleet which Peter Hein had captured, and now he
was besieging Bois-le-duc. Lord Vere had returned at his summons to
command the English brigade and to give the young Stadtholder the
benefit of his unrivalled experience. It was a name to conjure with,
and volunteers flocked over from England eager for the reputation of
having served under the most accomplished soldier England had yet
produced. But amateur soldiering would not now satisfy George Monk, nor
would his purse bear the expenses which a gentleman-private must incur.
Fortunately he was not without interest, and was able to procure a
commission in the regiment of which Lord Vere's kinsman, the young Earl
of Oxford, had just obtained the command.

Before he could join Bois-le-duc had fallen, and it was not till 1631
that the Stadtholder took the field again. This year, however, saw the
annihilation of the Spanish flotilla which attempted to surprise the
island of Tholen. Lord Oxford had command of the English contingent,
which was detailed to man the prince's boats, and at last George tasted
the sweets of victory. The following year he was to witness one of
the most brilliant campaigns which had ever been fought in the Low
Countries. No sooner was the prince in motion than Venlo, Stralen,
Ruremonde fell in rapid succession, and by the middle of June he had
completely invested Maastricht. Three armies flew to its relief, but
the prince beat them all, and at last was left to prosecute the siege
unmolested. The brunt of the work in the English lines fell on Monk's
regiment, but the young ensign passed through the four months of almost
daily fighting without a scratch. His colonel was not so fortunate. The
earl was shot dead in the second month of the siege while bringing up
reinforcements to the support of the advanced picket in the trenches.
On August 21st Maastricht capitulated, and the campaign was brought to
a glorious conclusion. Lord Vere returned to England, having assigned
the command of his regiment to George Goring, the eldest son of Lord
Norwich and the future notorious cavalry officer of the Civil Wars.

It was about this time that Monk was promoted to the rank of captain,
and found himself in a position which laid the foundations of his
fortunes. He was in command of the colonel's company, that is to say,
a double company, of which the colonel was nominal captain. For in the
early days of the regimental system every colonel had his company
just as every general had his regiment; and as the general had his
lieutenant-colonel, so each colonel had his captain-lieutenant taking
precedence of all the other captains. It was this rank that Monk
now bore, and it was one to which great honour and responsibility
were attached. It was in the colonel's company that the volunteers
chiefly chose to trail their pikes, and so great was the prestige of
Lord Vere's regiment, and so popular the fascinating reprobate who
commanded it, that his company was sometimes half composed of unruly
young gentlemen who had come abroad to see the wars and sow their wild
oats. Thus it was that Monk became personally acquainted with half the
officers who afterwards distinguished themselves in the coming Civil
Wars, and not only did he make their acquaintance but he won their
respect as well. It was only by enforcing the strictest discipline
that order could be maintained amongst such a company. Monk took his
profession seriously. During his service in Holland he had made deep
study of the military sciences, no doubt in company with old Henry
Hexham, the learned and literary quartermaster of the regiment. He had
no idea of young gentlemen playing at soldiers and disgracing the name
by using it only as an excuse for every kind of licence. Soldiering
under Captain Monk was found to be a very serious thing. The wildest
blades were soon tamed by the impassive stare and rough speech of the
captain-lieutenant, young as he still was, and many there were who
lived to thank him long afterwards for the severity of the lessons he
taught.

Yet he was no mere soldier of the lecture-room and parade-ground
either, for all his science and severity. Those who followed George
Monk had to tread in thorny places, as any one who knew it not before
found out at the siege of Breda. It was the last piece of service for
Monk in the Low Countries, and it was the one in which he crowned his
reputation for that absolute intrepidity which afterwards used to
terrify the carpet-knights of the Restoration, and even make Prince
Rupert hold his breath.

In 1637 Frederick found himself strong enough to invest the town with a
combined army of Dutch and French, together with his English brigade.
The French and English attacks were directed on an important hornwork,
and here Goring's regiment had plenty of hard work and hard fighting.
Monk soon found himself without a colonel; for Goring here received
the wound that gave him the attractive limp the young cavaliers used
afterwards so to envy, and he had to give up the active command of his
regiment. But in spite of every difficulty, by the night of September
6th the English mines were almost ready. On the morrow they were to be
reported complete. Monk was in command of the advanced picket in the
trenches. Some attempt of the besieged to destroy the English works was
only to be expected, and but for Monk's vigilance the labour of weeks
might have been undone in a single night. In discharge of his duty as
commander in the trenches he was making the round, and at one point he
had to pass close under the hornwork. No sooner had he reached the spot
than he saw a number of Spaniards dropping silently from the berme into
the trenches. He had but four pikes and a couple of musketeers at his
back, but without a moment's hesitation he hurled himself at the dark
mass in front of him. A desperate hand-to-hand struggle ensued, till
the picket, alarmed by the firing, came up, and the enemy were driven
within their own works.

The mines were saved, and next morning were reported ready to be
sprung. The prince at once ordered the English and French to assault,
and Monk himself was told off to lead a forlorn hope of twenty
musketeers and ten pikes. In support were a few sappers and two small
parties like his own to right and left. After them were the whole of
the gentlemen-volunteers. When all was ready the mines were discharged.
A great piece of the work crumbled into ruins, and Monk, followed by
his party, disappeared into the cloud of dust and smoke before it had
time to settle. Without a check he reached the summit of the breach and
leaped out upon a body of musketeers drawn up to resist the stormers.
Completely surprised by the fury and suddenness of Monk's attack, the
Spaniards broke and fled as he sprang out of the smoke. Regardless of
his followers, half of whom slunk back into the breach, Monk kept on
right into the enemies' work and dashed straight at a body of some
six or seven score men who stood with pikes charged to receive him.
But nothing would stop him now. Shouting at the top of his voice, "A
Goring! a Goring!" he fell furiously on them with the handful who had
followed. Fortunately the supports were close at his heels, and shaken
by his desperate onslaught, the Spaniards broke before the charge of
the volunteers. In disorder they fled into an interior work followed
by the English and French, who rushed bravely to the rescue, and the
hornwork was won.[1]

It was the beginning of the end. The loss of the hornwork made the
city untenable, and a few weeks later the garrison surrendered. It
was Monk's last stroke in the service of the States-General. In the
following year, as he lay in winter-quarters at Dort, the burghers
took deep offence at some disturbances of which his young reprobates
had been guilty, and claimed to try them for the offence. No one had
a higher sense of his duty to his employers than Monk, and no one
stood up more stoutly for the rights of the men under his command.
He insisted on settling the matter by court-martial. The burghers
appealed to the States. Such cases were not unknown, and had always
been decided in favour of the military. But Dort was an important town,
and not to be offended lightly. The States-General decided in favour
of the burgomaster, and the prince had to order Monk and his troops
into quarters which were by no means a change for the better. Monk was
highly offended. He considered the honour of the army was outraged
in his person. Unable to support the indignity, and disgusted at the
want of consideration shown to a man of his services, he resigned his
commission, and resolved to place his sword and experience at the
service of his own country.



CHAPTER II

FOR KING AND PARLIAMENT


The great drama was about to begin. The star-chamber had given judgment
in Hampden's case: the prayer-book had been read in Edinburgh; and it
was amidst ominous mutterings of coming evil that Captain Monk set foot
once more upon his native shore.

How great a tragedy was to develope itself out of the prologue upon
which the curtain was about to rise, no one as yet could tell. Still
less were there any to guess that the plain Low Country officer
stepping on to the Dover beach was the man who was to cut the knot of
the last act and end the play in a blaze of triumph.

We can see him clearly as he rides towards London, brooding, as his
manner was, on the ungrateful treatment he had received at the hands
of his masters. He is now in his thirtieth year, rather short than
tall, but thickset and in full possession of the physical strength
which the ill-starred under-sheriff had tasted at Exeter years ago; and
as with an air of dogged self-reliance he sits erect upon his horse,
handsome, fresh-coloured, well-knit, he looks every inch a soldier.
Quietly chewing his tobacco for company, as the fashion was, he speaks
little to those who overtake him on the road, except perhaps it is to
grumble at the Mynheers when the subject turns that way. He answers
strangers with a blunt, almost rude brevity, at which men are offended,
but which somehow they feel little inclined to openly resent. He is an
ill-mannered, thick-headed soldier, they say, and it is best to leave
him alone to take his own way.

And indeed he was little more. He was frankly the ideal of a soldier
of fortune, versed in his art to the point of pedantry, wary to the
verge of craftiness, fearless to a fault, jealous of his honour as the
knight of La Mancha himself. The name by which such men were known is
unfortunate, for it has led to much misconception of their character.
Then it was well understood to mean a soldier by profession, no more
nor less than what every officer in our army is to-day. The ideal
soldier of fortune was marked not so much by his readiness to change
his colours as by his blind devotion to those with which for the time
being he was engaged. Until the period of his commission, or of the
war or campaign for which he had engaged was ended, his loyalty to his
paymasters was as ungrudging as it was unassailable. Nothing would
have induced him to enter a service which he considered dishonourable,
but having once engaged he fought and toiled and bled in contemptuous
indifference to the political manoeuvres of the men whose commission
he held. To look upon such men as cruel, unprincipled adventurers is
the very reverse of the truth where worthy pupils of the heroic Veres
are concerned. We must remember that it was in their school that Monk
learnt his trade, and not in that which produced men like the Turners
and Dalziells and brought disgrace upon the name of the soldier of
fortune. They were men who could only teach virtues, though perhaps the
only virtues they could teach were honesty and obedience. At any rate
that was the lesson which Monk learnt. To be true to his paymaster,
that was his rule in life; to obey the civil authority which employed
him, that was his political creed. Such was the code which Monk brought
home with him from the Low Countries. Simple and rude as it was, it was
all he had to guide him through the labyrinth he was about to tread.

As yet the Revolution stirred but in restless slumber, and it is
probable that it was not the prospect of civil strife which brought
Monk to England in search of employment. Prince Rupert and his brother
were at Court in hopes of getting their uncle's aid for the recovery
of the Palatinate; and the King, sobered by failure, was turning
and doubling every way to shirk the responsibility and enjoy the
credit of assisting his beautiful and unfortunate sister. Of all the
schemes which were suggested to this end the most extraordinary was
the project for the colonisation of Madagascar. The idea was that a
thousand gentlemen should join, each with a thousand pounds and a
number of servants. The King was to provide twelve ships from the navy,
and thirty merchantmen were to complete the fleet. Every adventurer
was to sail in person, and the whole was to be commanded by Prince
Rupert himself, with the title of Governor-General of Madagascar or
St. Lawrence. But Elizabeth grew anxious about her son, and opposed
the wild scheme in which she could see no reason. "As for Rupert's
romance," she wrote to Roe, "about Madagascar, it sounds more like one
of Don Quixote's conquests when he promised his trusty squire to make
him king of an island." In the end practical merchants and seamen threw
so much cold water on the scheme that it began to lose favour, and
Rupert did not go.

Meanwhile all the world was run mad on the romantic adventure. Davenant
wrote a little epic about it, which made Endymion Porter exclaim,
himself as mad as the rest:

        "What lofty fancy was't possest your braine,
         And caus'd you soare into so high a straine?"

Suckling so far forgot himself in the craze of the hour as to write
a copy of verses that may still be read without a blush. Even the
phlegmatic Captain Monk was carried away. Man of the new time as he
was, in the bottom of his heart he was Elizabethan. The project was
more than enough to revive the dreams of his Devonshire boyhood, of
Raleigh, of Guiana, and the early days of Virginia, and he promised
to go. But it was not to be. Ere long he withdrew, either because his
native shrewdness showed him it was all a bubble or else because the
curtain was up at last, and he turned to the thrilling play beside
which the Madagascar adventure was only a childish fairy tale.

Scotland was to be coerced into conformity, and in the bustle of
preparation Monk saw his chance. To every soldier in England his name
must have been perfectly familiar. Every young gentleman who had seen
any service was hurrying to the King's standard on the chance of a
commission, and the majority of them would be only too glad to claim
George Monk as their father-in-arms, and boast of their service in the
colonel's company of the crack regiment in the Low Country Brigade.

Nor did Monk lack powerful friends. He was a wide-kinned man, so wide
that it is impossible to trace the multitudinous ramifications of his
family. He had connections in high places, and they began to take him
up. Above all Lord Leicester seems to have found a pleasure in pushing
his distinguished young kinsman's fortunes, and at this moment there
was no better friend a young man could have than Robert Sidney, second
Earl of Leicester. His family was just now rising into high favour. His
brother-in-law, the Earl of Northumberland, was Lord Admiral, while for
sister-in-law he could claim the lovely Countess of Carlisle herself.

This "Erinnys of the North," as Warburton called her, for whom Waller
could forget awhile his Sacharissa, who made Davenant sing his
sweetest, and wrung from Suckling his most lascivious note, was still
the reigning beauty of the Court. As she entered middle age her charms
seemed only to ripen. Her eyes were as bright, her wit as keen, her
vivacity as sparkling as ever. The only change was in the field of
her conquests. Weary of breaking the hearts of fops and poets, she
was seeking new excitement in political intrigue and new pleasures in
charming tried leaders of men such as Pym and Strafford. At this moment
a blunt manly soldier like Captain Monk was just the man to find favour
in her capricious eyes. Monk was always soft-hearted with a woman, and
his admiration of such a beauty must have been frank and undisguised.
Whatever was the cause, he found her willing to support Lord
Leicester's request for his advancement. The task was not difficult.
Officers of tried worth who could be trusted in the quarrel were in
high demand for lieutenant-colonels of the newly-raised regiments. Half
the colonels were noblemen of little experience, and the rest were
occupied with their duties on the staff. Monk, as a man who despised
politics and was without convictions, was in every way fitted for a
command, and his fair friend was soon able to hand him his commission
as lieutenant-colonel of Lord Newport's regiment of foot.

Monk soon found plenty of work to do; but all his efforts to turn his
men into soldiers were thrown away. In June, 1639, to his intense
disgust a pacification was patched up with the Scots, and the First
Bishops' War came to an ignominious end before a blow had been struck.
To Monk, whose narrow but enthusiastic patriotism had been only
increased by his service abroad, such a fiasco was deeply mortifying.
With a stupid constancy, for which it is impossible not to love him,
he clung through life to the fixed idea that one Englishman was any
day worth two or three of any other nation. To face an army of Scots
for months and then come to terms without fighting was a piece of
pusillanimity he could not understand, and never forgot.

Nor did the conduct of the Second Bishops' War mend his opinion of
the King. His regiment was amongst the first that were ready to take
the field. It was present at the rout at Newburn Ford, where its
lieutenant-colonel distinguished himself by saving the English guns.
But with that disgraceful action the campaign ended. Monk and a few
other officers at the Council of War urged every argument which the
pedantic strategy of the day could suggest in order to induce the
King to attack the Scots with the concentrated army which was now
strengthened with the Yorkshire and Durham trained-bands. But all was
in vain, and an armistice preliminary to peace was concluded at Ripon,
by which the two northern counties were left in possession of the Scots
as security for a war-indemnity.

For these two miserable failures Monk never forgave the King. To the
end of his life he used to harp on the fatal mistake Charles made in
not following the advice he gave, and to the last maintained, with
characteristic ignorance of the real questions at issue, that all the
blood which flowed in the following years was to be imputed to the
folly of sparing it then.

While the Scots were eating up the fat of the land and Monk was
fretting at the part he had to play, the plot was thickening fast. The
Long Parliament had met and Strafford was brought to bay. The breach
between King and Parliament was widening daily, and Charles was foolish
enough to listen to schemes which the most hairbrained of his courtiers
devised for dragging the army into the quarrel. Men ready to coerce the
Houses were to be placed in command, and the army was to be brought
up to London and the Tower snatched from the hands of Lord Newport,
who was now constable. But there was a difficulty in the way. The Low
Country officers, true to their principles, refused to have anything
to do with the plot, and the conspirators fell out before the question
of command could be settled. Goring, who had been promised the post
of Lieutenant-General, in a fit of spite betrayed the plot to Lord
Newport. Newport told Pym, and at the critical moment when Strafford's
fate hung in the balance Pym played the information as a trump-card.
The effect was electrical, and its sequel of no little consequence to
Monk. The revelation produced a revulsion of feeling which brought
Strafford's head to the block, and Lord Leicester, as a favourite with
both King and Parliament, was hastily summoned from Paris to succeed
him as Lord Lieutenant and Commander-in-Chief in Ireland.

As the truth about the army-plots was allowed to transpire the worst
was believed of the King's intentions. The belief even began to spread
that Charles was privy to a popish plot, of which the queen was the
centre, to bring troops from Ireland for the utter subversion of the
Protestant faith. Then into the midst of the growing distrust there
burst like a thunderbolt the news of the Irish rebellion, and the
smouldering fires of the Reformation, which had slumbered since the
great days when they scorched the throne of Spain, burst into a flame.
On the heels of the news came down a letter from Scotland in which
the King commended to Parliament the care of reducing the rebels to
obedience. The Commons voted on the spot an army of eight thousand men
and confidently called for volunteers. But that was not all. The weapon
was easy to forge, but it must now be placed out of the King's reach.
It was not enough that Leicester was made Captain-General. His second
in command must also be a man in whose honour and fidelity the House
had implicit confidence.

Astley and Conyers were unwilling to serve. It says not a little for
the reputation which Monk had won both as a man and a soldier, that
his name was the next mentioned.[2] It was proposed that he should
be given the command as Lieutenant-General, with Henry Warren,
his veteran major and devoted friend, as his Adjutant-General, or
Sergeant-major-general, as it was then called. It was a splendid
chance, but Monk was doomed to disappointment. The Houses were suddenly
informed that Ormonde had been chosen for the command and commissioned
Lieutenant-General by the King, and the tactics of the Parliament had
to be changed. It was determined to raise an army by an Impressment
Bill, to which a clause was to be added vesting the control of it in
their own hands. As the month of November wore on and it was still in
debate, by every post came news of fresh atrocities committed by the
Papist rebels upon the English Protestants. Never perhaps again till
the story of the Cawnpore massacre set the nation's teeth, did such a
frenzy of revenge take possession of the people. More and more troops
were voted every week. Every tale, no matter how hideous or improbable,
was greedily believed. It was necessary that something should be done
at once. Leicester was ordered to raise two regiments of foot and
one of horse by voluntary enlistment, and that the Parliament might
keep a firm hand on the reins it was further resolved that he should
submit the list of officers he proposed to commission to the Houses for
approval. Monk was named for lieutenant-colonel and Warren for major of
Leicester's own regiment of foot. Both were at once approved; and the
nominations of Leicester's two sons, Lord Lisle and Algernon Sidney, as
well as that of Sir Richard Grenville, were confirmed for the horse.

On February 21st, 1642, Colonel Monk landed in Dublin at the head of
the Lord-General's regiment of foot. It was a splendid body of men,
two thousand strong and officered by the flower of the disbanded army
of the north. And with him was Sir Richard Grenville, commanding four
hundred of Leicester's new regiment of horse. Over the scenes which
followed there is no need to linger. In fire and blood the wretched
Irish had to do penance for the outburst of savagery to which they
had been goaded by Strafford's imperious rule. The most important
operation of the campaign of 1642 was the expedition for the relief
of the English settlements in Kildare and Queen's County. With two
thousand five hundred foot under Monk, five hundred horse under Lucas,
Coote, and Grenville, and six guns, Ormonde left Dublin on April 2nd,
and by the 9th had successfully relieved Athy, Maryborough, and some
smaller settlements. The work was accomplished with all the horrible
accompaniments which characterised Irish warfare. "In our march
thither," wrote an officer in Monk's regiment, "we fired above two
hundred villages. The horse that marched on our flanks fired all within
five or six miles of the body of the army; and those places that we
marched through, they that had the rear of the army always burned.
Hitherto we met not with any enemy to oppose, yet not a mile nor a
place that we marched by, that the dead bodies of the rebels did not
witness our passage." But the most difficult part of the enterprise
yet remained. Some thirty miles beyond the river Nore, in a country
swarming with rebels, lay several garrisons yet unrelieved. Ormonde's
provisions were running so short that to reach them by a regular
operation was impossible; but sooner than abandon them Grenville,
Lucas, and Coote undertook to make a dash to their aid with the
cavalry, while Monk covered the retreat. On the morning of Saturday
the 10th, in the dead of night, the horse sallied from Maryborough, and
succeeded in passing the river unobserved. The Irish at once took the
alarm, and seized the only two fords by which they could return. That
at Portnahinch they barred by an intrenchment, and leaving the other
open they laid a strong ambush along the dangerous causeway by which
it was approached. There, certain of their prey, they quietly waited
to wreak a terrible vengeance on Grenville's ruthless troopers. On
Monk rested the only chance of escape. Early on Monday morning, with
a party of six hundred musketeers, he attacked a neighbouring castle,
which belonged to one of the rebel leaders, hoping to draw to its
relief the forces which held the fords; but not a man would they stir.
In desperation he determined to force the pass at Portnahinch, but on
reaching it he found the river so swollen that it was impassable for
foot. The last hope seemed gone, but Monk was not to be beaten. Seizing
every point of vantage on his own bank, he placed his musketeers with
such skill that the Irish could neither abandon nor reinforce their
intrenchments. Assured that the horse must mean to force a passage
at this point under cover of Monk's fire, they at last withdrew the
whole of their strength from the other ford, and while Monk occupied
them with a deadly fusilade, Grenville and his exhausted comrades rode
unmolested along the abandoned causeway and reached Maryborough in
safety.[3]

The horse were saved, and, now his object was accomplished, Ormonde
began to retire to Dublin. It was in the course of this march that he
won his brilliant action at Kilrush. Monk was present with the staff
during the general's reconnaissance on the eve of the battle, and we
may credit him with at least a share of the masterly tactics by which
the victory was obtained. That Ormonde appreciated his services is
certain, for on this occasion he was mentioned in despatches "for the
alacrity and undaunted resolution" he had displayed.

By the end of June eight more regiments, including Lord Lisle's
carbineers, were landed in Dublin, and the Parliament seemed to have
exhausted all the resources it could spare for Ireland. The Civil War
was beginning. By straining every nerve it could only hold its own
against the King in England, and the Irish army was left to shift for
itself. Constant forays became a necessity, and indeed were the only
operations possible. In these no one was so successful as Monk. He
displayed in them all the qualities which endear a commander to his
men, and soon no officer in the army was so popular with rank and file
as he. No one, they used to say, was too sick or sorry for action,
and nobody's boots were too bad for a march, when the word was passed
that "honest George" was off foraying again. It became a joke that his
regiment was the purveyor for the whole of Dublin.

This was hardly the work that Monk had promised himself when he
volunteered for Ireland; but at any rate it was a great relief to him
that he was leaving behind the politics which he detested and only
half understood for some hard fighting which was his meat and drink.
But he was to be sadly disappointed. Lord Leicester, commissioned by
the King and paid by the Parliament, was still in England, detained by
orders from Oxford. In Ormonde Charles knew he had a representative
in every way satisfactory. He was a royalist above suspicion. The
advent of Leicester could only strengthen the hands of the Lords
Justices, who represented the Lord Lieutenant in his absence. These men
were staunch Parliamentarians, and made it their business to oppose
Ormonde's influence in every way. Indeed their enemies accused them
of deliberately thwarting his operations in order that, by allowing
the rebellion to spread, there might be a larger area of land for
confiscation. In return for providing money for the suppression of
the rebellion an influential body of London capitalists had obtained
from Parliament a concession of one quarter of the land which should
become liable to confiscation; and it is to be feared the Lords
Justices were to some extent interested in this gigantic job. The Lords
Justices had their fortunes to make, and they saw them in their power
of distributing the forfeited lands. Their interests as well as their
opinions were in sympathy with the parliamentary cause. Thus Ormonde
represented for them a double danger, and without accusing them of
actually fostering rebellion, it is certain that they did their best to
discredit Ormonde with the King in order to procure his recall.

To seek Monk's attitude in the strife we need not go far. If he had
any sympathies either way, which is very doubtful, they were certainly
at this time parliamentarian. Indeed a slight he received about this
time must have sharply spurred him to the side to which contempt for
the King, anxiety about his pay, and the influence of his friends the
Sidneys already inclined him. In May Sir Charles Coote, the governor
of Dublin, had been killed in action. No one deserved to succeed him
so well as "honest George." No one had done so much for the place,
above all, in keeping in temper the troops who were always on the
verge of mutiny for want of pay and clothes and food. Accordingly Lord
Leicester, on the recommendation of the Lords Justices, sent over a
commission by which he was appointed governor at a double salary of
forty shillings a day, a little addition which made the post doubly
dear to the soldier of fortune; but hardly had the commission arrived
when there came a letter direct from the King approving the permanent
appointment of Lord Lambert, who had been acting as Coote's deputy, and
Monk found the governorship and his forty shillings a day snatched out
of his very mouth.

Important as this affair was to poor Monk, it was but one of many such
passages between the two parties. Ormonde, on the whole, was getting
the upper hand; but the condition of friction which this state of
things set up could have but one result. The rebels gained ground by
strides. In September General Preston landed from Spain with quantities
of supplies of all kinds for their use. A popish plot was winded once
more. A new design was suspected of raising an army for the King in
Ireland with Catholic money and arms. Ormonde's popularity was growing
alarming. What was to prevent him suddenly joining hands with the
rebels and turning with the whole army upon the Parliament? How could
it then withstand the King? An old prophecy was in every one's mouth:

        "He that would old England win
         First with Ireland must begin."

The action which the Commons took at this crisis gives us a startling
peep beneath the boards where the wire-pullers sat. Joint-committees
were sent out to the various provinces, consisting each of two
delegates, one nominated by the Commons and one by the Syndicate which
was working the Irish concession. Reynolds and Goodwin were the two
appointed for Dublin. On their arrival they were at once, without
a shadow of right, admitted to the Council, and set to work to put
Lisle at the head of the army instead of Ormonde, and oust from the
governorship of Dublin the man who had supplanted the parliamentary
candidate. They even tried to commit the army to an oath of fealty to
Parliament, but £20,000 was all the money they had brought to satisfy
arrears, and it was not enough to allay the distrust of the soldiers.

As the winter advanced the distress and discontent of the troops
increased. Their clothes were in rags, many had not even boots to
their feet, and proper food could hardly be obtained. They cried aloud
for their pay, and the delegates saw a new device must be tried to
silence the dangerous clamour. In testimony of the goodwill of the
Parliament, they offered all such as should be willing to accept it a
grant of rebel land in satisfaction of arrears. The idea was extremely
ingenious and nearly succeeded. Monk was far too dull a man to see
through it, and he at once subscribed the agreement. But there were
many to point out what it meant. It was soon seen to be a mere device
to commit the army to the cause of the Parliament, and those who had
so hastily signed insisted on withdrawing, for ruin stared them in
the face. Ormonde had received instructions from the King to negotiate
a pacification with the Irish rebels. In him the army saw their only
chance of redress, and in spite of all the delegates could do they set
out their grievances in a loyal address and sent it to the King.

By the end of January, 1643, Ormonde, strengthened by a new commission
from Oxford, was able to exclude Reynolds and Goodwin from the Council,
and after a few weeks spent in undisguised attempts to suborn the
troops, they sailed for England, just in time to escape arrest on the
royal warrant.

The cavalier had triumphed; but until he had carried out his
instructions to come to terms with the rebels his victory was
useless to the royal cause. The negotiations went on but slowly. The
Anglo-Irish lords of the Pale were anxious for peace, but the Lords
Justices were careful to obstruct Ormonde's diplomacy by forcing him
into military operations. Their policy deferred the cessation, but
only to make it more inevitable. Each expedition left the Government
more exhausted. The scanty resources that remained were only the more
rapidly consumed, and, though with the singleness of purpose that had
marked his conduct throughout, Monk strained every nerve to do his
duty, no real impression was made upon the rebels.

Very shortly after Ormonde's victory at Ross, Preston was threatening
Ballinakill, twenty miles north of Kilkenny, and the garrison was only
saved for the time by Monk dashing out of Dublin with half a regiment
and four troops. Close to the town he met a large number of rebels, put
them to flight, relieved the garrison, and returned safe to Dublin.
Still food grew scarcer. Preston knew his game was a waiting one, and
avoided an engagement. As time went on the English army could hardly
be kept together. The troops were scattered about, working on lands by
which the chief officers were pacified. Desertions in all ranks took
place wholesale. Negotiations for peace were revived, and the military
situation was in complete stagnation.

It was about this time that Monk heard of his father's death, and
probably in consequence of this he asked and obtained leave from
Ormonde to go home. There was an annuity of £100 a year to look after,
which was left him by Sir Thomas's will, but the matter had to wait.
In June Preston and O'Neill, the leader of the native Irish party,
had advanced almost within touch of each other into King's County and
West Meath. Ormonde, hoping to bring them to their knees, determined
once more to try and force them to an action. A strong force of two
thousand foot and three hundred and fifty horse was prepared and Monk
called on to take the command. On the strength of his leave he refused,
and all the pressure which the Lords Justices could bring to bear on
him was of no avail. Sir John Temple, the father of Sir William, was
the man who at last induced him to consent, and he marched. Under the
nose of Preston, with less than a third of his numbers, he succeeded
in relieving the important garrison of Castle-Jordan, but want of
provisions rendered a forward movement impossible, and he was compelled
to retreat without coming to an engagement.

On all sides the rebels were closing in. Ormonde learnt that Lord
Inchiquin in Munster was in as desperate a position as himself. Still
he would not grant the rebels their terms, and Monk, in spite of all
his grievances, stood by him with obstinate devotion. No more was
heard of his leave, and all through those terrible weeks of danger
and privation he held on to encourage the troops with his presence.
In the autumn he was operating successfully in Wicklow, and occupying
positions there to hold Lord Castlehaven and General Preston in check
till the harvest was secured. But from the north O'Neill was advancing,
and Monk was recalled to reinforce Lord Moore, who was opposing the
Ulster Nationalists. Once more every effort was paralysed by the
commissariat. Moore was killed, and Monk had to retire to Dublin to
find all he had gained in Wicklow was lost.

Further resistance was hopeless. The army was at starvation point.
Preston was raiding within two miles of Dublin gates, and north and
south O'Neill and Castlehaven held in irresistible force the whole
of the country on which the English relied for supplies. To add to
Ormonde's embarrassments, ever since the Scots had declared for the
Parliament Charles had been pressing him to conclude an armistice
with the rebels upon any terms, and at last he gave way. On September
15th was signed that cessation from which, in insane contempt for the
deepest feelings of his people, the King hoped so much, and which was
at last to bring upon him so terrible a retribution.



CHAPTER III

THE KING'S COMMISSION


As early as April Ormonde had received secret instructions which
can have left him in no doubt as to the real meaning of the King's
anxiety for the success of the negotiations. No sooner was the matter
settled than the Lieutenant-General busied himself in carrying out his
master's orders. Every man that could be spared was to be sent to the
assistance of the King against the Scots, and the greatest care was to
be exercised that they sailed under commanders who could be trusted.

Meanwhile, in face of the catastrophe they had so long apprehended,
the parliamentary agents were not idle. They promised the troops full
discharge of arrears and every other inducement to enter their service,
and with such success that Ormonde considered it necessary to take the
precaution of demanding the signature of a "protestation" from the
officers who were to go to England. To his intense disgust Monk was
called upon to formally pledge himself to be true to the flag under
which he was about to serve. That he had any serious objection to the
royal cause is hardly probable. His friends, Lord Lisle and Algernon
Sidney, were not in Dublin to influence him. Monk, with the rest of
the officers, must have long lost faith in parliamentary promises of
pay; and, moreover, through the Commons' antipathy to martial law,
there had been trouble in Ireland of the same nature as that which led
to his leaving the Dutch service. Then the prospect of coming to blows
with the Scots, before whom he had been disgraced, had irresistible
attractions for him. Morally there was nothing to prevent him entering
the royal service. Although paid by the Parliament it was the King's
commission he held. But to be asked to pledge himself to the politics
of those for whom he fought was in his eyes a monstrous proposal,
while to be called on to swear fidelity to the man whose commission he
held was an insult. Rigid even to pedantry in his notions of military
honour, he did not know what it was to swerve a hair's-breadth from the
duty of his place. Through jealousy and disappointment, through every
danger and temptation, he had been true to Ormonde, and now his reward
was to be suspected of being able to forget what was due to himself as
a soldier. It was more than he could tamely endure. Ormonde presented
the protestation, and Monk flatly refused either to sign or swear,
nor did he scruple to say plainly what he thought of it. Only one man
had the spirit or honesty to follow his example, and that was Colonel
Lawrence Crawford, the sturdy Scot whose bigotry would not now permit
him to draw sword against the Covenant, and was ere long to bring down
upon him the merciless resentment of Cromwell.

Monk was deprived of his regiment, and Warren reluctantly accepted the
command. Ormonde could do no less, but so great was his respect for
Monk's character and capacity that he took no further step. Monk was
simply granted leave to go home, and there the matter might have rested
but for the injudicious conduct of his sanguine young admirer, Lord
Lisle. The Parliament was about to send reinforcements into Ulster,
and the choice of a commander lay between the Scotchman Munroe and
Lisle. Munroe's recommendation was his influence with the old Scotch
colonists, while Lisle claimed that he could command the services of
Monk, and through him half Ormonde's army. Lord Digby, the King's
Secretary of State, although his good opinion of Monk was unshaken by
the rumours he heard, still took the precaution of warning Ormonde,
and writing in the King's name a very flattering letter to the colonel
himself. So far all was well. His spotless integrity was enough to
lift him above every suspicion. Ormonde seems still to have had enough
confidence in him to allow him to sail with the troops to Chester, when
somehow he got to know that a special messenger from Pym himself had
arrived in Dublin to urge Monk to prevent the troops joining the King.

It now was impossible for Ormonde to ignore the danger of the injured
colonel's power for evil so long as he remained with the army, and he
felt it his duty to send him to Bristol under arrest. Instructions went
with him that he should be confined till further orders from Oxford,
whither the Lieutenant-General sent a report of the step he had taken.
"In the meantime," he says in his letter to Sir Francis Hawley, the
governor of Bristol, "I must assure you that Colonel Monk is a person
very well deserved of this kingdom, and that there is no unworthy thing
laid to his charge, therefore I desire you to use him with all possible
civility."

Hawley, who was one of Monk's innumerable kinsmen, interpreted his
instructions so widely as to release the colonel on parole at once,
indignant, as it seems, that a man of such distinguished service should
be treated so shabbily. But his responsibility was not to last long.
Digby showed Ormonde's despatch to the King, who decided at once that
Monk was a man worth the trial to gain, and he was sent for to Oxford.

Lord Digby had ready for the injured soldier a most flattering
reception. "Honest George" was but a child in the hands of such a man.
The brilliant Secretary of State was irresistible with his polished
wit, his scholarly discourse, and great personal charm. It was he who
had provided Charles with his most trusted counsellors. It was he who
had beguiled Sir John Hotham into betraying his trust at Hull. He had
even a personal experience of ratting himself, and easily persuaded the
colonel to give him his company to Christchurch, where the King lodged.

The inevitable result ensued. No one had in a greater degree the trick
of attaching such men to him than Charles. No one had a keener eye for
a weakness to be played upon. He was taking the air in the gardens of
the College when the two visitors arrived, and we can see them even
now as they meet amidst the trim lawns. The artful secretary making
his presentation in a few flattering words that say everything to the
King: the stalwart soldier saluting somewhat abruptly with a frank
honest stare; and Charles with his careworn smile saying something that
brings a flush to the handsome face he scrutinises. We can hear him
speak of the daring journey to Rhé, of the breach at Breda, of the
guns at Newburn, and of all that has since been done in Ireland. He is
glad also to have so great an authority on military science in Oxford,
as he wants some confidential advice on the prosecution of the war. We
can see the look of half-amused surprise as honest George "deals very
frankly with his Majesty," and tells him his army is only a rabble
of gentility, whose courage and high birth are worthless beside the
growing discipline that Fairfax and Skippon and Cromwell are teaching
his enemies. Let the King cut down his numbers to ten thousand men,
properly organised and equipped; let him officer them with real Low
Country soldiers, and send the high-born amateurs to the right-about,
and with such an army he would bring the rebels to their knees in a
trice. It is hardly, perhaps, the answer his Majesty expected, but he
trusts to hear more of the matter another time. So Monk is dismissed,
delighted at the King's good sense and condescension. Pay, arrears, and
all are forgotten. He is taken by assault, and soon informs Lord Digby
he is ready to take service in the royal army.

The only question now was where the man who was worth a trial to gain
should be employed. There was a general impression that he should go
to Devonshire, where his eldest brother, Sir Thomas, was doing good
work. But Monk made difficulties. A civil war in his native county
was peculiarly distasteful to a man of his nature. Besides, his heart
was not there. He had left it with the regiment that was devoted to
him, and that was now, with the rest of the Irish brigade, investing
Nantwich under Lord Byron. The fall of the place was looked on as
certain; when all at once in the midst of the Christmas revels there
was a cry that help was at hand. Under peremptory orders from London,
Fairfax had left his winter-quarters about Lincoln, and had succeeded
in penetrating Cheshire with a large force by the end of January.
There was no doubt about Monk's destination then. The hardships of the
unexpectedly long siege and two small reverses had seriously affected
the temper of the Irish brigade, and their idol was hurried to infuse a
better spirit into his old comrades for the coming struggle.

The sight of "honest George" was as good as another regiment to the
besiegers, and when he took his place, pike in hand, at the head of the
first file of his old corps, Lord Byron saw his force had got a new
heart. Monk had in his pocket a commission to raise a regiment and a
promise of the post of Major-General to the brigade, but in spite of
this and of Warren's entreaties to take his old command, he insisted on
retaining his humble position.

The very day after Monk joined the alarm was given that Fairfax was
at hand, and the position of the Royalists was suddenly found to be
desperately weak. Byron's army was investing the town on both sides of
the river Weaver. Warren's and four other regiments of foot were on
the left bank, and it was on this side that Fairfax was advancing. On
the first news of his approach they had taken up a position at Acton
Church, about a mile in rear of their works, where they intended to
stop his advance, while to prevent a sortie of the garrison a small
guard was left to hold the bridge by which the town was reached.
On the other side of the river was Lord Byron with the rest of the
infantry and all the horse. Communications had been kept up hitherto
by fords, but a sudden thaw had so swollen the river as to render them
impracticable. Only by a ride of six miles could the horse reach the
foot at Acton, and the way lay through lanes that the melting snow had
rendered almost impassable. Still there was but one thing to do, and
Byron galloped off along the river through the slush and mire, trusting
there might yet be time to get round before the enemy attacked.

Meanwhile Fairfax had come in sight of the isolated foot. Monk's old
Low Country comrade saw his advantage immediately, and continued his
advance with the intention of cutting his way through the infantry to
join hands with the garrison before Byron could come to the rescue.
Nearer and nearer he pressed, opening a way through the hedges as
he came straight across country. Suddenly there was an alarm in the
rear-guard. In spite of the mud and narrow lanes and swollen river
Byron was upon him at last. Quick as thought "Form your files to the
rear and charge for horse!" was the order which rang from Fairfax's
lips, and Byron's breathless troopers were hurled back from a solid
wall of pikes and muskets. Three of the Parliament regiments had
reversed their front and with the rest Fairfax dashed at Monk and his
friends. Warren's was in the centre, and it broke at once. The rest
stood firm but with flanks exposed. Pike in hand Monk raged through
his disgraced regiment and rallied it for one more charge. Again it
broke, and Fairfax poured in between the wings a resistless flood.
At the same moment the garrison sallied out, forced the guard at the
bridge, and fell upon the Royalist rear. All was over. Drowned in a sea
of armed men that flowed on every side of them, the regiments which
till now had held their ground could resist no longer. Surrender or
flight was all that was left. Too late Monk found the regiment he was
so proud of would not fight in such a cause. He even had to hear it
said that a number of his men had turned their fire on the hard-pressed
wings. Acton Church, around which the train was parked, was hard by,
and thither with the rest of the officers he took refuge. For a while
Byron hovered round to try a rescue with the horse, but the attempt
was hopeless. Church, guns, baggage and all were surrendered, and
after barely a week's service in the King's army Monk found himself a
prisoner.

A few days afterwards nearly the whole of his old regiment had enlisted
with Fairfax, while he and Warren were sent prisoners to Hull. But
for such a man Hull was not safe enough. It had but recently been
relieved, and was not out of danger so long as Lord Newcastle was at
York. Fairfax and the other officers who had fought by Monk's side in
the Low Countries knew well the value of his services, and impressed
upon the Parliament that he was "a man worth the making," and not
without effect. He was ordered up to London with Warren, and on July
8th brought to the bar of the House. There the two unfortunate officers
were charged with high treason and committed to the Tower. No sooner
were they there than Lord Lisle set about justifying his boasts to the
Council. He was still doing his best to get appointed Lord Lieutenant
of Ireland, and there could be no better testimonial to his fitness
than that he could command the services of the officers in the Tower.
Of Monk there was every hope, for he alone had refused to bind himself
not to serve the Parliament, nor were the most enticing offers wanting
to tempt him.

Already the New Model Army was in contemplation. Men of all parties
saw that nothing decisive would ever be done except by adopting the
methods which Monk had urged on the King. A compact mobile field-force,
complete and organised in every detail on the Low Country system, must
replace the unmanageable mobilised militia with which the war had
hitherto been aimlessly dragged on. Cromwell had now definitely come
to the front and thrown himself into the task. Except possibly Sir
Jacob Astley, who was at Oxford with Charles, there was no one in the
kingdom more fitted for the all-important work than Monk. Cromwell,
who knew how to choose a man, must have been perfectly aware of his
qualifications, even if he had not been as intimate as he was with Lord
Lisle. Nor was it from Cromwell alone that the prisoner was tempted.
Though all were agreed the weapon must be forged, they were by no means
at one as to the hands in which it was to be placed. Independents and
Presbyterians were manoeuvring for the control. In spite of standing
orders members were so constantly visiting the prisoners that the House
had strictly to forbid the practice without special leave. The same
day a leading Presbyterian was granted permission, and towards the
end of October Monk's case was specially referred to the committee of
examinations.

But they all mistook their man. He still held the King's commission.
The war for which he had engaged was still raging, and the most
brilliant offers that could be made him he only regarded as insults.
Pressure was even brought to bear, it is said, by a more rigorous
confinement, but it was useless, and he indignantly refused his liberty
except by a regular cartel.

Days and weeks went by and no exchange came. Although, as he had
refused to desert in Ireland, he was not affected by the order which
forbade the exchange of the other Irish officers upon any terms,
Parliament had no intention of allowing so valuable an officer to
get back to the royal camp. In vain Daniel O'Neill urged the King to
procure his release for service in Ireland. Charles seems to have done
his best. Clarendon says that many attempts were made to exchange
him; that one was we know. Care, however, seems to have been taken
by his would-be employers not only that these attempts should be
unsuccessful, but that Monk should not even hear of them. The wretched
colonel thought himself forgotten. His money was gone, and a penniless
prisoner in those days was the most miserable of men. Of his annuity
fifty pounds was all he had had, and on November 6th, but four months
after his committal, he sat down to write an urgent appeal to his
brother for another fifty. The letter concludes with a pathetic cry
for his release: "I shall entreat you," he says, "to be mindful of me
concerning my exchange, for I doubt all my friends have forgotten me. I
earnestly entreat you, therefore, if it lies in your power, to remember
me concerning my liberty; and so in haste, I rest, your faithful
brother, GEORGE MONK."

In haste and in the Tower! But any excuse was good enough with the
taciturn soldier if it saved words. And he might have saved them
all. Exchange and remittance were alike out of the question with his
hard-pressed brother, and as the weary months went by he thought
himself indeed deserted. Once out of the very depth of his poverty
Charles sent him a hundred pounds--an extraordinary mark of esteem as
things went at Oxford then. But that was all. Bitterly he felt the
seeming ingratitude, but in spite of all with obstinate loyalty he
refused to desert his colours, and sat himself down to forget in the
pursuit of literature the fancied wrongs under which he smarted.

Like many other active-minded men before and since, having absolutely
nothing to do he determined to write a book. He had before him the
example of Lord Vere and his brother-in-arms, Hexham, the literary
quartermaster of his old Low Country regiment, and most worthily
he followed in their steps. The book is full of vigorous and pithy
aphorisms which flash on us the condensed opinions of a man who
spoke little and thought much. We can hear, as we read it, the few
well-digested words, rugged, blunt, and direct, with which he compelled
the attention of councils of war and won the respect and admiration
of his men. Its subdued enthusiasm tells us of a genuine soldier
reverently devoted to his profession, and looking mournfully from the
place apart, where his almost aggressive patriotism had placed him, at
the distractions with which his beloved country was torn. It gives us
as clearly as though we saw him face to face the key of the character
that has been as much misunderstood and abused as any in history. He
was an English citizen first, a soldier next, and a politician not at
all. Of the real meaning of the strife he was incapable of grasping any
conception. For him it was all a mere question of the interior, and in
his eyes no question of the interior, not even religion itself, was
worth a civil war, or the sacrifice of England's military renown.

He called his work _Observations upon Military and Political Affairs_.
The military part is admirable, and shows us the consummate soldier
he was. It strikes one of the first notes of modern military science,
and takes for its dominant theme the comparatively small part which
actual fighting plays in the duties of a general and the success of
a campaign. The political observations are more crude but equally
characteristic. With the exception of some sagacious remarks on
governing a conquered country, they are confined to the methods
of preventing civil war. After recommending a strong centralised
government, technical education, and uniformity of religion, if it can
be obtained without danger, he enunciates those principles which caused
him to take the final step at the great crisis of his life. Still under
the influence of his Devonshire training he strongly insists on State
colonisation as a means whereby sources of weakness may be turned into
strength. "But the principal and able remedy," he says, "against civil
war is to entertain a foreign war. This chaseth away idleness, setteth
all on work, and particularly this giveth satisfaction to ambitious and
stirring spirits; it banisheth luxury, maketh your people warlike, and
maintaineth you in such reputation amongst your neighbours, that you
are the arbitrators of their differences." And it is from this point of
view that he expresses his only opinion on the great question that was
coming. "A sovereign prince," he lays down, "is more capable to make
great and ready conquests than a commonwealth, and especially if he
goeth in person into the field."

When the manuscript was complete he gave it to Lord Lisle to take care
of, and thus we may be sure that it was from Monk's pen that Cromwell,
to whom Lisle would not have omitted to show his treasure, learnt
something at least of his knowledge of war.

But literature was not his only consolation. There was another more to
his taste and less to his credit. For there used to come to the Tower
one Ann Ratsford, the wife of a perfumer who lived at the sign of the
Three Spanish Gypsies in the Exchange. By trade she was a milliner,
and in that capacity used to look after Monk's linen. She was neither
pretty nor well bred; she had a sharp tongue and manners that were not
refined. But the colonel was soft-hearted, and she was very kind; the
colonel was so handsome and had such a soldierly air, and then all
his friends had forgotten him and the perfumer was detestable. So the
gloomy walls of the Tower were brightened with an unholy idyl, and thus
began the intrigue which was to make a duchess of plain Nan Clarges,
the farrier's daughter of the Savoy.



CHAPTER IV

THE PARLIAMENT'S COMMISSION


While Monk lay thus honour-bound in the Tower the New Model had done
its work. The war was practically over, and Parliament turned its
attention to clearing the prisons. On April 9th, 1646, a return was
ordered of all soldiers of fortune then prisoners to the Parliament who
were desirous of going abroad, with the intention that on taking the
negative oath they should be permitted to do so. Under this order Monk
must have applied, and on July 1st he got leave to go beyond the seas.

Besides the oath there was a further condition that he was to leave
the country within a month of his release, but his friends seem to
have had influence enough to get the time extended. With the close
of the war Parliament was able to devote its energies to Ireland,
and each party was scheming to appoint the Lord Lieutenant, in order
to secure for itself the prestige of avenging the Protestant blood
that had been shed. During Monk's imprisonment the situation there
had changed considerably. Ormonde still held Dublin and the greater
part of Leinster for the King, but Lord Inchiquin in a fit of pique
had gone over to the Parliament, and from Cork was administering
Munster as president in its name. The Scotch in the Ulster garrisons
and plantations were also on the side of the Parliament. The rest of
the island was in the hands of the Papal Nuncio, and recognised no
authority either of King or Parliament. He had succeeded in uniting the
Anglo-Irish under Preston and the native Irish under Owen O'Neill into
one ultra-Catholic party, with vague aims at an independent state under
the protectorate of Spain or the Pope.

Parliament saw something must be done to keep Inchiquin from returning
to his allegiance and joining Ormonde; and being still unable to agree
upon a definite appointment, they determined to send out Lord Lisle for
a year. He immediately offered the command of his regiment to Monk.
There was now no reason why he should not accept it. The war for which
he had engaged was at an end, and the new service that was offered to
him was one which he had been bred to think as noble as a crusade. It
was against an enemy in open rebellion against England and in secret
league with Spain.

But though perfectly willing to accept the negative oath, to which as a
merely military precaution he had no objection, he utterly refused to
take the Covenant. Till he did he was not qualified for a parliamentary
commission.

By the end of September, however, Ormonde found it was impossible to
hold out much longer, and rather than let Dublin fall into the hands
of the Catholics, he offered to surrender it to the Parliament. At the
same time he urged them to send out Monk and the Irish officers to take
command of the army of occupation. The difficulties about the recusant
colonel's appointment began to vanish like magic. The Presbyterians,
who, it must be remembered, were in theory Royalist, and practically
becoming so every day in a greater degree, naturally were only too glad
to accept a nomination of Ormonde's. Monk was sent for by the Irish
committee of the Council of State sitting at Derby House. There he
pledged his honour that he would faithfully serve the Parliament in the
Irish war, and announced himself ready to start at a day's notice. What
was said about the Covenant is a mystery, but the committee reported
to the House that he was ready to take it. That he did not take it
is certain, for this was the chief ground on which the Ulster-Scotch
quarrelled with him three years afterwards. It is difficult even to
believe that honest George said he was ready to do so. The ambiguous
expression looks strangely like an ingenious piece of jockeying on the
part of Lisle, who was a member of the Derby House committee, to make
it easy for the Presbyterians to consent to Monk's appointment. At all
events it had the desired effect, and with only one dissentient voice
it was voted that Colonel Monk should be employed as the committee
directed.

Lord Lisle was less successful in his own case. Not till Christmas did
he get his route, and still there were obstacles which prevented him
sailing till the middle of February. Even then he did not go to Dublin.
Ormonde and the parliamentary commissioners had not been able to agree
on the details of the surrender, and Lisle had to land in Cork. It was
the 21st of the month before he reached his command, and his commission
would expire on April 15th. Barely two months remained of his term of
office, and that time was spent in incessant wrangling between Lord
Inchiquin and the newly arrived officers. It is needless to say that
the expedition was an entire failure, and on the first of May Monk and
his friends found themselves once more back in London.

It shows plainly how Monk had kept himself clear of any political
taint that he did not share in his chief's fall. The force which had
been sent to occupy Dublin on the first overtures of Ormonde had been
ordered on to Ulster pending the completion of the negotiations. On
the eventual signing of the treaty of rendition, as a strong force
was on its way from England, only a small part of the original army
of occupation had been ordered to Dublin, and an officer was required
to command the regiments which remained in Ulster. Everything pointed
to Monk as the man. His appointment was strongly urged by his friends
in the House, and probably by Cromwell himself, and in July he was
gratified with a commission as Major-General over all the forces both
Scotch and English, in the counties of Down and Antrim and all those
parts of Ulster which were not in the command of Sir Charles Coote.

Michael Jones was supreme in Dublin, and with a man like Monk to second
him he soon set the tide running back. Early in August he inflicted
a crushing defeat on Preston, and O'Neill alone remained to be dealt
with. But that was different. He was a wary old Low Country officer who
had been long in the Spanish service. He knew his power lay in guerilla
warfare, and nothing would entrap him into an engagement. He was a
foe worthy of the new commanders' steel, but they knew the game as
well as he. All through August and the two following months Monk and
Jones were raiding up and down, sometimes in concert, sometimes apart,
burning, ravaging, plundering, and collecting provisions.

Such work was all that Monk could do with the forces at his command,
and he did it well. To hold his ground till the great expedition, which
was in contemplation for the conquest of Ireland, could start was all
he could hope; and till one party or the other got the upper hand in
the English Parliament that would never be. So while politicians at
home were scheming as to who should set the King on his throne again
and the sterner voices were beginning to mutter darkly that it was
not there he must find his rest, honest George in his matter-of-fact
business-like way was quietly busy with the duty of his place. For him
the growing dissensions amongst his paymasters were nothing, except in
so far as they found them too absorbing to make time to send him money
and supplies.

Till the questions of the King and the command of the army were settled
things were at a deadlock, and Monk was thrown on his own resources.
It was now that he began to show how great these resources were, and
how to the reckless courage and strategic sagacity of the soldier he
added all the qualities that go to make the successful proconsul. In
his province he was an autocrat. He had a commission to execute martial
law, an extraordinary mark of confidence in those days, and governed
despotically in a state of siege. Yet no administration had ever been
more generally popular. So just or judicious were his decisions on
every point that came before him that long after he was gone they were
quoted as unassailable precedents. The Protestants began to feel the
colony had got a new start in life.

Nor in the duties of judge and governor did he relax the unsleeping
vigilance of the general. Time after time O'Neill attempted a raid, but
it was only to fall into the midst of a force that scattered his troops
like chaff; and when he succeeded in regaining the desolate fastnesses
from which he had issued, it was but to hear how Monk's soldiers had
swept down in his absence on some distant spot and carried off a
precious booty of cattle and provender. For honest practical George was
far too much of a soldier not to know the value of spies, and he used
them unscrupulously. O'Neill could not move hand or foot before an iron
grip was on him. Splendid soldier as he was he had met his match, and
never could he get within striking distance of his enemy's magazines.

Nor was this all. For while the Irish were kept at a distance in a
state of starvation the English soldiers were digging pay and provision
out of the desolation, where once the wretched partisans of O'Neill had
had their homes. And so by a happy combination of the patient industry
of the ploughman and the daring activity of the mosstrooper Monk made
the war support itself, a thing as strange as it was palatable to the
authorities at home; and while he thus delighted his masters he no
less attached his troops to him by his judicious distribution of loot,
as well as by keeping an open house to which every officer had at all
times a hearty welcome. His maxim was to "mingle love with the severity
of his discipline," believing that "they that cannot be induced to
serve for love will never be forced to serve for fear."

But troubles were at hand. The province was no bed of roses, or if it
were, the thorns grew faster than the flowers as the breath of party
strife began to reach it in fitful gusts. Ever since Ormonde had left
Dublin he had been busily engaged with the King's friends, who were
taking advantage of the growing royalism of the Presbyterians to form
a new combination against the Parliament. In Scotland and Munster lay
their chief hopes of backing a rising in England, and so well did
Ormonde play his part that in April, 1648, the Independent officers
under Inchiquin found it necessary to make a desperate attempt to save
the province by seizing Cork and Youghal. The plot failed, Inchiquin
at once showed his hand for the King, and Munster was lost to the
Parliament. This was followed at the end of the month by a declaration
from Scotland in favour of Charles, and the mobilisation of the forces
of the Northern Kingdom.

The second Civil War had begun, and Inchiquin sought to improve his
position by concluding a cessation and alliance with Clanrickarde
and his Irish party, and by secretly negotiating with the Scots in
Ulster. Already Monk had had sufficient trouble with them. At the
outbreak of the Rebellion in 1641 Munroe had sailed from Scotland to
the assistance of the old Scotch settlers. Since then he and his New
Scotch, as they were called, had succeeded by their overbearing conduct
in making themselves extremely unpopular with the Old Scotch, and Monk
had plenty to do to hold the balance between them. Now there was a new
complication. The Old Scotch party was as yet decidedly anti-Royalist.
They had never forgiven Charles for his attempted alliance with O'Neill
and the execrated authors of the Ulster massacres. It was then with
Munroe and the New Scotch that Inchiquin sought to deal, and not in
vain. Munroe adhered to the coalition, but his adhesion was kept a
profound secret till the time came for action. The idea seems to have
been that so soon as Ormonde arrived from France to take command in
Ireland Monk should be seized. No attempt appears to have been made to
tamper with him. Though Ormonde tempted Coote and Jones, he knew Monk
too well to be ignorant that his sting could only be drawn by violence.

The danger was extreme, and the fate of the cause hung in a balance.
Besides the three English officers, O'Neill and his Nationalists
were all in Ireland that were not in arms for the King. Across St.
George's Channel the Scots were already over the border with a force
so formidable that none could foresee the issue when they and Cromwell
met. Munroe held Carrickfergus and Belfast. Ormonde was on his way
from France, and if ever Charles had a chance it was now. The fate of
Ireland hung for the moment on Monk. With Ulster in Ormonde's hands
O'Neill's last chance was gone, and Coote and Jones single-handed could
never hold out.

But from Monk's vigilance the danger could not be concealed, and for
him to know was to act. He saw his duty, he saw his chance, and sharp
and sudden he struck his blow. One day in the middle of September
Munroe was in his quarters ready for the moment of action, when
suddenly there was a confused alarm, and before the Scotchman well knew
what it meant he found himself a prisoner in the hands of Monk, and the
towns of Belfast and Carrickfergus in possession of the English and the
Old Scotch.

The bells were ringing for Cromwell's overwhelming victory at Preston
when the news came that Ulster was safe as yet and Ireland reprieved.
In an outburst of gratitude the Houses ordered a public thanksgiving,
voted the hero of the hour a letter of thanks, appointed him Governor
of Belfast, gave him the disposal of Carrickfergus and a gratuity of
£500, and resolved to try and pay all his men's arrears. From that
moment his fortune was made. The Independents were now supreme. For
them his blow had been struck, and people began to forget he had ever
drawn sword for the King.

Still in spite of his success his position in Ireland was anything but
enviable. The Parliament was triumphant in England, but the account was
still open between the Independents and the Presbyterians, and until it
was closed little could be done for the relief of Ireland. Even when
Cromwell had settled it with a squad of musketeers, and the execution
of Charles had removed the great obstacle to a permanent settlement,
much remained to be done before the great Irish Expedition could start.
For the moment history turned on the race for Ireland, and a close
race it was. The execution of Charles was followed by the Scots of
Ulster declaring unanimously against the Republic. Coote was shut up
in Derry, and Monk with the greatest difficulty escaped a surprise,
and took refuge in Dundalk.[4] The situation was growing desperate
indeed. The Royalists held the whole country with the exception of the
ground which was covered by the guns of the garrisons, or occupied by
O'Neill's Nationalists. The English Expedition was far from ready,
and Ormonde was leaving no stone unturned to make the whole island
his own before it could sail. Again he was tempting Jones and Coote,
though again he did not waste time on Monk. He was offering baits to
O'Neill. He was urging the new King to come over and complete the
work with his presence. So well was he working that in February the
Papal Nuncio fled, leaving him in possession of the field. O'Neill's
supporters began to desert. Every day the country which the Ulster
chief could call his own grew less and less. The fall of Dublin and the
other English garrisons began to stare the English Council in the face.
Something must be done to stave off the end yet a little while, and the
strangest and most obscure of all that time is the story of the means
the Council employed for the work.



CHAPTER V

THE TREATY WITH THE IRISH NATIONALISTS


About the middle of February, 1649, Dr. Winstad, a worthy English
Catholic physician residing at Rouen, went to welcome his friend, Sir
Kenelm Digby, who had just ridden into the town on his way from Paris
with several young gentlemen in his company. He was surprised to find
amongst the party a "wry-necked fellow" with manners to match, and was
pained to see his respected friend making a great fuss of the stranger
although he did not scruple to "openly dispute against the blessed
Trinity." He was certainly not fit company for Catholic gentlemen. But
worse was yet to come. The doctor was soon informed that the wry-necked
scoffer was none other than Scoutmaster-general Watson, the Head of the
Intelligence Department of the New Model Army, and the whole party were
possessed of passes to go into England, which he had procured for them
from headquarters.

Thoroughly alarmed, the doctor wrote off to Secretary Nicholas to warn
him that a desperate plot was on foot. Lord Byron happened to be there,
too, on his way to Paris to urge the King's departure for Ireland, and
just as he was getting into the saddle the news came to his ears. Sir
Kenelm and his young gentlemen had kept their secret ill, and so soon
as Byron reached Caen he was able to send off post-haste to Ormonde a
warning that the ultra-Catholics were conspiring with the Independents
to abolish hereditary monarchy in return for toleration of their own
religion. He begged him to keep his eyes open in Ireland, where the
plot might have very serious consequences. Secretary Nicholas caught
the alarm and warned Ormonde of a possible alliance between O'Neill and
the English officers.

At a moment when the great Presbyterian body was in the last stage of
exasperation at the expulsion of its members from the House by Cromwell
it seemed almost incredible that the Independents should dare to try
and strengthen their position by the very scheme which ruined Charles.
Yet it was all true. In spite of the storm which Glamorgan's attempt
had raised less than three years ago, the Council of State was secretly
holding out its hand to the blood-stained savages who were the very
authors of the massacres about to be avenged. Such at least was the
sentiment which the name of O'Neill and the Ulster Nationalists called
up in England, and yet the risk must be run.

Ever since the preceding August, Jones had been in communication with
O'Neill. An emissary of Monk's had been caught in secret negotiation
with an officer from the Irish army. In October the Nuncio had
announced to his superiors that there was a danger of the Nationalists
joining with the Independents and "steeping the kingdom in blood." How
far the proceedings were authorised from headquarters it is impossible
to say. All we know is that for some time past there had been strange
rumours about in London and mysterious goings and comings of Catholic
gentlemen whose passports were always in order. But now Ormonde had got
definite information to go upon, and he acted with his usual address.
His attempts to gain Jones and Coote were redoubled, and offers were
made which seem to have shaken O'Neill himself. Monk was not spared.
The Ulster Presbyterians, who had revolted from him, were set on to
appeal to him with the only reasons to which his ears were open, and
he found himself face to face with the moral dilemma that was to haunt
him year after year till the Restoration brought him rest. To whom was
the duty of his place? The Presbyterians argued that they could not
recognise any authority but that of a covenanted Parliament, and urged
Monk to join them in supporting their position. Monk replied that he
considered himself bound by his commission to stand by the _de facto_
authority in England, which was the Purged Parliament and the Council
of State, and demanded why they refused to do the same. They replied
that the _de facto_ government was not a lawful authority. It existed
merely by virtue of its coercion of the lawful authority which was
Parliament as it existed before Pride's Purge; and as an ultimatum
they required him to take the Covenant and obey no orders but those of
the Council of War at Belfast. Monk flatly refused. It was a difficult
question. But his notions of duty pointed clearly to the thorny path of
resistance, and he determined to defend Dundalk to the last.

Meanwhile the Independent plot had been maturing. Towards the end
of March an agent from O'Neill had appeared in London and managed,
probably through Jones's recommendation, to communicate with the
Council of State. The Council refused to receive him, but appointed
a secret committee to hear what he had to say. The effect of their
report was that the game was too dangerous, and the agent was ordered
to leave London. Still if the game were too dangerous for the Council,
Cromwell knew it was too good not to carry on a while longer, and there
is little doubt that Jones received from him some secret instructions
to that effect, which were communicated to Monk. It was absolutely
necessary for the success of the coming expedition to Ireland that the
Scotch and northern Royalists should be kept from joining hands with
Ormonde, Clanrickarde, and Inchiquin, and so completing the investment
of Dublin. The maimed and shattered forces of Monk and O'Neill were all
that held them apart.

O'Neill for some time had been in receipt of ammunition and supplies
from the English officers, and Cromwell either now or not long
afterwards was giving him regular pay; but this would no longer do. At
the end of April O'Neill wrote a Latin letter to Monk urging him to
press the Council once more to conclude a treaty on the terms his agent
had unsuccessfully offered. But for this there was no time. A strong
force was advancing upon O'Neill under Lord Castlehaven. It was a
crisis in view of which Monk may or may not have had his instructions.
At any rate he replied to O'Neill's letter asking what his terms were,
and then after a short negotiation concluded with him on May 8th an
armistice for three months, in order to give time for communication
with England. The convention included a general defensive and
offensive alliance between them against Ormonde for the time, provided
always that no agreement was to be made by either with any one in arms
against the Parliament.

The effect was immediate. The Scots lost heart and ceased to press
Monk, and he had leisure to forward O'Neill's new terms to England. How
far he knew Cromwell was behind "the special friends and well-wishers
to this service" who were advising him is uncertain. At any rate he was
aware the Council must not know all, and that Cromwell was the man to
address. So he sat down and wrote a long letter thanking the general
for his many favours, and telling him the whole story of how his own
desperate position and the necessity of keeping O'Neill from accepting
Ormonde's terms had decided him to take the step he had. "I do not
think fit," he continues, "to signify this to the Council of State,
but do wholly refer the business to you either to make further use of
it, or else to move it, or as you conceive most fit to be done. Since
there was great necessity for me to do it, I hope it will beget no ill
construction." And so he concludes beseeching Cromwell "to continue his
good opinion" towards him.

It was well for Monk he took the cautious line he did. Up to the end
of the first week in May the Council had been sending him flattering
letters of encouragement and promises of ships, provisions, and
everything he asked for. A large sum of money was actually on shipboard
consigned to him. When suddenly the day before the armistice was
concluded a messenger was galloping down to the coast to stop it.
Special precautions were taken to prevent the reason of this sudden
order being known, and we can only guess that something of Monk's
purpose or secret instructions had leaked out. But some one there was
to smooth things over, and before the week was out the money was on its
way again with a letter addressed by the Council to Monk thanking him
for his services and integrity.

Whatever it was that Cromwell thought most fit to be done, it was not
to reprimand Monk. His vast preparations for the conquest of Ireland
were approaching completion, and by the armistice he gained the delay
he required. All that was wanted was to keep the treaty secret till he
was well on his way, and then he could do without it. Meanwhile Monk
was allowed to believe that his conduct was approved by the authorities
at home, and told to keep the whole matter a profound secret.

It was not long before he had to test the value of his treaty. Early in
June Ormonde had concentrated all his forces and advanced to Dublin.
Taking up a position there he detached Inchiquin to take Drogheda and
Trim, and so open up communication with his allies in the north. At
the end of the month Drogheda fell and Inchiquin advanced to besiege
Dundalk. Monk at once sent to O'Neill to come to his assistance.
O'Neill replied that he could do nothing for want of ammunition. Monk
was ready to supply the want, and told his ally to send up a strong
convoy to receive it. All went well till the party was returning laden
with supplies. So hospitably had they been treated in Dundalk that most
of them were drunk. Indeed no precautions seem to have been taken to
prevent a surprise, possibly because O'Neill was still coquetting with
Ormonde, and had some understanding that he should be allowed to get
ammunition from Monk. At any rate before his men reached their camp a
detachment of Inchiquin's army fell upon them and cut them to pieces.
Hardly a man escaped, the whole of the train was captured, and so great
was the panic in O'Neill's quarters when the news of the disaster came,
that the whole army fled in disorder to Longford and left Dundalk to
its fate.

It was a trying moment for Monk, and one in which the blunt
narrow-minded soldier of fortune stands out in his fearlessness and
staunch self-reliance a figure almost heroic. The end for which he
had been striving so long was nearly gained. Any time within the next
few weeks Cromwell might set foot in Ireland. The army was gathered
at Milford. The Lord Lieutenant had left London. The race for the key
of England was now neck and neck. One more struggle and success might
still be won. So like a true man Monk resolved at all hazards to cling
to his charge till he could cling no more.

His troops were his only fear. Arrears and the O'Neill treaty had been
a sore trial to their devotion, but still they were the only tools
he had. Calling them about him he told them what he meant to do, and
begged that, if any there feared to stand by him, he would be gone.
A single man stepped from the ranks and said he could not fight by
the side of Popish rebels red with Protestant blood. He was dismissed
with a safe-conduct, and the rest pledged themselves to stand by their
beloved commander till the last.

It is sad to tell how night cooled their courage. Next day when
Inchiquin appeared before the walls the sight was more than their
conscientious scruples and empty pockets could endure. Wholesale they
deserted to the enemy, till Monk at last was left with but seventeen
faithful out of all his force. Still he would have held out, though
resistance then meant certain death. Fortunately the seventeen faithful
were not so obstinate, and he was but one against them. By main force
they compelled him to surrender. Inchiquin gave him handsome terms.
They were simply that he should be allowed to dispose of himself and
his property as he pleased, and in pursuance of them he presently
sailed for England.

But his troubles instead of being ended were only begun. No sooner
was he landed at Chester than he found public opinion in a high
state of agitation over his armistice. He was interviewed by excited
politicians: he was eagerly asked what induced him to make so monstrous
an alliance; but little could be made of him. The cautious, taciturn
soldier must have been a difficult man to interview, and to every
inquisitive attack he replied that he had the warrant of his superiors
for what he had done. He had obeyed his orders, he had done his duty,
and he had no fear of the consequences; nor did it concern him whether
the treaty was justifiable or not.

Once ashore he lost no time in hurrying on to Milford Haven to report
himself to Cromwell, who as Lord Lieutenant was his immediate superior.
There he found matters worse even than at Chester. The soldiers had got
wind of the unlucky armistice and were deserting in large numbers. They
had enlisted to avenge innocent Protestant blood, and found themselves
asked to join hands with the monsters who had shed it. The stories
of the massacres were still believed, and feeling ran very high.
One of Milton's first commissions from the Government had been aimed
at involving their opponents in the execration with which Ormonde's
peace with the Irish Papists was regarded, and men's ears were still
ringing with his tremendous invective against the Ulster Scots for
joining hands with a man who had so stained himself with the touch
of Antichrist. It was a time when Cromwell must have repented his
patriotic resolve to command the Irish army. He well knew the danger
he ran in leaving London. He was sure his Presbyterian and Cavalier
enemies would leave no stone unturned to damage him and his party.
And here at the very outset the weapon which Milton had been wielding
with such deadly effect was placed within their reach. The connection
between the Independents and the Papists once exposed, there would be
a resistless outcry such as had greeted the Glamorgan disclosures, and
the cause of individual liberty, of toleration, of independency would
be lost for ever. Whatever the cost the truth must not transpire.

Such must have been Cromwell's thoughts as Monk was announced. What
would we not give to see that meeting now, to see those two men,
so alike and yet so widely different, face to face at a moment so
dramatic! Cromwell with the fierce earnestness that carried all before
it telling his friend that no more must be said about the warrant of
his superiors, that on his own shoulders he must for the sake of the
good cause take the blame; telling him how he had laid his confidential
letter and O'Neill's terms before the Council, and how they had voted
entire disapproval of the whole scheme, and had not even dared to
put it before Parliament. And then the honest soldier, hurt to be
so deserted, but yet borne down by the resistless personality of his
commander, consenting at last for high reasons of state to lie. He who,
as Clarendon said, was never suspected of dissimulation in all his life
passed his word to lie, and Cromwell knew--none better than he--a man
that was to be trusted.

So much is all we can gather of that meeting on which so much depended.
No sooner was it over than the scapegoat was hurried off to London. No
time was to be lost. The rising storm must be allayed before it got
beyond control, and Cromwell could not sail till he knew the end. There
was a magic sword lying almost in his enemies' grasp, and till it was
removed he could not leave--no, not for all Ireland.

Armed with letters to Cromwell's friends Monk arrived in London early
in August. "They should commit him to the Tower," said one when he
knew he had come. "Better commit the Tower to him," was the reply, for
Cromwell's letters made friends plentiful. It would even appear that
Oliver's partisans in the Council had a hint to make things as smooth
for Monk as was consistent with their own safety, and very cleverly
they went about it.

It was of course now necessary that they should make a report of the
whole affair to Parliament. The secrecy which had been ordered in
reference to the matter was removed by vote. Monk was sent for and
examined as to his reasons for taking the course he had. He replied
without hesitation that it was an act of military necessity, and what
he had done was entirely on his own responsibility in expectation of
the Council's confirmation. Nothing could be more satisfactory. He was
ordered to draw up a report explaining the position and to attend the
House with it on the following Wednesday. He was further informed that
the Council disapproved of the whole matter from beginning to end; all
which things were next day embodied in formal resolutions for report to
the House, and it is worth remarking that this was the only occasion
during the whole month on which Lord Lisle attended the Council.

On the 10th Monk went down to the House with his report. Jones's
despatch announcing his great victory over Ormonde and the safety of
Dublin had just arrived. After it had been read Monk was called to the
bar and presented his report. But the House was not so easily satisfied
as the Council. The Opposition were still strong, and they felt they
were being hoodwinked. Monk's letter to Cromwell had been laid on the
table with the rest of the papers, and in it was the fatal admission
that he had been advised by some well-wishers to the cause. The House
demanded to know who those persons were.

It must have been an anxious moment for many there as the Speaker's
voice ceased and silence fell upon the eager throng while they listened
for Monk's reply. Who could tell he would stand staunch at that trying
moment?

"I did it," said Monk with his stolid air, "on my own score without
the advice of any other persons. Only formerly I had some discourse of
Colonel Jones, and he told me if I could keep off Owen Rowe and Ormonde
from joining it would be a good service."

"Had you any advice or direction," continued the Speaker, "from
Parliament, or the Council, or the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, or any
person here to do it?"

"Neither from Parliament," answered Monk categorically, "nor the
Council, nor the Lord Lieutenant, nor any person here had I any advice
or direction. I did it on my own score for the preservation of the
English interest there, and it has had some fruits accordingly."

There was no denying that. Lying on the table before them was Jones's
despatch, in which he attributed his great victory to the fact that
Ormonde had been compelled to detach Inchiquin to oppose O'Neill. Monk
was ordered to withdraw, and a long debate ensued. The Opposition felt
their weapon was being filched from their hands, and they argued long
for a vote of censure, while Monk waited anxiously without. At last the
question was put, "That this House do approve the proceeding of Colonel
Monk?" The House divided, and the motion was lost. Then it was put that
"the House do utterly disapprove, and that the innocent blood which
hath been shed is so fresh in the memory of this House that the House
doth detest and abhor the thoughts of any closing with any party of
Popish rebels there who have had their hands in shedding that blood."
But an amendment was moved by adding words to the motion that Monk's
conduct was excusable on the ground of necessity. In this form it was
carried, and Monk was safe.

Cromwell had won. He was still lying in Milford Haven. The money for
which he had stayed had been sent off a fortnight ago: the corn-ships
had gone some days before; yet still he tarried. On August 12th the
news of the momentous vote reached him, and next day he sailed. If it
was not this that loosed his moorings the good tidings came at least
with strange opportuneness, and permitted him to leave England with his
greatest anxiety allayed.

The victory was indeed complete. At the end of the week the official
press came out full of flattering expressions about Monk. A full
account was published by authority for the information or delusion of
the public. In vain the opposition "Man in the Moon" railed, and said
the whole thing was a "blindation." The public were satisfied with the
result, and the incident was at an end.[5]

And now for the last time in his life Monk knew what it was to be out
of employment. His brother, Colonel Thomas Monk, the zealous Cavalier,
had recently been killed by a fall from his horse, and George seems to
have used his leisure to go down to Potheridge and take possession of
the family estates, which fell to him as heir-in-tail. It was probably
at this time that he became fully impressed with the abilities of his
kinsman Mr. Morice, who was afterwards to influence his career so
profoundly. This remarkable man, scholar, historian, recluse, and man
of business, had been managing the Grenville property with great skill
ever since Monk's uncle, Sir Bevil, had been killed at the battle of
Lansdowne, and the colonel found he could not do better than commit his
own property to the same stewardship.

But that it was not only in this manner that he enjoyed his repose and
consoled himself for the way the Government had treated him is only
too clear. For it was in this year that the frail Mrs. Ratsford was
separated from her husband.



CHAPTER VI

CROMWELL'S NEW LIEUTENANT


Monk had hardly time to weary of his inactivity before a new storm
burst in the north. Scotland had taken to herself a covenanted King,
and an invasion was resolved upon by the English Parliament. Cromwell
was recalled from Ireland, and in June, 1650, to the confusion of the
Presbyterian opposition, he was voted to the command of the army. He at
once sent for Monk to assist him in the organisation of his forces, and
promised him a regiment.

The significance of this it is hard to exaggerate. When we remember
how fastidious Cromwell was about the private character of the men he
worked with, it cannot but impress us with the extraordinary sense
he must have had of his obligations to Monk. The highest military
abilities would never have induced him to employ a man who was living
in open contempt of the seventh commandment. It was an offence of
such gravity at that time that it had been recently made capital. Yet
Cromwell was determined his trusty friend should have his reward, and
that in spite of the difficulty of finding him a regiment. The command
of Bright's, which lay at Alnwick, was vacant, but a dangerous spirit
of democracy and autonomy was growing in the army. Bright's had been
one of the victorious regiments at Nantwich. They had to be asked
if they would accept Monk for colonel, and they refused. "We took
him prisoner," they cried, "at Nantwich not long since, and he will
betray us," and ominously enough Lambert, with whom the last great
struggle was to be, was chosen in his stead. From that moment the two
most celebrated of Cromwell's lieutenants were doomed to an incessant
rivalry.

But Cromwell was not to be thwarted. As there was no regiment for his
friend, he made one. At Newcastle lay Sir Arthur Haslerig's renowned
Blue-Coats, and at Berwick was Colonel Fenwick with his newly raised
Northumberland regiment. The field-force which had been voted for
Cromwell was complete, but in his masterful way he drew five companies
from each of these regiments and made up a new one for Monk. Then he
laconically informed the House what he had done, and coolly requested
that the new regiment should be taken on the establishment and the two
weakened garrisons recruited. Like lambs the Government consented, and
so in lawless birth, a reward for service that none dared name, began
the famous Coldstream Guards.

The staff-appointment which Monk held was that of acting
lieutenant-general of the Ordnance. Cromwell would doubtless have
preferred to see him sergeant-major-general--an appointment which in
those days of amateur soldiering it was usually thought necessary to
fill with a soldier of fortune--that as chief of the staff he might
supply the technical shortcomings of the commander-in-chief. It was,
however, already occupied by Lambert, whose training as a lawyer can
hardly have qualified him for the proper discharge of its complex
duties. Indeed more than once, in cases of extreme difficulty, we
shall see that Monk had to take over his work, and thus intensify the
antipathy which marked their relations from the first.

It is impossible here to repeat the oft-told tale of the Dunbar
campaign; which is the more to be regretted as Monk's share in it has
never been done justice to. Cromwell had excellent reasons for not
saying too much about him in despatches; and Hodgson, the other best
known authority, being in Lambert's regiment, studiously keeps in the
background the rival of his idolised colonel. Yet it is certain that no
voice had so much weight with Cromwell as Monk's, and he was consulted
at every point. Up to Dunbar, too, the lion's share of the active
operations fell upon him. The artillery duels by which it was sought to
goad Leslie into an engagement were under his direction, and it was he
who took the castles of Colinton and Redhall during Cromwell's attempt
to turn the Scotch position before Edinburgh.

During the terrible retreat on Dunbar it is hardly too much to say
his consummate technical skill saved the army from destruction. More
dead than alive the remnants of Cromwell's splendid force had reached
Haddington. Sick, shattered, and harassed to death with incessant
marching through the rain and mire, they seemed now an easy prey.
About midnight an attack on the rear-guard had been repulsed, but
the position was none the less desperate. Leslie was at their heels
bent on destroying them before they could reach their ships. He was
out-marching them to the right on a line parallel to their own, and
it was certain that with the first glimpse of daylight he would be
upon them. Yet it seemed impossible to do anything. A Scotch mist was
driving across them and the darkness was absolutely impenetrable. As
they stood in the ranks the soldiers could hardly see their right
and left hand files. Yet Monk undertook to draw the army up in line
of battle fronting to its true right. It was Lambert's duty as
major-general; and it must have been a rough blow to his vanity that
his rival was not only allowed to undertake a task for which his own
experience was inadequate, but that he succeeded in what seemed an
impossibility. For succeed he did. By feeling or instinct he set about
the work, of which we can now have little conception. Complicated
mathematical calculations were involved; foot had to be mingled with
horse, and pikemen with musketeers. But all this was child's play to
Monk. The dismal morning broke, and there Leslie saw facing him a line
of battle, perfect in every distance and resting on Gladsmuir and
Haddington, with a swollen tributary of the Tyne to protect its front.
Without hesitation the Scotch general declined the action, and hurried
on to secure Cockburnspath and cut off Cromwell from Berwick.

We must pass on to the evening of September 2nd. In Dunbar the
spiritless supper at the headquarters' mess was over and Cromwell was
walking with Lambert hoping against hope for a chance of escape. But
the position was unchanged. There was still the swollen Brock roaring
along its impassable channel in heavy spate from the right to where it
joined the sea on the extreme left: there was the narrow stretch of
meadow beyond; and then the hills, where dimly in the gathering gloom
the Scottish host lay out and penned them in past hope. Suddenly there
was a movement. The Scotch were beginning to draw down from the hills,
the horse on their right flank were taking ground towards the sea. It
was clear Leslie meant to attack on the morrow where on the English
left the Berwick road crossed the Brock. The manoeuvre was difficult.
In the narrow piece of level ground that was available between the
hills and the burn it would take long to execute, and until it was
complete the right flank of the Scots which had hitherto been secure in
the difficult ground about Cockburnspath was exposed. Leslie must be
attacked when his movement was half-done. It was a desperate chance,
but the only one against his overwhelming numbers.

Lambert agreed with Cromwell's suggestion, but the General would not
decide without Monk's opinion. He was probably busy superintending the
embarkation of his heavy guns, but he was quickly found and received
the idea favourably. All depended on the success of the first attack.
The ford must be seized before Leslie was ready to cross, and then the
Scotch line as it lay between the hills and the burn taking ground to
the right might be rolled up like a scroll. There must be no thought of
repulse; he offered to lead the foot in person, and again he was given
the post that Lambert as major-general ought to have filled.

The Council of War was assembled at once, and Monk demonstrated to the
colonels the practicability of Cromwell's idea. The attack was decided
on, and the first glimmer of dawn saw Monk standing beside the burn,
half-pike in hand, at the head of his regiment of foot.[6] All was
ready to begin, but Lambert, who was to lead the attack at the head of
the horse, was away, to Cromwell's annoyance, worrying about Monk's
guns with which he had suggested a feint should be made upon the Scots'
left. Valuable time was lost, but at last he came, and the horse dashed
across the ford followed by Monk in support. A desperate hand-to-hand
fight ensued. For an hour the thing hung in a balance. The flower of
the Scotch regiments was there, and the resistance they offered was
worthy of their reputation. But regiment after regiment poured over
from the Dunbar side, ever inclining to the left till the Scotch right
was overlapped. All this time Monk was fighting desperately at pike's
length with a regiment that would not break. But now as the rout of
the out-flanked regiments exposed it to the horse it had to go with
the rest, and then the day was won. Galled by the guns and small-shot
from across the swollen burn, the Scots' left and centre, incapable of
reaching their enemy, would stand no longer. As the beaten right fell
back upon them, rolling up the line as they came, a panic ensued.
Throwing down their arms they fairly ran, nor stopped till they reached
Edinburgh.

The fall of Edinburgh Castle ended the campaign of 1650. Monk had been
appointed governor of the city, and with the duties of his office and
the preparations for the next campaign he was occupied during the
winter. By February, however, in the following year, he was at active
work again. Tantallon Castle was his first care, and by the aid of
the splendid siege-train he had organised he battered the ancient
stronghold of the Douglas into submission in forty-eight hours:
Blackness Castle on the Forth followed in March; and thus by the time
spring had fairly begun the way was cleared for the real object of the
campaign, and Monk's services were rewarded with the substantive rank
in which he had been acting.

Leslie during the winter had reorganised his army, and was occupying
an intrenched position at Torwood, to the north of Falkirk, covering
Stirling. Beyond him the government was being carried on in security
at Perth. The Torwood position was far too strong for a direct attack
to be risked. Every endeavour to turn it or to tempt Leslie to leave
failed, and yet it was imperative that he should be dislodged.

Who suggested the daring manoeuvre by which the end was at last
achieved we do not know. At this time Monk was higher in his
commander's counsels than ever. Brilliant tactician as he was, Cromwell
had hitherto given little evidence of far-sighted strategy. He was
not a trained soldier, and Lambert was only a talented civilian like
himself. Deane had had no scientific training in the continental
school, nor did he join the army till May. Indeed Monk was the
only professional soldier on the staff at the time the manoeuvre
was projected. But if Cromwell was no professional soldier he had
the military instinct too highly developed not to know his own
shortcomings, and to appreciate at its full value the consummate
technical knowledge of his new adviser. The few words that fell blunt
and sure from the taciturn soldier of fortune had more weight in the
Council of War than all the rest together. At any rate we may be sure
the movement was the result of Cromwell's and Monk's reconnaissance
of Leslie's position at Stirling in September, and that it was worked
out by Monk on his return to Edinburgh. For in November a requisition
went up to the Council of State for the flotilla of flat-bottomed boats
which the contemplated operation required.

It was known at the English headquarters that there was a party
about the King who were urging an advance into England. The plan had
much to recommend it, and Cromwell determined to spoil it by forcing
Leslie's hand. A footing was to be secured upon the opposite side
of the Forth, and a blow threatened upon Perth. If Leslie attempted
to quit his intrenchments to parry it he was to be attacked in his
true front, and compelled to reoccupy his position. The English army
was then to be thrown suddenly across the Forth, and a dash on Perth
developed before he could move again. Thus the Torwood position would
be turned, Stirling taken in reverse, and no way would remain of
loosing Cromwell's new hold except to attack him on his own ground, or
by advancing into England to compel him to follow. In either case the
victory was almost a certainty for the Commonwealth.

As early as the middle of April part of the flotilla had arrived, and
Monk had made an attack on Burntisland. He was repulsed. Cromwell's
illness delayed further operations for some time. At the end of June
he recovered. Major-General Harrison was sent with all the force that
could be spared into Cumberland to check the expected inroad of the
Scots, and Cromwell advanced to threaten the position at Torwood. Early
in July he moved westward to Glasgow with the double object of securing
the affections of the people in that quarter and of drawing Leslie's
attention away from the Forth, while the preparations for the descent
on the north bank of the river were completed. On July 17th a small
party landed at North Ferry, rapidly intrenched themselves, and Lambert
followed with a strong division. Cromwell had moved back to his old
position before Torwood, and as though a direct attack were still his
real object, Monk was ordered to storm an outpost.

All was now ripe, and at the end of July the long contemplated
operation was commenced. In the precision with which it was carried out
we may at least see Monk's unerring hand. The success was complete. By
August 3rd Perth was in the possession of the Commonwealth. Leslie was
in full career for the south, and Cromwell and his generals repassing
the Forth in hot pursuit.

Yet some one must be left behind. The centre of interest had suddenly
shifted, but work in plenty remained. Some one must be left in the
post of peril to play Cromwell's part while he was gone; some one who
knew how to strike sharp and hard, and could fix a grip of iron on the
country before the army that was gathering in the Highlands could
replace the one that was gone. Monk was the man, and well he justified
the choice.

The force at his command consisted of but four regiments of horse and
three of foot, in all less than six thousand men. With this he attacked
Stirling, and on the 16th the maiden castle surrendered. For this
service he received the thanks of Parliament, and was voted £500 a year
in Scotch land for ever.

But the work was only commenced. By the capture of Stirling he had
but secured an advanced base from which to operate against the north.
The Committee of Estates, to which Charles had entrusted the kingdom
before he left, was sitting at Dundee, and organising, in concert
with a number of clan-chieftains, a new army for the King. Dundee
then was Monk's real objective. No sooner was Stirling in his hands
than he hurried forward a small flying column to stop the supplies of
the town. Three or four days were spent in disposing of prisoners and
booty at Stirling and in setting things in order there, for the most
precise strategist of to-day could not be more careful about his base
than Monk. Then the general followed with the bulk of the foot and the
siege-train.

Just before reaching Dundee he was joined by a body of cavalry under
two officers, who were destined to play a prominent part in history.
The horse were commanded by Colonel Alured, a daring cavalry leader
with red-hot political opinions of an advanced socialistic type, an
Anabaptist of the Anabaptists. At the head of the dragoons rode a
little fiery man, whom they all adored. It was the famous Colonel
Morgan, a soldier of fortune after Monk's own heart, who knew nothing
of politics and everything of his profession. They had probably served
together the greater part of their lives, and were now at any rate fast
friends with unbounded mutual admiration. There was no one to whom Monk
would rather commit a piece of difficult work than this little dragoon,
and he had arrived in the nick of time.

For Monk, as we have seen, with his advanced ideas of the military
art, the Intelligence Department was his chiefest care. "The eyes of
an army," to use his own expression, he cherished as his own. Spies
as usual had been busy, and now he learned that on his approach the
Government had retired to the Highlands and was sitting at Alyth,
fourteen miles away, at the edge of the hills, where a force was daily
expected to assemble for the relief of Dundee. Monk at once determined
on a surprise so daring that it savours more of romance than the
deliberate expedient of a wary strategist. Morgan was sent for, and he
and Alured were told to take their men, disguised as far as possible
and mixed with Scotch deserters, and attend the enemy's rendezvous.

Late on the night of the 27th they marched, and unmolested reached
Alyth in the first hours of the morning. To avoid suspicion they boldly
marched to the farther side of the town, and there quietly halted as
though they were a party of the expected troops. No one interfered, and
about three o'clock, after a short rest, when sleep was the deepest,
they suddenly broke into the astonished town. Hardly a blow was struck.
Old Leslie, the commander-in-chief, was taken in his bed, and the rest
of the Government shared his fate; and as Monk went forth to direct
his siege-works Alured and Morgan rode into camp with three hundred
noblemen, lairds, and ministers prisoners in their train. At one
stroke Scotland was as it were beheaded. It was a bloodless victory,
as complete almost as the "crowning mercy" at Worcester, now on the
eve of being fought. "Truly," wrote Monk in his despatch to Cromwell,
"it is a very great mercy which the Lord of Hosts hath been pleased to
bestow upon us, observing the time and season. This is the Lord's work,
and therefore He alone ought to have the praise." But he concludes by
asking for Morgan's promotion. That he could so far have departed from
his ordinary style only shows us how great had been the influence of
Cromwell's coercive personality upon him.

Still Dundee did not know the extent of the disaster. The garrison
could not believe that all hope of relief was at an end, and
contemptuously refused Monk's summons. On the third day the batteries
opened. All through the last night of August they thundered, and in the
morning there was a practicable breach. Monk knew well the garrison was
hopelessly demoralised and would be an easy prey, yet he strove to save
bloodshed. Twice again he offered them quarter, and twice again they
refused. Then at last he gave the word for an assault.

The infantry were very weak from sickness, and the storming parties
were strengthened by dismounted troopers and a naval brigade. These
elements were not likely to decrease the heat of the fight, and added
to this the town was known to contain property of immense value. With
incredible fury the breach was carried in one rush. The supports of
horse were through almost as soon as the footmen, and a desperate
struggle ensued in the streets. In a few minutes it was over and the
stormers rushed on wildly through the town hacking down everything in
their way. A number of women, and even some children who were in the
streets, were borne down in the rush. Soon all that resisted were a
party who with the governor had taken refuge in a tower. Preparations
were being made to smoke them out, when they asked and received
quarter. Unhappily, as the governor was being taken before Monk he was
pistolled by a fanatic officer, an outrage which the general seems to
have felt as a blot on his own untarnished reputation as a soldier.
Resistance was now at an end, but Monk seems to have thought it his
duty to give over the town to two days' pillage as a chastisement for
its obstinate refusal of quarter.

The remaining garrisons surrendered on terms in rapid succession,
and the Highland strongholds were one after another reduced by his
officers. He himself took no active part in the operations. The iron
constitution on which he drew so recklessly during his long campaigns
at length gave way, and a few days after the surrender he was laid up
in Dundee with a fever. By January he had sufficiently shaken it off
to be able to meet the new Scotch commissioners who had arrived at
Dalkeith from London to negotiate the Union, but in February he was
compelled to go south for the benefit of his health. It is worthy of
note that he started on the journey in the same coach with Lambert, who
was also on the commission, but before Berwick was passed they agreed
to separate, ostensibly because Monk was too ill to travel fast enough
for his rival.

It is said that at this time there was an idea of sending into France
ten thousand of those matchless troops of whom all Europe was talking,
as was afterwards done under Morgan. For Monk was reserved the
superlative honour of commanding them. But the time was not yet ripe,
and instead of figuring as leader of the finest soldiers in the world,
for so every one then considered them, Monk went quietly down to Bath
to mend his shattered health.



CHAPTER VII

GENERAL-AT-SEA


The waters at Bath completely restored Monk's health, and in July the
Council requested Cromwell to order him back to his duty in Scotland,
that he might report on the state of the country. Monk did not go.

A new act in the drama had begun. With Dunbar, Worcester, and Monk's
successes in Scotland, the Presbyterian party was reduced to impotency.
The Independents were triumphant, and the factors of which that party
was composed began to detach themselves with ominous distinctness. On
the one hand was the Parliament, reactionary in spite of its purging;
on the other the army, radical in spite of its leader. For the purpose
of understanding Monk's relation to them it is unnecessary to enter
minutely into the characteristics of both factions. To place ourselves
in sympathy with a political situation it is necessary not so much to
understand the aims of the several parties which create it, as to grasp
the motives which each party attributes to the other. The great body
of politicians are moved more by distrust of their adversaries than by
confidence in themselves. Monk at any rate, with his soldierly contempt
for politics, was incapable of taking a higher view of the situation
than this. Parliament credited the army with a desire to establish
an arbitrary military government. The army suspected Parliament of
an intention to perpetuate itself as a tyrannical oligarchy. The
latter idea Monk could endure, the former was for him intolerable. If
it came to a question of army or Parliament, Cromwell knew that his
incorruptible lieutenant would be obstinately true to his principles
and side with the civil power. It is easy to understand that on the
eve of his great stroke he preferred that his devoted partisan,
Major-General Deane, who was acting in Monk's absence, should continue
to command the army in Scotland.

The outbreak of the Dutch war was made an excuse for keeping the
general in England. In view of the coming struggle it was considered
advisable to make Great Yarmouth a formidable naval port. Monk was the
highest authority on fortification in the service, and the Council had
to consent to his being employed to carry out the necessary work. In
this congenial occupation he remained until November. It was then in
contemplation to appoint two admirals to command the fleet jointly with
Blake, according to the usual practice. Deane, having a considerable
naval reputation, was naturally one, and he was summoned from Scotland,
where Colonel Lilburne, an advanced radical of Anabaptist opinions,
succeeded him. Monk was proposed as the other, but again Cromwell
opposed the appointment. He saw the coming crisis almost within
measurable distance, and naturally wished to see the fleet as well as
the army in the right hands. But this time his opposition was in vain.
On the last day of the month Blake was defeated by a greatly superior
force under Tromp. The Thames was in danger, and four days later Monk
and Deane were ordered to be ready to put to sea in twenty-four hours.

Tromp's victory was, however, too dearly bought for him to pursue
Blake, and after his famous cruise in the Channel, as the broom-myth
tells, he bore away to Rhé to fetch home the Dutch merchant-fleet that
was to assemble there for convoy. All the winter the three generals
were busy fitting out a new fleet, and in February they put to sea to
intercept Tromp and his costly charge. On the 18th they met, and there
ensued one of those extraordinary engagements which distinguished these
wars. For three days it lasted, and at the end both sides claimed the
victory. Tromp practically saved his huge convoy, while Blake and his
partners defeated the Dutch fleet.

Monk's share in the engagements had been comparatively small, as his
flagship was a hopelessly slow sailer. Out of his love for heavy
artillery he had probably over-gunned it--a common error in the English
navy then. At the age of forty-four it is not easy to suddenly take up
a new profession, and he made no pretence to seamanship. His complete
ignorance of nautical matters became a standing joke. When his ship was
coming into action, and the master cried larboard or starboard, Monk
used to reply with a cheery shout of "Ay, ay, boys, let us board them!"
and he never heard the last of it. When at nightfall on the first day
he at length got into action he refused to retire, though his master
urgently showed him the danger he ran from fire-ships. "Why," he cried,
"the very powder of this ship is enough to blow a fire-ship from it.
Charge again!" and away he went through the opposing squadron once
more regardless of every protest. Blake had borne the brunt of the
action, and had been so severely wounded by an iron splinter that he
had to withdraw from active service and leave the command to his two
colleagues.

For the next two months Monk was at Portsmouth busily refitting the
fleet and crying out continually for supplies and men that would not
come, and doing his best to alleviate the sufferings caused by the
late battle. No wonder there were vexatious delays when we think what
was going on at Whitehall. On April 21st the fleet lay at Spithead
all ready for sea except for the delayed stores, when a despatch with
strange news was put into the admiral's hands. The blow had fallen: the
Revolution was complete: the Rump Parliament was no more. A new Council
was sitting at Whitehall, and Cromwell was virtually dictator. What did
the fleet mean to do?

In the quiet dignity of the answer we can see little of Deane's
partisanship. Monk's honest indignation glows from between the lines.
The whole proceeding was detestable to him; but staring him in the face
was the one thing that ever raised him from his narrow views of duty,
and that was the danger of his country. In spite of its insularity
there was a genuineness about his patriotism that even won the
admiration of his traducers. He made his choice, and took care that the
answer which went back should show the reason why. It told in simple
language, without a word of approval, how they had very seriously
considered the news, and had finally resolved that as the nation had
entrusted them with its defence it was their duty to defend it. In
striking contrast was the enthusiastic answer that came back from
Lilburne's army in the north. Years afterwards, in a similar crisis,
Monk's acquiescence was thrown in his teeth. "I shall answer you that,"
he wrote. "It was never in my conscience to go out of God's way under
the pretence of doing God's work; and you know the variety of times
doth much vary the nature of affairs, and what might then patiently be
submitted unto, we being engaged with a foreign enemy in a bloody war,
cannot be drawn into a precedent at this time after our repentance."

Loyally Monk went on to discharge his country's trust. At the end of
April, despairing of their proper equipment, the two generals put to
sea and joined Vice-Admiral Penn off Arundel. Together they sailed to
the Scotch coast with a fleet of about a hundred sail, and till the
end of May cruised in the North Sea from Aberdeen to Yarmouth watching
for Tromp and waiting for Blake's squadron to join. On the 30th[7] the
Dutch, slightly outnumbering them, were sighted, and three days later,
early in the morning, the two fleets met.

Monk and Deane were together on board the _Resolution_, and seem
to have attacked line ahead. The wind was light and variable from
north-north-west to north-east, and the port division under Lawson,
Jordan, and Goodson came into action some time before the rest. The
three flagships pierced the line of De Ruyter's division, but as their
squadron refused to follow, and Tromp bore down with his whole division
to De Ruyter's assistance, for a time they had to engage against
overwhelming odds. Monk and Deane, seeing the danger, crowded all sail
and plunged into the thick of the fight. Side by side the two generals
stood upon the deck as they ranged into action. A furious broadside
greeted their approach, and Deane fell at Monk's feet almost cut in
two by a round shot. Horror-stricken the sailors left their duty to
gather round. In a moment Monk had snatched off his cloak and hidden
the shocking sight from view. Sharply he told the seamen to mind their
own business, and then without moving a muscle of his face went on
fighting his ship as if nothing had happened. The action, however, did
not continue much longer. Wise as a serpent, though daring as a lion,
the father of naval tactics did not care to fight unless by his skilful
manoeuvres he could secure the advantage of numbers, and about three in
the afternoon, when the whole English fleet had got into action, Tromp
drew off.

Monk followed, and at daybreak found himself in view of the whole
Dutch fleet lying off Ostend, but a dead calm prevailed and he could
not move. At sunrise he signalled all the flag-officers on board the
_Resolution_ and announced to them the irreparable loss of yesterday.
By Deane's death the fleet was left in command of a man who hardly knew
one end of a ship from another. But the old soldier at least could
tell how to inspire confidence. He assembled the officers in council
of war and asked for their guidance. "Your advice," he said, "shall
be as binding on me as an Act of Parliament." It was at once resolved
to engage, and that no part of the fleet might be again isolated by a
repetition of yesterday's faint-heartedness, it was agreed that all the
three divisions should attack simultaneously and endeavour to break up
the enemy's line by piercing it in three places.

At noon the wished-for breeze sprang up and a tremendous engagement
ensued. The captains who had disgraced themselves, fired by a stirring
general order from Monk, vied with the rest to retrieve their
reputation, and to such good purpose that the Dutch would not stand by
their admiral. In spite of Tromp's signals and angry shots seventy of
his ships sailed out of the fight. Thus deserted he was compelled to
follow. All day the two fleets stood to the southward close-hauled on a
south-westerly breeze, and kept up a hot running fight. About four in
the afternoon the wind freshened to a gale, veering to west-south-west,
and Monk was able to loose his frigates into the midst of the enemy to
reap the harvest of cripples he had put at their mercy. As evening fell
Blake's long-expected squadron appeared in the offing, and the Dutch
sought refuge towards their own coasts, where at ten o'clock darkness
and the shoals stopped further pursuit.

Such was the famous Flanders Battle, the first in which Monk really
commanded. The Dutch lost thirty-four ships and for the time were
driven from the sea. So well had the English come out of it that
without putting in to refit they were able to follow up the victory by
a descent upon Cadsand, where a vast quantity of stores were captured
or destroyed.

For the next two months, as closely as the weather would allow, the two
English admirals blockaded the Dutch coast. Behind their shoals the
States were fitting out two fleets. In the Weelings about Flushing was
Tromp, at the back of Texel was De Witt; and as Blake was again taken
so ill that in July he had to go ashore, on Monk devolved the anxious
task of keeping the two consummate Dutch seamen from uniting.

By the end of the month the enemy were ready for sea and Monk was
rigorously blockading De Witt at Texel. Early on the 28th a heavy
south-westerly gale compelled him to stand out to sea and beat against
it all day. At daylight next morning, having recovered sufficient
sea-room to be out of danger, he stood away to the south under easy
sail, to intercept Tromp whom he expected out. True enough all the
previous day the Dutchman had been stealing up the coast to feel for
De Witt. About noon on the 29th the two fleets sighted each other. At
the same moment the wind shifted to north-north-west and gave Monk the
weather-gauge.

Tromp immediately went about. Having lost the wind all he cared to do
was to try and draw the English off the Texel. Monk crowded all sail
in pursuit, and managed late in the evening to force his enemy into a
desultory engagement off Egmont, to which darkness quickly put an end.

All night in thick and heavy weather the chase continued to the
southward, but Tromp was too clever for the soldier. In the darkness
he doubled back north-north-east, and thus not only recovered the
weather-gauge, but in the afternoon managed to join with De Witt, who
had slipped out of the Texel as soon as Monk's back was turned.

During the whole of the 30th a tremendous gale was blowing dead on
shore. Both fleets attempted to engage, but each time were prevented by
the heavy weather. In the morning it cleared. Monk found himself close
to the Dutch coast with the enemy to windward. Unwilling to engage
where Tromp would have the advantage of his knowledge of the shoals,
with harbours of refuge within easy reach, he stood out to sea, and the
Dutch gave chase. They had one hundred and forty sail fresh from the
yards, while Monk had but ninety storm-beaten ships, with crews sadly
thinned and weakened by scurvy, nor had he a single fire-ship to oppose
to those of the enemy. But dangers could never daunt the general. As
soon as he had recovered sufficient sea-room began "the most fierce and
cruel fight that ever was fought." It was already the sixth action of
the war, and Monk meant it to be the last. He ordered that no prizes
should be taken or quarter given. "The air," says the old historian,
"was quickly filled with scattered limbs of men blown up: the sea was
dyed with blood."

It was "a very orderly battle" (according to one of the English
flag-officers), in which the old soldier strove with extraordinary
skill to win back the weather-gauge from the greatest seaman of the
day. The two fleets were standing out to sea, line ahead on parallel
courses and a southerly wind, when the action began by Monk suddenly
tacking on Tromp with the intention of breaking his line. Tromp tacked
also to parry the attack, but though he was clever enough to keep the
wind with nearly the whole of his fleet, a few of his ships were cut
off and put to flight. Then followed three determined encounters, in
which each fleet tacked on the other, passing each time closer and
closer in the desperate struggle for the weather-gauge. Every time Monk
disabled some of the Dutch, and every time he pierced their line and
scattered the part he weathered. Still Tromp kept the advantage with
the bulk of his force; but it was at a fearful sacrifice. In the last
encounter the ships had fought almost at pike's length. Again and again
two of the Dutch admirals had tried to board the _Resolution_, and
again and again they had recoiled before the storm of metal that roared
from beneath the exultant soldier's feet. Old hands were awestruck at
the fury of the fight. "The very heavens," says one, "were obscured
with smoke; the air rent with the thundering noise; the sea all in
a breach with the shot that fell; the ships even trembling, and we
hearing everywhere the messengers of death flying about."

Since sunrise the fight had raged. It was now past two o'clock in the
afternoon. Yet again the undaunted soldier of fortune charged; but the
Dutch had had their fill. Their splendid fleet had suffered terribly.
Tromp's flag had been shot away, and he himself was gasping out his
heroic life pierced with a musket ball. Of nine flagships only two were
to be seen with the main body. Vice-Admiral Eversen was sinking, and
scattered over the waters were burning hulks and the wrecks of captures
blown up. As Monk tacked the Dutch spread their crippled wings and ran
for Holland. Monk limped after them till evening, burning, sinking, and
destroying. Over a hundred sail they had stood out proudly, as the sun
rose, in pursuit of the English fleet, "but they were very thin when
the sun went down."

As Gravesand steeple rose in sight and the Dutch saw their shoals
within reach, Monk gave up the chase. The victory, complete as it was,
had not been lightly won, and all that night and the following day
his triumphant consorts staggered back to Southwold Bay. The carnage
had been fearful. Eight of Monk's captains lay dead, and eight more
were wounded, though he, with his usual luck, had never a scratch.
Killed and wounded amounted to over a thousand. The Dutch had lost at
least three times as many. Hardly a single English ship was missing.
About thirty Dutch were sunk or taken, and barely half the fleet were
together at the last.[8]

The war was practically at an end. Though the intrepid Dutch were soon
as busy refitting as Monk himself, every one knew a decisive action
had been fought. A public thanksgiving was ordered, and honours were
showered on Monk and poor Blake and their officers. Next to Cromwell
the soldier of fortune was now the greatest man in the land. Yet,
in spite of his greatness, and in spite of the ardour with which he
threw himself into the work of refitting the fleet, he found time and
conscience to do a little act of humble duty before he put to sea again.

In the midst of the shouts of triumph was a voice that he loved,
perhaps, as well as all his golden chains and medals, whispering that
a child was to be born to him, and born in sin. Ratsford was dead. So
quietly in the midst of his pressing work he snatched an hour to repair
as far as could be the wrong he had done. Like an honest man, he took
the perfumer's widow to St. George's Church in Southwark, and there he
made her his wife.

During the remainder of this year and the beginning of the next Monk
was busily engaged in maintaining the blockade of the Dutch coast,
and attending to the routine business of his place at Whitehall and
Chatham. Indeed he had little time for anything else. In June, while he
was in search of Tromp's fleet, he had been called by the Protector to
the Little Parliament, but his legislative duties sat lightly upon him.
No doubt he was reconciled to the new form of government by the express
declaration of the Council, which almost seems to have been put in for
his especial benefit, that the sword ought to have no share in the
civil power. Still he appears to have attended the sittings but seldom.
Once only are we sure he was there, and that was to receive the thanks
of Parliament. His visionary colleagues were for him contemptible. The
war and his magnificent new flagship, the _Swiftsure_, were much more
to his mind, and he can only have rejoiced when he saw the power of
Parliament suddenly surrendered into Cromwell's hands.

The new rule had his entire approval. A single person, as we have seen,
was his ideal of government, and especially when that single person was
one well able to apply the "principal and able remedy against civil
wars." The crisis had resolved itself into a situation after his own
heart. In the despotic Protector he saw a warlike prince; in the Dutch
war a physic for him to minister to his country's disease. But he was
doomed to disappointment. The Protector's statecraft was less crude
than his lieutenant's, and in spite of Monk's energetic and even angry
protests peace on comparatively easy terms was signed with Holland on
April 5th, 1654.



CHAPTER VIII

GOVERNOR OF SCOTLAND


Cromwell had now other work for his most trusted officer. General
Middleton had landed in Scotland to fan the flame which Lord Glencairn
had kindled for the King, and which Morgan had nearly smothered. The
Highlands were in a blaze, the Lowlands were seething in the heat, and
Lilburne showed himself incapable of coping with the growing danger in
spite of the fiery little dragoon's assistance.

Since February the rising had been getting every day more serious, and
still no one was sent to supersede Lilburne. Cromwell at the outset of
his reign felt the Scotch command was the most critical appointment
he had to make. Not only was Scotland the chief field of Royalist
action, but the Parliamentary army there was ultra-Independent, and
sullenly disgusted to see a monarchy practically re-established. A
man must go who could crush the Royalists speedily, and, which was
still more important, who could be trusted with a victorious army of
Irreconcilables afterwards. There was absolutely no one who fulfilled
the conditions but Monk. In December it had been settled that he was
to go, but till the Dutch war was over he could not be spared by the
Admiralty. Day by day the news from the north grew worse, and still
the Dutch struggled in Cromwell's grip to avoid the article for the
seclusion of the Stuarts. At last it was done, and on April 6th, the
very day after the treaty was signed, Monk got his route for Scotland
with the fullest powers.

A fortnight later he reached Dalkeith, and at once threw himself into
the preliminary organisation of that forgotten campaign in which, if
ever, the Highlands were for the first time conquered.

It is a campaign of the highest interest, and well repays the laborious
task of piecing it together from the obscure and confused notices
that are extant. Hitherto Highland warfare had been little more than
aimless hunts after an ever-shifting and disappearing objective. For
the first time the rules of modern strategy were to be applied to it.
The latest model for mountain warfare was the Duc de Rohan's brilliant
Valtelline campaign of 1635. It was the admiration of all Europe, and
has even been considered worthy of a commentary by the Archduke Charles
himself. Two such professed soldiers as Monk and Middleton must have
been perfectly familiar with it. Monk at least had studied the duke's
_Perfect Captaine_ with an enthusiasm which his own _Observations_
too plainly betrays; and the scientific way in which he now went to
work shows that he either invented or had learnt a thoroughly digested
system.

His general idea was to out the Highlands asunder along the line of
what is now the Caledonian Canal, and to fix his enemy within one of
two definite areas, where he could operate against him as he chose.
The area to the north of the line was sufficiently determined by its
geographical conformation, but that to the south had to be firmly
marked by strategical positions. Already a chain of fortresses and
strong posts stretching from Inverness through Stirling to Ayr shut
it in on the south and east, and during the next two months, while
Monk was waiting for the grass to grow sufficiently for him to be able
to move his cavalry, the investment was completed. On the west, from
Glencoe to the head of Loch Lomond, diplomacy secured Argyle's country
in a state of armed neutrality, and at each of the four salient angles
of the area was established an independent base. One was at Inverness,
one at Perth, and a third at Kilsyth, between Stirling and Glasgow,
with Leith for its supporting base. The fourth by a bold stroke was
to be planted in the heart of the enemy's country at Lochaber, with
supporting bases at Liverpool and Ayr, whereby he would complete his
quadrilateral and secure the southern end of his dividing line. From
these points he intended to act on double lines of operation, with two
strong columns keeping light touch with one another, and each able at
any moment to act in a new direction by a rapid change of base. One of
them he was to lead himself, while Morgan took command of the other.
Their organisation was a source of the greatest care. As he was not
likely to meet horse in any numbers, Monk boldly eliminated from the
foot nearly the whole of the pikes on which the steadiness of infantry
was supposed to depend, and filled his ranks almost entirely with
musketeers.

To the labour of laying this elaborate foundation for the campaign was
added the task of reducing the army to some sense of discipline. Monk
had found it badly demoralised by the incapacity of Lilburne, and the
license which he had allowed to religious controversy. On all this he
set his foot, and at the same time endeavoured to repair the mischief
which the wanton insolence of the sectaries had done, by inaugurating a
conciliatory policy towards the Scots--a policy, however, which he was
careful to fortify by a system of strong patrols in the Lowlands.

At present there was no need to press offensive operations. Middleton
was still in Sutherland, and from Dingwall Morgan was watching him,
ready to fall on him if he attempted to join the Lochaber chiefs. In
the middle of May Monk moved to Stirling to see that all the outlets
from the hills were sufficiently secured to prevent forays in that
direction. Having ordered the construction of redoubts and the staking
of fords wherever necessary, he joined the first column at Kilsyth in
order to more deeply mark the south-west limit of his southern area
by operations in the Ben Lomond hills. First, however, an important
step was taken. A column, consisting of two thousand men and furnished
with all necessary materials for establishing the fourth base, was
being secretly organised in Ireland to seize Inverlochy. The time
was now ripe for the attempt, and Colonel Brayne was despatched to
bring it over. This done, Monk commenced his work. The difficulties
of the undertaking at once declared themselves. The moment he moved,
Glencairn, who occupied the Ben Lomond country, began raiding in his
rear and stopped him. But the veteran of the Irish wars had learnt
when to be bold, and without hesitation he flew at his enemy's throat.
Advancing resolutely over the Kilsyth hills and up the headwaters
of the Forth into the heart of the Ben Lomond range, he compelled
Glencairn to concentrate and occupy a strong position at Aberfoyle.
Here Monk attacked him. Again and again he was repulsed. But the
discipline of the "red soldier" told at last, and Glencairn had to give
way. The hills were cleared, every boat on the loch destroyed, and the
western boundary of the southern area completed with an impassable
stretch of water from Argyle's country to the banks of the Clyde.

Meanwhile Middleton had outwitted Morgan. Breaking up his force he
had slipped it piecemeal over the hills and had joined his friends in
Lochaber. It was the signal for active operations. Leaving a small
force to cover Glasgow, and ordering up the Border horse under Colonel
Howard in support, Monk suddenly shifted on to the Perth line and
plunged into the hills. He meant if possible to drive the enemy through
the gap he had left into the Lowlands, where they would fall an easy
prey to his horse, or, if that failed, to force them northward. Moving
with startling rapidity he was soon entangled in the wildest of the
enemy's mountains and morasses. It was a country which till Deane's
demonstration two years ago had been considered inaccessible to Lowland
troops. It swarmed with roving bands of Highlanders; every straggler
was a doomed man; the horse could hardly move, and the whole work of
the march was arduous beyond all experience. But bold as was Monk's
project its execution was cautious in the extreme. Every step of the
way he made good. The country was systematically ravaged and every
castle of strategic importance captured, garrisoned, and turned into
an advanced magazine, according to the somewhat cumbrous and pedantic
system which Monk and his contemporaries were then introducing. To
prevent surprise and give time for properly securing his quarters he
never marched after mid-day, nor did he ever move without flanking
parties and a cloud of scouts. He marked out each camp and placed every
picket and sentry himself, and was, in short, the head and heart alike
of his over-worked force.

Indifferent to hunger and sleep himself, he took every care of his men.
He doctored and dosed them with his own hand, and by his elaborate
system of magazines he kept them well supplied with biscuits and
cheese. At the same time he took care his officers should not grumble.
When the day's work was done it was his wont to unbend in frankest good
fellowship. Then while his canteen was unpacked it was his delight
to sit on the grass beside it and pitch joints of cold meat to his
officers, who gathered round. No one could bear the hardships of a
campaign better than tough "old George," and no one knew better how to
lighten them.

No wonder the work prospered. On June 9th Monk had started, and by the
11th he had established his first advanced magazine at the foot of
Loch Tay. Here he received intelligence from Morgan, who was operating
from Inverness on the line of the Spey, that Middleton had summoned a
rendezvous of the clans at Loch Ness head, anticipating a move from the
south. Monk at once turned northward and ordered Morgan on to the line
of the lochs, with instructions to close in behind Middleton as soon
as he passed over it. Brayne, he knew, had left Ireland a week ago,
and between the three columns he felt sure of forcing the Royalists
into an engagement. The zeal of the impetuous Morgan spoiled the
combination. So rapidly did he move that he fell in with the Royalist
vanguard as it emerged from Glengarry and flung it violently back into
the hills. The result was that as Monk descended the northern slopes
of the Grampians Middleton retreated to Kintail. Still much had been
gained. The surprise from Ireland had proved a complete success, and
right and left Monk was now able to join hands with Morgan and Brayne
along the line of the lochs. Middleton and his friends were thus
shut within the northern area, where Monk could renew his combined
operations on definite lines. Loch Ness head was now in touch with
Inverness by means of a gunboat which had been dragged up into the
dock. Here Morgan was established, while the general advanced up Glen
Moriston to try and drive his enemy northward or into his lieutenant's
arms. In the effort Monk fairly surpassed himself. The country proved
more difficult every step he took: the weather was so violent that the
cattle could not keep the hills; yet from glen to glen Monk and his
red column chased Middleton and his Highland chivalry. Such marching
astounded them. At every stride the Southron trod on their heels, and
twice they had to abandon stores in order to keep out of his reach. But
flesh and blood could not stand such work for long, and at the end of a
week Monk retired to reprovision from Inverness, having laid waste the
whole of the country from which Middleton was drawing his supplies, and
set the "red cock crowing" in the home of every chief who had joined
him.

Still Middleton had won the round. He had avoided an action, and but
for the new scheme of which his head was full Monk was as far from
his end as ever. His new idea was to send Morgan by sea to destroy
the Royalist winter-quarters in Caithness, while he himself covered
Inverness. It was a stroke which Middleton would clearly be compelled
to parry by an offensive movement to the south or a march into
Caithness. Either would suit Monk's disposition, and Morgan prepared to
embark. The effect was immediate. Two days later Middleton was seen by
the garrison at Blair Athol, and in two more Morgan was lying in wait
at Braemar and Monk in hot pursuit over the Grampians on the Royalist
track. Through the Drumouchter Pass and Badenoch his recruited column
swept, and on into Athol, ravaging as it went, till Athol was as black
and desert as Lochaber and Kintail. From Breadalbane the chase turned
westward, and now so close did Monk dog the enemy's steps that not
a levy could be held, and their forces began rapidly to shrink from
exhaustion.

From Loch Tay through Glen Dochart, from Glen Lochy through
Strathfillan, the pursuit continued to the head of Loch Awe. The
Cavalier chiefs were resolved to force Argyle to take one side or
the other, and here they had caught him in Glenorchy's castle. But
the siege was not two days old when Monk was upon them and raised
it. Foiled in their great scheme on Argyle they doubled back into
Perthshire, but still there was no rest. While he ravaged Glenorchy
and Glenstrea Monk detached a brigade to keep them moving, and
Middleton began to see the end was near. What his enemy's activity
left undone the wrangling of his friends was completing, and harassed
past bearing with their bickerings and jealousies, he resolved to
return to the north. Monk knew his intention, as he knew everything;
and Morgan was rapidly shifted to the headwaters of the Spey, with
orders to feel his way through Badenoch and the Drumouchter Pass on
the look-out for Middleton, towards Loch Rannoch, while down Glen Lyon
the general pushed him blindly to his fate. To avoid him, as Monk
expected, Middleton struggled over the hills into Glen Rannoch, and
thence, persuaded by false intelligence that the two English generals
were together, made a rapid move up the Perthshire Glengarry for the
Drumouchter Pass. Beside the little Loch at its foot was a hamlet,
where he intended to halt for the night. Weary and half starved his
vanguard reached the spot towards evening, but only to be received with
a volley from Morgan's pickets. Descending the pass that very day on
his way to Glen Rannoch, the little dragoon had occupied the identical
quarters Middleton had intended for himself. The surprise was complete.
Morgan was expecting Middleton, though not quite so soon. Middleton was
only looking behind him where he believed Morgan to be with Monk. The
smart dragoon, always prepared for anything, immediately hurled his
fresh and well-armed troops upon the weary Scots as they lay helpless
between the Loch and the hills, and scattered them to the four winds.

To rally them in the face of Monk's forces proved impossible. Middleton
fled to Caithness, whither Morgan pursued him, while Monk occupied
himself with Athol and Glencairn. Driving them before him towards the
trap he had so cleverly prepared in the Ben Lomond hills, he compelled
them to disband and leave him to complete his work. Then one after
another he destroyed their winter-quarters in the remote fastnesses
about the loch which Rob Roy was to make so famous, and which had
been hitherto considered entirely inaccessible to Southrons. By the
end of August the work was done, and the general was able to return
to Dalkeith. The back of the insurrection was broken. The Highlands
were bound in chains of fortified posts. The garrisons gave those who
stirred not a moment's peace. Unable to combine, unable even to feed
their followers, one after another the chiefs came in, till at last the
Highlands were so quiet that there was hardly a man left with heart to
lift a cow, and he who would find a stray, it used to be said, need
only send a crier round.

To enter into the details of Monk's subsequent administration is
impossible here. Indeed it hardly belongs to his career as a man of
action. The art of governing a conquered country he had always held to
be part of a soldier's education, and he now applied to his province
the principles which he had long ago laid down during his solitude
in the Tower. The most important thing he considered to assure the
conquest of a free people was to take away the desire of revolting,
"and to do this," he wrote, "you must not take away their hopes of
recovering their liberties by their good obedience, ... and therefore
you must always begin in a fair way." And well he did it. On easy
terms the chiefs were admitted to make their peace, and security for
good behaviour was taken from them. Every facility was afforded them
of entering foreign services, and those who remained at home were
disarmed. "Assist the weak inhabitants," he said, "and weaken the
mighty." Never perhaps in the history of Scotland had the weak been
so strong. They began to look on the soldiers under Monk's strict
discipline as the best friends they had. The feuds and brigandage which
had so long distracted the country became entirely unknown. Trade
began to revive: taxes came in plentifully; and Monk began to lay the
foundation of the rich public treasure without which he considered no
Government was safe.

There being a difficulty about engaging the people in a foreign war,
Monk encouraged the Cavalier chiefs to raise troops for service as
mercenaries abroad. But the King was shrewd enough to privately forbid
it, and Monk had to fall back upon his other rules for the prevention
of civil strife. The first was the perfection of the fortresses, the
other the attainment so far as possible of uniformity of religion. The
restrictions which Lilburne had placed upon the Presbyterians were
gradually removed, and the Kirkmen encouraged at the expense of the
sectaries. But while he gave them complete religious freedom, he was
careful to strip the clergy of all temporal power by forbidding them
the use of excommunication and by suspending the assemblies of the Kirk.

From Dalkeith Monk governed the country in peace, attending to almost
every detail himself. At first it is true that occasional plots
disturbed his serenity, but his method of dealing with conspirators
was as successful as it was original. It is, moreover, replete with
a grim humour which gives us a new insight into his character. Such
chiefs as fell under suspicion were arrested and placed under rigorous
confinement. In noisome dungeons they were visited by Monk's roughest
officers, and sometimes by the terrible general himself. There they
were urged to confess, and even threatened with the torture. Those
who yielded were at once released with a caution and never troubled
again. Those who held out firmly were asked to dinner at Dalkeith,
where the sound sense and excellent claret of their good-natured host
soon brought them to reason. By this happy treatment the shrewd general
found out at once whom he could safely ignore and who were dangerous.
The first he knew he had frightened into good behaviour; of the others
he made friends.

Most notable of these was young Cameron of Lochiel, the Ulysses of the
Highlands, the wolf-slayer, the man who had saved his life by tearing
out the throat of one of Brayne's soldiers with his teeth. Evan Dhu
was, in fact, the ideal hero of the clansmen, and though his action
had been paralysed by the Inverlochy garrison, he had been the most
dangerous and indefatigable figure in the late rising. He had been
almost the last to come in, but from the day of his surrender the idol
of the clans became Monk's devoted personal friend. These two men, so
utterly different and yet in much so alike, seem to have conceived for
each other an unbounded admiration. Monk gave the Prince of Robbers, as
Charles the Second used to call him, a share in the administration of
Lochaber, and supported him in his law-feuds, while at the crisis of
Monk's career Lochiel attached himself to his staff and rode with him
to London.

There was but one event which seriously broke the harmony of the
tranquil life at Dalkeith, and that was the widespread Republican
conspiracy of 1654. As Cromwell's most trusted officer Monk was one
of its principal objects. In Morgan's absence the appointment of
major-general on the governor's staff was held by Milton's friend,
sweet-mannered Colonel Overton. The general shared the poet's high
opinion of his honour, and had persuaded the Protector that his
politics, radical as they were, would never make him forget his duty.
This man accepted the management of the plot in Scotland. The idea was
to assassinate Monk, seize the Government, and march with the Scotch
army to the support of the English Republicans. To this end the army
was widely tampered with, and as a matter of course the proceedings
of the conspirators came to the vigilant general's ears. Quietly he
allowed the plot to mature as if he suspected nothing, and then on the
eve of its execution suddenly changed his guards, pounced upon the
conspirators, and sent them all up to London under arrest.

"I am convinced," he wrote to Cromwell in forwarding some papers of
Overton's which he had subsequently discovered, "if your Highness do
but weigh the letters well, you will find Colonel Overton had a design
to promote the Scots king's business." Whatever was the part which
the Cavaliers played in the plot, these letters certainly contain no
evidence of their complicity. But Monk would believe anything of a
soldier who had been false to his colours, and his comment is amusingly
characteristic. It would seem that he had so little troubled himself
with politics as to have entirely failed to grasp the situation. At
this time he had probably got little beyond the original question
of Parliament and King. Of the endless factions into which his own
party was splitting he appears to have had but little understanding,
except in so far as they led to insubordination in the army. Against
a Royalist enemy he had been sent to Scotland, and he saw a Royalist
enemy at the bottom of every trouble.

Indeed it was at this time that he seems to have been first getting
into that nervous and irritable state with regard to the King and his
affairs from which he was never safe till Charles was on his throne.
He was perfectly contented where he was. As the military governor of a
conquered kingdom, he had reached the highest ambition of a soldier of
fortune. He was now getting on for fifty, and desired nothing so much
as to quietly enjoy his position with his wife and children, to whom
he was devoted. Indeed, the death of George, the baby, about this time
seems to have upset him more than all the difficulties of his office
together. But his friends would not leave him in peace.

Eager to propitiate the Scots, he kept open house at Dalkeith, and
through the influence of the Countess of Buccleuch the nobility began
to accept his hospitality. They soon came to have a liking for the
kindly general. He received them indeed so cordially, and seemed so
anxious to be on good terms with them, that there is no doubt some of
them began to see in the simple-minded soldier a possible instrument
for the revival of their party. Early in November, 1655, he had
intercepted two autograph letters from the king, one addressed to "2,"
whom he knew to be Lord Glencairn; the other to "T," a cypher he did
not understand. The letter, however, was of a highly compromising
nature. "T" was told that the King was assured of his affection, and
he was encouraged to be ready when the time was ripe. According to his
usual practice Monk took copies of both the letters and allowed them
to proceed to their destination. The copies he forwarded at once to
Cromwell, assuring him that he would soon know to whom the "T" letter
was delivered, and be able to deal with him as he deserved. To his
intense annoyance it was delivered to himself. Cromwell seems to have
thoroughly enjoyed the joke, but Monk was furious, and vented his anger
by arresting Glencairn, whom he evidently suspected of being at the
bottom of it.

Yet in spite of all he could do the Cavaliers chose to believe that
he was a king's man at heart, and to make him the object of their
intrigues. His uneasiness was increased by his new chaplain Price,
who, having obtained considerable influence over Mrs. Monk, set her on
to advocate the martyr's cause. It must be confessed that the general
was a little henpecked at home, and a little afraid of his wife's
sharp tongue; so, like a wise man, he let her talk treason to her
heart's content without reply, and told Price whenever the subject was
mentioned that he had no sympathy with the cause of a man who had shown
himself hopelessly incapable of governing. If the martyr had been fit
to reign, he used to say, he would have taken his advice and fought the
Scots in 1638.

Still they all pretended not to believe him, and his nervousness became
chronic. Cromwell was only amused at his distress. He never forgot the
letter to "T." The joke appealed to the Protector's peculiar sense
of humour. Nearly three years later, when Monk one day returned to
Dalkeith, he found a letter had been mysteriously left with the guard.
It proved apparently to be one of the same tenor as the first, and
more furious than ever he sent a copy of it up to the Secretary of
State. "I did not think fit to trouble his Highness with it," the
general wrote, "it being, as I conceive it is, a knavish trick of some
Scotchman or other.... I hope God will enable me as I make them smart
for this roguery and the former report which they made of me." Of
course Thurloe told Cromwell, and the Protector could not resist adding
his well-known "drolling" postscript to his next despatch. "There be
some that tell me," he wrote to Monk shortly before his death, "that
there is a certain cunning fellow in Scotland called George Monk who is
said to lie in wait there to introduce Charles Stuart; I pray you use
your diligence to apprehend him and send him up to me." Clearly he was
poking fun at his lieutenant. The Protector knew well enough he was to
be trusted implicitly. He sent him up all his most disaffected troops,
knowing that under Monk's stern discipline they would soon be brought
to their senses. He gave him full powers to cashier any officer he
liked. He abandoned his intention of reducing the army when Monk said
it was not safe. He even left him nearly two years without a Council
to watch him, and only restored it upon Monk's urgent and repeated
entreaties for help in his work.

As part of their intrigues the Cavaliers industriously spread reports
that Cromwell was afraid of his lieutenant. They said the Protector
tried to get him out of Scotland by offering him the command of the
great Jamaica expedition, and that Monk, seeing through his designs,
refused. As a matter of fact Cromwell did want to see his darling
project conducted by the most able and experienced commander in his
service, but reluctantly abandoned the idea in consequence of a
confidential report that Scotland would not be safe out of Monk's
hands. So the post was not offered him. If it had been he would
certainly have accepted it. To lead such an enterprise was the dream
of Monk's life. The rumour was revived in 1658 because the general did
not attend Cromwell's "other House," to which he had been called. It
was said that he had refused the summons, but it was untrue. The real
explanation of his absence is that there were at the time signs of a
Royalist descent, and he told the Protector he dared not come till
some one was appointed to take his place. No one was appointed, and he
remained.

In fact he was an ideal governor. Everything seemed to go smoothly,
and he never bothered except now and then for money that was due. In
spite of the endless questions that must have arisen every day, half
his letters to the Secretary of State at this period contain apologies
for having no news. A great part of the rest consist of information on
purely English affairs. The hard-worked and anxious Protector knew well
how priceless is such a governor, and could laugh securely at what the
Cavaliers said when he knew what a bugbear to his trusty friend were
Charles Stuart and all his works.

But while Cromwell laughed and Monk fumed at the Cavalier tricks we
must cast a glance down into Devonshire, where a web more subtle and
secret than any that had yet been tried was being spun to catch the
incorruptible proconsul. Almost at the end of the world, in his rectory
at Plymtree, sat Nicholas Monk. There all through those dangerous
and unquiet times he had "possessed a sweet and comfortable privacy"
after his own heart. To-day a messenger disturbed him at his books.
It was a letter from cousin John asking him to come and see him. Sir
John Grenville was the son of Sir Bevil by Elizabeth Monk, and nephew
to George's old friend Sir Richard. He was a great man now, and an
active figure in Lord Mordaunt's new group of ardent young Cavaliers
who were trying to goad the old Royalists of the "Sealed Knot" out of
the lethargy to which they had been reduced by fines and failures and
distrust of the King and each other. A little flurried, we may be sure,
the quiet parson hurried away, but found with relief it was no business
of state. Only Sir John had a fat living fallen vacant, and he thought
cousin Nicholas might like it. He wanted nothing for it either, only
if he _should_ ever happen to have any business with cousin George up
in Scotland perhaps Nicholas would not mind making himself useful.
Certainly he would not; so in due course he finds himself in clover
at his new living of Kelkhampton, and a distinct step is taken to the
Restoration.

As yet Grenville knew it was useless to approach his cousin. He had
taken the Protector's commission and had promised Cromwell, it was
said, to support his dynasty. So when Oliver died in September, 1658,
Richard was duly proclaimed at Edinburgh; but in spite of Monk's
efforts it was without a note of enthusiasm. The soldiers grumbled
when the ceremony was over that they had to support a man they did not
know. "Old George for my money," said one with applause; "he is fitter
for a Protector than Dick Cromwell!" No doubt Oliver thought so too.
He had told Richard always to follow Monk's advice; and one of the new
Protector's first acts was to send Dr. Clarges, Monk's brother-in-law,
and now Commissary-General for the Irish and Scotch armies, on a
special mission to Scotland, to seek the advice and support of his
father's right-hand man.

It was excellent advice that Clarges brought back. True to his simple
creed, Monk told Richard he must break the political power of the army
and gather round him to share in the government the natural leaders of
the people. He showed him exactly how to do it, but Richard was too
weak or too indolent to follow his instructions. His only idea was to
offer Monk a large sum of money to support him by force. Dearly as he
loved riches, Monk refused. He had pledged himself to the Cromwells,
and that was enough. Richard would want all his money himself. Every
day the Republican army, with Lambert and Fleetwood at its head, grew
stronger, and the "new Royalists," as they called the Cromwellians,
grew weaker. Before he had been eight months on the throne Richard
gave up the struggle, dissolved his Parliament, and weakly identified
himself with the army. The inevitable result followed. At the end of
May he abdicated in favour of a military republic.

The leading officers formed themselves into a provisional government,
and took immediate steps to recall the Republican remnant of the Long
Parliament, which since its expulsion by Cromwell had come to be
looked upon as representing the "good old cause" of the Commonwealth.
It was at all events a pretence of constitutionalism, and Monk seized
the excuse to sullenly acquiesce in the new order. "Had Richard not
dissolved his Parliament," he always said, "I would have marched
down to support it," and in view of his subsequent conduct there
is every reason to believe he meant what he said. But Richard had
pusillanimously thrown up the game before his friend could help him,
and Monk was not a man to plunge his country into civil war in such
a hopeless cause. And so when his kinsman Cornet Monk arrived from
Ireland on a special mission from Henry Cromwell he found he was too
late.

The first act of the restored "Rump" was one of the last importance.
In their eagerness to get control over the army they insisted on every
officer receiving his commission from themselves at the hands of the
Speaker. Monk accepted a new commission with the rest, and from that
moment he was as devoted a servant to Parliament as ever he had been
to Cromwell; but, unlike Cromwell, the new Government committed the
folly of not trusting him. The Council of State immediately set to
work to fill his army with their own nominees. Monk protested, and
refused to permit the new men to act without the Speaker's commission.
Fortunately public business was so disturbed in London that most of
these commissions never arrived.

To the Government's distrust Monk replied with contempt. His despatches
at this time are curt and peremptory. He obviously detested the new
state of things, and acquiesced in it only because it staved off the
evil day he dreaded when he would be dragged, sword in hand, into the
miserable political struggle which he had hitherto so successfully
avoided. He sullenly did his duty, and that was all. He informed the
Government of Royalist movements as regularly as ever, and engaged as
actively in keeping the country quiet. Still, as though he foresaw the
need his country was soon to have for Scotland's goodwill, he began to
relax his hold, and with complete success. "The last two years of his
government," it was said by a Scotchman, "were so mild and moderate,
except with respect to the clergy, whose petulant and licentious
tongues he curbed upon all occasions, that the nation would not have
willingly changed it for any other but that of their natural prince."
Yet his rule was so complete that in Scotland the great Royalist plot
that was now in full maturity could not even show its head.



CHAPTER IX

THE ABORTIVE PRONUNCIAMENTO


Monk was now on the eve of the remarkable adventure which was to lift
him from the position of an able officer to the dignity of a great
historical figure. Fifty was then considered a ripe old age, and while
most men of his years were looking round for a resting-place, he was
about to begin his political career.

It was none of his own seeking. Thrifty and business-like to a fault,
he had amassed a considerable fortune, and he began to turn his eyes
longingly to his property in Ireland. At Ballymurn, between Wexford
and Enniscorthy, he had an estate which had been granted to him in
satisfaction of arrears of pay. It was in the midst of the most fertile
and prosperous part of the island, and within easy reach of his old
home. Ever since the beginning of 1657, with the colonial instinct
still strong within him, he had been writing to Henry Cromwell, the
Lord-Deputy of Ireland, that his only ambition now was to settle down
as an Irish planter. All that kept him at his post, he told him, was
his desire to see "your father and my dear friend better settled in
his affairs." With Oliver's death and Richard's fall that motive was
gone. Since Lambert had reappeared upon the scene his relations with
head-quarters had not been pleasant. Each day they grew more strained,
and he longed for retirement more ardently than ever.

Apart from politics his life at Dalkeith was pleasant enough. In the
short intervals of relaxation from business he devoted himself to
planting, gardening, and hunting, of which he was passionately fond. He
was a man of strong domestic affections, and they grew with advancing
years. On the whole his family life was happy. His wife was possessed
of many good qualities. She was devoted to him, and in spite of her
sharp tongue he was very fond of her. The loss of his baby son George
was a great and lasting grief, but Christopher, his first-born, was
left. Daughters he had none, but Mary Monk, the eldest girl of his
favourite brother, had come to stay with him, and even now he was in
correspondence with her father about her marriage and the dowry he was
going to provide.

But however attractive grew the prospect of a quiet life in Ireland far
away from the din of politics, retirement was now out of the question.
On July 5th, 1659, he found it his duty to write the following warning
to the Council of State: "I make bold to acquaint you that I hear that
Charles Stuart hath laid a great design both in England and Ireland,
but as yet I hear nothing that he hath written over to this country
concerning that business. I am confident that if he had I should have
heard of it."

By a strange irony almost as he penned the words his cousin, Sir John
Grenville, was in consultation with Lord Mordaunt as to the best method
of making the general a party to their design. It was the widespread
conspiracy for a simultaneous rising of the King's friends in every
county of which the vigilant governor had heard. Fortified with a new
commission from the King, Mordaunt and his beautiful and courageous
young wife had succeeded in hatching a really fine plot in concert with
the more energetic members of the Sealed Knot. King and Cavaliers were
to be kept in the background, and those constitutional Royalists, who
as far as possible had never been in arms for the Crown, were to rise
for a free Parliament and "the known laws of the land."

Mordaunt, in spite of his youth and the ardent enthusiasm which had
goaded the inert Knot into taking up the movement, had a clear head. In
his heart he knew that much more was to be done by gaining the leaders
of the Opposition than by the best planned risings, and for him Monk's
adhesion, or at least his neutrality, was of the first importance.
By the whole of the King's councillors, however, the general, to his
honour, was looked upon as unapproachable. It was in this difficulty
that his sanguine young cousin saw the opportunity for which he had
been so long preparing, and declared himself ready to undertake the
task. At his request he was armed with an effusive letter from Charles
to Monk, and a commission leaving him free to treat, with the sole
limit that no more than a hundred thousand pounds a year was to be
promised to the general and his officers. Grenville lost not a moment,
and a few days later poor book-loving Nicholas was startled in his
quiet Cornish rectory by a peremptory summons to London.

Monk's warning was not the only one which reached the Council. Sir
Richard Willis, the most trusted member of the Knot and an old friend
of Monk's, was revealing everything but the names of the Cavaliers
engaged. The only anxiety of the Government was to conceal its
information from the conspirators. At every point it was ready. Lambert
and Fleetwood were old hands at the work. Their idea apparently was
to allow the rising to take place, tempt the King to land, and then
inflict a blow which would at once crush their adversaries and give
themselves an unassailable prestige. Amongst other precautions Monk was
ordered to send two regiments of horse and two of foot into England,
and it is significant that he obeyed without demur.

At the last moment an officious postmaster spoilt all. In a fit of zeal
he intercepted an important letter. The Royalists got to hear of it,
lost their heads, and the rising was nipped in the bud, or abandoned
everywhere but in Cheshire and Lancashire. There Sir George Booth
successfully established himself, and Lambert marched against him.

Amidst the din and bustle of military preparation Nicholas Monk
arrived in London, and with no little alarm heard from Grenville's
lips what was required of him. Ostensibly for the purpose of settling
his daughter's marriage, and bringing her back to Cornwall, he was
to carry the King's letters to his brother and negotiate the secret
treaty. Nicholas flatly refused to touch the letters. They were far too
dangerous. He consented, however, to carry a verbal message, and was
solemnly sworn not to breathe a word of the very delicate affair to any
one but his brother.

The only difficulty was how to reach Dalkeith. Lambert's troops blocked
every road, and it was found necessary to take Clarges into their
confidence. The only objection was that the cunning commissary, who
knew everything, would certainly not believe Nicholas was going on his
daughter's account. He had to be told that the parson's real mission
was from the constitutional gentry of Devon and Cornwall. Some such
mission he really had. Clarges refused to engage in the affair, but
consented to provide Nicholas with a passage on a Government ship to
Leith, and cautioned him against letting any one know his business
except Dr. Barrow, the general's physician, and Dr. Price, his private
chaplain.

Meanwhile Monk was being approached from another quarter. Lord Fairfax,
it is said, had undertaken as part of the general movement to raise
the gentlemen of the north, but he was far too good a soldier not
to see the futility of the attempt if Monk chose to oppose it. He
would not stir till he had come to an understanding with the Scots'
governor, and to this end Colonel Atkins, on pretence of visiting
relations in Fife, was ordered to go to Dalkeith. Atkins had commanded
a company under Monk in Lord Leicester's regiment in 1641. They were
old brothers-in-arms, and Monk received him so kindly that the colonel
ventured to disclose the intention of the gentlemen of the north, and
ask the general what he would do if they began to make their levies. He
had his answer in a moment. "If they do appear," said Monk sharply, "I
will send a force to suppress them. By the duty of my place I can do no
less."

Such was his reply, but "the duty of my place" was for him no longer
the magic solvent of all ethical difficulties that it had been. During
his long proconsulship "honest George" had developed from the soldier
into the statesman. True he clung still to his cherished first-born
as ardently as ever. "I am not one of those," he had just written
to the Speaker, "that seek great things, having had my education in
a commonwealth where soldiers received and observed commands but
gave none.... Obedience is my great principle, and I have always and
ever shall reverence the Parliament's resolution in civil things as
infallible and sacred." That the military power must be subject to
the civil was still his creed, but it was no longer the whole of
it. He began to see that for the rule to hold good the civil power
must be that which was authorised by the Constitution; that it must
be the power to which the Government was entrusted by the country.
Since the deposition of the King and the abdication of the Protector
the constitutional civil power was the Parliament, and the junto of
politicians who were sitting at Westminster was not the Parliament.
It was a truth he would perhaps have been slower to grasp had they
treated him better in the matter of commissions; but they had stupidly
forced the situation home to the hard-witted soldier, and having once
embraced the idea he was not likely to abandon it. Nor was this all.
The man of the hour was Lambert, his old rival, and the very apostle of
the doctrines he abhorred. For Lambert the army was a political body
which had won the people their liberties, and which alone was capable
of administering them. His idea of the army was that it should be an
executive corporation as self-contained and independent as other men
at other times have sought to make the Church. For this Cromwell had
discarded him. For this he had come upon the scene once more, and the
civil power was in league with him.

Such was the light in which Monk viewed the situation when on August
8th his brother arrived at Dalkeith. The general was as usual up to his
eyes in business. His ante-room was thronged with officers waiting for
orders, and he had to commit Nicholas to the care of Dr. Price. The
two parsons soon fraternised. Nicholas was bursting with his secret.
The simple country rector grew more and more nervous as the time went
on. The nearer the task of broaching the subject to his formidable
brother was approached the less he liked it. At last he could contain
himself no longer. Regardless of his oath and Grenville's cautions, he
blurted out his whole secret and begged Price's assistance. The astute
chaplain was aghast at the negotiator's indiscretion, for not only had
he disclosed the western gentlemen's mission as Clarges had authorised
him, but he had let out Sir John Grenville's too. Fortunately Price
was a Royalist, and no harm was done. But he warned his simple visitor
of the atmosphere in which the general was existing. It was a miasma
of distrust and suspicion which none but "honest George" could have
breathed and lived. Every eye was watching for a sign. The slightest
indiscretion might be fatal, and absolute secrecy was a necessity. At
the same time he gave him every encouragement. Mrs. Monk, he said, was
constantly urging her husband to make a move, and he permitted her to
talk the rankest treason every night. In her he would certainly find
an active ally, and he himself would do his best. Finally he told him
the best way to approach the general. The soldier was not without
his superstitions, and Nicholas was advised to pave the way for his
disclosures with some old wives' prophecies about the future greatness
of the family which he had brought out of Devonshire.

Thus prepared he was conducted to his brother. A few officers were
still waiting in the ante-room. One of them at once suspiciously asked
Price what was the meaning of Nicholas's visit. Price put him off with
the story of Mary Monk, but nevertheless Nicholas was more alarmed than
ever, and began to see that conspiring was not the simple affair of
tokens and cyphers which he had thought.

No one was present at the interview between the brothers that evening,
and no one knows exactly what occurred, but it is certain that its
effect was to give George a much more serious view of the Great
Design than he had before. His contempt for Cavalier conspiracies was
profound, and Grenville's message had probably very little effect upon
him. He did not know his young cousin personally, and looked upon him
merely as one more of those enthusiastic young gentlemen whose sportive
delight in hairbrained plots and whose passion for mystery were always
leading them into scrapes and indefinitely postponing the Restoration.
But Nicholas brought out of Devonshire a message from a very different
man. Their kinsman, William Morice, had associated himself with
Stukeley and the other western gentlemen, and Morice's administration
of Monk's Devonshire estates seems to have given the general a profound
faith in that gentleman's practical sagacity. Morice's approval at
least assured him that the Presbyterians were engaged, and that Sir
George Booth's rising was not a mere Cavalier plot. He was already
considerably impressed by Lord Fairfax's adhesion, and now he began to
see that whether or not the movement would end in the Restoration, the
country was in earnest about having a real Parliament elected to settle
some permanent form of government.

Nicholas gave Price such a favourable account of his interview that
he looked upon the general as practically engaged. Still Monk gave no
sign. Morice's advice involved, to say the least, putting pressure on
the men whose commissions he held and whose pay he was taking. It was
a serious obstacle, but everything continued to deepen the impression
which Atkins and Nicholas had begun. Every post brought news that
Booth's position was improving, and no doubt Mrs. Monk did her best
when the curtains were drawn. Next week Colonel Atkins returned. Again
he was well received, and Monk seems to have taken the opportunity of
arranging a regular system of correspondence with Lord Fairfax, but
nothing further appeared.

On Saturday the 23rd Dr. Gumble, chaplain to the Scotch commission,
came over to Dalkeith, as he often did, to spend Sunday with
the general and preach a sermon for Price. He was a staunch old
Commonwealth man, who disapproved of the protectorate, but he was
popular with the officers, highly esteemed by Monk, and so had kept
his place. In him the perplexed general had a councillor who was above
suspicion of Royalism. He took him into his confidence, put the whole
case before him, and asked his advice. Gumble did not hesitate. He
assured him that he had a higher duty than that which he owed to his
paymasters. His country called to him to rescue her from the miserable
plight to which the clique of visionaries and self-seeking politicians
at Westminster had reduced her. It was his duty to obey the call. To a
man of Monk's ardent patriotism such an argument could not appeal in
vain. It was the argument which finally convinced him it was his duty
to move. Once resolved he characteristically acted on the spot. While
he himself went to ascertain the state of the Treasury, Gumble was
despatched to Price's room to inform him he was to draw up a manifesto;
and thence he proceeded to sound such officers as were to be trusted.

The manifesto took the form of a respectful letter to the Parliament,
reminding them that they had not yet filled up their numbers nor passed
any Electoral Bill, as the very name of Commonwealth required them, and
hinting that the army could not in conscience protect their authority
unless they forthwith remedied their neglect.

On Sunday evening after service those already in the secret assembled
in Price's room to approve the manifesto. It was resolved that it
should be presented to the army for signature, and the general
proceeded to take precautions against a refusal. Captain Jonathan
Smith, his adjutant-general, had been admitted to the secret conclave.
Immediately the draft was settled Monk ordered this officer to ride to
the commandants of the neighbouring garrisons, who were all men of the
right stamp, explain to them the step that was to be taken, and induce
them to adopt the necessary measures for preventing the sectaries
giving trouble. The general then left the room. On the success of
Smith's mission all depended. The army was full of doctrinaire
politicians. The Government in London had been careful to draft as
many as possible on to the Scotch establishment. These men disliked
and suspected Monk, and he had to rely upon those who fought for their
pay, by whom he was generally beloved. Smith did not lose a moment. He
had already put on his boots, and was taking leave of the rest when the
door opened and the general came into the room again. To every one's
astonishment he ordered Smith not to go. He had resolved, he said, to
wait the post in. By that time Lambert and Booth must have met, and it
could do no harm to hear the result before they moved.

No one ventured to demur then, but Price presently followed him from
his room. He found him in earnest conversation with his master of the
greyhounds, one Kerr of Gradane, one of Montrose's men, in whom Monk
took an interest that his love of coursing would hardly explain. Price
knew he had some other and more secret designs to back his enterprise,
and afterwards Monk told him he had been ready to commission the whole
Scottish nation to rise. There can be little doubt that through Kerr he
was twisting another string for his bow as strong and trustworthy as
the first. "Old George" was not a man to do things by halves.

Price waited till the conversation was done and Kerr was out of
hearing, and then he began to press the general to allow Smith to
start. Monk was anxious and excited. For the first time in his life
his military conscience was not clear, and Price's importunity
irritated him past bearing. Turning on him fiercely he seized him by
the shoulders. "What, Mr. Price," said he, "will you then bring my
neck to the block for the King, and ruin our whole design by engaging
too rashly?"--"Sir," protested the astonished chaplain, "I never named
the King to you either now or at any other time."--"Well," replied the
general, "I know you have not. But I know you, and have understood your
meaning."

It was on this conversation, as Price relates it, that Monk's
biographers rely to prove their case that he intended the return of the
King from the first. But there can be no doubt that what he said was
to get rid of Price by letting him clearly know he saw through him,
and had no intention of risking his head or spoiling the patriotic
enterprise in which he was engaged for the sake of a Stuart.

At any rate it left Monk in peace. No move was made that night, and
early on Monday morning came the startling news that Lambert had
crushed Booth's rising at a blow. Once more the confederates met,
burned the manifesto, renewed their oaths of secrecy, and thanked
Heaven for the narrow escape they had had.

Monk's feelings vented themselves in anger against his brother and
Grenville. He felt he had been deceived and entrapped into a plot which
had no more bottom than the rest. He angrily told poor Nicholas to go
back to his books and meddle no more in conspiracy. He charged him with
a similar sharp message to his young cousin, and swore if either of
them ever revealed what had passed he would do his best to ruin them
both. The affair seems to have been even a greater shock to Mrs. Monk.
Price hints that she conceived a sudden antipathy for the King's cause,
and lived in terror that her husband would be induced sooner or later
to engage in it. She lost no opportunity of proclaiming that she and
her son Kit were for the Long Parliament and the "good old cause,"
and she began again to urge Monk to retire and live in Ireland. The
general lent a willing ear. The cashiering of his officers continued.
Lambert and the Rump seemed determined to pull together, and every one
thought the Government had a new lease of life. Monk knew some attempt
would soon be made to displace him, and as he now had less inclination
to retain his post than ever he resolved to seize the opportunity of
tendering his resignation on the ground of ill-health and long service.
He was certainly in earnest. Thrifty Mrs. Monk bought a number of
trunks to pack up the household effects, and, contrary to his usual
custom, the general wrote direct to the Speaker. Nicholas fortunately
warned Clarges that the letter had gone. Clarges managed to get hold
of it, took it himself to Lenthal, and in concert with him cleverly
arranged not to have it presented to the House for some days; for the
commissary had news for his brother-in-law by which he believed he
could induce him to reconsider his determination.



CHAPTER X

THE NEGLECTED QUANTITY


It is always a temptation to over-estimate the effect of trifling
accidents in history, but certainly few little things have been fraught
with weightier consequences than prudent "old George's" idea of waiting
the post in. Had he made his great move while Rump and army were at
one it is hard to say how long the Revolution might have dragged on
its effete existence. It is indeed possible that he might still have
succeeded in closing it, but it could only have been at the cost of a
bloody civil war.

Now things were changed. Intoxicated with their success over the
rebels, Lambert and Fleetwood, with the army-party, in a formal
petition had made demands which it was impossible for the Rump
to grant. Sir Arthur Haslerig, the hot-headed leader of the pure
Republicans, had moved a vote of censure on Lambert, and Clarges was
able to inform his brother-in-law that a breach was imminent. Monk
at once instructed him to withdraw his resignation. He saw his duty
clearly before him now, and waited quietly for news. The petition was
forwarded to the Scotch army for signature, and its authors attempted
to gain Monk over to their interest by the offer of supreme command of
the foot, and the rank of general in the standing army which they meant
permanently to establish. His reply was to absolutely forbid a man
under his command to sign the obnoxious document.

On September 27th another meeting of the English officers was held
at which demands so extravagant were framed that the moderate men
withdrew, and sent up to Monk imploring him to use his influence to
prevent a breach. He did his best in a letter to Fleetwood. But no one
knew better than he that the attempt was useless, and his brother was
hurried off to London with Mary Monk and a secret message to Clarges.
No military scruples perplexed the old soldier now. His duty to his
paymasters and his duty to his country were one. His commission stood
no longer in the way of his patriotism or his political creed, and
he spoke at last with no uncertain voice; for Commissary Clarges was
charged to assure the House that if they would only stand firm in
asserting their authority over the army he would stand by them, and be
ready, should the need arise, to march into England to their defence.

With this message--the death-warrant of the English
Revolution--Nicholas Monk reached London on October 11th. Over eleven
years ago, in "the first year of freedom, by God's blessing restored,"
the chiefs of the army had met at Windsor to seek their duty from the
Lord. In a long ecstasy of prayer and tears they had sought counsel
of their God, and the answer came--the King must die. From that hour
revolution had ridden triumphant on the shoulders of the army. But its
day was done, its work was accomplished, and the most perfect soldier
of them all had risen up to enforce the simple gospel of obedience.
Prayer or no prayer, King or no King, the soldier's duty was to obey,
and not to command.

For two days the House had been considering the new petition from the
army, determined not to grant and afraid to reject it. The debate stood
adjourned till the morrow without hope of a solution to the problem.
It was late in the evening when Nicholas Monk reached Clarges. In
the first hours of the morning the commissary roused the Speaker and
Haslerig with his news. The whole situation was changed as if by magic.
No sooner was the House met than the tidings flew from mouth to mouth,
and in rapid succession a series of votes were passed bidding defiance
to Lambert and the army. "Resolved that if they must leave their soft
seats they would first empty out the feathers," they made it high
treason to collect taxes without their consent, cashiered Lambert,
Desborough, and the seven other colonels who were concerned in the
movement, deprived Fleetwood of the command of the army, and vested it
in a commission in which he was associated with Monk, Haslerig, Ludlow,
Morley, Walton, and Overton, all staunch Parliament men. The following
morning Lambert had seized the approaches of the House. Once more the
Rump was the victim of a _coup d'état_, and a military committee of
safety reigned in its stead.

Monk had foretold the quarrel months ago. On the morning of the 17th
the news for which he had been waiting reached him at Dalkeith, and
with startling rapidity he set about backing his words. Never had
soldier a more difficult and dangerous task. In any one of lesser
calibre the attempt would be called madness. He was face to face at
last with his old rival. He was about to defy the most brilliant of
Cromwell's generals, and before he could call his strength his own
he had to tear from it its toughest fibres. The London officers had
succeeded in making his army a hotbed of the very opinions he had
determined to crush with it. On the whole Scotch establishment there
was hardly a colonel who was above suspicion. Every garrison and every
company were full of the veteran fanatics who had taught the world
the art of revolution, and every man of them in his heart rejoiced at
Lambert's success. With this element free, his army was Lambert's army.
At all cost it must be made powerless, though it was the very soul of
his force. But Monk did not hesitate. Not a moment was to be lost. In a
few hours the news would be all over Scotland and the chance gone. All
the principal garrisons, with the exception of Stirling and Aberdeen,
were in the hands of Lambert's nominees, and the whole venture turned
upon the rapidity with which they could be secured.

Hardly was Clarges's despatch in the general's hands when Captain Smith
was galloping for Edinburgh and Leith to take the first step towards
mastering the garrisons there. The capital was occupied by Monk's own
regiment and Talbot's "Black Colours." Talbot's was far from sound,
and in the general's own there was hardly an officer who was not a
rank Anabaptist. Fortunately, in the absence of the superior officers,
Talbot's was being commanded by its major, Hubblethorne, and Monk's by
its senior captain, Ethelbert Morgan. At Leith was "Wilkes's," also in
charge of its major, Hughes; while in widely scattered quarters in the
country round lay the general's own regiment of horse under Johnson,
its senior captain.

These four men were summoned to Dalkeith and at once formed into a
Council of War, together with such well-affected officers as Monk had
managed to have about him in anticipation of the crisis. Their first
step was to stop the post into England, and then far into the night
they sat methodically but rapidly maturing every detail of the move. In
the morning all was in working order. Two of the impromptu Council, who
belonged to the garrisons at Perth and Ayr, were away at dawn to secure
those fortresses. They were only captains, but in his hour of need Monk
had hardly a single field-officer whom he could trust. At the same time
Johnson was despatching orderlies right and left to concentrate the
horse: Hubblethorne and Ethelbert Morgan were away again with secret
orders; and far and wide messengers were spurring to summon the most
dangerous officers to headquarters, while small parties of horse were
leisurely taking up their posts to waylay and arrest them as they came.

By dinner-time a troop of horse arrived at Dalkeith to escort the
general to Edinburgh. He had determined to take the capital in hand
himself, and as soon as he had dined he rode away. Meanwhile his secret
orders had been carried out to the letter. He found his own regiment
and Talbot's paraded in the High Street, and Captain Johnson in waiting
with two more troops of his horse. Satisfied with his inspection the
general rode on quietly to his quarters, and once there proceeded to
cashier nearly the whole of the officers of his own foot. The command
was given to Morgan, and Major Hubblethorne made lieutenant-colonel
of the "Black Colours." This done he returned to the High Street, and
placing himself at the head of the two regiments marched them down to
the open space before Greyfriars' Church. No sooner were they again
in line than he ordered the arrest of the whole of the cashiered
officers. Resistance was out of the question. Monk's own had been
paraded without ammunition. The musketeers of the "Black Colours" wore
their bullet-bags and bandoliers; the sulphurous smell of their matches
perfumed the air with menace; at the general's back were his faithful
troops of horse--and his order was obeyed.

Without giving his leaderless regiment a moment to think Monk followed
up the blow with a pithy and soldier-like speech, asking them if
they thought it right for the Scotch army to submit to the insolent
extravagancies of the home forces. "For my own part," he cried, "I
think myself obliged by the duty of my place to keep the military
power in obedience to the civil. Since we have received our pay and
commissions from the Parliament it is our duty to defend them. In this
I expect the ready obedience of you all. But if any do declare their
dissent to my resolution, they shall have liberty to leave the service,
and may take their passes to be gone."

A thundering shout greeted his words. Not a man was there but
cried with wild enthusiasm he would live and die for "old George."
Edinburgh was won, but the day's work was not yet over. As he left
the parade-ground a despatch was put into his hand. It was from his
friend Colonel Myers, the governor of Berwick. The key of the London
road was of the first importance to Monk, and Myers declared he could
not hold it against the numerous Anabaptist officers in his command.
Monk immediately ordered a troop of horse to his assistance; but a new
difficulty arose. Berwick was forty miles away. Not a trooper was in
Edinburgh who had not ridden twenty that day. The roads were deep in
mire, and every one declared the march impossible. It was a word Monk
did not often listen to. The march must be made. The general appealed
to Johnson as he only knew how, and as the night fell the captain and
his troop were spurring for the Border through the Nether Bow Port.

Monk's drastic proceedings at Edinburgh were but a type of what
happened all over Scotland. By the time he had in person secured and
purged Leith and Linlithgow, messengers began to pour into headquarters
to report that everywhere his promptitude had paralysed resistance.
Every garrison was in his hands and every high-road was resounding with
the tramp of the troops he had ordered to concentrate on Edinburgh.
There, too, Colonel Cobbett arrived a prisoner. It was Johnson's
offering to his general. It had been the first act of the Committee of
Safety to send up the colonel post-haste to secure not only Berwick,
but the Scotch army as well, and to arrest Monk if he objected. A few
hours before he reached the Border Johnson's exhausted troop had toiled
into Berwick, and Cobbett arrived to find himself a prisoner.

Monk had now time to breathe. On the 20th the post was allowed to go,
and with it went three official letters from the general. One was to
the Speaker, laconically informing him that the Scotch army was at the
service of the Parliament if it were still under restraint, and that
in accordance with his new commission he had cashiered such officers
as would not recognise its authority. "I do call God to witness," he
concluded, "that the asserting of a Commonwealth is the only intent of
my heart, and I desire if possible to avoid the shedding of blood, and
therefore entreat you that there may be a good understanding between
Parliament and army. But if they will not obey your commands I will not
desert you according to my duty and promise."

In the same strain he wrote to Fleetwood imploring him to restore the
Parliament. "Otherwise," he says, "I am resolved by the assistance of
God, with this army under my command, to declare for them and prosecute
this just cause to the last drop of my blood.... I do plainly assure
your lordship I was never better satisfied with the justice of any
engagement than in this.... I desire your lordship not to be deluded
by the specious pretences of any ambitious person whatever." He speaks
pathetically of his shame to see his country the scorn of Europe, and
again calls God to witness he has no other end than the Restoration
of parliamentary authority, "and those good laws which our ancestors
have purchased with so much blood.... And I take myself so far obliged,
being in the Parliament's service, to stand though alone in this
quarrel."

The third letter was to Lambert. He was "the ambitious person" on
whom Monk had his eye; and short and sharp as the letter was, he was
careful to let his old rival know that he suspected him of aiming at a
dictatorship. He repeated his determination to stand by the evicted
Parliament; "for, sir," he concluded, "the nature of England will not
endure any arbitrary power, neither will any true Englishman in the
army, so that such a design will be ruinous and destructive. Therefore
I do earnestly entreat you that we may not be a scorn to all the world
and a prey to our enemies, that the Parliament may be speedily restored
to their freedom which they enjoyed on the 11th of this instant."

These plain-spoken letters fell like thunderbolts amongst the London
officers. Fleetwood, Lambert, and Desborough met at Whitehall in
consternation. With the short-sighted conceit of second-rate men they
had practically omitted Monk from their calculations. They had mistaken
his modest ambitions for indifference. The Quixotic loyalty which
had made him submit to the insolent orders of the war-office while
Parliament was sitting, they had taken for stupidity. Now with the
suddenness of a dream this despised soldier of fortune, this exalted
drill-sergeant, as they thought him, towered like a giant before them
as the three politicians sat together astounded. Midnight struck, and
with the madness of doomed men they sent for Clarges. The result of
the interview with Monk's subtle agent was that he and Colonel Talbot
were ordered to start for Scotland within three hours to invite Monk to
agree to an armistice preliminary to settling their quarrel by a treaty.

Their action was none too prompt. They knew well enough what to expect
when Monk had once declared. We know the importance he attached to
the first rapid moves of a campaign. Lambert at least was aware of
his methods, and knew he would not waste a moment. Nor did he. No
sooner were the Scotch garrisons safe than a party of horse was sent
to secure Carlisle, and a small mixed column was pushed forward from
Berwick to surprise Newcastle. The attempt on Carlisle failed, through
the incompetency of the officer in command. The Newcastle column
came to a halt at Morpeth. Colonel Lilburne, the man whom Monk had
superseded in Scotland, and who was now in command of the northern
district, had thrown himself with a strong reinforcement into the
threatened town. Determined to avoid a conflict till he was ready, Monk
ordered a retreat to Alnwick.

As it happened, no accident could have been more fortunate for the
success of Monk's designs. Had he taken Newcastle, in a week it would
have been besieged by Lambert and Monk could not have moved to its
relief. Owing to the weather the Scotch army was concentrating with
exasperating slowness, and insubordination was by no means at an end.
Wholesale desertions began to take place. Men were whispering that the
general "had the King in his belly." To stop their mouths he convened
a permanent Council of War and committed to it the whole of his
correspondence. He used the press freely, and printed all his official
letters. But difficulties seemed to grow every day. The armies of
England and Ireland refused to join him, and the fleet followed their
example. In the midst of his perplexities Clarges arrived at Edinburgh,
and showed him where his escape lay. The Treasury in London was empty;
Monk's was overflowing. Lambert must place his troops at free quarters,
and pay them with plunder. It was a mere matter of time for the whole
country to turn against him, and for his army to melt away piecemeal.
Immediate action was Lambert's only game. Every day he must grow
weaker, while Monk was ever gathering new strength as troop after troop
and company after company marched into Edinburgh from the Highlands.

In negotiation Monk saw the delay he needed. His Council of War,
being thoroughly averse to fighting their comrades who had bled for
the old cause, embraced the idea with enthusiasm, and a commission,
consisting of three colonels whom Monk trusted, was appointed to
treat with the Committee of Safety. A warm debate took place over
the bases of negotiation. The Council were inclined to ask for a new
Parliament. Monk insisted on the restoration of his masters, nor would
he consent to the counter-proposition unless it were made contingent
on the refusal of the Rump to sit. Not content with this, he gave the
commissioners secret instructions before they left not to disclose
their power to treat for a new Parliament till the last moment. For
he well knew that Fleetwood and Lambert would never agree to restore
the Rump if there was a possibility of a settlement on any other
terms. Having thus very cleverly thrown back the onus of a civil war
on Lambert, while at the same time he had done his strict duty to his
commission and his best to prolong the negotiations, Monk agreed to an
armistice, and allowed the commission to depart.

At York they found Lambert with the head-quarters of the English
army. Professing an authority from the Committee of Safety, he made
an effort to treat with them on the spot. But mindful of their secret
instructions they insisted on the question of the Parliament being
first settled, and he was compelled to suffer them to proceed on their
journey.

But even then his evil genius had not done with him. He felt that by
allowing the negotiations to go forward he had removed one of his
rival's difficulties. In a desperate effort to recover the ground he
had thus lost he removed the other. All that Monk now required was a
man whom he could trust to reorganise his army, and reduce it to the
obedient machine of his ideal. The one man in the world to do it was
his old comrade Morgan, who had recently returned from serving with the
English contingent in the Low Countries under Turenne. He was still
Major-general on the Scotch establishment, but had been laid up at York
with gout. He was now recovered, and Monk had written to him to rejoin.
The letter had been intercepted by Lilburne, and Morgan was still at
York pretending to disapprove of the Scotch proceedings. His importance
was well understood. Next to Monk he was considered the finest soldier
in the three kingdoms. After his brilliant capture of Ypres, the great
Turenne had embraced him on the shattered walls and told him with
effusion he was amongst the bravest captains of his time. Yet this was
the man that Lambert, with the fatuity of those whom Heaven has doomed,
chose to send to Monk in order to induce him to lay down his arms.

What happened when the two old comrades met was only to be expected.
Morgan delivered his message with a laugh, but never took back an
answer. That was more than he had promised. He told his friend he had
come to return to his duty, for he was no politician, and felt his
best course was to follow a man whom he knew to be a true lover of his
country.

The presence of the fiery little dragoon made itself felt immediately.
Cashiering and remodelling went on briskly, and so great was the
enthusiasm which Morgan inspired that, in spite of the efforts of
incendiaries from London, desertions entirely ceased. Without further
anxiety Monk was able to devote himself to his statecraft. His
correspondence at this time was enormous. Openly or in secret he was in
communication with men of all shades of opinion, from constitutional
Royalists like Lord Fairfax to pronounced Republicans like Haslerig.
From all sides came envoys to expostulate or encourage. From Ireland
Cornet Monk brought a message from the general's old comrades Coote and
Jones, that they had every hope the Irish army would declare for him
before long. The London Independents despatched delegates to mediate.
Whatever the pretence, every one was trying to find out what the silent
soldier intended. The burden of his answer was the same to all, that
unless Lambert and his friends restored the Parliament, "he meant to
lay them on their backs." For Haslerig and the Independents it was too
much, for Lord Fairfax and the men of Booth's insurrection too little.
The whole question was, what Parliament did he mean to restore? Was
it the Long Parliament as it existed before Cromwell purged it of the
Presbyterian Royalists, or was it the Republican Rump that was left
when they were gone? The former meant a constitutional restoration; the
latter a continuance of the republic.

But this alternative by no means sums up the political situation
with which Monk suddenly found himself face to face. The complex
condition of parties at this time is only comparable to that which
exists in France to-day. In the place of the Legitimists were the old
Cavaliers, in that of the Orleanists were the Moderate Royalists,
who looked to a restoration by constitutional means. But there was
this wide difference. Both monarchical parties supported the same
dynasty, and together they formed the majority of the kingdom. They
included practically the whole of the country gentlemen and all the
Presbyterians of the Covenant. And whatever Monk might think of the
expediency of a restoration, they represented the ideas which in his
heart he regarded with the greatest favour. Next in strength and in
Monk's sympathy was the party which corresponds to the French Moderate
Republicans. It consisted of the old Commonwealth men, with Haslerig
and Vane at their head, and was represented by the Rump, but it must
be always remembered that they repudiated the idea of a president. For
Napoleonists there were the Cromwellians, who, though now an exhausted
and leaderless party, still clung to the principle of a protectorate.
The field which the pure Opportunists occupy was filled by Lambert
and his admirers, who, while they branded Haslerig as a reactionary,
coquetted with the King. Together these two groups formed the right
of the Army-party, which was held together by a vague policy of the
supremacy of the military over the civil power. Its left looked to
Fleetwood. Like the extreme left in France, this faction included men
of a great variety of opinions, and in striking analogy to contemporary
political phenomena, its moving spirits were the Anabaptists and Fifth
Monarchy men, the Socialists and Anarchists of the time.

It is not of course pretended that the parallel is exact, but it is
sufficiently close to bring the situation vividly before us; and when
we remember that as in France the parties were constantly combining
into new groups, and further how complicated the whole position was by
religious differences, it will serve as well as a detailed account to
picture for us the labyrinth through which Monk was about to try and
thread his way without violating the sacredness of his commission. No
man ever approached a situation so difficult with so little experience
or assistance. "Counsellor I have none to rely on," he is reported to
have said at this time. "Many of my officers have been false, and that
all the rest will prove true is too much gaiety to hope. But religion,
law, liberty, and my own fame are at stake. I will go on and leave the
event to God." No aim more patriotic was ever set up with more manly
devotion. His success was then and still is regarded as an accident or
a miracle. Be that as it may, in the whole roll of history there can be
found no greater moral lesson than the story of the plain and steadfast
purpose with which at last the end was won.



CHAPTER XI

THE BLOODLESS CAMPAIGN


By the middle of November the Scotch army was thoroughly remodelled and
placed on its war-footing. Certain of the failure of the negotiations
and regardless of the hardships of a winter campaign, on the 18th Monk
began to move for the front. In his rear all was secure in spite of
the denudation of the garrisons. Their fortifications had been freely
dismantled, and by calling a Convention Parliament under the presidency
of Glencairn he had come to a definite understanding with the Scots.
So excellent were the relations he had established with them by his
just and sympathetic government, severe as it was, that without holding
out the slightest hope of a restoration he had received from them an
undertaking that the country would not only remain quiet, but even
assist him with a large force. The last offer he was prudent enough to
refuse, fearing it would bring him under suspicion of Royalism.

The first halt was at Haddington. Everything had gone well, and the
general was sitting down to supper with his officers amidst the hopeful
excitement that marks the first move to the front. Hardly, however,
had grace been said when some officers from London were announced.
They presented the general with a packet. He tore it open where he sat,
read it through, and then tossing it to his officers abruptly left the
room without a word. With cries of rage they found it was a treaty
into which their commissioners had been cheated and coerced, and which
conceded to the Committee of Safety every point upon which the Scotch
army had insisted.

It was a blow heavy enough to crush the stoutest heart, and at daybreak
the general returned to Edinburgh, where the news had already raised a
storm of fury. Officers crowded to head-quarters with despair and anger
on their faces, and eagerly waited till Monk had done his breakfast.
At last he strode into the ante-room and began talking up and down in
sullen silence. Not a word was spoken till his confidant, Dr. Gumble,
ventured to accost him. "What do you think of this agreement?" said the
general abruptly. The doctor replied at once by asking leave to escape
into Holland, for whatever the rest might hope he knew his life was
not safe. "What!" cried Monk angrily, "do you lay the blame on me? If
the army will stick to me I will stick to them." A burst of enthusiasm
greeted his words. Every officer present vowed he would live and die
with him, and shout after shout of joy re-echoed through the city as
the news spread through the ranks of the soldiers.

A confidential council was called in the afternoon, and it was decided
instead of repudiating the treaty to prolong the negotiations. To this
end it was resolved to request a conference at Alnwick to explain
doubtful points in the articles on the ground that they appeared to
be inconsistent with the commissioners' instructions. Next morning
a general advance to the Border was ordered, and by the end of the
month the head-quarters were at Berwick. Another delay was gained,
and to prevent the possibility of a premature collision Monk withdrew
his outpost in Northumberland. Every day some encouraging news added
a fresh value to the armistice. Clarges had returned to London, but
before he left Edinburgh Monk had told him that if he restored the
Parliament he should not feel it his duty to prevent the secluded
members resuming their seats. With this the astute commissary had
been able to satisfy Lord Fairfax on his way south, and was now able
to announce that the Yorkshire gentlemen would be ready to rise for
a free Parliament by the middle of January. The old Council of State
had met in secret at the capital, and sent down to Monk a commission
as general of all the forces in England and Scotland. Fleetwood was
growing more suspicious of Lambert every hour, and in his anxiety to
come to an understanding with Monk agreed to the proposed conference.
Lambert was in despair. His army at Newcastle was showing signs of
insubordination. Money was running short. The ranks were full of
sectaries devoted to Fleetwood. He knew that further delay meant ruin,
and he despatched Colonel Zankey to Berwick with fresh proposals on his
own account to hasten the ratification of the treaty. Zankey arrived
early in December, in company with the retreating outpost from Alnwick.
In high spirits at this new sign of discord in the enemy's camp the
Council met. A long bantering discussion ensued. Every argument which
Zankey could urge was made light of, his terms refused, and Monk, well
satisfied with the day's work, went to bed--but not to rest.

At one o'clock in the morning he was aroused with alarming news.
A strong brigade of Lambert's cavalry with two guns had seized
Chillingham Castle, which was but twenty miles from the Border. Furious
to think that the precious armistice was broken, and still more that
Lambert should have taken advantage of the withdrawal of the outposts
to cover an advance with a flag of truce, he ordered Zankey's instant
arrest. It was a fearful night. The darkness was impenetrable and a
storm was raging. But at such a moment nothing mattered to the tough
old campaigner. In an hour his orders for the army were written, and he
was galloping away recklessly to inspect the fords uphill and downhill
along the frozen roads, regardless of the protests of his staff. "It
was God's infinite mercy we had not our necks broke," wrote one of
them afterwards. At Norham the storm had increased to such a fury that
he was compelled to take shelter in the castle. By daylight, however,
he had visited every pass over the Tweed, and a little before noon he
reached Coldstream, where he intended to make his head-quarters. Here
was the best ford over the river, and he had ordered a strong force to
muster for its protection. So well had his orders been obeyed that he
found his troops had already consumed everything that was fit for food
or drink in the place. But "old George" was as indifferent to hunger
as he was to fatigue. In dismay his staff saw him sit down in a small
cottage and quietly take out a quid of tobacco. It was for him all that
Captain Bobadil boasted. His staff stole away to hunt for a dinner, and
when they returned the general was still serenely chewing where they
had left him.

Lambert's supposed advance had proved a false alarm. It was but an
unauthorised raid for plunder. But it was enough to show the old
strategist his danger. If Lambert had the sense or power to make a dash
over the Border with his thousands of horse and mounted infantry, Monk
was so weak in those arms that he would be compelled to retreat, and
retreat meant ruin. Everything depended on a strong defensive position,
and with consummate skill he marked one out. The bulk of the little
army was stationed on the right at Kelso, and intrusted to Morgan, who
had orders to exercise it daily in the general's pet formation of mixed
files of horse and foot. From Kelso as far as Berwick every pass was
occupied, and the troops quartered in the neighbouring villages and
farmsteads. Yet within four hours, so nicely was every detail adjusted,
the whole force could be concentrated on a given point. The position
was practically impregnable. The desolate character of the country
in its front rendered an attack in force impossible. Even if Lambert
could have induced his pampered army to move, he could not have fed
them for the time a concentration would take in the fearful weather
that prevailed. If he attempted a turning movement by the Carlisle road
Monk would get three days' start in London, and the Scotch army was too
strong to be checked by any force that Lambert could safely detach from
his main body.

To perfect his masterly disposition Monk established himself in the
centre at Coldstream. His quarters were a smoky little thatched cottage
with but one room. His bed was so small that he used it as a pillow,
with his legs and body resting uneasily on benches. Indeed he and his
officers suffered here every hardship that bad lodging, worse food,
and intense cold could inflict; but such was the spirit which the
general's example infused that the only effect of their sufferings was
to arouse a cheery spirit of freemasonry among them. Till their dying
day it was their pride to be called Coldstreamers. They never ceased to
bore their friends with Coldstream stories, nor tired of joking about
the chapel in the cowhouse and the beer that went bad before it got
cold.

Severe as were their privations, for the rest of the year they had
to bear them with as much of the general's equanimity as they could
attain. As for him, he never left his quarters for a night except once,
to meet the delegates of the Scots Convention at Berwick for the final
settlement of the affairs of the interior while he was away. For the
rest comfort was not wanting. The colder it grew the more difficult
it was for Lambert to move, and if good liquor was scarce, good news
flowed in plenty through the secret channels which Clarges had laid.
In London riots were being suppressed with bloodshed, and mutiny was
threatening at Newcastle. The Fanatics of Fleetwood's party, of whom
the army was full, began to distrust Lambert's ambition, while Monk's
judicious refusal to allow the Scots to arm restored the confidence of
those who had hitherto suspected him of malignancy. The Irish regiments
had not forgotten him; the Parliament's guards were plainly inclined to
its champion; at head-quarters mutinies daily alarmed the Council; and
Fleetwood's only idea of restoring discipline was to fall on his knees
at the head of the disaffected regiments and say his prayers.

Still the negotiations could not be prolonged for ever, ingenious
as was the committee which Monk had appointed to carry them on.
It was therefore an immense relief when tidings came that the
governor of Portsmouth had opened his gates to Haslerig, Morley,
and Walton. Monk at once sent to Lambert to say that as three of
his fellow-commissioners had returned to their duty he could not
continue the negotiation without consulting them. "He has not used me
well," said poor Lambert, and refused to grant a pass to Portsmouth.
Monk's messenger had to return, but not empty. He came bursting with
news. Vice-Admiral Lawson had declared for Monk's programme, and the
fleet was threatening to blockade the Thames. In the same hour from
Portpatrick arrived an officer to tell how the general's old comrades
had seized Dublin Castle, and that the Irish army was ready to assist
him actively. In the midst of the thanksgivings for these mercies a
kinsman of Lord Fairfax stole over the hills to announce that the
Yorkshire gentlemen would be ready to fall on Lambert's rear by New
Year's Day, and at the Yorkshire general's request Monk promised
to watch Lambert "as a cat did a mouse," and to advance to their
assistance the moment there was a sign of a movement against them.

Indeed things were going almost too well. Price grew alarmed that the
Rump was going to triumph completely, and though his dangerous presence
was tabooed by Monk he stole into head-quarters in the dead of night.
Rousing the weary soldier from his uneasy couch he implored him to
remember the "old known laws." "Mr. Price," said Monk passionately, "I
know your meaning, and I have known it. By the grace of God I will do
it if ever I can find it in my power; and I do not much doubt but that
I shall." Then seizing both his chaplain's hands he said again, "By
God's help I will do it." It is perfectly clear that Monk's love for
his country inspired him with a desire to see monarchy re-established
by a free Parliament as the only durable settlement, and that at this
moment he was very hopeful about it.[9] It is equally certain he did
not intend to restore Charles by force; and even if a Stuart were in
his eyes worth a drop of English blood, even if he had had any faith
in a settlement that was founded in civil war, his creed was still
unshaken, and he meant so far as in him lay to keep the army from
meddling with the civil power. He held the commission of the Rump, and
had signified his intention to be loyal to it by signing a manifesto of
the army by which he bound himself to restore the Parliament as it was
before the late _coup d'état_.

Price's anxiety was but too well justified. On the last day of the
year a messenger came ploughing through the snow to Coldstream with
startling news. Fleetwood's army had mutinied. "The Lord had spit in
his face." He had given up the game, and the Rump was sitting again at
Westminster. Fortunately it was not the end of the tidings. Fairfax had
been compelled to rise prematurely, owing to the discovery of his plot,
and Monk promptly issued orders for the little army to concentrate
on Coldstream. Despatch after despatch interrupted his preparations.
Lilburne's regiment had deserted to Fairfax, and the whole Irish
Brigade had followed its example. It was clear that Lambert's only
chance was a swift back-stroke at Fairfax, and Monk determined to
anticipate the intelligence he hourly expected. As the first gray
beams of the year 1660 began to streak the leaden sky they lit up a
memorable picture. Erect in his saddle amidst the trampled snow sat the
warlike figure of the great soldier of fortune, on whose sagacity hung
the destiny of Britain; and past him filed rank after rank the vanguard
of his toil-stained troops as they strode cheerily on to cross the
white plain of the frozen Tweed.

The famous movement had begun. Colonel Knight, by a splendid march
through the snow, reached Morpeth with the vanguard the same evening.
Finding Lambert had fallen back against Fairfax, he continued his
advance, and the following morning surprised and seized Newcastle at
break of day. The general followed with the rest of the army. All
told it consisted of but four weak regiments of horse and six fine
ones of foot. It was divided into two brigades, one under himself
and the other under Morgan. The first night they reached Wooler, and
heard officially from the Speaker of the restoration of the Rump, and
unofficially that Lambert, deserted by his army, had disappeared. The
Speaker's letter contained an acknowledgment of Monk's services, but no
orders. He therefore ignored his unofficial intelligence and continued
his advance. On the 4th he reached Morpeth, where he was received by
the Sheriff of Northumberland. Next day arrived from London the City
Sword-bearer with a petition from the Lord Mayor and Corporation that
he would declare for a full Parliament, as they were unrepresented in
the Rump. A deputation from the Newcastle municipality invited him
to the town, and accordingly he entered it amidst the first of those
ovations which were to mark every step of his memorable march.

Yet in spite of the enthusiasm that his soldierly figure excited
whenever it appeared in the streets, Monk could not congratulate
himself on his position. He had practically failed. Instead of giving
his country a free Parliament he had restored the Rump. For England
he saw nothing but new political troubles, for himself a repetition
of the suspicion and ingratitude he had already experienced. Still
he held their commission, and felt bound to do his duty to them. All
else was dark before him. So Dr. Gumble was sent to London to convey
his compliments and humble advice to the authorities, and as secretly
as possible to see what could be made out of the situation. Nor did
he depart further from the path of duty than to allow an officer to
proceed to his old comrades in Ireland, suggesting that the Irish army
should petition for a free Parliament.

From Coldstream, as soon as he heard the Rump was sitting, he had
written to the Speaker for orders. As yet none had arrived, and he
determined, in pursuance of his new authority as commander-in-chief,
to advance to York. There he arrived on the 11th, to find no trace
of Fairfax or his party. They had disappeared, and the city was in
the hands of troops who had gone over to the Parliament. The rest
of Lambert's deserters had joined the Yorkshire gentlemen, but had
sent to the right-about every Cavalier that had shown himself at the
rendezvous. Buckingham himself, Fairfax's own son-in-law, had had to
go in spite of his irreproachable professions. York had refused to
receive any of Fairfax's partisans. Lord Fairfax himself, sensible of
a fiasco, had made a fit of the gout an excuse for retiring to his
own house. However, on Monk's arrival he entered the city in state
to see him. With every argument he urged him to stay where he was and
declare for the King. Monk of course refused, but he could not prevent
his association with Fairfax arousing the old suspicions. No means was
omitted to clear himself. An officer was heard to say that Monk would
at last bring in Charles Stuart, and the old general, in a fit of
exasperation, publicly gave him a sound thrashing for his pains.

Still these suspicions were not without their value. The Rump shared
them. They dare not leave him with Fairfax; they dare not order him
to retreat. There was no course but to tell him to advance, and Monk
obeyed with alacrity. Sending Morgan back to keep Scotland quiet, and
leaving Colonel Fairfax to occupy York, he marched on the 16th with
an army increased, by a careful selection from Lambert's deserters,
to nearly six thousand men. His progress was a triumph. The peasantry
thronged to the highway to stare at the deliverer as he passed. The
church-bells rang. The gentry came in troops with addresses, urging
on him the necessity of a full Parliament. Silent as a sphinx, the
harassed soldier rode on through it all, while all the world watched
him. Every eye, every ear, was strained for a sign; and a safe
platitude or two about his country's welfare and the duty of his place
was all that could be dragged from his impenetrable reserve.

As he advanced his perplexities and his silence increased. On the 18th
Gumble met him at Mansfield to say that already half the House were
his declared enemies. An oath for the abjuration of the Stuart dynasty
had been imposed upon the new Council of State, of which he had been
made a member. An attempt, however, to order its administration to
the House had led to a determined resistance from the best of the old
Commonwealth men. The House was split into two factions, and Monk's
popularity with the non-abjurers was but adding to the suspicions
of the abjurers. At Nottingham Clarges arrived to confirm and add
to Gumble's intelligence. A deputation, consisting of Scot, the new
Secretary of State, and Robinson, another abjuring member of the
Government, was on its way to offer him the congratulations of the
House, but with secret instructions to watch his every movement and
endeavour to entrap him into abjuring. The London garrison, too, had by
no means acquiesced in Fleetwood's surrender, and was still in a state
of sullen hostility. It was clear that the crisis was not yet at an
end, and there was still hope for Monk, that if he could once establish
himself in London and keep things quiet, one party or the other would
force on a general election. The chief difficulty was Fleetwood's army.
It was stronger than Monk's, and out of its entire roll only two foot
regiments, Morley's and Fagg's, could be trusted. Ashley Cooper had a
regiment of horse, but it certainly would not obey him. Fortunately
in the House the non-abjurers were in the majority, and at Clarges's
suggestion Monk used his few remaining hours of liberty to prepare a
letter to the Speaker pointing out the advisability of removing from
about the Parliament the regiments which were as yet hardly cool from
rebellion.

On Monday the 22nd he continued his march, and before Leicester was
reached Scot and Robinson appeared. From that moment he could not call
his soul his own. By day they had him to ride in their coach, by night
they bored holes in the partitions that separated their room from
his. They got up discussions at meals and stood at his elbow while he
received the endless deputations and addresses that were showered in
his path. All was of no avail. The old soldier stuck to the plain rule
that had served him so well through life, and was not to be caught.
Finding the situation was getting beyond him, he patiently resumed his
unassailable position of the obedient and disinterested soldier of
fortune. He received the commissioners as his superior officers. The
troops had orders to halt and present arms whenever their coach passed,
and in every way they were treated with the ceremony reserved for a
commander-in-chief. The commissioners were delighted, and sent glowing
accounts to the Speaker. They even accepted the general's excuse for
not at once taking the Oath of Abjuration. He had understood, he said,
that some members of the Government had refused it, and he felt it was
better to wait till he got to London and could hear both sides.

The deputations from the city and the counties that met him at every
town as he proceeded knew not what to make of it. The general received
them with the utmost civility, and the commissioners railed at their
petitions. The principal points they variously urged were a full and
free Parliament, a dissolution, and the admission of the members
secluded in 1648 without any previous oath or engagement. Sometimes
the general found himself compelled to answer them. If the Parliament
were not yet free, he told them, he would endeavour to remove the
restraint that remained. The House had already decided to fill up the
vacant places, and then it would be full. It had agreed to dissolve
itself of its own accord, and as for admitting members to sit without
any engagement to the Government, such a thing was never heard of, and
besides, the House had decided not to readmit them. And he politely
expressed his surprise that they thought him capable of so far
forgetting his duty to his commission as to question the resolution.
Thoroughly disheartened the deputations retired to fall into the hands
of enthusiastic staff-officers, who filled them with new wonder.
Monk seems to have told his friends to do their best to remove any
bad impression his reception of the addresses might arouse, and they
interpreted their instructions with some freedom. Lavish promises were
made in the general's name, and every one was told to proceed actively
with the petitioning without paying the slightest attention to what
Monk pretended to think of them.

So the people only shouted more loudly and the bells rang more merrily
as the triumph went on through Harborough, Northampton, Dunstable,
till on the 28th St. Albans was reached. Here a halt was made to
allow the columns to close up and for the crucial request to be
made. For Monk determined from here to despatch the letter which had
been prepared at Nottingham. Clarges was sent on before to pave the
way for its reception. It was a critical moment. The House had just
confirmed Monk's commission of general. It was a rank then considered
so dangerously exalted as to be hardly ever conferred. Indeed before
the Revolution it had seldom been borne except by the sovereign,
and already the _quidnuncs_ began to talk of his alliance with the
Plantagenets. It was the very point upon which the leaders of the army
had finally broken with Parliament, and the first act of Monk in his
new capacity was to request that the whole of Fleetwood's troops might
be removed from the capital to make way for his own.

A violent debate ensued. Haslerig opposed it with all his weight, but
so well organised were the non-abjurers and so favourable had been
Scot's reports that the request was granted. The great difficulty was
overcome, and on February 2nd Monk moved to Barnet. That night for the
first time the commissioners slept in another house. Apparently they
intended to make one despairing effort on the part of the abjurers to
keep Monk from peacefully occupying the capital. At all events about
midnight the Secretary of State rushed into Monk's quarters in his
night-shirt and slippers crying that the apprentices were out and the
garrison in mutiny. He implored, he commanded Monk to march on the spot
and restore order, but the old general was perfectly unmoved. He grimly
told him he would undertake to be in London early enough in the morning
to prevent mischief, and Scot had to go back to bed. Some considerable
disturbance there had been, but before Monk marched next day it had
been easily suppressed by a few troops of horse and something on
account of arrears.

Next night there was high feasting at Westminster. Weeks ago at
Holyrood Monk's butler had promised the staff a bottle of wine at
Whitehall on Candlemas Day. He was a wag whom Charles the First had
mock-knighted one evening at supper with his table-knife in the old
days at Oxford. It was only a day late, and "Sir" Ralph Mort was
called on to pay his wager as the general sat with the Coldstreamers
in the "Prince's Apartment" rejoicing at the success of their move.
Everything had gone well. Days before at Nottingham the details of the
occupation had been arranged, and the troops had quietly marched to
their quarters without a hitch. True the Coldstreamers' reception had
not been enthusiastic. In vain had Monk ridden down Chancery Lane and
the Strand at the head of his army, with trumpeters and led horses and
all the pomp of a general in the field. In vain was his staff swelled
by a brilliant crowd of gaily-dressed gentlemen. For the thoughtful
the general's intentions were too dark: for the thoughtless his troops
were too shabby; and the entry was made with the cold precision of an
operation of war.



CHAPTER XII

ON THE WINGS OF THE STORM


With Monk's success his real difficulties began. His first act was to
attend the Council of State. The Oath of Abjuration was tendered to
him and he refused it. A third of the Council had done the same, and
amongst them irreproachable Republicans. He suggested a conference
between the two parties to settle the point. For the present he
certainly could not take it. He must consult the Coldstreamers.
"The officers of my army," he said, and his words must have sounded
strangely like a threat, "are very tender in taking oaths." So he
returned to his apartments to be besieged with callers. Politicians
were there eager for a word on which to work, and astute foreign
ministers at their wits' end what to report to their respective
governments. For every one a discreet answer had to be provided.
All Sunday the game continued with little relief, except a secret
information that Scot's son had been boasting how in a few days the
general would be in the Tower with his head in danger.

Monk wisely took no more notice of the information than to display
his force by lining the way from Whitehall to Westminster with a
"triumphant guard" as on Monday he went down in state to receive the
thanks of Parliament. Scot had told him that a declaration of his
devotion to the House and his dislike of the addresses was expected. It
was a trying ordeal, but his blunt honesty took him through. A chair
of state had been placed for him at the bar, but he refused to sit,
as unbecoming a servant of the Parliament. Standing he received the
fulsome vote of thanks, and then leaning over the back of the chair,
he made his modest acknowledgments, protesting he had done no more
than his duty. As though he were making an official report of matters
in which he had no personal concern, he told them that on his way to
town he had observed the country to be very anxious for a settlement,
and that a number of addresses had been presented to him. The demands
they contained and his own unexceptionable answers were summarised
with soldier-like brevity. "But although I said it not to them," he
continued, "I must say (with pardon) to you; that the less oaths and
engagements are imposed (with respect had to the security of the common
cause) the sooner your settlement will be attained to.... I know all
the sober gentry will close with you if they may be tenderly and
gently used. And I am sure you will so use them; as knowing it to be
the common concern to amplify and not lessen our interest, and to be
careful that neither the Cavalier nor the Fanatic party have a share
in your civil or military power." In conclusion he respectfully called
attention to the advisability of confirming the land-grants of the
Irish soldiers and adventurers, and of settling several points for the
better and more equable administration of Scotland.

Nothing could have been done better. The immediate effect of the
speech was an immense increase in Monk's popularity. The conservative
Republicans were delighted at his deferential demeanour; their ladies,
returning from Mrs. Monk's reception at Whitehall, approved her
sweetmeats, and complacently noted how she had helped them to wine with
her own hand; while the country at large read the general's speech as a
threat to the oligarchy which oppressed it. The city was enthusiastic,
for not only did it begin to doubt the sincerity of his devotion to the
Rump, but by his conclusion about Ireland the capitalists saw in him
their champion. And, as we have seen, at such a crisis the capitalists
had then the same peculiar influences which they have exercised under
similar conditions in more modern times.

In fact from this moment the city became the scene on which the drama
of the Restoration was to be played out. A week ago Mordaunt had
arrived on a special mission from Charles to assure the Corporation
of his constitutional intentions should he return, and the city had
definitely turned its face to the King. The situation which the
prevailing political uncertainty had brought about was no longer
endurable. Trade was in a state of complete stagnation. Property was
felt to be unsafe. The city was without a single representative in
Parliament. It saw the moment had come for a decisive step, and two
days after Monk's speech, on the ground that the sitting Parliament was
not a representative assembly, the Common Council resolved to pay no
more taxes till the House had filled up its vacancies.

Monk's principles were immediately put to a severe test. It was late
at night when the vote of defiance became known at Whitehall, but a
summons came for his instant attendance at the Council of State. The
hours went by and he did not return. His friends remembered young
Scot's boast, and gathered in alarm. Ashley Cooper tried to take his
seat in the Council-chamber, but found it locked and guarded. Mrs. Monk
hammered on the door and cried frantically to her husband, but not a
sound came back. In despair she retired to her apartments, and it was
past two before she was relieved by her husband's reappearance. Then it
was only for a moment. To his friends' dismay he briefly told them that
at daybreak the city was to be occupied, and then refusing to listen to
any one went to bed. His paymasters had ordered him to coerce those on
whom all his hopes depended, and he was going to obey.

The movement was punctually carried out, and no sooner were the guards
set and the troops at their quarters than Monk, in accordance with his
instructions, sent for a number of the leading citizens and placed them
under arrest. This done, to the amazement of his officers, he ordered
them to remove the city gates and portcullises, and the post and chains
by which the streets were barricaded. In vain they protested, in
vain his most devoted followers tendered their commissions. His only
reply was to order the subordinate officers to do the work of their
superiors. Of so astounding a piece of obedience no one knew what to
think. The common soldiers were inclined to look upon it as a joke;
the officers were in despair. At last a deputation of the Corporation
waited on him to expostulate, and promise that if he would desist the
Common Council would meet early on the morrow and reconsider its
determination.

Monk at once complied, and reported to the Council of State
recommending a lenient course. They replied brutally that they had
dissolved the Common Council, and that he was not only to take down
the gates but to break them in pieces. Again he obeyed. "Now, George,"
cried Haslerig when he heard of it, "we have thee for ever, body and
soul." On the morrow, with growing anger, the troops recommenced the
hateful work. They fraternised with the people, and together they
railed at the Rump. Morley, who held the Tower, came and offered to
declare against the men of Westminster if Monk would only give the
word. His warmest friends went to reason with him, but the general
sat in his quarters at the Three Tuns, near Guildhall, grimly chewing
his tobacco, and no one dare speak to him. So extraordinary was his
conduct that his officers began to believe he had some deep design. The
orders were carried out to the last letter; guards were set at all the
important points, and in the afternoon the rest of the army marched
back to its quarters about Westminster.

Haslerig and his friends had won an incalculable victory. On Monk
hung the hopes of the country, and they had deliberately struck him a
fatal blow where they knew his spotless sense of honour exposed him
without defence to their attack. His position was indeed desperate,
and no sooner was he alone at Whitehall than Clarges came in to point
out the extremity of his danger. The wanton insult he had put upon
the liberties of the great municipal corporation must turn against
him not only every town in the kingdom, but the whole influence of
finance and commerce. It was the deliberate intention of the Council
that it should. Nothing could now save him but to return immediately
to the city and declare for a free Parliament. Monk would not listen.
Clarges in desperation began to urge the folly of being true to men
who did not keep their side of the engagement. He showed the general
how through the whole affair he had been treated with contempt. Ever
since his entry into London the Government had habitually called him
"Commissioner" Monk. They had denied him the very rank they themselves
had conferred upon him, and violated the commission on which he based
his obedience. The general began to waver. He felt the injustice
keenly, and confessed at last that something must be done to regain the
country's esteem. With that he dismissed his kinsman, saying that he
would take till Tuesday to consider what course he should adopt.

It was Friday. By Tuesday the news would be all over the kingdom and
he a ruined man. It was absolutely necessary to do something at once.
Presently Clarges returned with Dr. Barrow, the general's private
physician and judge-advocate, a man who had been of great service
throughout. Two or three officers accompanied them, with whom they
had privately agreed to brave the general's displeasure in one more
effort to save him from his rigid integrity. With the vehemence of
despair they poured out proof after proof of the Rump's iniquitous
intentions. Haslerig was in correspondence with Lambert. Ludlow, whom
Monk had accused of treason on Coote's information, still sat in
his place. A tumultuous petition in favour of strict abjuration had
been fomented and received by the House at the hands of Praise-God
Barebones himself, the ringleader of those very fanatics against whom
he had come to act. The Council was even then, it was said, considering
whether they should cashier him on the ground that in leaving the city
he had disobeyed its orders. After all his devotion it was more than
the honest soldier could endure, and reluctantly he consented to march
into the city next day. Having issued his orders accordingly, he told
his little council to prepare some excuse to the Parliament. No excuse
could be found. The general was worn out; for the last two nights he
had had no sleep; unable to resist any longer, he at last allowed a
letter to be prepared, setting out the real reasons of the movement and
demanding the House to keep its word. With that he went to bed, and all
through the night the four councillors that remained were busy with the
manifesto.

Early next morning the members came down to the House in the ordinary
course. The guards were all on duty as usual, and the Speaker proceeded
to take the chair. No sooner, however, was business begun than two of
Monk's colonels came in with a long letter signed by the general and
fourteen of his field-officers. In respectful but unequivocal language
it charged them with deliberately seeking to undo all the good that
had been effected by their restoration. It desired them, therefore, to
show their good intentions by settling the qualification of members
and issuing writs for the vacant seats by the next Friday. It reminded
them that the date fixed for their dissolution was at hand, and finally
informed them that with the intention of waiting for their "full
and free concurrence to these just desires of the nation," and of
preserving order till it was obtained, the army had retired into the
city.

The House was thrown immediately into a tumult of consternation. At the
very moment when their terrible slave seemed safely bound he had risen
up and snapped his chains like threads. Every kind of proposition was
made to recall him, but eventually Scot and Robinson were ordered to
carry a soft answer into the city. They found Monk with the Lord Mayor,
and in the lowest spirits. His reception had been more than cold; the
city had lost faith in him; he had broken the guiding rule of his life
and had lost faith in himself. His friends urged him to declare at once
for a free Parliament, but hoping against hope that he still might
not be forced to use the military power against the civil, he refused
to give a hint of his intended revolt till he heard the answer of the
House. When it came, shifty and meaningless, he doubted no longer.
Without heat he dismissed the messengers, but his officers insulted
them, and the mob hooted them out of the city. Once more himself, blunt
and determined, he stood up in the Guildhall to address the Council
which the Lord Mayor had consented to call at five o'clock. With manly
frankness he told them how he detested the work he had had to do. If
laying down his commission would have stopped it, he would gladly have
done so, but it would only have been put into unkinder hands. "But what
I have to tell you," he concluded, "is that this morning I have sent to
the Parliament to issue out writs within seven days for the filling up
of their House, and when filled to sit no longer than till May 6th,
that they may give place to a full and free Parliament."

The enthusiasm with which his words were received was indescribable.
As the news spread through the city the people gave way to the wildest
demonstrations of joy. Late as it was the bells were set a-ringing; the
soldiers, who had been shivering all day in their ranks on Finsbury
Fields, were brought in to be fed and fêted like kings. Bonfires were
soon blazing in every street, and anything that could do duty for an
effigy of the Rump was cast into them. To such a pitiable decrepitude
had the glorious Long Parliament lived.

As its doom was cried from end to end of England the same extravagant
scenes were enacted. Associations were everywhere formed to refuse the
payment of taxes till Monk's demands were complied with. Everywhere men
were worshipping the executioner of their doting liberator. His guards
kept watch at the Parliament's gates; from the city his sword was
stretched over it. In spite of himself, in spite of every effort to set
a lawful authority above him, George Monk was uncrowned King of England.

But the sternest of those who had made the renown of the greatest of
Parliaments were still in their places, and it was soon clear that they
meant to leave no stone unturned to dethrone their enemy. Persuasion
having failed they tried what force could do. A new commission for
the army was appointed, so arranged that Monk must always be in the
minority. They distributed arms to the Fanatics; they tampered with
his troops; they industriously spread reports amongst Fleetwood's army
that Monk and the city were in league to restore the King. Monk's
complete reply was to seize the arms of Cavaliers and Fanatics alike
and to refuse to allow the city to mobilise its militia. Then they fell
to coaxing again, with no more success. For Monk began to see a better
way of ridding himself of the power which had fallen on him than by
surrendering it on any terms to those who had so misused it.

Ever since he had established himself at Draper's Hall addresses and
petitions of all kinds had flowed in upon him. It soon appeared that
the great majority of them were in favour of escaping from the deadlock
by the restoration of the secluded members. To this the general had
always been averse. They were pronounced Royalists, who wished to
go back to the Isle of Wight treaty and the _status quo_ of 1648,
regardless of the vested interests that had arisen meanwhile. It meant
the resumption of the land-grants which had been made for the services
of those who had shed their blood for the good old cause, and that in
Monk's eyes meant a new civil war. Already the suspicions which his
understanding with the city had aroused were once more driving the
Republicans into the extended arms of Lambert's militarism, and he
seems to have at this time regarded the objections to the King's return
as insuperable. Milton with all his eloquence, and Haslerig with all
the ardour of his democratic faith, were blinding him to everything but
the "good old cause." "From my soul I desire a Commonwealth," he wrote
to Haslerig, and so long as the secluded members showed themselves
irreconcilable to the Republic he would have nothing to do with them.
Now, however, it was suggested to him that they were willing to come to
terms with the sitting members, and he permitted a conference between
the victims and the instigators of Pride's Purge.

The conference was so far satisfactory that the general entered into
direct negotiations with the secluded members on behalf of the army.
The chief points on which he insisted were a clear understanding
that nothing was to be done to change the form of government from
a Commonwealth; that the House should dissolve immediately it had
provided for the interim administration of the country; and that the
land-grants should be confirmed. On the first two points their answer
was satisfactory. The last they rejected on the ground that they
had no authority to pass such an act. Were any proof wanted of the
disinterestedness of Monk's conduct at this time, it is that in spite
of his undeniable love of money he gave up the point on which hung the
hard-earned savings of a lifetime. Yet even this risk he was prepared
to run for the good of the country he loved so well. Early on February
21st all the secluded members who were in town assembled at Whitehall.
There the general met them and made them a speech setting forth his
view of the situation. He told them that monarchy was not to be
thought of. The old foundations were so broken that they could not be
restored. If the nation found their long struggle was only to end in a
restoration they would never again be induced to rise for the liberties
of Parliament, and the cause of freedom would be lost for ever. Besides
a King meant bishops, and that the country would never endure again. So
he dismissed them to Westminster under the escort of his own lifeguard.

Almost the first act of the reinvigorated Parliament was to name Monk
"Captain-General under Parliament of all the land forces in England,
Scotland, and Ireland." By virtue of this exalted rank he became as
fully as the sovereign of to-day the constitutional head of the nation
in arms. Added to this he was made jointly with Montague general of
the fleet, and when the list of the new Council of State came out his
name appeared in large type across the top like a king's. Haslerig at
once saw his opportunity for a new departure. To destroy Monk's power
directly was no longer possible, but so exalted was his position that
could it be forced a little higher it would become insecure; or if the
worst came to the worst, a protectorate, or even a King George, was
better than the accursed Stuart.

This dangerous move on the part of the Commonwealth men soon began to
show itself. A pamphlet had already appeared setting out Monk's royal
descent. Now an insidious motion was made in the House to bestow on
him and his heirs for ever the palace of Hampton Court and all its
parks, and a Bill to give it effect was successfully brought in. But
before long a still better opportunity presented itself to Haslerig.
On March 13th the House, on the plea of leaving the nation absolutely
free, abrogated the "Engagement" which members had to take to be true
and faithful to the Commonwealth as established without King or House
of Lords. Monk was highly annoyed. He looked upon it as a breach of the
conditions on which the secluded members had been admitted. Jealous
of his principles, he had seated them with a high hand on the express
understanding that nothing was to be done to alter the constitution.
Practically the vote went far to make him and the army responsible
for the counter-revolution to which it directly pointed, and which
every day looked more unavoidable. Haslerig saw the moment had come
to play his trump card. With the concurrence of their party and a
number of officers, he, Scot, and some others repaired to Whitehall,
bent on inducing Monk to assume the protectorate. Clarges was first
sounded. He gave no encouragement, and the conspirators left him to go
straight to the lord-general. In alarm lest his brother-in-law's power
of resistance should be unequal to so splendid a temptation, Clarges
flew to the Council which was sitting in a room close by. In answer to
an urgent summons Ashley Cooper came out, and Clarges hurriedly told
him his alarming suspicions of what was going on in the lord-general's
apartments.

Meanwhile by every argument Haslerig and his friends were pressing
Monk to take upon himself the civil authority as well as the military.
It was clear, they said, from the late vote that a restoration was
intended, and a restoration meant his death, for like Stanley, who
enthroned the Tudors, he was too great to live. Monk told them to
fear nothing. The House merely wanted to leave its successor entirely
free, and as for taking upon himself the civil authority, the fate
of Cromwell's family was a warning to which he could not be deaf.
Haslerig urged that Cromwell was a usurper, while Monk would be
acclaimed by the nation. He himself was prepared to bring a petition
with a hundred thousand signatures. But the lord-general was obdurate,
and dismissing the conspirators he repaired to his place at the
Council. The moment he appeared Ashley Cooper got up and moved that
the room be cleared and the doors locked. Then he charged Monk with
having received some indecent overtures from seditious persons, and
demanded a full disclosure of their nature that the Council might
take steps accordingly. But the kindly old general had no mind to see
proscriptions begin. He had no idea of letting one party shed the blood
of another, and being fully determined to hold the balance true till
the nation's wishes could be weighed, he was not averse to letting the
Council see what volcanic forces he could explode upon them at a word.
"There is not so much danger in agitation as you apprehend," he said
when Ashley Cooper had done. "It is true some have been with me to be
resolved in scruples concerning the present transactions in Parliament,
but they went away from me well satisfied." And the Council had to
tamely receive the rebuke of the fearless look and laconic address
which their consciences were too guilty to resent.

So the incident ended, but not without one important result. As Gumble
had lost the general's ear from being suspected probably of too close
an understanding with his old patron Scot, so now Clarges, who had
succeeded him, was superseded by a new councillor. By the advice of his
brother Nicholas the general invited his kinsman Morice, the secluded
member for Plymouth, to come up and take his seat, and from this time
forward the slow-witted soldier had at his elbow the political sagacity
of this scholarly recluse.

It was indeed fortunate that he had, for he was not yet to be left in
peace. Haslerig immediately returned to the attack with a petition from
a number of officers begging the lord-general to sign a declaration
in favour of a Commonwealth and against a single person, and to get
the Parliament to do the same. In the army lay the great danger to
the country. Monk knew that the only chance of a settlement rested
on his ability to keep it in hand till the great voice of the nation
could speak its mind with overwhelming authority. Sensible of the
gravity of the situation, he told the deputation he would give them
an answer in Council of War on the morrow. He was confronted with a
danger as great as any he had yet encountered, and he met it with his
usual address. To the malcontents' arguments his spokesmen answered
that their fears and hopes were alike groundless. The writs ran in
the name of the Commonwealth, and every one who had served against
the Parliament was disqualified. In any case no good could come of an
attempt to put pressure on the House, for it would only dissolve itself
and plunge the nation once more into anarchy. And they need not hope
that the lord-general in that event would assume the government. They
would merely be left a prey to the common enemy. Monk confirmed all his
friends had said in the usual laconic speech with which he was wont
to close such discussions. Still they were not satisfied. An officer
continued to boldly argue that the qualifications were no safeguard,
as the new Parliament alone had power to decide whether they had been
observed. The argument was unanswerable. Monk abruptly cut it short
by saying that the meetings of military councils to meddle with civil
matters were subversive of discipline, and for the future he absolutely
forbade them. The army was still tingling with the blows by which the
terrible disciplinarian had broken it to his will. In various parts
of the country where insubordination had shown itself new ones had
been inflicted to remind them in whose grip they were. The new spirit
of modern discipline which Monk had begotten was already arising, and
Haslerig was once more baffled.

Still he was not defeated, and the last hours of the great Parliament
are obscured in the mists of another intrigue in which the indomitable
Republican played a mysterious part. A resolution had been passed that
the dissolution should take place on or before March 16th. As the time
drew near signs of a strong disinclination to abide by it began to
appear. Monk, who had retired to St. James's to keep as much in the
background as possible, began to have his suspicions. The original
understanding had been that they were to sit for about a week and do
nothing but arrange for a new Parliament and an interim Government,
and to take measures to keep the military Fanatics quiet. This merely
meant that they were to provide Monk with pay for the army and all that
was necessary for the preservation of order. They chose, however, to
interpret it by passing a Bill for the re-establishment of the militia,
and putting it into the hands of their own men. Not content with this
breach of faith, they began busying themselves with Church matters. In
a Presbyterian and Independent Parliament such questions were not to
be settled in an hour. When the writs came out, moreover, it was found
that they had been made returnable five days later than the specified
time. The Militia Bill had gone to the printers, but had not yet been
published. A committee was sent to inquire into the delay. It was
found that the Bill had been tampered with in the press. Haslerig was
suspected of being at the bottom of it. However that may be, it had
the effect he would have wished. Monk's suspicions were changed to
certainties. At St. James's it became clear that the Presbyterians were
manoeuvring to gain time, till they had the new militia in readiness
to support them in prolonging their sitting and recalling the King on
their own terms. Pym indeed had so openly advocated this course that
the general had had to send for him privately and warn him to hold his
tongue. It was just what Monk had feared, but though his own sympathies
were in favour of the moderate Presbyterians, he was not going to allow
that party to steal a march on the country any more than the Cavaliers
or Fanatics or Republicans, and he put his foot down at once.

When the House met on the 6th an ominous letter from the redoubtable
general was in the Speaker's hands. Like naughty children conscious of
their guilt, they voted that it should not be opened for the present
lest it contained a command for them to be gone. The previous day the
Bill for settling Hampton Court upon the general had been thrown out
on the third reading, at the instance of his friends, it was said, but
from what ensued it would seem that at least it was done with unseemly
alacrity; and if Monk did not approve of it, it is certainly strange
that it was allowed to proceed so far. At all events, as the alarming
letter lay unopened before them, they hurriedly voted the lord-general
£20,000 and the stewardship of the palace and all its parks. Then the
seal was broken and the general's message read. It assured them that he
would be responsible for the peace of the Commonwealth with his army,
and desired them to stop the reorganisation of the militia. What more
it contained we do not know. The immediate effect was that the House
despatched a committee to St. James's to give satisfaction to the irate
general, and voted to take the question of dissolution the first thing
after dinner.

As soon as the members met again after the mid-day adjournment the
committee reported that they had been to the general, and he was
satisfied with their explanations. But the House had been taught
a lesson, and in a few hours, by its own act, the most renowned
Parliament that ever sat was no more.



CHAPTER XIII

THE UNCROWNED KING


Monk had now led the country another distinct march along the thorny
path he was clearing with such anxious devotion, and Sir William
Davenant burst out into a long panegyric on the occasion. But at the
same time he reminded the general--

        "Yet greater work ensues such as will try
         How far three realms may on your strength rely."

The Parliament was gone, but the Council of State remained, and
there the patriotic struggle began again! The Presbyterian section
was strong, and outside it was backed by a powerful combination, at
the head of which were Northumberland, Manchester and the men of the
days to which the Self-Denying Ordinance put an end. These saw that a
restoration was inevitable, and felt that the only salvation of the
country lay in a renewal of the Isle of Wight treaty. Though baulked
by Monk's watchfulness in their attempt to get the King recalled by
a Presbyterian Parliament, they did not despair of outmarching the
Cavaliers and Opportunists. Their last chance was in a restoration
through the agency of the Council of State before the new Parliament
could meet, and again and again they pressed Monk to openly espouse
their cause. He only said he was in the service of the Commonwealth
and could not listen. The pressure grew greater, the party more
powerful, and he found it necessary to treat their proposals more
seriously, but still he gave no hope. In despair, at last, they
seized upon some expression he had let fall to send word to the King
that they had won him, and that they were prepared to enter into
formal negotiations for a restoration. A fortnight before the needy
voluptuary, weary of his exile, would have embraced the offer with
avidity, but now, to the astonishment of all concerned, the proposition
was coldly, almost contemptuously received. Something had happened of
which they were in entire ignorance, something so singular as almost
to startle us anew into an exaggeration of the personal influence in
history.

Up till now Monk's reputation as a Commonwealth man was practically
without a spot. By honestly doing his duty he had lived down every
suspicion. All but the most sanguine of the Cavalier agents considered
him hopelessly loyal to his trust. Best known of these was his cousin
Sir John Grenville, who, in spite of his notorious malignancy, was free
of St. James's on the ground of his relationship. But he had no better
luck than the rest. Fruitlessly he sought a private interview through
his old friend Morice. Night after night he stayed till every one was
gone, but "Good-night, cousin; 'tis late," was all he got for his pains
as the wary old general went off to bed.

Such was Monk's position when the Portuguese ambassador asked for an
audience. The recent treaty of the Pyrenees had left Portugal at the
mercy of Spain, and she had sent a special envoy to England to seek
assistance. For some time past the envoy had been in negotiation
with the Council of State for a renewal of Cromwell's alliance, but
the action of the Presbyterian leaders seems to have demonstrated to
him that its authority was moribund. The power of Monk and the now
inevitable recall of the King suggested to him a brilliant piece of
diplomacy, and he resolved to flash a dazzling proposal in the eyes of
the general. Father Russell, the secretary to the embassy, seems first
to have sounded Morice. But at all events, amidst the enormous mass of
business with which he exhausted his secretaries, Monk found time for
an interview.

The ambassador began by saying that without wishing to pry into the
general's intentions with regard to the King, he thought it only right
to tell him that Charles Stuart ought at once to get out of Spanish
territory. He was then at Brussels, and the envoy assured Monk that the
moment the Spaniards got wind of the national reaction in favour of a
restoration they would kidnap his person, and hold him as a hostage for
the retrocession of Jamaica and Dunkirk. Monk, who already had reason
to suspect the Spaniards of intriguing with the Irreconcilables through
the Jesuits, was much impressed, and the ambassador was encouraged
to explain his solicitude for Charles's safety. In the event of a
restoration, he said, his master was prepared, in return for military
assistance against Spain, to offer the King the hand of the Infanta,
and with her a dowry of an unheard-of sum of money, together with the
towns of Tangiers and Bombay. The advantages of the arrangement it was
needless to point out. It would give to England the command of the
Mediterranean and East Indian trade, and enable her to complete the
humiliation of her great rival which the heroes of the Armada had begun.

To a man of Monk's hot patriotism, who remembered Raleigh, who had
been moulded into manhood while Drake and Grenville and Hawkins were
living memories, the proposal was too dazzling to resist. His passion
for the expansion of England had never been quenched. His faith in it
as a panacea for all political trouble was as strong as ever. Before
him stretched the prospect of a glorious war, in which the fierce
ardour of the Fanatic soldiers would find worthy employ, and serve to
lift their country out of the slough into which they had plunged it
to a greatness beyond the dreams of their fathers. The fires of his
youth were rekindled. He may even have dreamed of ending his career in
wiping out the disgrace in which it had begun, and at the head of the
most powerful navy and the finest army in the world of outshining the
greatest of the great Queen's captains.

Whatever was the overmastering cause, the wary strategist suddenly
changed front, cast his scruples to the winds, and the Portuguese
ambassador immediately applied to the Council for a frigate to carry
him and his portentous secret to Lisbon. Monk had determined to
communicate with the King. Charles's danger was great and pressing.
At any moment a precipitate message from the Presbyterians to the
Court might give the Spaniard the signal to act; nor was the anxious
general without good ground to suspect that the French ambassador
was intriguing with the Manchester cabal, and that Mazarin had a
chance, if not an intention, of playing the same game. On the eve of
its accomplishment the long-wished-for settlement was in desperate
peril of wreck, and calm and swift as ever the old soldier set to
work single-handed to thwart the designs of the two most renowned
diplomatists in Europe.

Absolute secrecy was essential. The Portuguese negotiations with the
Committee of Safety were continued as if nothing had happened, and
the general looked round for a messenger on whom he could implicitly
rely. Morice could not be spared, and it was clear that Grenville was
the only man. After two ineffectual attempts to induce him to disclose
his secret mission to Morice, Monk was convinced of his discretion,
and granted him an interview. In the dead of night, shortly after the
dissolution, he was introduced into Morice's private apartments at St.
James's. The general appeared from a secret stairway, and Grenville
without preface or apology thrust into his hands the King's letters
which his cousin Nicholas had refused to take up to Scotland. Monk
started back, and asked him fiercely how he dared so play the traitor.

The Cavalier quietly replied that in the service of the King, his
master, danger had grown familiar to him. Overcome with his young
kinsman's coolness, and the memories of all he owed to his house, the
old general unbent at once and cordially embraced him. Then he read the
King's letter. In flattering terms it assured him of Charles's favour,
and of his intention to follow Monk's advice implicitly if he would
only espouse his cause. Grenville added what he had been authorised to
promise--a hundred thousand a year for him and his officers, any title
he chose, and the office of Lord High Constable. Monk replied that what
he did was for his country's good, and that he would not sell his duty
or bargain for his allegiance. Grenville pressed for a written answer,
but the wary soldier refused; he had intercepted too many letters
himself. Grenville was told he must take his reply by word of mouth,
and so was dismissed till the morrow.

For some time past the general had had confidential consultations
with the leaders of the various parties, with a view apparently of
finding a common ground on which a settlement might be made when the
new Parliament met. Lenthal, for whose ripe experience Monk seems
to have had a high regard, had suggested as the terms that would be
most satisfactory to the country, a general amnesty, the confirmation
of the land-titles, and liberty of conscience. These the general
now determined to make the basis of negotiation, and when Grenville
returned the following evening he found them incorporated in a pithy
memorandum. An urgent appeal to the King to leave Brussels for some
place in Holland was added, and a strict caution to Grenville that he
was not to ask for any reward for the service Monk was doing. After
reading over these instructions to his cousin several times till he had
them by heart, the general threw the paper into the fire. With final
orders not to leave Charles till he was out of Spanish territory, and
not even to treat of a reward, Grenville was dismissed, and left London
the same night. Thus it was that when the letter of the Presbyterians
surprised the exultant exiles in the act of preparing an answer to the
general's message of salvation, the King only laughed, and said, "I
perceive that these people do not know that I and General Monk stand on
much better terms."

Charles at once acted on the general's advice, and after seeing him
safely upon Dutch soil, Grenville on April 4th hastened back with
a dangerous burden. Besides official letters for the two Houses of
Parliament, the Council, the army, and the city, each containing a copy
of the famous Declaration from Breda, he carried an autograph letter
from the King to the general, together with a commission for him to
be Captain-General of the Three Kingdoms, and a signet and seal for a
Secretary of State, to be delivered to whomsoever the general chose.
The letter Monk accepted, but he had still enough of the true soldier
of fortune in him to refuse a commission incompatible with the one he
held. Nor would he take the seals, but told Grenville to hide himself
and his papers till Parliament met, and then act according to his
instructions.

The few Royalists who were in the secret were already in a state of
ecstasy. Mordaunt, who had been working successfully in other quarters,
had written over that nothing could now stop the King's return but an
attempt by Lambert on the Council or Monk. Fortunately Lambert was in
the Tower, but nevertheless the danger was great. As the designs of
the Presbyterians became known the army grew more and more restless.
Agitators began to persuade them they were to be cheated out of land,
arrears, and all the long struggle had won them. Monk saw his regiments
must be still further purged. To effect this Charles Howard of Naworth,
who commanded his bodyguard, together with Ashley Cooper and the old
Coldstreamers, prepared a petition to him that every officer should
be required, in view of the insubordinate spirit that was arising,
to sign an engagement to be true to the Government as it was then
constituted. The precaution was taken none too soon. A few days after
Grenville's return a letter was intercepted disclosing a conspiracy
of Anarchists and extreme Republicans as formidable as any with which
Cromwell had had to contend. It was written from Wales by Desborough,
the most formidable of the Fanatics, to a partisan in the city. The
idea involved the destruction of Charles and his brothers as well as of
Monk, and early in May the Fanatics were to rise in Wales, seize all
the towns on the Marches, and set up the Long Parliament at Shrewsbury.
By this masterly move they hoped to attract the Presbyterians, whom
they had been careful to make jealous of the Cavaliers. Already it
appeared they had the support of the Jesuits, who, as Monk knew very
well, were always ready to join hands with Independency. Till all
was ready the army was to be kept in a state of ferment and distrust
of its leaders, and the new House was to have "bones to pick," so as
to prevent the possibility of any decided step being taken towards
the King's recall. Vane was to lead the insurrection, and Haslerig's
support was expected. Already the city had quarrelled with the
Presbyterian leaders. Other signs of the conspirators' work appeared,
and Monk and the Council were taking their precautions when suddenly
the danger was doubled. On April 11th (or 10th), after Colonel Howard
had presented the officers' petition to the general, like a thunderclap
came the news that Lambert had escaped from the Tower.

It was at such a moment that Monk was greatest. Small as was his
opinion of his rival as a soldier, he knew Lambert was looked upon
by the malcontents of the army as their champion. It was a name to
conjure with, and the Fanatics had got the one thing wanting, a man
the soldiers would follow. Monk acted with all his old energy. Arrests
were made right and left. The new Engagement was presented to all the
regiments, and every officer who refused to sign was cashiered. Morgan
was reinforced in Scotland and the city militia mobilised. Still the
work had only begun. Lambert, after narrowly escaping arrest in the
city, got away into the country. The expected desertions began, and
Monk ordered the Engagement to be signed by rank and file as well as
officers. Whole troops and companies refused, and whole troops and
companies were disarmed and broken. As fast as one regiment was sound
it was despatched to remodel another; but hardly was the operation
complete than intelligence came that Lambert had appeared in arms in
the western Midlands. Instantly Colonels Howard and Ingoldsby--daring
Dick Ingoldsby, Cromwell's favourite _sabreur_, "who could neither
pray nor preach"--were hurried with two flying columns to the scene
of action; but that was not all. Monk was not a man to do things by
halves. The events of the next week it was impossible to foretell; he
could only prepare for the worst. By the elections the country had
already declared for the King, and, determined at all costs to save it
from Lambert and the Fanatics, Monk sent for Sir John Grenville. He
told him that if the rising were not immediately crushed the army might
revolt at any time. "In that case," he continued, "I shall publish my
commission from the King, and raise all the royal party of the three
nations." Sir John was instructed to hold himself in readiness to
convey the necessary orders to the leading Cavaliers, and that night
his brother Barnard was speeding towards Holland with the general's
warning to the King.

Monk's heroic remedy was destined to be untried. His energy had
once more saved the country from civil war. On Easter Tuesday, six
days after the alarm was given, a grand review of the mobilised
trained-bands was held in Hyde Park. From ten thousand throats the
great Royalist reaction found voice. Many cheered for the King
openly; the auxiliaries drank his health on their knees; George Monk
was the darling of the hour. As though nothing should be wanting
from his triumph, when the enthusiasm was at its highest a party of
travel-stained horse was seen moving along the outskirts of the park.
Right under the gallows at Tyburn they passed, and a new shout rent the
air; for in their midst rode Lambert with swordless scabbard.

His attempt was premature, and had been crushed at a blow. Pistol in
hand, Dick Ingoldsby had ridden him down as he galloped from the field;
but the great conspiracy was practically untouched. Desborough's agents
redoubled their activity. Monk's officers, sensible of the danger, came
to beg him to proclaim the King at once before Parliament met, and so
win the whole glory for himself and the army. But even the stirring
scene in the park could not shake his splendid self-control. He quietly
reminded them of their oft-expressed determination to keep the military
power in obedience to the civil, and of the Engagement they had so
recently signed. What they proposed, he said, was treason, and so he
dismissed them.

In spite of the danger which still threatened from the Parliamentary
delays, which he knew the Fanatics were fostering, he was determined to
proceed in a constitutional manner, and he arranged with his cousin,
Charles's accredited agent, the exact method of procedure. Parliament
met quietly on the 25th. Monk took his seat for Devon, having elected
to sit for his native county in preference to Cambridge University
by which he had been also returned. The Commons next day passed the
general a vote of thanks for his unparalleled services in having
conquered the enemies of Church and State without so much as "a bloody
nose." The few Presbyterian Lords who had met uninvited and unresisted
did the same, and Monk in his acknowledgment bluntly begged them to
look forward and not backward in transacting affairs, a hint they
were careful to take. While this was going on in Parliament Sir John
Grenville presented himself at the Council-chamber and asked to see
the lord-general. Monk came out and received from his cousin's hands
as from a stranger an official letter addressed "To our trusty and
well-beloved General Monk, to be by him communicated to the President
and Council of State, and to the officers of the armies under his
command." Monk at once ordered his guards to detain the messenger and
returned to the Council-chamber. There he broke the seal and handed
the letter unread to the president. The surprise was complete. No
one but Morice had an idea of what had been going on. Still it was
clear that the letter came from Charles, and after some debate it was
resolved that without being read it should be presented to Parliament
on May 1st, the day they had fixed for the business of the settlement
of the nation. Meanwhile Grenville was to be placed under arrest, but
the general interposed, saying that although a stranger he was a near
kinsman of his own, and that he would be responsible for his appearance
at the bar.

But it was not intended that Grenville should wait for the summons.
So soon as the Houses met he attended, and sprung upon them the
official letters he had for each. In the Commons Morice was on his
feet before the House could recover its breath, and moved that the
constitutional government of the country was by King, Lords, and
Commons. The motion was carried in a rush of enthusiasm, and Monk asked
leave to communicate the King's despatch to the army. It was granted.
Similar votes were passed in the Lords, and the Commonwealth was
constitutionally at an end. At a subsequent sitting, however, the House
came a little more to its senses. Sir Matthew Hale rose to move for a
committee to inquire what terms had been offered to the late King. Monk
saw, or thought he saw, the cloven hoof of the Sectaries. Here was one
of the "bones to pick" which he knew they meant to provide. He rose to
his feet immediately and solemnly warned the House not to presume on
the apparent quiet of the country. Incendiaries, he said, were on the
watch for a place to raise a flame: he had full information, which it
was not expedient to make public; but he could not answer for the army
or undertake to preserve order if the King were not sent for at once.
There is no reason to doubt not only that he believed what he said, but
that it was really true, and that the Sectaries and Republicans were
fast loosening his grip on the troops. Relying on Charles's promises to
himself, he saw no danger in his unconditional return, for, as he went
on to point out to the House, without troops or money the King would
be at their mercy. He concluded by moving that commissioners should be
immediately sent to invite Charles to England; "And the blood be on the
head of him," he cried, "who delays the settlement."[10]

His words were greeted with a thunder of applause. The old
constitutionalists saw that Monk's appeal was irresistible, and in
the excitement of the moment vote after vote was passed that went
beyond the most extravagant hopes of the most sanguine Cavalier. The
Revolution was at an end, and the lord-general's lady proceeded to
herald the new era by frankly turning to her old trade and purchasing a
stock of linen at wholesale prices on the King's account for Whitehall.

The rapid transformation that followed is a matter of history. Both
France and Spain saw the victim of their long intrigues suddenly
snatched from their grasp, and each made desperate efforts to coax
him back into its power. All their blandishments were in vain. Monk
had succeeded in his resolve that if the King came back it should be
without entangling the country in any engagements with foreign powers.
Mazarin and De Haro had been completely outwitted by the dull soldier,
and the cardinal died of vexation, it used to be said, in the following
year.

Early on May 25th Monk was roused at Canterbury with the news that the
fleet, which was bringing home the King, was in sight. There he had
just arrived, the idol of the swarms of gentlemen that were flocking
to Dover to welcome Charles and push their fortunes. He was worshipped
and tormented as the fountain of honour. In his pocket he had a long
list of importunate friends and enemies whom he had good-naturedly
promised to recommend for places in the Government. His bodyguard was
filled with noblemen. The very roads threatened to be blocked with
the multitude of high-born supplicants, till the old disciplinarian,
shocked at the indecency of the scramble, imperiously enrolled them
into regiments and insisted on some order being observed.

Monk was "the sole pillar of the King's confidence," and so soon as
the fleet reached Dover Roads Charles sent an express to say that he
would not land till he came to him. No sooner was the summons received
than he was on horseback again hastening to Dover. The critical moment
had come. Every one then agreed that it was Monk who had restored
the King, but how and why no one could exactly tell. As the boat
containing the royal party touched the beach they crowded round to see
the meeting of the two uncrowned kings, hoping that Monk's demeanour
would lift the mist in which the future was wrapped and show them who
was going to wield the sceptre. Charles himself was as nervous and
anxious as the rest. This formidable figure that had arisen so suddenly
and with such mystery, this man of darkness who had done as it were
single-handed what for years had defied the efforts of his own most
trusted councillors, and who yet forbade the very mention of reward,
the perplexed King could only fear.

On the beach they met, and to every one's surprise the soldierly
figure sank upon its knee and kissed the royal hand as deferentially
as though it were the king who had made the general. Startled into
an unwonted display of emotion Charles raised him, and embracing him
with genuine fervour called him his father. Both were too moved for
many words. Without more ado, amidst the shouts of the people and
the thunder of the guns from forts and fleet, the two walked side
by side to the royal coach. There the soldier of fortune took his
place with the King and his brothers; and the Duke of Buckingham was
clever enough, to every one's annoyance, to get possession of the boot
uninvited.

The transports of delight which marked the whole progress to Canterbury
were like a dream to Charles, so little could he understand it all.
His first sensation, when he had time to realise his position quietly,
was one of disgust at the indecency with which petitions for places
had been showered upon him the moment he landed. It was impossible to
satisfy them all, and the throne before him bid fair to be a bed of
thorns; but far worse was yet to come. Hardly was he alone when the
terrible general came into his room. Monk was no courtier, and his
Court manners were already exhausted. It was a visit of business, and
his way of doing business was aggressively direct. Without any preface
or apology he went straight to the point, and in his blunt rough way
told the King he could not do him better service than to recommend him
councillors who would be acceptable to the people. With that he handed
in his list of names. Charles nervously thrust it into his pocket,
thanked the general, and dismissed him. Clarendon was sent for, and
together they read the alarming memorandum. It contained the names of
but two Cavaliers. Charles was aghast. What did it mean? Was this the
solution of Monk's extraordinary conduct? Did he intend to be mayor
of the palace to a _roi fainéant_? Clarendon knew as well as Monk the
great revolutionary forces that were straining unseen beneath all
the enthusiasm. He knew they were only kept under by an army which
sympathised with them in its heart. The fleet was still riding off
Dover; Monk had only to hold up his finger, and in a few hours the King
would be on his travels again. The chancellor determined to get Morice
to find out what the general intended. In an hour he came back. The
general, he reported, was extremely pained that he had caused the King
any uneasiness. He held the royal commission, and was there to receive
orders, not to give them. The paper was merely a list of persons he
had promised to recommend. The King was at perfect liberty to accept
or reject them, only there were a few whom he heartily wished he could
make use of.

The episode was ended; the King breathed again, but he never forgot the
fright. Till the veteran passed away Charles never ceased to fear his
power and love the hand that used him so gently. Ashley Cooper, whom
Monk specially recommended, was sworn a Privy Councillor on the spot,
together with the general himself, Morice, and the Earl of Southampton;
but the King committed himself no further. Morice was also given the
seals which Monk had refused to confer in spite of a heavy bribe, and
the general himself received the Garter at the hands of the Dukes of
York and Gloucester. He was offered the choice of any of the great
offices of State, and he characteristically chose that of Master of the
Horse. It had little or nothing to do with politics, and the patronage
was extensive.

So the play was ended, and in a blaze of triumph such as England had
never known the King entered London in the midst of a magnificent
procession. Immediately behind him rode the lord-general beside the
obtrusive Duke of Buckingham. Never before or since has a subject
occupied such a position and arrogated less to himself. The ovation
with which the King and his deliverer were received was deafening.
Charles was perfectly dazed. He could hardly speak to his faithful
Parliament as Lords and Commons met him jostling one another in a
disorderly and excited mob. He recognised no one, and was so exhausted
with the din that he could not attend the Thanksgiving in the Abbey.
So as though the note of incapacity must be struck at the outset, he
turned aside and took refuge in Whitehall. Still the glory of the
conqueror was none the less, nor his satisfaction less complete.
He could lay his head on his pillow that night with the happy
consciousness that the burden of empire was lifted from his shoulders,
that his country was at peace again, and still more, which was dearest
of all to his great heart, that the triumph had been won without the
cost of a single life.



CHAPTER XIV

THE FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY


To follow Monk's career after the Restoration in detail would here
be out of place. It adds but little to our knowledge of the man and
labours under the ban of anti-climax. To the student of history and
government it is full of interest, yet so unobtrusive was his work that
it is now hard to trace beneath the shifting strife of politicians.
When men asked what after all this dull workday soldier had done that
the country should idolise him as it did, Secretary Nicholas, who knew,
was wont to say that even if he had not put Charles upon his throne, he
would still have deserved all the bounties the King had bestowed upon
him for his services after the Restoration.

It is a remark profoundly true. His finest work goes unrecorded. To
suppose that the whole nation acquiesced at once in the Restoration is
almost as great an error as to think that it was conquered by William
at Hastings. As yet Monk had but stolen a march on the Irreconcilables.
Numbers of ardent spirits belonging to the Anabaptists, the Fifth
Monarchy men, and the fighting section of the Quakers, together with
a large body of extreme Independents and Presbyterians, were only
waiting for an opportunity to tear the arch-malignant from his throne
again. They comprised all the fiery earnestness of the nation, they
breathed the exaggerated spirit of all that has made us what we are;
and when we see Mrs. Hutchinson at her heroic colonel's side as he lay
rotting in a living grave; when we think of Harrison's wife buying
his blood-stained clothes of the executioner, and, unable to believe
that God had suffered her saint to die with his work unended, watching
over them till he should come again,--the heart of Monk's profoundest
admirer must bleed that they fell under such a hand as his.

And the kindly heart of the old general bled for them, too. Of all the
libels that pursued him from the mouths of those who envied him the
royal favour, or suffered from the success of his patriotic policy,
none is greater than that which accused him of betraying his friends
and persecuting his enemies. Neither one nor the other is true. From
the moment his victory was assured he busied himself unflinchingly in
saving the vanquished from the hands of those who mistook animosity
for zeal. It was he who cried "Hold!" when the Convention tried to
enlarge the list of exceptions to the amnesty; it was he who stayed
the vengeance of the Cavalier Parliament by coming down to the House
with the words of the King in his mouth. Privately he worked as nobly.
Numbers of men were preserved upon some evidence the general had in
their favour. Lambert, Fleetwood, Lenthal, Milton, and the Cromwells
all found in him a friend at Court. Haslerig's fears he had laughed
away with a promise to save him for twopence. His persistent opponent
got off scot free, and the letter is still extant in which the
twopence was sent.[11] Most wanton of all are those who accuse him of
indecency in sitting on the Regicide Commission, forgetting that the
man who knew enough to hang half the kingdom could only escape from the
witness-box by a seat on the bench. It were better to remember that he
sat there with seven other adherents of the Revolution of every shade
of opinion, and to credit the King with a desire to make the commission
a representative one, and Monk with the intention of seeing fair play
to the men who were down.

The darkest cloud upon his memory is his alleged conduct in reference
to Argyle's trial. The charge against him is that, when the evidence
proved inconclusive, Monk produced some private correspondence upon
which the marquis was immediately convicted. The story has hitherto
rested on the testimony of Burnet, a notorious libeller of the
general's, and Baillie, who, like the rest of the Presbyterians,
could never forgive him for foiling their attempt to force upon the
country a covenanted King. No evidence could be more tainted, and it
is not surprising that the story has always been doubted, seeing how
inconsistent it is with the character of a man "who could not hate an
enemy beyond the necessity of war." Injudicious advocates have even
denied the fact altogether, but a bundle of Argyle's letters, including
some to Monk and one to his secretary, was certainly produced at the
last moment, and at once sealed the prisoner's fate. In consequence
of Charles's resolution not to go behind the Scotch amnesty of 1651,
the chief point in Argyle's indictment was that he had adhered to
the King's enemies, or, in other words, that he had opposed the last
Highland insurrection. The leaders of it were at once his judges and
his prosecutors, and they were determined to have their revenge. The
case closed and still there was no real evidence, when just as the
Court was deliberating its judgment a messenger thundered at the door
with the fatal packet from London. Regardless of all law the case was
reopened, the letters read, and Argyle condemned.

The question of Monk's share in the infamous proceeding rests on the
contents of those letters. They have now been found, and they acquit
him for ever. Only two are to him, and they contain no evidence
whatever beyond what had been already obtained in abundance. They are
confined to little more than civilities. The one to Clarke, Monk's
secretary, encloses a letter from Glencairn, and expresses Argyle's
intention of keeping his own country neutral. The other three are
to Lilburne, and they prove in the clearest manner that Argyle was
not only giving the English general information of the Royalist
movements, but was doing his best to prevent assistance going to the
insurgents.[12] These three letters are not endorsed as having been
"admitted" by the prisoner, and could any doubt remain that it was
these on which he was convicted, it would be removed by the subsequent
petition of Archibald the tenth Earl. For in that document he recites
that the fatal letters bore no "signature" that the marquis "had owned
them." The letters to Monk and Clarke are all endorsed with Argyle's
admission.[13]

Thus we may finally dismiss this wholly uncorroborated libel about
deliberately producing confidential letters. The compromising documents
are State Papers. That Monk knew enough to cost Argyle his life ten
times over is certain. It is equally certain that he did not tell
what he knew. The tardy production of the documents and the official
nature of their contents point to the natural explanation of their
appearance--a last despairing search in the archives of the Council of
State by the men who were thirsting for the great Covenanter's blood,
and hungering for his estates.

The libel has not even the excuse of provocation. Monk did not desert
the Presbyterians. He never, indeed, belonged to their party. He
professed their ecclesiastical opinions, but never embraced their
political creed. Nor did he fail to stand by them in the hour of need.
For not only did he give the leaders certificates of their services
to the Restoration, but when it was found impossible to prevent the
passing of the Bill of Uniformity, the "man that was all made of mercy"
joined with his old political opponent Lord Manchester in urging the
King not to enforce it in all its rigour. Nor did Charles finally
make surrender to the persecuting spirit of the Anglican majority in
Parliament till Monk was lying in state.

Still it is not to be wondered at that such stories pursued him. The
very loftiness of his station was enough to breed them in men less
fortunate. Besides his Garter, his Mastership of the Horse, and his
exalted commission, he was raised to the peerage by the title of
Duke of Albemarle, Earl of Torrington, and Baron Monk of Potheridge,
Beauchamp, and Tees. For a while he was also Lord Lieutenant of
Ireland. He was made a gentleman of the Bedchamber, and as though that
did not place him near enough to the person of the grateful King,
by his patent as Captain-General he was granted the extraordinary
privilege of entering the presence at any hour unannounced, and
remaining there till he was told to go. The King never ceased to treat
him as a father. Indeed Charles's unswerving devotion to his deliverer
is enough to redeem his character from the sweeping charge of baseness
that is sometimes made against it. As a member of the inner committee
of the Privy Council, the parent of all cabinets, Monk must have
constantly had to lecture and thwart his master, but never once did he
give a sign that the old duke's favour was declining.

By the King he was regarded as a father, and by the country as no less.
"The body of the people," said the Bishop of Exeter in his funeral
sermon, "loved and honoured him, nay (God forgive them), they believed
and trusted in him." There was never an awkward job to be done, or
failure to be rectified, or panic to be allayed, but the Duke of
Albemarle was sent for like an old family doctor. Was there a powerful
minister to be dismissed, the Duke had to break the news to him; the
Treasury accounts got into confusion, and the Duke was put on to the
commission to set them straight; the plague drove Court and Parliament
from the capital, and he was left behind sitting in Whitehall with his
life in his hand, seeing every one who presented himself day after day
at a time when brother would hardly speak to brother, or husband to
wife, and through the whole of that terrible period he managed in his
own person army, navy, treasury, and police. The Duke of York failed
as an admiral, and "old George" was asked if he would mind taking
command. The great fire destroyed half London, and threw the country
into a panic, and the King, in terror of a new revolution, had to beg
"the sole pillar of the state" to come up from the fleet and restore
confidence. The people openly said it never would have happened if the
general had been there; and when the Dutch sailed into the Thames men
seemed to think he had only to go down to Chatham for the enemy to
scatter like chaff.

As the country recovered from its fever of royalism, and began to look
back first without disgust, then with regret to the days of Oliver,
it saw in the Protector's old general the personification of all the
glories of the Commonwealth. He stood out in startling contrast to the
butterfly throng amongst whom he had his place, and the courtiers felt
it. Every one laughed at the stupid old soldier for his homeliness, his
mean establishment, his vulgar wife, and the dulness and lethargy which
grew on him with his disease. But every one feared him also. Every
request he pressed was granted as a matter of course. Even the King did
not dare or care to give him a command, but always sounded him through
Morice to ascertain whether he were willing to do what was wanted.

To detail his endless services is here impossible. His greatest work
was undoubtedly the disbanding of the great revolutionary army. Some
sixty thousand men had to be loosed upon a country seething with the
fanatical opinions which the army had made its own, and of which, in
spite of Monk's purging, it still was full. Statesmen knew it was the
great danger the restored monarchy had to face. To Monk the task was
committed; and he did it not only peaceably, but so well that the
disbanded soldiers, instead of being so many germs of disaffection,
earned themselves, through the facilities the general was careful to
provide for their employment, the reputation of being the best citizens
in the State.

Another debt which the nation owed to George Monk, whether for good
or ill it is hard to say, was entirely due to the confidence his
unblemished career had inspired. The Revolution had taken fire in
the heat of a quarrel as to which estate of the realm was to control
the army. That that dispute did not recur to mar the harmony of the
Restoration, and even to render it impossible, was due to the simple
fact that the nation trusted "honest George." As soon as it was known
that he held the royal commission of Captain-General not a word was
uttered on the question. In his hands the country knew that it was safe.

Thus it was that he became the Father of the British Army. It was
he who, in the few regiments that were kept on foot to overawe the
Sectaries, started its glorious traditions. It was he who gave it its
unequalled note of duty and devotion. It was he who once and for ever
pronounced that it must be a thing apart from politics, and taught it
that a soldier's greatest glory is to obey. In every characteristic
of which it is proudest, or for which we love it best, glitters the
stamp of its first commander's personality. Whether we see its officers
rising in the hour of peril above the personal jealousies which have
ruined so many of our neighbours' enterprises, or admire its dogged
obstinacy, its cheerful discipline, and its chivalrous impatience of
party strife; or whether we glory in the strange contempt it has ever
shown for its enemies, making a pastime of war,--we have but to turn to
see each finest trait reflected as in a mirror in the life of the man
who gave it breath. Strange, indeed, it is that a body in which _esprit
de corps_ has reached its noblest development should have forgotten as
it has the hero who begot it, and guided its first halting steps along
the splendid path it was to tread.

And yet the cause is plain enough. Like the rest of the great
characters of the English Revolution, Monk has till recently been only
visible through the literature of the Restoration. The navy was then
the fashion, and Monk was only known to the historians of the time as
an admiral. That aspect of him obscured every other. Society patronised
the navy; it even divided itself into two cliques on the subject, the
partisans of the general and the partisans of Lord Sandwich. Montague's
party included nearly all the Court, and unfortunately his two talented
placemen Pepys and Evelyn, whose testimony wherever their patron's
rival is concerned is so tainted with gratitude as to be almost
worthless. Yet from them he is chiefly judged, though they manifestly
will never say a good word for him if they can help it; and the Clerk
of the Check at least is never more happy than when he is pouring
lively contempt upon his seamanship, his duchess, and his dinners.

Monk, however, was secure in the favour of the King and the nation,
and, as has been said, it was to him they turned in their trouble after
the unsatisfactory naval campaign of 1665. The two admirals had come
out of it far from well. Both the Duke of York and Lord Sandwich were
accused of cowardice, and Monk had charged his rival with something
very like embezzling prize-money. In recognition of their services the
prince was told he could not be allowed to expose his life again, and
the peer was sent out of the way as ambassador to Madrid. It was, in
fact, resolved to supersede them by Prince Rupert and the lord-general.
The only question was, would the great man condescend to accept
the appointment? After sounding Morice the King with considerable
trepidation determined to try. In the autumn Monk was suddenly summoned
to Oxford from his post of danger at Whitehall, which with heroic
devotion he had never left since the plague broke out. In three days he
was back again, and with a throb of delight the country heard that the
Duke of Albemarle was to command the fleet next year. Though longing
for rest and enfeebled with disease, he had accepted the divided
command without a murmur. The only condition he made was that his wife
should not know of it till the last moment, for he was sure she would
be furious with him for going to sea again. But the appointment was too
popular to be kept a secret. The country was confident that nothing
could withstand the Duke of Albemarle. The news spread like fire, and
the fond old general had some bad half-hours before he sailed in the
spring.

On June 1st, while separated from Rupert, he met the Dutch fleet under
De Ruyter, outnumbering him nearly two to one. A council of war was
called, but the old general's antipathy for cowardice had grown to be
almost a monomania. He "hated a coward as ill as a toad," and every
officer there knew that the barest suggestion that savoured of prudence
would cost him his ship. Of course he attacked, and against such an
enemy the issue was a foregone conclusion. After a three days' fight
his fleet was cut to pieces. The wonder is that it was not annihilated.
It was only by a brilliant display of all his old mastery of naval
tactics that he got its shattered remains into the Thames.[14]

On the evening of the third day Rupert joined him, and on the morrow
he staggered out once more in the prince's company. Astonished as
the Dutch had been at the reckless daring of Monk with his fleet of
wrecks, they thought it impossible for him again to put to sea, and
had gone back to Holland to refit. About eight o'clock they were
sighted to windward, and at once fell into line and lay to to wait for
the English. Monk was for attacking immediately. Up till now he had
modestly given way to Rupert's greater nautical experience, but now
the prince wanted to slacken sail to let the Blue division close up as
it was far astern. Monk flew into a passion, but as even he could not
call the daring prince a coward, he had reluctantly to admit that he
was prudent. While the gay young Duke of Buckingham, who, not to be
out of the fashion, had joined the fleet as a volunteer, was laughing
to see Rupert for once in his life on the side of caution, the furious
old general was caught quietly loading a little pocket-pistol. It
was a curious weapon for a sea-fight, and Monk had been heard to say
that whatever happened he did not mean to be taken. It could only be
intended to blow up the ship as a last resource. "And therefore,"
says Buckingham, "Mr. Saville and I in a laughing way most mutinously
resolved to throw him overboard in case we should ever find him going
down to the powder-room."

The action which ensued was indecisive, but the advantage on the four
days was certainly with the Dutch. Still the old general would never
admit it. He always maintained he had inflicted greater loss on De
Ruyter than he had suffered himself. He did not dream he was beaten. He
accused the greater part of his officers, certainly with some reason,
of cowardice, and even of treachery. Not above twenty of them, he used
to say, had behaved like men; and in unshaken contempt of his brave
enemy he set to work desperately to refit and begin again more furious
and confident than ever.

The Dutch were out first, and lay in triumph in the mouth of the Thames
with a hundred sail. By incredible exertions Monk and Rupert had a like
number ready before the end of July, and dropped down the river to
meet the enemy. The Dutch retired to their own coasts and the English
gave chase. Early on the morning of the 25th the enemy were sighted to
leeward. They at once took the crescent formation to await the attack.
The English came on in grand order. Every ship took up its position in
splendid style, and by ten o'clock the whole line was hotly engaged.
Monk and Rupert on the _Royal Charles_, formerly the _Naseby_, singled
out De Ruyter, but even the boldness with which the Dutch admiral
accepted the engagement could not in the least reduce Monk's contempt.
The old general stood unmoved on the quarter-deck chewing his tobacco
as the Dutch flagship ranged alongside. "Now," said he, "will this
fellow come and give me two broadsides, and then he shall run." Two
broadsides were exchanged, but De Ruyter did not run, nor yet at the
third or fourth. For two hours the kings of the fleets fought hand to
hand in Homeric strife, till the _Royal Charles_ was a perfect wreck
aloft and had to fall astern. "Methinks, sir," said an officer to the
Duke, "De Ruyter hath given us more than two broadsides." The old
soldier only turned his quid to say, "Well, but you shall find him
run by and by." And so he did at last. Jordan had taken the generals'
place, and in half an hour they had bent new tackle enough to engage
again. But before De Ruyter gave way he had once more reduced the
_Royal Charles_ to such a state that her boats had to tow her out of
the line and the generals shifted their flags to the _Royal James_.

De Ruyter brought off his shattered fleet in such masterly style
that little was reaped from the victory. An attempt was made on the
following day to renew the action and complete the enemy's destruction.
But the wind was gone. The light airs that prevailed were useless
to the English ships, while they enabled the Dutch, which were of
shallower draught, to reach the refuge of their own shoals and
estuaries. However, the English kept the sea, and a few days later were
able to land on the island of Schelling, sack the town of Brandaris,
and burn a fleet of one hundred and fifty merchantmen that lay in the
river. By this one exploit damage to the extent of over a million was
done to the Dutch, and the Duke was applauded once more to the echo
by his exulting country. All August he cruised in the Channel, making
prizes, cutting out merchantmen, and preventing a junction between the
French and the Dutch; nor did he return till just in time to receive
the King's anxious suggestion that he should come to London to allay
the panic which the great fire had created. He was left free to come
or not as he liked, and much against his will he came to his master's
side. The effect of his presence was immediate, and Lord Arlington
considered that by his prompt return he had given the King his throne a
second time.

Disgusted as Monk was with the whole war and its indecisive actions;
with the weather that always interposed just as he was going to crush
his despised foes; with his young gentleman captains who only played
at fighting, and knew nothing of the sea but its slang; with the old
Commonwealth officers that would not do their duty against the great
Protestant Republic, there was yet worse in store for the old patriot.

An empty treasury suggested a change of front for the next year's
campaign. The Dutch clearly meant to bleed the King to death with
indecisive engagements. In order to rapidly and inexpensively bring
the enemy to terms, it was moved in the Council to put the country in
a state of defence, lay up the line-of-battle ships, and prey on the
Dutch commerce with privateer cruisers. Charles was against the idea,
and he was strongly supported by Monk and three others. Negotiations
for peace were on foot, and the old general had no notion of treating
except sword in hand. But the majority prevailed. The naval ports were
directed to be fortified and the dismantled ships protected by booms.
The idea was well enough, and had it only been carried out the Dutch
might speedily have been brought to their knees; but although twice in
the depth of winter the King went in person to inspect the progress of
the works for the defence of the Thames and Medway, next to nothing was
done. Disorder, insolvency, and corruption paralysed every effort, and
after insulting the Scotch coasts, De Ruyter on Sunday June 9th, 1667,
suddenly appeared off the Thames and threatened London itself.

A perfect panic prevailed. The banks stopped payment, the beacons were
fired, and once more every eye was turned on the Duke of Albemarle.
He was hard at work preparing to meet a descent on the threatened
counties. Two days before, on the first alarm, Lord Oxford had been
sent off to mobilise the militia in Essex, and Lord Middleton to do the
same in Kent, while a bridge of boats was being got ready about Tilbury
that the horse of either county might be rapidly moved to the support
of the other. With the river he had nothing to do. It was under the
Duke of York and the Admiralty, and Pett, one of the commissioners,
was in special charge of Chatham and the Medway. At daybreak, however,
on Monday morning the Dutch were seen at anchor at the Nore. A little
later they began to move up the river, and at noon the King sent for
Monk.

In four hours he was on his way to Chatham with the Guards to save
the fleet and dock-yard, and at his heels half the young bloods in
London were trailing pikes. As a soldier the lord-general's name had
never been so much as breathed upon, and in a burst of enthusiasm a
rabble "of idle lords and gentlemen, with their pistols and fooleries,"
started to their feet to follow the pattern of soldiership, the old
Captain-Lieutenant of "Vere's," their fathers' father-in-arms. By night
he reached Gravesend. It was practically defenceless. The batteries
were unarmed and unmanned, and he decided to halt the train of
artillery that was following him at the weak point till further orders.
There was time for little more. His rest was disturbed with the sound
of a furious cannonade from the direction of Sheerness, and at daylight
he hurried on to Chatham.

Here, thanks to Monk's perfect organisation and his officers' high
capacity, Lord Middleton was able to report the mobilisation of Kent
complete, and the Duke to write off a letter to the King full of cheery
confidence as to the result of any attempt of the Dutch to land. But
that was the end; the rest of the news was too desperate to tell.
Sheerness had fallen, and practically nothing had been done for the
defence of Chatham. There was no ammunition, not a gun was mounted,
the dock-yard hands had not been paid for months, and in desperation
nearly the whole of them had deserted. In the face of stringent orders,
the finest ships in the navy were still lying out unprotected in the
tideway; most of the officials were away busily transporting their
effects in the boats that had been provided for the defence of the
fleet, and Pett was panic-stricken. The only obstacle to the enemy's
attack was a chain which had been stretched across the river below
Upnor, but not a gun had been planted for its protection. There was not
even a gun-boat ready to prevent the Dutch removing it.

Monk instantly sent back to Gravesend to order on the artillery, and
then hurried to the chain to throw up flanking batteries. It was soon
discovered that there were not enough tools for the working-parties.
More were sent for, and answer came that they could not be delivered
without proper requisitions. Stickler as Monk was for orderly routine,
he was no man to see his country strangled with red tape. With a
sufficient force he marched to the stores, broke them open, and seized
everything he wanted.

His next care was to arm and man Upnor Castle opposite Chatham; and to
gain time till the works were complete he ordered ships to be sunk in
the channels below the chain. To Pett and the most skilful pilots the
work was committed, and Monk went to superintend the progress of the
batteries. Five ships were sunk, and then, that no precaution might be
omitted, Admiral Sir Edward Spragg was ordered to sound the channels
in person to make sure they were blocked. By this time the tide was
making fast and the Dutch were advancing on the flow. At the last
moment Spragg returned to say he had found a deep channel quite clear.
It was too late to stop it. Not a gun was yet in its place. In the
extremity of the danger the veteran's old Quixotic spirit was rekindled
and set every heart on fire. By the chain lay two guardships which had
been stationed there for its protection, together with the _Monmouth_,
which had just been fitted out to join the northern cruising squadron.
Unable to witness in inactivity the insult which his old despised
enemies were about to put on his country, he determined to man them
with his troops. In person he went on board the cruiser, resolved to
die in defence of his old flagship the _Royal Charles_, which lay a
little above helpless and dismantled, or at least determined not to
survive his country's disgrace. And with him went down into the mouth
of death fifty of the flower of England's dissolute Court, transformed
for an hour to heroes by the magic of the one stout old heart which
knew not how to flinch.

It would have been a worthy end could he and England's honour have
fallen side by side. But it was not to be. The newly discovered channel
had not been betrayed. The Dutch could not find it, and ere they had
cleared a way through the sunken ships the tide was spent. A respite
was won, but no rest. Sleepless and untiring the lord-general worked
on. Two ships were placed in readiness to sink within the chain, and a
large Dutch prize was ordered to block the fair-way between them. Pett
was told to get the _Royal Charles_ above the dock by the evening tide,
and Monk devoted himself to the batteries.

On Wednesday at break of day he was still hard at work. The redoubts
were well forward, but the _Royal Charles_ had not been moved. The
big Dutch prize was being worked to its place, but it was only to be
clumsily stranded on a shoal, and in spite of all Monk's efforts there
was still nothing but the chain to protect the hulks and the dock-yard
as the tide turned.

At ten the Dutch, having cleared the channel in the night, came
boldly on with tide and wind, and after a hard struggle seized the
guardships that Monk had manned. It was a moment of fearful anxiety as
they prepared to charge the boom. A fire-ship led the way. It stuck on
the top of it. A larger one followed, and with a crash the chain gave
way. Then through the very channel that the Dutch prize should have
blocked the enemy came on. In a few minutes two more guardships were
on fire, and the grand old _Naseby_ which had been launched twelve
years ago, "with Oliver on horseback in the prow trampling six nations
under foot;" which with changed name had proudly borne the King from
exile to a throne; which not a year ago had wrung from Europe a cry
of admiration while Monk's own flag was floating in tatters at its
masthead,--was a prize in the hands of the Dutch.

"This was all I observed of the enemies' action on Wednesday," wrote
the broken-hearted general with pathetic brevity when he reported to
Parliament. He turned away--but not to grieve. Resistance and revenge
were still his only thoughts. The other three great first-rates he sunk
at their moorings, and then the artillery arrived. On the ebb the Dutch
fell back with their prize, and all that day and the next morning the
work of defence went on. "Courage mounted with occasion." Monk's spirit
was upon them, and the fine lords and gentlemen toiled like cattle.
They strained at the drag-ropes, they staggered under burdens, and when
the hour was come they took their stand with ladle and linstock to work
the guns.

When on Thursday at noon the Dutch came on once more fifty guns,
besides those which had arrived from Gravesend, were in position, and
a furious fire was opened on them. The Dutch stood on in spite of it,
and engaged Upnor Castle and the batteries with the coolest effrontery.
Between the broadsides English deserters on board the enemy were heard
jeering at the Government that had cheated them of their pay, and
under cover of the intrepid attack the fire-ships passed on to where
the three great ships were sunk. They were still an easy prey. Their
upper works still towered above the water. Not a boat was to be found
to stop the progress of the fire-ships. Helpless but defiant still,
the old terror of the Dutch drew down to the shore, and taking his
stand, cane in hand, with his Guards at his back, where the fire was
hottest, watched the humbling of the flag which he and Blake and Oliver
had raised so high. The fire-ships had soon done their work: the three
finest ships that were left to England were a mass of flames; and no
ball had come to end the bitterness of the old general's shame.

The Dutch retired with the ebb, and Monk, whom since the morning the
anxious King had been summoning to his side to allay the panic in the
capital, went up to town. He had saved the dock-yard and two-thirds
of the fleet, but it did little to soothe his indignation, and he
reached Whitehall at two o'clock next morning storming at those who
had rejected his advice to fit out the fleet and treat sword in hand.
On his arrival a report was circulated that he had been made Lord High
Constable, and the immediate effect seems to have been a restoration
of confidence. Something like order and definite purpose was infused
into the work of blocking the Thames, and the Dutch thought fit to try
and surprise other ports. But everywhere they found to their cost that
they had no longer the Board of Admiralty to deal with. The hand of the
lord-general was at every point, and wherever they attempted to land
they were at once repulsed with loss. They returned to the Nore, but
it was only to find that their old enemy had now set his mark there
also. Thames and Medway bristled with guns and defensive works, and no
further offensive operation was attempted till peace was signed.

Whatever was the fact, the country believed that old George had saved
it from invasion and the miseries to which it had been exposed by
Charles's treacherous councillors. The _Monmouth_ incident was sung
in ballads, and the general was compared to his immortal kinsman the
great Sir Richard Grenville. Parliament met in a rage. Ravenous for a
scapegoat, they went into committee on the late miscarriages, and the
first result was a vote of thanks to the lord-general.

It was but little consolation to the old man. The disgrace at Chatham
had been a terrible blow to him, and his tremendous exertions had told
upon his shattered constitution. In despair he saw Charles return to
the lap of his mistresses, indolent and profligate and careless as
ever; and he fell back into the lethargy from which he had roused
himself at his country's call. For some time it had been growing
on him as his terrible disease advanced with secret strides. The
following year dropsy declared itself, but still he clung to his post
and occupied himself incessantly with the duties of his office. In
the autumn, however, it became so bad, and was so complicated by an
affection of the heart and lungs, that he was compelled to retire to
Newhall, his seat in Essex, for rest and change of air. The old rumour
that he had been poisoned was revived, and caused great anger among
the people;[15] for in him shone the only ray of hope, the only spark
of honesty amidst the night of treachery and corruption in which the
country seemed lost.

During the winter he grew worse, but still neglected all precautions.
His extraordinary constitution had bred in him a contempt for medicine
and an insuperable impatience of the restraints which medical treatment
entailed. At last, however, being almost unable to breathe, he was
induced to try some pills invented by an old soldier of his who had
set up as a doctor. Strangely enough he experienced immediate relief,
and by the end of the summer he returned to Whitehall thinking himself
entirely cured. Once more he threw himself into the business of State
with something of his old ardour, till with winter came a relapse to
warn men that his end was near.

Every one flocked to the Cockpit to pay his respects to the renowned
invalid and to look once more upon the embodiment of the iron age
that was past. Parliament was sitting, and the great strife between
the Houses over Skinner's case was at its height. Lords and Commons
called on their way from Westminster, and forgetful even then of all
but his country's peace, the stout old general, as he sat up in his
chair wearily gasping for breath, implored them to come to a good
understanding. Sir John Grenville, now Earl of Bath, was assiduous in
his attendance, and Gilbert Sheldon, the aged Archbishop of Canterbury,
who all through the plague had stood unflinching by the general's side,
prayed with him constantly. Even the laughter-loving King tore himself
almost daily from the society of Lady Castlemaine to endure for a
little while the distressing sight.

Though to the last Monk could not quite believe that his disease had
mastered him, yet he viewed the prospect of his approaching death with
the same quiet resolution with which he had looked it in the face a
hundred times before. He thought he still might live to staunch the
bleeding wounds of his country and see its King a man again. But if
he might not raise it, he at least could leave it with little regret
now it was sunk so low. For years his own life had been a pattern of
temperance and chastity, and the unblushing sin with which his great
achievement had deluged the country was the source of real and poignant
grief to him.

But one desire really bound him to life, and that was to see his son
married. Christopher was now a gallant of about eighteen years old, and
ever since his father was first taken ill a marriage had been in course
of arrangement between him and Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, granddaughter
of the Duke of Newcastle. Now at the eleventh hour the business was
completed, and on December 30th the young couple were brought to the
general's chamber. There beside his chair, as he sat gasping for life,
they were married, and the last faint effort of the arms that had
lifted a king on to his throne was to take the silly girl he had chosen
and place her feebly in the arms of the beloved son she was destined
to ruin. It was a tragic wedding indeed, and with it the doom of the
ancient house of Monk was sealed. No child blessed the ill-omened
union, and the extravagance of the half-witted bride soon drove the
young duke to those evil courses which dragged him to his untimely
end. The last of his race, he brought his father's name and titles
in dishonour to the ground. With the crown of the Stuarts fell the
coronet of Albemarle. For by strange irony, as William of Orange was
on the eve of sailing to dethrone the dynasty which the first duke had
so triumphantly restored, the last duke was dying in Jamaica a broken
gambler and a sot.

Happily ignorant of what he did, the dying father resigned himself
to the end which was now inevitable. At four o'clock on New Year's
morning, 1670, he insisted on being removed to his sitting-room. Just
ten years ago in the fulness of his strength he had risen from his
uneasy couch at Coldstream to order his vanguard to cross the Tweed on
their eventful march. Now as then, it was freezing bitterly, and no
fire was alight. Gumble hurried to his side. He saw death in the smile
which greeted him, and hastened to read the service for the Visitation
of the Sick. Later in the day the Sacrament was administered, and the
world knew the great man was in extremity. All Sunday they flocked to
take their leave of him in such numbers that it was impossible to keep
the room clear for a minute. It was the anniversary of the great day
of his life, the Second of January, when he himself at the head of
his army had crossed the Rubicon of the English Revolution, and like
Cromwell's, his victories seemed to cluster round his head even as
Death laid his hand upon it.

All night he lingered clinging to life. Erect in his chair, as the
people loved to remember, he defied even Death to make him bend, and
at the last received him sitting like a king. To the end he maintained
that he would live if only the bitter frost would loose its grip,
and till dawn he obstinately held his enemy at bay. Then as the sun
rose warm and bright and the frost began to break, the faithful
Coldstreamers, who were watching in the silent chamber, heard "a single
small groan," and the brave spirit of their chief was free at last.

With his George and Garter they hurried to the King. He received the
news with genuine feeling as one that had lost a father. All that he
owed to the stout heart that was still seemed to rush upon him like a
loud warning from Heaven, and for a moment to rouse the magnanimity
in which Monk had always believed. As though he could never reward
enough the ungrudging service of his most faithful subject, he
immediately despatched his Garter to Christopher, and announced that
he should personally arrange the funeral. It was conducted in almost
royal magnificence. After lying in state for some weeks in his armour
as Captain-General, with his golden truncheon in his hand, his body
was escorted to Westminster by the King in person in the midst of
a procession which for splendour had only been rivalled at his own
coronation, and there in Henry the Seventh's chapel it was laid with
the bones of kings. And that no touch might be omitted to mark the
exalted pedestal the majestic figure should occupy, the humblest of the
great ones who were permitted to grace his last parade was the man on
whom his cloak was to fall, the greatest of English generals, Ensign
John Churchill.[16]

But there it all ended. No monument rose to mark the spot where the
hero lay. The King was too poor, the new duke too profligate, and
the homely duchess died with broken heart while her lord still lay in
state. Nor have any been found since save distant kinsmen even to show
posterity where he lies. Neither the splendid regiment he founded, nor
the army he inspired, nor the country to whom at so slight a cost he
restored the priceless boon of monarchy, have thought him worthy of
the tribute that has been lavished on so many not more deserving. So
the memory of the man the King delighted to honour has fallen a victim
to the execration of the visionaries he crushed, to the reproaches
of the Puritans he restrained, to the rancour of the unjust stewards
he exposed, to the abjectness of the servile historiographers with
whom half his career was a subject tabooed, and to the jibes of the
profligates with whom he would not sin.

For a biographer to sum up a character so lovable and so misunderstood
is almost impossible without falling into exaggeration. It is better
that his story should close with a tribute dropped unwittingly from the
most unwilling hand that could have penned it. On October 24th, 1667,
for the last time the House awarded the sturdy old patriot their thanks
for his service; "Which is a strange act," wrote Pepys; "but, I know
not how, the blockhead Albemarle hath strange luck to be loved, though
he be (and every man must know it) the heaviest man in the world, but
stout and honest to his country."

In the sermon that was delivered at his funeral in Westminster Abbey
we have the opinion of a great dignitary of the Church who was fully
alive to his faults. Careful as he was that he should pronounce no
idle panegyric, he blessed him altogether, "He was the best father
in the world," said the Bishop of Exeter. "He was certainly the best
husband in the world, and he received the requital of faithfulness and
love. They twain were loving in their lives and in death they were not
divided.... He was the favourite of Parliament, the darling of the
Houses. They confided in him. They loved and revered him." And of the
King's affection he had as high a testimony to give.

Such abiding popularity as his is a thing not lightly won. It is
not for long that a great nation will honour a man unworthy of
its devotion. Through ten years of doubt and danger and shifting
party-strife he was the idol of the people of England, and if it is
asked why we should endorse the verdict of his contemporaries, the
answer is plain; he wound up the English Revolution. At the high tide
of profit he struck a balance and closed the account. Elsewhere, under
stars less fortunate than our own, no liquidator has arisen to do the
work which only a man of Monk's inflexible integrity and splendid
self-control can accomplish, and there we have seen Revolution drag on
a bankrupt existence with ever accumulating loss. From that Monk saved
us. It was what Cromwell strove to do and failed, for the hour was not
yet ripe. With an exactness which it is impossible to account for or
ignore Monk marked the hour when it came, gripped it with confident
decision, and the fate of the sovereign who tried to set at nought the
English Revolution proves the dull soldier was right.


_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, _Edinburgh_.



_Vols. I.-VII., with Portraits, Now Ready, 2s. 6d. each._

=English Men of Action.=

Seven volumes in the series are now ready, namely:--


 =General Gordon.= By Colonel Sir WILLIAM BUTLER.

The _Spectator_ says:--"This is beyond all question the best of
the narratives of the career of General Gordon that have yet been
published."

The _Athenæum_ says:--"As a brief memorial of a career that embraced
many momentous spheres of action, that included some of the principal
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 =Strafford.= By Mr. H. D. TRAILL.                   [_In November._


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       *       *       *       *       *

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FOOTNOTES:


[1] _A True and Brief Relation of the famous Siege of Breda_, etc., by
Henry Hexham. Delft, 1637.

[2] Captain Fox to Pennington, _S. P. Dom._ November 11th, 1641.

[3] The above details are from a letter amongst the Longleat MSS.,
written by one of Monk's captains to a correspondent in England, a
transcript of which was most kindly sent me by the Marquis of Bath.

[4] Edw. Butler to Rupert, _Hist. MSS. Rep. IX._, pt. 2, p. 440 b.

[5] Rinuccini to Card. Pauzirolo, October 31st, November 9th and 29th,
1648; _Memoirs_, p. 441; Walker's _Hist. of Independency_, vol. ii. pp.
150, 233-248; _Capt. Stewart's MSS._, _Hist. MSS. Rep. X._, iv. p. 82,
Col. Moore to Gen. Monck; "The Declaration of the British on the North
of Ireland, etc.," April 9th, 1649; _Br. Mus. E-556/15_; Council Book
during May and August 1649; Gilbert's app. to _Aphorismal Discovery_;
_Ormonde Letters_ and _Com. Journ._

[6] Monk's biographers give him the credit of originating the whole
movement, but in the face of Cromwell's despatch that is hardly
possible. Heath (_Chron._ p. 274) is probably right when he says that
"at the general's request he did draw and design the whole fight
and embattle the army," but he cannot be trusted in assigning the
whole credit of the victory to Monk. Hodgson, of course, attributes
everything to Lambert, and states that at the end of the Council
one stepped up and asked that he (Lambert) might have the conduct
of the army that day--an assertion which is only credible on the
supposition that Cromwell had previously taken the conduct out of his
major-general's hands. In view of Monk's recent feat at Haddington
this is not unlikely, and Lambert may well have been given the post of
honour at the head of the attack to reconcile him to the slight.

[7] Or June 1st. See for this and all the movements at this time
Jordan's Log of the _Vanguard_, printed in Penn's _Life of Penn._

[8] For the whole battle _cf._ the published despatches with the
principal flag-officer's account, Gumble's _Life_, p. 67; Vice-Adm.
Jordan's Log and Hoste's account, both printed in Penn's _Life of
Penn_; and the three despatches in _Cal. S. P. Dom._, August 2nd.

[9] Cf. Sir Phil. Warwick's opinion quoted by Kennett, _Hist._ iii. p.
217.

[10] Burnet, i. p. 88. There is no trace of Hale's motion in the
Journals, but it may have been purposely omitted. Mordaunt in his
letter to the king on May 4th seems to be ignorant of what Monk had
done, _Clar. S. P._ iii.

[11] In _Egerton MSS._, 2618, p. 71. Cf. _Hist. MSS. Rep. V._, p. 149,
and ii. p. 79; Broderick to Hyde, 7th May 1660, _Clar. S. P._

[12] Lord Garden says they were from Deane, but this must be a mistake.
See his letter to Stirling of Keir, May 24th, 1661, _Maxwell MSS._, 68,
_Hist. MSS. Rep. X._, i. p. 74.

[13] See _Argyle MSS._, 80-85, _Hist. MSS. Rep. VI._, p. 617.

[14] The statement that this action was fought without order rests on
a remark which Pepys said was made to him by Penn. Penn had quarrelled
with Monk, who was the terror of his party, and he was not present at
the action. Jordan wrote him an account of it, but his letter gives the
impression of a line carefully following the movements of the admiral
(Penn's _Life_, ii. p. 389; _Grumble_, p. 423), and this is confirmed
by the official account which gives in detail the whole of Monk's
elaborate manoeuvres, _S. P. Dom._ clviii. f. 46.

[15] Cf. Watts to Williamson, _S. P. Dom. Cal._, July 17th, 1667.

[16] _London Gazette_, April 30th, 1670, by which it also appears that
the King intended to raise a magnificent memorial to him.



Transcribers' Notes:


Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not
changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

Page 3: "sons of metal" was printed that way.

Page 92: "Gravesand" may be a misprint for "Gravesend".

Footnote 5 (referenced on page 68): "E-556/15" is not an arithmetic
expression and originally was printed without the dash. It appears to
be a catalog number. "Monck" in "Col. Moore to Gen. Monck" was spelled
that way.





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