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Title: Oliver Cromwell and the Rule of the Puritans in England
Author: Firth, C. H. (Charles Harding)
Language: English
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                         Heroes of the Nations

                    A Series of Biographical Studies
                      presenting the lives and work
                      of certain representative
                      historical characters, about
                      whom have gathered the
                      traditions of the nations to
                      which they belong, and who
                      have, in the majority of
                      instances, been accepted as
                      types of the several national


 _Heroes of the Nations_

            EDITED BY
       Evelyn Abbott, M.A.



                            OLIVER CROMWELL



  (_From a painting by an unknown artist, in the National Portrait

                            OLIVER CROMWELL


                          CHARLES FIRTH, M.A.

                        BALLIOL COLLEGE, OXFORD

                          G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
                          NEW YORK AND LONDON
                        The Knickerbocker Press

                            COPYRIGHT, 1900


                          G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS

                   The Knickerbocker Press, New York




This _Life of Cromwell_ is in part based on an article contributed by
the author to the _Dictionary of National Biography_ in 1888, but
embodies the result of later researches, and of recently discovered
documents such as the Clarke Papers. The battle plans have been
specially drawn for this volume by Mr. B. V. Darbishire, and in two
cases differ considerably from those generally accepted as correct. The
scheme of this series does not permit a discussion of the reasons why
these alterations have been made, but the evidence concerning the
battles in question has been carefully examined, and any divergence from
received accounts is intentional. The reader who wishes to see this
subject discussed at length is referred to a study of the battle of
Marston Moor printed in Volume XII. of the _Transactions of the Royal
Historical Society_ (new series), and to a similar paper on Dunbar which
will appear in Volume XIV.

The quotations from Cromwell’s letters or speeches are, where necessary,
freely abridged.

                                                                C. H. F.

 OXFORD, Feb. 6, 1900.



                               CHAPTER I
           EARLY LIFE, 1599–1629                           1

                              CHAPTER II

           THE PREPARATION FOR THE CIVIL WAR, 1629–1640   19

                              CHAPTER III

           THE LONG PARLIAMENT, 1640–1642                 47

                              CHAPTER IV

           THE FIRST CAMPAIGN, 1642                       69

                               CHAPTER V


                              CHAPTER VI

           MARSTON MOOR, 1644                            102

                              CHAPTER VII

           NASEBY AND LANGPORT, 1645–1646                121

                             CHAPTER VIII

           PRESBYTERIANS AND INDEPENDENTS, 1642–1647     142

                              CHAPTER IX

           ARMY AND PARLIAMENT, 1647–1648                164

                               CHAPTER X

           THE SECOND CIVIL WAR, 1648                    193

                              CHAPTER XI

           CROMWELL AND THE KING’S EXECUTION, 1648–1649  207

                              CHAPTER XII

           THE REPUBLIC AND ITS ENEMIES, 1649            232

                             CHAPTER XIII

           IRELAND, 1649–1650                            255

                              CHAPTER XIV

           CROMWELL AND SCOTLAND, 1650–1651              276

                              CHAPTER XV

           THE END OF THE LONG PARLIAMENT, 1651–1653     300

                              CHAPTER XVI

           THE FOUNDATION OF THE PROTECTORATE, 1653      326

                             CHAPTER XVII

           CROMWELL’S DOMESTIC POLICY, 1654–1658         346

                             CHAPTER XVIII

           CROMWELL’S FOREIGN POLICY, 1654–1658          370

                              CHAPTER XIX

           CROMWELL’S COLONIAL POLICY                    390

                              CHAPTER XX

           CROMWELL AND HIS PARLIAMENTS                  409

                              CHAPTER XXI

           THE DEATH OF CROMWELL, 1658–1660              433

                             CHAPTER XXII

           CROMWELL AND HIS FAMILY                       453

                             CHAPTER XXIII

           EPILOGUE                                      467

           INDEX                                         487





 OLIVER CROMWELL                                          _Frontispiece_

     [From a painting by an unknown artist, in the National Portrait

 THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL, HUNTINGTON                                        6

                    [From Pike’s _Oliver Cromwell_.]

 ELIZABETH, THE WIFE OF OLIVER CROMWELL                                8

                      [From a drawing by W. Bond.]

 CROMWELL’S HOUSE, ELY                                                28

                          [From a photograph.]


                    [From Pike’s _Oliver Cromwell_.]

 JOHN PYM                                                             48

                      [From a miniature by Cooper.]

 ROBERT DEVEREUX, EARL OF ESSEX                                       78

               [From Devereux’s _Lives of the Devereux_.]

 PRINCE RUPERT, K.G.                                                  80

 [From a painting by Sir Peter Lely, in the National Portrait Gallery.]

 JOHN HAMPDEN                                                         88

                   [From Nugent’s _Life of Hampden_.]

 MAP OF THE EASTERN ASSOCIATION                                       90

 EDWARD MONTAGUE, EARL OF MANCHESTER                                 100

             [From Birch’s _Heads of Illustrious Persons_.]

 CROMWELL CREST                                                      101

 MAP OF THE BATTLE OF MARSTON MOOR                                   106

 SIR THOMAS FAIRFAX                                                  122

                  [From the painting by Gerard Zoust.]

 MAP OF THE BATTLE OF NASEBY                                         128

 HENRY IRETON                                                        168

  [From a painting by Robert Walker, in the National Portrait Gallery.]

 PEMBROKE CASTLE                                                     194

                          [From a photograph.]

 MAP OF THE PRESTON CAMPAIGN                                         198

 CHARLES I.                                                          228

                        [From an old engraving.]

 SIR HENRY VANE (THE YOUNGER)                                        246

 [From a painting by William Dobson, in the National Portrait Gallery.]


 THE SEAL OF THE “TRIERS”                                            278



 A CROWN-PIECE OF THE PROTECTOR, ISSUED IN 1658                      278

               [From Henfrey’s _Numismata Cromwelliana_.]

 MAP OF THE BATTLE OF DUNBAR                                         282

 MAP OF THE BATTLE OF WORCESTER                                      292

 REV. JOHN OWEN, D.D.                                                306

  [From a painting, possibly by Robert Walker, in the National Portrait

 BUST OF CROMWELL, ATTRIBUTED TO BERNINI                             312

                  [In the Palace of Westminster, 1899.]

 CROMWELL COAT-OF-ARMS                                               325

 OLIVER CROMWELL                                                     326

                 [From the painting by Sir Peter Lely.]

 JOHN LAMBERT                                                        328

  [From a painting by Robert Walker, in the National Portrait Gallery.]

 JOHN MILTON                                                         378

                    [From an engraving by Faithorne.]

 THE GREAT SEAL OF THE PROTECTOR                                     432

               [From Henfrey’s _Numismata Cromwelliana_.]



 OLIVER CROMWELL                                                     454

    [From a miniature by Cooper, in the Baptist College at Bristol.]

 RICHARD CROMWELL                                                    462

                      [From a drawing by W. Bond.]

 HENRY CROMWELL                                                      466

                      [From a drawing by W. Bond.]



                            OLIVER CROMWELL

                               CHAPTER I
                               EARLY LIFE

“I was by birth a gentleman living neither in any considerable height
nor yet in obscurity,” said the Protector to one of his Parliaments.
Cromwell’s family was one of the many English families which rose to
wealth and importance at the time of the Reformation. It owed its name
and its fortune to Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, the minister of Henry
VIII., and the destroyer of the monasteries. In 1494, Thomas Cromwell’s
sister Katherine had married Morgan Williams, a wealthy brewer of
Putney, whose family sprang from Glamorganshire. Her eldest son Richard
took the surname of Cromwell, entered the service of Henry VIII., and
assisted his uncle in his dealings with refractory Churchmen. Grants of
land flowed in upon the lucky kinsman of the King’s vicegerent. In 1538,
he was given the Benedictine priory of Hinchinbrook near Huntingdon. In
1540, the site of the rich Benedictine abbey of Ramsey and some of its
most valuable manors were added to his possessions. Honour as well as
wealth fell to his lot. At the tournament held at Westminster on May
Day, 1540, to celebrate the espousals of Henry VIII. and Anne of
Cleves,—a marriage which was to unite English and German
Protestantism,—Richard Cromwell was one of the six champions who
maintained the honour of England against all comers. Pleased by his
prowess with sword and lance, the King gave him a diamond ring and made
him a knight.

Six weeks later fortune turned against the all-powerful Earl of Essex.
He had pushed forward the Reformation faster than the King desired and
bound the King to a woman he detested. “Say what they will, she is
nothing fair,” groaned Henry, and suddenly repudiated wife, policy, and
minister. On June 10th, Thomas Cromwell was arrested in the Council
Chamber itself and committed to the Tower on the charge of high treason.
“He had left,” it was said, “the mean, indifferent, virtuous, and true
way” of reforming religion which his master trod. In his zeal to advance
doctrinal changes, he had dared to say that if the King and all his
realm would turn and vary from his opinions, he would fight in the field
in his own person with his sword in his hand against the King and all
others; adding that if he lived a year or two he trusted “to bring
things to that frame that it should not lie in the King’s power to
resist or let it.” On July 28th, Cromwell passed from the Tower to the

Few pitied him and only one mourned him. Sir Richard Cromwell, said
tradition, dared to appear at the Court in the mourning raiment which
the King hated, and Henry, respecting his fidelity, pardoned his
boldness. He retained the King’s favour the rest of his life, was made a
gentleman of the Privy Chamber and constable of Berkeley Castle, got
more grants of lands, and died in 1546.

Sir Richard’s son Henry built Hinchinbrook House, was knighted by Queen
Elizabeth, whom he entertained during one of her progresses, and was
four times sheriff of Huntingdonshire. As marshal of the county he
organised its forces at the time of the Spanish Armada, raised, besides
the four soldiers he was bound to furnish, twenty-six horsemen at his
own cost, and called on the trained bands to practise “the right and
perfect use of their weapons,” and fight for “the sincere religion of
Christ” against “the devilish superstition of the Pope.” In their
mixture of military and religious ardour his harangues recall the
speeches of his grandson. People called him “the golden knight” because
of his wealth and his liberality, and he matched his children with the
best blood of the eastern counties. One daughter was the mother of
Major-General Edward Whalley, one of the Regicides; another married
William Hampden, and her son was John Hampden.

Of Sir Henry’s sons, Oliver, his heir, was a man who from love of
ostentation pushed his father’s liberality to extravagance. When James
I. came to England he was received at Hinchinbrook, “with such
entertainment as had not been seen in any place before, since his first
setting forward out of Scotland.” James made him a Knight of the Bath at
the coronation, and paid him three other visits during his reign.

Robert, Sir Henry’s second son, inherited from his father an estate at
Huntingdon, worth in those days about £300 a year, equal to three or
four times as much now. He sat for Huntingdon in the Parliament of 1593,
filled the office of bailiff for the borough, and was one of the
justices of the peace for the county. Robert Cromwell married Elizabeth,
widow of William Lynn, and daughter of William Steward of Ely. Her
family were well off, and she brought with her a jointure of £60 a year.
The Stewards were relatives of the last prior and first Protestant dean
of Ely, who had obtained good leases of Church lands, and were farmers
of the tithes of the see. Tradition, which loves curious coincidences,
has connected them with the royal House of Stuart that their descendant
overthrew, but history traces their origin to a Norfolk family
originally named Styward. Oliver, the future Lord Protector, was the
fifth child of Robert Cromwell, and the only one of his sons who
survived infancy. He was born at Huntingdon, on April 25, 1599, baptised
at St. John’s Church in that town on April 29th, and christened Oliver
after his uncle, the knight of Hinchinbrook. Little is known of his
boyhood. A royalist biographer says that he was of “a cross and peevish
disposition” from his infancy, while a contemporary panegyrist credits
him even then with “a quick and lively apprehension, a piercing and
sagacious wit, and a solid judgment.”

Stories are told of his marvellous deliverances from danger, and of
strange prognostications of his future greatness. It was revealed to him
in a dream or by an apparition “that he should be the greatest man in
England, and should be near the King.” Another story was that he had
acted the part of a king in a play in his school days, placing the crown
himself upon his head, and adding “majestical mighty words” of his own
to the poet’s verses. These are the usual fictions which cluster round
the early life of great men. All that is certain is that Cromwell was
educated at the free school of Huntingdon under Dr. Thomas Beard—a
Puritan schoolmaster who wrote pedantic Latin plays, proved that the
Pope was Antichrist, and showed in his _Theatre of God’s Judgments_ that
human crimes never go unpunished by God even in this world. Beard was an
austere man who believed in the rod, and a biographer describes him as
correcting the manners of young Oliver “with a diligent hand and careful
eye,” which may be accepted as truth. But these disciplinings did not
prevent pupil and master from being friends in later life.

At the age of seventeen, Cromwell was sent to Cambridge, where on April
23, 1616, he was admitted a fellow commoner of Sidney Sussex College.
The College, founded in 1598, was one of those two which Laud
subsequently complained of as nurseries of Puritanism. Its master,
Samuel Ward, was a learned and morbidly conscientious divine; a severe
disciplinarian, who exacted from his scholars elaborate accounts of the
sermons they heard, and had them whipped in hall when they offended.
Cromwell did not distinguish himself, but he by no means wasted his time
at Cambridge. He had no aptitude for languages. Burnet says he “had no
foreign language but the little Latin that stuck to him from his
education, which he spoke very viciously and scantily.” When he was
Protector he remembered enough Latin to carry on a conversation in that
tongue with a Dutch ambassador.

Another biographer tells us that Cromwell “excelled chiefly in the
mathematics,” and his kinsman, the poet Waller, was wont to say that the
Protector was “very well read in the Greek and Roman story.” His advice
to his son Richard bears out this account of his preferences. “Read a
little history,” he wrote to him; “study the Mathematics and
cosmography. These are good with subordination to the things of God.
These fit for public services for which a man is born.” With Cromwell,
as with Montrose, Sir Walter Raleigh’s _History of the World_ was a
favourite book, and he urged his son to read it. “’Tis a body of
history, and will add much more to your understanding than fragments of

Cromwell’s tutor is said to have observed with great discrimination that
his pupil was not so much addicted to speculation as to action, and
royalist biographers make his early taste for athletics and sport a
great reproach to him. One says: “He was easily satiated with study,
taking more delight in horse and field exercise.” Another describes him
as “more famous for his exercises in the fields than in the schools,
being one of the chief matchmakers and players of football, cudgels, or
any other boisterous sport or game.”



  (_From Pike’s “Oliver Cromwell.”_)

How long Cromwell remained at the university is not known, but it is
certain that he left it without taking a degree. Probably he quitted
Cambridge prematurely on account of the death of his father, who was
buried at All Saints’ Church, Huntingdon, on June 24, 1617. For a time
Cromwell stayed at Huntingdon, no doubt helping his mother in the
management of the estate and in the settlement of his father’s affairs.
Then he went to London to acquire the smattering of law which every
country gentleman needed, and which one whose position marked him out as
a future justice of the peace and member of parliament could not do
without. “He betook himself,” says a contemporary biographer, “to the
study of law in Lincoln’s Inn; that nothing might be wanting to make him
a complete gentleman and a good commonwealthsman.” Though his name does
not appear in the books of that society, the fact is probable enough,
and sufficiently well attested to be accepted.

Three years after his father’s death, Cromwell married, on August 22,
1620, at St. Giles’s Church, Cripplegate, Elizabeth Bourchier. She was
the daughter of Sir James Bourchier, a city merchant living on Tower
Hill and owning property at Felstead in Essex. It is probable that
Cromwell’s wife brought him a considerable dowry, for the day after
marriage he contracted, under penalty of £4000, to settle upon her, as
her jointure, the parsonage house of Hartford in Huntingdonshire with
its glebe land and tithes. Elizabeth Cromwell was a year older than her
husband, and is traditionally said to have been a notable housewife. In
spite of royalist lampooners she was, if her portraits may be trusted,
neither uncomely nor undignified in person. Her affection for her
husband was sincere and lasting. “My life is but half a life in your
absence,” she writes to him in 1650. “I could chide thee,” says Cromwell
in answer to a complaint about not writing, “that in many of thy letters
thou writest to me, that I should not be unmindful of thee and thy
little ones. Truly, if I love you not too well, I think I err not on the
other hand much. Thou art dearer to me than any creature; let that

After his marriage, Cromwell settled down at Huntingdon and occupied
himself in farming the lands he had inherited from his father.
Two-thirds of the income of the estate had been left by Robert Cromwell
to his widow for the term of twenty-one years, in order to provide for
the maintenance of the daughters, so that Oliver’s means during the
early years of his married life must have been rather narrow. It was
understood, however, that he was destined to be the heir of his mother’s
brother, Sir Thomas Steward, and in 1628 another uncle, Richard
Cromwell, left him a small property at Huntingdon. Ere long there was a
proof that Cromwell had earned the good opinion of his neighbours, for,
in February, 1628, he was elected to represent his native town in the
third Parliament called by Charles I. The choice was partly due to the
position of his family and its long connection with the borough, but
more must have been due also to Cromwell’s personal character and
reputation, since the local influence of the Cromwell family, thanks to
the reckless extravagance of its head, was already on the wane. In 1627,
Sir Oliver to pay his debts had been obliged to sell Hinchinbrook to Sir
Sidney Montague, and had retired to Ramsey. He had represented the
county in eight Parliaments, but he sat for it no more, and the
Montagues were henceforth the leading family in Huntingdonshire.



  (_From a drawing by W. Bond._)

Cromwell’s entry upon the stage of English politics took place at the
moment when the quarrel between Charles I. and his Parliaments became a
complete breach. To Henry VIII. Parliaments had been the servile tools
with which he used to work his will in Church and State. To Elizabeth
they had been faithful servants, obedient though sometimes venturing to
grumble or criticise. During her reign, the House of Commons had grown
strong and conscious of its strength. The spoils of the monasteries had
enriched the country gentry, and the development of local government had
given them political training, while the growth of commerce had brought
wealth to merchants and manufacturers. Into upper and middle classes
alike the Reformation had put a spirit which began by questioning
authority in matters of religion, and went on to question authority in

It was in religious matters, naturally, that this spirit of opposition
first revealed itself. Henry VIII. had separated the English from the
Catholic Church, not in order to alter its doctrine, but in order to
make himself its master. The doctrinal change which Thomas Cromwell had
prematurely attempted, Somerset and Northumberland carried out in the
reign of Henry’s son. The only result of the reaction under Mary was to
inspire most Englishmen with a passionate hostility to the faith in
whose name the Queen’s bonfires had been kindled. Elizabeth restored
Protestantism, and re-established the control of the State over the
Church. She called herself “Supreme Governor” instead of “Head of the
Church,” but kept all the essentials of the supremacy which her father
had established. To conciliate the English Catholics she made the
doctrine and ritual of the National Church less offensively Protestant,
but to impose her compromise she was obliged to use force. Year after
year the penalties inflicted upon Catholics who refused to conform
became heavier, and their lot was made harder, but thousands remained
invincibly constant, and preferred to suffer rather than deny their

Not only did the enforcement of the Elizabethan compromise fail to
suppress Catholicism, but it created Puritanism and Protestant
Nonconformity. Puritanism represented from the first “the Protestantism
of the Protestant religion.” The aim of those who called themselves
Puritans was to restore the Church to what they thought its original
purity in doctrine, worship, and government. Some remained within its
pale, content to accept the rule of bishops and the supremacy of the
Crown so long as doctrine and ritual were to their liking. Others, who
desired a simpler ceremonial and a more democratic form of government,
sought to transform the Anglican Church to the model of that of Scotland
or Geneva, and were the predecessors of the Presbyterian party of
Charles the First’s time. A small band of extremists separated
altogether from the National Church, and founded self-governing
congregations, which defined their own creed and chose their own
ministers. But though Independency sprang up first in England it made
few converts, and never throve till it was transplanted to Holland or
New England.

Elizabeth suppressed nascent Presbyterianism, and persecuted with equal
vigour Catholic recusant and Protestant separatist. But within the
National Church, in spite of repressive measures, the Puritan party grew
continually stronger, while Parliament became more aggressively
Protestant, and more eager for Church reform. While the Queen lived, no
change in the ecclesiastical system was possible. When she died, wise
men counselled her successor to adopt a different policy: to try
comprehension instead of compulsion, and to make concessions to
Puritanism. James refused. “I shall make them conform themselves,” was
his answer, “or I shall harry them out of the land.” He began his reign
by authorising new canons which enforced more rigid uniformity, and by
driving three hundred ministers from their livings. The main cause of
his breach with his first Parliament was his refusal to restrict the
authority or to reform the abuses of the ecclesiastical courts.

The Church policy of James aggravated the divisions he should have tried
to heal; his foreign policy ran counter to the national traditions of
his subjects as well as their religious prejudices. It was an axiom with
Englishmen that England’s natural allies were the Protestant states of
Europe, and that it was her duty when occasion demanded to come forward
as the champion of Protestantism against the Catholic powers. But for
more than ten years James made a close alliance with Spain his chief
object in European politics, partly with the laudable aim of putting an
end to religious wars, partly in the hope of paying his debts with the
dowry of the Spanish Infanta. For the sake of this alliance he sent
Raleigh to the block, declined to help the German Protestants, offered
to suspend the penal laws against the Catholics, and forbade Parliament
to discuss foreign affairs. The general joy which hailed the breaking
off of the Spanish match revealed the depth of the hostility which the
King’s schemes had excited.

During the same years, the King’s attitude towards English institutions
called into life a constitutional opposition. His theory of monarchy
found expression in persistent attempts to extend the power of the Crown
and diminish the rights of Parliament. Backed by a judicial decision
that the right to tax imports and exports was a part of the royal
prerogative, James imposed new customs duties by his own authority, and
dissolved his second Parliament when it voted them illegal. Members were
imprisoned for their utterances in the House of Commons, and Parliament
was forbidden to debate mysteries of State or matters touching the
King’s government. When the House asserted its right to freedom of
speech James replied that its privileges were derived from the grace and
favour of his ancestors, and erased the protest, which claimed that the
liberties of Parliament were “the undoubted birthright and inheritance
of the subjects of England.”

Such a policy seemed to proceed from a formed design to destroy English
freedom. Throughout Europe, absolute monarchies had risen on the ruins
of national liberties, and now the same fate threatened England. When
Charles I. succeeded his father, he found the nation he had to govern
not only discontented, but also full of suspicion. “We are the last
monarchy in Christendom that maintains its rights,” said a parliamentary
orator in 1625, and the distrust and fear created by the pretensions of
James flung their shadows across the path of his son.

Charles I., with his royal bearing and his kingly graces, seemed fitter
to win back the hearts of his subjects than James, who lacked both
majesty and manners. But he was as devoid of sympathy for the nation he
governed as his father had been; as prone to cherish chimerical schemes,
and as blind to facts. James had left him a courtier instead of a
statesman to be his guide, and Charles gave Buckingham as complete trust
as if he had possessed the experience of Burleigh or the wisdom of

At the moment when the new reign opened, the rupture with Spain had
given both Charles and his minister a factitious popularity. But on both
foreign and domestic affairs King and Parliament speedily disagreed.
Parliament was eager for war with Spain, but not ready either to furnish
funds for a European coalition against the House of Hapsburg, or to buy
the alliance of France by repealing the penal laws against English
Catholics. It granted the King money to fit out a fleet, but its refusal
of a more liberal supply, and its open declaration of want of confidence
in the King’s minister, brought the session to a sudden close.

Buckingham hoped to justify himself by success, and launched forth on
the sea of European politics with all the boldness of an adventurer. He
sent an expedition to sack Cadiz and to capture the Spanish plate-fleet.
He promised subsidies to the King of Denmark for his campaigns in
Germany. He courted popularity with the Puritans by repudiating the
engagements made to France in the King’s marriage treaty, and
endeavouring to pose as the protector of the Huguenots. But when a
second Parliament met there was nothing but a record of failure to lay
before it. The expedition to Cadiz had ended in disaster and disgrace.
“Our honour is ruined,” cried Sir John Eliot to the Commons, “our ships
are sunk, our men perished, not by the sword, not by the enemy, not by
chance, but by those we trusted.” All blame fell on the man who had
monopolised power, but the King forbade Parliament to call his servant
to account, and put a stop to Buckingham’s impeachment by a second

During the next two years Charles tried the “new ways” he had threatened
to adopt if Parliament declined to supply his necessities. A forced loan
of £300,000 was levied, and those who refused payment were, if rich,
imprisoned; if poor, impressed. There were schemes for raising an excise
to support a standing army, and Ship-money to maintain a fleet. Judges
were dismissed for denying the legality of the forced loan, and divines
promoted for declaring it sinful to refuse payment. But abroad failure
still dogged the King’s foreign policy. In Germany the King of Denmark
was crushed because Charles could not pay the promised subsidies. The
French alliance ended in quarrels which grew into a war with France.
Buckingham’s expedition to the Isle of Rhé ended in a more ruinous
failure than the expedition to Cadiz. “Since England was England,” wrote
Denzil Holles, “it received not so dishonourable a blow.” Unable to
continue the fight with France and Spain without money, Charles was
forced once more to appeal to the nation.

Charles the First’s third Parliament met on March 17, 1628. It opened
its proceedings with a debate on the grievances of the nation, and
almost the first speech Cromwell heard in the House must have been
Eliot’s appeal to his brother members to remember the greatness of the
issue before them. “Upon this dispute,” said the spokesman of the
Commons, “not alone our goods and lands are engaged, but all that we
call ours. Those rights, those privileges that made our fathers freemen
are in question. If they be not now the more carefully preserved, they
will render us to posterity less free, less worthy than our fathers.”
The House voted the King supplies, but made their grant dependent on the
redress of grievances. Then followed the drawing up of the Petition of
Right, declaring arbitrary imprisonment and taxation without the consent
of Parliament henceforth illegal, and at last the Commons, by the threat
of impeaching Buckingham again, wrung the acceptance of their petition
from the reluctant King.

In the interval between the first and second session of the third
Parliament, Buckingham died by Felton’s hand, but his death did not put
an end to the quarrel. Charles became his own prime minister, and made
evident to all men that the King’s will, not the favourite’s influence,
was the source of the policy against which the Commons protested. The
beginning of the second session, in January, 1629, was marked by a new
dispute about taxation. The Commons asserted that the levy of tonnage
and poundage without its grant, and the continued collection of the new
customs duties imposed by James I., were contrary to the Petition of
Right. The King declared that these were rights he had never meant to
part with, and persisted in exacting them despite the votes of the
House. Louder still grew the cry against the High Church clergy and the
ecclesiastical policy of the King. It was not only of sermons in favour
of absolute monarchy or innovations in ritual that the Puritan leaders
complained. The dispute about ceremonies had now developed into a
dispute about doctrine too. The milder theories about justification and
election—known as Arminianism and favoured by the High Church
clergy—seemed to Puritans to be sapping the foundations of Protestantism
and paving the way for Popery. The King endeavoured to put an end to
doctrinal disputes by silencing controversial preaching; the Commons
demanded the suppression of Arminianism, and the punishment of all who
propagated views deviating from what they regarded as Protestant

It was during these religious disputes that Cromwell first took part in
the debates of the Commons. Inheriting the traditions of a family that
owed everything to the Reformation, trained by a Puritan schoolmaster
and at a Puritan college, he could take only one side, and he raised his
voice to swell the attack upon the friends of Popery in the Church. The
House was discussing some charges against Dr. Neile, the Bishop of
Winchester, when Cromwell intervened with a story showing that prelate’s
leaning to popish tenets. A certain Dr. Alablaster, said Cromwell, had
“preached flat Popery” in a sermon before the Lord Mayor, and when Dr.
Beard, the next preacher there, came in turn to deliver his sermon,
Neile sent for Beard, and “did charge him as his diocesan not to preach
any doctrine contrary to that which Dr. Alablaster had delivered.” Beard
nevertheless persisted in refuting his predecessor, and was reprimanded
by Neile for his disobedience.

Before the charges against Neile and other like-minded prelates were
brought to a conclusion, and before the remonstrance of the Commons
against the King’s ecclesiastical policy was perfected, Charles put an
end to the sitting of Parliament.

Ere it separated, the House of Commons, at Eliot’s bidding, affirmed
once more the principles for which it was fighting. Cromwell was one of
the defiant crowd who refused to obey the King’s orders for adjournment
till they had passed by acclamation Eliot’s three resolutions. Whoever,
it was declared, should bring in innovations in religion, or seek to
introduce Popery, Arminianism, or any opinion disagreeing from the true
and orthodox Church, should be reported a capital enemy to this kingdom
and commonwealth. Whoever counselled the levying of tonnage and poundage
without a parliamentary grant should also be held an enemy to his
country and an innovator in the government; and whoever willingly paid
those taxes was proclaimed to be a betrayer of the liberties of England.
The significance of the resolutions lay not merely in their challenge to
the King, but in the union of political and religious discontents which
they indicated. Elizabeth’s policy had called into being a religious
opposition. James had created a constitutional opposition. Under Charles
the two had combined, and from their alliance sprang the Civil War.

To themselves the parliamentary leaders seemed defenders of the existing
constitution in Church and State against the revolutionary changes of
the King. In reality the greatest innovation of all lay in the claim of
the Commons that Church and State should be controlled by the
representatives of the people, not by the will of the King. When that
claim was once made, the struggle for sovereignty was an inevitable and
irrepressible conflict.


                               CHAPTER II

For the next eleven years Charles ruled without a Parliament.
“Remember,” he had warned the Commons in 1626, “that Parliaments are
altogether in my power for their calling, sitting and dissolution;
therefore as I find the fruits of them good or evil, they are to
continue, or not to be.” He now announced that their fruits were evil,
and that henceforth it would be accounted presumption for anyone to
prescribe to him a time for the calling of another. Henceforth he would
govern by the authority which God had put into his hands, and so order
the state that his people should confess that they lived more happily
and freely than any subjects in the Christian world.

Taxation without parliamentary grant became thereafter the regular
practice. Tonnage and poundage were levied from the merchants as if the
right had never been disputed, and new impositions on trade were added
to the old. Obsolete laws were revived and rigorously executed. In 1630,
the law which required every person possessing an estate worth £40 a
year to take up the honour of knighthood was put in force, and fines to
the amount of £170,000 were levied on those who had omitted to comply
with it. In 1634, the ancient forest laws were revived. Lands were now
declared to be part of the royal forests which for three hundred years
had been outside their boundaries, and landowners were heavily fined for

The knighthood fines affected all the gentry and all men in easy
circumstances; the extension of the forests threatened chiefly the
nobility and persons of quality; the revival of the monopolies aggrieved
all classes alike. The King, it was calculated, got £38,000 a year from
the wine monopolists, the patentees received from the vintners £90,000,
and the vintners raised the price of wine to the consumers so that the
nation paid £360,000. And besides the wine monopoly there were
monopolies of soap, of iron, of tobacco, of salt, of gunpowder, and of
many other commodities.

On the one hand, the King’s financial measures discontented the nation,
and on the other they failed to meet the wants of the Government. In
1635, the ordinary revenue of the Crown was about £600,000, and the
King’s debts were about £1,200,000. When the safety of the seas and the
exigencies of foreign policy required a fleet, it became necessary to
resort to direct taxation, and Ship-money was invented. In 1634, it was
levied on the maritime counties only, and brought in £100,000; in 1635,
it was extended to the inland counties, and produced twice that amount.

It was useless to appeal to the law courts for protection or redress.
The judges, removable at the King’s pleasure, declined to arbitrate
between King and people, and preferred to regard themselves as the
servants of the Crown. When called upon to decide on the lawfulness of
Ship-money, their decision was avowedly dictated by political rather
than legal considerations. One judge declared that the law was the
King’s old and trusty servant, that it was not true that _lex_ was
_rex_, but common and most true that _rex_ was _lex_. Another asserted
that no acts of Parliament could take away the King’s right to command
the persons and the money of his subjects, if he thought a sufficient
necessity existed. It was well said that the reasons alleged by the
judges were such as every man could swear were not law, and that their
logic left no man anything which he might call his own. To enforce his
will, the King had at his disposal, besides the ordinary courts of law,
the exceptional courts which the Tudors had created. Their jurisdiction
was enlarged at the King’s pleasure. In 1632, the powers of the Council
of the North were increased. The Privy Council assumed legislative power
by its proclamations, “enjoining this to the people that was not
enjoined by law, and prohibiting that which was not prohibited by law.”
The Star Chamber enforced the proclamations by fine and imprisonment,
and punished opponents or critics with inordinate severity.[1] The fate
of Prynne, Burton, and Bastwick showed that no profession could exempt
its members from barbarous and ignominious penalties.[2] The fate of
Eliot and his friends proved that the privileges of Parliament were no
protection against the King’s vindictiveness.[3] There were Privy
Councillors who “would ordinarily laugh when the word liberty of the
subject was named,” and to wise men it seemed that the very foundations
of right were in danger of destruction.

Footnote 1:

  The Star Chamber was originally a committee of the King’s Council,
  which became a separate judicial body during the latter part of the
  sixteenth century. It represented the judicial authority of the
  Council, had larger powers than the ordinary law courts, and was not
  bound by ordinary legal rules in its procedure.

Footnote 2:

  William Prynne, a barrister, Henry Burton, a divine, and John
  Bastwick, a physician, were sentenced by the Star Chamber in 1637 to
  be fined £5000 apiece, to lose their ears, and to be imprisoned for
  life for attacks on the bishops and on ecclesiastical innovations.

Footnote 3:

  Eliot died in the Tower in November, 1632, a prisoner for his conduct
  at the close of the Parliament of 1629. He pleaded privilege and
  refused to own the jurisdiction claimed by the law courts. His friends
  submitted and were fined.

If Englishmen wished to know what the aim of the King’s ministers was
they had only to look across St. George’s Channel. “The King,” wrote
Wentworth from Ireland in 1638, “is as absolute here as any prince in
the world can be.”[4] Parliaments still existed, but the Lord Deputy
managed them as he chose, and, as Pym said, Parliaments without
parliamentary liberties were but plausible ways to servitude. Juries
existed, but when they gave verdicts against the Crown they were fined
for their contumacy. The highest officials and the richest noblemen felt
the weight of Wentworth’s hand, and submitted to do his bidding. Trade
increased, order reigned where it had never reigned before, and the poor
lived freer from the oppressions of the great than the poor in Ireland
had ever dreamt of doing. But not a vestige of self-government remained
save a few idle forms; the government was a machine in which all motion,
all force, came from the royal authority. The people had nothing to do
but to obey the King. “Let them,” said Wentworth, “attend upon his will,
with confidence in his justice, belief in his wisdom, and assurance in
his parental affections,” instead of feeding themselves “with the vain
flatteries of imaginary liberty.”

Footnote 4:

  Sir Thomas Wentworth was raised to the peerage July 22, 1628, became
  president of the Council of the North in the following December, and
  Lord Deputy of Ireland in January, 1632. He was created Earl of
  Strafford on January 12, 1640.

Amongst Englishmen the King’s use of his absolute power did not foster
this blind faith in his superior wisdom.

A vigorous foreign policy directed towards national ends might have
reconciled some of his subjects to the substitution of personal rule for
self-government. But Charles had no European policy. When he dissolved
his third Parliament he was at war with France and Spain, and want of
money obliged him to make peace as soon as possible. In European
politics, his only object was to procure the restoration of the
Palatinate to his sister and her children. For this he offered his
alliance simultaneously to Gustavus Adolphus and to Ferdinand II. For
this he negotiated with France and Spain as he negotiated a few years
later with Presbyterians and Independents. His policy was a series of
intrigues which failed, and a succession of bargains in which he asked
much, offered little, and got nothing. As it was purely dynastic in its
aim, and at once unprincipled and unsuccessful, it left him with no ally
in Europe.

One result it had, attributed by panegyrists to his wisdom, and held by
courtiers a compensation for the loss of freedom—England kept out of
war. “It enjoyed,” says Clarendon, “the greatest calm and the fullest
measure of felicity that any people for so long a time together had been
blessed with, to the wonder and envy of all the parts of Christendom.”
The Thirty Years’ War was turning fruitful Germany into a wilderness,
and its cities into heaps of ruins. All other countries were
impoverished or devastated by war, but England was, as it were, “the
garden of Christendom” and “the Exchange of Europe.” “Here,” sang a
poet, “white peace, the beautifullest of things, had fixed her
everlasting nest.” Never had the English Court been gayer, more
brilliant, more luxurious; never were masques and banquets more frequent
than during the crisis of Protestantism in Germany.

“Let the German drum bellow for freedom,” wrote the poet of the Court,
“its noise

             “Disturbs not us, nor should divert our joys.”

Puritans felt that these German drums were a call to England to be up
and doing. With anxious or exultant eyes, they followed each turn of
fate in the death-struggle of Catholicism and Protestantism. It cheered
Eliot’s prison in the Tower to think of the progress of “the work
abroad.” When Tilly fled before Gustavus at the Breitenfeld, Eliot cried
that now “Fortune and Hope were met.” When Gustavus fell at Lützen,
every Puritan’s heart sank within him. “Never,” wrote D’Ewes, “did one
person’s death bring so much sorrow to all true Protestant hearts—not
our godly Edward’s, the Sixth of that name, nor our late and heroic
Prince Henry’s—as did the King of Sweden’s at this present.”

It seemed to Puritans as if the same struggle between Protestantism and
Catholicism was beginning even now in England. While the foreign policy
of Charles seemed to them a cowardly desertion of Protestantism, his
ecclesiastical policy seemed an insidious attack upon it, and under
Laud’s influence the ecclesiastical policy of Charles was as uniform and
consistent as his European policy was feeble and irresolute.[5] To
himself, Laud appeared an eminently conservative reformer who sought to
enforce only the discipline of the Church and the ecclesiastical laws of
the State. His object was to bring the Church back to its true
historical position as a branch of the great Catholic Church, and to
purge it of the Calvinistic taint it had contracted since the
Reformation. Not averse to a certain freedom of speculation amongst
learned men, he sought to silence controversial preaching, and was
intolerant of diversity in the forms of worship. Unity of belief was
essential to the existence of a National Church, and the way to it lay
through uniformity, “for unity cannot long continue in the Church when
uniformity is shut out at the church door.” “Decency and an orderly
settlement of the external worship of God in the Church” was his own
definition of the ends for which he laboured.

Footnote 5:

  William Laud became Bishop of St. David’s in 1621, Bishop of London in
  1628, and Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633, but his predominant
  influence in the Church dated from the very beginning of the King’s

To the Puritans, Laud appeared an innovator and a revolutionary. Over
half the country the observances he sought to enforce had fallen into
disuse for years. Each restoration of an authorised form, every revival
of ancient usage, brought the Church nearer to Roman practice, and in
their opinion nearer to Roman doctrine. A bow was not an expression of
reverence, but a confession of idolatry; a surplice, not a few yards of
white linen, but a rag of Rome. Laud’s attempts to silence their
preachers aggravated their suspicion of his motives and confirmed them
in the theory that he was a papist in disguise.

Much of the hostility which Laud brought upon himself was due to the
means which he employed. The King’s authority as supreme governor of the
Church was the instrument by which the State could be used to carry out
the views of a clerical reformer, and he had no scruples about using it.
Laud’s reliance on personal government in matters ecclesiastical allied
him naturally with its supporters in things secular. Absolutism was with
Strafford a political creed, with Laud an ecclesiastical necessity. Each
needed the same tool: one to realise his dream of a well governed
commonwealth, the other to shape a Church that had grown half
Calvinistic into conformity with the Anglican ideal. Each had the same
violent zeal. “Laud,” says James I., “hath a restless spirit, and cannot
see when things are well, but loves to bring matters to a pitch of
reformation floating in his own brain.” Strafford described himself as
one “ever desiring the best things, never satisfied I had done enough,
but did always desire to do better.”

Laud and Strafford were alike in their impatience of opposition, whether
it rose from indolence, corruption, or conscience; whether it pleaded
legal technicalities or constitutional rights. Arbitrary though the
government of Charles was, it was not vigorous enough to satisfy these
two eager spirits. But Strafford’s power to give his views effect was
bounded by the Irish Sea, and outside the ecclesiastical sphere Laud’s
was hampered by conflicting influences. The correspondence of the
Archbishop and the Lord Deputy is full of complaints of the remissness
of the King’s other ministers, and of sighs for the adoption of a system
of “Thorough.”

Opponents of Ship-money and Puritans in general must be put down with a
strong hand. “The very genius of that people,” wrote Strafford, “leads
them always to oppose, as well civilly as ecclesiastically, all that
ever authority ordains for them, but in good truth were they rightly
served they should be whipped home into their right wits.” “It might be
done,” answered Laud, “if the rod were rightly used, but as it is used
it smarts not.” Thus they took sweet counsel together, never dreaming of
“that two-handed engine at the door” which waited to strike them both.

During these eleven years of arbitrary government, Cromwell’s life was
obscure, if not wholly uneventful. It was a period of unconscious
preparation for his future action, a quiet seed-time which bore fruit
hereafter. When the “great, warm, ruffling Parliament” of 1628 ended,
Cromwell returned to his little estate at Huntingdon and busied himself
with his farming. In May, 1631, he sold his property at Huntingdon for
£1800, and rented some grazing lands at St. Ives, about five miles
eastward, and farther down the Ouse. In 1636, Sir Thomas Steward of Ely,
the brother of Cromwell’s mother, died, and Oliver, whom his uncle had
made his heir, succeeded Sir Thomas as farmer of the Cathedral tithes.
He removed to Ely, where he lived in “the glebe house” near St. Mary’s
Church, which continued to be the residence of his wife and children
till 1647. His family now numbered four sons, Robert, Oliver, Richard,
and Henry; and two daughters, Bridget and Elizabeth, all born at
Huntingdon. Two more daughters, Frances and Mary, were born in 1637 and
1638. The house he occupied is still standing; in 1845 it was an

  “By no means a sumptuous mansion,” says Carlyle, “but may have
  conveniently held a man of three or four hundred a year, with his
  family, in those simple times. Some quaint air of gentility still
  looks through its ragged dilapidations. It is of two stories, more
  properly of one and a half; has many windows, irregular chimneys,
  and gables.”



  (_From a photograph._)

Some writers, more especially poets, have spoken of these years of
Cromwell’s life as a time given up entirely to domesticity and
agriculture. Marvell praises the Protector for an early abstention from
public affairs which was by no means voluntary:

              “For neither didst thou from the first apply
              Thy sober spirit unto things too high;
              But in thine own fields exercisedst long
              A healthful mind within a body strong.”

Elsewhere he pictures the ascent of the future general of the Republic:

                    “From his private gardens, where
                    He lived reservèd and austere,
                      As if his highest plot
                      To plant the bergamot.”

Yet even to these private gardens and sequestered fields the echo of the
German drums must have penetrated, and the Thirty Years’ War must have
stirred Cromwell as it stirred D’Ewes and Eliot. His later life suffices
to prove it. In 1647, when the English Civil War seemed over, Cromwell
thought of taking service in Germany himself. When he became Protector,
his European policy was inspired by the passions of the Thirty Years’
War. Its memories governed his attitude towards Austria and Sweden; he
thought that Leopold I. would be a second Ferdinand II., and dreamt of
finding a new Gustavus in Charles X. But to the Puritan farmer,
prescient of a future struggle, the war was not merely a spectacle but a
military education. Some of the best accounts of the battles and the
mode of fighting of Gustavus were published in England, and between 1630
and 1640 few books were more popular than _The Swedish Intelligencer_
and _The Swedish Soldier_. It cannot be doubted that Cromwell read these
narratives, and absorbed from them that knowledge of military principles
and military tactics which supplied for him the place of personal

  “I find him,” says a modern military writer, “at the very first
  entrance into the war acting on principles which past experience had
  established, following closely upon just that stage which the art of
  war had reached under Gustavus, using the very same moral stimulus
  which Gustavus had made so effective, using the very words on one
  occasion which Gustavus used on another, and indicating in various
  ways that he had most carefully studied the past, though he had not
  had the opportunity of doing any peace parade work.”

Cromwell watched the growth of arbitrary government in England with a
still keener interest. In 1630, he was one of the many gentlemen
prosecuted for omitting to go through the ceremony of knighthood, and
finally had to pay ten pounds for his neglect. Presumably he also paid
Ship-money, for there is no mention of his opposition to it amongst the
State papers. If he refused to pay, the sheriff doubtless distrained
upon his goods for the required amount, and there the matter ended. On
another question Cromwell came into conflict with the local authorities,
and was brought into collision with the King’s Council. Up to 1630,
Huntingdon had been an ancient prescriptive corporation, governed by two
bailiffs and a common council of twenty-four inhabitants who were
elected yearly. On July 15, 1630, the town obtained a new charter from
Charles I. “To prevent popular tumult,” the old common council was
dissolved, and the government of the town vested in twelve aldermen
elected for life, with a mayor, chosen annually out of the twelve, and a
recorder. An oligarchy replaced a democracy. The chief agent of this
change seems to have been Mr. Robert Barnard, a barrister who lived at
Huntingdon, had lately bought an estate at Brampton hard by, and
afterwards became Recorder of the town. The old common council had
consented to the change in the government of Huntingdon, but when the
terms of the new charter were examined a widespread discontent was
aroused. Complaints were heard that it gave the mayor and aldermen power
to deprive the burgesses of their rights in the common lands, and to
levy exorbitant fines on burgesses who refused municipal office.
Cromwell had assented to the change, and in the new charter he was
appointed one of the three justices of the peace for the borough. But he
thought these complaints well founded, and made himself the spokesman of
the popular dissatisfaction. Perhaps Cromwell felt that he had been
overreached by Barnard, whom in a later letter he significantly warns
against too much subtlety. In his anger he made “disgraceful and
unseemly speeches” to the new mayor and Barnard, and the corporation
complained to the Privy Council. On November 2, 1630, the council
committed Cromwell and one of his associates to custody. The case was
heard on December 1st and referred to the arbitration of the Earl of
Manchester, who, in his report, blamed Cromwell’s conduct, but ordered
the charter to be amended in three points to meet his objections. The
rights of the poorer burgesses were secured by an order that “the number
of men’s cattle of all sorts which they now keep, according to order and
usage, upon their commons, shall not be abridged or altered.” As to the
personal question Manchester’s report was:

  “For the words spoken of Mr. Mayor and Mr. Barnard by Mr. Cromwell,
  as they were ill, so they are acknowledged to be spoken in heat and
  passion and desired to be forgotten; and I found Mr. Cromwell very
  willing to hold friendship with Mr. Barnard, who with a good will
  remitting all the unkind passages past, entertained the same. So I
  left all parties reconciled.”

This quarrel was doubtless one of the reasons why Cromwell left
Huntingdon. At St. Ives and Ely, he showed the same zeal to defend the
rights of his poorer neighbours. In 1634, a company was incorporated for
the drainage of the fens round Ely, which were known as the Great Level.
The “Adventurers,” who were headed by the Earl of Bedford, were to be
paid by a share of the lands they rescued from the water, and in 1637
the work was declared completed, and the reward claimed. By these
drainage works the commoners lost the rights of pasturage and fishing
they had previously enjoyed, and Cromwell made himself the champion of
their interests against the “Adventurers.”

  “It was commonly reported,” says a complaint, “by the commoners in
  Ely Fens and the Fens adjoining, that Mr. Cromwell of Ely had
  undertaken, they paying him a groat for every cow they had upon the
  commons, to hold the drainers in suit of law for five years, and
  that in the meantime they should enjoy every foot of their commons.”

In 1638, the King intervened, declared the work of drainage incomplete,
and undertook to complete it himself, announcing that the inhabitants of
the district were to continue in possession of their lands and commons
till the work was really finished. Nothing else is known of Cromwell’s
part in these disputes except a vague story told in the _Memoirs of Sir
Philip Warwick_, that “the vulgar” grew clamorous against the scheme,
and that Mr. Cromwell appeared as the head of their faction. Warwick,
writing long after the events he referred to, assumed as a matter of
course that Cromwell opposed the King, and the mistake found easy

Some years later, Cromwell came forward in the same way to defend the
rights of his old neighbours at St. Ives. The waste lands at Somersham
near St. Ives had been enclosed without the consent of the commoners and
sold to the Earl of Manchester. When the Long Parliament met, the
aggrieved commoners petitioned the House of Commons for redress. The
Lords intervened with an order in favour of Manchester. The commoners
replied by proceeding “in a riotous and warlike manner” to break down
the hedges and retake possession. Then the Lords sent the trained bands
to reinstate Manchester, and Manchester issued sixty writs against the
commoners. Without seeking to justify the violence of the commoners,
Cromwell got the House of Commons to appoint a committee to consider the
rights of the case. Hyde, its chairman, was greatly scandalised by the
vehemence with which Cromwell advocated the rights of the commoners
before it. Cromwell “ordered the witnesses and petitioners in the method
of their proceeding, and enlarged upon what they said with great
passion.” He reproached the chairman for partiality, used offensive
language to the son of the noble earl who claimed the land, and “his
whole carriage was so tempestuous, and his behaviour so insolent,” that
the chairman threatened to report him to the House.

This persistent championship of the rights of peasants and small
freeholders was the basis of Cromwell’s influence in the eastern
counties. Common rights were something concrete and tangible, which
appealed to many who were not Puritans, and came home to men to whom
parliamentary privileges were remote abstractions. Every village Hampden
looked to Cromwell as a leader, and was ready to follow him. In 1643, a
royalist newspaper nicknamed him “The Lord of the Fens,” but his
popularity with the fenmen began long before the military exploits which
gained him the title.

In a more limited sphere Cromwell was well known as a zealous Puritan,
but his opposition to Laud’s ecclesiastical policy did not bring him
into any general notoriety. Williams, Bishop of Lincoln, was Cromwell’s
kinsman, and lived during these years at Buckden near Huntingdon. He was
wont to relate afterwards that his relative was in those days “a common
spokesman for sectaries, and maintained their part with great
stubbornness.” A part of Laud’s policy to which Cromwell was
particularly hostile was the suppression of lectureships. The Puritans
in the towns, discontented with the negligence of the established clergy
in preaching, or with their doctrine, clubbed together to support
lecturers, that is, clergymen whose sole business was preaching. Most
corporations maintained a lecturer, and in 1625 a small society was
formed for buying up impropriated tithes, and using the proceeds for the
payment of lecturers. Laud sought to suppress these lectureships, and in
1633 the Star Chamber dissolved the Feoffees of Impropriations, and gave
their patronage to the King.

At St. Ives or somewhere else in Huntingdonshire, there was a
lectureship which Cromwell was anxious to keep up. It had been founded
by some London citizens, and in 1636 was in danger of coming to an end
through the stoppage of their subscriptions. Cromwell’s first letter is
an appeal to a forgetful subscriber, worded with singular care and tact.
“Not the least of the good works of your fellow citizens,” he begins,

  “is that they have provided for the feeding of souls. Building of
  hospitals provides for men’s bodies; to build material temples is
  judged a work of piety, but they that procure spiritual food, they
  that build up spiritual temples, they are the men truly charitable,
  truly pious. Such a work as this was your erecting the lecture.”

He goes on to say that the lecturer is a good and able man, and has done
good work; help him therefore to carry it on.

  “Surely, it were a piteous thing to see a lecture fall in the hands
  of so many able and godly men, as I am persuaded the founders of
  this are; in these times, wherein we see they are suppressed, with
  too much haste and violence by the enemies of God his Truth.... To
  withdraw the pay is to let fall the lecture; for who goeth to
  warfare at his own cost. I beseech you therefore ... let the good
  man have his pay. The souls of God’s children will bless you for it
  and so shall I.”

The changes which Laud introduced in the externals of worship were as
abhorrent to Cromwell as the suppression of Puritan preaching. “There
were designs,” said Cromwell, looking back on Laud’s policy in 1658,

  “to innovate upon us in matters of religion, and so to innovate as
  to eat out the core and power and heart and life of all religion, by
  bringing on us a company of poisonous popish ceremonies, and
  imposing them upon those that were accounted the Puritans of the
  nation and professors of religion among us, driving them to seek
  their bread in a howling wilderness. As was instanced to our friends
  who were forced to fly to Holland, New England, almost anywhither,
  to find liberty for their consciences.”



  (_From Pike’s “Oliver Cromwell.”_)

A persistent tradition asserts that Cromwell himself thought of
emigrating to New England, and there are many grounds for accepting it
as true.

If he ever entertained such a design, it was probably between 1631 and
1636. When he left Huntingdon in May, 1631, he converted all his landed
property into money, as a man intending to emigrate would naturally do.
The cattle he bought and the lands he hired could be disposed of at
short notice. The time at which this took place renders it more
significant, for in 1630 and 1631 the Puritan exodus was at its height,
and most of the New England colonists came from East Anglia. In March,
1632, the Earl of Warwick granted the old Connecticut patent to Lord Say
and his associates, amongst whom was John Hampden. Nothing can be more
probable than that Cromwell should have thought of settling in a colony
of which his cousin was one of the patentees.

If Cromwell wished to emigrate, what was it that prevented him? The
eighteenth century story that he was on board one of the ships stopped
by order of council in May, 1638, is demonstrably false, for on the
petition of the passengers they were allowed to continue their voyage.
The contemporary story supplies a much more credible explanation. It is
that a kinsman died leaving him a considerable fortune, and this kinsman
is identified with Sir Thomas Steward, whose death took place in
January, 1636. A story which fits in so well with ascertained facts, and
is intrinsically so probable, should not be lightly put aside as a

There is another fact in Cromwell’s history during this period of which
one of his letters gives us evidence. If he had ever written an account
of his own early life, little conflicts with local authorities or any
alterations in his worldly fortunes would have seemed to us of less
moment than the change which took place within him. Before 1628 he had
become a professor of religion, and in all externals a Puritan, but by
1638 a formal acceptance of the Calvinistic creed had become the perfect
faith which casts out all fears and doubts. His conversion had been
followed by a time of depression and mental conflict which lasted for
many years. Other Puritans passed through the same struggle. Bunyan
relates how he “fell to some outward reformation in his life,” and his
neighbours thought him to be “a very godly man, a new religious man, and
did marvel to see such a great and famous alteration.” And yet for a
long time afterwards he was “in a forlorn and sad condition,” afflicted
and disquieted by doubts. “How can you tell if you have faith?” said the
inner voices. “How can you tell if you are elected? How if the day of
grace be past and gone?” “My thoughts,” he says, “were like masterless
hell-hounds; my soul, like a broken vessel, driven as with the winds,
and tossed sometimes headlong into despair.”

By some such “obstinate questionings” Cromwell, too, was haunted and
tormented. An unsympathetic physician who knew him at Huntingdon
described him as splenetic and full of fancies; another whom he
consulted at London wrote him down as “valde melancholicus.” A mind
diseased and a soul at war with itself were beyond their art. This
internal conflict was at its height between 1628 and 1636. A friend who
knew Cromwell then, wrote, many years afterwards, the following account
of it:

  “This great man is risen from a very low and afflicted condition;
  one that hath suffered very great troubles of soul, lying a long
  time under sore terrors and temptations, and at the same time in a
  very low condition for outward things: in this school of afflictions
  he was kept, till he had learned the lesson of the Cross, till his
  will was broken into submission to the will of God.” Religion was
  thus “laid into his soul with the hammer and fire”; it did not “come
  in only by light into his understanding.”

In 1638, at the request of his cousin, Mrs. St. John, Cromwell confided
to her the story of this crisis in his life.

  “You know,” he said, “what my manner of life hath been. Oh, I lived
  in and loved darkness, and hated light; I was a chief, the chief of
  sinners. This is true, I hated godliness, yet God had mercy on me.”
  Even now the struggle was not ended. “I live in Meshec, which they
  say signifies Prolonging; in Kedar, which signifies Blackness: yet
  the Lord forsaketh me not. Though He do prolong, yet He will I trust
  bring me to His tabernacle, to His resting-place. My soul is with
  the Congregation of the First-born, my body rests in hope.... He
  giveth me to see light in His light.”

It would be wrong to take these self-accusings as a confirmation of the
charges which royalist writers brought against Cromwell’s early life.
They refer to spiritual rather than moral failings, perhaps to the love
of the world and its vanities against which he so often warns his
children. They denote a change of feeling rather than a change of
conduct, a rise from coldness to enthusiasm, from dejection to

Full of thankfulness for this deliverance, Cromwell longed to testify to
his faith. “If here I may honour my God, either by doing or suffering, I
shall be most glad. Truly no poor creature hath more cause to put
himself forth in the cause of his God than I have. I have had plentiful
wages beforehand, and I am sure I shall never earn the least mite.” The
time for doing was near at hand, for when he wrote the resistance of the
Scots had begun. The friend quoted before points out how strangely the
turning-point in Cromwell’s spiritual life coincided with the
turning-point in the history of his cause. “The time of his extreme
suffering was when this cause of religion in which we are now engaged
was at its lowest ebb.” When the cause began to prosper, “he came forth
into comfort of spirit and enlargement of estate.” And so “he suffered
and rose with the cause, as if he had one life with it.”

The year 1638 was the turning-point in the history of English
Puritanism. When it began, the King’s power seemed as firmly established
as his heart could desire. The decision of the judges that Ship-money
was lawful gave absolute monarchy a legal basis, and a vantage-ground
for any future demands. The arguments which proved that the King had a
right to levy taxes at will for the support of a navy, justified him, if
he chose, in raising money for the maintenance of an army. Thus royalty,
in Strafford’s phrase, was “for ever vindicated from the conditions and
restraints of subjects.” “All our liberties,” wrote a Puritan lawyer,
“were now at one dash utterly ruined.”

There had been rumours in 1637 of some tumults in Scotland. “Horrible
ado against the bishops for seeking to bring in amongst them our service
book,” wrote Strafford’s news-purveyor to the Lord Deputy, but neither
thought it of much significance. At the end of March, 1638, the Scots
took the Covenant, and the little cloud in the north became a
threatening tempest. If Hampden and his friends could have read Laud’s
letters to Strafford, they would have laughed for joy. In May, the
Archbishop was thoroughly uneasy about “the Scotch business.” “If God
bless it with a good end, it is more than I can hope for. The truth is
that snowball hath been suffered to gather too long.” Ten days after the
decision against Hampden, he was thoroughly alarmed. “It is not the
Scottish business alone that I look upon, but the whole frame of things
at home and abroad, with vast expenses out of little treasure, and my
misgiving soul is deeply apprehensive of no small evils coming on.... I
can see no cure without a miracle.”

Charles was resolved to suppress the resistance of the Scots by arms.
“So long as this Covenant is in force,” he said, “I have no more power
in Scotland than a Duke of Venice, which I will rather die than suffer.”
He sent the Marquis of Hamilton to negotiate with the Scots, “to win
time that they may not commit public follies until I be ready to
suppress them.” But negotiations and intrigues failed to break their
union, and in May, 1639, Charles gathered twenty thousand men and
marched to the border to begin the work of suppression. Alexander
Leslie, a soldier of Gustavus, with an equal force of Scots, barred his
entrance to Scotland. Leslie’s army was well disciplined, well paid, and
well fed; his men “lusty and full of courage, great cheerfulness in the
faces of all.” The King’s troops were ill-armed and ill-provided, and
with no heart in their cause. The English nobility were as half-hearted
as the troops, and the King had emptied his treasury to raise this army.

There was nothing left but to make peace, and on June 24, 1639, the
Treaty of Berwick was signed. If the war had been a farce, the treaty
was high comedy. Everything was forgiven, almost anything was promised.
The King himself played the leading part in the negotiations with the
Scots, who found him “one of the most just, reasonable, sweet persons
they had ever seen.” “His Majesty,” wrote a Scot, “was ever the better
loved of all that heard him, and he likewise was the more enamoured of

The Scots returned home full of loyalty, with permission to settle their
ecclesiastical affairs in their own General Assembly, and their civil
affairs in their own Parliament. Charles went back to London, and
plotted to nullify his concessions. He refused either to rescind the
acts establishing Episcopacy, or to confirm the acts of the Scottish
Parliament, and summoned Strafford from Ireland to whip the Scots into
their right minds. Strafford had ready both his plan of campaign and his
policy. The English navy was to blockade the Scottish ports and destroy
their trade. The Irish army was to threaten a landing in West Scotland,
or to be transported to Cumberland. The English army was to invade
Scotland and from a fortified camp at Leith keep Edinburgh and the
Lowlands in awe, till the English Prayer-book was accepted and the
bishops restored to their authority; “nay, perchance till I had
conformed that kingdom in all, as well for the temporal as
ecclesiastical affairs, wholly to the government and laws of England;
and Scotland was governed by the King and council of England.”
Strafford’s first step on reaching England was to procure the summoning
of a Parliament. No Englishman, he thought, could refuse to give his
money to the King in such an extremity, against so foul a rebellion. If
any man resisted, he should be “laid by the heels,” till he learnt to
obey and not to dispute. But he repudiated the suggestion that the King
had lost the affections of his people. In April, the Parliament met; its
members were described as sober and dispassionate men of whom very few
brought ill purposes with them. Amongst them was Cromwell, whose
opposition to the “Adventurers” for the drainage of the fens had gained
him a seat for the borough of Cambridge. All these sober and
dispassionate men united in demanding the restoration of Parliament to
its proper place in the constitution. Pym enumerated all the grievances
in Church and State, and asserted that their source was the intermission
of parliaments, for Parliament was the soul of the body politic. The
Commons answered the King’s demand for money by saying that “till the
liberties of the House and the kingdom were cleared they knew not
whether they had anything to give, or no.” Charles tried to bargain with
them, and offered to abolish Ship-money if they gave him £840,000 in
return. They demanded not only the abolition of Ship-money but the
abolition of the new military charges which the King had imposed on the
counties for the support of their train-bands. Hearing that they meant
to invite the Lords to make a joint protest against the intended war
with the Scots, Charles cut short their project by a sudden dissolution
(May 5, 1640). At this stroke moderate men were filled with melancholy,
but the faces of the opposition leaders showed “a marvellous serenity.”
The cloudy countenance of Cromwell’s cousin, St. John, was lit with an
unusual light. “All was well,” he said; “things must be worse before
they could be better, and this Parliament would never have done what was
necessary to be done.”

With or without Parliament’s aid, Charles was resolved to force the
Scots to submission. Some of his council, knowing the emptiness of the
exchequer, urged him to stand on the defensive.

  “No defensive war,” cried Strafford; “go on vigorously or let them
  alone. The King is loose and absolved from all rules of government.
  In an extreme necessity you may do all that your power admits.
  Parliament refusing, you are acquitted towards God and man. You have
  an army in Ireland you may employ here to reduce this kingdom. One
  summer well employed will do it.”

At every step, however, the old difficulties gathered round the King’s
path. London refused a loan; France and Spain would lend nothing; even
the Pope was applied to for men and money, but in vain. Not a tenth of
the Ship-money imposed was paid, and Coat- and Conduct-money were
universally refused. In his desperation, Charles thought of debasing the
coinage and seizing the bullion which the Spanish Government had sent to
England to be coined. The military outlook was equally depressing, for
the army was smaller and worse than the army of 1639. The general of the
cavalry at Newcastle described his task as teaching cart-horses military
evolutions, and men fit for Bedlam and Bridewell to keep the ten
commandments. The commander of the infantry in Yorkshire answered, that
his mutinous train-bands were the arch-knaves of the country. Of this
army, on August 18th, Strafford, half dead but indomitable, was
appointed commander-in-chief.

Only a touch was needed to make the fabric of absolutism collapse. As
the commander-in-chief was struggling towards his army in a litter,
Leslie crossed the Tweed with twenty-five thousand Scots. On August
28th, he forced the passage of the Tyne at Newburn, driving before him
the three thousand foot and fifteen hundred horse who strove to defend
it. Newcastle was evacuated; Northumberland and Durham fell into
Leslie’s power; Strafford met his beaten troops streaming back into
Yorkshire with the Scots close on their heels. “Never came any man to so
lost a business,” cried the unhappy statesman. It was not only that the
army was untrained, necessitous, and cowardly, but the whole country was
apathetic or hostile. “An universal affright in all, a general
disaffection to the King’s service, none sensible of his dishonour.”
With desperate energy Strafford laboured to reorganise his shattered
forces, and to keep the Scots out of Yorkshire. At his breath the dying
loyalty of the country flashed up into a momentary blaze. It seemed as
if the Scottish invasion might revive the forgotten hostility of the two

Vain labours and vainer hopes. Twelve peers presented a petition
demanding peace and a Parliament, and another to the same purpose came
in from the City of London. Charles called a Council of Peers to patch
up a truce with the Scots, and announced to them the summons of a
Parliament for November 3rd. Absolutism had had its day.



                              CHAPTER III
                          THE LONG PARLIAMENT

The Long Parliament met at Westminster on November 3, 1640. Most of its
members, even as Cromwell himself, had sat in the Parliament of the
preceding May, but they came together now in a different temper, and
with far greater power in their hands. Charles could not venture to
dissolve them so long as the Scottish army was encamped on English soil.
“No fear of raising the Parliament,” wrote a Scot, “so long as the lads
about Newcastle sit still.”

There were three things which the Long Parliament was resolved to do.
The first was to release the sufferers from arbitrary government; the
second, to punish the men by whose hands the King had sought to
establish his arbitrary power; the third, to amend the constitution so
that arbitrary rule should be impossible hereafter. Pym’s long
experience in Parliaments made him the undisputed leader of the popular
party, and his maxim was that it was not sufficient to remove
grievances, but necessary to pull up the causes of them by the roots.

A master of parliamentary tactics in days when party discipline was
unknown, Pym retained his ascendancy until the day of his death. But he
remained to the end a great party leader rather than a great statesman.
He was too much of a partisan to understand the feelings of his
opponents, too closely attached to precedents and legal formulas to
perceive the new issues which new times brought. When it was necessary
to leave the beaten road, he was incapable of finding fresh paths. Pym
was the chief orator of his party as well as its guiding spirit. In
long, methodical expositions of the grievances of the nation, he pressed
home the indictment against arbitrary government with convincing force.
But sometimes he rose to a grave and lofty eloquence, or condensed the
feeling of the hour in brief, incisive phrases that passed current like

Hampden came next to Pym in authority with the House and had a far
greater fame outside it. Ship-money had made him famous. “The eyes of
all men were fixed on him as their _patriæ pater_, and the pilot that
must steer their vessel through the tempests and rocks that threatened
it.” A poor speaker, but clear-sighted, energetic, and resolute, “a
supreme governor over all his passions and affections,” he was a man who
swayed others in council, and whom they would follow when it came to



  (_From a miniature by Cooper._)

Next to these in importance came St. John—Hampden’s counsel in the
Ship-money case, and the ablest of the opposition lawyers,—Holles and
Strode,—men who had suffered for their boldness in the Parliament of
1629,—and Rudyard, whose oratory had gained him renown in still earlier
Parliaments. Of the younger men, the most prominent were Nathaniel
Fiennes and Sir Henry Vane, notorious for their advanced religious
views, and Sir Arthur Haslerig and Harry Marten, equally notorious for
their democratic opinions. The headquarters of the popular party was Sir
Richard Manly’s house in a little court behind Westminster Hall, where
Pym lodged. There, while Parliament was sitting, Pym, Hampden, and a few
others kept a common table at their joint expense, and during their
meetings much business was transacted. Cromwell, as the cousin of
Hampden and St. John, was doubtless one of this group. Though he was
known to the party in general only as a rather silent country squire who
had been a member of the two last Parliaments, it is evident that he had
some reputation for business capacity. During the first session of the
Long Parliament, he was specially appointed to eighteen committees, not
counting those particularly concerned with the affairs of the eastern
counties, to which the member for Cambridge was naturally added.
Cromwell’s first intervention in the debates of the House was on
November 9, 1640, when the grievances of the nation and the wrongs of
those who had suffered under Star Chamber and High Commission were being
set forth at large. He rose to deliver a petition from John Lilburn, a
prisoner in the Fleet, and how he looked and spoke is recorded in Sir
Philip Warwick’s memoirs.

  “The first time I ever took notice of him,” says Warwick, “was in
  the beginning of the Parliament held in November, 1640, when I
  vainly thought myself a courtly young gentleman; for we courtiers
  valued ourselves much on our good clothes. I came into the House one
  morning, well clad, and perceived a gentleman speaking whom I knew
  not, very ordinarily apparelled; for it was a plain cloth suit which
  seemed to have been made by an ill country tailor; his linen was
  plain, and not very clean, and I remember a speck or two of blood
  upon his little band, which was not much larger than his collar; his
  hat was without a hatband; his stature was of a good size; his sword
  stuck close to his side; his countenance swollen and reddish; his
  voice sharp and untunable, and his eloquence full of fervour. For
  the subject matter would not bear much of reason, it being in behalf
  of a servant of Mr. Prynne’s, who had dispersed libels against the
  Queen for her dancing, and such like innocent and courtly sports;
  and he aggravated the imprisonment of this man by the Council-table
  unto that height that one would have believed the very government
  itself had been in great danger by it. I sincerely profess it much
  lessened my reverence unto that great council, for he was very much
  hearkened unto.”

When the grievances of the nation had been heard and the petitions of
individual sufferers referred to committees, the Long Parliament turned
to punish the King’s ministers. Charles himself was never mentioned but
with great honour, as a King misled by evil counsellors, who had
prevented him from following the dictates of his native wisdom and
goodness. In the interests of both King and subjects, argued Rudyard,
these evil advisers must be removed and punished. As the Bible said:
“Take away the wicked from the king and his throne shall be

Accordingly Strafford was arrested and impeached, just as he was himself
about to accuse the parliamentary leaders of high treason for
encouraging and aiding the invasion of the Scots (November 11th). A
month later, Laud followed Strafford to the Tower. Windebank, the
Secretary of State, and Lord Keeper Finch, likewise accused, fled beyond
the seas. Two more bishops and six judges were impeached and imprisoned,
while all monopolists were expelled from the House of Commons. It seemed
“a general doomsday.” Strafford was the first to suffer, and his trial
in Westminster Hall riveted all eyes.

It was not only as “the great apostate to the commonwealth,” the
oppressor of the English colonists in Ireland, the moving spirit of the
unjust war against the Scots, that Strafford was accused. The essence of
the charge against him was that he had endeavoured by words, acts, and
counsels to subvert the fundamental laws of England and Ireland, in
order to introduce an arbitrary and tyrannical government. In him seemed
incarnate the rule of arbitrary will as opposed to the reign of law
which the Parliament strove to restore. Pym’s speeches against Strafford
are, throughout, a glorification of the reign of law. “Good laws,” he
said, “nay, the best laws, were no advantage when will was set above
law.” All evils hurtful to the State were comprehended in this one

  “The law is that which puts a difference betwixt good and evil,
  betwixt just and unjust. If you take away the law, all things will
  fall into a confusion. Every man will become a law to himself,
  which, in the depraved condition of human nature, must needs produce
  great enormities. Lust will become a law, envy will become a law,
  covetousness and ambition will become laws; and what dictates, what
  decisions such laws will produce, may easily be discerned in the
  government of Ireland.”

Nor was the substitution of arbitrary power for law hurtful to subjects

  “It is dangerous to the King’s person, and dangerous to his Crown.
  If the histories of those Eastern countries be pursued, where
  princes order their affairs according to the mischievous principles
  of the Earl of Strafford, loose and absolved from all rules of
  government, they will be found to be frequent in combustions, full
  of massacres and of the tragical ends of princes.”

Strafford struggled to show that the offences proved against him did not
legally amount to high treason. Parliament through the Attainder Bill
answered that it was necessary for the safety of the State to make them
treasonable. “To alter the settled frame and constitution of
government,” said Pym, “is treason in any state. The laws whereby all
other parts of a kingdom are preserved would be very vain and defective,
if they had not a power to secure and preserve themselves.”

Charles was anxious to save Strafford’s life, but his blundering
interventions during the course of the trial ended in failure. When it
was discovered that the King’s agents were plotting to get possession of
the Tower and to bring the English army up from Yorkshire to overawe the
Parliament, the Earl’s fate was sealed. Pressed by both Houses to yield,
and threatened by the London mob if he refused, Charles assented to the
Bill of Attainder, and on May 12, 1641, Strafford was beheaded.

Side by side with the prosecution of the King’s evil advisers went on
the work of providing against arbitrary government in the future. The
extraordinary courts which had been the instruments of oppression were
swept away. Down went the Star Chamber and the High Commission Court,
the Council of the North, and the Council of Wales and the Marches. The
Tonnage and Poundage Act declared that henceforward it was illegal to
levy customs duties without a parliamentary grant. The extension of the
forests was prohibited, the exaction of knighthood fines forbidden, and
Ship-money declared unlawful. Henceforward to govern without a
Parliament was to be as impossible as to tax without a Parliament. On
February 15, 1641, Charles assented to the Triennial Act, which bound
him to call a Parliament every third year, and provided machinery for
its convocation, if he neglected to summon it at the appointed time. On
May 11th, he assented to a second act, which prohibited him from
dissolving the present Parliament, or even proroguing it save by its own

Cromwell had taken no part in the prosecution of Strafford, for he was
neither an orator nor a lawyer, but his name is closely associated with
one of these constitutional changes. The origin of the Triennial Act was
a bill introduced by Strode for reviving the old law of Edward III. by
which a Parliament must be summoned every year. On December 30th,
Cromwell moved its second reading, and he was one of the committee from
whose deliberations it finally issued as a bill for summoning a
Parliament every three years. In ecclesiastical affairs, he was more
prominent by far. On constitutional questions, the popular party had
been almost unanimous, but on religious questions its unanimity ended.
The general aim of its leaders was to subject the Church to the control
of the State as represented by Parliament, instead of leaving it to the
authority of the King as its “supreme governor.” But while some desired
to abolish the Prayer-book, and to make the doctrine of the Church more
frankly Calvinistic, others wished merely the abolition of a few
offensive formulas or ceremonies. On Church government there was the
same diversity of opinion. A few wished to maintain bishops as they
were, a few to abolish them altogether; the majority desired to retain
Episcopacy, but to limit the power of the bishops. Hence the popularity
of Ussher’s plan for a limited Episcopacy, in which every bishop was to
be assisted and controlled by a council of diocesan clergy. As yet there
was no party in Parliament which proposed to introduce Presbyterianism
or Independency, but those who wished for the complete extirpation of
Episcopacy were very numerous. In the Commons, Fiennes and Sir Henry
Vane were for its abolition, “root and branch,” and Hampden afterwards
joined them. Amongst these “root and branch” men was Cromwell, and he
was more closely connected with the attack on the Church than with any
other part of the proceedings of the Long Parliament. The only one of
his letters which belongs to this period shows his interest in religious
questions. It is addressed to a bookseller, and asks for a copy of the
printed “reasons of the Scots to enforce their desire of uniformity in
religion.” “I would peruse it,” he writes, “against we fall upon the
debate, which will be speedily.”

The only recorded speech of Cromwell in these ecclesiastical discussions
was delivered on February 9, 1641, about the question whether a petition
for the total abolition of Episcopacy, signed by fifteen thousand
citizens of London, should be referred to a committee. A member urged
its rejection, arguing that the bishops were one of the estates of the
realm, and a part of the constitution. Equality (or, as he termed it,
“parity”) in the Church would lead to equality in the State. Cromwell
stood up, and very bluntly denied his inferences and suppositions, on
which “divers interrupted him and called him to the bar.” Pym and Holles
defended him, and he was allowed to continue.

  “Mr. Cromwell went on and said: ‘He did not understand why that
  gentleman that last spake should make an inference of parity from
  the Church to the State, nor that there was any necessity of the
  great revenues of bishops. He was more convinced touching the
  irregularity of bishops than even before, because like the Roman
  hierarchy they would not endure to have their condition come to a

In May, Cromwell took another opportunity of attacking the bishops. The
Commons had passed a bill excluding clergymen in general from holding
secular office either as judges, councillors, or members of the House of
Lords, and the Upper House showed a resolution not to pass it. On this
the “root and branch” men replied with a bill for the abolition of
bishops altogether, which Sir Edward Dering, a noted speaker, was
persuaded to introduce. Afterwards Dering repented and explained. “The
Bill,” he said, “was pressed into my hands by Sir Arthur Haslerig, being
then brought to him by Sir Henry Vane and Mr. Oliver Cromwell.”

The “root and branch” bill never got farther than committee, but its
introduction further accentuated the division in the popular party. A
section, headed by Hyde and Lord Falkland, severed themselves definitely
from their former friends. Naturally conservative in temper, they were
satisfied with the reforms already achieved, and were more willing to
trust the King with the constitution than Parliament with the Church.
Before the end of the session, Hyde was in communication with the King,
and a party of constitutional Royalists based on the defence of the
Church was in process of formation. Charles was equally determined to
maintain the Church, and full of schemes for regaining his lost power.
The prospect of obtaining support in the House of Commons itself
increased his confidence of ultimate success, and in August he set out
for Scotland, hoping to win the Scottish nobility to his side, and to
use one kingdom against the other.

In October, 1641, when the second session of the Long Parliament began,
the position of affairs was greatly altered. The popular party was
weakened by its differences on the religious question, and the division
was rapidly spreading to the nation. At the same time, the parliamentary
leaders had lost, through the withdrawal of the Scottish army, the
military force which had protected them from an attempted _coup d’état_.
That the fear of such a stroke on the King’s part was by no means
groundless, the news from Scotland proved. It was rumoured that with the
King’s sanction a party of royalist soldiers had plotted to seize
Hamilton and Argyle, whose hasty flight from Edinburgh had alone saved
their lives. On the top of this came the news of a rebellion in Ireland,
of an attempt to surprise Dublin Castle, and of a massacre of the
English colonists in Ulster. The rebellion spread daily, and as tattered
fugitives straggled into Dublin, each with his story of murder and
pillage, the excitement in England rose to fever heat. It came to be an
article of faith that fifty thousand Englishmen had been barbarously
murdered, and some said 150,000.

To modern historians the Irish rebellion seems only the natural result
of the English system of governing Ireland, but to contemporary
Englishmen it came like a bolt from the blue. The native Irish were
embittered and impoverished by the confiscations of the last sixty
years, and filled with fury and fear by Strafford’s intended plantation
of Connaught. Now that the Puritans were in power, the complete
suppression of the Catholic religion, only threatened before, seemed
imminent and inevitable. The impeachment of Strafford and his most
trusted counsellors had crippled the strong Government which Strafford
had built up, and the disbanding of his army had filled the country with
men trained to arms. The opportunity for a successful revolt had come at
last, and it was no wonder that the Irish seized it. At its beginning,
the rebellion of October, 1641, was a rising of the native Irish with
the object of recovering the lands from which they had been expelled. It
broke out first in the six counties of Ulster, planted in the reign of
James I., and next in Wicklow, the most recent of the later plantations.
But bloody and barbarous as the rebellion was, no general massacre was
either planned or carried out. The first object of the rebels was simply
to drive the colonists from their houses and lands, and in the process
some were murdered, and all plundered. The number of persons killed in
cold blood during the first month or two of the rebellion probably
amounted to about four thousand, and perhaps twice as many perished from
hardships and destitution.

To English Puritans, the only possible explanation of the rebellion was
that it was the natural result of Popery. On December 4, 1641, the Long
Parliament passed a resolution that they would never consent to any
toleration of the Popish religion in Ireland, or in any other of his
Majesty’s dominions. Equally fatal was the resolve that the funds for
the reconquest of Ireland should be raised by fresh confiscations of
Irish land, and the assignment of two and a half million acres for the
repayment of those who advanced the money. One vote turned a local
insurrection into a general rebellion; the other made the rebellion an
internecine war.

Both parties in Parliament approved of these votes. A public
subscription was opened, to which members of Parliament and merchants of
London contributed freely. “Master Oliver Cromwell,” who knew nothing of
Irish history, thought the plan wise and just, and put his name down for
£500, which was about one year’s income. He shared the general ignorance
of his contemporaries about the causes of the rebellion, and believed
the prevalent exaggerations about the massacre.

  “Ireland,” he told the Irish clergy eight years later, “was once
  united to England. Englishmen had good inheritances, which many of
  them had purchased with their money; they and their ancestors, from
  you and your ancestors. They had good leases from Irishmen, for long
  times to come; great stocks thereupon; houses and plantations
  erected at their own cost and charge. They lived peaceably and
  honestly among you. You had generally equal benefit of the
  protection of England with them; and equal justice from the laws,
  saving what was necessary for the State, out of reasons of State, to
  put upon some people apt to rebel upon the instigation of such as
  you. You broke this union. You unprovoked put the English to the
  most unheard-of and barbarous massacre (without respect to sex or
  age) that ever the sun beheld. And at a time when Ireland was in
  perfect peace.”

To reconquer Ireland an army had to be raised at once, and it was
impossible for the parliamentary leaders to trust the King with its
control. Less than six months before, Charles had plotted to bring up an
army to overawe their debates. In his recent journey to Scotland he had
again been tampering with the officers of the same army, and its
disbandment had only just been effected. If they gave him a new army,
who could doubt that before six months were over he would be turning it
against the Parliament? Pym had no doubts, and, on November 6th, he
brought forward an address saying that unless the King would employ such
ministers as Parliament approved “they would take such a course for the
securing of Ireland as might likewise secure themselves.” And while Pym
proposed to seize upon the executive power as far as Ireland was
concerned, Cromwell proposed to lay hands on it in England also. On
November 6th he carried a motion that the two Houses should vote to the
Earl of Essex power to command all the train-bands south of the Trent,
and that those powers should continue till this Parliament should take
further order. A month later, Haslerig brought in a militia bill, which
gave a general appointed by the Parliament the supreme command of all
the train-bands in England. The question whether the King or the
Parliament should command the armed forces of the nation was thus
definitely raised.

In the same November the Long Parliament appealed to the nation for
support. The Grand Remonstrance set forth all the ills the nation had
suffered in the fifteen years of the King’s reign, and all the
Parliament had done in the last twelve months to remove them. It pointed
out the obstacles which hindered them in their task, and announced what
they hoped to do in the future. The root of every evil was a malignant
design to subvert the fundamental laws and principles upon which the
religion and justice of the kingdom were based. Let “the malignant party
be removed,” and the reformation of Church and State could be completed.
The Remonstrance bade the nation judge whether its representatives had
been worthy of its confidence, and asked it to continue that confidence.
It brought war nearer, not because it was an indirect indictment of the
King, but because the ecclesiastical policy set forth in its last
clauses divided the nation into two camps. In them the House declared
its intention of taking in hand the work of church-reform, and demanded
the calling of a general synod of divines to aid it in the task. Over
these clauses of the Remonstrance the debate was long and bitter
(November 22nd). When it passed by but eleven votes, and the majority
proposed its printing, it seemed as if the Civil War would begin at
once, and on the floor of the House. Members protested, and shouted, and
waved their hats, and some took their sheathed swords in their hands as
if they waited for the word to draw them. “I thought,” said an
eye-witness, “we had all sat in the valley of the shadow of death; for
we, like Joab’s and Abner’s young men, had catched at each other’s
locks, and sheathed our swords in each other’s bowels.”

When the tumult was allayed, and the members went home, Cromwell’s
whispered words to Falkland showed how much that night’s decision meant.
“If the Remonstrance had been rejected,” he said, “I would have sold all
I had the next morning, and never seen England more; and I know there
are many other honest men of the same resolution.”

Three days after the passing of the Remonstrance, Charles returned to
Whitehall. He came back resolved to make no further concessions, and to
rid himself of the parliamentary leaders under the form of law. Their
relations with the Scots during the late war, their attacks on his royal
power, and the changes they sought to make in the constitution were
sufficient in his opinion to prove them guilty of high treason. His
first step was to remove the guards round the House; his next, to
ingratiate himself with the City; his third, to place a trusty ruffian
in command of the Tower. When the Commons petitioned for the restoration
of their guard, Charles told them that, on the word of a king, their
security from violence should be as much his care as the preservation of
his own children. On the day the House received this answer, Charles
sent the attorney-general to impeach five members, and a
sergeant-at-arms to arrest them.[6] The Commons refused to give them up.
The next day he came to arrest them in person, with four hundred armed
men at his back, but found the birds flown, and faith in the royal word
fled too (January 4, 1642). The House of Commons adjourned to the City,
which refused, as the House itself had done, to surrender the accused
members. Petitioners poured in from the country in thousands to support
their representatives, and it was evident that the feeling of the nation
was overwhelmingly on the side of the Parliament. The King’s _coup
d’état_ had completely failed. On the 11th of January, the House of
Commons returned to Westminster, while the King left London to avoid
witnessing their triumph.

Footnote 6:

  The “Five Members” were Pym, Hampden, Holles, Haslerig and Strode.

Charles had not intended to act treacherously, and believed that his
actions were perfectly legal, but it was natural that the parliamentary
leaders, refusing to trust him, should press with renewed vigour for the
control of the armed force. Cromwell felt this as strongly as his
leaders, and three days after the return to Westminster he moved for a
committee to put the kingdom in a posture of defence (January 14th). The
motion was a little premature. It was necessary, Pym felt, that the two
Houses should act together, and the Lords were slow to move. It was not
till Pym told them that unless they would join the Commons in saving the
kingdom the Commons would save the kingdom without them, that the Upper
House gave way. In February, they passed the bill for the exclusion of
the bishops, and joined in the demand for the control of the militia. In
March, they united with the Commons in a vote to put the kingdom in a
posture of defence by authority of both Houses.

For the present, however, both King and Parliament were unwilling to
appeal to arms: the King strove to gain time in order to gain strength;
the Parliament still hoped that the King would grant the securities they
sought. So for six months they argued and negotiated, each appealing to
the nation by declarations and counter-declarations, and preluding by
these paper skirmishes the opening of real hostilities. Charles had two
policies which he followed alternately, each of which demanded time for
its success. The one was the policy of the Queen and the courtiers; the
other was the policy of Hyde and the constitutional Royalists. The
Queen’s policy was active preparation for the inevitable war, regardless
of any constitutional doctrines that stood in the way. Help was to be
sought from France, or Denmark, or the Prince of Orange, and a port was
to be secured, in which foreign troops could be landed. Hyde’s policy
was that the King should remain passive, that he should “shelter himself
wholly under the law,” granting anything which the law obliged him to
grant, and denying anything which the law enabled him to deny and his
position made it inexpedient to concede. “In the end,” said Hyde, “the
King and the Law together would be strong enough for any encounter that
might happen.”

Neither the King’s character nor his position made it possible for him
to adopt an entirely consistent policy. Some concessions he was obliged
to make, either to conciliate public opinion by a show of yielding, or
to gain time for his preparations for war. He withdrew the impeachment
of the Five Members; he removed the governor of the Tower; he temporised
about the Militia Bill; he even consented to the exclusion of the
bishops from the House of Lords. Sorely against his own conscience was
the latter concession granted, but the Queen insisted upon it, and to
secure her safe passage to the continent Charles yielded. She bore with
her to Holland the crown jewels to be pawned to provide arms and
ammunition, and when she had sailed Charles took his way to Yorkshire to
gather his friends around him and to secure the indispensable seaport.
As he journeyed north, a deputation met him at Newmarket, and renewed
the petition for the militia. But the necessity for concessions was
past, and he refused even a temporary grant. “By God,” he cried, “not
for an hour! You have asked that of me in this, was never asked of a
king, and with which I will not trust my wife and children.”

When the King reached York, he set in operation an attempt to get
possession of Hull. It was not only the most convenient port for the
landing of succours from Holland and Denmark; it was also the great
arsenal where the arms and munitions collected for the Scottish war had
been stored. On April 23rd, Charles appeared before Hull with three
hundred horsemen and demanded admission. But Sir John Hotham, the
Governor, drew up the drawbridge, and taking his stand on the wall
refused to admit the King. After proclaiming him a traitor, Charles rode

While the policy which the Queen had urged met with failure, the policy
of which Hyde was the advocate gained for Charles adherents every day.
Opinion veered to the King’s side. The change was mainly due to the
ecclesiastical policy of the Parliament, for those who loved the Church
feared to see its liturgy and its government delivered up to the rough
hands of a Puritan Parliament and a synod of Puritan divines. But Hyde’s
skilful advocacy did much to further the reaction. The declarations he
wrote for the King, with their fluent, florid rhetoric, and their
touches of humour and sarcasm, were far more effective than the
ponderous legal arguments published by the Parliament. More was due to
the art with which he represented the King as the guardian of the
constitution, and the Parliament as its assailant. Pym’s panegyric of
the law was turned against Pym himself. The King was made the champion
of “the known laws of the land,” against revolutionists who wished to
make the long-established rights of king and subject dependent on a vote
of the House of Commons. He was made the defender of the “ancient,
equal, happy, well poised, and never-enough-commended constitution,”
against those who sought to introduce “a new Utopia of religion and

That the Parliament was claiming new powers and the King standing on old
rights it was impossible to deny, and it was difficult for the
Parliament to prove the necessity which justified its demands. They
could intimate the “fears and jealousies” which made them distrust the
King, but the reality of their grounds for distrusting him is proved by
evidence which they could only conjecture, and which later historians
were to bring to light.

A mere argumentative victory could do nothing to solve the question the
English nation had to decide. It was no longer a dispute whether the law
gave certain powers to King or Parliament, but whether King or
Parliament was to be sovereign. In the Nineteen Propositions which
formed the Parliament’s ultimatum, they demanded all the branches of
sovereignty for themselves. The control of foreign policy, of
ecclesiastical policy, of the army and the navy, the appointment of
ministers, councillors, and judges, the right to punish and the right to
pardon, were all included. Government, in short, was to be carried on by
persons chosen by the Parliament, instead of persons chosen by the King.
The King might reign, but henceforth he should not govern.

In that sense Charles understood the Nineteen Propositions.

  “These being passed” he answered, “we may be waited upon bareheaded,
  we may have our hand kissed, the style of majesty continued to us,
  and the King’s authority declared by both Houses of Parliament may
  still be the style of your commands, we may have swords and maces
  carried before us, and please ourselves with the sight of a crown
  and sceptre, but as to true and real power we should remain but the
  outside, but the picture, but the sign of a king.”

On the other side, their demand, as it presented itself to the minds of
the Parliamentarians, was rather defensive than aggressive in its
intention. Without this transference of sovereignty, they held it
impossible to transmit to their descendants the self-government they had
received from their ancestors.

  “The question in dispute between us and the King’s party,” says
  Ludlow, “was, as I apprehended, whether the King should govern as a
  god by his will and the nation be governed by force like beasts; or
  whether the people should be governed by laws made by themselves,
  and live under a government derived from their own consent.”

Only the sword could decide. On July 4th, Parliament appointed a
Committee of Safety; on July 6th, they resolved to raise ten thousand
men; on July 9th, they appointed the Earl of Essex their general. The
King set up his standard at Nottingham on August 22nd.



                               CHAPTER IV
                           THE FIRST CAMPAIGN

From the day when King Charles raised his standard at Nottingham, and
even before that date, England was divided into two camps, according as
men elected to obey the King or the Parliament. The country was about to
learn by experience what civil war meant, and to suffer as it had not
suffered since the fifteenth century. In the Wars of the Roses, two
rival houses had laid claim to the allegiance of the people; now its
obedience was demanded by two rival authorities. Moreover, apart from
the question which authority ought to be obeyed, the fact that the
Parliament itself was divided made a choice difficult and obscured the
main issue. The House of Commons was no longer the almost unanimous body
which it had been in November, 1640. About 175 members followed the
King’s flag, while nearly three hundred remained at Westminster. In the
Upper House the preponderance was overwhelmingly on the King’s side.
Rather more than thirty peers threw in their lot with the popular party,
while about eighty supported the King, and about twenty took no part in
the struggle.

Very various, therefore, were the motives which led men to choose one
side or the other. To many peers, the fate of the King and the nobility
seemed inseparably linked together, and like Newcastle they loved
monarchy as the foundation and support of their own greatness. Some,
lately ennobled by Charles and his father, had personal obligations to
the House of Stuart, which they were ready to repay by any sacrifice.
“Had I millions of crowns or scores of sons,” wrote Lord Goring to his
wife, “the King and his cause should have them all with better will than
to eat if I were starving.... I had all from the King, and he hath all
again.” Of the parliamentary peers, a few like Brooke, Saye, and Warwick
were ardent Puritans and were moved by religious zeal quite as much as
by political motives. In Northumberland, “the proudest man alive,” the
independent spirit of the feudal baron seemed to live again. Holland was
ambitious and in disfavour at Court; he hoped to be one of the
Parliament’s generals. Others thought the Parliament stronger than the
King, and were resolved to be on the winning side. “Pembroke and
Salisbury,” says Clarendon, “had rather the King and his posterity
should be destroyed than that Wilton should be taken from the one and
Hatfield from the other.”

Amongst the gentry, there was the same mixture of motives. The bulk of
them indeed adhered to the King, but great numbers supported the
Parliament, especially in districts where Puritanism was prevalent.

Of the towns, cathedral cities such as York and Chester were usually
royalist in feeling. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge were for
the King, but the representatives of the towns were in each case
Parliamentarians. “London,” which Milton calls “the mansion house of
liberty,” and Clarendon, “the sink of the ill-humours of the kingdom,”
was the headquarters of Puritanism, and most manufacturing or trading
towns were anti-royalist. “Manchester,” says Clarendon, “from the
beginning, out of that factious humour which possessed most corporations
and the pride of their wealth, opposed the King and declared
magisterially for the Parliament.” Birmingham, though little more than a
village, “was of as great fame for hearty, wilful, affected disloyalty
to the King as any place in England.” The clothing towns of the West
Riding of Yorkshire and the manufacturing districts of Somersetshire and
Gloucestershire were also hostile to Charles. In the latter counties,
according to Clarendon,

  “the gentlemen of ancient families were for the most part well
  affected to the King, yet there were a people of inferior degree,
  who by good husbandry, clothing, and other thriving arts, had gotten
  very great fortunes, and by degrees getting themselves into the
  gentlemen’s estates were angry that they found not themselves in the
  same esteem and reputation with those whose estates they had; and
  therefore studied all ways to make themselves considerable. These
  from the beginning were fast friends to the Parliament.”

In purely agricultural districts, the influence of the great landowners
was generally decisive, but there were many notable exceptions. In the
eastern counties, many of the chief gentry were disposed to take up arms
for the King, but “the freeholders and yeomen in general adhered to the

Yet, though the bulk of the upper classes was on one side, the war never
became a social war, but remained a struggle of opinions and ideas. From
the very beginning, men who were determined to maintain the Church
intact adopted the King’s cause, and those who desired to change the
government of the Church, or sought freedom of worship outside of it,
supported the Parliament. At first, even to Puritans, the political
question seemed more important than the religious. Colonel Hutchinson
read the manifestos of both parties till “he became abundantly informed
in his understanding and convinced in his conscience of the
righteousness of the Parliament’s cause in point of civil right.” But
“though he was satisfied of the endeavours to bring back Popery and
subvert the true Protestant religion, he did not think that so clear a
ground for the war as the defence of English liberties.”

No contemporary record reveals the precise motives which led Cromwell to
take up arms: we are left to infer them from his earlier acts and his
later utterances. “I profess,” he wrote in 1644, “I could never satisfy
myself of the justness of this war, but from the authority of the
Parliament to maintain itself in its rights.” Like Hutchinson, he
regarded the King’s Church policy as subversive of Protestantism, and
defined the war as undertaken for “the maintenance of our civil
liberties as men, and our religious liberties as Christians.” As the war
progressed, religious liberties grew more and more important in his
eyes, and what had been originally a struggle against innovations became
an attempt to establish freedom of conscience.

  “Religion,” said Cromwell in 1654, “was not the thing at first
  contested for, but God brought it to that issue at last, and gave it
  unto us by way of redundancy, and at last it proved to be that which
  was most dear to us. And wherein consisted this more than in
  obtaining that liberty from the tyranny of the bishops to all
  species of Protestants to worship God according to their own light
  and conscience?”

In every civil war, political and religious convictions must often
conflict with family ties. Few families were like the Fairfaxes and
Sheffields, of whom it was said that there was not one of those names
but was on the side of the Parliament. Royalists might have made a like
boast of the Byrons, the Comptons, and many less distinguished houses,
but in very many cases the nearest relations took opposite sides. At
Edgehill, the Earl of Denbigh and the Earl of Dover charged in the
King’s guard, while their sons, Lord Feilding and Lord Rochford, fought
under Essex. In Cromwell’s own family, his uncle, Sir Oliver, and his
cousin, Henry Cromwell, were both ardent Royalists, and owed the
preservation of their estates, after the defeat of their party, to the
intercession of their kinsman.

While this division of families and friends made the war more painful,
it tended to humanise the manner in which it was conducted. The men who
found themselves reluctantly arrayed in arms against each other could
not forget old friendship and old kinship.

  “My affections to you,” wrote Sir William Waller to his old comrade,
  Sir Ralph Hopton, when their two armies were about to meet in
  battle, “are so unchangeable that hostility itself cannot violate my
  friendship to your person, but I must be true to the cause wherein I
  serve. The great God, who is the searcher of my heart, knows with
  what reluctance I go upon this service, and with what perfect hatred
  I look upon a war without an enemy. The God of peace in His good
  time send us peace, and in the meantime fit us to receive it. We are
  both upon the stage, and we must act the parts that are assigned us
  in this tragedy. Let us do it in a way of honour, and without
  personal animosities.”

On the whole, the war was honourably and humanely carried on. The savage
cruelty which marked the Thirty Years’ War in Germany is absent in the
contemporaneous war in England. Little blood was shed except in the heat
of battle; quarter was liberally granted, and the lives of
non-combatants were respected. But inevitably the prolongation of the
war embittered the temper of both parties, and when, as in Scotland and
Ireland, their hostility was inflamed by national animosity a fiercer
spirit showed itself.

War broke out in England in the summer of 1642, and there were many
local struggles between the partisans of King and Parliament before the
royal standard was set up at Nottingham (August 22, 1642). In many
counties a royalist lord-lieutenant endeavoured to put in force the
King’s commission of array, while a parliamentary lord-lieutenant tried
to carry into effect the Parliament’s militia ordinance. Each called on
the local train-bands to gather round him, and sought to obtain
possession of the magazine in which the arms and munitions of the county
were stored. The first of these collisions—a bloodless one—took place at
Leicester in June; blood was shed in an affray at Manchester on July
15th. In July, the King attempted to besiege Hull, and some lives were
lost in a sally. In August, the Marquis of Hertford proclaimed the
commission of array in Somersetshire, the Governor of Portsmouth
declared for the King, and the flame spread from the north and the
midlands to the western counties. As yet there was no serious fighting,
but everywhere men gathered in arms, and preparations for the campaign

In this preliminary trial of strength, no man was more active for the
Parliament than Cromwell. On June 5th, he subscribed five hundred pounds
to the fund for raising an army. Next month, after sending to his
constituents at Cambridge a hundred pounds’ worth of arms at his own
expense, he obtained a vote empowering them to train and exercise
volunteer companies. The King sent to the university for its money and
its plate, but Cromwell, aided by his brothers-in-law, Valentine Walton
and John Desborough, raised men and beset the north road to intercept
them. Early in August, he marched to Cambridge, seized the county
magazine, and secured most of the plate, worth, it is said, twenty
thousand pounds, for the Parliament’s service. At the same time he
prevented the attempt to execute the commission of array in the county,
and sent the heads of three of the colleges, Jesus, Queen’s, and St.
John’s, prisoners to London. The House of Commons passed a vote for his
indemnity, but the promptitude with which he assumed responsibility and
anticipated their orders by his acts was extremely characteristic. There
were many gentlemen of greater rank in Cambridge and Huntingdonshire
willing to fight for the Parliament, but from the very first Cromwell’s
energy and readiness to act made him a leader. At the end of August,
Cromwell returned to London, and shortly afterwards joined with a troop
of sixty horse the army which Parliament was gathering under the Earl of

From the moment that preparations for war began, the Parliament had two
great advantages over the King, which it retained as long as the war
lasted. In July, the fleet in the Downs accepted the Earl of Warwick as
its admiral and declared for the Parliament. The possession of the navy
meant the command of the sea and the interception of the King’s
communications with the continent. He looked to Holland and France for
arms and ammunition, but the parliamentary cruisers constantly captured
his ships and stopped his supplies. All the chief ports were in the
power of the Parliament; Charles held Newcastle and Chester, but the
recapture of Portsmouth was one of the first results of the defection of
the navy. Thanks to its ships, in 1643 and 1644 the Parliament was able
to preserve Hull when the rest of Yorkshire was subdued, and to keep
Lyme and Plymouth when the King’s forces were triumphant in the west.
Thanks to its ships, the King’s plans for procuring French or Danish or
Walloon mercenaries to restore his falling cause were made impossible to
carry out, even if he could raise money to hire them.

The second advantage of the Parliament was that it had far more money at
its disposal than the King. It was strongest in the richest parts of the
country. With London and the trading classes in general devoted to it,
it had no difficulty in raising loans. The possession of London and most
of the seaports secured it the customs, which formed the largest and the
most expansive part of the revenue of the State. As the war continued,
voluntary loans developed into forced loans, customs were supplemented
by the imposition of an excise, monthly assessments were levied on all
counties under the Parliament’s rule, and the sequestration of the lands
of Royalists provided a new source of income. Yet, great though the
resources of the Parliament were, its financial system was so imperfect
that after the first few months the pay of the soldiers was constantly
in arrears.

On the other hand, Charles had scarcely any regular sources of income,
and very little money to equip or support an army. To provide arms and
ammunition for his men he was driven to pawn the Crown jewels and to
mortgage the Crown lands. Loans from corporations or men of means, the
sales of peerages or other titular dignities, customs duties in the few
ports under his control, and contributions levied in the districts
within range of his garrisons made up his scanty budget. Throughout, the
King’s chief resource was the devotion of his followers. Loyal merchants
in London secretly forwarded him their offerings. The University of
Oxford sent him ten thousand pounds, and its colleges gave up their
plate to be coined for his cause. Rich noblemen contributed regiments or
troops, and poor gentlemen served at their own expense. The Marquis of
Newcastle raised some thousands of men on his own estates; the Earl of
Worcester and his son, Lord Herbert, furnished the King with £120,000
between March and July, 1642. Thanks to the zeal of his followers, and
above all to the territorial influence of the great landowners, Charles
was able ere long to oppose Parliament with forces equal to its own. At
the end of August the King had with him at Nottingham only a few hundred
half-armed foot. His artillery and several regiments of infantry were
left behind at York, and his cavalry under Prince Rupert in the
Midlands. The general of his little army told the King that he could not
secure him against being taken in his bed, if the enemy made a brisk
attack. The parliamentary forces assembling at Northampton amounted
early in September to fourteen thousand men, and Essex had in all about
twenty thousand men under his command. This was “an army which,” as the
historian of the Long Parliament said, “was too great to find resistance
at that time from any forces afoot in England.”



  (_From Devereux’s “Lives of the Devereux.”_)

But instead of hastening to crush the King while he was weak, Essex gave
him time to grow strong. From Nottingham, Charles moved to Shrewsbury,
increasing his forces as he went, and equipping them with weapons taken
from the train-bands, or from the armouries of loyal noblemen. Essex
moved to Worcester and established himself there, making no effort to
find the King and fight him, and reducing his forces by leaving
garrisons in different towns. Now that he had an army, Charles boldly
took the offensive and marched to London, hoping to end the war at a
blow. Essex hurried eastwards to defend the capital, and at Edgehill, on
October 23rd, Charles was obliged to turn and give battle to his

The two armies were now not unequally matched. Each numbered about
fourteen thousand men, but the Parliamentarians were far better armed
than the Royalists. Clarendon thus describes the equipment of the King’s

  “The foot, all but 300 or 400 who marched without any weapons but
  cudgels, were armed with muskets, and bags for their powder, and
  pikes, but in the whole body there was not one pikeman who had a
  corselet and very few musketeers who had swords. Amongst the horse,
  the officers had their full desire if they were able to procure old
  backs and breasts and pots (_i. e._, helmets), with pistols or
  carbines for their two or three front ranks and swords for the rest;
  themselves and some soldiers by their example having gotten besides
  their pistols and swords a short poleaxe.”

The regiments who followed Essex, thanks to the Parliament’s control of
money and its possession of the magazines of Hull and the Tower, were
armed with more uniformity and more completeness. His musketeers had
their swords, his pikemen, who constituted a third of each foot
regiment, had their corselets, and his horsemen pistols and defensive
armour. In both armies, the officers consisted mostly of gentlemen who
had neither military training nor experience of war, mixed with a
certain number of soldiers of fortune who had served in the armies of
France, or Holland, or Sweden. In foot regiments, the major or
lieutenant-colonel was usually an old soldier; in troops of horse, the
lieutenant. “The most part of our horse were raised thus,” says a
royalist playwright: “The honest country gentleman raises the troop at
his own charge, then he gets a low-country lieutenant to fight his troop
for him, then sends for his son from school to be cornet.”



  (_From a painting by Sir Peter Lely, in the National Portrait

On both sides, the generals possessed the training which their soldiers
lacked. Essex had fought with honour in the Palatinate and Holland;
Balfour, who led his cavalry, had served many years in the Dutch army.
The King’s commander-in-chief, the Earl of Lindsey, was another Dutch
officer, and Prince Rupert had seen some fighting under the Prince of
Orange, and one disastrous campaign in Germany. Yet despite Rupert’s
lack of experience the King gave him charge of all his horse as an
independent command, and followed his advice rather than Lindsey’s in
the ordering of the battle. One great advantage Charles had which
counterbalanced the superior armament of the parliamentary forces. His
cavalry was superior to theirs both in quantity and quality. He had four
thousand horse to Essex’s three thousand, and his troopers were flushed
with confidence by their easy victory in a skirmish near Worcester.
Rupert resolved to utilise this advantage to the full. Massing the bulk
of the cavalry on the right wing under his own command, he swept the
horse opposed to him from the field, routed four regiments of Essex’s
foot, plundered Essex’s camp at Kineton, and followed the fugitives for
some miles. Wilmot, with the cavalry of the left, charged with like
success, and even the reserves joined in the chase. Meanwhile, Essex and
those of his foot regiments who stood firm attacked the royalist
infantry front to front, while Balfour, with two regiments of cavalry
forming the parliamentary reserve, fell upon their exposed flanks. The
Earl of Lindsey was mortally wounded and made prisoner, the King’s
standard taken and regained, several regiments were cut to pieces, and
two only held their ground. When Rupert returned from the chase, his
cavalry were too disordered to be brought to attack, but their arrival
saved the King’s infantry from further attack, and night brought the
dubious battle to a close. Before day broke, Hampden, with two fresh
regiments of foot and ten troops of horse, joined Essex, and urged him
to advance and drive the King from his position. Essex, discouraged by
the misbehaviour of his cavalry, and by his heavy losses, was
disinclined to risk anything, and retreated to Warwick. All the fruits
of victory fell to the King, and, capturing Banbury Castle without a
blow, he pursued his march to Oxford and made that city his headquarters
for the remainder of the war (October 29th).

Early in November, Charles resumed his advance upon London. Reading was
abandoned as he drew near, but by this time Essex had placed his army
between the King and the capital, and there was no ground for the panic
which filled the citizens. In the Parliament, the peace party for a
moment gained the upper hand and sent commissioners to open
negotiations. Charles expressed his willingness to treat, but said
nothing about a suspension of hostilities, and still continued to
advance. By his orders, on November 12th, Rupert, taking advantage of a
mist which concealed his movements, fell upon Essex’s outposts at
Brentford, and cut to pieces the two regiments of Holles and Brooke.
Hampden came to their rescue and covered the retreat of the survivors,
but Brentford was thoroughly sacked by the Royalists. The City expected
to share the same fate, and, says Clarendon, “the alarum came to London
with the same dire yell as if the army were entered their gates.”
Negotiations were broken off, with loud accusations of treachery against
the King. The train-bands rushed to arms, and, all night, regiments
streamed forth from the City to reinforce Essex. Next day, Charles found
twenty thousand men blocking his way at Turnham Green, while three
thousand more occupied Kingston and threatened his line of retreat. Some
cannon shots were exchanged, but the King was too weak to attack, and
Essex too cautious. Once more Hampden urged him to action, and for a
moment he seemed inclined to take the offensive. He had two men to the
King’s one, and his citizen soldiers were eager to fight, and cheered
“Old Robin” whenever he appeared amongst them. But, as after Edgehill,
“the old soldiers of fortune, on whose judgment the general most
relied,” were against fighting, and he called back Hampden, evacuated
Kingston, and suffered Charles to draw off his troops undisturbed. The
march on London was stopped, at least for this year; the shops of its
citizens were safe, and neither “captain or colonel or knight-at-arms”
threatened the “defenceless doors” of Puritan poets. Charles retired to
Oxford; the parliamentary army went into winter quarters, and the
campaign ended as indecisively as Edgehill had ended. With a larger and
better equipped army, and with greater pecuniary resources at his
disposal, Essex had throughout allowed the King to take the initiative,
and neglected every opportunity offered him by fortune. Charles, on the
other hand, as soon as he got together an army, adopted a consistent
strategic plan, and pursued it with energy and even audacity. His
outposts were now within thirty miles of London, and all over England
his followers were gaining ground and gaining heart.

Ever since September, Cromwell had been serving under Essex, and this
unsuccessful campaign was his sole training in the art of war. At
Edgehill, his troops formed part of the regiment commanded by Sir Philip
Stapleton, one of the two regiments which did such splendid service on
that day. In later years, it pleased party pamphleteers to assert that
he was not even present in the battle, but a contemporary account
specially mentions Captain Cromwell in a list of officers who “never
stirred from their troops, but fought till the last minute.” One lesson
at least he learned at Edgehill: that was the necessity of keeping a
reserve in hand, and the importance of energetically using it. Another
thing which the battle taught him was that the Parliament’s arms would
never be victorious till its cavalry was equal in quality to the King’s.
Some of Essex’s foot regiments were excellent, but the ranks of his
cavalry were filled with men attracted solely by high pay and
opportunities of plunder-men who were neither soldiers nor good material
for making soldiers. The consequences were what might have been
expected. “At my first going out into this engagement,” said Cromwell,
“I saw our men beaten at every hand.” Accordingly he spoke to his
cousin, Hampden, and urged him to procure the raising of some new
regiments to be added to Essex’s army.

  “I told him I would be serviceable to him in bringing such men in as
  I thought had a spirit that would do something in the work. ‘Your
  troops,’ said I, ‘are most of them old decayed serving-men,
  tapsters, and such kind of fellows; do you think that the spirits of
  such base, mean fellows will ever be able to encounter gentlemen
  that have honour, and courage, and resolution in them? You must get
  men of a spirit that is likely to go as far as gentlemen will go, or
  you will be beaten still.’”

Hampden answered that the notion was a good notion, but impracticable.
Impracticable was not a word which Cromwell understood. He obtained
leave of absence for himself and his troop and went down into the
eastern counties in January, 1643, “to raise such men as had the fear of
God before them, and made some conscience of what they did.”



                               CHAPTER V

At the opening of the campaign of 1643, the strength of the Royalists
had greatly increased, and before its close the advantage had passed to
the King. In almost every county, towns and castles were garrisoned, and
rival leaders, raising troops for King or Parliament, waged war against
each other with varying fortunes. In the north and in the west of
England, the Royalists rapidly gained the upper hand, and these local
successes exercised a decisive influence on the course of the general

In April, 1643, Essex with sixteen thousand foot to three thousand horse
advanced towards Oxford and captured Reading (April 27th). Hampden urged
him to follow up this advantage by besieging Oxford, which was weakly
fortified and ill provisioned. But Essex’s army was mutinous for want of
pay, and decimated by a great sickness which broke out in his camp after
the fall of Reading. He did not resume the movement on Oxford till June,
and in the meantime the King had been strongly reinforced. With his
diminished numbers, Essex was unable to invest Oxford, and in the small
encounters which took place round it his troops were generally worsted.
At Chalgrove Field, on June 18th, Hampden was mortally wounded, and his
death a week later was as great a blow to his party as the loss of a
battle. “Every honest man,” wrote a fellow officer, “hath a share in the
loss, and will likewise in the sorrow. He was a gallant man, an honest
man, an able man, and, take all, I know not to any living man second.”
In his short military career, he had shown an energy, a decision, and a
strategic instinct which seemed to mark him out as a future general.

After Hampden’s death, Essex fell back from Oxford and remained
inactive, permitting the King to effect a junction with the Royalists of
the north and the west. In the north, the Marquis of Newcastle had
overrun the greater part of Yorkshire and cooped up Lord Fairfax and his
son Sir Thomas in the West Riding. On June 30th, he routed the two
Fairfaxes at Adwalton Moor, near Bradford, and forced them to take
refuge in Hull—the only fortress which the Parliament now held in
Yorkshire. The Queen had landed at Bridlington in February, and these
successes enabled her to march south and join Charles at Oxford with
arms, ammunition, and reinforcements.

In the west, during the same period, a little army of Cornishmen under
Sir Ralph Hopton won victory after victory over the Parliamentarians. At
Bradock Down, on January 19, 1643, Hopton defeated General Ruthven; at
Stratton, on May 16th, he beat Lord Stamford. Then, joined by Prince
Maurice and the Marquis of Hertford, he advanced into Somersetshire and
fought a drawn battle with Sir William Waller at Lansdown, near Bath, on
July 5th. Followed by Waller, Hopton continued his march towards Oxford,
and was blocked up in Devizes with his infantry by his pursuer. But the
retreat of Essex had enabled the King to move freely, and had left
Waller unsupported. On July 13th, the very day when the Queen reached
Oxford, Wilmot and a body of horse sent from Oxford routed Waller’s army
at Roundway Down, and rescued Hopton’s hard-pressed army.

Thus by the end of July the Royalists were masters in the field, and
Charles could take the offensive. The King’s original plan had been that
he should hold Essex in check, whilst Newcastle advanced from the north
into Essex, and Hopton made his way through the southern counties toward
Kent. All three were then to close in upon London, and strike down
rebellion in its headquarters. But now Newcastle’s army refused to march
southwards whilst Hull was uncaptured, and the western army hesitated to
advance farther whilst Plymouth was not taken. Local feeling was too
powerful to be neglected, and Charles was forced to complete the
subjugation of the west instead of advancing upon London.



  (_From Nugent’s “Life of Hampden.”_)

On July 26th, Bristol, the second port in the kingdom, surrendered to
Prince Rupert. Gloucester was besieged on August 10th, and though
vigorously defended by Colonel Massey it seemed certain to fall, for the
Parliament had no army available to relieve it. “Waller,” exulted the
Royalists, “is extinct, and Essex cannot come.” Once more Pym and the
Parliament appealed to the City, and London responded with a zeal which
no disasters could chill. The citizens closed their shops, six regiments
of London train-bands joined the shattered army of Essex, and with
fifteen thousand men at his back the Earl marched for Gloucester. Vainly
Rupert and the King’s horse strove to delay his progress; at his
approach, the besiegers drew off their forces without fighting, and
Gloucester was saved.

As the Parliamentarians returned to London, the King barred their way at
Newbury, and forced them to cut their way through or perish (September
20th). This time the parliamentary horse fought well, but it was the
firmness and courage of Essex’s infantry which preserved the army. The
London train-bands, whom the Cavaliers had derided, “stood as a bulwark
and rampire to defend the rest,” and received charge after charge of
Rupert’s horse with their pikes as steadily as if they had been drilling
on their parade ground. Long training in military exercises had given
them a “readiness, order, and dexterity in the use of their arms,” which
compensated for their inexperience of actual war. Step by step the
parliamentary army gained ground, till the failure of the King’s
ammunition obliged him to retreat and leave the passage free. Essex
re-entered London in triumph. Gloucester was safe, and his army was
safe, but Reading, the one trophy of his year’s fighting, was abandoned
again to the Royalists.

The year 1643 closed gloomily for the Parliament. Except Gloucester,
Plymouth, and a few ports in Dorsetshire, all the west was the King’s;
the north was his except Hull and Lancashire, and in the midlands the
Parliamentarians held their own with difficulty. Only in the eastern
counties had the Parliament gained strength and territory, and it was to
Cromwell more than any other man that this isolated success was due. At
the close of 1642, Parliament had passed an ordinance associating the
five counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridge, and Hertfordshire
for the purpose of common defence (December 10, 1642). The Eastern
Association, as it was termed, was completed by the accession of
Huntingdonshire (May 26, 1643) and finally of Lincolnshire (September
20, 1643). Cambridge was its headquarters and Cromwell was from the
first its guiding spirit. On his march from London in January, 1643,
Cromwell seized the royalist high sheriff of Hertfordshire as he was
proclaiming the King’s commission of array in the market-place of St.
Albans, and sent him up to London (January 14th). In February, he was at
Cambridge busily fortifying the town and collecting men to resist a
threatened attack from Lord Capel. In March, he suppressed a royalist
rising at Lowestoft, taking prisoners many gentlemen and “good store of
pistols and other arms.” A few days later, he disarmed the Royalists of
Lynn; in April, those of Huntingdonshire shared the same fate, and on
April 28th he recaptured Crowland where the King’s party had established
a garrison. Whenever royalist raiders made a dash into the Association,
or disaffected gentry attempted a rising, Colonel Cromwell and his men
were swift to suppress them. “It’s happy,” he wrote, “to resist such
beginnings betimes,” and he never failed to do so.



  _B. V. Darbishire, Oxford 1899._

Meanwhile the notion which Hampden had thought impracticable was rapidly
becoming a fact. Cromwell’s one troop of eighty horse had become the
nucleus of a regiment. By March, 1643, he had five troops, and by
September, ten. When the New Model army was constituted, his regiment
had become a double regiment of fourteen full troops, numbering about
eleven hundred troopers. Above all they were men of the same spirit as
their colonel. His original troop had been carefully chosen. “He had a
special care,” writes Baxter, “to get religious men into his troop;
these men were of greater understanding than common soldiers ... and
making not money but that which they took for public felicity to be
their end, they were the more engaged to be valiant.” The new additions
were of the same quality. “Pray raise honest, godly men and I will have
them of my regiment,” Cromwell promised the town of Norwich. “My troops
increase,” he told a friend a few weeks later; “I have a lovely company;
you would respect them did you know them; they are no Anabaptists, they
are honest, sober Christians.”

The officers were selected on the same principle. “If you choose godly,
honest men to be captains of horse, honest men will follow them; and
they will be careful to mount such,” wrote Cromwell to the Committee of
Suffolk. When he could get gentlemen he preferred them, but godliness
and zeal for the cause were the essentials.

  “I had rather have,” said he, “a plain russet-coated captain that
  knows what he fights for and loves what he knows, than that which
  you call ‘a gentleman,’ and is nothing else. I honour a gentleman
  that is so indeed.... It may be it provokes some spirits to see such
  plain men made captains of horse. It had been well that men of
  honour and birth had entered into these employments—but why do they
  not appear? But seeing it was necessary the work must go on, better
  plain men than none.”

What struck observers first was the rigid discipline which Cromwell
enforced not only in his own regiment but in all men under his command.
No plundering was permitted, reported a newspaper; “no man swears but he
pays his twelvepence; if he be drunk he is set in the stocks or worse.
How happy were it if all the forces were thus disciplined!” The next
notable fact was that they were better armed than other regiments, as
well as better disciplined. Besides the sword, each trooper had a pair
of pistols, but not carbines or other firearms. For defensive arms, they
had simply a light helmet or “pot,” and a “back and breast” of iron.
Thus while adequately protected they were lighter and more active than
fully equipped cuirassiers, and while adequately armed they had no
temptation to adopt the tactics of mounted infantry or dragoons.
Moreover, from the beginning, Cromwell’s men were taught to charge home,
and to rely on the impact of their charge and the sharpness of their
swords. They were well mounted and many of them owned the horses they
rode, being, as Whitelocke says, “freeholders or freeholders’ sons, who
upon matter of conscience engaged in this quarrel.” Others were provided
from the stables of Royalists, and one of Cromwell’s letters is a
defence of an officer who had seized the horses of “Malignants” to mount
his troop. A great lover of horses and arms himself, Colonel Cromwell
made his men keep both in good condition. “Cromwell,” says a royalist
writer, “used them daily to look after, feed, and dress their horses,
and, when it was needful, to lie together on the ground; and besides
taught them to clean and keep their arms bright and to have them ready
for service.” Men of such a spirit, armed, mounted, drilled, and
disciplined with care, soon proved their superiority both to the King’s
troops and to those of Essex and Waller.

  “That difference,” says Clarendon, “was observed shortly from the
  beginning of the war: that though the King’s troops prevailed in the
  charge, and routed those they charged, they never rallied themselves
  again in order, nor could be brought to make a second charge again
  the same day, whereas Cromwell’s troops if they prevailed, or though
  they were beaten and routed, presently rallied again, and stood in
  good order till they received new orders.”

In May, 1643, Essex ordered the forces of the eastern counties and the
east midlands to unite in order to relieve Lincolnshire, and if possible
to penetrate to Yorkshire and assist the Fairfaxes. Cromwell was eager
to carry out his orders, but first one then another local commander
declined to leave his particular locality unprotected. “Better it were
that Leicester were not,” said Cromwell, “than that there should not be
found an immediate taking of the field by our forces to accomplish the
common ends.” He himself set out for Lincolnshire, and at Grantham on
May 13th defeated a royalist force twice the size of his own. The
Royalists were beaten mainly through their inferior tactics. Their
commander had twenty-one troops and some dragoons to Cromwell’s twelve,
but he never attempted to charge. The two bodies of horse stood about
musket-shot from each other, and their dragoons exchanged shots for
about half an hour.

  “Then,” says Cromwell’s despatch, “they not advancing toward us we
  agreed to charge them ... we came on with our troops at a pretty
  round trot, they standing firm to receive us: and our men charging
  fiercely upon them, by God’s providence they were immediately routed
  and ran all away, and we had the execution of them two or three

Ten days later, Cromwell reached Nottingham and joined the forces of
Lincolnshire and Derbyshire, but with all his eagerness he could get no
farther. The three commanders quarrelled, and one of them, Captain John
Hotham, was secretly in correspondence with the Royalists. To add to
Cromwell’s difficulties, some of his soldiers were unpaid and mutinous,
though he wrote urgently for money. It was a trouble continually
recurring in his letters throughout this campaign, because parts of the
Association were always behindhand in paying the men they raised.

  “Lay not too much,” he appealed to one defaulter, “upon the back of
  a poor gentleman, who desires, without much noise, to lay down his
  life and bleed the last drop to serve the cause and you. I ask not
  your money for myself; if that were my end and hope—viz: the pay of
  my place—I would not open my mouth at this time. I desire to deny
  myself, but others will not be satisfied.”

Till the end of June, Cromwell stayed at Nottingham, defeating the
Newark garrison in skirmishes, and hoping at least to bar the Queen’s
march south, but his fellow commanders left him, and so he was obliged
to fall back into the Association, and leave the Fairfaxes to be crushed
at Adwalton Moor.

Now came the hour of danger for the Association. Backed by Newcastle’s
army, the Royalists of the neighbouring counties began to press over its
borders. One party threatened Peterborough, and garrisoned Burleigh
House near Stamford. Another body besieged Lord Willoughby, the
commander of the Lincolnshire Parliamentarians, in Gainsborough.
Cromwell came to the rescue with his usual speed, captured Burleigh
House and its garrison on July 24th, and, gathering what force he could
get from Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, hurried to the relief of
Gainsborough. Colonel Cavendish faced him with a body of royalist horse
posted on the edge of a sandy plateau outside the town, and Cromwell’s
men had to mount it before they could attack. Before they were
completely formed, the royalist horse advanced, but Cromwell would not
wait to receive their charge.

  “In such order as we were,” says he, “we charged their great body.
  We came up horse to horse, where we disputed it with our swords and
  pistols a pretty time, all keeping close order, so that one could
  not break the other. At last they a little shrinking, our men,
  perceiving it, pressed in upon them, and immediately routed the
  whole body.”

Part of the Parliamentarians followed the chase five or six miles, but
Cromwell halted three troops of his regiment as soon as he could, and it
was well he did so; for in the meantime Cavendish and his reserve beat
the Lincoln troops forming the parliamentary second line, and were hotly
pursuing them when Cromwell with his three troops fell on their rear,
and drove them down the hill and into a bog. Cavendish was killed by
Cromwell’s lieutenant, and his regiment scattered to the winds. Powder
and provisions were thrown into the besieged town, and the van of the
Parliamentarians were actively engaged in attacking a body of Royalists
discovered on the other side of Gainsborough, when Newcastle’s army
arrived, fifty companies of foot, “and a great body of horse.” To fight
was hopeless. There was nothing left for the Parliamentarians but to
retreat if they could. The foot drew off with some confusion and took
refuge in the town; the horse, under Cromwell’s command, were withdrawn
in good order from position to position. Four troops of his regiment
under Major Whalley, and four Lincoln troops under Captain Ayscough,
alternately retiring and facing the enemy, covered the withdrawal.

  “They with this handful faced the enemy, and dared them to the teeth
  in, at the least, eight or nine several removes, the enemy following
  at their heels; and they, though their horses were exceedingly
  tired, retreating in order near carbine shot of the enemy, who thus
  followed them, firing upon them; Colonel Cromwell gathering up the
  main body and facing them behind those two lesser bodies.”

In this order he effected his retreat to Lincoln without loss.

Without a greater force it was impossible to drive Newcastle back, and
in announcing his victory Cromwell appealed for reinforcements.

  “God follows us with encouragements.... They come in season; as if
  God should say, ‘Up and be doing, and I will stand by you and help
  you.’ There is nothing to be feared but our own sin and sloth.... If
  I could speak words to pierce your hearts with the sense of our and
  your condition I would.”

Two thousand foot must be raised at once if they meant to save
Gainsborough. “If somewhat be not done in this you will see Newcastle’s
army march up into your bowels, being now, as it is, on this side Trent.
I know it will be difficult to raise thus many in so short a time: but
let me assure you, it’s necessary and therefore to be done.”

Parliament realised the imminence of the danger. On the day of
Cromwell’s victory at Gainsborough, it had appointed him Governor of the
Isle of Ely. A week later, he received the special thanks of the House
for his “faithful endeavours to God and the kingdom,” and was voted
three thousand pounds for his troops. On August 10th, an ordinance
passed authorising the Associated Counties to raise ten thousand foot
and five thousand horse to be commanded by the Earl of Manchester. It
seemed, however, as if the eastern counties would be overrun before the
new army could be raised. Gainsborough was taken, Lincoln was abandoned,
all Lincolnshire except Boston fell into the power of the Royalists. In
Norfolk, Lynn raised the King’s standard. However, Newcastle turned back
with the bulk of his forces to besiege Hull, and while Manchester with
all the foot he could get together besieged Lynn, Cromwell with his
cavalry made a bold march into Lincolnshire. Sir Thomas Fairfax, who was
shut up in Hull with his father, had with him twenty-one troops of
horse, useless for the defence of the town, but capable of changing the
fortune of the campaign if added to Cromwell’s force. Fairfax shipped
them down the Humber in boats to Saltfleet in Lincolnshire, thus evading
the attempts of Newcastle’s cavalry to intercept him, and effected his
junction with Cromwell. Both then joined Manchester, who had by this
time captured Lynn, and in October the joint army set about the
reconquest of Lincolnshire.

The Cavaliers of Lincolnshire and part of Newcastle’s cavalry, headed by
Lord Widdrington and Sir John Henderson, fought them at Winceby on
October 11th. Cromwell led the van, seconded by Sir Thomas Fairfax.

  “Immediately after their dragooners had given the first volley,”
  says a parliamentary narrative, “Colonel Cromwell fell with a brave
  resolution upon the enemy; yet they were so nimble, as that within
  half pistol shot, they gave him another; his horse was killed under
  him at the first charge, and fell down upon him; and as he rose up
  he was knocked down again by the gentleman who charged him; but
  afterwards he recovered a poor horse in a soldier’s hands, and
  bravely mounted himself again. Truly this first charge was so home
  given, and performed with so much admirable courage and resolution
  by our troops, that the enemy stood not another; but were driven
  back upon their own body which was to have seconded them; and at
  last put them into a plain disorder; and thus in less than half an
  hour’s fight they were all quite routed.”

Thirty-five colours, and nearly a thousand prisoners were the trophies
of the victors; Lincoln and Gainsborough fell into their hands a few
weeks later. Moreover, on the very day of the victory of Winceby, Lord
Fairfax sallied forth from Hull, beat Newcastle from his trenches, and
forced him to raise the siege in disorder. Thus the Association was
secured from invasion, Lincolnshire conquered, and the Parliament’s hold
on Yorkshire maintained.

So closed Cromwell’s second campaign. He had shown a skill in handling
cavalry very rare amongst the courageous knights and squires who “rode
forth a-colonelling.” He kept his promise to Hampden,—raised men of such
a spirit that they never turned their backs to the enemy, and
disciplined them so that they were an example to all the troops of the
Parliament in camp or in battle. The general recognition of his great
services was shown by two facts. On February 16, 1644, Parliament
appointed a new committee for the management of the war, called, because
it included representatives of Scotland, the Committee of Both Kingdoms.
Cromwell had not been a member of the Committee of Safety appointed when
the war began, but he was from the first a member of this new one. The
second fact was Cromwell’s appointment as Lieutenant-General of the army
of the Eastern Association. He had been practically Manchester’s second
in command since the army was formed, and on January 22, 1644, he
received his commission. The appointment had important results,
political as well as military. Manchester himself, “a sweet, meek man,”
says the Presbyterian Baillie, “permitted his Lieutenant-General to
guide all the army at his pleasure.” Of Cromwell he adds: “the man is a
very wise and active head, universally well-beloved as religious and
stout; being a known Independent most of the soldiers who loved new ways
put themselves under his command.” Thus Cromwell’s influence spread to
the whole army of the Eastern Association, and officers and men became
permeated by the spirit of his regiment. By March, 1644, Manchester’s
army was reported to be fifteen thousand strong.



  (_From Birch’s “Heads of Illustrious Persons.”_)

“Neither,” said a newspaper, “is his army so formidable in number as
exact in discipline; and that they might be all of one mind in religion,
as of resolution in the field, with a severe eye he hath looked into the
manners of those all who are his officers, and cashiered those whom he
found to be in any way irregular in their lives or disaffected to the




                               CHAPTER VI
                              MARSTON MOOR

As yet neither party had decidedly gained the upper hand, though the
tide seemed setting against the Parliament. Both parties, therefore,
looked outside England for allies, one to make its success complete, the
other to regain what it had lost. The King turned to Ireland, and to the
army there, which with little support from the Parliament was striving
to put down the rebellion. On September 15, 1643, Ormond, the
Lord-Lieutenant, concluded a cessation of arms with the rebels, and was
able to send several regiments of experienced soldiers to the King’s
assistance during the following months. The English Puritans turned to
their brethren in Scotland; in September, the Solemn League and Covenant
pledged the two nations to unite for the reformation of religion
according to the word of God and the example of the best reformed
churches; in November, the Scottish Parliament agreed to send twenty-one
thousand men to the assistance of the English Parliamentarians. In
January, 1644, Alexander Leslie, now Earl of Leven, crossed the Tweed
with the promised army.

The campaign of 1644 opened badly for the King. In January, Sir Thomas
Fairfax defeated Lord Byron and the King’s Irish forces at Nantwich. In
March, Waller defeated Hopton at Cheriton in Hampshire, and frustrated
his intended advance into Sussex. In April, Newcastle, after striving in
vain to bar Leslie’s progress in Durham, was forced to throw himself
into York, where Leslie and the Fairfaxes besieged his army. In May, the
forces of Waller and Essex advanced upon Oxford. The Royalists evacuated
Reading and Abingdon, and Charles, fearing to be blockaded in Oxford,
left the city to be defended by its garrison, and with about six
thousand men made his escape to Worcester. But Essex, instead of
pursuing and crushing the King’s weak army as he ought to have done,
delegated the task to Waller, and set out himself to recover the
south-western counties and relieve Lyme.

In April, while Waller and Essex were preparing for their movement on
Oxford, the army of the Eastern Association under Manchester took the
field. Its first business was to reconquer Lincolnshire,—the debatable
land between the north and east,—for Rupert’s defeat of the besiegers of
Newark in March, 1644, had thrown Lincolnshire once more into the hands
of the Royalists. On May 6th, Manchester’s army recaptured Lincoln, and
at the beginning of June he joined the two armies which beleaguered York
with about nine thousand men. Of these nine thousand, three thousand
were cavalry under the command of Cromwell. York held out stubbornly;
some detached forts were taken and the suburbs burnt, but an attempted
assault was bloodily repulsed. At the end of June, news came that Prince
Rupert with fifteen thousand men had crossed the hills from Lancashire,
and was marching to the relief of the city. The three generals, Leven,
Fairfax, and Manchester, raised the siege in order to give battle to
Rupert’s army, but when they assembled their forces on the south bank of
the Ouse, Rupert crossed to the northern bank, and reached York without
striking a blow. On the morning of July 2nd, the parliamentary generals,
finding themselves outmanœuvred, and the resumption of the siege
rendered impossible, were in full retreat to the south, when Rupert’s
attacks on their rearguard forced them to halt and offer battle. They
drew up their army on some rising ground between Tockwith and Marston,
overlooking the open moor on which the Royalists had taken their post.
Between the armies, and marking the southern boundary of the moor, ran a
hedge, and ditch, which Rupert had lined with musketeers, and some
similar obstacles strengthened the royalist left flank. Rupert’s army,
reinforced by Newcastle’s forces from York, numbered about eighteen
thousand men, while the Parliamentarians amounted to about twenty-seven
thousand, but the Royalists had the advantage of a strong defensive
position, and of open ground on which their cavalry could manœuvre

For three hours the two armies faced each other in battle array; a few
cannon-shots were exchanged, but neither army advanced. The Roundheads
fell to singing psalms, and the royalist generals came to the belief
that there would be no fighting that day. About five, the whole
parliamentary line began to move forward, and Cromwell, with the cavalry
forming its left wing, attacked Lord Byron and the royalist right.
Cromwell had under his command all the horse and dragoons of the Eastern
Association, half a regiment of Scottish dragoons, and three weak
regiments of Scottish cavalry who formed his reserve,—in all not less
than four thousand men, of whom one thousand were dragoons. The dragoons
rapidly drove the royalist musketeers from the ditch, and enabled the
cavalry to pass it. Cromwell led the way, and with the first troops who
crossed charged the nearest regiment of Royalists. His own division,
says a contemporary narrative, “had a hard pull of it; for they were
charged by Rupert’s bravest men both in front and flank.” But as fast as
they could form, the other troops of Cromwell’s first line charged in
support of their leader, erelong the foremost regiments of the Royalists
were broken, and, pursuing their victory, Cromwell’s men engaged the
second line.

In this hand-to-hand combat Cromwell was wounded in the neck by a
pistol-shot fired so near his eyes that it half blinded him, but, though
for a short time disabled, he did not leave the field. Meanwhile Rupert
himself, who had been at supper in the rear when the attack began,
galloped up with fresh regiments and, rallying his men, drove back
Cromwell’s troopers. It was but a temporary check, for David Leslie with
Cromwell’s second line fell on Rupert’s flank, and the royalist cavalry
was irretrievably routed. Sending the light Scottish regiments of the
reserve in pursuit of the flying Cavaliers, Cromwell and Leslie reformed
their tired squadrons, and halted to find out how the battle had gone in
other quarters of the field. Tidings of disaster soon reached them, and
it became plain that the battle was more than half lost for the
Parliament. Sir Thomas Fairfax, wounded and almost alone, came with the
news that the horse of the right wing under his command were defeated
and flying. His own regiment had charged with success, and broken
through the enemy; those who should have supported him, disordered by
the furze and the rough ground they had to pass through to debouch upon
the moor, had been charged by the Royalists, and completely scattered.
The infantry of the parliamentary centre had fared little better. The
advance had been at first successful all along the line, some guns had
been taken, and the ditch passed. On the left, Manchester’s foot, led by
Major-General Crawford, had outflanked the infantry opposed to them, and
were still gaining ground. In the centre, Lord Fairfax’s foot and the
Scottish regiments supporting them, repulsed by Newcastle’s white-coated
north-countrymen, and trampled down by their own flying horse, were in
full flight. On the right, the main body of the Scottish infantry was
hard pressed; some regiments gave way as their brethren in the centre
had done; others maintained their ground manfully. Yet with the centre
of the parliamentary line pierced, and the cavalry of the right wing
driven from the field, the position of these isolated regiments, exposed
to attack in front and flank both, seemed hopeless. So thought old
Leven, who, after striving in vain to rally the runaways, gave up the
day for lost, and galloped for Leeds. Lord Fairfax, too, was carried off
the field in the rout of his infantry, though he returned later.


  The Battle of

  B. V. Darbishire, Oxford 1899

While Goring’s victorious horse pursued the fugitives, or stopped to
plunder the baggage, Sir Charles Lucas, with another division of
Goring’s command, employed himself in attacking the Scottish infantry.
Maitland’s and Lindsey’s regiments on the extreme right of the line
stood like rocks, and beat off three charges with their pikes. Like
their ancestors at Flodden, and with better fortune,

                 “The stubborn spearmen still made good
                 Their dark, impenetrable wood,
                 Each stepping where his comrade stood
                       The instant that he fell.”

Help was now at hand. Sweeping across the moor behind the royalist
centre, Cromwell and Leslie came with their whole force to the relief of
the Scots. With them too marched Crawford and the three brigades of
Manchester’s foot. As they advanced, Lucas’s horse suspended their
attack, and Goring’s men streamed back from pursuit and pillage to meet
this new antagonist.

Cromwell’s cavalry now occupied the very ground where Goring’s men had
been posted when the battle began, and met them at “the same place of
disadvantage” where Sir Thomas Fairfax had been routed. The struggle was
short but decisive, and when the last squadrons of the royalist horse
were broken, Cromwell turned to co-operate with Crawford and the Scots
in attacking the royalist infantry. Some of Rupert’s veteran regiments
made good their retreat to York; Newcastle’s white-coats got into a
piece of enclosed ground, and sold their lives dearly; the rest
scattered and fled under cover of the protecting darkness. About three
thousand Royalists fell in the battle, while sixteen guns, one hundred
colours, six thousand muskets, and sixteen hundred prisoners were the
trophies of the victors. Rupert left York to its fate, and made his way
back to Lancashire with some six thousand men, and the city itself
surrendered a fortnight later.

In the despatch which the three Generals addressed to the Committee of
Both Kingdoms, they gave no account of the details of the battle, and
made no mention of Cromwell’s services. Private letters were more
outspoken. One described him as “the chief agent in obtaining the
victory.” Some people spoke of him as “the saviour of the three
kingdoms,” though Cromwell repudiated the title with some anger. The
friends of the Scottish army depreciated his services, attributed what
his cavalry achieved to David Leslie, and circulated reports that
Cromwell had taken no part in the battle after his first charge.

The utterances of the royalist leader both before and after the battle
showed that he appreciated Cromwell’s importance more justly. “Is
Cromwell there?” asked Rupert of a prisoner taken just before the
battle, and it was Rupert too who, after the battle, gave Cromwell the
nickname of “Ironside” or “Ironsides.” The title was derived, according
to a contemporary biographer, “from the impenetrable strength of his
troops, which could by no means be broken or divided,” and it was
extended later from the leader to the soldiers themselves.

Cromwell’s only account of the battle is contained in a few lines
written to his brother-in-law, Colonel Valentine Walton.

  “England,” he said, “and the Church of God hath had a great favour
  from the Lord in this great victory given unto us, such as the like
  never was since this war began. It had all the evidences of an
  absolute victory, obtained by the Lord’s blessing upon the godly
  party principally. We never charged but we routed the enemy. The
  left wing, which I commanded, being our own horse, saving a few
  Scots in our rear, beat all the Prince’s horse. God made them as
  stubble to our swords. We charged their regiments of foot with our
  horse, and routed all we charged. The particulars I cannot relate
  now; but I believe of 20,000 the Prince hath not 4000 left. Give
  glory, all the glory, to God.”

Cromwell’s letter has been charged with concealing the services of David
Leslie and the Scots. But every word of his brief account was true. He
did not give the particulars of the fight, because he was writing a
letter of condolence, not a despatch. Walton’s son, a captain in
Cromwell’s own regiment, had fallen in the battle, and Cromwell wrote to
tell the father details of his son’s death. He began with the news of
the great victory in order that Walton might feel that his son’s life
had not been idly thrown away. Then he turned suddenly to the real
subject of the letter. “Sir, God hath taken your eldest son away by a
cannon shot. It brake his leg. We were necessitated to have it cut off,
whereof he died.” Next he praised the dead—the “gallant young man,”
“exceeding gracious,” “exceedingly beloved in the army of all that knew
him,” who had died “full of comfort,” lamenting nothing save that he
could no longer serve God against his enemies, and rejoicing in his last
moments to “see the rogues run.” In the spring, Cromwell had lost his
own son, Captain Oliver, who died not in battle, but of smallpox in his
quarters at Newport. “A civil young gentleman, and the joy of his
father,” said a newspaper recording it. He referred to this now while
seeking to comfort Walton. “You know my own trials this way; but the
Lord supported me with this, that the Lord took him into the happiness
we all pant after and live for.” Let the same faith support Walton, and
let “this public mercy to the Church of God” help him to forget his
“private sorrow.” So closed the letter, revealing in its tenderness and
sympathy, its enthusiasm and its devotion to the cause, the depths of
Cromwell’s nature, and the secret of his power over his comrades in

After the fall of York, the three parliamentary armies separated. Leven
and the Scots turned northwards again to besiege Newcastle, the
Fairfaxes remained to capture the royalist strongholds in Yorkshire, and
Manchester, taking on his way Sheffield Castle and a few smaller
garrisons, returned to Lincoln. All August he remained there idle,
declining even to besiege Newark. He was weary of the war, anxious for
an accommodation with the King, and shocked at the spread of sectarian
and democratic opinions in his army and in the kingdom. Cromwell, as the
protector of the sectaries, was at daggers-drawn with Major-General
Crawford, who attempted to suppress them; Crawford cashiered an officer
on the ground that he was an Anabaptist, and Cromwell and some of his
colonels threatened to lay down their commissions unless Crawford was
removed. A compromise of some kind was patched up, but Cromwell’s
influence over Manchester was at an end.

Meanwhile, in the south of England the campaign so prosperously begun
was ending in disaster. Charles had turned on his pursuer, and defeated
Waller at Cropredy Bridge, in Oxfordshire, on June 29th. Leaving
Waller’s disorganised and mutinous army too weak to do any harm, he
followed Essex into the west, and, joined by the forces of the western
Royalists, threatened to overpower him. At the end of August, the
Committee of Both Kingdoms ordered the army of the Eastern Association
to go to the succour of Essex. Cromwell was eager to do so. “The
business,” he wrote to his friend Walton, “has our hearts with it, and
truly, had we wings we would fly thither.” Manchester’s army, though ill
provided with necessaries, and slandered by evil tongues as factious,
was ready to serve anywhere. “We do never find our men so cheerful as
when there is work to do.” But he went on to hint that there were
obstructives in high places, who were less willing to fight than their
soldiers. “We have some amongst us much slow in action; if we could all
intend our own ends less, and our own ease too, our business would go on
wheels for expedition.”

Before Manchester stirred from Lincoln the anticipated disaster came. At
Lostwithiel on September 2nd, Skippon and the infantry of Essex’s army
were forced to capitulate and to lay down their arms. The horse escaped
by a night march through a gap in the royalist lines, while Essex
himself and a few officers fled by sea. After his victory the King
returned slowly to Oxford, and Manchester with the greatest reluctance
moved south-west to meet him. “My army,” he said openly, “was raised by
the Association and for the guard of the Association. It cannot be
commanded by Parliament without their consent.” It was imperative that
Charles should be fought before he could get to his old headquarters at
Oxford, while his army was weakened by the forces left behind in the
west, but Manchester’s refusal to advance allowed the Royalists to reach
Newbury before the King was obliged to fight. At Newbury, on October
27th, Manchester’s army, strengthened by Waller’s forces and by what
remained of Essex’s troops, made a joint attack on the King. Charles had
only ten thousand men to oppose to the nineteen thousand brought against
him, but he had chosen a strong position between two rivers, protected
on one side by Donnington Castle, and covered, where it was most
assailable, by intrenchments. Above all, his army was under a single
commander, while the Parliament’s was directed by a committee. Essex was
absent from illness, and the Committee of Both Kingdoms hoped to avoid
disputes by putting the command in commission.

The parliamentary scheme was that Skippon’s foot, with the horse of
Cromwell and Waller, should attack the King’s position on the west,
while Manchester assaulted it on the north-east. It failed through lack
of combination. Skippon’s infantry carried the royalist intrenchments,
and recaptured several guns they had lost in Cornwall, but the cavalry,
impeded by the nature of the ground, could effect little. Manchester
delayed his attack till it was too late to assist them, and was repulsed
with heavy loss. Nevertheless the result of the day’s fighting was that
the King’s position was so seriously compromised that only a retreat
could save his army. In the night, the royalist army silently marched
past Manchester’s outposts, and by morning it was half way to
Wallingford. Waller and Cromwell set out in pursuit with the bulk of the
cavalry, but as Manchester and the majority of the committee refused to
support them with infantry Charles made good his retreat to Oxford. A
fortnight later, the King, reinforced by Rupert with five thousand men,
returned to relieve Donnington Castle and carry off the artillery he had
left there (October 9, 1644). He offered battle, and Cromwell was eager
to fight, but Manchester and a majority of the committee declared
against it. Foot and horse alike were greatly reduced in numbers, and
the latter “tired out with hard duty in such extremity of weather as
hath been seldom seen.” Manchester, in addition to military reasons,
urged political arguments against risking a battle.

  “If we beat the King ninety-nine times, yet he is King still, and so
  will his posterity be after him; but if the King beat us once we
  shall all be hanged, and our posterity made slaves.” “My Lord,”
  retorted Cromwell, “if this be so, why did we take up arms at first?
  This is against fighting ever hereafter. If so, let us make peace,
  be it ever so base.”

But much as he might despise Manchester’s logic, he had to bow to the
logic of facts, and to accept the view of the committee in general.

So ended the campaign of 1644. The north of England had been definitely
won, and with capable leadership the defeat of Essex in Cornwall might
have been compensated by the defeat of the King in Berkshire. When
Cromwell came to reflect on the incidents of the last few months, he
attributed the failure to obtain this victory entirely to Manchester. He
had failed, apparently, not through accident or want of foresight, but
through backwardness to all action. And this backwardness, concluded
Cromwell, came “from some principle of unwillingness to have the war
prosecuted to a full victory; and a desire to have it ended by an
accommodation on some such terms to which it might be disadvantageous to
bring the King too low.” On November 25th, Cromwell rose in the House of
Commons, told the story of the Newbury campaign, and made this charge
against Manchester. Manchester vindicated his generalship in the House
of Lords, alleging that he had always acted by the advice of the council
of war, and that Cromwell was a factious and obstructive subordinate.
Then, leaving military questions alone, he made a bitter attack on
Cromwell as a politician. He had once given great confidence to the
Lieutenant-General, but latterly he had become suspicious of his
designs, and had been obliged to withdraw it. For Cromwell had spoken
against the nobility, and had said that he hoped to live to see never a
nobleman in England. He had expressed himself with contempt against the
Assembly of Divines, and with animosity against the Scots for attempting
to establish Presbyterianism in England. Finally, he had avowed that he
desired to have none but Independents in the army of the Eastern
Association, “so that in case there should be propositions for peace, or
any conclusion of a peace, such as might not stand with those ends that
honest men should aim at, this army might prevent such a mischief.”

Cromwell did not deny these utterances, and their revelation produced
the effect which Manchester had anticipated. An enquiry into errors in
the conduct of the war developed into a political quarrel. The Lords
took up the cause of Manchester as the cause of their order. The Scots
intrigued against Cromwell as the enemy of their creed. “For the
interest of our nation,” wrote Baillie, “we must crave reason of that
darling of the sectaries,” and talked of breaking the power of that
potent faction “in obtaining his removal from the army, which himself by
his over-rashness has procured.” Some of the Scottish leaders consulted
together on the feasibility of accusing Cromwell as an “incendiary” who
had sought to cause strife between the two nations, but the English
lawyers consulted advised against it.

  “Lieutenant-General Cromwell,” said Mr. Maynard, “is a person of
  great favour and interest with the House of Commons, and with some
  of the peers likewise, and therefore there must be proofs, and the
  most clear and evident proofs against him, to prevail with the
  Parliament to judge him an incendiary.”

As the controversy proceeded, the Lower House declared on Cromwell’s
side, and the conviction of Manchester’s incapacity spread amongst its
members. But, instead of pressing the charge home, Cromwell drew back. A
personal triumph, to be gained at the cost of a rupture between the two
Houses, and perhaps a rupture between England and Scotland, was not
worth gaining. What he wanted was military efficiency and the vigorous
conduct of the war, and he resolved to use the dissatisfaction which
Manchester’s slackness had roused in order to obtain these ends, and to
abandon the personal charges to secure them. The moment was propitious,
for on November 23rd the Commons had ordered the Committee of Both
Kingdoms to consider the reorganisation of the whole army. On December
9th, when the report on the charges against Manchester was brought in to
the House of Commons, Cromwell turned the debate to the larger issue.
The important thing now, he said, was to save the nation out of the
bleeding, almost dying condition, which the long continuance of the war
had brought it into.

  “Without a more speedy, vigorous, and effectual prosecution of the
  war, we shall make the kingdom weary of us, and make it hate the
  name of a Parliament.”

  “For what do the enemy say? Nay what do many say that were friends
  at the beginning of the Parliament? Even this: That the members of
  both Houses have got great places and commands, and the sword into
  their hands; and what by interest in Parliament, what by power in
  the army, will perpetually continue themselves in grandeur, and not
  permit the war speedily to end, lest their own power should
  determine with it.... If the army be not put into another method and
  the war more vigorously prosecuted, the people can bear the war no
  longer, and will enforce you to a dishonourable peace.”

He went on to abandon his attack upon Manchester, by recommending the
House not to insist upon any complaint against any commander. Oversights
could rarely be avoided in military affairs, and he acknowledged that he
had been guilty of them himself. The essential was not to enquire into
the causes of these failures, but to apply a remedy to them. That
remedy, as he had already suggested, was the reorganisation of the army,
and a change in its commanders. “And I hope,” he concluded, “we have
such true English hearts and zealous affections towards the general weal
of our mother country, as no members of either House will scruple to
deny themselves, and their own private interests for the public good.”

Cromwell’s suggestion was at once adopted, and, before the debate ended,
a resolution was passed that no member of either House of Parliament
should during the war hold any office or command either military or
civil. Ten days later, on December 19th, the Self-Denying Ordinance
passed the House of Commons and was sent up to the Lords. The Lords
demurred, and delayed, and at last rejected it, on the ground that they
did not know what shape the new army would take. The Commons immediately
formulated their scheme, nominated Sir Thomas Fairfax as the future
General, and fixed the new army at twenty-two thousand men. On the 15th
of February, 1645, the Lords accepted it, much against their will; and
on April 3rd, with still greater reluctance, they accepted a second
Self-Denying Ordinance. But the new ordinance was much less stringent
than the old. It simply ordained that all members of the two Houses
holding office should lay down their commissions within forty days of
its passing, and said nothing to prevent their reappointment in the
future if the two Houses thought fit. So much at least the Peers had
gained by their resistance.

Cromwell had been a leader in the earlier portion of this struggle. He
had been one of the tellers for the majority which voted Fairfax General
in place of Essex, and had urged that Fairfax should have full liberty
in the choice of his officers. His own military career seemed over, for
he could scarcely expect to retain his command when all other members
lost theirs. If he had sought to keep it, he would have continued the
prosecution of Manchester rather than striven to erect a legal barrier
against his own employment. But before the struggle ended, and before
the second Self-Denying Ordinance was passed or even introduced, he was
once more in the field. In the west of England, Weymouth and Taunton
were hard pressed by a royalist army under Goring. Waller was ordered to
advance and relieve them, but without reinforcements he was too weak to
do so. Parliament ordered Cromwell’s regiment to join Waller; it
murmured, grew mutinous, and seemed about to refuse obedience. On March
3rd, the House ordered Cromwell to go with it, its murmurs ceased, and
obedience was immediately restored. Cromwell made no objection to
putting himself under Waller’s command, and Waller found him an
admirable subordinate. There was nothing in his bearing, wrote Waller,
to show that he was conscious of having extraordinary abilities; “for
although he was blunt, he did not bear himself with pride or disdain. As
an officer he was obedient, and did never dispute my orders, or argue
upon them.” What struck Waller most was that, whilst a man of few words
himself, Cromwell had a way of making others talk, and a singular
sagacity in judging their characters, and discovering their secrets.

Waller’s expedition accomplished its object: a royalist regiment of
horse was captured, an imperilled body of parliamentary foot
successfully brought off, and at the end of April Cromwell returned to
headquarters to lay down his commission. It remained to be seen whether
Parliament could dispense with his services, and above all whether the
army would be content to lose a general who had gained the confidence of
the soldiers more than any leader whom the war had produced.



                              CHAPTER VII
                          NASEBY AND LANGPORT

The “New Model” army which Fairfax commanded had a better chance of
success than that of Essex. Essex had failed partly through incapacity,
but partly because his forces were never properly maintained or
recruited. His regiments melted away without much fighting, because
their pay was always in arrears and their supplies irregular and
insufficient. But now Parliament had rectified the worst defects of its
financial system, and provided for the regular payment of the soldiers
during the campaign by a monthly assessment levied on all the counties
under its power. The new army consisted of eleven regiments of horse,
each numbering six hundred men, twelve regiments of foot, each of twelve
hundred, with a thousand dragoons, and a small train of artillery. About
half the infantry was composed of men who had served under Essex,
Manchester, and Waller; the rest were pressed-men raised by the county
authorities. Of the cavalry, more than half was drawn from the former
army of the Eastern Association. Cromwell’s old regiment was made into
two, one commanded by his cousin, Edward Whalley, the other by Sir
Thomas Fairfax himself.

Fairfax owed his appointment partly to his military reputation, partly
to his freedom from political objections. He was religious, but the
question whether he was a Presbyterian or an Independent was a riddle
none had solved. Though he had served a campaign in Holland, his real
training-school had been the long struggle with Newcastle and the
northern Royalists. Swift marches and dashing attacks, resourcefulness
in difficulties and persistency in defeats had made him famous. “Black
Tom” was the idol of his troopers, and whilst friends complained that he
exposed himself too recklessly, enemies spoke of his “irrational and
brutish valour,” and denied him all higher qualities. He was looked upon
as essentially a leader of cavalry, and his selection as General instead
of Lieutenant-General surprised even his friends. To most of the
officers of his army, Fairfax was unknown, except by reputation. When he
took up his command, they saw a man of about thirty-three, tall in
stature and very dark, with the scars of old wounds upon his face. His
bearing was quiet and reserved, but it was soon observed that though he
said little in council he was very tenacious of his opinions, and very
prompt in acting upon them. In battle he seemed transformed, threw off
his reserve, lost his stammer, and was all fire, energy, and decision.



  (_From the painting by Gerard Zoust._)

Skippon had been made Major-General of the army to supply the scientific
knowledge and the long experience which the commander-in-chief lacked,
but the second place in the army was still unfilled, for no
lieutenant-general had been appointed to command the horse. There can be
little doubt that it was designedly left open in order that Cromwell
might fill it.

Ever since March, Cromwell had been employed in his expedition to the
west. On the 19th of April, he returned to the headquarters at Windsor
in order to take leave of Fairfax, and to lay down his commission as the
Self-Denying Ordinance required. Next morning, a letter came from the
Committee of Both Kingdoms giving him fresh duty to do. The King was
about to take the field and the “New Model” was not ready to fight him.
Ever since the beginning of April, Fairfax had been labouring hard at
the reorganisation of the army, but recruits were slow in coming in, and
the obstructiveness of the Lords had thrown all preparations back. The
most efficient part of the army and the readiest for immediate action
was the brigade of cavalry Cromwell had brought back from the west, and
with it he was now despatched to Oxfordshire to prevent the King from
joining Prince Rupert. Charles lay at Oxford with part of the royal
army, including the artillery train; Rupert with the rest, and with the
bulk of the cavalry, was quartered about Hereford and Worcester.
Cromwell set out at once, and at daybreak on April 24th he routed three
regiments of the King’s horse at Islip, killing two hundred and taking
two hundred prisoners. Part of the fugitives took refuge in Blechington
House, which Cromwell at once attacked and forced, under threat of an
assault, to surrender. By the terms granted, the garrison were allowed
to retire to Oxford, but had to give up their horses and arms. “I did
much doubt the storming of the house,” wrote Cromwell in explanation,
“it being strong and well manned, and I having few dragoons, and this
not being my business.” Two days later, at Bampton in the Bush, he
intercepted a regiment of foot marching from Faringdon to Oxford, took a
couple of hundred, and killed or scattered the rest. On the 29th, he
appeared before Faringdon House, and made an attempt to storm it, but
was repulsed with loss. In spite of this check, Cromwell had effected
the work he was sent to do. The King’s march was stopped. His cavalry
was shattered by defeats, and his artillery could not be moved because
Cromwell had swept up all the draught-horses in the country round.
Charles was obliged to summon Goring’s cavalry from the west to cover
his junction with Rupert, and could not start till the 7th of May.

Meanwhile Fairfax had got his army into marching order, and on May 1st,
leaving Cromwell to observe the King, he set out to relieve Taunton. His
operations were determined not by his own judgment, but by the orders of
the Committee of Both Kingdoms. Half-way to Taunton he got fresh orders
instructing him to send a brigade to relieve it, and to turn back with
the rest of his troops to besiege Oxford. For a fortnight therefore he
invested Oxford, limiting himself to a blockade because his siege train
had not come up, and without heavy guns and intrenching tools he could
do nothing more. During these weeks Rupert and the King with nine
thousand or ten thousand men were marching unopposed about the midlands.
On May 15th, Charles took Hawkesley House in Worcestershire, and then
turned north to relieve Chester, but heard on his way that the siege was
raised. Some of his advisers urged him to march north still in order to
relieve Pontefract and beat Leven and the Scots; others proposed a raid
into the Eastern Association. But reports of the danger of Oxford kept
him in the south, and as a diversion it was resolved to attack
Leicester. On May 31st, that city was stormed and sacked by the King’s

The King’s movements had completely upset the plans of the Committee of
Both Kingdoms. As soon as the news of the capture of Leicester came,
Fairfax was ordered to leave Oxford, and to march against the King.
Taught by experience, the amateur strategists of the Committee left him
free to order his movements as he thought fit, and removed all
limitations they had before imposed. In the alarm caused by the King’s
successes, public opinion imperatively called for Cromwell’s employment.
All felt he was too necessary to be spared. On May 10th, Parliament had
prolonged his command for another forty days. On the 28th, when the King
threatened the eastern counties, Cromwell was sent in hot haste to Ely
to see to their defence. A week later London petitioned that he might
have power to raise and command all the forces of the Association.
Finally, on June 10th, Fairfax and his council of war petitioned
Parliament to appoint Cromwell Lieutenant-General. For they were now
advanced within a few miles of the King’s position, and Fairfax had a
great body of horse, but no general officer to command it in the coming
battle. No one but Cromwell would do, urged Fairfax.

  “The general esteem and affection which he hath both with the
  officers and soldiers of this whole army, his own personal worth and
  ability for the employment, his great care, diligence, courage, and
  faithfulness in the services you have already employed him in, with
  the constant presence and blessing of God that have accompanied him,
  make us look upon it as the duty we owe to you and the public, to
  make it our suit.”

The Lords made no answer to this unwelcome petition, but the Commons
agreed to the appointment for so long a time as Cromwell was needed in
the army. So, on June 13th, Cromwell rode into Fairfax’s camp with six
hundred horse from the Association, and was welcomed by the soldiers
“with a mighty shout.” “Ironsides,” they cried, “is come to head us,”
calling him by the name which Rupert had given him after the battle of
Marston Moor.

In the King’s camp there were great divisions of opinion. Rupert, the
commander-in-chief, advocated one course, and the King’s civilian
advisers another. Charles hesitated and delayed till he found Fairfax at
his heels, and then he was forced to fight. On June 14th, the two armies
met. Rupert’s original intention had been to deliver a defensive battle
in a chosen position at Harborough, but his scouts deluded him into the
belief that Fairfax’s troops were retiring, and he advanced to find them
drawing up in battle order on a high plateau in front of the little
village of Naseby. The King’s army amounted at most to about five
thousand horse and four thousand or five thousand foot. Fairfax had
thirteen thousand men, of whom six thousand were horse. In spite of
these odds, the Royalists expected an easy victory. Many of the
parliamentary foot were raw conscripts, whilst the King’s were old
soldiers. Charles himself spoke confidently of beating “the rebels’ new
brutish general” as he had beaten the experienced Essex, and even
supporters of the Parliament had little faith in their untried army.
“Never,” wrote one, “did any army go forth to war who had less of the
confidence of their own friends, or were more the objects of the
contempt of their enemies.” But Cromwell, for his part, had no doubts of
the issue of the battle.

  “I can say this of Naseby,” he wrote a month later. “When I saw the
  enemy draw up and march in gallant order towards us, and we a
  company of poor, ignorant men, to seek how to order our battle—the
  General having commanded me to order all the horse—I could not,
  riding alone about my business, but smile out to God in praises, in
  assurance of victory, because God would, by things that are not,
  bring to naught things that are. Of which I had great assurance, and
  God did it.”

As the royalist line advanced, Fairfax’s artillery fired a few shots,
which went high and did no execution. The King’s guns were too far
behind to do any service. The foot on each side fired one volley, and
then charged each other with levelled pikes and clubbed muskets. So
fierce was the onset of the royalist infantry that four out of the five
regiments in Fairfax’s front line gave way before it. Skippon’s regiment
was broken, its lieutenant-colonel killed, and Skippon himself severely
wounded. But Fairfax’s own regiment stood its ground, and the second
line, coming up, drove the Royalists back and gave the broken regiments
time to rally.

Still worse fared Colonel Ireton and the left wing of the parliamentary
horse. Ireton’s five regiments advanced to meet Rupert, but their charge
was badly delivered and badly supported. At the outset, Ireton himself
gained a temporary success, but, turning prematurely to attack a
regiment of foot, he was unhorsed, wounded, and for a short time a
prisoner. Rupert pushed his advantage with his usual vigour, and, not
content with driving Ireton’s horse from the field, attacked the train
and the baggage guard of the Parliamentarians behind Naseby. As they
stood firm he abandoned the attempt, and returned to see how the battle
went on the plateau.


  The Battle of

  B. V. Darbishire, Oxford, 1899.

During this time, the horse of the parliamentary right wing under
Cromwell decided the fate of the day. Cromwell did not wait to be
charged by Sir Marmaduke Langdale, but met his horsemen as they
advanced, and after a stiff struggle swept them back in disorder, and
forced them to take shelter behind their reserve. Cromwell’s troopers,
said an eye-witness, were like a torrent, driving all before them.
Charles put himself at the head of his guards and the rest of the
reserve, and prepared to lead a desperate charge against the advancing
Roundheads. “Will you go upon your death?” said a nobleman, seizing his
bridle rein; so the guards halted, and wheeled about, and drew back for
a quarter of a mile from the field. Leaving four regiments to keep them
in check, Cromwell with the rest of his horse, and with what he could
collect of Ireton’s, turned to fall upon the royalist centre. The
royalist infantry fought with great tenacity, but, attacked
simultaneously by horse and foot, they were soon broken, and regiment
after regiment laid down its arms. A brigade of bluecoats stood “with
incredible courage and resolution” beating back charge after charge with
their pikes. At last Cromwell charged one face of the square with
Fairfax’s regiment of foot, while Fairfax, bareheaded, led his
life-guard against another. It too was broken, and Fairfax took the
colours with his own hand. Of the King’s infantry, scarcely a man
escaped capture.

Fairfax halted the victorious cavalry till the main body of his foot
came up, and then, forming a fresh line of battle, ordered a general
advance. The King’s guards and Langdale’s routed horse had now been
joined by Rupert’s victorious troopers, and were drawn up to make a
second charge. But discouraged as they were, and without artillery or
foot to support them, their position was hopeless. In a few moments they
wavered and broke, and every man, turning his horse’s head towards
Leicester, rode as hard as he could.

The pursuit lasted some thirteen miles. Nearly five thousand prisoners,
more than one hundred colours, all of the King’s baggage and artillery,
and his private papers fell into the hands of the victors. Leicester
surrendered four days later, and Fairfax, leaving the King to take
refuge in Wales, set forth in haste to engage General Goring and the
western army. At the news of his approach, Goring raised the blockade of
Taunton, and took up his position about ten miles from Bridgwater, with
his front covered by the rivers Yeo and Parret. The two armies came into
collision near Langport on July 10th. Goring had posted his men on the
brow of a hill, with enclosures and a marshy valley in their front.
There was a ford across the little stream at the bottom of the valley,
and a lane led up the hill to the open ground at the top where Goring’s
cavalry stood, while the hedges and enclosures on each side of the lane
were filled with his musketeers. Intending to retreat to Bridgwater,
Goring had sent thither his baggage, and all his guns but two.

Langport was one of the few battles of the Civil War in which field
artillery played an important part. Fairfax began by overwhelming
Goring’s two guns with the fire of his own, and forcing the cavalry to
move farther back and leave their musketeers unsupported. Then he
ordered forward fifteen hundred musketeers, who, advancing down one
hillside and up the other, drove Goring’s skirmishers from hedge to
hedge, and cleared the enclosures. Finally, under Cromwell’s direction,
six troops of horse (all drawn from Cromwell’s own old regiment) dashed
through the ford, and up the lane at Goring’s cavalry. Major Bethell
headed the charge, which he performed, writes Cromwell, “with the
greatest gallantry imaginable,” and Major Desborough seconded him with
equal courage. Bethell beat back two bodies of Goring’s horse and “brake
them at sword point”; but, oppressed with numbers, his three troops were
being driven back when Desborough and the other three came up to relieve
them. Then they charged again, and both together routed another body of
Goring’s horse. At the same time, Fairfax’s musketeers, coming close up
to the cavalry, poured in their shot, and Goring’s men began to run.
Cromwell halted Desborough and Bethell on the ground they had won,
allowing no pursuit till the rest of the horse joined them. Two miles
farther back, the royalist cavalry made another stand, but one charge
proved sufficient, and they were sent flying towards Bridgwater. Through
the burning streets of Langport Cromwell dashed after them, capturing
during the chase both their two guns and fourteen hundred prisoners.

Immediately after his victory, Fairfax laid siege to Bridgwater. Like
Gustavus Adolphus, his method was to risk an assault wherever success
seemed possible, rather than to spend time on elaborate siege works. The
part of the town on the east bank of the Parret was taken by escalade on
July 21st, and the other half surrendered after a short bombardment. The
possession of Bridgwater, added to that of Taunton, Langport, and Lyme,
gave Fairfax a line of garrisons which cut off Cornwall and Devon from
the rest of England, and confined what remained of Goring’s army to
those two counties. He turned back, therefore, to complete the conquest
of the west by taking the strongholds he had left in his rear. Bath was
captured on July 29th, the strong castle of Sherborne stormed after a
fortnight’s siege on August 15th, and a week later Bristol was invested.
Rupert with thirty-five hundred men held the city, but its
fortifications were very extensive, and in many places weak. On
September 10th, about one o’clock in the morning, Fairfax made a general
assault on the whole circuit of the works, and by daybreak the most
important fort and a mile of the line were in his possession. Rupert had
no choice but to capitulate at once.

Cromwell was now put in command of four regiments of foot and three of
horse, and sent to clear Wiltshire and Hampshire of hostile garrisons.
Devizes and Laycock House surrendered to him on September 23rd;
Winchester cost a week’s siege, but gave in as soon as a breach was
made. “You see,” wrote Cromwell to the Speaker, “God is not weary in
doing you good. His favour to you is as visible, when He comes by His
power upon the hearts of your enemies, making them quit places of
strength to you, as when He gives courage to your soldiers to attempt
hard things.” Basing House, the next place attacked, was very strong,
had stood many sieges, and was garrisoned by determined men. Its owner,
the Marquis of Winchester, was a Catholic, and many of its defenders
were of the same creed. Cromwell breached its walls with his cannon and
ordered a storm. The night before it, he spent much time in prayer. “He
seldom fights,” said his chaplain, “without some text of Scripture to
support him.” This time his eye fell upon a text in the Psalms
foretelling the doom of idols and idolaters—“They that make them are
like unto them; so is every one that putteth his trust in them.” To a
Puritan it seemed a promise of certain victory, and Cromwell gave the
word to assault in complete assurance of success. His soldiers “fell on
with great resolution and cheerfulness,” clapped their scaling ladders
to the walls, beat the enemy from their works, and made the house their
own. Some three hundred of the garrison were killed, and about as many
taken prisoners, while the house itself was thoroughly sacked by the
soldiers, and then burnt. “I thank God,” wrote Cromwell to the Speaker,
“I can give you a good account of Basing.”

At the end of October, Cromwell, having completed his task, joined
Fairfax before Exeter. Except Devon and Cornwall, all the west had now
been cleared of the Royalists. On the Welsh border, the King had
Worcester and Hereford and a number of smaller places, but Chester was
besieged, and in the north Newark was the only important fortress in his
possession. Between these different places and his headquarters at
Oxford, Charles, attended by two or three thousand horse, had aimlessly
wandered, since his defeat at Naseby. At first, he thought of joining
Goring and Prince Charles in the west, but Langport put an end to that
plan. In August, he tried a raid into the Eastern Association, and took
and plundered Huntingdon. In September, the rumour of his approach led
Leven and the Scots to raise the siege of Hereford. More than once the
King thought of joining Montrose in Scotland. In September, 1644,
Montrose had begun the marvellous series of victories which threatened
to oblige the Covenanters to withdraw their army from England. He beat
them at Tippermuir, Aberdeen, Inverlochy, Auldearne, and Alford, and
dreamt of subduing all Scotland and coming to the assistance of the
King. At Kilsyth, on August 15, 1645, he won a still greater and more
decisive victory than all the rest. Glasgow was occupied; Edinburgh and
the south of Scotland submitted; the Covenanting leaders took refuge at
Berwick. Montrose sent a triumphant message to the King saying that he
would soon cross the border with twenty thousand men. But his
Highlanders went home with their plunder, the Lowland Scots declined to
enlist under his banner, and he had less than two thousand men with him
when David Leslie, with four thousand horse from the Scottish army in
England, surprised his little force at Philiphaugh, and cut it in pieces
(September 13th). Ignorant of this disaster, Charles set out from Raglan
Castle with three thousand horse to join Montrose. At Rowton Heath, on
September 24th, he was defeated by Major-General Poyntz in an attempt to
relieve Chester, and lost nine hundred men. Forced to abandon the plan
of marching north through Lancashire, the King made his way to Newark,
and thence, in November, back to Oxford. From Newark, Lord Digby made a
desperate attempt to get to Scotland, but the sole result was the loss
of the fifteen hundred horse he took with him.

From a military point of view, the King’s position was now utterly
hopeless. If after Naseby he had collected the men wasted in petty
garrisons he could have got together a force sufficient to meet the “New
Model” in the field. But he neglected the moment, one after another his
garrisons were taken, and his new levies were scattered before they
could combine. His generals lost hope, and while the quarrels of Goring
and Grenville paralysed the King’s western army, Rupert urged his uncle
to make peace. Charles obstinately refused to listen either to him or to
the rest of the peace party.

  “If I had any other quarrel but the defence of my religion, crown,
  and friends,” wrote Charles, “you had full reason for your advice;
  for I must confess that speaking as a mere soldier or statesman,
  there is no probability but of my ruin. Yet as a Christian I must
  tell you that God will not suffer rebels to prosper, nor His cause
  to be overthrown, and whatever personal punishment it shall please
  Him to inflict upon me must not make me repine, much less give over
  this quarrel.”

The nation in general was weary of the war and impatient for peace. In
the west and the south of England the country people began to form
associations in order to keep all armed men of either party out of their
districts, and to put an end to free quarter and the plunder of their
cattle. In the south-west, these “Clubmen,” as they were called, fell
under the influence of royalist agents, but generally they remained
neutral. When Fairfax marched into Dorsetshire, he employed Cromwell to
disperse gathering after gathering of rustics armed with clubs and

  “I assured them,” wrote Cromwell to Fairfax, “that it was your great
  care, not to suffer them in the least to be plundered, and that they
  should defend themselves from violence, and bring to your army such
  as did them any wrong, where they should be punished with all
  severity; upon this very quietly and peaceably they marched away to
  their houses, being very well satisfied and contented.”

Another body fired on Cromwell’s men, and had to be dispersed by a
cavalry charge. Some dozen were killed, and about three hundred made
prisoners—“poor silly creatures” whom he released with an admonition.
The moderation and just dealing of Cromwell and Fairfax, and the
excellent discipline of their soldiers, speedily restored confidence.
The countrymen came to perceive that the best hope of peace lay in the
triumph of the Parliament. At the siege of Bristol, the Clubmen of the
neighbourhood helped in the investment of the city, and at its surrender
Rupert had to be guarded to prevent their taking vengeance for the
plunderings he had sanctioned.

The feeling in favour of the parliamentary cause was still further
strengthened by the discovery of the King’s negotiations for the
introduction of foreign forces into England. The letters taken at Naseby
in June showed that the King was negotiating with the Duke of Lorraine
to send an army of ten thousand men into England. Those captured when
Digby was defeated in his attempt to reach Scotland proved that Charles
was trying to get troops from Denmark. In October, some more captured
correspondence revealed a treaty made with the Irish rebels in the
previous August, by which they were to furnish Charles with ten thousand
men in return for the legal establishment of Catholicism in Ireland.
Finally, in January, 1646, Fairfax intercepted letters from royalist
agents in France concerning five thousand Frenchmen who were to be
landed in the west. These successive discoveries alienated men who had
fought for the King, and turned neutrals into supporters of the

It was to anticipate any such landing of foreign forces in England that
Fairfax took the field so early in 1646. During the last two months of
1645 he had been blockading Exeter, but at the beginning of January,
though the snow was on the ground and there was a hard frost, a general
advance was ordered. The royalist forces in Cornwall and Devon numbered
not less than twelve thousand men, besides the garrisons, but, as
Clarendon confesses, they were a “dissolute, undisciplined, wicked,
beaten army,” more formidable to their friends than to their foes.
Goring, to whose misconduct this disorganisation was due, had resigned
his command at the end of 1645, and the brave and blameless Hopton, who
succeeded him, could effect nothing with such troops. In two months, the
resistance of the west collapsed. Cromwell opened the campaign by
surprising Lord Wentworth’s brigade at Bovey Tracy on January 9th;
Wentworth and most of his men escaped in the darkness, but four hundred
horses were taken, and the whole brigade scattered. Ten days later,
Fairfax took the strong fortress of Dartmouth by storm, capturing one
hundred guns and over one thousand prisoners. On February 16th, a chance
collision between outposts at Torrington in North Devon developed into a
general engagement in which Hopton was driven from the town with the
loss of six hundred men, and his infantry were completely dispersed.
Hopton had still about five thousand horse left, so, in spite of the
sufferings of his soldiers from hard marches and winter weather, Fairfax
resolved to follow him into Cornwall, “the breaking of that body of
horse there being the likeliest means to prevent or discourage the
landing of any foreign forces in those parts.” When he entered the
county, the Cornishmen, won by his good treatment of his prisoners and
by the good behaviour of his soldiers, offered no opposition. Hopton’s
troopers deserted daily, and those who stayed by their colours had no
fight left in them. The Prince of Wales and his councillors fled to the
Channel Islands, and on the 14th of March Hopton’s army capitulated.
Fairfax wisely granted liberal terms, and every common soldier, on
giving up horse and weapons, and promising not to bear arms any more
against the Parliament, was given twenty shillings to carry him to his

From Cornwall, Fairfax now marched back to Exeter, which surrendered to
him on April 9th, and thence to besiege Oxford, which he invested at the
beginning of May. Cromwell stayed with Fairfax until Exeter fell, and
then went to London at the General’s desire, to give Parliament an
account of the state of the west. On April 23rd, he was thanked by the
House of Commons for his “great and faithful services.” Rewards of
another nature they had already conferred upon him. On December 1, 1645,
the Commons, in drawing up the peace propositions to be offered to the
King, had resolved that an estate of twenty-five hundred pounds a year
should be settled on Lieutenant-General Cromwell, and that the King
should be asked to make him a baron. The negotiations fell through, but
on January 23rd the House ordered that the lands in Hampshire belonging
to the Marquis of Worcester and his sons should be settled on Cromwell,
and an ordinance for that purpose finally passed both Houses. As the
rents of these lands fell short of the income promised, other estates of
the same nobleman in Glamorganshire, Gloucestershire, and Monmouthshire
were subsequently added to make up the sum.

Cromwell rejoined Fairfax at Oxford in time to take part in the
negotiations for its surrender. Contemporary rumour attributed the
leniency of the terms granted to the garrisons of Exeter and Oxford
largely to his influence with Fairfax and the council of war. Oxford was
strongly fortified, and it would have cost many men to take it, but,
apart from this, there were political reasons of great weight which must
have appealed to Cromwell. Just before Fairfax invested Oxford, King
Charles escaped in disguise from the city, and took refuge in the camp
of the Scottish army at Newark. For some months he had been negotiating
with the Scots through the French Ambassador, and he hoped to be able to
persuade them to adopt his cause against the English Parliament. There
were rumours that the Scots meant to employ their army on his behalf,
their complicity in his flight seemed proved, and an open breach between
the two nations seemed more than possible. “The scurvy, base
propositions which Cromwell has given to the Malignants of Oxford,”
writes Baillie, “have offended many more than his former capitulation at
Exeter; all seeing the evident design of these conscientious men to
grant the greatest conditions to the worst men, that they may be
expedited for their northern warfare.”

Even if the political situation had been otherwise, the necessity of
healing the wounds of the war by liberal treatment of the conquered was
an axiom with the army and its leaders. Politicians were as usual less
generous than soldiers. The articles were reluctantly ratified by
Parliament, and there were repeated complaints of their infringement.
Cromwell and the officers of the army never ceased to represent that
honour and policy alike demanded their exact observance. “There hath
been of late a dispute about the Oxford articles,” said a royalist
news-letter in February, 1648. “One gentleman being discontented at the
largeness of them told the Lieutenant-General they should lose two
hundred thousand pounds by keeping them; he replied they had better lose
double as much than break one article.”

With the capitulation of Oxford on June 24, 1646, the war was over.
Worcester, it is true, held out till July, and isolated castles in
Wales, such as Raglan, Denbigh, and Harlech, for some months longer, but
their reduction was only a question of a short time.

Cromwell left these little sieges to be conducted by others, and
returned to his duties in Parliament. He removed his family from Ely to
London, and took a house in Drury Lane, moving thence about a year later
to King Street, Westminster. His household was diminished by the
marriage of his two elder daughters. Bridget, the eldest, had married,
on June 15, 1646, Commissary-General Henry Ireton, her father’s most
trusted subordinate, and Elizabeth, Cromwell’s favourite daughter,
became, on January 13, 1646, the wife of John Claypole, a
Northamptonshire squire. Only the two youngest daughters, Mary and
Frances, were still at home. Of his four sons, two were already dead:
Robert died in May, 1639, before the war began, and Captain Oliver five
years later, while serving in his father’s regiment. Richard, the elder
of the two who survived, was now in Fairfax’s life-guard, and Henry, who
was about nineteen, was a cornet or lieutenant in some cavalry regiment.
Cromwell had offered his sons to the cause as freely as he gave himself
to it.



                              CHAPTER VIII

The settlement of the kingdom after the war ended was a task of far
greater difficulty than the defeat of the King’s armies. It could not be
solved by putting Charles upon his throne again as if nothing had
happened. Measures had to be devised for securing permanent guarantees
against misgovernment in the future, and for rendering a new war
impossible. Moreover, these ends must be attained by means of an
agreement between the King and the Parliament, because the working of
the constitution depended on the co-operation of the two powers, and on
the reconciliation of the two parties which had followed their flags.
Nor was it possible to effect a lasting settlement without taking into
account the new ideas and the new forces which had come into existence
during the four years’ struggle.

Since the beginning of the Civil War an ecclesiastical revolution had
taken place in England. As soon as hostilities commenced the Root and
Branch party gained the ascendancy in Parliament, and in the first
negotiations with the King, the total abolition of Episcopacy was one of
the demands made. In July, 1643, Parliament summoned an assembly of
divines to meet at Westminster, and undertake the reformation of the
Church. Then followed the acceptance by Parliament of the Solemn League
and Covenant, the implied promise to model the Church of England upon
that of Scotland, and the inclusion of representatives of the Scottish
clergy in the Assembly of Divines.

Step by step the English Church was transformed. In January, 1645, the
two Houses passed a series of resolutions for the reorganisation of the
Church upon a Presbyterian basis, followed by ordinances which
established one after another the component parts of the system. By the
close of 1646, the use of the Prayer-book had been prohibited, and a
“Directory,” drawn up by the Assembly, had been enjoined in its stead,
while new Articles of Belief, a new Confession of Faith, and a new
Catechism were in preparation. Bishops and all the ecclesiastical
hierarchy dependent on them had been abolished, and their lands vested
in trustees for the payment of the debts of the State (October, 1646).
The work was still incomplete, but under all outward conformity there
would be an essential difference between the Presbyterian Churches of
England and Scotland. In Scotland the Church was dependent upon no one;
in England it would be dependent upon Parliament. Whatever the
Westminster Assembly might decide was established only by the authority
of Parliament, which revised its conclusions, criticised its
formularies, and limited its functions as it thought fit. Compared to an
ideal Presbyterian Church ruling by its inherent right as the one
divinely ordained form of Church government, the English Church would
be, as a Scottish divine complained, “only a lame Erastian presbytery.”
Such as it was, however, its clergy were as high in their claim to
authority as English bishops, and as intolerant as Scottish ministers.
They proved in a hundred different ways the truth of Milton’s maxim that
“new presbyter is but old priest writ large.”

During the years which saw the growth of English Presbyterianism, a
rival system of ecclesiastical organisation had also taken root in
England. The Independents drew their inspiration not from Scotland, but
from the Puritan exiles in Holland and the Puritan colonists in New
England. To the idea of a national Church with its local basis and its
hierarchy of authorities, they opposed the idea that a true Church was a
voluntary association of believers, and that each congregation was of
right complete, autonomous, and sovereign. Most of them accepted the
theology of Calvin even when they rejected his ecclesiastical
organisation; all claimed the right to interpret the Bible for
themselves without regard to tradition or authority. Their principle was
that set forth in the advice which John Robinson gave to the Pilgrim
Fathers—to be ready to receive whatever truth should be made known to
them from the written word of God. Hence came their ardent faith in new
revelations, with the diversity of doctrines and the multiplicity of
sects which were its natural consequence. Hence the horror with which
Presbyterians and Episcopalians alike regarded a system which began by a
denial of their theory of Church and State, and ended by an attack upon
the fundamentals of their creed.

Just as the two divisions of the parliamentary party differed as to the
constitution of the Church, so they differed as to the constitution of
the State. Each was a political as well as a religious party. The aim of
the Presbyterians was to make King and Church responsible to Parliament,
and so far the Independents went with them. But while one party
proclaimed the sovereignty of Parliament, and justified its claim by
historical precedent, the other proclaimed the sovereignty of the
people, and based its claim on an appeal to natural rights. Church
democracy, as Baxter called Independency, brought in its train State
democracy. Applied to politics, the ecclesiastical theories of the
Independents developed into the fundamental principles of democratic
government. Those who held that a Church was a voluntary association of
believers bound together by a mutual covenant, naturally adopted the
corollary that a State was an association of freemen based on a mutual
contract. If it was the right of the members of a religious body to
elect their own ministers, it was evidently equally just that the
members of a civil society should elect their own magistrates. More than
once in its paper wars with the King, Parliament had put forward the
view that Kings were but officers, whose power was a trust from the
people, but it shrank from the distinct enunciation or the practical
application of the principle its declarations contained. It was
therefore in opposition to the Long Parliament that the sovereignty of
the people was first asserted in English political life. In 1646, when
John Lilburn was imprisoned by the Lords for libelling Manchester he
appealed to the House of Commons as “the supreme authority of the
nation,” and denied the authority of the Peers because they were not
elected by the people. When the House of Commons refused to hear him he
appealed “to the universality of the people,” as “the sovereign lord”
from whom they derived their power, and by whom they were to be called
to account for its use.

As yet, however, Lilburn’s principles found little acceptance in
Parliament, and the Lower House had no intention of quarrelling with the
Upper on a question of abstract rights. In the Commons, even after the
new elections of 1645 and 1646 had recruited the numbers of the House,
the Independents were a minority both on political and ecclesiastical
questions. On a purely religious issue they could muster fifty or sixty
votes, of whom probably less than half were convinced democrats. But the
ties of party allegiance were weak, and the ability of the Independent
leaders gave them an influence beyond the circle of their followers. On
questions such as the conduct of the war, the control of the pretensions
of the Westminster Assembly, and the claim of the Scots to dispose of
the King, a majority of the House adopted the policy of the
Independents. But when the war was over, and the dispute with the Scots
settled, the ascendancy passed to the Presbyterian leaders, and remained
with them.

On the other hand, the army had been from the beginning a stronghold of
Independency, and there its adherents grew more numerous every day. In
the summer of 1645, when Richard Baxter became chaplain to a regiment of
cavalry, he found it full of hotheaded sectaries. Every sect and every
heresy was represented in its ranks. “Independency and Anabaptism were
most prevalent; Antinomianism and Arminianism equally distributed.” One
day he had to confute the opponents of Infant Baptism, and another to
vindicate Church order and Church government. But the most universal
belief amongst officers and soldiers, and the error he most often had to
controvert, was that the civil magistrate had no authority in matters of
religion either to restrain or to compel, and that every man had a right
to believe and to preach whatever he pleased.

In the army, too, the political principles of Independency had reached
their fullest and freest development. Baxter found officers and soldiers
“vehement against the King and against all government but popular.”

  “I perceived” he writes, “that they took the King for a tyrant and
  an enemy, and really intended absolutely to master him or to ruin
  him, and that they thought, that if they might fight against him
  they might kill or conquer him; and if they might conquer they were
  never more to trust him further than he was in their power; and they
  thought it folly to irritate him by wars or contradictions in
  Parliament, if so be they needs must take him for their King, and
  trust him with their lives when they had thus displeased him.”

These were the principles upon which they thought any settlement should
be based, and they meant to make their views heard. “They plainly showed
me,” continues Baxter, “that they thought God’s providence would cast
the trust of religion and the kingdom upon them as conquerors.”

In peace, even more than in war, the army looked to Cromwell to lead it.
Apart from his splendid military gifts, he had all the qualities
required to win popularity with soldiers. Cromwell had none of the
reserve or reticence of Fairfax. A large-hearted, expansive, vigorous
nature found expression in his acts and utterances. “He was of a
sanguine complexion,” says Baxter, “naturally of such a vivacity,
hilarity, and alacrity, as another man is when he hath drunken a cup of
wine too much.” Elsewhere he speaks of Cromwell’s “familiar rustic
carriage with his soldiers in sporting,” and one of Cromwell’s officers
tells us that “Oliver loved an innocent jest.” Nor did it make him less
popular that underneath this geniality lay a fiery temper, which
sometimes flamed up into vehement utterances or sudden bursts of
passion. Partly for this very reason he was generally credited with much
more democratic opinions than he really had. People remembered his hard
sayings about the Lords during his quarrel with Manchester, and took a
practical man’s irritation against half-hearted and incapable leaders
for rooted hostility to an institution. His patronage of Lilburn seemed
another proof of his extreme views. Cromwell had procured Lilburn’s
release from imprisonment in 1640, obtained him a commission in
Manchester’s army in 1643, and intervened on his behalf with the House
of Commons in 1645. People attributed to sympathy with advanced
democracy what was really due to hatred of oppression and injustice.
Lilburn’s praises fostered the illusion. Great as Cromwell was in the
field, argued Lilburn, he was still more useful in Parliament.

  “O for self-denying Cromwell home again ... for he is sound at the
  heart and not rotten-cored, hates particular and self-interests, and
  dares freely to speak his mind.” “Myself and all others of my
  creed,” wrote Lilburn to Cromwell in 1647, “have looked upon you as
  the most absolute single-hearted great man in England, untainted or
  unbiassed with ends of your own.”

In religion, however, Cromwell represented the army more completely than
in politics. Cromwell was, as Baillie truly termed him, “the great
Independent”—a type of Independency itself, representing not any
particular species of Independent, but the whole genus which the term
included. He called himself by the name of no sect, “joined himself to
no party,” and “did not profess of what opinion he was.” “In good
discourse” he would sometimes “very fluently pour himself out in the
extolling of Free Grace,” but he refused to dispute about doctrinal
questions. There are indications in some of Cromwell’s utterances that
he was attracted to those who called themselves “Seekers,” because they
found satisfaction not in any visible form or definite creed, but in the
perpetual quest for truth and perfection. “To be a Seeker,” says
Cromwell in a letter written about this time, “is to be of the best sect
next after a Finder, and such an one shall every faithful humble Seeker
be in the end.” But while standing a little apart from every sect,
Cromwell seemed to share the aspirations and enthusiasms of each.
“Anabaptists, Antinomians, Seekers, Separatists,” he sympathised with
all, welcomed all to the ranks of the army, and “tied all together by
the point of liberty of conscience, which was the common interest in
which they all did unite.”

Of this demand for freedom of conscience, Cromwell had ever made himself
the spokesman. At the outset of the war, he and his officers had
proposed to make their regiment “a gathered Church.” While he was
governor of Ely, he and his deputy-governor, Ireton, had filled the
island with Independents until people complained that for variety of
religions the place was “a mere Amsterdam.” When he became
Lieutenant-General of Manchester’s army, Independency had spread from
his regiment to the rest of the troopers he commanded.

  “If you look on his regiment of horse,” said an opponent, “what a
  swarm there is of those that call themselves godly men; some profess
  to have seen visions and had revelations. Look on Colonel
  Fleetwood’s regiment with his Major Harrison, what a cluster of
  preaching officers and troopers there is. To say the truth almost
  our horse be made of that faction.”

Cromwell protected them against Manchester’s Presbyterian chaplains and
against the hostility of Presbyterian officers. In March, 1644, when
Major-General Crawford cashiered the lieutenant-colonel of his regiment
on the ground that he was an Anabaptist, Cromwell at once remonstrated.
If any military offence were chargeable upon the lieutenant-colonel, he
must be tried by court-martial; if none, Crawford must restore him to
his command. “Admit he be an Anabaptist, shall that render him incapable
to serve the public? Sir, the State in choosing men to serve it, takes
no notice of their opinions; if they be willing to serve it faithfully,
that suffices.” Six months later, after a second quarrel with Crawford
on the same subject, Cromwell procured from Parliament what was known as
“the Accommodation Order.” A committee was to be appointed

  “to take into consideration the differences in opinion of the
  members of the Assembly of Divines in point of Church government,
  and to endeavour a union if it be possible; and in case that cannot
  be done, to endeavour the finding out some way, how far tender
  consciences, who cannot in all things submit to the common rule
  which shall be established, may be borne with according to the Word,
  and as may stand with the public peace” (September 13, 1644).

After every victory of the “New Model,” Cromwell reminded Parliament of
the necessity of legally establishing the toleration which this vote
promised. “Honest men served you faithfully in this action,” he wrote
from the field of Naseby; “they are trusty; I beseech you in the name of
God not to discourage them. He that ventures his life for the liberty of
his country, I wish he trust God for the liberty of his conscience, and
you for the liberty he fights for.” So little did the Commons share his
feeling, that they mutilated his letter by omitting in the published
copies his plea for toleration, but he repeated it in still plainer
language after the storming of Bristol.

  “Presbyterians and Independents, all here have the same spirit of
  faith and prayer ... they agree here, have no names of difference;
  pity it should be otherwise anywhere. All that believe have the real
  unity which is most glorious because inward and spiritual.... For
  being united in forms, commonly called Uniformity, every Christian
  will for peace sake study and do as far as conscience will permit.
  And from brethren in things of the mind we look for no compulsion,
  but that of light and reason.”

Parliament had answered by mutilating this letter as it had mutilated
the other. What prospect was there, now that the swords of the
Independents were no longer needed, that their political and religious
demands would be listened to, or that no compulsion save that of light
and reason would be exercised against their consciences? As to religion,
if Parliament allowed the Presbyterian clergy to work their will,
Independents could expect nothing but persecution. “To let men serve God
according to the persuasion of their own consciences,” wrote one
Presbyterian divine, “was to cast out one devil that seven worse might
enter.” Toleration, wrote another, was “the Devil’s Masterpiece.” “If
the devil had his choice whether the hierarchy, ceremonies, and liturgy
should be established in the kingdom, or a toleration granted, he would
choose a toleration.” “We detest and abhor the much endeavoured
toleration,” declared a meeting of the London ministers. The corporation
of London backed their declaration by a petition for the suppression of
all heresies. In Parliament itself it was evident that the
anti-tolerationists had gained the upper hand. As late as April, 1646,
the Commons had promised a due regard for tender consciences, providing
only that they differed not in any fundamentals of religion. In
September, however, the House passed the second reading of a bill which
punished with death those who denied doctrines relating to the Trinity
and the Incarnation, and with imprisonment for life those who opposed
Infant Baptism and other less important doctrines. In December, when a
bill was introduced prohibiting laymen from preaching in churches or
elsewhere, Cromwell could only muster fifty-seven members in favour of
allowing them at least to expound the Scriptures. Nor was there in the
proposals of Parliament for the settlement of the kingdom any sign that
the constitutional settlement would include in it toleration for

As little hope was there from the King. Ever since May, 1646, Charles
had been a prisoner in the camp of the Scots, first at Newark, and then
at Newcastle. The chief demands contained in the propositions sent to
him at Newcastle were, that the King should enforce the taking of the
Covenant through all the three kingdoms, and accept the Presbyterian
Church which Parliament had set up. At the same time he was to give
Parliament the control of the naval and military forces of the nation
for the next twenty years, and when that period ended the two Houses
were to decide as to their future disposal. Backed by the Church, and
with the sword as well as the purse in their hands, the power of
Parliament would be securely established.

As long as he could, Charles evaded a direct answer. He believed that
bishops and apostolical succession were necessary to a true Church. If
he gave way to the abolition of Episcopacy “there would be no Church,”
and to yield against the dictates of his conscience would be “a sin of
the highest nature.” Political motives reinforced conscientious
objections. To accept or impose the Covenant would be a “perpetual
authorising rebellion.” As to establishing Presbyterianism by law,

  “under pretence of a thorough reformation in England they intend to
  take away all the ecclesiastical power of government from the Crown,
  and place it in the two Houses of Parliament. Moreover they will
  introduce the doctrine which teaches rebellion to be lawful and that
  the supreme power is in the people, to whom kings, as they say,
  ought to give account, and to be corrected when they do amiss....
  There was not a wiser man since Solomon than he who said ‘no bishop,
  no king.’”

The utmost that Charles, after months of negotiation, would concede was
to grant the establishment of Presbyterianism for three years, and the
control of the army and navy for ten. At the end of the ten years he
stipulated that the control of army and navy should return to the Crown,
and at the end of the three he was firmly resolved to re-establish

After eight months of futile negotiating, the Scots, disgusted by the
King’s obstinate refusal to accept Presbyterianism, resolved to abandon
the King’s cause and hand him over to his English subjects. They settled
their own differences with the English Parliament about their arrears of
pay, received two hundred thousand pounds on account, and evacuated
Newcastle on January 30, 1647, leaving Charles in charge of the
parliamentary commissioners. In February he was brought to Holmby House
in Northamptonshire in custody of the commissioners and of a guard of

But the moment when the King seemed to have fallen lowest marked the
success of his policy. His refusal to accept the terms offered him at
Newcastle rested mainly on the conviction that he was indispensable.
“Men,” he said in one of his letters, “will begin to perceive that
without my establishing there can be no peace.” Even his adversaries
must see it: “without pretending to prophesy I will foretell their ruin
unless they agree with me.” Sooner or later, he felt certain some party
amongst his opponents must, for their own sake, accept his terms and
come to an understanding with him. What he had anticipated was now
coming to pass. Before he arrived at Holmby, a number of the
Presbyterian Peers had agreed to accept the King’s concessions as the
basis of an agreement, upon the completion of which Charles was to be
restored to the exercise of his power. It was the beginning of that
alliance between the Royalists and the Presbyterians which produced the
Second Civil War, and finally the restoration of Charles II. On May
12th, a new message from the King embodying these concessions reached
Westminster, and it was not doubtful that a majority in the two Houses
would accept them as satisfactory.

An agreement on such a basis was a truce, not a peace. It left unsettled
the questions which had caused the war, and threw away all the fruits of
the victory. Parliament and the King had fought for sovereignty, but
now, at the price of temporary concessions, sovereignty would be left in
the King’s hands. As long as the King’s right to veto bills was left
intact he could prevent any of his temporary concessions from becoming
permanent, and he meant to do so. The Independents felt all the danger
of such a one-sided compromise, but they were now in a hopeless minority
in both Houses. When the army was disbanded, they would be entirely
without influence. Its disbandment would have taken place in October,
1646, but for the strained relations of Parliament with the Scots, and a
scheme for disbandment was voted on, February, 1647. Out of the forty
thousand men in arms in England, Parliament proposed to form a new army
consisting of six thousand four hundred horse, and about ten thousand
foot for garrison service. It seized the opportunity to get rid of all
the Independent officers of the “New Model.” Fairfax was to be retained
as General, but all the other general officers were to be dismissed. No
member of Parliament was to hold a commission in the new army, and no
officer was to be employed who did not conform to the Presbyterian
Church. Of the soldiers of the “New Model,” four thousand horse were to
be retained in service in England; the rest of the horse and the
infantry were to be employed for the reconquest of Ireland.

In Ireland, ever since the cessation of 1643, Ormond, the King’s
Lord-Lieutenant, had maintained himself in Dublin, struggling ever to
turn the cessation into a peace, and to send help to the King in
England. But the refusal of the Catholic clergy to accept less than the
establishment of Catholicism in Ireland frustrated his negotiations,
and, in 1646, Dublin was again besieged. With few troops and with no
money to pay them, Ormond found himself obliged to submit to either
Irish or English rebels. He chose the latter as the only way to preserve
Ireland to the English nation, and in February, 1647, offered to deliver
up his charge to the Parliament. Nothing could have fallen in more
opportunely for the plans of the Presbyterians, and on March 6, 1647,
Parliament voted that 12,600 men, drawn from the ranks of the “New
Model,” should be promptly despatched to Ireland, and sent commissioners
to the headquarters of the army to persuade the soldiers to enlist for
Irish service.

If the soldiers had been justly treated there would have been no
difficulty in persuading them either to volunteer for Ireland or to
disband quietly. But the folly of the Presbyterian leaders created a
military revolt which changed the face of English politics. As was
natural, the soldiers wanted to be paid for their past service before
disbanding or re-enlisting. The pay of the foot was eighteen weeks in
arrears; that of the horse, forty-three weeks. They petitioned Fairfax
to represent their desires to Parliament, asking particularly to be
indemnified against legal proceedings for acts done in the late war, and
to be guaranteed their back pay. The House of Commons ordered the
petition to be suppressed, and declared those who persisted in
petitioning to be enemies of the State and disturbers of the public
peace. As to their arrears, it offered only six weeks’ pay, and even
that offer was delayed till the end of April. The result was that out of
the whole twenty-two thousand men of the “New Model,” only twenty-three
hundred volunteered for Ireland, and the discontent of the army swelled
to a formidable agitation. In April, the horse regiments elected
representatives, called Agitators or Agents, to concert united action,
and in May the foot followed their example. At the end of April, the
Agitators of eight regiments sent a joint letter to Skippon and
Cromwell, urging them to represent the wrongs of the army to Parliament,
and to procure redress. Cromwell and Skippon laid the letter before the
House, and the House ordered the two, accompanied by Ireton and
Fleetwood, to go down to the army, and endeavour to quiet the distempers
of the soldiers. It promised the soldiers a considerable part of their
arrears on disbanding, and good security for the payment of the
remainder. The six weeks’ pay offered was increased to eight.

Up to this point Cromwell had taken no part in the negotiations with the
soldiers, much less in the movement amongst them against disbanding. In
February, 1647, when the first votes for disbanding were passed, he was
dangerously ill, and for some time absented himself both from the House
and from the Committee of Both Kingdoms. All men knew his
dissatisfaction with the policy which the Presbyterian leaders were
following, and some attributed his abstention to that cause. “We are
full of faction and worse,” was Cromwell’s comment on the state of
affairs in Parliament, in August, 1646. He marked with anxiety the
growth of royalist feeling in London and the increasing hostility of the
citizens to the army and the Independents.

  “We have had a very long petition from the City,” he wrote to
  Fairfax on December 21, 1646; “how it strikes at the army and what
  other aims it has you will see by the contents of it; as also what
  is the prevailing temper at this present, and what is to be expected
  from men. But this is our comfort, God is in heaven, and He doth
  what pleaseth Him; His and only His counsel shall stand, whatsoever
  the designs of men and the fury of the people be.”

In March, 1647, the feeling in the city was still worse.

  “There want not in all places,” he told Fairfax, “men who have so
  much malice against the army as besots them.... Never were the
  spirits of men more embittered than now.... Upon the Fast-day divers
  soldiers were raised, both horse and foot, near two hundred in
  Covent Garden, to prevent us soldiers from cutting the
  Presbyterians’ throats! These are fine tricks to mock God with.”

He was irritated also by the suspicions with which he himself was
regarded and the reception they met with from people who ought to have
known better.

  “It is a miserable thing,” he told Ludlow, “to serve a Parliament,
  to which, let a man be never so faithful, if one pragmatical fellow
  amongst them rise and asperse him, he shall never wipe it off;
  whereas when one serves a general he may do as much service, and yet
  be free from all blame and envy.”

Cromwell even thought of leaving England, with as many of his fellow
soldiers as he could take with him, to fight for the cause of the German
Calvinists under the flag of the Elector Palatine. He had long
conferences with the Elector on the subject in March or April, 1647.

But, in spite of Cromwell’s dissatisfaction, there is no sign either in
his words or action that he contemplated resisting the policy of
Parliament or thought of stirring up a military revolution. There were
bitter complaints from some of his greatest admirers that he
persistently discouraged the petitions of the soldiers.

  “I am informed this day,” wrote Lilburn to Cromwell on March 25th,
  “by an officer out of the army, that you and your agents are like to
  dash in pieces the hopes of our outward preservation, their petition
  to the House, and will not suffer them to petition till they have
  laid down their arms; because forsooth you have engaged to the House
  they shall lay down their arms whenever it shall command them.”

Cromwell’s action during the last few months, continued Lilburn, had
filled him with grief and amazement. Could it be that he was held back
by temporising politicians, “covetous earthworms,” such as Vane and St.
John, or bribed into inaction by the estate Parliament had given him?
Let him pluck up resolution “like a man that will persevere to be a man
for God,” and risk his life to deliver his fellow soldiers from ruin,
and his country from vassalage and slavery.

Cromwell turned a deaf ear to these appeals. He feared to encourage the
intervention of soldiers in politics, and dreaded still more the anarchy
which might follow a breach between Parliament and the army. In May, he
went to the headquarters of the army at Saffron Walden with his three
colleagues, examined carefully the grievances of the petitioners,
communicated the votes of Parliament, and did his best to persuade
officers and soldiers to submission.

  “Truly, gentlemen,” he said to the officers, “it will be very fit
  for you to have a very great care in making the best use you can
  both of the votes, and of the interest that any of you have in your
  regiments, to work in them a good opinion of that authority that is
  over both us and them. If that authority falls to nothing, nothing
  can follow but confusion.”

The commissioners reported that they found the whole army “under a deep
sense of some sufferings” and the common soldiers “much unsettled.” On
May 21st, Cromwell received the thanks of the Commons, and told them
that the soldiers would certainly not go to Ireland, but that he thought
they would disband quietly. Under his influence, the House for a moment
seemed disposed to adopt a conciliatory policy, and passed ordinances
redressing some of the minor grievances of the soldiers. But no steps
were taken to give them the promised security for the payment of their
arrears, and on May 27th a scheme for the immediate disbandment was
voted. It was to begin on June 1st, with Fairfax’s own regiment, and to
prevent any concerted action the regiments were to be separately
disbanded at widely distant places.

The Presbyterian leaders had made up their minds to resort to force to
carry their policy through. In secret they were discussing with the
French Ambassador and the commissioners of the Scottish Parliament a
plan for bringing the Scottish army into England. The Prince of Wales
was to be sent to Scotland to head the projected invasion. As soon as
possible, the King was to be brought from Holmby to London, where the
City militia was entirely under the control of the Presbyterians. At the
same time, in order to cripple the resistance of the army, the train of
artillery was to be removed from Oxford to the Tower. Then, backed by
the Scots and the City, they would force the soldiers to submit to their
terms, and punish the officers who had taken their part. It meant a new
civil war.

Simultaneously a general mutiny began. The votes for disbanding the
soldiers before redressing their grievances robbed the tardy and
trifling concessions of Parliament of all their value. The ulterior
schemes of the Presbyterian leaders were known in the army almost as
soon as they were formed. At the bidding of the Agitators the army
refused to disband. “Be active,” wrote one, “for all lies at stake.” It
was no longer simply a question of arrears of pay. “The good of all the
kingdom and its preservation is in your hands.” So thought most of the
officers, and pledged themselves to stand by their men. So thought
Fairfax’s council of war, and at the petition of the soldiers ordered a
general rendezvous of the whole army on June 3rd. “I am forced,”
apologised Fairfax, “to yield something out of order to keep the army
from disorder or worse inconveniences.” Without his orders, a party of
horse secured the artillery train at Oxford, and seized the King at
Holmby on June 3rd. The same day Cromwell left London, resolved to throw
in his lot with the army.



                               CHAPTER IX
                          ARMY AND PARLIAMENT

Cromwell joined the army because he wished to prevent the outbreak of
anarchy or civil war. War was inevitable, if the Presbyterian leaders
were allowed to bring Scottish forces into England to suppress the
Independent army. Anarchy was inevitable, unless the Independent army
was held in by a strong hand. If Cromwell remained passive, the mutiny
would become a military revolution, and a bloody collision would take
place between Independents and Presbyterians. He could prevent these
things only by immediate action. It was too late now to attempt
mediation, for with or without his aid the Agitators had determined to
act. “If he would not forthwith come and head them,” they told Cromwell,
“they would go their own way without him.”

As soon as Cromwell’s mind was made up, he struck with swiftness and
decision. The King was the key of the situation, and the possession of
his person was to either party nine points of the law. His co-operation
was indispensable to the success of the Presbyterian scheme, for unless
they completed their agreement with Charles, the Scots would not cross
the border, the English Royalists would not rise, and the citizens of
London would not fight. At Holmby House, Charles was guarded by the
regiment of Colonel Graves, who was an ardent Presbyterian, and Graves
was under the orders of four Presbyterian commissioners appointed by
Parliament. The danger was that Graves, either of his own accord or by
order of the commissioners, might remove the King to Scotland or to

On May 31, 1647, Cromwell ordered Cornet Joyce, an officer in Fairfax’s
life-guard, to get together a party of horse, and to prevent the King’s
removal from Holmby. About midnight on June 2nd, Joyce reached Holmby,
and posted his men round the house. Next morning the troopers of the
King’s guard threw open the gates and fraternised with his men, while
Graves took flight, leaving King and commissioners in Joyce’s hands.
Cromwell had given no orders for the King’s removal, but next day there
were rumours that Graves was returning with a strong force to regain
possession of the King, and Joyce’s men urged him to remove Charles to
some place of security in the quarters of the army. Charles, who was
offered his choice, selected Newmarket, and leaving Holmby on Friday,
June 4th, Joyce and the King reached Hinchinbrook that evening. On
Saturday, Joyce was met during his march by Colonel Whalley, whom
Fairfax had sent to take command of the King’s guard and convey the King
himself back to Holmby. But Charles refused to return to what he
regarded as his prison, and persisted in going to Newmarket, where the
headquarters of the army were now established.

On the same Friday and Saturday, a general rendezvous of the army was
held at Kentford Heath, near Newmarket, during which Cromwell arrived
from London. At the rendezvous, a full statement of the grievances of
the soldiers was presented, and all bound themselves by a solemn
engagement not to disband or divide till their rights were secured. A
council was instituted, consisting of the general officers, with two
officers and two privates chosen from each regiment, which was to
negotiate with Parliament on behalf of the soldiers, and to represent
the army in political matters. The experiment was a dangerous one, but
to limit the functions of the Agitators and to induce them to co-operate
with their officers was the only way to bring them under control. In
military matters, however, the General and his council of war remained
supreme, and in that body Cromwell was the ruling spirit. Adversaries
described the Lieutenant-General as the “_primum mobile_,” and “the
principal wheel” which moved the whole machine. Under his influence
subordination and discipline were rapidly restored, and in a few weeks
the real direction of the army passed into the hands of the council of
war, while the General Council sank into the position of a debating
society. No one doubted that this was Cromwell’s work. “You have
robbed,” complained Lilburn in July, “by your unjust subtlety and
shifting tricks, the honest and gallant Agitators of all their power and
authority, and solely placed it in a thing called a council of war.”

From Newmarket, the army advanced toward London. Parliament promised the
soldiers all their arrears, and cancelled their offensive declarations.
But the soldiers now required guarantees for the future as well as
satisfaction for the past. They insisted on the exclusion of the
Presbyterian leaders from power, and claimed a voice in the settlement
of the nation. A letter to the City of London, signed by all the chief
officers, but probably written by Cromwell himself, explained the change
in their attitude.

  “As Englishmen—and surely our being soldiers hath not stripped us of
  that interest, though our malicious enemies would have it so—we
  desire a settlement of the peace of the kingdom and of the liberties
  of the subject, according to the votes and declarations of
  Parliament, which, before we took arms, were by the Parliament used
  as arguments to invite us and divers of our dear friends out; some
  of whom have lost their lives in this war. Which being now by God’s
  blessing finished, we think we have as much right to demand and
  desire to see a happy settlement, as we have to our money and the
  other common interests of soldiers we have insisted upon.”

Cromwell asserted that the army had no wish either for a civil or an
ecclesiastical revolution, but reiterated the demand for toleration.

  “We have said before and we profess it now, we desire no alteration
  of the civil government. As little do we desire to interrupt, or in
  the least to intermeddle with, the settling of the Presbyterial
  government. Nor did we seek to open a way for licentious liberty
  under pretence of obtaining ease for tender consciences. We profess
  as ever in these things, when once the State has made a settlement,
  we have nothing to say but to submit or suffer. Only we could wish
  that every good citizen, and every man who walks peaceably in a
  blameless conversation, and is beneficial to the Commonwealth, might
  have liberty and encouragement; this being according to the true
  policy of all states, and even to justice itself.”

To Cromwell, it is evident, the acquisition of freedom of conscience
seemed more important than any possible change in the constitution of
Church or State. The task of formulating the political programme of the
army fell to his son-in-law Ireton, who had more definite views than
Cromwell as to the constitutional changes needed. Arbitrary power,
Ireton asserted in the army’s Declaration of June 14th, was the root of
all evil. The absolutism of Parliament must be guarded against as well
as the absolutism of the King, and parliamentary privilege might become
as dangerous to popular liberties as royal prerogative had been. The way
to make the rights of the people secure was to make Parliament more
really representative. Henceforward the demand for the speedy
termination of the existing Parliament was accompanied by demands for
equalisation of the constituencies, short Parliaments, and the
vindication of the right to petition.



  (_From a painting by Robert Walker, in the National Portrait

The Long Parliament was not disposed to accept such democratic changes,
but it was obliged to temporise. News came that the ten thousand men of
the northern army under General Poyntz were on the verge of mutiny, and
ready to join the forces under Fairfax. The eleven Presbyterian leaders
impeached by the army saved the dignity of the House by a voluntary
withdrawal, and negotiations were opened at Wycombe on July 1st. After a
fortnight of negotiating, the Agitators murmured at the delay, and urged
the immediate resumption of the march on London, and the enforcement of
their demands. Cromwell and the higher officers opposed. “Whatsoever we
get by a treaty,” argued Cromwell, “will be firm and durable. It will be
conveyed over to posterity.” The friends of the army were daily gaining
ground in the House.

  “What we and they gain in a free way is better than twice so much in
  a forced way, and will be more truly ours and our posterity’s....
  That you have by force I look upon as nothing. I do not know that
  force is to be used except we cannot get what is for the good of the
  kingdom without it.”

In Cromwell’s opinion, it would be sufficient peremptorily to demand
certain concessions as a guarantee that the treaty was seriously meant,
and to leave the terms of the political settlement for negotiation.
Above all things it was essential that the army should be united. “You
may be in the right and I in the wrong, but if we be divided I doubt we
shall both be in the wrong.”

Cromwell’s plan was adopted, and the Long Parliament yielded. All
preparations for armed resistance were abandoned. Parliament appointed
Fairfax commander-in-chief of all the forces in England, including those
lately under General Poyntz; it disbanded all the soldiers it had
enlisted to oppose Fairfax; it restored the control of the London
militia to the old committee, which the army trusted, in place of the
exclusively Presbyterian committee appointed in the spring. But if
Parliament saw the necessity of yielding, London did not. On July 21st,
crowds of citizens signed an engagement for the maintenance of the
Covenant, and the restoration of the King on his own terms, though both
Houses united in denouncing their engagement. On the 26th, crowds of
apprentices and discharged soldiers besieged the Houses and threatened
their members with violence unless the command of the City forces were
given back to the Presbyterians. The Lords gave way first; the Commons
resisted some hours longer, but in the end they too obeyed the mob, and
repealed their votes. The rioters also extorted from them a vote
inviting the King to London. After this both Houses adjourned till the
30th of July, but before that day came the two Speakers, followed by
eight Peers and fifty-seven members of the Commons, had taken refuge
with the army, declaring that Parliament was not free, and the army,
pledged to restore the freedom of Parliament, was marching on London.
The Presbyterians prepared to fight, and placed the forces of the City
under the command of Major-General Massey. The eleven impeached
Presbyterian leaders took their places in Parliament again, assumed the
direction of the movement, and appointed a Committee of Safety. But
citizen militia and undisciplined volunteers would have stood a poor
chance against the veterans of Naseby. Even the fanatical mob of the
City knew it, and when Fairfax arrived at Hounslow with twenty thousand
men, their courage fell to zero.

Crowds gathered outside Guildhall, where the City fathers were
deliberating whether to fight or yield. “When a scout came in, and
brought news that the army made a halt, or other good intelligence, they
cried, ‘One and all.’ But if the scouts brought intelligence that the
army advanced nearer to them, then they would cry as loud ‘Treat, Treat,
Treat.’” On August 4th, London submitted unconditionally, and two days
later the army escorted the fugitive members to Westminster, and made a
triumphal progress through the City. The Agitators talked loudly of
purging the House of Commons by expelling all members who had sat during
the absence of the Speakers, but Cromwell and the officers contented
themselves with demanding that the proceedings of the last ten days
should be declared null and void. Even this could not be obtained till
Cromwell threatened to use force, and drew up a regiment of cavalry in
Hyde Park to give weight to his arguments. For the Presbyterians were
still a majority in Parliament, though their leaders had now fled to the

The army now rested its hopes on the King rather than on the Parliament.
During the march on London it had published its proposals “for clearing
and securing the rights of the kingdom, and settling a just and lasting
peace.” The “Heads of the Proposals,” like the Newcastle Propositions,
demanded that for the next ten years Parliament should have the control
of the militia and the appointment of officers of State, but they were
more lenient to the King’s party. Royalists were to be for a time
incapacitated from office, but their fines were to be reduced, the
number of exceptions from pardon diminished, and a general amnesty
passed. Besides these temporary measures of security there were to be
three permanent changes in the constitution. The religious settlement
was to be based on toleration, not on the enforcement of
Presbyterianism. No man was to be obliged to take the Covenant, bishops
and ecclesiastical officials were to be deprived of all coercive power,
and the statutes enforcing attendance at church or use of the
Prayer-book were to be abolished. In future the royal power was to be
limited by the institution of a Council of State which would share with
the King the control of the military forces and the conduct of foreign
affairs. Parliaments were to meet every two years, to sit for a limited
space of time, and to be elected by more equal constituencies, while the
existing Parliament was to end within a year.

Ireton was the chief author of these proposals, but Cromwell was equally
eager for an agreement between the army and the King.

  “Whatever the world might judge of them,” said Cromwell to one of
  the King’s agents, “the army would be found no Seekers of
  themselves, further than to have leave to live as subjects ought to
  do and to preserve their own consciences; and they thought no men
  could enjoy their lives and estates quietly without the King had his

When Charles raised objections to the first draught of the “Proposals,”
Cromwell and Ireton persuaded the Council of the Army to lower their
demands, and to make important alterations in the scheme finally
published. If the King accepted it the army leaders assured him that no
further concessions should be demanded. And supposing that after he had
accepted it Parliament refused its assent, they would purge the Houses
of opponents “till they had made them of such a temper as to do his
Majesty’s business.”

Such was the talk amongst the officers, but it soon became evident they
had reckoned without their host. The King was little inclined to submit
to the permanent restrictions on his royal power which the army
demanded, and thought he could avail himself of the quarrel between it
and the Parliament to impose his will on both. He avowed it frankly.
“You cannot do without me. You will fall to ruin if I do not sustain
you,” he told the officers, when the “Proposals” were first offered to
him. “Sir,” answered Ireton, “you have an intention to be the arbitrator
between the Parliament and us, and we mean to be it between your Majesty
and the Parliament.” Another time Charles answered Ireton’s
remonstrances with the defiant announcement: “I shall play my game as
well as I can.” “If your Majesty have a game to play,” replied Ireton,
“you must give us also the leave to play ours.”

They could come to no agreement. Charles persisted in his policy of
playing off one party against another, confident that his diplomatic
skill would secure his ultimate victory. In September, the Parliament
once more offered the King the Newcastle Propositions, to which he
answered that the “Proposals” of the army offered a better foundation
for a lasting peace, and asked for a personal treaty. The advanced party
amongst the Independents, headed by Harry Marten and Colonel
Rainsborough, urged that Parliament should proceed to the settlement of
the kingdom without consulting the King. They compared Charles to Ahab,
whose heart God hardened, and to a Jonah who must be thrown overboard if
the ship of the state was to come safe to port. Cromwell, backed by
Ireton and Vane, argued in favour of a new application to the King, and
by eighty-four votes to thirty-four the House decided to draw up fresh
propositions. It seemed to Cromwell that the re-establishment of
monarchy was the only way to avoid anarchy. Already an officer had been
expelled from the Council of the Army for declaring that there was now
no visible authority in England but the power of the sword, and Cromwell
warned Parliament that men who thought the sword ought to rule all were
rapidly growing more numerous amongst the soldiers. He argued that a
speedy agreement with the King was necessary, but to persuade the
Parliament to reduce its demands proved beyond his power. The new terms
it proceeded to draw up showed no sign of any willingness for a
compromise. As before, all the leading Royalists were to be excluded
from pardon, the establishment of Presbyterianism for an indefinite
period was once more insisted upon, and toleration was refused not only
to Catholics, but to all who used the liturgy. Cromwell’s efforts to
limit the duration of Presbyterianism to three or to seven years were
unsuccessful. Parliament was as impracticable as the King, and while it
was fruitlessly discussing proposals which could produce no agreement,
the progress of the democratic movement in the army threatened a new

Cromwell’s negotiations with the King, his speeches in favour of
monarchy, his modification of the terms offered by the army to Charles,
and his attempt to moderate the terms offered by Parliament, all exposed
him to suspicion. While Charles distrusted Cromwell and Ireton because
they asked for no personal favours or advantages for themselves, both
were freely accused of having made a private bargain with the King for
their own advancement. Cromwell, it was said, was to be made Earl of
Essex as his kinsman had been, Captain of the King’s guard, and a Knight
of the Garter; Ireton was to be Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. Royalists
spread these stories in order to sow division between Cromwell and the
army; the soldiers swallowed them because they feared the restoration of
the monarchy. The pamphleteers of the Levellers, as the extreme Radicals
were popularly termed, published broadcast vague charges of treachery
and double-dealing against the army leaders. Sometimes Cromwell was
described as an honest man led astray by the ambitious Ireton; at other
times the two were regarded as confederates in evil, whose occasional
differences of opinion were merely a device to throw dust in the eyes of
the world. In their appeals to Cromwell there was a touch of surprise
and sorrow. “O my once much honoured Cromwell,” wrote Wildman, “can that
breast of yours—the quondam palace of freedom—harbour such a monster of
wickedness as this regal principle?” While Wildman hoped “to waken
Cromwell’s conscience from the dead,” Lilburn, confessing that his good
thoughts of Cromwell were not yet wholly gone, threatened to pull him
down from his fancied greatness before he was three months older.

These attacks shook the confidence of the soldiers in their chiefs, and
fanned the sparks of discontent into a flame. The Agitators, once ardent
for an agreement with the King, began to demand the immediate rupture of
the negotiations with him. Let the army, said they, take the settlement
of the nation into its own hands, since neither their generals nor the
Parliament could accomplish it. In October, five regiments of horse
cashiered their old representatives as too moderate, elected fresh
Agents, and laid their demands before Fairfax.

The existing Parliament was to be dissolved within a year, and in future
there were to be biennial parliaments, equal constituencies, and manhood
suffrage. Nothing was said of King or House of Lords, but the abolition
of both was tacitly assumed. A declaration accompanied this draught
constitution, by which freedom of conscience, freedom from impressment,
and equality before the law were asserted to be the native rights of
every Englishman—rights which no Parliament or Government had power to
diminish or to take away. The officers had proposed a more limited
monarchy—an adaptation of the old constitution to the new conditions
which the Civil War had created. What the soldiers demanded was a
democratic republic, based on a written constitution drawn up in
accordance with abstract principles new to English politics.

The soldiers asked that their scheme, which they termed “The Agreement
of the People,” should be at once submitted to the nation for its
acceptance. Parliament was to be set aside by a direct appeal to the
people as the only lawful source of all political authority. Against
this, Cromwell and Ireton protested. The army, they said, had entered
into certain engagements in its recent declarations to the nation, and
the pledges made in them must be observed. Both declared that unless
these public promises were kept they would lay down their commissions,
and act no longer with the army. Equally strong were their objections to
some of the principles which the “Agreement” contained, and the method
in which it was proposed to impose it upon the nation. “This paper,”
said Cromwell, “doth contain in it very great alterations of the
government of the kingdom—alterations of that government it hath been
under ever since it was a nation. What the consequences of such an
alteration as this would be, even if there were nothing else to be
considered, wise and godly men ought to consider.” The proposed
constitution contained much that was specious and plausible, but also
much that was very debatable. And while they were debating it, other
schemes equally plausible might be put forward by other parties.

  “And not only another and another, but many of this kind. And if so,
  what do you think the consequences of that would be? Would it not be
  confusion? Would it not be utter confusion? Would it not make
  England like Switzerland, one canton of the Swiss against another,
  and one county against another? And what would that produce but an
  absolute desolation to the nation? I ask you,” he concluded,
  “whether it be not fit for every honest man seriously to lay that
  upon his heart?”

Moreover, not only the consequences but the ways and means of
accomplishing a thing ought to be considered. Granted that this was the
best possible constitution for the people of England, still the
difficulty of its attainment was a very real objection.

  “I know,” said he, “a man may answer all difficulties with faith,
  and faith will answer all difficulties where it really is; but we
  are very apt all of us to call that faith which perhaps may be but
  carnal imagination and carnal reasoning.” Faith could remove
  mountains, “but give me leave to say there will be very great
  mountains in the way of this.”

Cromwell’s mention of difficulties called up Colonel Rainsborough, the
leader of the democratic party amongst the officers.

  “If ever we had looked upon difficulties,” cried Rainsborough, “I do
  not know that ever we should have looked an enemy in the face. Let
  difficulties be round about you, though you have death before you,
  and the sea on each side of you and behind you; if you are convinced
  that the thing is just, I think you are bound in consequence to
  carry it on; and I think at the last day it can never be answered to
  God that you did not do it. For it is a poor service to God and the
  kingdom to take their pay and to decline their work.”

  “Perhaps,” answered Cromwell with quiet dignity, “we have all of us
  done our parts not affrighted with difficulties, one as well as
  another, and I hope all purpose henceforward to do so still. I do
  not think that any man here wants courage to do that which becomes
  an honest man and an Englishman to do. But we speak as men that
  desire to have the fear of God before our eyes, and men that may not
  resolve to do that which we do in the power of a fleshly strength,
  but to lay this as the foundation of all our actions, to do that
  which is the will of God.”

When it came to a discussion of the details of the Proposals the
fiercest debate arose on the question of manhood suffrage.

  “Every man born in England,” argued Rainsborough, “the poor man, the
  meanest man in the kingdom,” ought to have a voice in choosing those
  who made the laws under which he was to live and die. It was a
  natural right, part of every Englishman’s birthright, and part of
  the liberty for which the soldiers had shed their blood. “It was the
  ground that we took up arms,” said one of them, “and it is the
  ground which we shall maintain.”

Ireton answered that to give a vote to men who had no stake in the
country would endanger both liberty and property. Logically, he argued,
the theory of natural rights implied a claim to property as well as a
claim to political power. Cromwell, while agreeing that universal
suffrage “did tend very much to anarchy,” dismissed abstract principles
altogether, and expressed his willingness to assent to a reasonable
extension of the franchise.

Next came a struggle on the question of the King and the Lords. Cromwell
protested that he had no private pledges to either, and no wish to
preserve them, if their preservation was incompatible with the safety of
the nation. The democratic party in the council held that both the
monarchy and the Upper House must be abolished, and that their retention
in any shape was dangerous. Cromwell’s view was that at present,
considering its public engagements, the army could not with justice and
honesty either abolish them or set them aside, and therefore he desired
to maintain both so far as it could be done without hazard to the public
interest. Some boldly asserted that the power of King and Lords was part
of that Babylon which God would destroy, and pleaded their own
convictions to that effect as a revelation from heaven. Cromwell replied
with a warning against “imaginary revelations.” Like them, he said, he
believed in the fulfilment of the prophecies in the Bible. “I am one of
those whose heart God hath drawn out to wait for some extraordinary
dispensations, according to those promises that He hath held forth of
things to be accomplished in the later times, and I cannot but think
that God is beginning of them.” He was inclined to agree with those who
held that God would overthrow King and Lords. Yet let them not make
those things a rule to them which they could not clearly know to be the
mind of God. Let them not say, “This is the mind of God, we must work to
it.” If it was God’s purpose to destroy the power of King and Lords, He
could do it without necessitating the army to dishonour itself by
breaking its engagements. Let them wait for God’s time, and do their
plain, immediate duty. “Surely what God would have us do He does not
desire we should step out of the way for it.”

In these discussions Fairfax was absent or silent. Ireton’s readiness in
debate and knowledge of constitutional law and political theory made him
the spokesman of the superior officers. He had a firm grasp of the
principles involved, possessed great logical acuteness, and spoke with
clearness, vigour, and even eloquence. But he was too dogmatic and too
unconciliatory to convince opponents. With less dialectical skill and
much less facility in expressing himself, Cromwell was an infinitely
more effective speaker. What distinguished his speeches was an unfailing
moderation and good sense which even the visionaries and demagogues whom
he combated were forced to acknowledge. Neither religious nor political
formulas blinded him to facts. Avowing that the good of the people was
the proper end of government, and admitting that all political power was
properly derived from the people, he denied the conclusion of the
democrats that a republic was the only legitimate government for
England. At the very outset of these debates he laid down the rule that
in proposing any important political change the first thing to consider
was “whether the spirit and temper of the people of this nation are
prepared to go along with it.” For that reason he declared his
preference for monarchy. “In the government of nations that which is to
be looked after is the affections of the people, and that I find which
satisfies my conscience in the present thing.” The particular form of
government seemed to him quite unimportant compared with its
acceptability to the people. Consider, he argued, the example of the
Jews. They were governed successively by patriarchs, by judges, and by
kings, and under all these different kinds of government they were happy
and contented. Moreover there were things more important than the civil
government of a state. Even if you change the government to the best
possible kind of government, “it is but a moral thing.” Less important,
Cromwell meant, than religious freedom. “It is but, as Paul says, dross
and dung in comparison with Christ.” Why then should they contest so
much for merely temporal things? If every man in the kingdom should
insist on fighting to realise what he thought the best form of
government, “I think the State will come to desolation.”

In the background of Cromwell’s mind there was always this desire to
avoid a new civil war, and this dread of anarchy. It determined him now
to put a stop to the spread of insubordination amongst the soldiers, and
to limit the political action of the army to a minimum. Without
obedience to its officers, he declared, the army would cease to exist.
It was intolerable that private men, such as the Agents were, should
take upon themselves to issue orders and call a rendezvous of a troop or
a regiment. “This way is destructive to the army and to every man in it.
I have been informed by some of the King’s party that if they give us
rope enough we shall hang ourselves.” Soldiers must obey their officers:
officers must submit to the decisions of Parliament. The army should
leave Parliament to decide what government was fittest for the nation,
and content itself with requiring that Parliaments should be fairly
elected, frequently summoned, and dissolved in due season. As it needed
the support of some civil authority, it must own the authority of
Parliament. For his own part, he added, he would lay hold of anything,
“if it had but the face of authority,” rather than have none.

The struggle in the council lasted nearly a fortnight, but in the end
Cromwell prevailed. The “Agreement of the People” was converted into a
series of proposals to be offered to Parliament, instead of being
accepted as a constitution to be imposed on people and Parliament. The
demand for universal suffrage became a request for the extension of the
franchise. Monarchy and the House of Lords were not to be swept away
altogether, but henceforth limited in authority and subordinated to the
House of Commons. The old constitution was to be preserved and amended,
but not superseded by a new one.

By this time, however, even those officers who were anxious to retain
the monarchy had begun to doubt whether it was possible to retain the
King. For some weeks past their negotiations with Charles had been
completely broken off, and distrust of his sincerity had become general.
It was well known that he was intriguing with the commissioners who had
lately arrived in England from the Scottish Parliament, and very little
was expected from the propositions which the English Parliament was
preparing to send to him. The democratic party—the Levellers, as they
were now termed—were demanding not only his dethronement, but his
punishment. On November 11, 1647, Colonel Harrison, in a committee of
the Council of the Army, denounced the King as a man of blood, whom they
ought to bring to judgment. All Cromwell said in reply was, that there
were cases in which for prudential reasons the shedder of blood might be
allowed to escape unpunished. David, for instance, had allowed Joab to
escape the penalty due for the murder of Abner, “lest he should hazard
the spilling of more blood, in regard the sons of Zeruiah were too
strong for him.” If the King deserved punishment, he concluded, it was
rather the duty of Parliament than the army to do justice upon him. In
any case, Cromwell was resolved to keep the King safe from the
threatened attempts of the Levellers against his life. “I pray have a
care of your guard,” he wrote to his cousin, Colonel Whalley, “for if
such a thing should be done, it would be accounted a most horrid act.”

The same night the King escaped from the custody of Colonel Whalley at
Hampton Court, and on November 15th news came that he had reached
Carisbrooke Castle in the Isle of Wight. Contemporary pamphleteers and
memoir writers often put forward the theory that Cromwell frightened the
King into this flight from Hampton Court in order to forward his own
ambitious designs. This is the view expressed in the well-known lines of
Marvell, which relate how

                   Twining subtle fears with hope
                   He wove a net of such a scope
                     As Charles himself might chase
                     To Carisbrooke’s narrow case,
                   That thence the royal actor borne
                   The tragic scaffold might adorn.

There is no evidence in support of this theory. In the long run, the
King’s flight was one of the causes of his dethronement and execution,
and so of Cromwell’s elevation to supreme power. At the moment, it
increased Cromwell’s difficulties, and added to the dangers which beset
the Government. At Hampton Court the King was in the safe hands of
Colonel Whalley, Cromwell’s cousin, who could be relied upon to observe
the orders of the General. At Carisbrooke he was in the hands of Colonel
Hammond—a connection indeed of Cromwell’s by his marriage with a
daughter of John Hampden, but a man as to whose action under “the great
temptation” of the King’s appeal to his loyalty, Cromwell was painfully
uncertain. Cromwell’s letters to Hammond prove this. For the next six
weeks the question whether Hammond would obey Fairfax and the
Parliament, or allow Charles to go where he chose, remained unsettled.

The real cause of the King’s flight was his intrigue with the Scottish
Commissioners. In October, they had promised him Scotland’s assistance
in recovering his throne, if he would make satisfactory concessions
about religion. But the one thing essential to the completion of the
bargain was that Charles should escape from the hands of the army, and
be able to treat freely. The plan for the King’s flight was arranged
early in November. The Scots urged him to take refuge at Berwick; he
thought of Jersey, but preferred to remain in England; finally he
determined on the Isle of Wight, at the suggestion of one of his
attendants who believed Hammond to be a Royalist at heart. Safe in the
Isle of Wight, Charles thought he could negotiate with Parliament,
Scots, and officers, and accept the terms offered by the highest bidder.
If negotiation failed, escape to France would not be difficult.

For six months Charles had succeeded in playing off Parliament against
Army, and Army against Parliament. But the result had been to make him
thoroughly distrusted by both, and his flight from Hampton Court united
them against him. The King had hoped much from the divisions of the
army, but simultaneously with his arrival at Carisbrooke Cromwell and
Fairfax reduced their troops to obedience again. On November 8th,
Cromwell carried a vote for the temporary suspension of the sittings of
the Council, and sent Agitators and officers back to their regiments. A
week later Fairfax held a general review of the army, dividing it into
three brigades, which met at three different places. At each review he
solemnly engaged himself to the soldiers to stand by them in securing
the redress of their military grievances and the reform of Parliament,
exacting from them in return a signed pledge to obey the orders of the
General and council of war. At the first rendezvous, which took place
near Ware on November 15th, there was some opposition. The Levellers
tried to convert it into a general demonstration in favour of the
“Agreement of the People.” Two regiments came there unsummoned, wearing
the “Agreement of the People” in their hats, with the motto, “England’s
Freedom, Soldiers’ Rights.” They had driven away their own officers,
called on other regiments to do the like, and planned the seizure of
Cromwell as a traitor to the cause of the people. But when he rode up to
the mutineers none dared to lay hands on him. “Lieutenant-General
Cromwell’s carriage, with his naked waved sword, daunted the soldiers
with the paper in their hats, and made them pluck it out and be
subjected to command.” One soldier was tried, and shot on the field;
others, including several officers, were reserved for the judgment of a
future court-martial. On November 19th, Cromwell was able to report to
Parliament that the army was very quiet and obedient, and received the
thanks of the Commons for his services.

Meanwhile the King sent a message to Parliament from the Isle of Wight,
offering various concessions and asking to be admitted to a personal
treaty at London. He applied also to the army leaders, urging them to
support his request, to which they coldly replied that they were the
Parliament’s army, and must refer those matters to it. Parliament,
equally distrustful of Charles, answered his overtures by drawing up an
ultimatum, consisting of four bills, to which his assent was required
before any treaty should begin. Their chief demand was the direct
control of the militia for the next twenty years, and a share in its
control when that period ended. Other constitutional questions might be
left to discussion, but they must make sure that the King could never
use force to impose his will upon the nation. Driven to extremity by
this demand, Charles turned once more to the Scottish Commissioners, who
had now arrived at Carisbrooke. He found them ready enough to sacrifice
the liberties of Englishmen, and they promised him restoration to all
the rights of his crown in return for the three years’ establishment of
Presbyterianism in England, the rigid suppression of Independents and
other heretics, and certain privileges for Scotland and the Scottish
nobility. If Parliament refused to disband its forces and to treat with
the King in London, an army was to cross the border and replace Charles
on his throne (December 27, 1647). “The Engagement,” as this treaty was
termed, was wrapped in lead and buried in the castle garden till it
could be safely smuggled out of the island. The next day the King
definitely rejected the ultimatum of the English Parliament, and
prepared to effect his escape to the continent.

It was too late. As soon as the King’s answer was delivered, his guards
were doubled and he was made a close prisoner. The two Houses were well
aware that his refusal of their terms was due to some agreement with the
Scots, although they were ignorant of its precise nature.

  “The House of Commons,” wrote Cromwell to Hammond, “is very sensible
  of the King’s dealings and of our brethren’s in this late
  transaction. You should do well, if you have anything that may
  discover juggling, to search it out, and let us know it. It may be
  of admirable use at this time, because we shall I hope go upon
  business in relation to them tending to prevent danger.”

On January 3, 1648, the House of Commons voted that they would make no
further addresses to the King, and receive no more messages from him.
Cromwell and Ireton, who had opposed the resolution to that effect which
Marten had brought forward in the previous September, now spoke
earnestly in its favour. “It was now expected,” said Cromwell, “that the
Parliament should govern and defend the kingdom by their own power, and
not teach the people any longer to expect safety and government from an
obstinate man whose heart God had hardened.” In such a policy, he added,
the army would stand by the Parliament against all opposition: but if
the Parliament neglected to provide for its own safety and that of the
nation, the army would be forced to seek its own preservation by other

Events had thus driven Cromwell to be the foremost advocate of that
policy of completely setting aside the King which he had long so
stubbornly opposed. Yet, though convinced that the King could not be
trusted, he was not prepared to abandon monarchy. At a conference on the
settlement of the government which took place early in 1648, the
“Commonwealth’s-men,” as the republicans were termed, pressed for the
immediate establishment of a free commonwealth and the trial of the
King. Ludlow noted with great dissatisfaction that Cromwell and his
friends “kept themselves in the clouds, and would not declare their
judgments either for a monarchical, aristocratic, or democratic
government; maintaining that any of them might be good in themselves, or
for us, according as Providence should direct us.” When he pressed
Cromwell privately for the grounds of his objection to a republic,
Cromwell replied that he was convinced of the desirableness of what was
proposed, but not of the feasibility of it. There is evidence that
during the spring of 1648 the Independent leaders discussed a scheme for
deposing Charles I., and placing the Prince of Wales or the Duke of York
upon the throne. But the unwillingness of the Prince and the escape of
the Duke to France frustrated this plan.

While seeking to find some compromise which would prevent a new war,
Cromwell endeavoured to unite all sections of the parliamentary party to
meet it, if it came. The reunion of the army had already been effected.
It was completed in a series of council meetings held at London during
December, 1647, in which the officers under arrest for insubordination
were pardoned, and a personal reconciliation took place between Cromwell
and Rainsborough. In February and March, 1648, Cromwell made
conciliatory overtures to the Presbyterians of the City, but as nothing
short of the restoration of the King to his authority would content
them, the negotiations failed. As little could Cromwell succeed in
overcoming the distrust and hostility which the advanced party amongst
the Independents now felt towards him. On January 19, 1648, John
Lilburn, at the bar of the House of Lords, publicly accused him of high
treason. Nor was it only his dealings with the King that made him the
object of suspicion. During the last year his political attitude had
continually altered. In April, he had urged the army to disband
peaceably; in June, he had headed its revolt; in November, he had forced
it into obedience to the Parliament again. And besides his apparent
inconsistency, he was notoriously indifferent to principles which
Levellers and Commonwealth’s-men held all-important. To them a republic
meant freedom and a monarchy bondage. For him the choice between the two
was a question of expediency, and dependent upon circumstances. In open
council he had declared that he “was not wedded or glued to forms of
government,” and in private he was said to have avowed that it was
lawful to pass through all forms of government to accomplish his ends.
It was not surprising, therefore, that men to whom his opportunism was
unintelligible thought self-interest or ambition the natural explanation
of his conduct, and that charges of hypocrisy and apostacy were freely
made against him.

Through this cloud of detraction Cromwell pursued his way unmoved.
Sometimes he answered his accusers with blunt defiance. “If any man say
that we seek ourselves in doing this, much good may it do him with his
thoughts. It shall not put me out of my way.” At other times he referred
to these slanders with a patient confidence that justice would be done
to him in the end. “Though it may be,” he wrote in September, 1647, “for
the present a cloud may lie over our actions to those not acquainted
with the grounds of them; yet we doubt not but God will clear our
integrity from any other ends we aim at but His glory and the public
good.” Neither loss of popularity, misrepresentations, nor undeserved
mistrust could diminish Cromwell’s zeal for the cause. “I find this only
good,” he wrote on his recovery from a dangerous illness in the spring
of 1648: “to love the Lord and His poor despised people, to do for them,
and to be ready to suffer with them, and he that is found worthy of this
hath obtained great favour from the Lord.”

Not Cromwell’s utterances only but his acts testify to the integrity of
his motives. In March, 1648, Parliament settled an estate upon him as a
reward for his services, to which he responded by offering to contribute
a thousand a year, out of the seventeen hundred it brought in, to be
employed in the recovery of Ireland. And so little did he dream of ever
becoming himself the ruler of England, that at the very moment when
fortune had opened the widest field to ambition, he began negotiations
for the marriage of his eldest son to the daughter of a private
gentleman of no great influence or position.


                               CHAPTER X
                          THE SECOND CIVIL WAR

The Second Civil War broke out in Wales. It began with a revolt of
officers and soldiers who had fought zealously for the Parliament
throughout the first war. In February, 1648, Colonel Poyer, the governor
of Pembroke Castle, refused to hand his charge over to the officer whom
Fairfax had appointed to succeed him. In March, he openly declared for
the King, and the troops of Colonel Laugharne, followed soon afterwards
by their leader, joined Poyer’s forces. In April, it became known in
London that the Scots were raising an army to invade England, and at the
end of the month parties of English Royalists, by Scottish help, seized
Berwick and Carlisle. To meet these two dangers Fairfax sent Cromwell to
suppress the Welsh insurgents and prepared to march north himself
against the Scots.

At the beginning of May, Cromwell left London, taking with him two
regiments of horse and three of foot. Poyer was full of confidence. He
had won several small victories, and told his men that he would meet
Cromwell in fair field, and that he would be himself the first man to
charge “Ironsides,” adding that if Cromwell “had a back of steel and a
breast of iron, he durst and would encounter with him.” But before
Cromwell reached Wales, Colonel Horton defeated the boastful Poyer at
St. Fagans, on May 8th, and when Cromwell arrived the war became a war
of sieges. Chepstow was stormed by Colonel Ewer on May 25th, and Tenby
surrendered to Colonel Horton at the end of May, but Pembroke Castle
held out for over six weeks. Its walls were strong and its garrison
desperate. Cromwell had no heavy artillery with him, and though he
“scraped up,” as he said, a few little guns, and made a breach, his
assaults were repulsed with loss. The hostility of the country people
and want of provisions added to the difficulties of the besiegers. “It’s
a mercy,” wrote Cromwell to Fairfax, “that we have been able to keep our
men together in such necessity, the sustenance of the foot for the most
part being bread and water.” The besieged, however, were in worse
straits, and at last, on the 11th of July, starvation forced Poyer and
Laugharne “to surrender themselves to the mercy of the Parliament” and
give up town and castle.

Three days before Pembroke fell, Hamilton and the Scottish army crossed
the border, and Fairfax was not there to face them. London was seething
with discontent: there were riots in the city and in the eastern
counties, and mass petitions from Essex, Kent, and Surrey urged
Parliament to come to terms with the King and to disband the army. At
the end of May a royalist rising broke out in Kent, and the fleet in the
Downs declared for the King.



  (_From a photograph._)

Fairfax collected eight or nine thousand men and set out for Kent. On
June 1st, he forced his way into Maidstone, where the main body of the
Kentish Royalists had posted themselves, and, after hard fighting in the
barricaded streets, mastered the town, and broke up the insurgent army.
A part of them, under old Lord Norwich, marched towards London, but
found the city gates closed against them, and dispersed. Norwich
himself, with five or six hundred horse, crossed the Thames, and called
the Royalists of Essex to arms. Ere long four thousand men gathered
round him, and Fairfax, leaving detachments to complete the subjugation
of Kent, hurried to Essex to suppress this new rising. Norwich threw
himself into Colchester, and a bloody battle took place in the suburbs,
in which the raw levies of the Royalists repulsed Fairfax’s veterans
with great loss. The parliamentary general, seeing that he could not
carry the town by a _coup de main_, was obliged to sit down to a regular
siege, which ultimately developed into a blockade. Forts were built
round Colchester, and connected by lines of intrenchments, to cut off
all supplies and prevent any escape. The militia of Suffolk and Essex
swelled Fairfax’s small force of regulars and completed the investment.
The besieged fought well and made vigorous sallies, but unless help came
from without the end was inevitable. When the siege began, such relief
seemed very probable. All over England little local risings were
incessantly breaking out which threatened to become general unless they
were at once suppressed. In June, there were risings in North Wales,
Northamptonshire, and Nottinghamshire. At the beginning of July, Lord
Holland and the young Duke of Buckingham gathered about six hundred
Cavaliers at Kingston in the hope of relieving Colchester. But they were
hunted from place to place by Fairfax’s cavalry, and could never stay
long enough anywhere to collect their partisans. The few who kept
together were captured at St. Neots, in Huntingdonshire, on July 10th.
At the end of July, Prince Charles and the revolted ships blockaded the
Thames, hoping to persuade London to declare for the King by threatening
its trade. But a fleet alone could not relieve Colchester, for Fairfax
had occupied Mersea Island and cut off the town from the sea. Moreover,
London remained quiet, for, though strongly Presbyterian in feeling, it
had no desire to see the King restored unconditionally. The only hope of
the besieged lay in the advance of Hamilton and the Scottish army.

In the north of England the Parliament had no force afoot strong enough
to stop the Scots from marching southwards. Major-General Lambert, the
commander-in-chief in the northern counties, with three or four
regiments of regular horse and the local levies of Yorkshire and
Lancashire, more than held his own against the English Royalists under
Langdale and Musgrave, defeating them in the field and reducing the
garrison of Carlisle to extremities. But when Hamilton advanced to
relieve his allies, Lambert could only fall back, stubbornly
skirmishing, into north Yorkshire, leaving the Scots to overrun
Cumberland and the north. He, too, was hampered by risings in his rear,
for early in June Pontefract Castle had been surprised by the Royalists,
and later in the month Scarborough had declared for the King. On the 8th
of July, when Hamilton entered England, he brought with him no more than
ten thousand or eleven thousand men, but additional forces followed
later, and including the English Royalists under Langdale and Musgrave
he had, by the next month, about twenty-four thousand men under his
command. He marched slowly in order to give time for his reinforcements
to come up, and spent some time in besieging Appleby and other northern
castles. It was only about the middle of August that he resumed his
advance and determined to push south through Lancashire.

Meanwhile, Cromwell was hurrying north to Lambert’s aid. Even before
Pembroke fell he had sent a portion of his horse northwards. As soon as
it surrendered, he set out at once with the rest of his horse and the
infantry. His men had not been paid for months, but his iron discipline
kept them from plundering. The most part of his foot were shoeless and
in rags, but boots were provided to meet them at Leicester. Marching by
way of Gloucester and through the midlands, Cromwell reached Leicester
on August 1st, Nottingham on August 5th, and joined Lambert near
Knaresborough in the West Riding on Saturday, August 12th. Some
regiments had to be left to besiege Pontefract and Scarborough, so that
their united forces came to no more than about eight thousand five
hundred men, of whom about three thousand were horse. But three quarters
of this army were old soldiers, and, as one of Cromwell’s officers
wrote, it was “a fine, smart army, fit for action.”

Cromwell had hitherto been under the impression that the Scots intended
to advance through Yorkshire, and, relieving Pontefract on their way, to
march straight for London. He now learnt that Hamilton had chosen the
Lancashire route, and was already on his way through that county.
Accordingly, on Sunday, August 13th, he set out to cross the hills which
separate Lancashire from Yorkshire, and to attack the invaders. On
Monday night, he quartered at Skipton; on Tuesday night, at Gisburn. On
Wednesday, he marched down the valley of the Ribble into Lancashire. Two
courses were now open to him. He might cross by Hodder Bridge to the
southern bank of the Ribble, and seek to bar Hamilton’s advance
southwards by placing himself somewhere in his path; or he might keep
along the northern bank of the river and engage Hamilton somewhere near
Preston itself. Cromwell chose the second course, and he did so with a
full consciousness of the importance of the choice. “It was thought,” he
wrote, “that to engage the enemy to fight was our business,” and to
march straight upon Preston was more likely to bring about a battle
because it seemed probable that Hamilton would stand his ground there.
There was also a second reason. If he put himself to the south of
Hamilton, a defeat would throw Hamilton back upon his supports in
Westmoreland and on the road to Scotland. If he defeated Hamilton at
Preston, he might be able to drive him southwards, separating him from
his supports, and cutting off his line of retreat. Under such
circumstances, a defeat would lead to the annihilation of the Scottish
army instead of merely forcing it to retire to Scotland. It was for
these reasons, and not by any happy accident, that Cromwell adopted the
second plan. As he explained a couple of years later, “Upon deliberate
advice we chose rather to put ourselves between their army and
Scotland.” All Wednesday, therefore, he continued his march down the
northern bank of the Ribble, and camped his army for the night at
Stonyhurst, about nine miles from Preston.


  to illustrate

  _B. V. Darbishire, Oxford 1899._

Meanwhile, Hamilton’s army was marching through Lancashire as carelessly
and loosely as if Cromwell were fifty miles away. Hamilton himself, with
ten thousand foot and perhaps fifteen hundred horse, was at Preston. The
Earl of Callendar and General Middleton, with the bulk of the Scottish
horse, were at Wigan, fifteen miles ahead of the infantry, while thirty
miles in the rear, at Kirby Lonsdale, in Westmoreland, lay Major-General
Monro, with about three thousand veteran horse and foot drawn from the
Scottish army in Ulster, and two or three thousand English Royalists
under Sir Philip Musgrave. Between Cromwell and Preston, covering
Hamilton’s flank, was Sir Marmaduke Langdale’s division of English
Royalists, numbering three thousand foot and six hundred horse. Hamilton
had been warned of the enemy’s approach by Langdale, but discredited his
information, and believed he was threatened merely by some Lancashire
militia forces.

Early on Thursday, the 17th of August, Cromwell fell upon Langdale’s
division with tremendous vigour, and beating his foot from hedge to
hedge drove them towards Preston. Langdale sent pressing appeals to
Hamilton, but the Duke gave him no adequate support. Instead of helping
him, he drew the Scottish foot out of Preston and to the south of the
Ribble, in order to facilitate their junction with the cavalry at Wigan.
To defend Preston, he kept merely a couple of brigades of foot, and the
fifteen hundred or sixteen hundred horse of his rearguard. Against
forces so divided, Cromwell’s attack was irresistible. At nightfall on
Thursday, Preston was in his possession, and not only the town but the
bridge over the Ribble, and the second bridge over the Darwen, a mile or
so to the south of it. His whole army was solidly planted between
Hamilton and Scotland. Langdale’s division had ceased to exist, and of
Hamilton’s two brigades of foot hardly a man had escaped. A thousand had
fallen in the fight, Cromwell had four thousand prisoners, and his
cavalry had chased Hamilton’s flying horse ten miles on the road to

In the Scottish camp there was great distraction and depression.
Hamilton’s forces were still superior in number to Cromwell’s, for he
had six or seven thousand foot on the south side of the river, who had
scarcely fired a shot, besides Middleton and the vanguard of cavalry at
Wigan. But the Duke, who had shown plenty of personal courage, was weak
and irresolute in council. Major-General Baillie, who commanded his
foot, urged him to make a stand where he was until Middleton and the
horse rejoined them. The Earl of Callendar, Hamilton’s second in
command, proposed that the foot should march away as soon as it was
dark, to join Middleton, and Callendar’s proposal was accepted. It
involved the abandonment of Hamilton’s train, for they had no horses
left to draw the waggons; and all the ammunition except what the men
carried in their flasks fell into Cromwell’s hands. All night the
Scottish infantry marched. “Our march,” says one of them, “was very sad,
the way being exceeding deep, the soldiers both wet, hungry, and weary,
and all looked on their business as half ruined.” They had lost many
stragglers when they arrived at Wigan. On Friday morning, Cromwell,
leaving the Lancashire militia to guard Preston and his prisoners, set
out in pursuit of Hamilton with three thousand foot and twenty-five
hundred horse. The fighting on Friday was mainly between the horse of
the two armies. While the Scottish infantry were marching to Wigan to
join Middleton, Middleton was marching to Preston to join them, and as
he went by a different road they failed to meet. On reaching the camp of
the infantry, he found nothing but deserted fires and a few stragglers,
and turned back to follow Hamilton’s track to Wigan. Cromwell’s horsemen
were at his heels all the way, “killing and taking divers,” though
Colonel Thornhaugh, who commanded Cromwell’s van, was killed by a
Scottish lancer.

Hamilton’s army, when the horse joined, drew up on the moor, north of
Wigan, as if to give battle, but, judging the ground disadvantageous,
Hamilton retreated into the town before Cromwell came up. “We lay that
night in the field,” says Cromwell, “close by the enemy, being very
dirty and weary, and having marched twelve miles of such ground as I
never rode in my life, the day being very wet.” There was no rest,
however, for the Scots in Wigan. Their commanders resolved to make
another night march to Warrington, intending to break down the bridge,
and put the Mersey between themselves and their pursuer. On Saturday,
Cromwell’s cavalry found the Scottish foot posted in a good position at
Winwick, about three miles from Warrington.

  “We held them in dispute,” wrote Cromwell, “till our army came up,
  they maintaining the pass with great resolution for many hours, ours
  and theirs coming to push of pike and very close charges, which
  forced us to give ground; but our men by the blessing of God quickly
  recovered it, and charging very home upon them, beat them from their
  standing. We killed about a thousand of them, and took, as we
  believe, about two thousand prisoners.”

This was the last stand the Scots made. When Cromwell reached Warrington
the same Saturday evening, General Baillie and the rest of the Scottish
infantry surrendered as prisoners of war. Hamilton and Callendar, with
two or three thousand horse escaped into Cheshire, intending to join
Lord Byron who was in arms for the King, but their fate was not long
delayed. Cromwell sent Lambert with four regiments of horse in pursuit,
and called on the neighbouring counties to send all the horses they
could muster after the fugitives.

  “They are so tired, and in such confusion, that if my horse could
  but trot after them I could take them all. But we are so weary we
  can scarce be able to do more than walk after them. My horse are
  miserably beaten out—and I have ten thousand of them prisoners.”

Skirmishing incessantly with the country people and the local militia,
Hamilton made his way as far as Staffordshire, party after party of his
followers dropping off by the way, either to surrender or to escape in
disguise. With the few who remained, he capitulated to Lambert at
Uttoxeter, on Friday, August 25th. On the Monday following, Colchester
surrendered to Fairfax, and the Second Civil War was practically over.

After the capitulation at Warrington, Cromwell turned northwards again
as soon as his soldiers could march. Monro and his six thousand men were
still undisposed of, and he feared an attack from them upon the forces
left at Preston. Colonel Ashton, who commanded at Preston, had under his
charge prisoners more in number than his troops, and like Henry V. at
Agincourt Cromwell had ordered Ashton to put the prisoners to the sword
if he were attacked. But nothing was farther from Monro’s mind than an
advance. On the news of the defeat at Preston, he retreated at once,
marched through Durham, and re-entered Scotland. Garrisons were left in
Berwick and Carlisle, which Cromwell summoned as soon as he came up, and
when they refused to surrender he made a formal application to the
Scottish Committee of Estates for their restoration. To give force to
his demand he marched his army across the Tweed, protesting at the same
time that he had no quarrel with the Scottish nation. If he entered
Scotland it was simply to overthrow the faction which had instigated the
late invasion.

  “We are so far from seeking the harm of the well affected people of
  Scotland, that we profess as before the Lord, that we shall use our
  endeavours to the utmost that the trouble may fall upon the
  contrivers and authors of this breach, and not upon the poor
  innocent people, who have been led and compelled into this action,
  as many poor souls now prisoners to us confess.”

A revolution in Scotland facilitated Cromwell’s policy. The rigid
Presbyterians of the west country, who abhorred any union with
Episcopalians and Malignants, and cared more for the Kirk than the
Crown, had risen in arms and seized Edinburgh. Argyle and his
Highlanders backed them, and on September 26th the Hamiltonian faction,
who formed the Committee of Estates, agreed to send Monro’s force back
to Ireland, to disband their men, and to give up power to their rivals.
Argyle’s party was only too glad to come to terms with Cromwell, and to
procure the support of his army against their opponents, till they could
organise a substantial force of their own. Orders were sent for the
immediate surrender of Carlisle and Berwick, and Cromwell came to
Edinburgh to treat with Argyle. “Give assurance,” demanded Cromwell,
“that you will not admit or suffer any that have been active in or
consenting to the engagement against England, to be employed in any
public place or trust whatsoever. This is the least security I can
demand.” There was nothing the rival faction would more willingly do,
and by an Act of the Scottish Parliament “the Engagers,” as Hamilton’s
partisans were called, were permanently excluded from political power.

Cromwell left three regiments in Scotland for a few weeks to secure the
new government, and returned with the bulk of his army to England.
Scarborough and Pontefract still remained to be captured, but the Second
Civil War was over. Some of Cromwell’s friends amongst the Independent
leaders blamed his agreement with Argyle, and saw no security for
England in the predominance of a bigoted Presbyterian faction at
Edinburgh. They thought that Cromwell should either have exacted more
substantial guarantees for future peace, or divided power between the
two parties, so that they would balance each other, and be incapable of
injuring England. Cromwell answered that the one hope of future peace
between the two nations lay in creating a good understanding between
English Independents and Scotch Presbyterians, and that he had taken the
only course which could produce it.

  “I desire from my heart—I have prayed for—I have waited for the day
  to see—union and right understanding between the godly people—Scots,
  English, Jews, Gentiles, Presbyterians, Anabaptists, and all. Our
  brothers of Scotland—sincerely Presbyterians—were our greatest
  enemies. God hath justified us in their sight—caused us to requite
  good for evil—caused them to acknowledge it publicly by acts of
  State and privately, and the thing is true in the sight of the
  Sun.... Was it not fit to be civil, to profess love, to deal with
  clearness with them for the removing of prejudices; to ask them what
  they had against us, and to give them an honest answer? This we have
  done and no more: and herein is a more glorious work in our eyes
  than if we had gotten the sacking and plunder of Edinburgh, the
  strong castle, into our hands, and made a conquest from the Tweed to
  the Orcades; and we can say, through God, we have left such a
  witness amongst them, as, if it work not yet, by reason the poor
  souls are so wedded to their Church government, yet there is that
  conviction upon them that will undoubtedly have its fruit in due

He came back to England with the confident hope that peace with Scotland
was henceforth secure.



                               CHAPTER XI

While Fairfax and Cromwell were fighting the armies raised in the King’s
name, the Parliament was once more negotiating with Charles I. In spite
of the vote for no addresses, passed on January 17, 1648, April was not
over before both Houses were discussing the reopening of negotiations.
Petition after petition came from the City demanding a personal treaty
with the King, and the House of Lords echoed the demand. The Lords were
so zealous for a peace that when Hamilton and the Scots invaded England
they refused to join the Lower House in declaring them enemies. The
Commons, more cautious, insisted that the King should accept certain
preliminaries before any treaty began, and refused to allow him to come
to London to treat. At last the two Houses arrived at a compromise, and
on August 1st it was agreed that there should be a personal treaty with
Charles in the Isle of Wight. The Commissioners of Parliament met the
King at Newport on September 18th, a couple of days before Cromwell
entered Scotland. Charles consented to annul his former declarations
against the Parliament, and to admit that they had undertaken the war
“in their just and lawful defence.” He promised the establishment of the
Presbyterian system for three years, and a limited Episcopacy
afterwards. He even offered the control of the militia for twenty years
and the settlement of Ireland in such fashion as Parliament should think
best. The question whether these concessions were a sufficient basis for
lasting peace is one on which modern historians have differed as much as
contemporary politicians did. It is certain that the King was not
sincere in making them. “To deal freely with you,” wrote Charles to one
of his friends, “the great concession I made this day—the Church,
militia, and Ireland—was made merely in order to my escape.... My only
hope is, that now they believe I dare deny them nothing, and so be less
careful of their guards.” The Presbyterian leaders argued and haggled in
the hope of obtaining the permanent establishment of Presbyterianism,
but the question whether any treaty would bind the King they neglected
to take into account.

Meanwhile a dangerous excitement was spreading in the army. From an
agreement between the Presbyterians and the Royalists, an Independent
army had much to fear. The first result of the treaty would be a general
disbanding. To be dismissed with a few shillings in his pocket, but
without security for his arrears, or indemnity for his acts during the
war, was the most a soldier could expect. If any sectary who had fought
for the Parliament hoped that it would give him freedom to worship as
his conscience dictated, the act against heresy and blasphemy, passed in
May, 1648, had shown the futility of his hopes. Whether Episcopacy or
Presbyterianism gained the upper hand, toleration would be at an end as
soon as he laid down his arms. Add to this, that the soldiers were
firmly convinced that the proposed treaty afforded no security for the
political liberties of the nation. Once restored to his authority,
Charles would, either by force or by intrigue, shake off the
restrictions the treaty imposed, and rear again that fabric of
absolutism, which it had cost six years’ fighting to overthrow. The
renewal of the war had heightened their distrust of Charles, and
embittered their hostility to him. The responsibility for the first
Civil War had been laid upon the King’s evil counsellors; the
responsibility for the second was laid upon the King himself. It was at
his instigation, said the officers, that conquered enemies had taken up
arms again, old comrades apostatised from their principles, and a
foreign army invaded England. In a great prayer-meeting held at Windsor
before they separated for the campaign, they pledged themselves to bring
this responsibility home to the King. “We came,” wrote one of them, “to
a very clear resolution, that it was our duty, if ever the Lord brought
us back again in peace, to call Charles Stuart, that man of blood, to an
account for the blood he had shed, and mischief he had done to the
utmost, against the Lord’s cause and people in these poor nations.” They
were equally determined to punish the King’s instruments. At the close
of the first war, the army had shown itself more merciful than the
Parliament, but the second war made it fierce, implacable, and resolute
to exact blood for blood. Fairfax’s execution of Lucas and Lisle, two
royalist leaders taken at Colchester, “in part of avenge for the
innocent blood they have caused to be spilt,” was a sign of this change
of temper.

Cromwell shared this vindictive feeling towards the authors of the
second war. When he took Pembroke, he excepted certain persons from the
terms of the capitulation and reserved them for future punishment.

  “The persons excepted,” he wrote to Parliament, “are such as have
  formerly served you in a very good cause; but being now apostatised,
  I did rather make election of them than of those who had always been
  for the King; judging their iniquity double, because they have
  sinned against so much light, and against so many evidences of
  Divine Providence going along with and prospering a just cause, in
  the management of which they themselves had a share.”

He was equally exasperated against those who had promoted the Scottish

  “This,” he said, “is a more prodigious treason than any that hath
  been perfected before; because the former quarrel was that
  Englishmen might rule over one another, this to vassalise us to a
  foreign nation. And their fault that appeared in this summer’s
  business is certainly double to theirs who were in the first,
  because it is the repetition of the same offence against all the
  witnesses that God hath borne.”

The moral he drew from his victory at Preston was that Parliament should
use it to protect peaceable Christians of all opinions, and punish
disturbers of the peace of every rank.

  “Take courage,” he told them, “to do the work of the Lord in
  fulfilling the end of your magistracy, in seeking the peace and
  welfare of this land—that all that will live peaceably may have
  countenance from you, and they that are incapable, and will not
  leave troubling the land, may speedily be destroyed out of the land.
  If you take courage in this God will bless you, and good men will
  stand by you, and God will have glory, and the land will have
  happiness by you in despite of all your enemies.”

When Cromwell returned from Scotland, he found the Parliament preparing
to replace the King on his throne, and to content itself with banishing
some dozen of the royalist leaders. Regiment after regiment of Fairfax’s
army was presenting its general with petitions against the treaty and
demands for the punishment of the authors of the war. Cromwell’s troops
imitated their example, and in forwarding their petitions to Fairfax,
their leader expressed his complete agreement with his soldiers.

  “I find,” he wrote, “a very great sense in the officers ... for the
  sufferings and ruin of this poor kingdom, and in them all a very
  great zeal to have impartial justice done upon all offenders; and I
  do in all from my heart concur with them, and I verily think they
  are things which God puts into our hearts.”

On November 20, 1648, the army in the south sent Parliament a
“Remonstrance,” demanding the rupture of the negotiations, and the
punishment of the King as “the grand author of all our troubles.”
Cromwell approved of this declaration, and told Fairfax he saw “nothing
in it but what is honest, and becoming honest men to say and offer.” It
would have been better, he thought, to wait till the treaty was
concluded, before making their protest, but now that it had been made he
was prepared to support it. The Newport treaty seemed to him to be a
complete surrender to Charles. “They would have put into his hands,” he
said later, “all that we had engaged for, and all our security would
have been a little bit of paper.” No one knew better than Cromwell that
a mere protest would not stop the Parliament, and he was ready to use
force if necessary. The arguments by which he justified its employment
are fully stated in his letter to his friend, Robert Hammond, whose
scruples he sought to overcome.

Was it not true that the safety of the people was the supreme law? Was
it not certain that this treaty would undo all that had been gained by
the war, and make things worse than before the war began? If resistance
to authority was lawful at all, was it not as lawful to oppose the
Parliament as it was to oppose the King?

  “Consider,” he urged, “whether this army be not a lawful power
  called by God to oppose and fight against the King upon some stated
  grounds; and being in power to such ends, may not oppose one name of
  authority for those ends as well as another name,—since it was not
  the outward authority summoning them that by its power made the
  quarrel lawful, but the quarrel that was lawful in itself.”

These, however, were but “fleshly reasonings,” and there were higher
arguments. “Let us look into providences; surely they mean somewhat.
They hang so together; have been so constant, so clear, unclouded.”

The victories God had given could not be meant to end in such a
sacrifice of His cause and His people as “this ruining hypocritical
agreement.” “Thinkest thou in thy heart that the glorious dispensations
of God point to this?” The determination of the army to prevent the
treaty was also God’s doing. “What think you of Providence disposing the
hearts of so many of God’s people this way? We trust the same Lord who
hath framed our minds in our actings is with us in this also.” There
were difficulties to be encountered and enemies not few—“appearance of
united names, titles, and authorities”; yet they were not terrified,
“desiring only to fear our great God that we do nothing against His

Briefly stated, Cromwell’s argument was that the victories of the army,
and the convictions of the godly, were external and internal evidence of
God’s will, to be obeyed as a duty. It was dangerous reasoning, and not
less dangerous that secular and political motives coincided with the
dictates of religious enthusiasm. Similar arguments might be held to
justify not merely the temporary intervention of the army, but its
permanent assumption of the government of England. Practical good sense
and conservative instincts prevented Cromwell from adopting the extreme
consequences of his theory; with most of his comrades the logic of
fanaticism was qualified by no such considerations.

As Parliament continued the treaty without attending to their
Remonstrance, the army determined to employ force. On December 1st,
officers sent by Fairfax seized Charles at Newport and removed him to
Hurst Castle in Hampshire. The next day, Fairfax and his troops occupied
London. Undeterred, the House of Commons resolved by 129 votes to
eighty-three that the King’s answers were a ground to proceed upon for
the settlement of the kingdom. The same evening, the commanders of the
army and the leaders of the parliamentary minority held a conference to
decide what was to be done. On their march, the officers had declared
their intention of dissolving the Long Parliament, and constituting the
faithful minority a provisional government until a new Parliament could
meet. But now, in deference to the wishes of their friends in
Parliament, they resolved, instead, to expel the Presbyterian majority
from the House, and to leave the Independent minority in possession of
the name and authority of a Parliament. On December 6th, accordingly,
Colonel Pride and a body of musketeers beset the doors of the House of
Commons, seized some members as they sought to enter, and turned others
back by force. The same process continued on the 7th, till forty-five
members were under arrest, and some ninety-six others excluded.

Cromwell arrived at London on the night after “Pride’s Purge” began, and
took his seat next day amongst the fifty or sixty members who continued
to sit in the House. Like the rest of the officers, he had contemplated
a forcible dissolution and the calling of a new Parliament. But seeing
that a different plan had been adopted by his friends on the spot, he
did not hesitate to accept it. He said, “that he had not been acquainted
with this design, but since it was done he was glad of it, and would
endeavour to maintain it.”

On the question of the King, a difference of opinion between Cromwell
and the bulk of the officers soon showed itself. He approved of their
seizure of Charles, and had no doubt of the justice of bringing him to
trial. But he doubted the policy of the King’s trial and condemnation,
if any other satisfactory expedient could be devised to secure the
rights of the nation. It might be that the King’s deposition would be
sufficient, or that he would at last make the concessions which he had
hitherto refused. Of the discussions which went on in the council of
officers during the next three weeks very little is known. There are
vague rumours of a great division of opinion amongst them, of one party
sternly insisting on the King’s punishment, of another willing to be
content with his deposition or imprisonment. We get glimpses of Cromwell
negotiating with lawyers and judges about the settlement of the nation,
inspiring a final attempt to come to terms with Charles, and arguing
that it would be safe to spare the King’s life, if he would accept the
conditions now offered him. All these attempted compromises failed. The
King preferred to part with his life rather than with his regal power,
and unless he yielded no constitutional settlement was possible. So the
military revolution, for a moment arrested in its progress, moved
inevitably forward, and Cromwell went with it.

On December 23rd, Charles was brought to Windsor. “The Lord be with you
and bless you in this great charge,” wrote Cromwell to the governor,
sending him therewith minute instructions for the safe-keeping of his
captive. On the same day, the House of Commons appointed a committee “to
consider how to proceed in the way of justice against the King.” “If any
man,” Cromwell is reported to have said, “had deliberately designed such
a thing, he would be the greatest traitor in the world, but ‘the
Providence of God’ had cast it upon them.”

Five days later an ordinance was introduced erecting a tribunal to try
the King, to consist of three judges and a jury of 150 commissioners. On
January 2, 1649, the ordinance was transmitted to the Lords, with a
resolution declaring that “by the fundamental laws of this kingdom it is
treason in the King of England for the time being to levy war against
the Parliament and the kingdom of England.” The unanimous rejection of
this ordinance, and the discovery that the judges would refuse the part
assigned to them, did not make the Commons draw back. A new ordinance
was brought in, creating a court of 135 commissioners, who were to act
both as judge and jury, and omitting the three judges. Fresh resolutions
declared the people the original of all just power, the House of Commons
the supreme power in the nation, and the laws passed by the Commons
binding without consent of King or Lords. This ordinance, or, as it was
now termed, act, was passed on January 6, 1649. It set forth that
Charles Stuart had wickedly designed totally to subvert the ancient and
fundamental laws of this nation, and in their place to introduce an
arbitrary and tyrannical government; that he had levied and maintained a
cruel war against Parliament and kingdom; and that new commotions had
arisen from the remissness of Parliament to prosecute him. Wherefore
that for the future “no chief officer or magistrate whatsoever may
presume to imagine or contrive the enslaving or destroying of the
English nation, and to expect impunity for trying or doing the same,”
the persons whose names followed were appointed to try the said Charles
Stuart. On the 19th of January, the King was brought from Windsor to St.
James’s, guarded by troops of horse.

Ever since the eighth, the commissioners for the King’s trial had been
meeting in the Painted Chamber to settle their procedure. But nearly
half of those named refused to accept the duty laid upon them. Some had
fears for their own safety; some, political objections; others objected
to the constitution or authority of the court. Algernon Sidney told his
colleagues that there were two reasons why he could not take part in
their proceedings. First, the King could not be tried by that court;
secondly, that no man could be tried by that court. “I tell you,”
answered Cromwell, with characteristic scorn of constitutional formulas,
“we will cut off his head with the crown upon it.”

Nevertheless, the question of their authority was a question to which
the court was bound to agree upon an answer. If a story told at the
trial of the Regicides may be trusted, the commissioners were still at a
loss for a formula on the morning of the 20th of January, when the trial
began. As they sat in the Painted Chamber, news was brought that the
King was landing at the steps which led up from the river.

  “At which Cromwell ran to the window, looking on the King as he came
  up the garden; he turned as white as the wall ... then turning to
  the board said thus: ‘My masters, he is come, he is come, and now we
  are doing that great work that the whole nation will be full of.
  Therefore I desire you to let us resolve here what answer we shall
  give the King when he comes before us, for the first question he
  will ask us will be by what authority and commission we do try him?’
  For a time no one answered. Then after a little space, Henry Marten
  rose up and said, ‘In the name of the Commons in Parliament
  assembled and all the good people of England.’”

About one o’clock the court adjourned to Westminster Hall. At the upper
or southern end of the Hall, a wooden platform had been constructed,
covering all the space usually occupied by the Courts of Chancery and
King’s Bench. A wooden partition rising about three feet above the floor
of this platform divided the court itself from the body of the Hall. On
the lower side of this partition, running across the Hall from side to
side, was a broad gangway fenced in by a wooden railing, and a similar
gangway ran right down the Hall to the great door. Along the sides of
the gangways, with their backs to the railings, stood a line of
musketeers and pikemen, whose officers walked up and down the vacant
space in the middle of the passages. The mass of the audience stood
within the railed spaces between the sides of the Hall and the gangways,
but on each side of the court itself, and directly overlooking it, were
two small galleries, one above the other, reserved for specially
favoured spectators. At the back of the court, immediately under the
great window, sat the King’s judges, about seventy in number, ranged on
four or five tiers of benches which were covered with scarlet cloth.
They wore their ordinary dress as officers or gentlemen. In the back
row, on each side of the scutcheon bearing the arms of the Commonwealth
of England, sat Cromwell and Harry Marten. In the centre of the front
row of the judges, at a raised desk, sat Serjeant John Bradshaw, the
president of the court, and on each side of him his assistants, Lisle
and Say, dressed in black lawyer’s gowns. About the middle of the floor
of the court was a table where the two clerks were seated, and on the
table lay the mace and the sword of State. In the front of the court, at
the very edge of the platform, were three compartments, somewhat like
pews, the backs of which were formed by the low partition separating the
court from the Hall. In the central one were a crimson-velvet arm-chair,
and a small table covered with Turkey carpet, on which were an inkstand
and paper. Here sat the King, and in the partition on his right were the
three lawyers who were counsel for the Commonwealth. The King had his
face turned towards the president and his back to the crowd in the body
of the Hall. As the floor of the court was higher than the floor of the
Hall, the spectators stood, as it were, in the pit of a theatre, but the
partition somewhat intercepted their view of the interior of the court.
Yet they could see the King’s head and shoulders above it.

Charles kept his hat on his head, and showed no sign of respect to the

  “The prisoner,” says the official account, “while the charge was
  reading, sat down in his chair, looking sometimes on the High Court,
  and sometimes on the galleries, and rose again, and turned about to
  behold the guards and spectators, and after sat down, looking very
  sternly, and with a countenance not at all moved, till these words
  ‘_Charles Stuart to be a tyrant_,’ traitor, etc., were read; at
  which he laughed, as he sat, in the face of the court.”

Throughout the trial, as the King’s judges had anticipated, he declined
to admit the jurisdiction of the court. On each of the three days when
he appeared before it, on the 20th, the 22d, and the 23rd of January, he
maintained his refusal to plead. “Princes,” he had said in a declaration
published in 1629, “are not bound to give an account of their actions
but to God alone,” and he now consistently repeated that “a king cannot
be tried by any superior jurisdiction on earth.” What excited more
sympathy, however, was his association of the rights of his subjects
with his own, and his claim to be defending both against the arbitrary
power of the army.

  “It is not my case alone,” he said; “it is the freedom and liberty
  of the people of England; and do you pretend what you will, I stand
  more for their liberties. For if power without law may make laws,
  may alter the fundamental laws of the kingdom, I do not know what
  subject he is in England that can be sure of his life, or anything
  that he calls his own.”

On Tuesday, the 23rd, after Charles had for a third time refused to
plead, the court adjourned to the Painted Chamber, and the more
determined members resolved to treat the King as contumacious, and
proceed to pronounce judgment against him. Others opposed this course,
and the next two days were spent in hearing evidence at private meetings
of the court in the Painted Chamber—partly in order to gain time whilst
the recalcitrant members of the court were being converted. One after
another, a number of witnesses deposed that they had seen the King in
arms against the Parliament. One had seen the royal standard set up at
Nottingham. Another had seen the King at Newbury, in complete armour
with his sword drawn, and had heard him exhort a regiment of horse to
stand by him that day, for that his crown lay upon the point of the
sword. A third swore that he heard Charles encourage his soldiers to
strip and beat their prisoners when Leicester was stormed. Documents
were also brought to prove the King’s invitations to foreign forces to
enter England. At length, on the evening of Thursday, the 25th, a vote
that the court would proceed to sentence Charles Stuart to death was
procured, and on the morning of the 26th, sixty-two commissioners agreed
to the terms of the sentence which their committee had drawn up. It was
resolved, however, that the King should be brought before the court to
hear his sentence, instead of being condemned in his absence, and this
was doubtless done in order to give him a chance to plead, in case he
should repent of his contumacy.

On the afternoon of Saturday, January 27th, sixty-seven commissioners
took their seats in Westminster Hall, headed by Bradshaw, who had now
donned a scarlet gown in which to deliver sentence. Once more Charles
refused to plead, requesting that before sentence was given he might be
heard before the Lords and Commons assembled in the Painted Chamber. He
had something to say, he declared, which was “most material for the
welfare of the kingdom and the liberty of the subject.... I am sure on
it, it is very well worth the hearing.” It was afterwards rumoured that
he meant to propose his own abdication, and the admission of his son to
the throne upon such terms as should have been agreed upon. The court
after a brief deliberation refused the request, and Bradshaw, after
setting forth the prisoner’s crimes and exhorting him to repentance,
ordered the clerk to read the sentence. The King strove to speak. “Your
time is now past,” replied Bradshaw, and bade the clerk read on. After
the sentence was read, all the commissioners stood up to testify their
assent. Once more Charles endeavoured to obtain a hearing. “Sir, you are
not to be heard after sentence,” was the answer. He still struggled to
be heard. “Guard, withdraw your prisoner,” ordered the president. “I am
not suffered to speak,” cried the King. “Expect what justice other
people will have.”

As the King was led from the Court, the soldiers gave a great shout,
crying fiercely, “Execution, execution!” Others, it was said, reviled
him as he passed by them, and blew their tobacco smoke in his face. But
outside, in the street, as he went from Westminster to Whitehall,
“shop-stalls and windows were full of people, many of whom shed tears,
and some of them with audible voices prayed for the King.” It was clear
that the feeling of the people was on the King’s side, and that
consideration, if no other, might well have induced the army leaders
even at the last to draw back. But even had they wished it, the army
would not have permitted them to do so. Moreover, Cromwell all through
the trial never wavered or hesitated, and his influence kept the
Regicides together. When the King’s judges came to be tried for their
own lives, some strove to represent themselves as acting under coercion.
One said that Cromwell and Ireton laid hold of him and compelled him to
take his place in the court; others described Cromwell as forcing
recalcitrant judges to sign the death-warrant, and bearing down the
little minority who wished the King to be heard after sentence had been
pronounced. Colonel Ingoldsby boldly declared that Cromwell seized his
hand and guided his pen, though the truth is that Ingoldsby’s signature
shows no signs of constraint. Many such legends circulate in
contemporary literature, fictitious in themselves, yet all testifying to
a well-founded popular impression. Cromwell had made up his mind that
the King must die, and when his mind was made up he was inflexible.
Against that will, all efforts to save the King were futile. Fairfax was
applied to by Prince Charles, but while steadfastly refusing to take any
part in the trial, he remained in all other respects a passive tool in
the hands of his council of officers. The Dutch ambassadors appealed to
Parliament, but what remained of Parliament was helpless or obdurate.

The commissioners of the Scottish Parliament presented public protests
and made private appeals to the leaders of the army. They argued with
Cromwell, telling him that the Covenant obliged both nations to preserve
the King’s person, and that to proceed to extremities against him was to
break the league between England and Scotland. Cromwell answered them by
a discourse on the nature of the regal power, asserting that a breach of
trust in a king ought to be punished more than any other crime. As to
the Covenant, its end was the defence of the true religion; if the King
was the greatest obstacle to the establishment of the true religion,
they were not bound to preserve him. “It pledged them,” he added, “to
bring to condign punishment all incendiaries and enemies to the cause,
and were small offenders to be punished and the greatest of all to go

Meanwhile, during Sunday and Monday, Charles prepared himself for death.
He spent much time in prayer with Bishop Juxon, burnt his papers,
distributed the small remains of his personal property, and took leave
of his children. As he feared that the army would make the Duke of
Gloucester king, he charged him in simple language not to take his
“brother’s throne.”

  “Sweetheart,” said Charles, taking the child upon his knee, “now
  they will cut off thy father’s head [upon which words the child
  looked very steadfastly upon him]; mark, child, what I say: They
  will cut off my head, and perhaps make thee a king; but mark what I
  say: You must not be a king so long as your brothers Charles and
  James do live; for they will cut off your brothers’ heads when they
  can catch them, and cut off thy head, too, at the last; and
  therefore I charge you do not be made a king by them.”

At which the child, sighing, said, “I will be torn in pieces first.”
What Charles said to his daughter, the Lady Elizabeth herself related:

  “He wished me not to grieve and torment myself for him, for it would
  be a glorious death that he should die, it being for the laws and
  liberties of this land, and for maintaining the true Protestant
  religion. He told me he had forgiven all his enemies, and hoped God
  would forgive them also, and commanded us and all the rest of my
  brothers and sisters to forgive them. He bid me tell my mother that
  his thoughts had never strayed from her, and that his love should be
  the same to the last.”

Then, striving to console her, he bade her again “not to grieve for him,
for that he should die a martyr, and that he doubted not but the Lord
would settle his throne upon his son, and that we should all be happier
than we could have expected to have been if he had lived.”

Monday night the King slept at St. James’s. Two hours before the dawn of
the 30th of January, he rose up, and, calling to his servant Herbert,
bade him dress him with care. “Let me have a shirt more than ordinary,”
said he, “by reason the season is so sharp as probably may make me
shake, which some will imagine proceeds from fear. I would have no such
imputation; I fear not death. Death is not terrible to me. I bless my
God I am prepared.”

About ten o’clock, Colonel Hacker came to fetch the King to Whitehall.
Attended by Herbert and Juxon, he walked through St. James’s Park. A
guard of halberdiers surrounded him, and companies of foot were drawn up
on each side of his way. “The drums beat, and the noise was so great as
one could hardly hear what another spoke.” It was a cold, frosty
morning, and the King walked, as his custom was, very fast, and calling
to his guard “in a pleasant manner,” told them to march apace. When he
reached Whitehall, he was kept waiting in his bedchamber for two or
three hours, perhaps in order to give Parliament time to pass an act
forbidding the proclamation of any new king. During part of this time,
he prayed with Juxon, and at the bishop’s urging ate a mouthful of bread
and drank a glass of claret. About half-past one, Hacker came again to
summon the King to the scaffold. In the galleries and the Banqueting
House, through which Charles followed him, men and women had stationed
themselves to see the King go by. As he passed “he heard them pray for
him, the soldiers not rebuking any of them, seeming by their silence and
dejected faces afflicted rather than insulting.”

From the middle window of the Banqueting House, Charles stepped out upon
the scaffold. He was dressed in black from head to foot, but not in
mourning, and wore the George and the ribbon of the Garter. The scaffold
was covered with black cloth, and from the railings round it, which were
as high as a man’s waist, black hangings drooped. In the middle of the
scaffold lay the block, “a little piece of wood, flat at bottom, about a
foot and a half long,” and about six inches high. By it lay “the bright
execution axe for executing malefactors,” which had been procured from
the Tower—probably the very axe which had beheaded Strafford. Near the
block stood two masked men; both were dressed in close-fitting
frocks,—like sailors, said one spectator; like butchers, said another.
One of them wore a grizzled periwig and seemed by his grey beard an old
man. Immediately round the foot of the scaffold stood ranks of soldiers,
horse and foot, and behind them a thronging mass of men and women. Other
watchers filled the windows and the roofs of the houses round.

Seeing that his voice could not reach the people, Charles addressed
himself to the persons on the scaffold, some fourteen or fifteen in
number. He must clear himself, he said, as a man, a king, and a
Christian. To encroach on the liberties of the people had never been his
intent. The Parliament began this unhappy war, not himself. “But for all
this,” he continued, thinking of Strafford, “God’s judgments are just.
An unjust sentence that I suffered to take effect is now punished by an
unjust sentence upon me.”

Then the King forgave the causers of his death, and stated in a few
words his conception of the cause for which he died.

  “For the people, I desire their liberty and freedom as much as
  anybody whomsoever; but I must tell you that their liberty and
  freedom consists in having government, in those laws by which their
  life and goods may be most their own. It is not their having a share
  in government; that is nothing pertaining to them.... If I would
  have given way to have all changed according to the power of the
  sword, I needed not to have come here; and therefore I tell you (and
  I pray God it be not laid to your charge) that I am the martyr of
  the people.”



  (_From an old engraving._)

           O horrable Murder

           But lo a Charg is drawne, a day is set
           The Silent Lamb is brought, the Wolves are met;
           And where’s the Slaughterhouse? Whitehall must be,
           Lately his Palace, now his Calvarie
           And now ye Senators, is this the thing
           So oft declard Is this your glorious King?
           Religion vails her self; and Mourns that she
           Is forc’d to own such Horrid Villanie.

When he had done, the King put his long hair under his cap, helped by
Juxon and the grey-bearded man in the mask, and spoke a few words with
Juxon. He took off his cloak and doublet, gave his George[7] to the
bishop, and bade the executioner set the block fast. Then, as he stood,
he said two or three words to himself, with hands and eyes lifted up,
and lying down, placed his neck on the block. For a moment he lay there
praying; his eye shining, said one of those who watched, as brisk and
lively as ever he had seen it. Suddenly, he stretched forth his hands,
and with one blow the grey-bearded man severed his head from his body.
It was now, noted another spectator, precisely four minutes past two.

Footnote 7:

  A pendant representing St. George and the Dragon, worn by Knights of
  the Garter.

The other masked man took the King’s head, and without a word held it up
to the people. A groan broke from the thousands round the
scaffold,—“such a groan,” writes Philip Henry, “as I never heard before,
and desire I may never hear again.” Thereupon he saw two troops of
horse, one marching towards Westminster, the other towards Charing
Cross, roughly dispersing the crowd, and was glad to escape home without

The King’s body was placed in a plain wooden coffin, covered with a
black-velvet pall, then, after embalming, enclosed in an outer coffin of
lead, and conveyed to St. James’s. His servants wished to bury him at
Westminster, in Henry the Seventh’s Chapel, amongst his ancestors, but
this was denied, because “it would attract infinite numbers of people of
all sorts thither, which was unsafe and inconvenient.” Windsor seemed
safer, and the Parliament authorised Herbert to bury his master there,

five hundred pounds for the expenses of the funeral. Leave was given to
the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Southampton, and two other noblemen to
attend it. They selected a vault in St. George’s Chapel, where Henry
VIII. and Jane Seymour were interred, and laid the King’s body there on
Friday, the 9th of February. No service was read over him, for the
governor would not allow Juxon to use the service in the Prayer-book,
saying that the form in the Directory was the only one authorised by
Parliament. To the mourners, however, it seemed that heaven gave a token
of their dead sovereign’s innocence.

  “This is memorable,” writes Herbert, “that at such time as the
  King’s body was brought out of St. George’s Hall the sky was serene
  and clear; but presently it began to snow, and fell so fast, as by
  that time they came to the west end of the royal chapel, the black
  velvet pall was all white, the colour of innocency, being thick
  covered with snow.”

England mourned, but the army and its partisans rejoiced. At last the
blood shed in the Civil War was expiated by the death of its author.
“Blood defileth the land,” quoted Ludlow, “and the land cannot be
cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that
shed it.” The publicity and formality of the proceedings against the
King, which seemed to most men an insulting mockery of justice, was to
the Regicides themselves a source of exultation. “We did not
assassinate, nor do it in a corner,” said Scot. “We did it in the face
of God, and of all men.” A tradition, supported by some contemporary
stories, tells that Cromwell himself came by night to see the body of
the dead King in the chamber at Whitehall, to which it had been borne
from the scaffold. He lifted up the coffin lid, gazed for some time upon
the face, and muttered “Cruel necessity.” A royalist poet represents him
as haunted on his death-bed by “the pale image” of the martyred monarch.
Poetical justice required such retribution, but history knows nothing of
Cromwell’s repentance. He had been one of the last men of his party to
believe the King’s death a necessity, but having persuaded himself that
it was a just and necessary act he saw no reason for remorse. It seemed
to him that England had freed itself from a tyrant “in a way which
Christians in after times will mention with honour, and all tyrants in
the world look at with fear.”



                              CHAPTER XII
                      THE REPUBLIC AND ITS ENEMIES

The execution of Charles I. was followed by the abolition of monarchy.
On February 6, 1649, the House of Commons voted that the House of Lords
was useless and dangerous, and that it ought to be abolished. On
February 8th, it resolved that the office of a king was unnecessary,
burdensome, and dangerous to the liberty, safety, and public interest of
this nation. Acts abolishing both followed, and on May 19th a third Act
established the English Republic. “England,” it declared, “shall
henceforth be governed as a Commonwealth, or a Free State, by the
supreme authority of this nation, the representatives of the people in
Parliament, and by such as they shall appoint and constitute as
ministers under them for the good of the people.” Henceforth all writs
were to run in the name of the Keepers of the Liberty of England, and
the Great Seal was to bear the picture of the Parliament with the
legend, “In the first year of Freedom by God’s blessing restored.”

Exactly what they meant by “a Free State” the founders of the Republic
did not explain. Hobbes and Harrington agreed in defining the new
government as an oligarchy. A pamphleteer praised it as an aristocracy.
But the principles on which it was ostensibly based were the principles
of democracy. In their resolutions of January 4, 1649, the House of
Commons had declared that the people were, under God, the original of
all just power, and had based their claim to override the Lords on that
ground. In their declaration of the reasons for establishing a republic,
they asserted that kings were officials, instituted by agreement amongst
the people they governed, whom the people had therefore a right to
dethrone in case of misgovernment. Milton, who became one of the
Secretaries of the Council of State, echoed the same principles. In his
_Tenure of Kings and Magistrates_, he asserted “that all men were
naturally born free, being the image and resemblance of God Himself,”
and anticipated Rousseau in tracing the origin of government to a social
contract. Yet, in spite of democratic professions, the Republic was
simply the rule of the Long Parliament under a new name. All the power
which the King and the three estates of the realm had formerly
possessed, the little remnant of the House of Commons claimed as its
own. All the checks which the existence of King and Lords, or the share
of the Church in legislation, had once imposed, were now swept away. The
one new institution established was simply a further development of that
system of government by committees which the Civil War had made
necessary. The Council of State was neither a senate nor a cabinet; it
possessed no power either to balance or to control the Parliament, but
was only an annually elected committee, to which the Parliament had
entrusted executive and administrative duties. Of the forty-one persons
composing it, all but ten were members of the Parliament itself.

Thus the Long Parliament possessed an authority which no political
assembly in England has ever possessed before or since. Its power of
legislation was unlimited. It exercised the executive power indirectly
through the Council, and directly through its own resolutions. By
interference with private suits, and by the appointment of committees
with quasi-judicial functions, it also exercised the judicial power. Its
sovereignty was undivided and uncontrolled.

  “This was the case of the people of England at that time,” said
  Cromwell, eight years later, “the Parliament assuming to itself the
  authority of the three estates that were before. It had so assumed
  that authority that if any man had come and said, ‘What rules do you
  judge by?’ it would have answered, ‘Why, we have none. We are
  supreme in legislature and judicature.’”

What made this authority still more burdensome was that there was no
prospect of its ever ending. Instead of sitting for about seven months
in the year, as Parliaments do now, it sat all the year round, never
taking more than three or four days’ holiday. Moreover, by the Act of
May 11, 1641, it could not be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, save
by its own consent, and though the King, who had passed the act, was
dead, it was held to be still in force. So, in Cromwell’s phrase, the
country was governed by “a perpetual Parliament always sitting.”

Although the claims of the Long Parliament had reached their highest,
the theory on which they rested had ceased to be in accordance with
facts. “The Commons of England in Parliament assembled,” said the
resolution of the House on January 4, 1649, “_being chosen by and
representing the people_, have the supreme power in this nation.” But
the House was never less representative than at the moment when it
passed this vote. By the expulsion of royalist members during the war,
and of Presbyterians in 1648, it had been, as Cromwell said, “winnowed,
and sifted, and brought to a handfull.” When the Long Parliament met in
November, 1640, it consisted of about 490 members; in January, 1649,
those sitting, or at liberty to sit, in the House were not more than
ninety. Whole districts were unrepresented. In the list of sitting
members given in a contemporary pamphlet, there were none from the
counties of Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Cumberland, and Lancashire, or
from any borough within their limits. Wales was represented by three
persons, and London by but a single citizen. In later years, a few
readmissions and a few new elections swelled the total of sitting
members to about 125, but at no date between 1649 and 1653 was the Long
Parliament entitled to say that it represented the people. Its power
rested not on popular consent, but on the support of the army, and on
the superstitious reverence which Englishmen paid even to the shadow of
a Parliament.

Politically the all-important question was how long the army would
continue to maintain this remnant of the Long Parliament in power. The
agreement between the two covered a fundamental difference in their
political views. The army regarded the maintenance of the existing
assembly as a temporary expedient. The Parliament looked upon itself as
a legitimate sovereign with an indefeasible right to rule. By a Free
State, the army meant a democracy, and could not understand a republic
without republican institutions. Above all it demanded that the new
State should be based on a written constitution defining the rights of
the governed and the powers of the government. In the Agreement of the
People, drawn up in January, 1649, it sketched the outlines of the
republic it desired. The Long Parliament was to come to an end in April,
1649. All ratepayers assessed to the relief of the poor, and every man
not a menial servant or a pauper, were to have votes. Electoral
districts were to be made more equal. Parliaments were to be elected
every two years, and not to sit for more than six months in the year,
and a Council of State was to hold power when they were not sitting. If
the State chose, it might provide for the maintenance of a national
Church, but with the exception of Popery and prelacy, all forms of
Christianity were to be tolerated. Finally, as a safeguard against
arbitrary power, certain fundamental rights were enumerated with which
no government might interfere: freedom from impressment, equality before
the law, and freedom of worship.

The constitutional scheme of the army was presented to the Parliament on
January 20, 1649. They did not ask that it should be imposed on the
nation by law, but that it should be tendered to the nation for
acceptance. It was to be circulated, somewhat as a petition, amongst the
people for signatures, and if most of the supporters of the cause
approved of it, steps were to be taken to give it effect. The Parliament
received the Agreement with thanks, and laid it aside.

April, 1649, passed and they showed no sign of dissolving. Their feeling
on the subject of a new Parliament was well expressed by Harry Marten in
1650. Marten compared the Commonwealth to the infant Moses. When Moses,
he said, was found amongst the bulrushes and brought to Pharaoh’s
daughter, she took care to find out the child’s mother, and to commit
him to her to nurse. The Commonwealth was an infant, of weak growth and
very tender constitution; nobody was so fit to nurse it as the mother
who brought it forth, and till it had obtained more years and vigour
they should not trust it to other hands.

In 1649, there was much to be urged in favour of this view. At home and
abroad the young Republic was surrounded by enemies. In England it was
threatened by Royalists, Presbyterians, and Levellers; in Europe it had
no friends. The execution of Charles I. had excited universal horror
amongst foreigners. There was indeed no prospect of the general league
of European potentates to punish regicide, for which Royalists hoped,
but both governments and peoples were hostile. In Russia, the Czar
imprisoned English merchants and confiscated their goods. In Germany,
Sweden, and Denmark, ministers preached sermons denouncing the English
sectaries, and proving that there was no necessary connection between
Protestantism and king-killing. In the United Provinces, where
republicans might have expected sympathy, public opinion was equally
incensed against them. The States-General addressed Charles II. as King,
condoled with him on the death of his father, and allowed Rupert to
equip his fleet in Dutch ports. They refused to give audience to
Strickland, the English agent in Holland, and declined to recognise the
new State. In May, 1649, a special ambassador from England, Dr.
Dorislaus, was murdered by Scottish Royalists at The Hague, and though
the Dutch Government promised redress, popular feeling secured the
escape of the murderers. Much of this hostility was due to the influence
of the Stadtholder, William II., whose marriage with Mary, daughter of
Charles I., had made the House of Orange the one firm friend of the
House of Stuart. William II. helped his brother-in-law with money and
advice, and would have done more if he had been able. But Holland, the
richest and most powerful of the seven provinces, was opposed to the
warlike schemes of the Stadtholder and wished to remain at peace with

In France, the King’s death made every Englishman unpopular. The war
with Spain and the distractions of France itself prevented Mazarin from
assisting Charles II., but he would not recognise the Republic. The
relations of England and France grew rapidly worse. The French
Government forbade the importation of English draperies; the English
replied by prohibiting French wines, woollen goods, and silks. French
privateers and even government ships attacked English commerce, and
during 1649 and 1650 took English shipping to the amount of five
thousand tons, and goods worth half a million. Naturally English
merchants made reprisals on French trade. Diplomatic intercourse came to
a stop; one French agent was ordered to leave England, a second was
turned back at the coast, and a third was dismissed almost as soon as he
arrived in the country.

The hostility of France made Spain comparatively friendly. It did not
recognise the Republic, but its ambassador kept up unofficial
intercourse with the Council of State, and its Government maintained a
real neutrality between English parties. It waited till the permanence
of the new government should be assured, and in the meantime declined to
help a claimant whose chances of restoration seemed precarious.
Cottington and Hyde, the ambassadors whom Charles II. sent to Spain,
were received with coldness, and their petitions for assistance
rejected. On the other hand, Ascham, the agent of the Commonwealth, was
murdered by English Cavaliers as soon as he reached Madrid (May 27,
1650), and only one of his murderers was punished. “I envy those
gentlemen,” said the Spanish prime minister, “for having done so noble
an action.” Political necessity might force Spain to preserve friendly
relations with the Commonwealth, but the feeling of subjects and rulers
alike was as hostile as that of the French.

In England itself, the reaction which began when the King became a
captive was increased by the manner of his death. Ten days after the
execution, there appeared in print the _Eikon Basilike_—the portraiture
of King Charles in his solitude and sufferings. The book was really
written by Dr. Gauden, but no Cavalier doubted that it contained the
King’s thoughts and feelings set down by his own hand. It inspired
Royalists with more fervid loyalty; converted the wavering, and touched
even the indifferent. The mob began to believe that Charles had been the
best of monarchs, and the meekest of martyrs. He was no longer the
perfidious tyrant of politicians, but the man with the mild voice and
mournful eyes whom dramatists were to glorify. Milton complained that
the people, “with a besotted and degenerate baseness of spirit, except
some few who yet retain in them the old English fortitude and love of
freedom, are ready to fall down flat and give adoration to the image and
memory of this man, who hath offered at more cunning fetches to
undermine our liberties and put tyranny into an art, than any British
king before him.” In his _Eikonoklastes_, he undertook to shatter the
idol of “the inconstant, irrational, and image-doting rabble,” but
failed altogether.

For the moment, the royalist party was too weak to be a serious danger.
In Holland and in France, a crowd of ruined noblemen and battered
soldiers waited impatiently for the chance of striking another blow
against their conquerors. Already Montrose was enlisting men in Northern
Europe for a fresh descent on Scotland. In his lines to the dead King,
he had promised to avenge his death.

             “I’ll sing thine obsequies in trumpet sounds,
             And write thine epitaph in blood and wounds.”

Other exiles, with an eye to profit as well as vengeance, took to
privateering. From the Irish ports, from the Isles of Man, Jersey, and
Scilly, issued swarms of privateers, who infested the Channel and
plundered English merchantmen. Nor were more distant seas secure. A few
months later Prince Rupert, with what was left of the royal fleet, took
a number of prizes in the Atlantic, made a sudden raid into the
Mediterranean, intercepted homeward-bound ships off the Azores, and even
spread havoc in West Indian waters. “We plough the seas for a
subsistence,” wrote one of his officers, “poverty and despair being our
companions, and revenge our guide.”

At home, however, the Royalists were crushed and subdued. Some of their
leaders were prisoners; others had suffered under the Republic’s High
Court of Justice. As a rule, the penalties inflicted on the defeated
party were limited to pecuniary fines. Early in the war, the Parliament
had resolved to sequestrate all the property of those in arms against
it. Subsequently it adopted the plan of compounding with delinquents;
that is, allowing a Royalist to redeem his estate on paying a certain
proportion of its value. These compositions varied in amount from
one-half to one-tenth of the capital value of the property, and were
determined according to the position and the criminality of the owner.
Under this system, large sums were raised to pay the expenses of the
war, but it was less effective as a means of raising revenue than as a
method of punishing Royalists. A country gentleman who had melted his
plate and felled his oaks to succour the King found himself forced to
raise money when money was scarce and land had immensely fallen in
value. The fixing of his fine was a long and cumbrous process, and till
it was fixed his estate was under sequestration. If he failed to pay his
instalments at the right time, or was found to have understated his
property, there came a re-assessment of the fine, or a fresh
sequestration of the estate. He might long as fervently as ever to see
the day when the King would enjoy his own again, but, disarmed and
impoverished as he was, he could do little to bring it nearer. Yet many
Cavaliers were willing to risk their lives again in the attempt. This
section of the party maintained an active correspondence with the exiled
Court, and by 1650 a central royalist council was established with
agents in every county. But the most sanguine plotters admitted that
without some assistance from abroad the party in general was “too
extremely awed” to take up arms.

In England their possible allies against the government were the
Presbyterians and the Levellers. The Presbyterians were numerous, rich,
and powerful. Their strength lay in London, in the large towns, and in
Lancashire, but most of the middle classes and the bulk of the beneficed
clergy belonged to their party. The Presbyterian clergy had protested
loudly against the King’s trial; many of them preached against the
Republic, and some were bold enough to pray for Charles II. They
condemned the Commonwealth as “an heretical democracy,” and refused the
engagement to be faithful to it which Parliament imposed. But beyond
this passive resistance few of them went. Cordial co-operation between
Presbyterians and Royalists was impossible, for the desires of the
parties differed widely. What the Presbyterians wanted was a
constitutional monarchy on the basis of the terms offered the King in
the Newport treaty; what the Royalists wanted was the restoration of
monarchy as it had existed before the war began. One party demanded the
establishment of some form of Presbyterianism, the other the maintenance
of Episcopacy. In 1648, the distrust and apathy of the Presbyterians had
prevented the success of the Royalists, and the same cause prevented
their union now. The Royalists distrusted the Presbyterians quite as
much. To men like Hyde, they seemed traitors and rebels, whose penitence
was hollow, and whose principles were as fatal to monarchy and religion
as those of the Independents. By depriving Charles of his kingly power
they had made it possible for the Independents to deprive him of his
life. A Royalist summed up the share of the two parties by saying that
the Independents cut off the King’s head, but the Presbyterians brought
him to the block. Adversity might draw Presbyterians and Royalists
together; but not till hatred of military rule and dread of anarchy had
effaced the memories of the war was their joint action possible.

As little prospect was there of the union of the Levellers with the
Royalists. Under the name of Levellers two distinct parties were
included, neither of which, however hostile to the existing government,
was favourable to monarchy. A small section, calling themselves the true
Levellers, demanded sweeping social changes. Without these, said they,
the Republic is a mockery. “Unless we that are poor have some part of
the land to live upon freely as well as the gentry, it cannot be a free
Commonwealth.” At present, they asked for the right to establish
themselves on the commons and waste lands, but they dreamed of a
socialistic republic in which there would be no private property in
land, no buying or selling, and neither rich nor poor.

The majority of the Levellers demanded political changes only, and
protested they had no desire “to level men’s estates, destroy property,
or make all things common.” What they wanted was to limit the powers of
the Government and extend the rights of the individual. The three chief
points in their programme were manhood suffrage, annual Parliaments, and
complete religious liberty. Their complaint was that the revolution of
1648 had stopped too soon, and that the Republic was not an absolute

The socialists were harmless dreamers whose doctrines fell on stony
ground, but the teaching of the democrats bore abundant fruit. Lilburn,
their spokesman, was an effective pamphleteer, a vigorous orator, and a
party leader of singular pertinacity and courage. In his struggle with
the Government he gave voice not only to the aspirations of his own
party, but to the feelings of all the opponents of the Republic. The
Government seized his pamphlets, threw him in prison, and put him on
trial for treason. It only increased his popularity. When “honest John”
denied the right of the sword to dictate laws, and demanded the liberty
which was the birthright of every Englishman, no London jury would agree
to convict him. He was imprisoned time after time, but it was impossible
to suppress him till Parliament passed an act for his banishment
(December, 1651).

With so many enemies around them, the founders of the Republic had to
deal with a task of extraordinary difficulty. But all the machinery of
government was in their hands, and although their supporters were a
minority, energy and enthusiasm compensated for lack of numbers. The
Council of State consisted of country gentlemen of military or political
experience, with a few lawyers, a few merchants, besides three or four
professional soldiers. It contained a number of able men, and several
statesmen, than whom, as Milton says of Vane, better Senators ne’er held
the helm of Rome when the Roman Senate beat back Pyrrhus and Hannibal.
The system of governing through committees and boards made it possible
to add to each of the bodies entrusted with the management of a
department a certain number of outsiders of special knowledge or skill.
The administrative business of the Republic was consequently far better
conducted than that of the Long Parliament or the monarchy. Royalist
pamphleteers represented the men in power as universally corrupt and
self-seeking; but with some few exceptions they were men of high
character and great disinterestedness. To a foreign observer, hostile
rather than friendly, they seemed worthy to exercise power, however
defective their title to it might be.

  “Not only are they powerful by sea and land,” wrote one of Mazarin’s
  agents, “but they live without ostentation, without pomp, and
  without mutual rivalry. They are economical in their private affairs
  and prodigal in their devotion to public affairs, for which each man
  toils as if for his private interest. They handle large sums of
  money, which they administer honestly, observing a strict
  discipline. They reward well and punish severely.”



  (_From a painting by William Dobson, in the National Portrait

The pecuniary resources of the Republic were far greater than any of the
Stuarts had ever possessed. The revenue of Charles I., in 1633, was
estimated at £618,000. The revenue of the Republic, in 1649, from
monthly assessments, customs, excise, fines from delinquents, and sales
of confiscated lands amounted to about two millions. But the demands
upon the revenue were greater still. The safety of the seas and the
possibility of a foreign war made the reorganisation of the navy an
immediate necessity. Accordingly, Warwick’s commission as Lord High
Admiral was revoked, and the command of the fleet given to three
Generals at Sea, Blake, Deane, and Popham. In place of Warwick, the
Admiralty Committee of the Council of State exercised a general
supervision over naval affairs, but the building of ships, the care of
their crews, and all the practical management of the navy were given to
a Board of Navy Commissioners taught by service at sea what a fighting
fleet required. During the next three years, forty-one new men-of-war
were added to the navy, which was further increased by hired
merchantmen. The sailors were better fed, better paid, and better cared
for than they had been under Charles I., and, moreover, their zeal was
stimulated by giving them a third of all the prizes they took. Invasion
rapidly became an impossibility, and the dominion of the seas a reality
instead of an empty claim.

The army of the Commonwealth, if small for the tasks before it, was
amply sufficient to suppress rebellion or prevent invasion. The
twenty-one thousand men of the “New Model” had swollen to a host of
double that size. The standing army, in 1649, amounted to forty-four
thousand men, of whom twelve thousand were destined for the reconquest
of Ireland. In character and composition it differed little from the
“New Model.” The uniform had become universal, and henceforth redcoat
and soldier were synonymous. As the pay of the troops was high, and
discharged with comparative regularity, it was no longer necessary to
raise recruits by pressing. For the officers the army had become a
career, and few retired, unless disabled or cashiered. Officers of all
grades were inspired by a certain corporate feeling, and accustomed to
act together in politics. But between officers and privates a serious
divergence of opinion was beginning to reveal itself. The agitation of
the Levellers had found a ready response in the lower ranks of the army.
Many of the soldiers demanded, like Lilburn, the immediate realisation
of the democratic Republic. Others wanted the re-establishment of the
Council of Agitators and the abolition of martial law. As in 1647,
reluctance to serve in Ireland and the question of arrears of pay
swelled the discontent.

Lilburn seized the opportunity to attack the council of officers, and
Cromwell as its guiding spirit. He and his disciples denounced the
Lieutenant-General as a tyrant, an apostate, and a hypocrite. “You shall
scarce speak to Cromwell about anything,” says one of their pamphlets,
“but he will lay his hand on his breast, elevate his eyes, and call God
to record. He will weep, howl, and repent, even while he doth smite you
under the fifth rib.”

Personal abuse had no effect on Cromwell, but he felt the danger with
which this agitation threatened the Republic. Tenaciously attached to
the existing social order, he regarded the teaching of the Levellers as
calculated to overthrow authority and destroy property. In one of his
later speeches he sums up his views on the levelling movement. The
distinction between class and class was the corner-stone of society. “A
nobleman, a gentleman, a yeoman, that is a good interest of the land and
a great one.” But the “levelling principle” tended to reduce all the
orders and ranks of men to an equality. Consciously or unconsciously it
aimed at that, “for what was the purport of it but to make the tenant as
liberal a fortune as the landlord?” The preaching of such a doctrine was
a danger to the State “because it was a pleasing voice to all poor men,
and truly not unwelcome to all bad men.”

When it came to propagating levelling views in the army, and inciting
soldiers to disobey their officers, Cromwell’s way with the ringleaders
was short and sharp. In March, 1649, Lilburn and three other
incendiaries were brought before the Council of State.

  “I tell you,” said Cromwell, thumping the council table, “you have
  no other way to deal with these men but to break them, or they will
  break you; yea, and bring all the guilt of the blood and treasure
  shed and spent in this kingdom upon your heads, and frustrate and
  make void all that work that, with so many years’ industry, toil,
  and pains you have done; and therefore I tell you again, you are
  necessitated to break them.”

Lilburn and his friends went to the Tower, but the effervescence amongst
the soldiers still continued. At Salisbury, in May, 1649, three of the
regiments selected to go to Ireland broke into open mutiny, and declined
to march till the liberties of England were secured. Their watchword was
“England’s freedom, soldiers’ rights,” and they expected other regiments
to join them. But Cromwell and Fairfax left them no time to gather
strength. Hurrying from London to Oxfordshire by forced marches, the two
generals fell on the mutineers at Burford, took four hundred prisoners,
and scattered the rest. Little blood was shed. Three non-commissioned
officers were shot; the rest of the mutineers were told that they
deserved to be decimated; nevertheless, they were re-embodied in the
ranks, and shipped off to Ireland.

Cromwell did not limit himself to the soldier’s task of striking down
the enemies of the cause; he laboured with equal zeal to conciliate
doubtful supporters and regain lost friends. Many Independents were
willing to accept the Republic, now it was established, if they could do
so without approving the method by which it had been brought into being.
Cromwell was probably the author of the compromise by which these men
were induced to take their seats in the Council of State side by side
with the authors of the late revolution. Equally conciliatory was his
attitude on the question of the House of Lords. To fanatical republicans
like Ludlow, it was a proof of his want of principle that he objected to
the abolition of that institution, and wished to retain it as a purely
consultative body. In reality, his natural conservatism disinclined him
to make more constitutional changes than necessity required, and he
sought to keep the support of those few peers who had hitherto stood by
the cause. In April, 1649, Cromwell even made overtures to the
Presbyterians. He offered, as he had offered in 1647, to consent to the
establishment of the Presbyterian system, if there were toleration for
men of other creeds who “walked peaceably.” He was willing to consent to
the readmission of the members excluded by Pride’s Purge, if they would
promise fidelity to the Republic. But the Presbyterians refused his

Of these attempted compromises there is little trace in history, but
Cromwell’s letters show his efforts to convert individuals. Robert
Hammond and Lord Wharton had once been his comrades in the struggle, but
now, as Cromwell put it, they had reasoned themselves out of the Lord’s
service. To win them back, it was to faith rather than to reason that he
appealed, for that was the way he had quieted his own scruples.

  “It were a vain thing,” he told Wharton, “to dispute over your
  doubts, or undertake to answer your objections. I have heard them
  all, and I have rest from the trouble of them, and of what has risen
  in my own heart, for which I desire to be humbly thankful. I do not
  condemn your reasonings. I doubt them.”

Pride’s Purge and the King’s execution stuck in Wharton’s throat. He
condemned the illegality by which the Republic had been established and
the character of some of the men concerned.

  “It is easy,” replied Cromwell, “to object to the glorious actings
  of God, if we look too much upon instruments. Be not offended at the
  manner; perhaps there was no other way left. What if God accepted
  their zeal as he did that of Phineas, whom reason might have called
  before a jury?” But above all, “what if the Lord have witnessed His
  approbation and acceptance to this also—not only by signal outward
  acts, but to the heart too?”

To Cromwell this union of the outward sign with the inward conviction
was something far above argument. The logic of events was the only
convincing logic. It was the answer that he had given to Hammond’s
doubts in 1648. “Fleshly reasonings ensnare us”; let us see what the
purpose of God is, as it is made manifest in events. For as nothing
happened but because God willed it should happen, so what men termed
events were to the Christian “dispensations,” “manifestations,”
“providences,” “appearances of God.” There was no such thing as
fate—“that were too paganish a word.” There was no such thing as chance.
Every battle was “an appeal to God”—Cromwell often uses that phrase as a
synonym for fighting. Victory or defeat was not an accident; it was the
working of “the Providence of God in that which is falsely called the
chance of war.” Therefore each successive triumph of his cause was a
fresh proof of its righteousness. His victories in Ireland became a
justification of the Republic. “These,” he told the Speaker, “are the
seals of God’s approbation of your great change of government.”

That there was something fatalistic in this belief cannot be denied.
Cromwell himself once owns that he was inclined to make too much of
“outward dispensations.” But the confidence in his cause which this
creed gave was the source of his power over his followers.

  “In the high places of the field,” said one of them, “as at Dunbar,
  Worcester and elsewhere, when he carried his life in his hand, did
  not his faith then work at a more than ordinary rate? Insomuch that
  success and victory was in his eye, when fears and despondencies did
  oppress the hearts of others, and some good men too.”

Whatever happened to himself, the Cause could not fail. “The Cause is of
God, and it must prosper.” It was not for the sake of the Cause, but for
the sake of his doubting friends that he strove to persuade them. “The
Lord hath no need of you,” he tells one. “The work needs you not, but
you it,” he tells another. The fear in his mind was only this: “what if
my friend should withdraw his shoulder from the Lord’s work through
false, mistaken reasonings?” To serve in that work in any station was
“more honour than the world can give or show.” “How great is it,” he
cries, “to be the Lord’s servant in any drudgery!” How little, then, it
matters whether a man is called an apostate or a tyrant, or what
reproaches that service brings, what estrangements, what vigils, or what
labours. “Let us all be not careful what men will make of these actings.
They, will they, nill they, shall fulfill the good pleasure of God, and
we shall serve our generations. Our rest we expect elsewhere: that will
be durable.”

Therefore, when others faltered and fell behind, Cromwell (in Marvell’s
phrase) “marched indefatigably on.” Fortunate was the Republic that in
its hour of need it had such a servant. More fortunate would it have
been had its rulers realised that the Cause which Cromwell served was
not a form of government, but ideal ends compatible with any form. He
had sought to find religious and civil liberty in a monarchy; he sought
it now in a republic; he was to seek it hereafter in a government which
was neither. At present it seemed to him inseparable from the life of
the Republic.



                              CHAPTER XIII

The Second Civil War had its counterpart in Ireland, where in May, 1648,
Lord Inchiquin and the Munster Protestants threw off obedience to the
Parliament and hoisted the royal standard. Ormond returned again to
Ireland in September, 1648, and by January, 1649, he succeeded in
uniting Anglo-Irish Royalists and Confederated Catholics in a league
against the adherents of the Parliament. In vain Rinuccini, the Papal
Nuncio, opposed the league. The freedom and equality promised to the
Catholic religion, the independence promised to the Irish Parliament,
allured many even of the clergy to Ormond’s support. They called on the
Irish soldiers to fight for God and Cæsar under his banners, and engaged
to supply him with an army of twenty thousand men. In February, 1649,
Rinuccini left Ireland.

The King’s execution further swelled the royalist ranks; for whilst a
portion of the Ulster Presbyterians openly declared for Ormond, and
proclaimed Charles II., the rest threw off all semblance of obedience to
the Parliament. Only Owen Roe and the Ulster Irish, dissatisfied with
the terms of the treaty, stood aloof from the coalition, and,
negotiating first with Ormond, then with the parliamentary officers,
maintained for some time a neutral attitude. In Londonderry, Sir Charles
Coote still held out for the Parliament, Colonel Monk held Dundalk, and
Colonel Michael Jones, ever vigilant and energetic, maintained himself
in Dublin. Jones had been made Governor of Dublin, in June, 1647, when
Ormond gave it up to the Parliament. He had won a signal victory over
the Irish at Dungan’s Hill in August, 1647, and could be trusted to
fight to the last. But unless help came from England, the preservation
of these last strongholds was only a question of months.

It was not merely a question whether Ireland should be separated from
England, for it was certain that Ireland in royalist hands would be used
as a basis for an attack upon England. The young King’s messengers
announced his speedy coming to Ireland, and nothing but the lack of
money hindered his journey. Already Prince Rupert, with a squadron of
eight ships, was in the harbours of Munster. It was at this juncture
that the Council of State nominated Cromwell to command in Ireland
(March 15, 1649). The speech which Cromwell made to the officers of the
army a week later showed his appreciation of the crisis. “Your old
enemies,” he told them, “are again uniting against you.” Scotland had
proclaimed Charles II.; a great party in England was ready to co-operate
with the Scots; all parties in Ireland were joined together “to root out
the English interest there and set up the Prince of Wales.” “If we do
not endeavour to make good our interest there, and that timely, we shall
not only have our interest rooted out there, but they will in a very
short time be able to land forces in England, and put us to trouble
here.” All the national pride of an Englishman rose up at the thought of
Scottish or Irish interference.


  to illustrate Cromwell’s Campaign.

  B. V. Darbishire, Oxford 1899

  “I confess,” he continued, “I have often had these thoughts with
  myself which perhaps may be carnal and foolish: I had rather be
  overrun by a Cavalierish interest than a Scotch interest, I had
  rather be overrun by a Scotch interest than an Irish interest, and I
  think that of all this is the most dangerous.... If they shall be
  able to carry on their work they will make this the most miserable
  people in the earth, for all the world knows their barbarism.... The
  quarrel is brought to this state: that we can hardly return to that
  tyranny which formerly we were under the yoke of, but we must at the
  same time be subject to the kingdom of Scotland or the kingdom of
  Ireland for the bringing in of the king. It should awaken all

At bottom, as Cromwell truly said, the quarrel was a national quarrel,
and the question was whether the growth of English freedom should be
checked by Irishmen and Scotchmen, seeking, for their own ends, to
replace the Stuarts on the throne they had lost. There was little real
danger of this so long as the army remained united. “There is more cause
of danger from disunion amongst ourselves than by anything from our
enemies.... I am confident we doing our duty and waiting upon the Lord,
we shall find He will be as a wall of brass round about us, till we have
finished that work that He has for us to do.” But with all this faith in
divine assistance, Cromwell did not underestimate the difficulty of
reconquering Ireland, and left nothing undone that was necessary to
secure success.

Cromwell refused to accept the command until he was certain of adequate
support from the Government, and after accepting it (March 30th)
declined to lead his soldiers across the sea until he was provided with
money for their payment. Parliament entrusted him for three years with
the combined powers of Lord-Lieutenant and Commander-in-chief, granting
him a salary for the two posts of about thirteen thousand pounds a year,
and giving him an army of twelve thousand men, well officered and well
equipped. The organisation of his army, the collection of ships to
transport it, and, more than all, the difficulty of raising money to
maintain it, delayed his start for more than four months, and it was not
till August 13th that Cromwell landed at Dublin.

If Ormond had been a great commander, or if Owen Roe had abandoned his
neutrality in March instead of in August, every English garrison might
have been taken before Cromwell’s coming. Inchiquin, Ormond’s
lieutenant, took Dundalk and Drogheda in July, and Ormond himself
blockaded Jones in Dublin. But Cromwell reinforced Jones with three
regiments from England, and on August 2nd the garrison of Dublin
surprised Ormond’s camp at Rathmines, and defeated him with a loss of
five thousand men. “An astonishing mercy,” wrote Cromwell, “so great and
seasonable that we are like to them that dreamed.” Its result was that
Ormond could bring together no army which was sufficient to face
Cromwell in the field, and was driven to rely on fortresses to check the
invader till he could gather fresh forces. Into Drogheda, the first
threatened, Ormond threw the flower of his army. Cromwell stormed
Drogheda on September 10th, and put the twenty-eight hundred men who
defended it to the sword. “I do not think thirty of the whole number
escaped with their lives,” he wrote. Then sending a detachment to the
relief of Londonderry, he turned his march southwards, and on October
11th took Wexford by storm. Some fifteen hundred of its garrison and its
inhabitants fell in the streets and in the market-place, and, as at
Drogheda, every priest who fell into the hands of the victors was
immediately put to death.

At Drogheda the order to spare none taken in arms had been deliberately
given by Cromwell after his first assault had been repulsed. At Wexford
the slaughter was accidental rather than intentional. Cromwell showed no
regret for this bloodshed. He abhorred the indiscriminating cruelties
practised by many English commanders of the time in Ireland, and no
general was more careful to protect peaceable peasants and
non-combatants from plunder and violence. “Give us an instance,” he
challenged Catholic clergy, “of one man, since my coming into Ireland,
not in arms, massacred, destroyed, or banished, concerning the massacre
or the destruction of whom justice has not been done or endeavoured to
be done.” But when towns were taken by storm, the laws of war authorised
the refusal of quarter to their defenders, and on this ground Cromwell
justified his action at Drogheda and Wexford. He justified it both on
military and political grounds. He had come to Ireland not merely as a
conqueror, but as a judge “to ask an account of the innocent blood that
had been shed” in the rebellion of 1641, and “to punish the most
barbarous massacre that ever the sun beheld.” Of the slaughter at
Drogheda he wrote:

  “I am persuaded that this is a righteous judgment of God upon those
  barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent
  blood, and that it will tend to prevent the effusion of blood for
  the future; which are the satisfactory grounds of such actions,
  which otherwise cannot but work remorse and regret.” Of Wexford he
  said: “God, by an unexpected providence, in His righteous justice
  brought a just judgment upon them, causing them to become a prey to
  the soldiers who in their piracies had made preys of so many
  families, and with their bloods to answer the cruelties which they
  had exercised upon the lives of divers poor Protestants.”

Cromwell, in short, regarded himself, in Carlyle’s words, as “the
minister of God’s justice, doing God’s judgments on the enemies of God!”
but only fanatics can look upon him in that light. His justice was an
imperfect, indiscriminating, human justice, too much alloyed with
revenge, and, as St. James says, _Ira viri non operatur justitiam Dei_.
Politically these massacres were a blunder—their memory still helps to
separate the two races Cromwell wished to unite. From a military point
of view, however, they were for a short time as successful as Cromwell
hoped, in saving further effusion of blood.

  “It is not to be imagined,” wrote Ormond, “how great the terror is
  that those successes and the power of the rebels have struck into
  this people. They are so stupefied, that it is with great difficulty
  that I can persuade them to act anything like men towards their own

Trim and Dundalk were abandoned by their garrisons, Ross opened its
gates as soon as a breach was made in its walls, and Ormond’s English
Royalists deserted in scores. But, in November, when Cromwell attacked
Waterford, the spell was broken. Its stubborn resistance and the
tempestuous winter weather obliged him to raise the siege, for the
hardships of Irish campaigning had thinned his army, and a large part of
it were “fitter for an hospital than the field.” Michael Jones,
Cromwell’s second in command, died of a fever, and Cromwell himself fell

Meanwhile, the inherent weakness of the coalition which Ormond had built
up revealed itself. Between the Munster Protestants, whom Inchiquin had
induced to declare for the King in 1648, and their Catholic Irish allies
there was a gulf which no temporary political agreement could bridge
over. Before Cromwell left England, he had opened secret negotiations
with some of the commanders in Munster, and his intrigues now bore
fruit. In October, Cork expelled Ormond’s garrison, and in November,
Youghal, Kinsale, Bandon, and several smaller places hoisted the English
flag. Thus, by the close of 1649, all the coast of Ireland, from
Londonderry to Cape Clear, with the sole exception of Waterford, was in
Cromwell’s hands: “a great longitude of land along the shore,” wrote
Cromwell, “yet hath it but little depth into the country.”

The task of the next campaign was the extension of English rule inland.
After wintering in the Munster ports, Cromwell led his army against the
fortresses in the interior of Munster. Cashel, Cahir, and many castles
fell in February, and Kilkenny, the seat of the Irish Catholic
Confederation, capitulated at the end of March.

More and more the war became a purely national war between Celts and
English. The last of Inchiquin’s Protestant officers made terms with
Cromwell. On the other hand, the Ulster army of Owen Roe stood no longer
neutral, and though Owen Roe himself died in November, 1649, his Celtic
soldiers fought for the freedom of their race with unsurpassable courage
and devotion. Owen’s nephew, Hugh O’Neill, defended Clonmel against
Cromwell, and repulsed with enormous loss his attempt to storm it. The
Ironsides confessed that they had found in Clonmel “the stoutest enemy
this army had ever met in Ireland,” but though the garrison escaped by a
skilful night march, the town itself was obliged to surrender (May 10,

By this time war between England and Scotland was imminent. Cromwell’s
recall had been voted by the Parliament in January, and a fortnight
after the fall of Clonmel he sailed for England, leaving his
lieutenants to complete the conquest of Ireland. Ireton, who remained
as President of Munster and commander-in-chief, captured Waterford
(August 10th), but failed before Limerick, while Coote in the north
defeated Owen Roe’s old army at Scarrifholis (June 21st). There was no
longer any Irish army in the field, and the war became a war of sieges
and forays. At the end of 1650, Ormond left Ireland in despair. His
successor, Clanricarde,—distrusted and disobeyed as Ormond had
been,—could neither unite the Irish factions for the last struggle,
nor combine the scattered bands who still held out in their bogs and
mountains. The nobility still clung to the House of Stuart, but the
clergy turned for help to the Catholic powers, and offered to accept
the Duke of Lorraine as Protector of the Irish nation, if he would
come to their defence with his army. In June, 1651, Ireton again
besieged Limerick, and after a siege of five months the city yielded
to famine and treachery. Ireton himself died of plague fever in
November, 1651, but his successors, Ludlow and Fleetwood, completed
the subjugation of the country. Galway, the last city to resist,
surrendered to Coote in May, 1652. During the year, the last Irish
commanders capitulated, and their soldiers entered Spanish or French

So ended the twelve years’ war. The contest had been unequal, but the
failure of the Irish to regain their independence was due not so much to
the greater strength and wealth of England, as to their own divisions.
As a contemporary Irish poet wrote:

             “The Gael are being wasted, deeply wounded,
             Subjugated, slain, extirpated,
             By plague, by famine, by war, by persecution.
             It was God’s justice not to free them,
             They went not together hand in hand.”

Ireland was devastated from end to end, and a third of its population
had perished during the struggle. Plague and famine, said an English
officer, had swept away whole counties, and in some places “a man might
travel twenty or thirty miles, and not see a living creature, either
man, or beast, or bird.” “As for the poor commons,” said another, “the
sun never shined upon a nation so completely miserable.”

It was not very difficult for Cromwell and the English Republic to
subdue a divided nation, but the task which lay before them now was less
easy. It remained to effect a settlement which would secure order,
restore prosperity, prevent future rebellions, and extinguish the feuds
of race and creed. In the last years of the Republic and during the
Protectorate, first under Lord-Deputy Fleetwood and then under Henry
Cromwell, this reorganisation of Irish government and society was
carried out. The main lines of the Cromwellian settlement of Ireland had
been determined by the Long Parliament. In all essentials the
parliamentary policy towards Ireland was simply a return to the
traditional policy which, since the close of the Tudor period, all
English governments had more or less consistently pursued. Colonisation,
conversion, and the impartial administration of justice were the aims of
Cromwell just as they had been the aims of Strafford.

The basis of the settlement was therefore a great confiscation of Irish
land, and the substitution of English for Irish landowners. Parliament
had announced this policy in 1642, when it voted that two million five
hundred thousand acres of Irish land should be set aside for the
repayment of the “adventurers” who advanced money for the reconquest of
Ireland. The pay of the soldiers employed against the Irish and the
reimbursement of the merchants who supplied provisions and other
necessaries were provided for in this way. By 1653, the debt which the
Parliament owed these three classes of creditors amounted to over three
and a half millions. Accordingly, in August, 1652, Parliament passed an
Act confiscating the estates of all Catholic landholders who had taken
part in the rebellion. The leaders and originators were to lose all
their land, others two thirds, some one third, according to the degree
of their guilt. The rich Catholic burgesses of Waterford, Kilkenny, and
other large towns shared the same fate, but the Munster Protestants who
had revolted in 1648 were merely fined two years’ income. In 1653 it was
decreed that even those persons to whom a portion of their estates was
theoretically left should be transplanted to Connaught, and receive
there the proportion of land to which they were entitled. In most cases
they received inferior land, in some cases nothing, and in all cases the
removal entailed great suffering. Even a still more sweeping scheme for
the transplantation of all classes of native Irish was for a time under
consideration, but in the end few but landholders were actually
transplanted. Artificers and labourers were allowed to remain behind,
partly because their guilt was held to be less, partly because it was
difficult to remove them, and because their services were needed by the
new owners of the soil. Finally, the confiscated lands were surveyed,
divided into different classes, and distributed by lot amongst the
soldiers and the creditors of the government.

By 1656, the process was practically completed, and two thirds of the
land of Ireland had passed to its new owners.

Cromwell himself thoroughly approved of the principles of confiscation
and colonisation. “Was it not fit,” he asked, “to make their estates
defray the charges who had caused all the trouble?” “It were to be
wished,” he told Parliament when announcing his capture of Wexford,
“that an honest people would come to plant here.” Accordingly he wrote
to New England inviting “godly people and ministers” to leave their
homes in America and establish themselves in Ireland. But with the
details of the land settlement effected during his Protectorate,
Cromwell had little to do, though sometimes he intervened in favour of
persons harshly treated by the Irish government. Thus he saved Peregrine
Spenser, the grandson of the poet, from transplantation, not for the
sake of the _Faery Queene_, but for the sake of Edmund Spenser’s
_Dialogue on the State of Ireland_. Moreover, it was largely due to the
Protector that the scheme for universal transplantation was reduced to
more moderate limits.

The ecclesiastical policy of Cromwell and the Puritans was the
traditional English policy of suppressing Catholicism in Ireland and
propagating Protestantism. The difference consisted in the consistent
vigour with which that policy was now pursued. Under the Stuarts the
laws had forbidden the Catholic worship, but the government had often
connived at its exercise. Charles, in his struggle with the Parliament,
had promised the Catholics at one time toleration, at another equal
rights. Cromwell, as soon as he arrived in Ireland, announced that the
old laws would be rigidly enforced. Catholicism, he declared, had no
right to exist in Ireland at all, the priests were mere intruders; for
their own ends they had instigated the rebellion; they poisoned the
flocks they professed to feed with their “false, abominable,
anti-Christian doctrine and practices.” Liberty of conscience, in the
narrowest sense of the word, Irish Catholics might enjoy, for they were
not to be forced to attend Protestant churches, but of liberty of
worship they were to have none. “I meddle not with any man’s
conscience,” wrote Cromwell to the Governor of Ross. “But if by liberty
of conscience, you mean a liberty to exercise the mass, I judge it best
to exercise plain dealing and to let you know where the Parliament of
England have power, that will not be allowed of.” “As for the people,”
he declared, “what thoughts they have in matters of religion in their
own breasts I cannot reach, but shall think it my duty, if they walk
honestly and peaceably, not to cause them in the least to suffer for the
same.” Under the Protector’s government, therefore, priests were hunted
down, and either imprisoned or exiled. Some were transported to Spain,
others shipped off to Barbadoes, and a sort of penal settlement was
established in the island of Innis-boffin.

From persistency in these repressive measures, and from the active
preaching of Protestantism, Cromwell hoped for the conversion of the
Irish. He thought he saw signs of it even during his campaign. “We find
the people,” he wrote, “very greedy after the word, and flocking to
Christian meetings, much of that prejudice which lies upon people in
England being a stranger to their minds. I mind you the rather of this
because it is a sweet symptom if not an earnest of the good we expect.”
During the Protectorate, the English governors of Ireland made great
efforts to propagate Protestantism. Independent congregations were
founded in most of the great towns, and preachers invited over. In 1654,
the commissioners in whose hands the government was, appealed to New
England for ministers. “Sir,” began one of their letters, “we being
destitute of helpers to carry on the work of the Lord in holding forth
the gospel of Christ in this poor nation, being informed that the Lord
hath made you faithful and able in the work, we hereby desire you to
come over and help us.”

“Assiduous preaching,” argued Cromwell, “together with humanity, good
life, equal and honest dealing with men of different opinion,” would in
the end convert the Irish to Protestantism. The government also hoped
much from the spread of education. In 1650, Parliament endowed Trinity
College with the lands of the Archbishopric of Dublin and the Dean and
Chapter of St. Patrick’s. Trinity was reorganised and filled with
Independent divines, while the appointment of a number of professors,
the establishment of a public library, and the foundation of a second
college were also projected. When Archbishop Ussher died, the officers
of the Irish army bought his books to be the nucleus of the intended

Like Strafford, Cromwell believed that the impartial administration of
justice would make the Irish people good subjects and attach them to
English rule.

  “We have a great opportunity,” he wrote, “to set up a way of doing
  justice amongst these poor people, which, for the uprightness and
  cheapness of it may exceedingly gain upon them, who have been
  accustomed to as much injustice, tyranny, and oppression from their
  landlords, the great men, and those that should have done them
  right, as I believe any people in that which we call Christendom....
  If justice were freely and impartially administered here, the
  foregoing darkness and corruption would make it look so much the
  more glorious and beautiful, and draw more hearts after it.”

In the newly conquered country the obstacles which made the reform of
the Law so difficult in England, could more easily be overcome.
“Ireland,” Cromwell said, “was as a clean paper, and capable of being
governed by such laws as should be found most agreeable to justice;
which may be so impartially administered as to be a good precedent even
to England itself.”

Some improvement in these respects there certainly was. The Irish judges
appointed by Cromwell were capable and honest, and one of the
chief-justices, John Cooke, was a zealous law-reformer. But no
improvement in the administration of the laws could reconcile Irishmen
to English rule while the laws themselves were so little “agreeable to
justice.” Justice combined with forfeiture and proscription, and without
equal laws, was a legal fiction which had no healing virtue.

Equally futile was the attempted conversion of the Irish. The struggle
against England had made Irish nationality and Catholicism identical
terms, and a faith associated with spoliation and foreign conquest could
make no progress in the hearts of the conquered. The only permanent
result of Cromwell’s zeal was an increase in the number of Protestant
Nonconformists in Ireland. Some nominal converts from Catholicism were
made. A few landowners professed themselves Protestants in order to
obtain a temporary respite from transplantation, and a good many Irish
women who had married English soldiers passed as Protestants in order to
elude the laws against the intermarriage of soldiers and papists. But
converts of this kind usually relapsed, and the mixture of the two
races, which the government could not prevent, profited Catholicism, not
Protestantism. The failure of the policy of conversion entailed the
partial failure of the policy of colonisation as well. The families of
the greater landowners established by the confiscations remained English
and Protestant. The families of the smaller landowners—of the
ex-soldiers who became yeomen and small farmers—tended to become
Catholic in creed and Irish in feeling. “How many there are,” lamented a
pamphleteer in 1697, “of the children of Oliver’s soldiers in Ireland
who cannot speak one word of English. This comes of marrying Irish women
instead of English.”

In the main, Cromwell’s Irish policy followed the lines which Tudor and
Stuart statesmen had laid down. In one respect, however, he was more
original and more enlightened than either his predecessors or his
successors. Strafford’s economic policy had aimed at making the Irish
rich, but also at keeping Ireland economically subject to England and
preventing Irish manufactures or products from competing with those of
England. No such jealousy of Irish trade warped Cromwell’s policy. Its
fundamental principle was that the English colony were to be regarded
simply as Englishmen living in Ireland, and entitled to the same rights
as Englishmen living in England. “I would not,” said a speaker in the
Parliament of 1657, “have our own people oppressed because they live in
Ireland.” Accordingly, in the levy of any general tax on the three
countries, care was taken that their respective shares should be
equitably assessed. The same customs and excise were paid in Ireland as
in England, and Ireland enjoyed equal rights with regard to foreign and
colonial trade. However, as the native Irish and the Catholics were
excluded from the corporate towns which were the seats of commerce and
manufactures, the benefit of this trade was almost exclusively reaped by
the English colony. Cromwell’s object was to secure the prosperity of
what he called “the interest of England newly begun to be planted in
Ireland.” If it were overtaxed, or in any other way overburdened, “the
English planters must quit the country,” and then, as he warned his
second Parliament, “that which hath been the success of so much blood
and treasure, to get that country into your hands, what can become of
it, but that the English must needs run away for pure beggary, and the
Irish must possess the country again?”

With free trade, Cromwell also gave the English colonists in Ireland
representation in the Parliament of the Three Nations. The Long
Parliament had projected the legislative union of England, Scotland, and
Ireland, and had fixed the number of their representatives, but it was
left to Cromwell to call the first united Parliament. The “Instrument of
Government” allotted Ireland thirty members, leaving the Protector to
fix the particular constituencies by which these members were to be
returned, and thirty representatives of Ireland sat accordingly in the
Parliaments of 1654, 1656, and 1659. As Catholics and persons who had
taken part in the rebellion were excluded from voting, the members for
Ireland consisted entirely of officers and officials representing the
English colony. “I am not here,” said one of them in 1659, “to speak for
Ireland, but for the English in Ireland.”

Outside the ranks of the new colonists, the union of the English and
Irish Parliaments found few cordial supporters. The older English colony
preferred a separate Parliament for Ireland. It would be impossible,
argued one of their spokesmen in 1659, for the Irish to get their
grievances redressed, if they had to come over to England and apply to
the English Parliament for the purpose. “I pray that they may have some
to hear their grievances in their own nation, seeing they cannot have
them heard here.” In 1659, the republican opposition in Richard
Cromwell’s Parliament, moved largely by the fact that the Irish members
were staunch Cromwellians, urged their exclusion from the House.
Ireland, Vane argued, was only a province, and had no right to a voice
in the government of the mother country. “They are still in the state of
a province, and you make them a power not only to make laws for
themselves, but for this nation; nay, to have a casting vote for aught I
know in all your laws.” The attempted exclusion of the members from
Ireland failed in 1659, but at the Restoration, the legislative union
with Ireland was the first thing to go. No law was required to repeal
it, for it had never received the King’s assent, and no voice was raised
in its defence. English conservatism and Irish provincialism were too
strong, and Cromwell’s imperial scheme went to the limbo reserved for
policies too wise for their generation.

The natural consequence of the termination of the legislative union was
the loss of the commercial equality which had accompanied it. The
English colonists were no longer treated as Englishmen domiciled in
Ireland, but as strangers and rivals. The Navigation Act of Charles II.
excluded them from American and colonial trade, while two other acts
followed, prohibiting the export of Irish cattle and provisions to
England. Finally, in the reign of William III. the Irish woollen
manufacture was destroyed, and the ruin of Irish commerce and
agriculture was completed.

It was only Cromwell’s policy towards the English colony in Ireland
which was reversed; his policy towards the native Irish was still
pursued. So far as his policy coincided with the traditional policy of
England towards Ireland it was maintained; so far as it was wiser and
more original it was abandoned. Carlyle draws a picture of Ireland as it
might have been if the “ever blessed restoration” had not “torn up”
Cromwell’s system “by the roots.” “Ireland under this arrangement,” he
holds, “would probably have grown up into a sober, diligent,
drab-coloured population, developing itself most probably into some sort
of Calvinistic Protestantism.” It is a baseless dream. Even in
Cromwell’s lifetime it was evident that his scheme for the conversion of
the Irish was doomed to failure. After his death the proscription of
Catholicism and the hopeless attempt to force Protestantism on a
reluctant people were still continued, nor were they abandoned till
1829. The new proprietors whom Cromwell had established still kept their
hold, and only a very small proportion of the confiscated
estates—nominally one third, in reality much less—returned to their old
possessors at the Restoration. So the Cromwellian land settlement
survived its author, to be his most permanent monument, and to be also,
as Mr. Lecky writes, “the foundation of that deep and lasting division
between the proprietary and the tenants which is the chief cause of the
political and social evils of Ireland.”



                              CHAPTER XIV
                         CROMWELL AND SCOTLAND

The execution of the King destroyed the alliance which Cromwell had
established between Argyle and the Independents. Argyle would have been
glad to preserve it, but his power depended on the clergy and the middle
classes, both deeply incensed with the sectaries who had dared to kill a
Scottish king. The day after the news of the King’s death reached
Edinburgh, Charles II. was there proclaimed King, not of Scotland only,
but of Great Britain and Ireland. The Scottish envoys in England
protested against the late revolution, denouncing the establishment of
toleration or any other change in the fundamental laws of the kingdom,
and demanding that Charles II., “upon just satisfaction given to both
kingdoms,” should be placed upon his father’s throne. The Long
Parliament retorted by expelling the envoys and declaring that their
protest laid “the grounds of a new and bloody war.” Henceforth indeed
the war took a new character,—it was no longer a constitutional but a
national struggle. Scotland like Ireland was attempting to dictate to
England the form of government which it should choose, and thus the
English contest for self-government inevitably widened into a contest
for the supremacy of the British Isles.

Nothing delayed war between Scotland and England but the difficulty of
effecting an agreement between Charles and the Scots. Except on their
own terms the Presbyterians would not fight for him, and till no other
way of regaining his crown was left Charles would not accept their

The Scottish Commissioners demanded that he should not only accept the
Covenant and the Presbyterian system for Scotland, but pledge himself to
impose them on England and Ireland. As he declined to force
Presbyterianism on those two kingdoms without the consent of their
parliaments the negotiations were broken off in May, 1649, and while
Charles prepared to join Ormond in Ireland, Montrose was commissioned to
call the Scottish Royalists once more to arms.

In September, 1649, Charles landed at Jersey on his way to Ireland, but
Cromwell’s victories checked his further progress. Before the year
ended, it was evident that if he was to be restored it must be by
Scottish hands, and in February, 1650, he returned to Holland. Necessity
left him no choice. “Indeed,” wrote a Scottish agent from Jersey, “he is
brought very low; he has not bread both for himself and his servants,
and betwixt him and his brother not one English shilling.” Negotiations
began again at Breda in March, 1650. The Scots required him to take both
Covenants, to impose Presbyterianism on England and Ireland, and to
disavow both Ormond and Montrose. Charles struggled hard to modify these
conditions, and the treaty by which he agreed to them was not signed
till he was actually on his voyage. He hoped that when he came to
Scotland his presence would win concessions from the Covenanters, and a
royalist party would gather round him. But he found himself treated more
as a captive than a king. English Royalists who had accompanied him from
Holland were ordered to leave the country, Scottish Royalists were
excluded from his army and his Court, and when he reached Edinburgh he
saw, fixed over the tower of the Tolbooth, and fresh from the hangman’s
hands, the head of Montrose.

The diplomacy of the King had sacrificed his noblest champion. Instead
of holding Montrose back till the negotiations ended, he had urged him
to immediate action. “Your vigorous proceeding,” he wrote, “will be a
good means to bring them to such a moderation ... as may produce a
present union of that whole nation in our service.” When the Scottish
envoys at Breda demanded the abandonment of Montrose, Charles agreed to
order him to disband his troops with a secret promise of their
indemnity. But the countermands came too late. Knowing that Charles was
treating with the Covenanters, and that he was in danger of disavowal,
Montrose still resolved to spend his life for the King’s service. In
March, 1650, he arrived in the Orkneys with a little body of Danish and
German mercenaries. In April, with about twelve hundred men and forty
horse, he advanced through Caithness to the south of Sutherland. There,
at Carbisdale, on April 27th, Major Strachan, with two hundred and fifty
of David Leslie’s disciplined cavalry, fell upon him in his march south,
scattered his handful of horsemen, and cut to pieces his foreign
infantry. Montrose escaped from the rout, and wandered amongst the hills
till starvation obliged him to seek shelter. Macleod of Assynt gave him
up to the Scottish Government, and on May 21st he was hanged at the
market-cross in the High Street of Edinburgh.












  (_From Henfrey’s “Numismata Cromwelliana.”_)

About the time of Montrose’s death, Cromwell returned to England.
Parliament had voted that both Fairfax and Cromwell should command
against the Scots, the one as General, the other in his old post as
Lieutenant-General. But when Fairfax found that the Council of State
meant to invade Scotland, he laid down his commission. The best
refutation of the theory that Cromwell sought to undermine Fairfax in
order to obtain his post is the vigour with which he endeavoured to
persuade him to keep it. It was morally certain, urged Cromwell, that
the Scots meant to invade England. War was unavoidable. “Your excellency
will soon determine whether it is better to have this war in the bowels
of another country than our own.” But nothing could overcome Fairfax’s
repugnance to an offensive war. Human probabilities, he repeated, were
not sufficient ground to make war upon our brethren, the Scots. The
truth was, he had long been dissatisfied with the results of the
revolution in which events had given him so prominent a part, and seized
any plausible excuse for retirement. As he persisted, his resignation
was accepted, and on the 26th of June, 1650, Cromwell became, by Act of
Parliament, Captain-General and Commander-in-chief of all the forces of
the Commonwealth. “I have not sought these things,” he wrote to a
friend; “truly I have been called unto them by the Lord, and therefore
am not without some assurance that He will enable His poor worm and weak
servant to do His will.”

At the end of July, Cromwell entered Scotland with an army of 10,500
foot and 5500 horse. His old comrade, David Leslie, to whom the Scots
had given the command, could bring about eighteen thousand foot and
eight thousand horse to meet him, but as Leslie’s soldiers were much
inferior in quality, he stood resolutely on the defensive. Marching
along the coast and drawing supplies mainly from the English fleet,
Cromwell found the Scottish army intrenched between Leith and Calton
Hill. A month passed in marches around Edinburgh, in fruitless
skirmishes, and unsuccessful attempts to draw the Scots from their
unassailable fastnesses. Leslie took no risks, and met each move with
unfailing skill. At the end of August, victuals grew scarce in the
English camp and disease was rife. With a “poor, shattered, hungry,
discouraged army,” Cromwell fell back on Dunbar, intending to fortify
the town to be used as a magazine and basis of operations, and to await
reinforcements from Berwick. Leslie, pressing hard on his heels,
occupied Doon Hill, which overlooks Dunbar, and seized the passes
between Dunbar and Berwick. Thanks to his knowledge of the country he
had again outmanœuvred Cromwell, and the Scots boasted that they had
Cromwell in a worse pound than the King had had Essex in Cornwall.

Cromwell owned the greatness of the danger.

  “We are,” he wrote, “upon an engagement very difficult. The enemy
  hath blocked up our way at the pass at Copperspath, through which we
  cannot get without almost a miracle. He lieth so upon the hills that
  we know not how to come that way without great difficulty, and our
  lying here daily consumeth our men, who fall sick beyond

His sixteen thousand men were reduced now to eleven thousand, and some
officers proposed that the foot should be shipped on the fleet, while
the horse endeavoured to cut their way through the enemy. But their
General remained, as he expressed it, “comfortable in spirit and having
much hope in the Lord.”

Leslie’s original plan was to fall on Cromwell’s rear as he tried to
force his way along the road to Berwick, but the parliamentary committee
in his camp ordered him to descend the hill and bar Cromwell’s route.
Seeing that Cromwell did not continue his march, he believed he was
shipping his guns, and perhaps part of his infantry, and thought all he
had to do was to prevent the escape of the enemy. Accordingly, on
September 2nd, Leslie moved his army from the Doon hill to the gentle
slopes at its foot, intending to attack the next day. His left was
covered in flank, and to some extent in front too, by the steep ravine
of the Brock burn, which ran obliquely from the hill to the sea and
separated the positions of the two armies. His infantry were posted in
the centre, with their backs to the hillside. On the right, where the
ground was more level and open, he had massed two-thirds of his cavalry.
Leslie had twenty-two thousand men to Cromwell’s eleven thousand, and
told his soldiers they would have the English army, alive or dead, by
seven next morning.

When Cromwell examined the new position of the Scots, he saw that his
opportunity had come at last. Leslie’s left, shut in between the hill
and the ravine, was practically useless, and his centre, cramped by the
hill in its rear, had too little room to manœuvre. Both Cromwell and
Major-General Lambert agreed that if the Scottish right were beaten
their whole army would be endangered.


  The Battle of

  B. V. Darbishire, Oxford 1899

That evening, in answer to Leslie’s movement, Cromwell drew up his
forces along the line of the ravine and about Broxmouth House, as if his
sole purpose was to stand on the defensive. The night was stormy and
wet, and after one or two alarms the Scots were convinced that he did
not mean to attack. Just before dawn Cromwell pushed a strong body of
horse and foot across the ravine, and under cover of a false attack on
their left massed all the troops he could against their right and their
centre. Lambert and Fleetwood, with six regiments of horse, attacked the
Scottish right, while Monck, with about three thousand or four thousand
foot, engaged their centre, supported by the fire of Cromwell’s guns
from the other side of the ravine. The Scots were taken unprepared, but
as soon as they could get into battle order numbers told. Charging, with
the slope in their favour, the Scottish lancers broke one of Lambert’s
regiments, and Monk’s division was repulsed and forced to give ground.
At this critical moment, Cromwell himself came up with the reserve,
consisting of three regiments of foot and one of horse. His own regiment
of horse fell on the flank of the Scottish cavalry, Lambert’s troopers
charged again, and after a short, sharp struggle the Scottish right wing
was broken through and through. Simultaneously Cromwell’s and Pride’s
foot regiments furiously assailed the advancing Scottish infantry, and
“at push of pike did repel the stoutest regiment the enemy had,” while
all along the line the English foot, once more advancing, drove back the
Scots. Some of Leslie’s infantry stood stubbornly, but a cavalry charge
on their exposed flank completed their discomfiture. At Cromwell’s
direction, the flank attack became more and more pronounced, till the
Scottish centre was rolled up from right to left; and, penned in the
triangle between the hill and the ravine, the Scottish infantry became a
helpless mob, unable either to fight or fly.

  “Horse and foot,” says one of Cromwell’s officers, “were engaged all
  over the field and the Scots all in confusion. The sun appearing
  upon the sea I heard Noll say, ‘Now let God arise, and His enemies
  shall be scattered,’ and following us as we slowly marched I heard
  him say, ‘I profess they run,’ and then was the Scots army all in
  disorder and running, both right wing and left and main battle. They
  routed one another after we had done their work on their right

Three thousand men fell in the battle, and ten thousand were taken
prisoners. While Leslie collected the shattered remnant of his army at
Stirling, Cromwell occupied Edinburgh and Leith, and all the eastern
portion of the Scottish Lowlands. Edinburgh Castle held out, and the
south-west was still in arms.

After Dunbar, as before it, Cromwell’s strongest wish was not a conquest
but an agreement which would restore peace between the two nations.

  “Give the State of England,” he wrote to the Committee of Estates,
  “that satisfaction and security for their peaceable and quiet living
  beside you, which may in justice be demanded from those who have, as
  you, taken their enemy into their bosom, whilst he was in hostility
  against them.”

He had opened his campaign with manifestos protesting the affection of
England for the Scots, and demonstrating their error in supporting the
Stuarts. These overtures the leaders of the Independents urged him to
renew. They regarded it as a fratricidal war. The grim Ireton expressed
the fear that Cromwell had not been sufficiently forbearing and
long-suffering. Subtle St. John drew a distinction between Scots and
Irish, reminding him that although the Irish were atheists and papists
to be ruled with a rod of iron, the Scots were truly children of God,
and he must still endeavour to heap coals of fire on their heads.
Cromwell, whose heart “yearned after the godly in Scotland,” began now a
new set of expostulations, directed particularly to the ministers whose
influence had frustrated his appeals to the nation. He charged them with
pretending a reformation and laying the foundation of it in getting
worldly power for themselves; with perverting the Covenant to serve
secular ends; with claiming infallibility for their doctrine just as the
Pope did. Their claim to control the civil government he dismissed with
few words. “We look on ministers as helpers of, not lords over, God’s
people.” Then he refuted with like vigour the claim of the Kirk to
prohibit dissent in order to prevent heresy.

  “Your pretended fear lest error should step in, is like the man who
  would keep all wine out of the country, lest men should be drunk. It
  will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his
  natural liberty upon a supposition he may abuse it. When he doth
  abuse it, judge.”

Finally, he rebuked them for their hypocrisy and their blindness. Was it
not hypocritical “to pretend to cry down all Malignants, and yet to
receive and set up the head of them, and to act for the kingdom of
Christ in his name?” Was it not blindness to shut their eyes to the
meaning of their late defeat? God had given judgment in their
controversy at Dunbar, and they refused to see it. “Did not you solemnly
appeal and pray? Did not we do so too? And ought not you and we to think
with fear and trembling of the hand of the great God in this mighty and
strange appearance of his?”

Either events or Cromwell’s arguments produced their effect in the
Scotch camp. There were great searchings of heart amongst devout
Presbyterians, and a schism broke out in the army. Rigid Covenanters
renounced worldly alliances and compliance with an ungodly monarch. “I
desire to serve the King faithfully,” said Colonel Ker, “but on
condition that the King himself be subject to the King of Kings.”
Colonel Strachan, after some negotiation with Cromwell, laid down his
commission. Ker, with three or four thousand Westland Whigs, refused
obedience to the Committee of Estates, and tried to wage war
independently. But attempting to surprise Lambert, at Hamilton, in
Lanarkshire, on December 1st, he was taken prisoner, his force
scattered, and the whole of the south-west fell into Cromwell’s power.

More lasting was the division amongst the clergy. One party, headed by
Gillespie and Guthry, published a Remonstrance repudiating the idea of
fighting for Charles II. till he had proved his fitness to be a
covenanted king, and condemning those who had closed their eyes to his
insincerity. The Remonstrants, as they were termed, would have no
alliance with either Malignants or Engagers. The other party, laxer in
its moral views, and moved more by national than religious feeling, was
ready to accept the compromises which the necessities of the State
demanded. When Parliament passed resolutions allowing Malignants and
Engagers to fight in the national ranks, it consented to their
employment on a simple profession of penitence. For the next ten years
the quarrels of Resolutioners and Remonstrants made up Scotland’s
ecclesiastical history.

Cromwell had foreseen the political consequences of Dunbar. “Surely,” he
predicted, “it’s probable the Kirk has done their do. I believe their
King will set up upon his own score now.” The prediction now came true.
Charles had suffered great humiliations since he came to Scotland. He
had submitted to all conditions and sworn many kinds of oaths. He had
been obliged to declare his sorrow for his father’s hostility to the
work of reformation and his mother’s love of idolatry. He had seen the
Scottish ranks purged of Royalists, and had been forbidden to approach
the army that was fighting in his name. At last, events had brought the
Parliament round to his policy. From the date of his coronation at Scone
on January 1, 1651, Charles was King of Scotland in fact as well as
name. Partly driven by necessity, because the ecclesiastical divisions
had deprived him of his strongest supporters, partly lured by hope,
because Charles offered to marry his daughter, Argyle fell in with the
King’s policy. But each stage in its development diminished his
influence. First he had to share his power with Hamilton and his
partisans, and then the repeal of the Act of Classes put an end to it
altogether by allowing even Montrose’s adherents to hold office.

Thus within a year from his landing in Scotland Charles had succeeded in
combining both Royalists and Presbyterians in support of his cause. His
hopes were never higher. It seemed possible to effect a similar
combination between the Presbyterians and Royalists in England. In
March, 1651, the English Government detected a plot for a rising in
Lancashire which was to be helped by troops from Scotland, and isolated
insurrections which broke out in Norfolk (December, 1650) and in
Cardiganshire (June, 1651) proved the reality of these conspiracies. If
a Scottish army entered England, the general royalist rising of 1648
might be repeated, and perhaps with a different issue.

The campaign of 1651 began late. During the winter, Blackness and
Tantallon castles were captured, and in February there was an advance on
Stirling which the tempestuous weather frustrated. In the spring,
Cromwell’s illness delayed operations. The hardships of Irish
campaigning had impaired his health. “I grow an old man, and feel the
infirmities of age marvellously stealing upon me,” he wrote to his wife
on the day after Dunbar; but he never spared himself, and in February,
1651, he fell ill of an intermittent fever brought on by exposure. Three
successive relapses brought him to the verge of the grave, and more than
once his life was despaired of. Parliament in alarm sent him two of the
best physicians of the day, and advised him to remove to England for
change of air. In June he was sufficiently recovered to take the field,
and found Leslie’s army posted on the hills south of Stirling. “We
cannot come to fight him except he please, or we go upon too manifest
hazards,” wrote Cromwell, “he having very strongly laid himself, and
having a very great advantage there.”

Unable to attack or to lure Leslie from his position, Cromwell resolved
to turn it. The English fleet commanded the sea, and it was easy to
throw Lambert and four thousand men across the Forth into Fife. Leslie
sent Sir John Brown against him with a like force, but Lambert
annihilated Brown’s force at Inverkeithing on July 20th. Cromwell poured
more troops across the water till he had fourteen thousand men in Fife,
and then taking their command himself he marched on Perth, which fell
after a siege of twenty-four hours (August 2nd).

The capture of Perth cut off Leslie from his supplies, and severed his
communications with the north of Scotland. But the way to England was
left open, and confident that English Royalists would flock to his
banner Charles and his whole army marched for the border. Cromwell had
foreseen the movement, and was well aware that it might alarm the
English Government. But he justified his strategy with sober confidence.

  “We have done,” he said, “to the best of our judgment, knowing that
  if some issue were not put to this business it would occasion
  another winter’s war, to the ruin of your soldiery, for whom the
  Scots are too hard in respect of enduring the winter difficulties of
  this country, and to the endless expense of the treasury of England
  in prosecuting this war. It may be supposed we might have kept the
  enemy from this by interposing between him and England; which truly
  I believe we might, but how to remove him out of this place without
  doing what we have done, unless we had a commanding army on both
  sides the river of Forth, is not clear to us; or how to answer the
  inconveniences afore-mentioned we understand not.”

He bade them be of good courage and collect what forces they could to
check the march of the Scots.

  “Indeed we have this comfortable experience from the Lord, that the
  enemy is heart-smitten by God, and whenever the Lord shall bring us
  up to them, we believe the Lord will make the desperateness of this
  counsel of theirs to appear, and the folly of it also. When England
  was much more unsteady than now, and when a much more considerable
  army of theirs unfoiled invaded you, and we had but a weak force to
  make resistance, at Preston, upon deliberate advice, we chose rather
  to put ourselves between their army and Scotland; and how God
  succeeded that is not well to be forgotten.”

Charles entered England by Carlisle, and marched through Lancashire and
along the Welsh border, hoping to gather recruits from those districts
during his progress. Cromwell, leaving Monk to secure Scotland, sent his
cavalry under Lambert and Harrison to pursue the King, and followed
himself through Yorkshire with the infantry. As he went, he was joined
by the forces of the counties through which he passed, and all over
England the new county militia rushed to arms. For, however much they
might detest the Republic, Englishmen hesitated to assist a Scottish

In Lancashire, distrust of Malignants prevented the Presbyterians from
taking up arms, though the Earl of Derby raised a little army amongst
the Cavaliers. On the 22nd of August, Charles reached Worcester with
less than sixteen thousand men, worn out by marching, and halted to rest
and collect his adherents. A few devoted gentlemen made their way to his
standard, but the people remained apathetic, and three days later
Derby’s levies were routed at Wigan by Colonel Lilburn. By this time the
net was closing round the King. Cromwell, joining Lambert and Harrison,
had established himself at Evesham, and blocked the road to London with
thirty thousand men. His superior numbers enabled him to divide his
forces, and to attack Worcester from both sides. Lambert and Fleetwood,
with eleven thousand men, crossed to the west bank of the Severn, and
prevented the retreat of the Royalists into Wales, whilst Cromwell, with
the bulk of the army, remained on the east bank and pushed close up to
the city. On September 3rd, the anniversary of Dunbar, Fleetwood’s force
advanced upon Worcester from the south-west. Between it and Worcester
lay the river Teame, a tributary of the Severn, held by a royalist
division, which had broken the bridges. Cromwell threw a bridge of boats
across the Severn, just above the mouth of the Teame, and fell on the
flank of the Scots with four of his best regiments. “The Lord General
did lead the van in person, and was the first man that set foot on the
enemy’s ground.” Under cover of Cromwell’s attack, Fleetwood threw a
similar bridge across the Teame, and his infantry poured across to
co-operate with Cromwell. Outnumbered, but fighting stubbornly, the
Scots gave way. “We beat the enemy from hedge to hedge,” wrote Cromwell,
“till we beat him into Worcester.”

Charles, who watched the battle from the tower of the cathedral, seeing
that the great part of Cromwell’s army was engaged on the western bank,
sallied forth with every man he could muster to crush the force left on
the eastern side. For three hours the struggle lasted. At first the
Scots gained ground, but Cromwell, recrossing the river, put himself at
the head of his men, and drove the enemy back in confusion into the
city. His soldiers entered at their heels, and storming their “Fort
Royal” turned its guns on the streets. “My Lord General did exceedingly
hazard himself, riding up and down in the midst of the fire; riding
himself in person to the enemy’s foot to offer them quarter, whereto
they returned no answer but shot.” In the end, what was left of the foot
laid down their arms, while the horse fled through the north gate, and
took the road to Scotland. But not a single regiment or troop reached
their home. The militia, which beset the bridges and highways, gathered
up prisoners in hundreds, and the country people hunted down stragglers
with merciless ferocity. Half the nobility of Scotland were amongst the


  The Battle of

  B. V. Darbishire, Oxford 1899

Amongst the few who escaped was the young King. The Parliament
threatened all who sheltered Charles with the penalties of high treason,
and promised one thousand pounds to any person who gave him up. Troopers
scoured the roads to find him, and officials at all the ports were
warned to watch for “a tall man above two yards high, with hair a deep
brown near to black.” But, though Englishmen would not fight for
Charles, they would not betray him, and of the scores he trusted not one
proved false. Sometimes hiding in an oak tree, sometimes in a “priest’s
hole,” disguised now as a countryman in an old worn leathern doublet and
green breeches, and now as a serving-man in grey homespun, Charles
wandered through the south-west searching for a ship. At last he found
one at Brighton, and landed safe in France on October 22nd.

For Scotland, Cromwell’s victory marked the end of independence. The
absence of Leslie’s army left no force in Scotland capable of giving
battle to Monk’s six thousand veterans, and there was no fortress in
Scotland which could resist his artillery. Monk captured Stirling on
August 14th, and the seizure of the Committee of Estates at Alyth on
August 28th deprived the national defence of its head, and destroyed the
last relic of a national government. Dundee was stormed and sacked on
September 1st. Montrose, Aberdeen, Inverness, and other towns fell
without a blow. In February, 1652, the Orkneys were occupied, and in
May, Dunottar Castle, the last fortress to hold out, surrendered.
Argyle, who had refused to follow Charles into England, endeavoured to
maintain an independent position in the West Highlands, but in August he
too was forced to give in his adhesion to the English Government, and
the subjugation of Scotland was completed. An English garrison of twelve
thousand or fourteen thousand men, and strong fortresses built at Leith,
Ayr, Inverness, and Inverlochy, kept henceforth the conquered country in
submission. In spite of the general discontent no effort to throw off
the English yoke had any chance of success. In 1653, the war with
Holland emboldened the Highlanders to take arms again, and a rising
began which was headed first by the Earl of Glencairn, afterwards by
General Middleton. The insurgents made forays into the Lowlands, but
were never strong enough to do much more, and their own disputes ruined
their cause. Monk returned to his command in Scotland in May, 1654,
wasted the Highland glens with fire and sword, defeated Middleton’s
forces, and by the end of the year put an end to the insurrection.

The policy of the Long Parliament and of the Protector toward Scotland
resembled in its aim their policy toward Ireland. In each case the
object was to make the conquered country into an integral part of a
British empire. But the measures adopted to attain this object differed
considerably in the two countries. In Scotland there was no general
confiscation of the lands of the vanquished, and no far-reaching
alteration in the framework of society. The Scottish Royalists were
treated much as the English Cavaliers had been. The Long Parliament
confiscated the estates of those who had invaded England in 1648 and
1651, but the Protector adopted a more moderate policy, imposing the
penalty of forfeiture only on twenty-four leaders, and fining minor
offenders. A few English officers were given grants of the forfeited
lands, but most of their revenue was devoted to public purposes. Hence
the Scottish confiscations, although they ruined many of the nobility
and gentry, left the bulk of the nation untouched.

In Scotland there was no proscription of the national religion, but the
national Church lost a portion of its independence, and was deprived of
all power to check or control the civil government. In 1653, the General
Assembly—“the glory and strength of our Church upon earth,” as a
Presbyterian minister termed it—was forcibly dissolved, but local synods
and presbyteries were allowed to meet. The English Government deprived
the Church courts of their coercive jurisdiction over non-members, and
protected the formation of Independent congregations. It appointed
commissioners to visit the universities, punished ministers who preached
against it, and decided disputes about appointments to vacant livings.
But it interfered little in the internal affairs of the Church, and held
the balance tolerably even between Remonstrants and Resolutioners.
Though deprived of its political power and much of its independence, the
Scottish Church was not unprosperous. “These bitter waters,” says Robert
Blair, “were sweetened by the Lord’s remarkably blessing the labours of
His faithful servants. A great door and an effectual was opened to

As in Ireland so in Scotland the separate national Parliament ended, and
was replaced by representation in the Parliament of Great Britain. The
incorporating union, which James I. had unskilfully attempted, the Long
Parliament decreed, and the Protector realised. In 1652, commissioners
sent by the Long Parliament extorted a reluctant consent to the
principle of the union, but the details were still unsettled when
Cromwell became Protector. By the “Instrument of Government,” Scotland
was assigned thirty members in the British Parliament, and the
Protector’s ordinances completed the work. English statesmen regarded
the union as a generous concession. It was intended by the Parliament,
says Ludlow,

  “to convince even their enemies, that their principal design was to
  procure the happiness and prosperity of all that were under their
  government,” and “was cheerfully accepted by the most judicious
  amongst the Scots, who well understood how great a concession it was
  in the Parliament of England to permit a people they had conquered
  to have a part in the legislative power.”

In reality, both ecclesiastical and national feeling were arrayed
against it. “As for the embodying of Scotland with England,” said Robert
Blair, “it will be as when the poor bird is embodied in the hawk that
has eaten it up.” With few exceptions all classes regarded the
incorporating union with hostility and aversion.

The Protector hoped to reconcile Scotland to the union by the material
benefits which accompanied it. Absolute freedom of trade between the two
countries, proportionate taxation, and a better system of justice were
promised. Nor were these empty words. Tenures implying vassalage and
servitude and heritable jurisdictions were abolished. Popular
courts-baron were set up, English justices of the peace introduced, the
fees of the law courts diminished, and new judges appointed who
administered the laws without fear or favour. Even Scots admitted the
improvement in the administration of justice. “There was good justice
done,” says Burnet. “To speak truth,” adds Nichol, “the English were
more indulgent and merciful to the Scots, than the Scots to their own
countrymen and neighbours, and their justice exceeded the Scots’ in many

The civil administration of Scotland was in the hands, at first, of
parliamentary commissioners, and, after 1655, of a Scottish Council of
Nine appointed by the Protector, which included two Scots. Under their
vigorous rule, such order was maintained as Scotland had never known
before. The Highlands were tamed by the English garrisons, and the
mosstroopers of the border hunted down and punished. A man, boasted one
of the English officials, might ride all through Scotland with a hundred
pounds in his pocket, and nothing but a switch in his hand.

The class which benefited most by these reforms was the middle class.
“The towns,” wrote Monk to Cromwell, “are generally the most faithful to
us of any people in this nation.” In 1658, Cromwell, describing to his
Parliament the condition of Scotland, exulted over the improvement which
English rule had produced.

  “The meaner sort,” he said, “live as well and are likely to come
  into as thriving a condition under your government, as when they
  were under their own great lords, who made them work for their
  living no better than the peasants of France. I am loath to speak
  anything which may reflect upon that nation; but the middle sort of
  people do grow up into such a substance as makes their lives
  comfortable, if not better than before.”

Burnet, in his description of the Cromwellian régime in Scotland, goes
so far as to say, “we always reckon those eight years of usurpation a
time of great peace and prosperity.” But this is an evident
exaggeration. The devastation and loss caused by the long wars had
produced widespread poverty. “I do think,” admitted the Protector, “the
Scots nation have been under as great a suffering, in point of
livelihood and subsistence outwardly, as any people I have yet named to
you. I do think truly they are a very ruined nation.” The weak point of
English rule was the heavy taxation which the necessity of maintaining
so large an army in Scotland caused. Baillie’s letters are full of
complaints of the burden of taxation. “A great army in a multitude of
garrisons bides above our heads, and deep poverty keeps all estates
exceedingly under; the taxes of all sorts are so great, the trade so
little, that it is a marvel if extreme scarcity of money end not soon in
some mischief.” The English Government had originally imposed a land tax
of ten thousand pounds per month on Scotland, but this was levied with
such difficulty that it was finally reduced to six thousand pounds. And
in the year of Cromwell’s death, England had to remit to Scotland a
contribution of over £140,000 towards the expenses of the military
government which held Scotland in obedience.

Scots in general regarded the benefits which English rule conferred as
too dearly purchased at the cost of heavy taxes and national
independence. In Ireland, for weal or woe, the Cromwellian conquest left
an ineffaceable mark on the national history. In Scotland, on the other
hand, all that Cromwell had done, or tried to do,—union, law-reform, and
freedom of trade,—vanished when the Restoration came. But the aims of
his policy were so just that subsequent statesmen were compelled to
follow where he led. The union and free trade came in 1707, and the
abolition of hereditary jurisdictions in 1746.



                               CHAPTER XV
                     THE END OF THE LONG PARLIAMENT

When the Parliament received the news of Worcester, they voted Cromwell
four thousand pounds a year, gave him Hampton Court for a residence, and
sent a deputation to present their thanks. On September 12th, he made a
triumphal entry into London. Hugh Peters, the army chaplain, professed
to perceive a secret exultation in his bearing, and whispered to a
friend that Cromwell would yet make himself king. But Whitelocke
recorded that “he carried himself with great affability, and in his
discourses about Worcester would seldom mention anything of himself, but
mentioned others only, and gave, as was due, the glory of the action to
God.” From his despatch, it was evident that Cromwell regarded the
“crowning mercy” of Worcester not only as the consummation of the work
of war, but as a call to take in hand and accomplish the tasks of peace.
It should provoke the Parliament, he told the Speaker,

  “to do the will of Him who has done His will for it and for the
  nation—whose good pleasure it is to establish the nation and the
  change of government, by making the people so willing to the defence
  thereof, and so signally blessing the endeavours of your servants in
  this late great work.”

For in spite of its victories the government of the Commonwealth was
essentially a provisional government, and acquiesced in, rather than
accepted by, the nation. Even its adherents felt that something more
permanent and more constitutional must be established in its place, now
that the Civil War was over. In a conference between officers and
members of Parliament, which Cromwell brought about soon after his
return to London, this feeling plainly appeared. The lawyers were all
for some monarchical form of government. Some suggested that the late
King’s third son, the Duke of Gloucester, now twelve years old, should
be made king. The soldiers would not hear of anything that smacked of
monarchy. “Why,” asked Desborough, “may not this as well as other
nations be governed in the way of a republic?” Cromwell said little, and
seemed more anxious to learn what others thought, than to express his
own views. He agreed with the lawyers that “a settlement of somewhat
with monarchical power in it” would be most effectual. He knew that a
strong executive power was needed either for the tasks of peace or war,
but doubted whether a return to the Stuart line was possible. He agreed
with the soldiers that a new Parliament was an immediate necessity, but,
as in 1649, he held that it would be more honourable and more expedient
to induce the Long Parliament to dissolve itself. Publicly and privately
he used all his influence to persuade the House to do so. “I pressed the
Parliament,” he says, “as a member to period themselves, once and again
and again, and ten, nay, twenty times over.” But, in spite of “a long
speech made by his Excellency,” it was only by two votes that the House
resolved to fix a date for its dissolution, and then the date named was
three years distant (November 3, 1654). Cromwell was obliged to resign
himself to the delay, and do what he could for the settlement of the
nation through the instrumentality of the existing Parliament. The task
which was now before him was more difficult than fighting the Irish or
the Scots; more was expected of him, and his power was less.

  “Great things,” said a letter to Cromwell, “God has done by you in
  war, and good things men expect from you in peace: to break in
  pieces the oppressor, to ease the oppressed of their burdens, to
  release the prisoners out of bonds, and to relieve poor families
  with bread.”

For some months after Worcester, petitions were often addressed directly
to the General and the Army instead of to the Parliament. But all power
was in the hands of the Parliament, and as dangers grew more remote,
this body grew less amenable to the influence of the man who had saved
it. Of the sixty or seventy members who habitually took part in its
proceedings, the ablest were also members of the Council of State,
absorbed in the daily business of administration, and with little energy
left for the consideration of far-reaching legislative plans. Of the
rest, many were engrossed by local affairs, others occupied with their
farms and their merchandise, many building up fortunes by speculating in
confiscated lands. Some few were notoriously corrupt, but partisanship
and favouritism were more general evils than corruption. Vane complained
to Cromwell that some of his colleagues were so obstructive, that
“without continual contestation they will not suffer to be done things
that are so plain that they ought to do themselves.” “How hard and
difficult a matter it was,” said Cromwell himself, “to get anything
carried without making parties, without practices indeed unworthy of a

Yet difficult though it was, Cromwell and the officers succeeded in
inspiring the Parliament with some portion of their own energy.
Politically, the most pressing measure was the grant of an amnesty to
the conquered Royalists. So long as they were liable to punishment and
confiscation for acts done during the last ten years, the wounds of the
Civil War could never be healed. In February, 1652, Cromwell at last
persuaded Parliament to pass an act of pardon for all treasons committed
before the battle of Worcester, but it was unhappily clogged with
exceptions and restrictions which robbed it of much of its efficacy.
More than once during the divisions on the bill, Cromwell was teller
against these restrictions, and bigoted republicans afterwards thought
he did so from sinister motives. He contrived that delinquents should
escape due punishment, wrote Ludlow, “that so he might fortify himself
by the addition of new friends for the carrying on his designs.” To
Cromwell it seemed an act of political expediency. It was necessary, he
held, to be just to Royalists as well as Puritans, to unbelievers as
well as believers; perhaps even more necessary.

“The right spirit,” he added, “was such a spirit as Moses had and Paul
had—which was not a spirit for believers only, but for the whole

Next in importance to a general amnesty came the Reform of the Law—a
phrase which, in the minds of those who used it, meant not simply legal
changes, but social reforms in general. There was much need of both. The
Civil War had ruined its thousands; society was disorganised by its
consequences: the relations of landlord and tenant, of debtor and
creditor, were complicated by unforeseen calamities; the prisons of
London were crammed with poor debtors, and the country swarmed with
beggars. For the lawyers it was the best possible of worlds, and they
were never more prosperous or more unpopular.

  “We cannot mention the Reformation of the Law,” said Cromwell to
  Ludlow in 1650, “but the lawyers cry out we mean to destroy
  property, whereas the law as it is now constituted serves only to
  maintain the lawyers, and to encourage the rich to oppress the
  poor.” “Relieve the oppressed,” he urged Parliament in his Dunbar
  despatch; “reform the abuses of all professions, and if there be any
  one that makes many poor to make a few rich, that suits not a

Parliament had done something already to meet these complaints. In
November, 1650, it had passed an act ordering that all legal proceedings
and documents should be henceforth in English, besides an earlier act
for the relief of poor prisoners. Now it boldly appointed twenty-one
commissioners, chosen outside its own body, with Matthew Hale at their
head, “to consider the inconveniencies of the Law—and the speediest way
to remedy the same,” and to report their proposals to a Committee of the
House itself (January 17, 1652). The commissioners fell roundly to work,
and presented in the next few months drafts of many good bills, some of
which became law during the Protectorate, and others in the present
century. They even took in hand the task of codification, and drew up “a
system of the Law” for the consideration of Parliament.

During this same period the reorganisation of the Church was also
attempted. The Long Parliament had passed acts for the augmentation of
livings, for the punishment of blasphemy, and for the propagation of the
Gospel in Wales and Ireland. But it had abolished Episcopacy without
replacing it by any other system of Church government, and it had
ejected royalist clergymen without providing any machinery for the
appointment of fit successors. In London, in Lancashire, and in a few
other districts, there were voluntary associations of ministers on the
Presbyterian model, but throughout the greater part of England, the
Presbyterian organisation decreed in 1648 had never been actually
established. The Church was a chaos of isolated congregations, in which
a man made himself a minister as he chose, and got himself a living as
he could. The reduction of this chaos to order seemed so difficult a
problem, and beset with so many controversial questions, that Parliament
hesitated to undertake it.

John Owen, once Cromwell’s chaplain in Ireland, took the duty on
himself, and on February 10, 1652, he and fourteen other ministers
presented to Parliament a comprehensive scheme for the settlement of the
Church. The House answered by referring it to a committee appointed to
consider the better propagation of the Gospel, of which committee
Cromwell was the most important member. Owen’s scheme, like the
Agreement of the People, proposed the continuance of a national Church
with tolerated dissenting bodies existing by its side. The Church was to
be controlled by two sets of commissioners, partly lay and partly
clerical: local commissioners, who were to determine the fitness of all
candidates seeking to be admitted as preachers; itinerant commissioners,
who were to move from place to place ejecting unfit ministers and
schoolmasters. On the limits of the toleration to be granted to
dissenters, the committee was split into two sections. The scheme
proposed that the opponents of the essential principles of the Christian
religion should not be suffered to promulgate their views. When pressed
to define what these principles were, Owen and his friends produced a
list of fifteen fundamentals, the denial of which was to disqualify men
from freedom to propagate their opinions. Cromwell thought these
limitations too restrictive, and wished for a more liberal definition of
Christianity. “I had rather,” he emphatically declared, “that
Mahometanism were permitted amongst us, than that one of God’s children
should be persecuted.” It was in consequence of these debates that
Milton, in May, 1652, addressed to Cromwell the sonnet in which he
adjured him to remember that “peace hath victories no less renowned than



  (_From a painting, possibly by Robert Walker, in the National Portrait

                               “New foes arise
           Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains;
             Help us to save free conscience from the paw
             Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw.”

But Milton did not share Cromwell’s belief in the necessity of an
Established Church, and it was Vane, not Cromwell, whom he praised as
the statesman who knew the true bounds of either sword, and had learnt
what severed the spiritual from the civil power. By the time the sonnet
to Vane was written, ecclesiastical controversies had fallen into the
background; the short period of peace and reform was over; Cromwell and
Vane alike were forced to turn their attention to the problems of
foreign policy and the tasks of war.

When Cromwell left England in the summer of 1649, all the world seemed
hostile to the Republic. Worcester made Great Britain once more a power
in Europe, and foreign States began to seek the friendship of the
Republic, or at least to fear its enmity.

This great change was chiefly due to Cromwell’s victories. “Truth is,”
wrote Bradshaw to Cromwell after Dunbar, “God’s blessing upon the wise
and faithful conduct of affairs where you are gives life and repute to
all other attempts and actions upon the Commonwealth’s behalf.” Much,
too, was due to the successes of Blake. By the spring of 1652, the navy
had swept royalist privateers from the British seas and the
Mediterranean, and reduced, one after another, all the colonies or
dependencies which refused to submit to the Republic. Rupert’s fleet,
blockaded in Kinsale by Blake from May to November, 1649, could do
nothing to help Ormond in capturing Dublin and Londonderry, or to hinder
Cromwell’s progress in Ireland. When Rupert escaped he made his way to
Lisbon, and under the protection of the King of Portugal refitted his
ships and captured English merchantmen. In March, 1650, Blake appeared
off the mouth of the Tagus, and kept Rupert’s ships cooped up there for
the next six months. At last, in October, 1650, during Blake’s absence,
Rupert put to sea, and entering the Mediterranean began to plunder and
burn English merchantmen. Blake captured or destroyed most of his ships
off Malaga and Cartagena, and with the two which were left him Rupert
took refuge in Toulon. Next came the turn of the islands, which were the
headquarters of the royalist privateers. In May, 1651, Sir John
Grenville surrendered the Scilly Islands to Blake, just in time to
prevent their falling into the hands of a Dutch fleet sent to punish
Grenville’s attacks on Dutch commerce. The Isle of Man fell in October.
In December, Blake captured Jersey and Guernsey, where Sir George
Carteret had carried on the business of piracy on a larger and still
more lucrative scale than Grenville. Finally, in January, 1652, Sir
George Ayscue’s fleet reduced Barbadoes and the West Indian islands,
while in March, Virginia and Maryland gave in their submission. Lords of
all the territories the Stuarts had ruled, and with a stronger army and
fleet than they had ever possessed, the republican leaders were free to
intervene in European politics.

The Thirty Years’ War had ended with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.
France and Spain were still fighting, but with no great vigour, the one
distracted by the civil wars of the Fronde, the other weak from
misgovernment and the decay of its trade. Each wanted the help of
England, but while Spain had recognised the Republic in December, 1650,
France still delayed, and while Spain had allowed Blake to victual his
fleet in Spanish ports, France gave shelter to Rupert’s ships in its
harbours, and allowed him to sell his prizes there. Not only French
privateers but French men-of-war attacked English commerce in the
Levant; and in France Charles gathered around him the exiled Royalists,
and plotted against the peace of the Republic. At the moment, even
religious as well as political motives favoured an alliance with Spain.
In the Spanish dominions, there were no Protestants left to be
persecuted, but the Huguenots of Southern France, relying upon the
tradition of English policy which had existed since the Reformation,
still looked to their co-religionists in England for support. The wars
of the Fronde supplied a second motive for intervention, and to support
the last defenders of political freedom in France against the
encroachments of a centralising monarchy was a cause which naturally
appealed to enthusiastic republicans. When Condé and the Frondeurs of
Guienne applied to England and Spain for help against Mazarin, Spain
responded at once, and a strong party in the English Council of State
was ready to return a favourable answer. Whether the Spanish or the
French party in that body would gain the upper hand depended largely on
the decision of Cromwell. Ever since Worcester, and indeed earlier,
foreign diplomatists had turned their attention to the General, reported
his casual utterance, and striven to divine his intentions.

People who believed that the Republic would seek to propagate republican
institutions abroad regarded Cromwell as the destined instrument of that
policy. “If he were ten years younger,” Cromwell was rumoured to have
said, “there was not a king in Europe he would not make to tremble,” and
that as he had better motives than the late King of Sweden he believed
himself capable of doing more for the good of nations than the other did
for his own ambition. Marvell hailed him on his return from Ireland as a
deliverer,—one whose future conquests should mark a new era in the
history of all oppressed nations.

                     “A Cæsar he ere long to Gaul,
                     To Italy a Hannibal,
                       And to all states not free
                       Shall climacteric be.”

Cromwell’s acts, however, showed no trace of the revolutionary zeal
attributed to him. He revealed himself at his first appearance in
foreign politics as a keen and realistic statesman, more anxious to
extend his country’s trade and his country’s territory than to spread
republican principles in foreign parts. The only sentimental
consideration which seemed to move him was sympathy for oppressed
Protestants. He refused the proposals which Condé’s agents made to him
immediately after Worcester, but he did not hesitate to send one
emissary to Paris to negotiate with De Retz, and another to ascertain
the real condition of the south of France. The question how to improve
the position of the Huguenots was the one which interested him most, and
it soon appeared evident that to effect this by an understanding with
the French Government would be easier than to attempt armed intervention
in their favour. From the beginning, therefore, Cromwell showed a
preference for the French rather than the Spanish alliance. In the
spring of 1652, he and two other members of the Council of State opened
a secret negotiation with Mazarin for the cession of Dunkirk. Its
garrison was hard pressed by the Spaniards, and the opinion was that the
French Government, being unable to relieve it, would rather see it in
English than Spanish hands. In April, five thousand English soldiers
were collected at Dover, to be embarked for Dunkirk at a moment’s
notice. But Mazarin refused to pay the price demanded for the English
alliance, and while he hesitated and haggled, the partisans of a Spanish
alliance gained the upper hand in the English Council and the
negotiation was broken off. As France continued its refusal to recognise
the Republic unconditionally, it became necessary to use force. In
September, 1652, Blake swooped down on a French fleet sent to revictual
Dunkirk, took seven ships, and destroyed or drove ashore the rest, with
the result that the besieged fortress surrendered to the Spaniards the
next day. At last, in December, 1652, an ambassador arrived in London
announcing, in the name of Louis XIV., that the union which should exist
between neighbouring states was not regulated by their form of
government, and formally recognising the Commonwealth.




  (_In the Palace of Westminster, 1899._)

Ere this took place, England had become involved in a war with Holland.
The two Protestant Republics seemed created by nature for allies.
England had helped the Dutch to establish their freedom, and Holland had
ever been the chosen refuge of Puritan fugitives. But ever since 1642,
dynastic and commercial causes had driven the two states farther apart.
The marriage of William II. with Mary, daughter of Charles I., had
secured the support of the Stadtholder to Charles I. and Charles II.,
and neutralised the good will of the Dutch republicans. With the death
of William II., in October, 1650, and the practical abolition of the
office of Stadtholder, the republican party gained the ascendancy, and
better relations seemed possible. Six months later, the Commonwealth
sent St. John and Strickland to The Hague to offer on behalf of England,
not merely a renewal of the old amity, but “a more strict and intimate
alliance and union, whereby there may be a more intrinsical and mutual
interest of each in other than hath hitherto been, for the good of
both.” The Dutch were willing to make a close commercial alliance, but
would go no farther, and negotiations were broken off without any
discussion of the “coalescence,” or political union, which the English
ambassadors were empowered to propose. After this failure the commercial
rivalry of the two nations became more acute. “We are rivals,” a member
of the Long Parliament once said, “for the fairest mistress in the
world—trade.” In March, 1651, the Dutch made a treaty with Denmark,
which damaged English trade in the Baltic. In October, England passed
the Navigation Act, which at one stroke barred Dutch commerce with the
English colonies, deprived Dutch fishermen of their market in England,
and threatened to destroy the Dutch carrying trade. The United Provinces
sent ambassadors to negotiate for its repeal, but other questions arose
which complicated the situation still further. There were old disputes
about the acknowledgment of the sovereignty of England in the British
seas, the salute due to the English flag, and the right to exact tribute
for permission to fish. There was a new dispute about the rights of
neutrals. England, practically at war with France, claimed the right of
seizing French goods in Dutch ships, whilst the Dutch put forward the
principle that the flag covered the cargo. Memories of the Amboyna
Massacre, and demands for compensation for old misdeeds of the Dutch in
the East Indies, put fresh obstacles in the way of agreement. Then on
May 12, 1652, came a chance collision between Blake and Tromp, off
Dover, and the two Republics were at war.

To Cromwell, nothing could have been more unwelcome than this war with
the Dutch. He thought England in the right on the questions at issue
between the two states, and when Parliament sent him to investigate the
causes of the fight, he came back convinced that the fault lay with
Tromp and not with Blake. But the war threatened to frustrate for ever
the scheme of a league of Protestant powers which Cromwell cherished in
his heart. “I do not like the war,” he declared to the representatives
of the Dutch congregation in London; “I will do everything in my power
to bring about peace.” In every attempt made to come to terms with the
Dutch, Cromwell headed the peace party, and the negotiations through
unofficial agents, which began in the summer of 1652, were inspired by

At first, the result of the war was favourable to England. The Dutch had
an enormous commerce and a comparatively small navy; England had a large
navy and comparatively little commerce. “The English,” said a Dutchman,
“were attacking a mountain of gold, while the Dutch were attacking a
mountain of iron.” Individually, the English men-of-war were stronger
vessels than the Dutch, and armed with heavier guns. Moreover, English
naval operations were under the direction of one body, whilst the Dutch
were managed by five distinct admiralty boards. Added to this, the
geographical position of England gave it the command of the route by
which Dutch fleets approached their own shores, and while Blake and
Ayscue were free to attack as they chose, the Dutch admirals were
generally hampered by the task of defending large convoys of
merchantmen. In November, 1652, however, Tromp defeated Blake off
Dungeness, and for more than two months the command of the Channel
passed to the Dutch. It was not regained till Blake and Monk defeated
him in a three days’ fight off Portland, in February, 1653. Meanwhile,
in the Mediterranean, one English squadron had been defeated off Elba,
and another was blockaded in Leghorn; the Baltic was closed to English
commerce, Denmark was about to ally itself with Holland to maintain the
exclusion, and 1652 closed gloomily for the Commonwealth.

A still stronger argument for peace was provided by the internal
condition of England. The war put a stop to all reforms; instead of
progress there was a retrograde movement. The army cost a million and a
half a year, the navy nearly a million; three hundred thousand pounds
were required to build new frigates, and there was a deficit of about
half a million. To meet this expenditure, the Long Parliament fell back
on the old plan and confiscated the estates of about 650 persons, and
applied the proceeds to the maintenance of the navy. Most of the persons
thus sentenced to beggary were insignificant people who had done nothing
deserving such a punishment. The healing policy which Cromwell had
advocated was definitely abandoned, and he was full of indignation at
the injustice he witnessed. “Poor men,” he afterwards said, “were driven
like flocks of sheep by forty in a morning to confiscation of goods and
estates, without any man being able to give a reason why two of them
should forfeit a shilling.”

The reorganisation of the Church ceased to make any progress. Parliament
discussed some of the proposals of Cromwell’s committee, but did
nothing. One of its last acts was to decline to continue the powers of
the Commissioners for the Propagation of the Gospel in Wales, appointed
some three years earlier. To Cromwell, this refusal seemed a deliberate
discouragement of “the poor people of God in Wales,” and a clear proof
that men zealous for the spread of religion had little to hope from the
Parliament. “That business,” he said, “to myself and officers was as
plain a trial of their spirits as anything.” As to the reform of the
law, it appeared equally hopeless. Hale’s bills lay neglected on the
table of the House, or, like that for the registration of all titles to
land, were swamped by floods of talk in committee.

  “I will not say,” said Cromwell of the Parliament, “that they were
  come to an utter inability of working reformation, though I might
  say so in regard to one thing—the Reformation of the law, so much
  groaned under in the posture it is now. That was a thing we had many
  good words spoken for, but we know now that three months together
  were not enough for the settling of one word ‘Incumbrances.’”

The army grew more and more impatient. In August, 1652, the council of
officers presented a petition to Parliament demanding that “speedy and
effectual means” should be taken for carrying out a long list of reforms
specified. But for Cromwell they would have included in it the demand
for an immediate dissolution. The House gave the officers good words in
plenty, and told them that the things they asked for were “under
consideration,” but months passed and there were only a few feeble
indications of activity. In October, meetings began between the officers
and the leading members of Parliament.

  “I believe,” affirmed Cromwell, “we had at least ten or twelve
  meetings, most humbly begging and beseeching of them that by their
  own means they would bring forth those good things which had been
  promised and expected; that so it might appear that they did not do
  them by any suggestion from the army, but from their own ingenuity:
  so tender were we to preserve them in the reputation of the people.”

Whitelocke relates an interview between himself and Cromwell, in which
the latter dwelt on the pride, ambition, and self-seeking of the members
of Parliament, their engrossing all places of honour and profit for
themselves and their friends, their delays, their factions, their
injustice and partiality, and their design to perpetuate themselves in
power. It was necessary, continued Cromwell, that there should be some
other authority strong enough to restrain and curb the exorbitances of a
body which claimed supreme power and was so unfit to rule. Whitelocke
hoped that the Parliament would mend its ways, and thought it would be
hard to create such an authority. “What if a man should take upon him to
be king?” asked Cromwell. All Whitelocke could answer was, that if
Cromwell were to take upon himself that title the remedy would be worse
than the disease, and that his best plan was to make terms with Charles

These conferences came to nothing, and in January, 1653, the impatience
of the army grew uncontrollable. The officers held regular meetings at
St. James’s, sent a circular letter to the armies in Ireland and
Scotland, appealed to their fellow soldiers to stand by them, and drew
up threatening addresses to Parliament. Most of the council of officers
would be content with nothing less than an immediate dissolution, and
were ready to effect it by force. Cromwell opposed any resort to
violence, and succeeded, though with difficulty, in holding them back.
To a friend, he complained that he was pushed on by two parties to do an
act, “the consideration of the issue whereof made his hair to stand on
end.” Major-General Lambert headed one party, eager to be revenged on
the House for depriving him of the Lord Deputyship of Ireland. The other
was headed by Major-General Harrison, an honest man, “aiming at good
things,” but too impatient to obtain them “to wait the Lord’s leisure.”

Meanwhile Parliament, thoroughly alarmed by the rising agitation, took
up once more the “Bill for a New Representative,” and began to press it
forward in earnest. They determined what the constituencies should be,
and fixed the qualification for the franchise. By the middle of April,
the bill was nearly through committee, and required nothing but a third
reading to make it law. In the hands of the parliamentary leaders,
however, it had become a scheme for perpetuating themselves in power.
The bill was to be a bill for recruiting the numbers of the House, and
the present members were to keep their seats without the necessity of
re-election. They would be the sole judges of the validity of the votes
given, and the eligibility of the persons chosen. Nor was it only at the
next election that this system of recruiting was to be adopted; it was
to be applied also to all future Parliaments.

To this ingenious scheme the officers of the army had many objections.
One was, that the right of election was too loosely defined, and that
its interpretation was entrusted to men in whom they had no confidence.
They insisted on a political as well as a pecuniary qualification for
the franchise, and complained that neutrals and men who had deserted the
cause would be able to vote. To put power into the hands of such men,
was to throw away the liberties of the nation.

Equally objectionable was the system of election proposed. It gave the
people no real right of choice, but only a seeming right. Leicestershire
might be tired of Haslerig, and Hull have lost confidence in Vane, yet
both must continue to be represented by the men they had chosen in 1640.
Lancashire would cease to be unrepresented, but the members it elected
might be kept out by the veto of men who had practically elected
themselves. Though the army was prepared to restrict the franchise and
limit the choice of the electors, it was not prepared to acquiesce in so
complete a mockery of representative government.

To Cromwell and the constitutional theorists amongst the officers, there
was another insurmountable objection to the bill. What they disliked
most in the rule of the Long Parliament was the union of legislative and
executive power in the hands of a body possessing unlimited authority
and always in session. They wanted short Parliaments, sitting for not
more than six months in the year, and limited in their power as well as
in their duration. What the bill offered instead of the perpetuation of
the Long Parliament, was a succession of perpetual Parliaments, sitting
all the year round, following each other without any interval, and
exercising the same arbitrary power which the Long Parliament had

  “We should have had fine work then,” said Cromwell.... “A Parliament
  of four hundred men, executing arbitrary government without
  intermission, except some change of a part of them; one Parliament
  stepping into the seat of another, just left warm for them; the same
  day that the one left, the other was to leap in.... I thought, and I
  think still, that this was a pitiful remedy.”

For these reasons, the officers resolved to prevent the passage of the
bill at any cost. The whole future of the Cause seemed to depend on the

  “We came,” said Cromwell, “to this conclusion amongst ourselves:
  That if we had been fought out of our liberties and rights,
  necessity would have taught us patience, but to deliver them up
  would render us the basest persons in the world, and worthy to be
  accounted haters of God and His people.”

Cromwell became reluctantly convinced that if persuasion failed, it was
his duty to use force.

The only hope of an honourable ending of the Long Parliament lay in its
acceptance of a compromise. At a conference with some members on April
19, 1653, Cromwell and the officers proposed an expedient which they
thought would answer: Let the Parliament drop the bill, dissolve itself
at once, and appoint a provisional government. Let the members “devolve
their trust to some well affected men, such as had an interest in the
nation, and were known to be of good affection to the Commonwealth,” and
leave these men “to settle the nation.” “It was no new thing,” said the
officers, “when this land was under the like hurlyburlies,” and they
proved it by historical precedents. The members demurred and argued, but
in the end they promised to think it over and meet the officers for
another conference next day. Vane and others pledged themselves, in the
meantime, to suspend further proceedings on the Bill for a New
Representative, and the officers separated hopefully.

Another parliamentary leader, Sir Arthur Haslerig, whose authority with
the House was equal, if not superior, to Vane’s, had come up from the
country resolved to defeat the compromise. He told his fellow members
vehemently that the work they went about was accursed, and that it was
impossible to devolve their trust. When the House met next day, it
adopted Haslerig’s view, called for the bill, and proceeded to push it
through its last stage regardless of protests. They meant then to
adjourn to November, so that it would be impossible to amend or repeal
the act; to leave the Council of State to carry on the government, and
to make Fairfax General, instead of Cromwell.

News came to Cromwell at Whitehall that the House was proceeding with
all speed upon the Bill fora New Representative. Till a second and a
third messenger confirmed the tidings, he could not believe “that such
persons would be so unworthy.” Then he hurried down to the House,
dressed as he was, not like a general or a soldier, but like an ordinary
citizen, “clad in plain black clothes with grey worsted stockings,” and
sat down, as he used to do, “in an ordinary place.” For a quarter of an
hour he sat still, listening to the debate, until the Speaker was about
to put the question whether the bill should pass. Cromwell turned to
Major-General Harrison, whispered “This is the time I must do it,” and,
rising in his place, put off his hat and addressed the House. At first,
and for a good while, he spoke in commendation of the Parliament,
praising its labours and its care for the public good. Then he changed
his note, and told the members of their injustice, their delays of
justice, their self-interest, and other faults. As his passion grew, he
put his hat on his head, strode up and down the floor of the House, and,
looking first at one, then at another member, chid them soundly, naming
no names, but showing by his gestures whom he meant. These were corrupt,
those scandalous in their lives, that man fraudulent, that an unjust
judge. “Perhaps you think,” he said, “that this is not parliamentary
language; I confess it is not; neither are you to expect any such from
me. You are no Parliament, I say you are no Parliament. I will put an
end to your sitting.” “Call them in,” he cried, turning to Harrison, and
at the word Harrison went out and brought back twenty or thirty
musketeers of Cromwell’s own regiment from the lobby. Only a show of
force was needed. Cromwell pointed to the Speaker in his chair, and said
to Harrison, “Fetch him down.” The Speaker refused to leave the chair
unless he were forced. “Sir,” said Harrison, “I will lend you my hand,”
and putting his hand in Lenthall’s he helped him to the floor. Sidney,
who sat next the chair that day, declined to move. “Put him out,”
ordered Cromwell; so Harrison and an officer laid their hands on his
shoulders and led him towards the door. Then, looking scornfully at the
mace on the table, Cromwell exclaimed, “What shall we do with this
bauble?” and, calling a soldier, said, “Here, take it away.”

After the mace and the Speaker were gone, all the members left the
House. As they went out, Cromwell turned to them and cried: “It is you
that have forced me to this, for I have sought the Lord night and day,
that He would rather slay me than put me upon the doing this work.”
Addressing Vane by name, he reproached him with his broken faith, adding
that he might have prevented this, but he was a juggler and had no
common honesty. Then, taking the bill from the hands of the clerk of the
House, he ordered the doors to be locked, and went away.

It remained still to dissolve the Council of State which the Parliament
had appointed. In the afternoon, Cromwell came to the Council, and told
its members that if they were met as private persons they should not be
disturbed; but if as a council, it was no place for them, and they were
to take notice that the Parliament was dissolved.

  “Sir,” replied John Bradshaw, “we have heard what you did at the
  House this morning, and before many hours all England will hear it;
  but you are mistaken to think that the Parliament is dissolved; for
  no power under heaven can dissolve them but themselves: therefore,
  take you notice of that.”

Bradshaw was right: the ideal of constitutional government which the
Long Parliament represented would prove stronger in the end than
Cromwell’s redcoats. That Parliament had all the faults with which
Cromwell charged it; but for Englishmen it meant inherited rights,
“freedom broadening slowly down,” and all that survived of the supremacy
of law. With its expulsion, the army flung away the one shred of
legality with which it had hitherto covered its actions. Henceforth,
military force must put its native semblance on, and appear in its
proper shape. Henceforth, Cromwell’s life was a vain attempt to clothe
that force in constitutional forms, and make it seem something else, so
that it might become something else. Yet was there not also something to
be hoped from a policy which took its stand on realities instead of
legal fictions?




                              CHAPTER XVI

The fall of the Long Parliament was received with general satisfaction.
“There was not so much as the barking of a dog or any general and
visible repining at it,” said Cromwell afterwards. His words are
justified by the facts. Hyde termed it a most popular and obliging act,
and the French Ambassador told his Government that nobility and populace
universally rejoiced at General Cromwell’s noble deed. Public feeling
found vent in ballads. One described the scene of the dissolution,
relating what Cromwell had said, and how the members had looked.

            “Brave Oliver came to the House like a sprite,
              His fiery face struck the Speaker dumb,
            ‘Begone,’ said he, ‘you have sate long enough;
              Do you mean to sit here until Doomsday come?’”



  (_From the painting by Sir Peter Lely._)

“Cheer up, kind countrymen, be not dismayed,” sang another street poet,
ending every verse with the exultant chorus: “Twelve parliament men
shall be sold for a penny.”

For a few weeks, Cromwell was the most popular man in the nation.
Royalists whispered that the King would marry Cromwell’s daughter, and
that Cromwell would content himself with a dukedom and the viceroyalty
of Ireland. A more general belief was that he would assume the crown
himself. An enthusiastic partisan hung up in the Exchange a picture of
Cromwell crowned, with the invitation underneath:

            “Ascend three thrones, great captain and divine,
            I’ th’ will of God, old Lion, they are thine.”

Cromwell’s own view of his position was that, being Commander-in-chief
by Act of Parliament, his commission made him the only constituted
authority left standing. His desire was to put an end to this
dictatorship as soon as he could. The sword must be divested of all
power in the civil administration, and the army leaders must prove to
the world that they had not turned out the Long Parliament in order to
grasp at power themselves. The army itself accepted Cromwell’s view, but
on the nature of the new civil authority to be set up there were two
views amongst the officers. For the present, a temporary Council of
State, consisting of thirteen persons, most of whom were officers,
carried on the daily business of administration.

As to the future, Major-General Lambert advocated one kind of
government, and Major-General Harrison another. Lambert was a gentleman
of good family, with some political aptitude and some constitutional
knowledge, but less of either than he fancied. A dashing leader and a
skilful tactician, he was popular because of his gallant bearing and his
genial temper, and believed to be honest because he was good-natured. As
a politician he was an intriguer, inscrutable, scheming, and insatiably
ambitious. Harrison was a man of no birth and little education, bred on
perverted prophecies, full of desperate courage and high-flown
enthusiasms,—a man born to lead forlorn hopes and die for lost causes,
who did both even to the admiration of his enemies. Unselfish in his own
aims, he swayed others by his devotion and his zeal. But he was fitter
to command the left wing in the battle of Armageddon than to take any
part in the government of earthly states.

Lambert wished to entrust power to a small council of ten or twelve.
Harrison wished to give it to a larger council of seventy members like
the Jewish Sanhedrin. Lambert’s party proposed that the council should
be assisted by an elected Parliament, and the authority of both defined
by a written constitution. Harrison’s followers wished to dispense with
a Parliament altogether. The first adhered to the principles laid down
in the Agreement of the People, which they had drawn up four years
earlier. The second were inspired by the opinions of the Fifth Monarchy
men, and believed that the time had come to realise their hopes. Of the
four great monarchies of the world’s history, the Assyrian and the
Persian, the Macedonian and the Roman, three had fallen, and the fourth
was tottering to its fall. At last, as the prophets had foretold, the
monarchy of Christ was to begin, and till He came to reign in person,
His saints were to rule for Him. A text which Harrison had often in his
mouth was—“The saints shall take the kingdom and possess it.”



  (_From a painting by Robert Walker, in the National Portrait

When Cromwell dissolved the Long Parliament, he had no definite plan for
the future government of England. He was not a Fifth Monarchy man, but
he had no faith in paper constitutions. He was convinced that godly men
would make the best governors, but he felt that a government somewhat
like a Parliament would be most satisfactory to the nation.

The result was a compromise by which a larger and more representative
assembly than Harrison had proposed, was called together. In each county
the Congregational Churches were asked to nominate suitable persons, and
from this list the council of officers selected those it thought
fittest. A hundred and forty persons were thus chosen, of whom five
represented Scotland, six Ireland, and the rest England. A writ
addressed to each person separately, from Oliver Cromwell,
Captain-General, recited that he had been nominated by the General with
the advice of his council of officers as one of the men to whom the
weighty affairs of the Commonwealth were to be entrusted. All were
Puritan notables, combining godliness with fidelity to the cause, and
described in the writs as “men fearing God and hating covetousness.”

On July 4th, they met at Westminster, and on behalf of the army Cromwell
presented them with a deed under his hand and seal, whereby the several
persons therein mentioned were constituted the supreme authority. In his
opening speech he related the causes which had led to the dissolution of
the Long Parliament and their own convocation, adding some advice on the
use they were to make of their power. Let them be just and tender to all
kinds of Christians, endeavour the promoting of the Gospel, and study to
win the support of the nation by their devotion to the public weal.
“Convince them that as men fearing God have fought them out of their
bondage, so men fearing God do now rule them in the fear of God.” In the
war, and in the events which had led to the overthrow of the monarchy,
there was “an evident print of providence,” and now the task of
government had come to them “by the way of necessity, by the way of the
wise providence of God.” “God manifests this to be the day of the power
of Christ; having through so much blood, and so much trial as hath been
upon these nations, made this to be one of the great issues thereof: to
have His people called to the supreme authority.” Let them therefore own
their call, for never any body of men had come into the supreme
authority in such a way of owning God and being owned by Him.

It was not, said Cromwell, by his own design that this had come to pass.

  “I never looked to see such a day as this.... Indeed it is
  marvellous, and it hath been unprojected. It’s not long since either
  you or we came to know of it. And indeed this hath been the way God
  hath dealt with us all along; to keep things from our eyes all
  along, so that we have seen nothing in all His dispensations long
  beforehand—which is also a witness, in some measure, to our

Since God had brought about so wonderful a thing, why should they not
hope for things more wonderful still? “Why should we be afraid to say or
think, that this way may be the door to usher in the things that God
hath promised and prophesied of, and set the hearts of His people to
wait for and expect?” Again and again Cromwell reiterated these hopes.
“Indeed I do think somewhat is at the door. We are at the threshold.”
“You are at the edge of the promises and prophecies.” He ended by
quoting the 68th Psalm as a prophecy of the glory and the triumph of
“the Gospel Churches.” “The triumph of that Psalm is exceeding high, and
God is accomplishing it.”

The assembly to which he spoke was equally confident that its meeting
marked the opening of a new era. “They looked,” as they declared, “for
the long-expected birth of freedom and happiness.” “All the world over
amongst the people of God” there was “a more than usual expectation of
some great and strange changes coming upon the world, which we can
hardly believe to be paralleled with any times but those a while before
the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Full of hope, the
assembly set to work to fulfil its mission. It voted itself the title of
Parliament, invited Cromwell and four other representative officers to
take part in its proceedings, elected a new Council of State, and
appointed twelve great Committees for the redress of all kinds of
grievances. It took in hand, simultaneously, the reform of the Law and
of the Church. The abolition of the Court of Chancery was voted after a
single day’s debate. Its delays and costliness had long been a scandal,
and it was said that twenty-three thousand causes of five to thirty
years’ standing were lying there undetermined. Next came an Act
establishing civil marriage, and providing for the registration of
births, marriages, and burials. Acts were passed for the relief of
prisoners for debt, for the safe custody of idiots and lunatics, and for
the removal of some smaller legal abuses. A committee was appointed to
codify the Law, and sanguine reformers talked of reducing its great
volumes “into the bigness of a pocket book, as it is proportionable in
New England and elsewhere.” The Fifth Monarchy preachers at Blackfriars
went further, and bade them abolish the law of man, and set up in its
place the law of God. They required not a simplification of the laws of
England, but a code based on the laws of Moses.

The Church was taken in hand with the same rough vigour as the Law. A
proposal to abolish tithes at once was lost by a few votes, but even its
opponents were willing to abolish them if lay tithe-owners were
compensated, and if some other maintenance were provided for the clergy.
So the whole question was referred to a committee. On the other hand, a
resolution abolishing patronage was passed by seventeen votes, and a
bill ordered to be drawn up to carry it into effect. There were also
persistent rumours of an impending attack on the endowments of the
universities, and a large party in the House were opposed to any
established Church, or any ministry not dependent on voluntary support.
Outside Parliament, the Fifth Monarchy preachers denounced the parochial
clergy as “hirelings” and “priests of Baal.” Their sermons described the
Church as an “outwork of Babylon,” and a part of the “Kingdom of the
Beast.” The great design of Christ, they said, was to destroy all
anti-Christian forms and churches and clergy all over the world. Their
hymns summoned the faithful to follow the Lord to war.

                  “The Lord begins to honour us,
                    The Saints are marching on,
                  The sword is sharp, the arrows swift
                    To destroy Babylon.”

In private, the Fifth Monarchy men were caballing to make Harrison Lord
General instead of Cromwell.

Cromwell was dissatisfied and alarmed at the conduct of the Little
Parliament and its consequences. Instead of promoting the Gospel, they
had threatened to deprive its ministers of the means of subsistence.
Instead of allaying sectarian strife their policy had embittered it. His
own persistent attempts to reconcile religious animosities met with
little success. Vainly he arranged conferences between Presbyterian,
Independent, and Baptist ministers to persuade them to live harmoniously
together. As he complained to his son-in-law, Fleetwood: “Fain would I
have my service accepted of the Saints, if the Lord will, but it is not
so. Being of different judgments, and those of each sort seeking most to
propagate their own, that spirit of kindness that is to all, is hardly
accepted of any.” When he tried to mediate between the fighting
ecclesiastics, they turned on him as the two Israelites did on Moses,
and asked, “Who made thee a prince or a judge over us?” Because he
wished to support a national Church the Blackfriars preachers abused him
as “The Old Dragon” and “The Man of Sin.” Because he had not called a
real Parliament, the Levellers accused him of high treason to “his lords
the people of England.” For what he had done and what he had left undone
Cromwell was attacked by fanatics of all parties.

At the same time the position of the Republic had changed for the worse
since the Little Parliament began to sit. The Dutch war still continued,
and though Monk had gained two decisive victories, on June 3rd and July
31st, over the Dutch fleet, peace was still far off. The chief obstacle
to it was the exorbitant terms which the Little Parliament demanded, and
on this question also Cromwell was at issue with the men now in power.
Peace had become a necessity to England as well as Holland, for in
September it was discovered that there would be a deficit of over half a
million on the estimates for the navy. A new insurrection, fanned by
promises of Dutch aid, had broken out in Scotland. In England there was
a marked revival of royalist feeling, and a plot for the surprise of
Portsmouth had been discovered. The Levellers were once more raising
their heads. Lilburn, defying the penalty imposed by the act of
banishment, had returned to England, and in August, 1653, he was tried
for his contumacy. Crowds flocked to hear him tried, or to rescue him if
condemned, and when he was acquitted their shouting was heard a mile
off. Even the soldiers set to guard the Court blew their trumpets and
beat their drums for joy, and it seemed as if the agitation suppressed
in 1649 was beginning again.

Cromwell was now thoroughly disillusioned and began to repent his part
in putting the men of the Little Parliament in power.

In later years, when he referred to his experiment, he called it
apologetically “a story of my own weakness and folly.”

  “And yet,” he said, “it was done in my simplicity. It was thought
  then that men of our own judgment, who had fought in the wars, and
  were all of a piece upon that account, why surely these men will hit
  it, and these men will do it to the purpose, whatever can be
  desired. And such a company of men were chosen and did proceed to
  action. And this was the naked truth, that the issue was not
  answerable to the simplicity and honesty of the design.”

Besides repenting his own act, Cromwell began to doubt his own motives.
Was his eagerness to transfer supreme power to others an honest
constitutional scruple, or a cowardly evasion of responsibility? Was it
not, perhaps, “a desire, I am afraid sinful enough, to be quit of the
power God had most clearly by His providence put into my hands before He
called me to lay it down; before those honest ends of our fighting were
attained and settled.”

Not only the General, but the officers, too, were dissatisfied with
their creation. Apart from political or religious considerations, the
proceedings of the Little Parliament seriously affected their interests
as soldiers. It had touched their honour and threatened their pockets. A
point on which the soldiers were justly sensitive was the strict
observance of capitulations with royalist commanders, and in one
notorious case articles of surrender had been grossly violated, and the
Parliament had refused redress. Great opposition had been made to the
renewal of the monthly assessment for the maintenance of the army, and a
more equitable way of raising the money had been proposed. The soldiers
feared that if this new method were adopted their pay would fall
behindhand, and they would be obliged to starve or take free quarters.
Still further irritation was caused by a motion that, in view of the
pressing needs of the State, and the wealth they had obtained in its
service, the higher officers should serve without pay for a whole year.

The discontented officers naturally turned to their General for help.
Lambert and his party took up once more the idea of a written
constitution. In November, a meeting of officers took place at which
Lambert’s scheme was discussed and adopted. It was a first draft of the
Instrument of Government, the main difference being that it placed at
the head of the State a King instead of a Protector. At the end of the
month, it was submitted to Cromwell. “They told me,” he said, “that
except I would undertake the government they thought things would hardly
come to a settlement, but blood and confusion would break in upon us.”
But to all their solicitation he replied with refusals. He had two great
objections to accepting their offer. One was the aversion to the title
of King, which revealed itself again in 1657. The other was that he had
empowered the Little Parliament to sit till the end of 1654, and he was
not willing to expel a second Parliament by force of arms. Lambert’s
plot was frustrated by the reluctance of the principal actor, and he
retired sulkily to the country.

Cromwell still hoped that the Parliament might be induced to adopt a
wiser policy. The strength of the two parties in it was very nearly
equal, and a few votes might turn the scale in favour of the moderate
section. A final battle on the Church question brought about a new trial
of strength. On December 2nd, the Committee on Tithes produced a report
containing a regular scheme for the reorganisation of the Church. One
clause proposed the appointment of itinerant commissioners to eject
unfit ministers and fill up vacant livings. Another provided that the
present provision for the maintenance of approved ministers should be
guaranteed by Parliament. Others affirmed that tithes were legal
property, and suggested a plan for their commutation in case of persons
who had conscientious scruples about paying them. Over this report the
two parties fought for five whole sittings. The question whether the
Church should be reformed or disestablished hung on their decision. At
last, on Saturday, December 10th, the extremists triumphed, and the
first clause of the report was rejected by fifty-six to fifty-four
votes. The supporters of the Church regarded the division as fatal to
the whole scheme.

Immediately on this defeat, the moderate party in the Parliament and the
malcontents amongst the officers came to an agreement. All Sunday the
leaders intrigued and negotiated. The one expedient left was to persuade
the Parliament to abdicate, and make way for a more capable government.
If the difficulty of getting rid of the Parliament was peaceably solved,
those who knew Cromwell felt sure he would accept the accomplished fact,
and assume the power offered him. The thing was not impossible, if it
was properly worked. Some of the majority had voted on side issues;
others might be gained over. Absentees were whipped up; waverers were
appealed to through their interests or their fears. An argument which
weighed with some was, that the army meant to put a stop to the sitting
of the Parliament, and that a decent suicide was the only way to avoid a
violent end.

On Monday, December 12th, the Moderates rose early and came to the House
betimes. As soon as business began, Colonel Sydenham and other leaders
of the party rose up and inveighed against the policy of their
opponents. They charged them with seeking to destroy the army by not
making sufficient and timely provision for its pay, with endeavouring to
overthrow the Law, the Clergy, and the property of the subject. In
conclusion they moved, “that the sitting of this Parliament any longer,
as it is now constituted, will not be for the good of the Commonwealth,
and that therefore it is requisite to deliver up to the Lord General
Cromwell the powers which they had received from him.”

Everything went off with the precision of a field-day. The debate was
very short. One party strove to spin it out till the House grew fuller
and their reinforcements came up. The other had resolved to carry the
enemy’s position by storm. It was no time to debate, said the Moderates,
but to do something to prevent the calamities which threatened the
State. Old Rouse, the Speaker, who was in the plot himself, ended the
discussion by rising from the chair, and left the House without stopping
to put the question or to hear the opponents of the motion. In vain they
called to him to stop. Preceded by the mace, and accompanied by the
clerk of the House, he marched off with fifty or sixty members to
Whitehall. Arrived there, they proceeded to sign their names to a paper
returning their powers to Cromwell, and became once more private
persons. Eventually about eighty members signed this act of abdication.

About twenty-seven members had stayed behind in the House. They were too
few to form a quorum, and could not act as a Parliament. While they were
drawing up a protest against the late proceedings, two colonels entered
and ordered them to come out. “We are here,” said one of the members,
“by a call from the General, and will not come out by your desire unless
you have a command from him.” The colonels had no order from Cromwell to
produce, but they fetched in two files of musketeers, and the members
took the hint.

Cromwell had taken no part in the plot for procuring the abdication of
the Little Parliament. “I can say it,” he told the members of the next
Parliament, “in the presence of divers persons here who know whether I
lie, that I did not know one tittle of that resignation, till they all
came and brought it, and delivered it into my hands.” As none of the
said persons ever contradicted his statement, it may be accepted as
true. It sufficed for him to remain passive, and power came back to his
hands by a sort of natural necessity. Once more he was in possession of
the dictatorship he had sought to lay down. “My power was again by this
resignation as boundless and unlimited as before, all things being
subject to arbitrariness, and myself a person having power over the
three nations without bound or limit set; all government being
dissolved, and all civil administration at an end.” For the second time
Lambert and his allies urged Cromwell to accept the government under the
constitution which they had drawn up. The difficulty of getting rid of
the Little Parliament no longer stood in the way, and the title of King
had been replaced by the title of Protector. They also pointed out to
him that the acceptance of the Protectorship in no way increased his
power. On the contrary, it put an end to his dictatorship, and reduced
his power by imposing constitutional restrictions upon its exercise. It
bound him to do nothing without the consent of either a Council or a
Parliament. Another argument was still more effective. Once more they
warned Cromwell, that, unless he would undertake the government, anarchy
was inevitable, and made him responsible for the “blood and confusion”
which would be the result. After three or four days’ discussion,
Cromwell accepted the constitution, to which a general meeting of
officers had in the interim given their approval and adhesion. He was
solemnly installed as Protector on December 16, 1653, dressed not like a
general in scarlet, but like a citizen in a plain black coat, to show
all men that military rule was over, and civil government restored.

The new constitution, like the Agreement of the People in 1649,
represented the political ideas of the officers of the army. But since
1649 the officers had lost confidence in the people, and they sought now
to erect a government based on something firmer than the will of a
fickle multitude. A written constitution was asserted to be a better
foundation for a government than popular consent, for the express reason
that the people would have no power to alter it. There had been enough
of commotion, and confusion, and change. “It was high time that some
power should pass a decree upon the wavering humours of the people, and
say to this nation, as the Almighty Himself said once to the unruly sea:
‘Here shall be thy bounds; hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther.’”
This was what Lambert and the officers assumed the right to say when
they imposed the “Instrument of Government” upon England.

Throughout its provisions their distrust of the English people is
evident. Little boroughs were abolished and constituencies made more
equal, but the franchise instead of being extended was restricted. In
boroughs, the franchise remained unaltered—that is, the right of
election was generally in the hands of the corporation; in counties, the
forty-shilling freeholders were abolished, and a new franchise was
created, which gave the vote to all men possessing property worth two
hundred pounds. Henceforth, therefore, Parliament would represent the
opinions and interests of the middle classes.

Distrust of the electors was naturally accompanied by distrust of the
representatives. For the future, the legislative and executive powers
were to be kept permanently separate. The authority and the duration of
Parliament were strictly limited. It was to meet once in three years,
but to sit for five months only. It had power to legislate as it thought
fit, but its laws must not contravene the provisions of the
constitution. Its consent to levy money for extraordinary expenses was
necessary, but a constant yearly revenue was to be raised to meet the
ordinary charge of civil government, army, and navy, which Parliament
had no right to diminish.

The Protector possessed the executive power, but his authority was
limited also. Except when bills contained something contrary to the
constitution, he had no right to veto them. In domestic administration
and in foreign affairs, he could not act without the consent of the
Council; in taxation and for the employment of the army, he needed the
consent of Parliament or Council. The members of the new Council were,
in Cromwell’s phrase, “the trustees of the Commonwealth in the intervals
of Parliament,” and possessed far more power than the Council of State
erected in 1649. The councillors, most of whom were appointed by the
“Instrument” itself, held office for life, and in their hands lay the
choice of the Protector’s successor.

The object of this complicated system of checks and balances was to
prevent either Parliament or Protector from becoming absolute, and to
render religious liberty unassailable. None knew better than the leaders
of the army how slight a hold upon the nation the principle of
toleration had obtained, or how little religious parties were willing to
accept it. “This hath been one of the vanities of our contest,” said
Cromwell. “Every sect saith, ‘Oh give me liberty,’ but give it him and
to his power he will not yield it to anybody else.” For the ingenious
political devices of the constitution the Protector cared very little,
but the religious settlement was a settlement after his own heart. There
was to be a national Church, maintained for the present by tithes, in
the future, it was hoped, by some better way. Outside the Church, there
was to be full liberty of worship for those who did not belong to it,
“provided they did not abuse their liberty to the civil injury of
others, or to the actual disturbance of the public peace.” But this
liberty was not to extend to Popery or Prelacy, which were politically
dangerous, or “to such as under the profession of Christ hold forth and
practise licentiousness.”

This was the religious freedom which ever since 1647 the army had
demanded, and had at last realised. Yet in spite of all the new
constitution promised, there was little prospect that it would obtain
the acceptance of the nation. England was the last country in which the
attempt to transform a military dictatorship into a sort of
constitutional government was likely to succeed.

At the moment, however, the only opposition there was came from the
Fifth Monarchy men—hostile to anything which resembled a monarchy or an
established Church. Harrison refused to act under the Protector’s
Government, and was deprived of his commission. Fifth Monarchy preachers
raged against the Protector from the pulpit. One called him “the
dissemblingest perjured villain in the world.” Another identified him
with the Little Horn in Daniel’s prophecy, which was to make war against
the Saints and to be destroyed by them.

Their ravings only strengthened Cromwell’s position. What England wanted
was a government which would maintain order and preserve property. The
interests which the Little Parliament had imperilled welcomed Cromwell’s
accession to power. His elevation was a bargain, says Ludlow, with the
corrupt part of the clergy and the lawyers; he became their Protector
and they the humble supporters of his tyranny. So evident was the
advantage which Cromwell derived from the events of the last few months
that what had happened was freely attributed to his profound statecraft.
All was a pageant played by Cromwell, thought Baxter, in order to make
his soldiers out of love with democracy and to render his usurpation
necessary. He was resolved we should be saved by him or perish.

  “He made more use of the wild-headed sectaries than barely to fight
  for him. They now serve him as much by their heresies, their enmity
  to learning and ministry, their pernicious demands which tend to
  confusion, as they had done before by their valour in the field. He
  can now conjure up at pleasure some terrible apparition of
  Agitators, Levellers, and such like, who, as they affrighted the
  King from Hampton Court, shall affright the people to fly to him for
  refuge: that the hand that wounded may heal them.”

Hitherto Cromwell had been the destroyer of old institutions. Now he
came forward as the saviour of society. England, therefore, submitted to
his government without resistance and without enthusiasm, but with a
general feeling of relief. The conversion of the monarchy into a
republic had been violent and bloody; the transition from the Republic
to the Protectorate was as peaceful as one of the ordinary operations of
nature. As such, Waller celebrated it in his poem to Cromwell.

        “Still as you rise, the State exalted too
        Finds no distemper while ’tis changed by you,
        Changed like the world’s great scene when without noise
        The rising sun night’s vulgar lights destroys.”


                              CHAPTER XVII
                       CROMWELL’S DOMESTIC POLICY

Cromwell came into power as the nominee of the army, and in domestic
affairs the programme which he set himself to carry out was that which
the army had set forth in its petitions and manifestoes. For the moment
he was invested with all the authority of a dictator. According to the
“Instrument of Government,” the first triennial Parliament was to meet
in September, 1654, and in the interval the Protector and his Council
were empowered to issue ordinances, which had the force of law “until
order shall be taken in Parliament concerning them.” Cromwell made a
liberal use of this provision, and the period of nine months which
followed his accession was the creative period of his government.
Between December, 1653, and September, 1654, he issued eighty-two
ordinances, nearly all of which were confirmed in 1656 by his second
Parliament. Hallam, in a disparaging comparison between Cromwell and
Napoleon, concludes by saying that Cromwell, unlike Napoleon, “never
showed any signs of a legislative mind, or any desire to fix his renown
on that noblest basis, the amelioration of social institutions.” In
reality, nothing could be farther from the truth, and if Cromwell’s
reforming zeal has left no trace on the statute book, the reason is that
all the laws passed during the Protectorate were annulled at the

All the leading principles of Cromwell’s domestic policy are contained
in the small folio volume of his ordinances. A few are merely
prolongations of expiring acts, others are personal or local in their
application. There is an ordinance for the relief of poor prisoners,
another codifying the law relating to the maintenance of highways, and
there are three devoted to the reorganisation of the Treasury. The
settlement of Ireland and Scotland, and the completion of the union of
the three kingdoms, which the Long Parliament had left unfinished, form
the subject of a third series. But none exhibit so plainly the
Protector’s domestic policy as the three sets of ordinances dealing with
the reform of the Law, the reformation of manners, and the
reorganisation of the national Church.

Ever since 1647, the army had demanded that the laws of England should
be so reformed, “that all suits and questions of right may be made more
clear and certain in their issues, and not so tedious nor chargeable in
their proceedings.” The Long Parliament took the task in hand, made some
slight progress, and then stuck fast. The Little Parliament attempted it
with so much rude vigour that it seemed likely to end in the subversion
of all law. The Protector took up the work where the Long Parliament
left off, and persistently pursued it as long as he ruled.

Cromwell realised its difficulty. “If any man,” he once said, “should
ask me, ‘Why, how will you have it done?’ I confess I do not know.” All
he could do was to select the best men for the purpose, and to leave
them a free hand. Therefore he applied to the lawyers to co-operate,
“being resolved to give the learned of the robe the honour of reforming
their profession,” and hoping “that God will give them hearts to do it.”
His chief assistant was Matthew Hale, who was made a judge by the
Protector early in 1654. At the opening of Parliament in September,
1654, Cromwell announced that the Government had called together
“persons of as great ability and great interest as are in the nation, to
consider how the laws might be made plain and short, and less chargeable
to the people,” and that they had prepared several bills. The most
important of these schemes was the ordinance for the regulation of the
Court of Chancery, published August 21, 1654, and confirmed by
Parliament in 1656. It contained a reduced scale of fees, and embodied,
according to modern lawyers, many valuable reforms. Contemporary
practitioners, such as Whitelocke, held that there was much in the new
procedure which it was impossible or undesirable to carry out, but with
some subsequent modifications it was duly put in force.

Cromwell was equally zealous for the reform of the Criminal Law. In
April, 1653, as soon as he had turned out the Long Parliament, he gave
pardons to all prisoners sentenced to death except those guilty of
murder. His object was to make the laws “conformable to the just and
righteous laws of God.” Some English laws, he told Parliament, were
“wicked and abominable laws.”

  “To hang a man for six and eightpence and I know not what—to hang
  for a trifle and acquit murder, is in the ministration of the law
  through ill framing of it.... To see men lose their lives for petty
  matters is a thing God will reckon, and I wish it may not be laid on
  this nation a day longer than you have opportunity to give a

To carry out these schemes required not merely the help of lawyers to
devise them, but the co-operation of Parliament to make them law. The
Protector’s first Parliament spent all its time in constitutional
debates, and did nothing to reform the Law. His second, busy most of its
existence in the like manner, discussed the bills introduced by the
Government for the establishment of county registers and local courts,
but allowed them to drop. It completed the abolition of feudal incidents
which the Long Parliament had commenced, and which Charles II.’s
Parliament finally placed on the statute book, but it left the harshness
and cruelty of the criminal code for the nineteenth century to redress.

The “Reformation of Manners” was an object in which the Protector
obtained more support from Parliament. All Puritans were eager for it,
and the Long Parliament had made a beginning by acts enjoining the
stricter observance of Sunday, punishing swearing with greater severity,
and making adultery a capital offence. Of the Protector’s ordinances,
one declared duelling “unpleasing to God, unbecoming Christians, and
contrary to all good order and government.” A person sending a challenge
was to be bound over to keep the peace for six months, and a duellist
who killed his opponent was to be tried for murder. A second ordinance
supplemented the act against swearing by special provisions for the
punishment of carmen, porters, and watermen, “who are very ordinarily
drunk and do blaspheme.” A third forbade cock-fighting, because it often
led to disturbances of the peace and was accompanied by gaming and
drunkenness. A fourth suppressed horse-racing for six months, not
because of its accompaniments, but because the Cavaliers made use of
race-meetings “to carry on their pernicious designs.”

When Cromwell’s second Parliament met, he appealed to it to further the

  “I am confident,” said he, “our liberty and prosperity depend upon
  reformation. Make it a shame to see men bold in sin and profaneness
  and God will bless you. Truly these things do respect the souls of
  men, and the spirits, which are the men. The mind is the man. If
  that be kept pure the man signifies somewhat; if not, I would very
  fain see what difference there is betwixt him and a beast. He hath
  only some activity to do some more mischief.”

Parliament answered by confirming the ordinances against duelling,
swearing, and cock-fighting, and passing similar acts of its own. One
was directed against the vagrants and “idle, dissolute” persons who
abounded in all parts of the country. Amongst them, “the bigots of that
iron time” included fiddlers and minstrels taken “playing or making
music” in taverns, who were declared punishable as “rogues and
vagabonds.” A second act was aimed at the professional gamesters about
London, who made it their trade “to cheat and debauch the young gentry.”
A third act enforced the Puritan Sabbath in all its severity. On that
day, no shops might be opened and no manufactures carried on. No
travelling was to be allowed, except in cases of necessity attested by a
certificate from a justice, and persons “vainly and profanely walking on
the day aforesaid” were to be punished. Sunday closing was the rule for
all inns and alehouses, though the dressing or sale of victuals in a
moderate way, “for the use of such as cannot otherwise be provided for,”
was permitted.

Much of this drastic legislation was ineffective. In some cases it went
far beyond the feeling of the times. Juries steadily refused to convict
persons charged with adultery under the act of 1650, and it is doubtful
whether the capital penalty was ever actually inflicted. In many places,
the local authorities were indifferent or timid. “We may have good
laws,” said the Protector, “against the common country disorders that
are everywhere, yet who is to execute them?” Hardly the country
justices. “A justice of the peace shall by most be wondered at as an
owl, if he go but one step out of the ordinary course of his fellow
justices in the reformation of these things.” Hence the value in
Cromwell’s eyes of the Major-Generals established throughout England in
the autumn of 1655. They were not simply military officers charged to
keep an eye on the political enemies of the government, but police
magistrates required to repress crime and immorality in their respective
districts. Pride put a stop to bear-baiting in London by killing the
bears, and to cock-fighting by wringing the necks of the cocks. Whalley
boasted, after he had been a few months in office, that there were no
vagrants left in Nottinghamshire, and in every county his colleagues
suppressed unnecessary alehouses by the score. Nor was it only humble
offenders who were struck at: neither the rich nor the noble escaped the
impartial severity of these military reformers. “Let them be who they
may that are debauched,” said Cromwell, “it is for the glory of God that
nothing of outward consideration should save them from a just punishment
and reformation.” He claimed that the establishment of the
Major-Generals had been “more effectual towards the discountenancing of
vice and the settling of religion than anything done these fifty years.”
Their rule ended in the spring of 1657, and Cromwell feared that the
work of reformation would come to a stop. But the experiment had infused
new vigour into the local administration, which lasted as long as the
Protectorate endured.

In spite of these restrictive laws, it must not be imagined that there
was any general suppression of public amusements or sports. “Lawful and
laudable recreations” even Puritans encouraged. In 1647, when the Long
Parliament prohibited the observation of Christmas and of saints’ days
in general, it passed an act giving servants, apprentices, and scholars
a whole holiday once a month, for “recreation and relaxation from their
constant and ordinary labours.” The Protector himself hunted, hawked,
and played bowls, just as if he had been a Royalist country-gentleman.
He told Parliament that he suppressed race-meetings not because they
were unlawful, but because they were temporarily inexpedient. With all
his zeal for Sunday closing, the suppression of unnecessary alehouses,
and the punishment of drunkenness, it never occurred to him to stop the
sale of drink altogether. He drank wine and small beer himself, and
quoted as illogical and absurd “the man who would keep all wine out of
the country lest men should be drunk.” The idea was contrary to his
conception of civil freedom. “It will be found,” he said, “an unjust and
unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon a
supposition he may abuse it. When he doth abuse it, judge.”

In the moral crusade he had undertaken, the Protector relied not so much
on restrictive legislation as on the influence of education and
religion. It was to their defective education that he attributed much of
the misconduct of the “profane nobility and gentry of this nation.” “We
send our children to France,” he said, “before they know God or good
manners, and they return with all the licentiousness of that nation.
Neither care taken to educate them before they go, or to keep them in
good order when they come home.” As a party, the Puritans showed a great
zeal for education, and the pamphlet literature of the time is full of
schemes for its reformation or extension. In these discussions, the
modern conception of the duty of the State with regard to education
gradually took shape. While the plan of education which Milton published
in 1644 was intended only for “a select body of our noble and gentle
youth,” in 1660, he advocated the foundation of schools in all parts of
the nation, in order to spread knowledge, civility, and culture to “all
extreme parts which now lie numb and neglected.” In his _Oceana_,
Harrington asserted that the formation of future citizens by means of a
system of free schools was one of the chief duties of a republic.

As usually happens, practical men lagged behind the theorists, but
during the Commonwealth a portion of the revenue of confiscated Church
lands was systematically devoted to the maintenance of schools and
schoolmasters. The Protector pursued the same policy, and publicly
declared when appropriating a grant for educational purposes in
Scotland, that it was “a duty not only to have the Gospel set up, but
schools for children erected and maintenance provided therefor.” His
government undertook the task of ejecting incapable schoolmasters and of
licensing persons fit to teach. It made the proper administration of
educational endowments in general a part of its business, and one of
Cromwell’s earliest ordinances appointed fresh commissioners for the
visitation of the universities, and established a permanent board of
visitors for the great public schools. Personally, he was far more
interested in the reorganisation of the universities than in primary or
secondary education. He vigorously defended them against the attacks of
the zealots of the Little Parliament who threatened their disendowment
or abolition. In 1651, he had been elected Chancellor of Oxford, and
held that office till July, 1657, when he was succeeded by his son
Richard, signalizing his connection with the university by the
foundation of a new readership in Divinity, and the presentation of some
Greek manuscripts to the Bodleian. He appointed John Owen his
Vice-Chancellor, under whose efficient rule Oxford prospered greatly.
Even Clarendon is forced to admit that in spite of visitations and
purgings the university “yielded a harvest of extraordinary good and
sound knowledge in all parts of learning.”

The Protector also endeavoured to found a new university in the north of
England. There was a widespread feeling that the two existing
universities were not enough for the country. In 1641, petitions were
presented praying for the foundation of a university at York or
Manchester, and later it was proposed to establish one in London. In
1651, Cromwell strongly recommended the endowment of a school or college
for all the sciences and literature, out of the property of the Dean and
Chapter of Durham. The scheme, he wrote, was “a matter of great
concernment and importance, as that which by the blessing of God may
conduce to the promoting of learning and piety in these poor, rude,
ignorant parts,” and bring forth in time “such happy and glorious fruits
as are scarce thought of or foreseen.” But Parliament did nothing, and
it was reserved for Oliver himself to found a college at Durham in 1657,
which throve greatly until the Restoration put an end to its existence.

The Protector encouraged learned men and men of letters. With his
relative, the poet Waller, he was on terms of considerable intimacy; he
allowed Hobbes and Cowley, both Royalists, to return from exile, and he
released Cleveland when he was arrested by one of the Major-Generals,
although Cleveland’s fame rested mainly on satires against the Puritans.
Milton and Marvell were in Cromwell’s service as Latin secretaries, and
he also employed Marvell as tutor to one of his wards. Brian Walton was
assisted in the printing of his Polyglot Bible, and Archbishop Ussher
was honoured by a public funeral.

But both learning and education were, in Cromwell’s eyes, inseparably
connected with religion. When he accepted the Chancellorship he
congratulated Oxford on the learning and piety “so marvellously
springing up there,” adding a hope that it might be “useful to that
great and glorious kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Thinking that the
chief function of the universities was to provide ministers for the
Church, he held piety more important than learning. “I believe,” he told
his Parliament, five years later, “that God hath for the ministry a very
great seed in the youth of the universities, who, instead of studying
books, study their own heart.” Cromwell’s desire to develop higher
education, and his defence of the universities against their assailants,
were the natural consequences of his resolve to maintain a national
Church against those who wished to sever the connection between Church
and State. On this question, the army, as a whole, supported Cromwell.
In the “Agreement of the People,” presented to Parliament in 1649, the
army had demanded that “the Christian religion be held forth and
recommended as the public profession of this nation,” and it included
“the instructing of the people thereunto, so it be not compulsive,” and
“the maintaining able teachers for that end,” amongst the legitimate
functions of the government. These principles had been embodied in the
“Instrument of Government,” and the duty of devising means to carry them
out fell to the Protector.

The first question to be decided was the question of the maintenance of
the clergy. The Little Parliament had proposed to abolish tithes
altogether, and in the “Instrument of Government” the substitution of
some other provision was suggested. As no satisfactory scheme for the
commutation of tithes could be devised, Cromwell felt bound to preserve
them. “For my part,” said he, “I should think I were very treacherous if
I took away tithes till I see the legislative power settle maintenance
to ministers another way.” To abolish tithes before that was done, would
be “to cut the throats of the ministers.” Under the Protectorate, as
under the rule of the Long Parliament, it was the permanent policy of
the government to increase the income of the parochial clergy. The
endowments of poor livings were systematically augmented out of the fund
supplied by episcopal lands and the fines imposed on royalist

The basis of the Protector’s plan for the reorganisation of the Church
was the scheme which John Owen had presented to the Long Parliament in
1652. On March 20, 1654, Cromwell issued an ordinance “for the
approbation of public preachers,” which appointed thirty-eight
commissioners, lay and clerical, to sit permanently in London and
examine into the qualifications of all candidates for livings. Their
business was to certify that they found the candidate “to be a person
for the grace of God in him, his holy and unblamable conversation, as
also for his knowledge and utterance, able and fit to preach the
Gospel,” and without obtaining this certificate no one was in future to
be admitted to a benefice. The commissioners were not empowered to
impose any doctrinal tests, and it was expressly declared that
approbation by them “is not intended nor shall be construed to be any
solemn or sacred setting apart of any person to any particular office in
the ministry.” All that the “Triers” undertook to do was to see that
none but fit and proper persons should receive “the public stipend and
maintenance” guaranteed by the State.

After provision for the appointment of the fit, came provision for the
elimination of the unfit. A second ordinance, issued in August, 1654,
appointed local commissioners in every county to remove scandalous and
inefficient ministers and schoolmasters within its limits. Amongst the
reasons which justified ejection were included not merely immoral
conduct or Popish and blasphemous opinions, but disaffection to the
government and the use of the Prayer-book. In September, the work was
completed by a third ordinance for the union of small and the division
of large and populous parishes.

Cromwell’s speeches are full of expressions of satisfaction at the
results that these ordinances produced. He was proud of the character of
his clergy. “In the times of Episcopacy,” said he, “what pitiful
certificates served to make a man a minister. If any man understood
Latin or Greek, he was sure to be admitted.” But now, “neither Mr.
parson nor doctor in the university hath been reckoned stamp enough by
those that made these approbations, though I can say they have a great
esteem for learning.” The rule with the Triers was, “that they must not
admit a man unless they were able to discern something of the grace of
God in him.”

He was equally proud of the comprehensiveness of the Church. There were
“three sorts of godly men,” that is, three sects, to be provided for in
it: the Presbyterians, the Independents, and the Baptists. The Triers
were drawn impartially from all three bodies, and “though a man be of
any of those three judgments, if he have the root of the matter in him
he may be admitted.” Summing up the work of the Triers and Ejectors, he
emphatically declared: “There hath not been such a service to England
since the Christian religion was perfect in England.”

In the main, Cromwell’s satisfaction was justified. Both bodies of
commissioners did the work they were charged to do with fidelity. Some
good men were expelled merely for royalism or using the liturgy, but the
bulk of those who lost their livings deserved their fate, and those
admitted were generally fit for their office. The Presbyterian Richard
Baxter, an opponent on principle of Cromwell and his works, felt bound
to praise the commissioners:

  “To give them their due, they did abundance of good to the Church.
  They saved many a congregation from ignorant, ungodly, drunken
  teachers. That sort of men that intended no more in the ministry
  than to say a sermon as readers say their common prayers, and so
  patch up a few good words together to talk the people asleep with on
  Sunday, and all the rest of the week go with them to the alehouse
  and harden them in sin; and that sort of ministers that either
  preached against a holy life, or preached as men that were never
  acquainted with it; all those that used the ministry but as a common
  trade to live by, and were never likely to convert a soul:—all these
  they usually rejected, and in their stead admitted of any that were
  able, serious preachers, and lived a godly life, of what tolerable
  opinion soever they were. So that though they were many of them
  somewhat partial for Independents, Separatists, Fifth Monarchy-men,
  and Anabaptists, and against the Prelatists and Arminians, yet so
  great was the benefit above the hurt to the Church, that many
  thousands of souls blessed God for the faithful ministers whom they
  let in.”

Outside the bounds of the national Church, the constitution promised
liberty of worship to “all such as do profess faith in God by Jesus
Christ.” Anglicanism and Catholicism, however, labelled Prelacy and
Popery, and regarded as idolatrous or politically dangerous, were
excepted by name from this promise. In practice, although the use of the
liturgy had been prohibited since 1645, many orthodox Anglicans had
contrived to retain their livings, sometimes using portions of the
Prayer-book from memory, in other cases confining themselves to
preaching and to the administration of the sacraments. Many ejected
ministers gathered little congregations in private houses, and were not
molested by the Government. The royalist insurrection of 1655 led to
greater severity, and in October, 1655, Cromwell issued a proclamation
prohibiting the employment of the ejected clergy as chaplains or
schoolmasters. It was meant as a warning, rather than to be rigidly
enforced, and the promise was made that any man whose “godliness and
good affection to the present government” were capable of proof should
be treated with tenderness. Congregations of Royalists continued to meet
in London throughout the Protectorate, and the Government winked at
their use of Anglican services and ceremonies. But whenever there was a
new plot discovered, their meetings were liable to be interrupted by the

The case of the Catholics was harder than that of the Anglicans,
although their lot was less hard than it had been. In 1650, the acts
imposing fines on recusants for not coming to church were repealed, and
there were persistent rumours that the Independents were about to make
proposals for their toleration. In June, 1654, a Catholic priest was
executed in London for no crime except being a priest. Cromwell, it is
said, wished to pardon him, but was prevented by the opposition of his
Council. In 1656, Mazarin urged Cromwell to grant toleration to the

  “I cannot,” answered the Protector, “as to a public declaration of
  my sense on that point; although I believe that under my government
  your Eminency on behalf of the Catholics has less cause for
  complaint than under the Parliament. For I have of some and those
  very many had compassion, making a difference. I have plucked many
  out of the fire,—the raging fire of persecution, which did tyrannise
  over their consciences and encroach by arbitrariness of power over
  their estates. And herein it is my purpose, as soon as I can remove
  impediments and some weights that press me down, to make a further
  progress, and discharge my promise to your Eminence.”

The Protector’s purpose was never fulfilled. Public opinion in England
was too hostile to the Catholics to permit of their legal toleration,
and the same thing happened when Cromwell wished to readmit the Jews to
England. In November, 1655, Manasseh Ben Israel, a learned Portuguese
Jew, settled in Amsterdam as a physician, petitioned the Protector to
allow the Jews to reside and trade in England, and to grant them the
free exercise of their religion. Cromwell, who was personally in favour
of their petition, called together a committee of divines, merchants,
and lawyers to confer with the Council on the question. The Protector
himself took part in the conferences. “I never heard a man speak so
well,” said one of his hearers, but the divines feared for their
religion and the merchants for their trade, so the legal toleration the
Jews asked for was not granted. Cromwell, however, granted them leave to
meet in private houses for devotion, and showed them such encouragement
and favour that their resettlement in England really dates from the

The Protector’s tolerant nature showed itself again in his dealings with
the Quakers. Under the Commonwealth, the Quakers were persecuted and
imprisoned, not simply because their opinions were regarded as
blasphemous, but because they were held dangerous to the public peace.
Their attacks on the clergy and their misconduct and brawling in
churches gave colour to these accusations. Under the Protectorate, this
persecution continued, till it was mitigated by the intervention of the
Protector and his Council. In 1654, George Fox had a long interview with
the Protector. “I spake much to him,” writes Fox, “of truth; and a great
discourse I had with him about religion, wherein he carried himself very
moderately.” The earnestness and enthusiasm of Fox impressed Cromwell
greatly. “As I spake, he would several times say, it was very good, and
it was truth. And as I was turning to go away, he catches me by the
hand, and with tears in his eyes, said: ‘Come again to my house; for if
thou and I were but an hour of a day together we should be nearer one to
the other’; adding, that he wished me no more ill than he did to his own
soul.” Convinced that the Quakers were not inclined to “take up a carnal
sword” against his government, the Protector ordered Fox to be set free,
and in October, 1656, he released a number of imprisoned Quakers. Again
in November, 1657, he issued a general circular to all justices in
England and Wales, stating that though he was far from countenancing the
mistaken practices or principles of the Quakers, yet as those proceeded
“rather from a spirit of error than a malicious opposition to
authority,” they were “to be pitied, and dealt with as persons under a
strong delusion,” to be discharged from prison, and to be treated in the
future with tenderness rather than severity.

Yet tolerant as Cromwell was, there were limits to his toleration, and
certain opinions he regarded as outside the pale. The Instrument refused
liberty to “such as under the profession of Christ hold forth and
practise licentiousness” and the Petition and Advice added to them those
who “published horrible blasphemies.”

  “As for profane persons,” said Cromwell, “blasphemers, such as
  preach sedition; the contentious railers, evil-speakers, who seek
  by evil words to corrupt good manners; persons of loose
  conversation—punishment from the civil magistrate ought to meet
  with these. Because if they pretend conscience; yet walking
  disorderly and not according but contrary to the Gospel, and even
  to natural lights, they are judged by all. And their sins being
  open make them subjects of the magistrate’s sword, who ought not
  to bear the sword in vain. The discipline of the army was such
  that a man would not be suffered to remain there, of whom we could
  take notice that he was guilty of such practices as these.”

A well-ordered state, thought Cromwell, should in this respect resemble
an army, but, even with regard to opinions which he held blasphemous, he
was not willing to suffer the extreme penalties to be inflicted which
the law sanctioned and the voice of most Puritans demanded.

In 1656, James Naylor, an old soldier who was one of Fox’s early
disciples, allowed himself to be hailed by his enthusiastic followers as
a new Messiah, and was consequently thrown into prison as a blasphemer.
The Parliament then sitting assumed judicial powers, and, after many
days’ debate, voted that he should be branded, pilloried, whipped, and
imprisoned at pleasure. The Protector vainly pointed out to the House
that it was going beyond its powers, and all the influence of the
Government was required to save Naylor from capital punishment. What the
Protector would probably have done if the punishment of Naylor had been
left to him was shown by his treatment of John Biddle. Unitarians were
by implication excluded from toleration by the Petition and Advice. In
1655, Biddle was prosecuted under the Blasphemy Act of 1648, and would
undoubtedly have been sentenced to death. The Protector was petitioned
to interfere, and replied by soundly rating the petitioners. “If it be
true,” said he, “what Mr. Biddle holds, to wit, that our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ is but a creature, then all those who worship Him
with the worship due to God are idolaters.” No Christian, was his
conclusion, could give any countenance to such a person, but
nevertheless he stopped the trial by issuing a warrant for Biddle’s
confinement at St. Mary’s Castle in the Scilly Islands. Biddle’s life
was undoubtedly saved by this intervention.

In spite of the liberality and comprehensiveness of Cromwell’s
ecclesiastical policy, there were several sections of Puritans whom it
failed to satisfy. Some Independents opposed any established Church, and
denied that the State ought in any way to meddle with religious matters.
The most distinguished adherents of this view were Vane and Milton. The
magistrate, said Milton, had no coercive power at all in matters of
religion. It was not his business “to settle religion,” as it was
popularly termed, “by appointing either what we shall believe in divine
things or practise in religious.” His duty was simply to defend the
Church. “Had he once learned not further to concern himself with Church
affairs, half his labour might be spared and the Commonwealth better

Another section, in the name of liberty of conscience, denied the State
any right to punish blasphemous or immoral doctrines. “They tell the
Magistrate,” said the Protector, “that he hath nothing to do with men
holding such notions; these are matters of conscience and opinion; they
are matters of religion; what hath the Magistrate to do with these
things? He is to look to the outward man, not to the inward.” Cromwell’s
own position with regard to dangerous opinions was that, if they were
but opinions, they were best left alone. “Notions will hurt none but
those that have them.” When they developed into actions, it was a
different matter, and especially when they led to rebellion and
bloodshed. “Our practice hath been,” he said in 1656, “to let all this
nation see that whatever pretensions to religion would continue quiet
and peaceable, they should enjoy conscience and liberty to themselves.”
But to be quiet and peaceable was the indispensable condition. Fifth
Monarchy preachers were frequently arrested for sermons against the
government, both before and after the attempted rising of the Fifth
Monarchy men in the spring of 1657. On one occasion, some of the
congregation of John Rogers, one of their preachers, came to Whitehall
to argue with the Protector, complaining that their pastor was suffering
for religion’s sake. Cromwell answered that Rogers suffered as a railer,
a seducer, and a stirrer-up of sedition: that to call suffering for
evil-doing suffering for the Gospel was to make Christ the patron of
such things. “God is my witness,” he concluded, “no man in England doth
suffer for the testimony of Jesus. Nay do not lift up your hands and
your eyes, for there is no man in England which suffers so. There is
such liberty—I wish it be not abused, that no man in England suffereth
for Christ.”

It was true. Cromwell’s was the most tolerant government which had
existed in England since the Reformation. In practice, he was more
lenient than the laws, and more liberal-minded than most of his
advisers. The drawback was, that even the more limited amount of
religious freedom which the laws guaranteed seemed too much to the great
majority of the nation. Englishmen—even Puritans—had not yet learnt the
lesson of toleration. “Is there not yet,” said Cromwell in 1655, “a
strange itch upon the spirits of men? Nothing will satisfy them unless
they can press their finger upon their brethren’s consciences to pinch
them there.” To prevent this, was, he avowed, his task as a ruler.

  “If the whole power was in the Presbyterians, they would force all
  men their way, and the Fifth Monarchy men would do the same, and so
  the Rebaptised persons; and his work was to keep several judgments
  in peace, because, like men falling out in the streets, they would
  run their heads one against another; he was as a constable to part
  them and keep them in peace.”

To induce these jarring sects to co-operate was more difficult, but that
also Cromwell attempted to do. In the Puritan Church, which he
organised, no agreement about ritual or discipline or doctrine was
required, save only the acceptance of the main principles of
Christianity. It was not so much a Church as a confederation of
Christian sects working together for righteousness, under the control of
the State. The absence of agreement in details and of uniformity in
externals was no defect in Cromwell’s eyes. To him it was rather a
merit. “All that believe,” he had once written, “have the real unity
which is more glorious because inward and spiritual.”[8]

Footnote 8:

  See p. 152.

The originality of the Protector’s ecclesiastical policy lay in this
attempt to combine the two principles of toleration and comprehension.
It reflected his character. His tolerance was not the result of
scepticism or indifference, but arose from respect for the consciences
of others. The comprehensiveness of his Church was the outcome of his
large-hearted sympathy with every form of Puritanism. To local
magistrates in local religious quarrels, he enjoined “a charity as large
as the whole flock of Christ”; and the same spirit inspired his
exhortation to the Little Parliament.

  “Have a care of the whole flock. Love the sheep. Love the lambs.
  Love all; tend all; cherish and countenance all in all things that
  are good. And if the poorest Christian, the most mistaken Christian,
  shall desire to live peaceably and quietly under you: I say if any
  desire but to live a life of godliness and honesty, let him be

Mr. Greatheart, under whose protection all pilgrims to the Celestial
City walked securely—Feeble-Mind and Ready-to-Halt, as well as
Valiant-for-Truth,—is but an allegorical representation of what Cromwell
was to the Puritans. Cromwell’s ecclesiastical system passed away with
its author, but no man exerted more influence on the religious
development of England. Thanks to him, Nonconformity had time to take
root and to grow so strong in England that the storm which followed the
Restoration had no power to root it up.


                             CHAPTER XVIII
                       CROMWELL’S FOREIGN POLICY

Three aims guided Cromwell’s foreign policy: the first was the desire to
maintain and to spread the Protestant religion; the second, the desire
to preserve and extend English commerce; the third, the desire to
prevent the restoration of the Stuarts by foreign aid. The European
mission of England, its material greatness, and its political
independence were inseparably associated in his mind, and beneath all
apparent wavering and hesitation these three aims he consistently

The Protector had inherited from the Long Parliament a European
situation of the greatest complexity. The Dutch war had undone the work
of the previous three years. In 1653, England was once more isolated and
in danger of a European combination against her. England and France were
still carrying on hostilities at sea. Denmark had seized English
merchantmen, and closed the Baltic to English trade. Portugal was
actually at war with us. There were rumours of the formation of a triple
alliance against England, between Holland, France, and Denmark. On the
other hand, the war turned more and more against the United Provinces.
In the spring of 1654, the English were “perfectly lords and masters of
the narrow seas,” and no Dutch merchantman could show itself in the

England had captured over fourteen hundred sail from the Dutch,
including 120 men-of-war, and in March, 1654, she had 140 men-of-war at
sea, “and better ships,” added Cromwell’s Secretary of State, “than we
have had at any time heretofore.” Nevertheless, every motive—solicitude
for the Protestant cause, the interest of commerce, the frustration of
the designs of the Royalists—all made peace with Holland necessary.
Moreover, England was fast sinking under the financial burdens which
even successful war imposed. Cromwell, therefore, turned a deaf ear to
those who maintained that a little more persistence would force the
Dutch to accept the original demands of the Long Parliament, and from
the moment he took the negotiations in hand he threw overboard the
amalgamation of the two republics. In its place, he at first proposed an
offensive and defensive alliance between England and Holland. They were
to league themselves together not merely for commercial or national
ends, but “for the preservation of freedom and the outspreading of the
Kingdom of Christ.” “Who could tell,” said he, “what God in his own time
might intend to accomplish for the deliverance of oppressed nations by
means of the two republics?” Other Protestant powers, and even those
Catholic powers which allowed their subjects liberty of conscience,
might be invited to join the league.

The Dutch envoys, less enthusiastic and more practical, would hear of
nothing more than a defensive alliance, and even that proved more than
could be realised. The negotiations were slow, for the demands of
England were still too high, and France obstructed the progress of the
treaty as much as it could. The Protector yielded on some points, but
remained inexorable on others, and prepared to renew the war. So the
resistance of the Dutch gave way, and by the treaty signed on April 5,
1654, they admitted the supremacy of the British flag in the British
seas, abandoned any demand for the modification of the Navigation Act,
and promised to pay damages for the losses of English merchants in the
East. Each state undertook to expel from its borders the rebels or
enemies of the other. Finally, by a private engagement, the province of
Holland undertook permanently to exclude the Princes of Orange from
command by land or sea. Cromwell had thus attained two of his objects:
English commerce was made secure, and the Dutch would no longer help the
Royalists to attack the government which England had chosen to set up.
At the banquet which he gave the Dutch Ambassadors on the conclusion of
the treaty, he dwelt on the advantages of friendship between the two
states. They sang the 123d Psalm together: “Behold how good and how
pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” But there was
no real restoration of unity, and if the great Protestant alliance of
Cromwell’s dreams depended on the support of the Dutch, there was little
hope of its accomplishment. The commercial jealousy of the two states
never slumbered for a moment, and the diplomatists of the Protector
found the influence of the Dutch continually obstructing their

A few days later than the peace with the United Provinces, Cromwell’s
Ambassador, Whitelocke, concluded a treaty with Sweden (April 11, 1654).
To Cromwell and to Englishmen who had witnessed the exploits of Gustavus
Adolphus, Sweden still seemed the champion of Protestantism in northern
Europe, and the natural ally of a Puritan England. “The English,” wrote
Whitelocke in his diary, “are the only people with whom the Swedes may
hope for a firm amity and union for the Protestant interest against the
common enemy thereof, the Popish party.” Apart from this, there were
other questions in which the political interests of the two nations
coincided, and Cromwell offered to assist the Swedes with a fleet in
asserting the freedom of the Sound against Denmark and Holland.
Whitelocke was received with the greatest friendliness. “Your General,”
said Queen Christina to him, “hath done the greatest things of any man
in the world: the Prince of Condé is next to him, but short of him.” She
compared Cromwell to her ancestor, Gustavus Vasa, and predicted that,
like him, after being the liberator of his country he would become its
king. Nevertheless, the Swedish ministers, fearful of involving their
country in a war with Holland, and perhaps with France, declined the
proffered alliance. The embassy resulted in a treaty of amity regulating
the commercial intercourse of the two states, and providing that Sweden
should give no assistance to the cause of Charles II.

Next came a treaty with Denmark, which, as Holland’s ally, had been
included in the treaty with the Dutch, on condition that the English
merchants were compensated for the detention of their ships in the Sound
during the war. By the commercial treaty which followed in September,
1654, English vessels were in future to be allowed to pass the Sound on
the same terms as the Dutch. Still more important from the commercial
point of view was the treaty with Portugal, concluded in July, 1654.
English merchants received reparation for their losses, were guaranteed
freedom from the interference of the Inquisition, and were given liberty
to trade with all Portuguese colonies in the East or West. All these
treaties, besides the commercial advantages they brought, gave
additional security to the new government against the Royalists, but
Cromwell valued those with the Protestant states most, because they also
gave increased security to “the Protestant interest abroad.” “I wish,”
said he to his Parliament, “that it may be written upon our hearts to be
zealous for that interest. For if ever it were likely to come under a
condition of suffering, it is now. And by this conjunction of interests,
you will be in a more fit capacity to help them.”

In the same speech, the Protector was able to point out the change in
the attitude of Europe towards England, which nine months of his rule
had produced. “There is not a nation in Europe,” he said, “but is
willing to ask a good understanding with you.” Instead of rumours of
coalitions against England, the two greatest powers of the continent
were bidding against each other for her alliance. Spain pressed England
to land an army in southern France in support of Condé’s rebellion,
promising help to recover Calais, and large subsidies towards the cost
of the English auxiliaries. France offered to abandon the cause of
Charles II., and to assist England with men and money to conquer
Dunkirk. For some months, Oliver wavered, or seemed to waver. Apparently
he was intent only on driving the best possible bargain for England with
the two competitors for her support; in reality, he was studying the
conditions of the problem and making up his mind how to act. As both
were Catholic powers, religious considerations were less decisive than
usual. On the one hand, the case of the Huguenots, whose rights under
the Edict of Nantes were continually infringed by the French Government,
appealed strongly to his Protestant zeal. On the other hand, the
Catholicism of France was less bigoted than the Catholicism of Spain,
and whatever the wrongs of the Huguenots were, it became clear he could
do more to get them redressed by a good understanding with France than
by armed intervention. Political considerations also made peace with
France desirable. Hitherto, it was true, Spain had been far more
friendly to the Republic than its rival, but France was at once the more
dangerous enemy and the more valuable ally. Whatever subsidies Spain
might promise in return for English aid, it was soon evident that it
could pay none. Ere long, Cromwell came to the resolution not to involve
England in the European struggle between France and Spain by leaguing
himself with either, but to take advantage of the opportunity to settle
outstanding disputes, and to maintain, if possible, amicable relations
with both. His plan, however, was not so easy of execution as it seemed.
When the Protector, as a condition of the renewal of old treaties of
commerce and friendship with Spain, demanded that English merchants
should have the free exercise of their religion in Spanish ports, and
that English colonists and traders in the West Indies should be no
longer treated as enemies by the Spaniards, he met with a flat refusal.

“To ask liberty from the Inquisition and free sailing in the West
Indies,” declared the Spanish Ambassador, “was to ask for his master’s
two eyes,” and no concession could be made on either point. In August,
1654, Cromwell resolved to send an expedition to the West Indies in
order to exact reparation for the past and material guarantees for
future security. He did not believe that these reprisals would lead to
war with Spain in Europe, but if they did he was prepared to take the

Equally unsuccessful were the negotiations with France. The expulsion
from that country of Charles II. and his partisans was assented to in
principle, and it was agreed that the losses which the traders of the
two nations had suffered should be referred to arbitration, but the
question of the Huguenots proved an insurmountable obstacle. The
Protector demanded that the treaty should expressly recognise his right
to intervene on their behalf, if the liberties granted them by the Edict
of Nantes were infringed, which France, as was natural, steadfastly
refused. Cromwell remained firm. The Protector, wrote Thurloe to an
English agent, had espoused the interest of Protestantism, “which is
dearer to him than his life and all that he hath,” and he could not
consent to any clause in a treaty with a foreign power which seemed
prejudicial to it. The year 1654 ended without England’s coming to an
agreement either with France or Spain. Relying upon his army and his
fleet of 160 ships, the Protector felt strong enough to maintain a
completely independent position, and to assert the interest of England
with a high hand in defiance of either. When Penn sailed for the West
Indies, in December, 1654, he bore instructions not only to attack the
Spanish colonies, but to make prize of any French ships he came across.
When Blake in the previous October was despatched to the Mediterranean,
he was charged to continue the reprisals against French as well as to
protect British trade.

Blake’s voyage made the British flag respected and feared throughout the
Mediterranean, though the legendary account of the indemnities he
exacted from the Grand Duke of Tuscany and the Pope for their unfriendly
action during the Dutch war is unsupported by evidence. He made a treaty
with the Dey of Algiers, and redeemed the English captives held there.
The Dey of Tunis, less amenable to reason, refused reparation, and would
not even allow Blake’s ships to water in his ports. “We judged it
necessary,” wrote Blake, “for the honour of our fleet, our nation, and
religion, seeing they would not deal with us as friends, to make them
feel us as enemies”; so, sailing into the harbour of Porto Farina, he
bombarded the Dey’s castles, and burnt his ships (April 4, 1655).

Simultaneously with the news of Blake’s exploit, England learnt of the
massacre of the Vaudois by the troops of the Regent of Savoy. Every
Puritan’s heart thrilled with sympathy for the sufferings of his fellow
Protestants. Milton called on God to avenge the sufferings of the
“slaughtered saints” whose bones lay scattered on the Alpine mountains.
The armies of the three nations urged Cromwell to action. The Protector
needed no prompting. He headed with a gift of two thousand pounds the
national subscription raised for the relief of the sufferers. He told
the French Ambassador that the sufferings of the poor Piedmontese
touched his heart as closely as if they had been his own nearest kin,
and refused to sign the treaty with France till their wrongs were
righted. By the pen of Milton, he summoned all the Protestant powers to
intervene, and he projected employing Blake’s fleet to attack Nice or
Villa Franca. Diplomatic arguments proved sufficient. Eager to secure
the friendship of England, France put pressure on Savoy, the massacres
ceased, and the Vaudois were reinstated in their valleys. The Treaty of
Pignerol left much unredressed, and Cromwell was far from satisfied with
its terms, but by every Puritan in England and every Protestant in
Europe he was hailed as the saviour of the Vaudois. Even Englishmen who
were no Puritans felt proud to see their country, under his guidance,
assert the sovereignty of the seas, punish the pirates of the
Mediterranean, and defend the oppressed. Waller’s panegyric to the
Protector upon “the present greatness of his Highness and this nation,”
expressed this pride.



  (_From an engraving by Faithorne._)

             “The sea’s our own; and now all nations greet,
             With bending sails, each vessel of our fleet;
             Your power resounds as far as winds can blow
             Or swelling sails upon the globe may go.

             Fame swifter than your winged navy flies
             Through every land that near the ocean lies,
             Sounding your name, and telling dreadful news
             To all that piracy and rapine use.

             Whether this portion of the world were rent
             By the rude ocean from the continent,
             Or thus created, it was sure designed
             To be the sacred refuge of mankind.

             Hither the oppressed shall henceforth resort
             Justice to crave, and succour at your court;
             And then your highness, not for ours alone
             But for the world’s protector shall be known.”

To such a land, with such a leader, asked Waller, what could be thought
impossible? Ere long, however, the Protector discovered that even the
best-laid schemes did not always prosper. The _Panegyric_ was published
at the end of May: in August news came to England of the disastrous
defeat of the expedition sent to the West Indies at Hispaniola.[9] The
Protector fell ill, and everyone attributed his illness to vexation at
the evil tidings. Contrary to his expectation also, Spain laid an
embargo on English shipping, withdrew its ambassador, and declared war.
The breach with Spain was accompanied by the completion of the
long-delayed agreement with France, which was signed on the very day
that the Spanish Ambassador left England (October 24, 1655). In
substance, it was merely a commercial treaty, with a secret clause added
for the expulsion of the leading Royalists from France, and the
Protector contented himself with a private promise that the rights of
the Huguenots should not be infringed. The conditions under which the
agreement took place made a more intimate connection between the two
powers inevitable. But for the present Cromwell was busily engaged in
negotiations with Sweden, which he hoped to make the basis of a general
league of Protestant states. In June, 1655, Charles Gustavus, the
successor of Queen Christina, invaded Poland and sent an ambassador to
England to ask for aid in men, ships, and money. Cromwell treated the
King’s envoy with distinguished favour. “They dine, sup, hunt, and play
bowls together,” and “never was ambassador, or indeed any man, so much
caressed and regarded by Cromwell as this man is, nor did he ever seek
the friendship of anyone so much as this King of Sweden.” From the first
he declared his willingness to “enter into a more strict and close
alliance” with Sweden both for the sake of the two nations, and for the
sake of the Protestant cause. Yet it was impossible to come to an
agreement. The Swedish King’s conquest of Catholic Poland seemed to the
Protector a gain to Protestantism; “Wresting a horn from the head of the
Beast,” he termed it. But he saw plainly that it was not to the interest
of England that the Baltic should fall completely under the dominion of
Sweden, and that to support the designs of the King on the Baltic
coast-lands would necessarily embroil him with the Danes, the Dutch, and
the Brandenburgers. For a time he hoped to turn the arms of Gustavus
against the House of Austria, and to convert the offered alliance into
the Protestant league he longed for. But it was all in vain, and the
sole result of the embassy was a commercial treaty signed in July, 1656.

Footnote 9:

  See p. 401.

Meanwhile, at sea, the war with Spain was vigorously prosecuted. During
the latter part of 1655 and through 1656, an English fleet cruised on
and off the Spanish coast in order to prevent the Spaniards from sending
reinforcements to the West Indies and to intercept the silver ships from
America. It served also to protect English traders to the Mediterranean,
and to force the King of Portugal to carry into effect the treaty of
1654. At one time Cromwell with prophetic foresight proposed the seizure
of Gibraltar. “If possessed and made tenable by us,” he wrote to Blake,
“would it not be an advantage to us and an annoyance to the Spaniards,
and enable us, without keeping so great a fleet on that coast, with six
nimble frigates lodged there to do the Spaniards more harm than by a
fleet and ease our own charge?” But without a force to land, the Admiral
judged the design impracticable. Blake’s perseverance in the blockade
was at last crowned with success. On September 8, 1656, Captain Stayner
with a squadron of cruisers detached from his fleet met eight Spanish
ships from America off Cadiz, of which he destroyed four bearing
treasure worth two millions, and captured a fifth with a cargo of silver
valued at six hundred thousand pounds. More glorious, however, was the
action at Santa Cruz in Teneriffe on April 20, 1657. Blake sailed into
the harbour, where the Spanish treasure-fleet from the West Indies had
taken refuge, fought batteries and galleons at close quarters, and sunk
or burnt all the sixteen ships without losing one of his own. It was the
most brilliant of all his exploits, and the last: he died on his return
to England, worn out with the fatigues of the long blockade, just as his
ship was entering Plymouth Sound (August 7, 1657).

Meanwhile, events forced Cromwell into closer union with France. The
Spaniards had zealously adopted the cause of Charles II., hoping to
overthrow Cromwell by means of an insurrection in England. In April,
1656, Philip IV. made a treaty with Charles II. by which he promised him
a pension, helped to maintain a little army of English and Irish
Royalists in Flanders, and undertook to provide ships for their
transport to the English coast. Spanish money, also, was employed to
further the plots of the Levellers for the assassination of the
Protector. It became evident that, in order to force Spain to peace, it
must be attacked on the continent as well as on the seas. On March 23,
1657, Cromwell signed an offensive alliance with France, by which
England supplied six thousand soldiers, supported by a fleet, to attack
the Spaniards in Flanders, and was to receive Mardyke and Dunkirk as its
share of the spoils. He thought that the possession of Dunkirk would
give him increased control of the Channel, enable him to exercise a
greater pressure upon France, and provide a secure basis for land
operations against Spain. “It would be,” said Secretary Thurloe, “a
bridle to the Dutch, and a door into the continent.”

Six weeks later, Sir John Reynolds, with six thousand men, landed at
Boulogne and joined the French army under Turenne. Turenne at first
employed the English contingent in the interior of Flanders, in sieges
and operations which seemed to serve French interests only, and his
delay to attack the coast towns made Cromwell suspicious. It seemed, he
wrote to Sir William Lockhart, the English Ambassador, as if the French
“would not have us have any footing on that side the water.” The French
excuses for their delay were but “parcels of words for children.” Unless
they set about the business at once, he would withdraw his troops and
demand the repayment of his expenses. “I desire you to take boldness and
freedom to yourself in your dealing with the French on these accounts.”
Lockhart spoke boldly and freely, and the effect was immediate. The
French army drew towards the Flemish coast. Mardyke was besieged, taken,
and handed over to an English garrison (October 3, 1657).

When the next campaign opened, Turenne laid siege to Dunkirk, and a
Spanish army of fourteen thousand men under Don John and Condé advanced
to its relief. Turenne routed them on June 4, 1658, amongst the
sandhills on the south of Dunkirk, with the loss of five thousand men.
No troops did better service in the battle than the English contingent
under Lockhart. The joyful cheer the redcoats gave when they saw their
enemy roused the admiration of Turenne, and the Duke of York, who served
in the Spanish army, was full of praises of his countrymen’s courage. On
their hands and knees they stormed the sandhill which was the key of the
Spanish left, and at push of pike drove the Spaniards from it. This
victory decided the long struggle between France and Spain, and ten days
later Dunkirk surrendered. It was all over now with the plans of Charles
II.: half his little army had been destroyed in the battle, and the
ships provided for their transport had been captured by the English

Cromwell had at last the foothold on the continent which he desired, and
England was safe from attempted invasion, but the Protestant alliance he
dreamed of was farther off than ever. A storm had risen in northern
Europe which threatened to make any such combination permanently
impossible. As soon as Charles Gustavus conquered Poland, his ambition
had brought him into collision with his Protestant neighbours. A great
coalition was forming against him, and in the spring of 1657 he appealed
to Cromwell for help. But before Cromwell would risk either men or money
he required as a guarantee the temporary possession of Bremen. It would
serve as a basis for military operations, if necessary, and as a means
of bringing pressure to bear upon Denmark, if Denmark attempted to break
the peace. Gustavus refused, and all Cromwell could do was to endeavour
to mediate between Sweden and Denmark. In May, 1657, the Danes declared
war, and forced Gustavus to relax his hold on Poland. Brandenburg,
Holland, and Austria joined the coalition, and at the end of 1657, it
seemed as if Sweden must succumb. Cromwell had refused to join Gustavus
in his designs to partition Denmark, but just as little could he consent
to allow Denmark and its allies to complete the overthrow of Sweden. He
regarded the coalition as a Catholic plot against a Protestant power—a
plot in which misguided Protestant states were furthering the work of
the Pope and the House of Hapsburg. In imagination, he saw the Austrian
eagle once more stretching her wings towards the Eastern sea and
planting herself upon the Baltic, as in the dark days of the Thirty
Years’ War, before Sweden came to the rescue of the German Protestants.

The speech which the Protector made to Parliament, in January, 1658, was
full of these apprehensions. The question, he said, was, “whether the
Christian world should be all popery.” The Protestant interest abroad
was “struck at, nay, quite trodden under foot.” The Spanish and Austrian
Hapsburgs were leagued together to destroy it. In Poland and in the
Empire, Protestants were persecuted and driven out; the Swiss were
threatened, and Sweden, the chief champion of the Protestant cause, was
in danger. What resistance was there to “this mighty current coming from
all parts against all Protestants?” Only that made by Gustavus:

  “a poor prince, and yet a man in his person as gallant and as good,
  as any that these late ages have brought forth.”... “A man that hath
  adventured his all against the Popish interest in Poland, and made
  his acquisitions still good for the Protestant religion. He is now
  reduced into a corner, and what adds to the grief of all is that men
  of our religion forget this, and seek his ruin.”

He declared that the success of the coalition threatened the commerce
and the maritime power of England. “If they can shut us out of the
Baltic Sea, and make themselves masters of that, where is your trade?
Where are your materials to preserve your shipping?” Every sailor knew
what exclusion from the Baltic meant for England.

The Protector’s conclusion was that England must intervene to prevent
the King of Sweden from being crushed, and be ready to back him, not
only with its fleet, but by landing a force on the continent. “You have
accounted yourselves happy,” said he, “in being environed with a great
ditch from all the world besides. Truly, you will not be able to keep
your ditch, nor your shipping, unless you turn your ships and shipping
into troops of horse and companies of foot, and fight to defend
yourselves on terra firma.”

The crisis passed away as rapidly as it had risen, and Gustavus rescued
himself without English aid. A winter march over the frozen Belt and the
siege of Copenhagen brought Denmark to its knees. In February, 1658,
Cromwell’s ambassador mediated a peace between the rival powers at
Roeschild. But the peace was of short duration. In August, 1658, a month
before Cromwell died, the war broke out again, and once more Holland and
Brandenburg came to the help of the Danes. The general Protestant league
was impossible, because each Protestant power preferred to pursue its
private aims and defend its private interests. Ambition and national
traditions made Denmark and Sweden irreconcilable foes. Brandenburg was
more anxious to secure its own independence than to propagate the faith.
The Dutch sought first the interests of their commerce, and preferred,
as Oliver complained, “gain to godliness.”

In Cromwell’s England there were some who, like Morland, held it the
greatest glory of the Protector that he had ever identified the
interests of England with the interests of European Protestantism. But
the merchants of London complained that they were ruined by the
cessation of their Spanish trade, and the war with Spain had lost him
the hearts of the City. To the commercial classes, and to many
republican statesmen, Holland, not Spain, seemed the natural enemy of
England, and bitter attacks on the late Protector’s policy were heard in
the Parliament of 1659. Yet the great position in Europe which
Cromwell’s energy had gained for England impressed the imagination of
contemporaries. “He once more joined us to the continent,” sang Marvell,
in his lines on Cromwell’s death, while Sprat depicted him as waking the
British lion from its slumbers, and Dryden as teaching it to roar.
Contemporary historians struck the same note. “Cromwell’s greatness at
home,” admitted Clarendon, “was a mere shadow of his greatness abroad.”
Burnet recorded with approval Cromwell’s traditional boast, that he
would make the name of Englishman as great as ever that of Roman had
been. Still more glorious appeared the policy of the usurper in
comparison with that of Charles II. “It is strange,” noted Pepys, in
1667, “how everybody do nowadays reflect upon Oliver and commend him,
what brave things he did, and made all the neighbour princes fear him.”

Then came a change. For a hundred years it was the fashion to say that
Cromwell by allying himself with France against Spain destroyed the
balance of power in Europe, and produced that preponderance of France
against which Europe struggled so long. People forgot that the
overgrowth of French power was due to the complicity of Charles II.,
even more than to Oliver’s co-operation, and that, with Oliver as his
ally, Louis XIV. would neither have attempted the partition of Holland,
nor revoked the Edict of Nantes. With modern historians, it is a
commonplace to observe that Cromwell’s foreign policy was an
anachronism, that the era of religious wars ended with the Treaty of
Westphalia, and that material and political motives alone determined
thenceforth the relations of European powers. There is much truth in the
criticism, but in the years which immediately followed that treaty,
religious disputes entered so largely into political quarrels that it
was not easy for contemporaries to perceive what is obvious enough to
posterity. Least of all was such clearness of vision possible to the
Puritan statesman, in whose mind the interest of religion took
precedence of all other interests, and to the soldier who regarded war
as the instrument with which the God of battles worked out His purpose
on earth.

Cromwell’s foreign policy was in part a failure, but only in part. He
promoted the material welfare of his country, and saved her from foreign
interference in her domestic affairs. Where he sought purely national
interests he succeeded, but it was impossible for him not to look beyond
England. “God’s interest in the world,” he said, “is more extensive than
all the people of these three nations.” At another time he told his
Council: “God has brought us hither to consider the work we may do in
the world as well as at home.” Others shared these views, and there were
many Puritans who, like Cromwell, held that nations had duties as well
as interests. The duty of a free Commonwealth, wrote Harrington, was to
relieve oppressed peoples, and to spread liberty and true religion in
other lands. “She is not made for herself only,” but should be “a
minister of God upon the earth, to the intent that the whole world may
be governed with righteousness.” This was the dream that Cromwell sought
to realise through his great Protestant league. Looked at from one point
of view, he seemed as practical as a commercial traveller; from another,
a Puritan Don Quixote.


                              CHAPTER XIX
                       CROMWELL’S COLONIAL POLICY

Cromwell was the first English ruler who systematically employed the
power of the government to increase and extend the colonial possessions
of England. His colonial policy was not a subordinate part of his
foreign policy, but an independent scheme of action, based on definite
principles and persistently pursued. As we have seen, it was his
extra-European policy which ultimately determined his part in the great
European struggle of his days.

All the English colonies had grown up during Cromwell’s lifetime. When
he was born England had none. He was seven years old when James I.
granted a charter to the Virginian Company, and married in the year when
the Pilgrim Fathers sailed in the _Mayflower_. It is probable that at
one time he thought of emigrating himself, and it is certain that he
felt the keenest interest in the Puritan settlers in New England. Ever
since 1643, the Protector had been officially connected with the
government of the colonies. He was one of the commissioners for the
government of the plantations in America and the West Indies whom
Parliament appointed in November, 1643, and was reappointed in 1646.
But, in spite of their high title, these commissioners had little real
power. Their authority might be obeyed in the islands, but on the
continent of America it was hardly felt at all. The Civil War tended to
loosen the tie which bound the colonies to the mother country. In May,
1643, soon after it began, the four colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth,
Connecticut, and New Haven had formed themselves into a confederation,
under the name of “The United Colonies of New England.” Strong enough to
defend themselves without the aid of the mother country, they were
little minded to submit to her control. When malcontents appealed from
the courts of Massachusetts to the Parliament, parliamentary orders in
their favour were disregarded, and the appellants were punished. At the
same time, however, the New England colonies heartily sympathised with
the Parliament in its struggle with the King. These outposts of
Puritanism across the Atlantic sent many volunteers to the Puritan
armies, more than one of whom did distinguished service and rose to high
command. Still more important was the influence which the example and
the ideas of New England exercised on the development of Democracy and
Independency in England. At the time when the Commonwealth was
established, the political tie between the English Government and the
New England colonies was little more than nominal, but the intellectual
sympathy of the two was never stronger.

In the islands, and in the southern colonies, exactly the opposite
process took place. There the general feeling was hostile to the
Puritans and favourable to the King. When the war ended, fugitive
Royalists flocked to Barbadoes and Virginia, just as exiled Puritans had
once sought refuge in New England. After the death of Charles I.,
Virginia, under the government of Sir William Berkeley, proclaimed
Charles II., and made it penal to justify his father’s execution.
Instigated by Lord Willoughby, Barbadoes refused to acknowledge the
Republic, suppressed conventicles, banished Roundheads, laid claim to
freedom of trade with all nations, and seemed about to declare its

But the statesmen who had made three kingdoms into one Commonwealth by
force of arms were not the men to suffer the colonies to shake off their
allegiance. In the autumn of 1651, Sir George Ayscue, with a British
fleet, was sent to reduce Barbadoes and Virginia to obedience, while at
the same time the passing of the Navigation Act proved that the
republicans meant to strengthen—not to relax—the hold of the mother land
on the colonies. That act bound the colonies to England by ensuring
their commercial dependence upon her, and increased the maritime power
of England by enriching its shipowners and merchants. But it was not
simply the result of the jealousy of English against Dutch merchants,
and it was something more than a sign of the rising power of the
commercial classes. It was the first attempt on the part of England to
legislate for the colonies as a whole, and to treat them as integral
parts of one political system. By it the statesmen of the Republic
declared that England was to be henceforth regarded not simply as a
European power, but as the centre of a world-wide empire.

It is often said that the zeal for maritime and colonial dominion which
marked the policy of Cromwell and of the Commonwealth was inspired by
Elizabethan traditions, and to a certain extent it is true. But with
statesmen and thinkers, this zeal for the expansion of England was also
the result of a definite political theory. A stationary state, argued
Harrington (and he expressed the views of his contemporaries), was a
state doomed to weakness. The policy of the Republic must aim at
increase and not merely at preservation. If it was to be lasting, it
must lay great bases for eternity. If it was to be strong, it must have
room to grow. “You cannot plant an oak in a flower pot,” said
Harrington; “she must have earth for her roots, and heaven for her

The imperial purpose which had inspired the colonial policy of the
Commonwealth found its fullest expression in the actions of the
Protector. When Cromwell became Protector, the sovereignty of the
English Government was everywhere acknowledged, but it could scarcely be
said that it had been cordially accepted. In the southern colonies,
there prevailed a strong anti-Puritan feeling; in New England, a growing
spirit of independence; while in continent and islands, alike, there was
general aversion to the restrictions which the Navigation Act had
imposed on colonial trade. Under that act the products of a colony could
not be imported to England except in English or colonial ships, and no
foreign ships might import to the colonies anything but the products of
their own country. From Virginia came loud complaints that the law was
“the ruin of the poor planters.” In Barbadoes, where the Dutch had
carried on a considerable trade, the hostility to the law was still
stronger. “It is strange to see how they generally dote upon the Dutch
trade,” wrote Winslow in 1655. Undeterred, the Protector continued to
enforce the act by confiscating Dutch ships caught trading in prohibited
commodities to the islands or the southern colonies, though in the New
England colonies the non-observance of the act seems to have been
tacitly permitted. As a compensation to the colonists, the growing of
tobacco in England, where its production was beginning to obtain
considerable success, was rigidly suppressed, and some attempt was made
to develop a trade in shipping materials with the northern colonies.

In the internal affairs of the colonies, or their relations with each
other, Cromwell interfered very little. He protected the Puritan party
in the islands, and appointed or removed governors. He endeavoured to
arbitrate on the boundary disputes between Maryland and Virginia, and to
settle the internal divisions of the Marylanders. In New England, he
sought to mediate between Rhode Island and the other colonies, ordering
them to give the Rhode Islanders seasonable notice of any wars with the
Indians, and to permit them to trade freely. “To maintain a loving and
friendly correspondence in all things that may contribute to the common
advantage and benefit of the whole,” was his advice to the New
Englanders about their dealings with Rhode Island, and it aptly defines
the aims of the Protector’s own policy towards the colonies in general.
The corner-stone of his policy was the maintenance of good relations
between New England and the Home Government. The New Englanders
constituted, as it were, the Puritan garrison in America, and there were
weighty political reasons for conciliating them. Apart from this,
Cromwell’s feeling towards them as brethren in the faith was peculiarly
warm, and warmly reciprocated. In 1651, Massachusetts thanked the Lord
General for the “tender care and undeserved respect” he had on all
occasions manifested towards it, and wished him prosperity in his “great
and godly undertakings.” When he became Protector, it congratulated him
on his being called by the Lord to supreme authority, “Whereat we
rejoice, and shall pray for the continuance of your happy government,
that under your shadow not only ourselves but all the churches may find
rest and peace.” Recognising the sensitiveness with which Massachusetts
feared any encroachment upon its right of self-government, Cromwell
invited rather than commanded it to support his policy, and treated its
remonstrances against his proposals with respect. Yet he was not jealous
of its growing strength, made no attempt to prevent its coining money,
and even favoured its extension over the smaller settlements on its
northern border. Citizens of Massachusetts and New Englanders in general
were freely employed by him, both in Great Britain and in the colonies
themselves. “The great privileges belonging to New England,” wrote a
Massachusetts agent, were “matter of envy, as of some in other
plantations, so of divers in England who trade to those places,” but the
Protector and many of his Council were “their very cordial friends.”
When Cromwell died, he was characterised in the diary of a Bostonian as
“a man of excellent worth,” and one “that sought the good of New
England, though he seemed to be wanting in a thorough testimony against
the blasphemers of our days.”

As characteristic of Cromwell’s policy as his love for New England was
his zeal for the extension of England’s colonial possessions. When he
became Protector, the war with the Dutch and the hostile relations
existing with France supplied him with an opportunity which he was not
slow to seize. At the beginning of the Dutch war, the Long Parliament
had called on the New England colonies to attack the Dutch possessions
in America, but the New England Confederation was divided, and remained
inactive. Massachusetts, partly from conscientious objections to
attacking neighbours with whom it had no sufficient ground of quarrel,
partly no doubt from political motives, stubbornly opposed the war.
Connecticut, New Haven, and Plymouth, whose interests were more directly
concerned, were eager to act, but unable to move without the support of
their great associate. The confederation seemed threatened with
disruption. To some of the colonists, the whole future of New England
seemed to depend on the result.

  “Our cure is desperate if the Dutch are not removed,” wrote William
  Hooke of New Haven to Cromwell. “They lie close upon our frontiers
  westward, as the French do on the east, interdicting the enlargement
  of our borders any farther that way, so that we and our posterity
  (now almost prepared to swarm forth plenteously) are confined and
  straitened, the sea lying before us, and a rocky rude desert, unfit
  for cultivation and destitute of commodity, behind our backs, all
  convenient places upon the seacoast being already possessed and

Cromwell answered the appeal without a moment’s delay. In February,
1654, he despatched three ships and a few soldiers to New England with
instructions to capture the Dutch settlements “in the Manhattoes” and on
the Hudson. The expedition was commanded by Major Robert Sedgwick of
Massachusetts, with whom was associated Captain John Leverett of the
same colony—once a captain in the army of the Eastern Association, and
to be in future years governor of Massachusetts. Cromwell’s letter to
the colonial governments told them that he would not enquire why they
had not hitherto taken action, but he saw no consideration which should
prevent any colony from co-operating with the rest in this work, which
concerned their common welfare. When the expedition arrived, even
Massachusetts yielded so far as to permit the levy of five hundred
volunteers, while the other three colonies were zealous in raising men
“to extirpate the Dutch.” But before they could march, news came of the
conclusion of peace with the Dutch, and the design had to be abandoned
(June, 1654).

On this, Sedgwick and his fleet, according to their instructions, made
sail for the coast of Acadia to take whatever French ships or
settlements they could come across. Old complaints of their aggressions
and the state of hostility which existed between France and England in
Europe were held to justify the attack. Moreover, this “deluding crew,”
as Leverett called the French settlers, “had given it out amongst the
Indians, that the English were so and so valiant against the Dutch at
sea; but that one Frenchman could beat ten Englishmen ashore.”
“Wherein,” he adds, “the Lord hath most obviously befooled them,” for
Sedgwick with but 130 men took first the Fort of St. John’s, next Port
Royal (now Annapolis), and finally their strong fort on the Penobscot
River. So the whole territory from the Penobscot to the mouth of the St.
Lawrence passed under English dominion, and remained in English hands
till it was given up by Charles II. in 1668.

After the French and the Dutch, came the turn of the Spaniards. There
were grievances more than enough to justify hostilities, and all the
diplomatic representations of the Long Parliament had failed to procure
their redress. England and Spain had been at peace in Europe ever since
1630, but that peace had never been observed in the western hemisphere.
Spain still claimed, by virtue of the Pope’s donation, exclusive
dominion over islands it left unoccupied, and attacked all foreigners
who attempted to colonise them. In 1634, the Spaniards drove out the
English settlers from Tortuga; in 1641, a fleet from Cartagena captured
and expelled the English colonists of New Providence on the Mosquito
coast; in 1651, Santa Cruz was surprised, a hundred English inhabitants
killed, and the rest forced to fly from the island. If an English ship
sailing to an English colony met a Spanish fleet anywhere in western
waters, it was likely to be attacked and plundered. If chance or storm
drove an English ship on the coast of Cuba or Central America, the ship
was confiscated, and the crew set to work as convicts.

Mixed with the desire to exact satisfaction for these injuries were
other motives. Cromwell was bent on conquest for both religious and
economic reasons. The islands Spain held in the West Indies were large
and thinly populated, whilst the islands England possessed were small,
and filled to overflowing with people. Hispaniola was fertile; “a
country beyond compare,” people said. Its conquest would provide a vent
for the surplus population of the English settlements, for the unruly
Highlanders of Scotland, and for the vagrants and criminals of England.
Added to this, every piece of territory won from Spain was so much
rescued from Catholicism and gained for Protestantism.

In August, 1654, therefore, Cromwell made up his mind to send an
expedition to attack the Spanish settlements in the West Indies. General
Venables, who was chosen to command it, showed scruples about the
justice of attacking the Spaniards. He was told, “that if we had no
peace with the Spaniards, then this could be no breach of the peace; if
we had peace with them, they had broken it, and then it was but just for
the English to seek reparation.”

Cromwell did not believe that war with Spain in the West Indies would
necessarily lead to war with Spain in Europe. There were many precedents
and the practice of the Spaniards themselves to the contrary. The old
Elizabethan maxim, “No peace beyond the line,” seemed still to hold
good. Still more powerful was the recollection of the treasures which
the Elizabethan sailors had brought home. What if Spain did declare war?
It would be easy to intercept the galleons which brought the silver of
Peru from Porto Bello to Havana, and from Havana to Spain. A war with
Spain was the most profitable of all wars, and at the worst the profits
of the captures would defray the cost of the expedition.

In December, 1654, a fleet of thirty-eight ships, commanded by Admiral
Penn, sailed from Portsmouth, bearing General Venables and twenty-five
hundred soldiers. With them also went Edward Winslow, once governor of
Plymouth Colony, now one of the commissioners appointed to assist
Venables in the conduct of the expedition. As the New England colonies
had been called on to contribute to the conquest of the Dutch, so the
West Indian islands were expected to co-operate in the enterprise
against the Spaniards. Nor were Cromwell’s expectations disappointed. At
Barbadoes and elsewhere, Venables enlisted enough to raise his army to
seven thousand men. Some took service in hopes of plunder, expecting to
gain “mountains of gold.” With others, the desire for new lands was the
chief incentive. St. Kitts, “an island almost worn out by reason of the
multitudes that live upon it,” furnished eight hundred men. But, though
the army was large, it was of bad material, badly armed, half drilled,
and with very little discipline. The officers knew little of their men,
and the old soldiers, drafted from the different regiments in England to
form the nucleus of the force, were not enough to leaven the lump. In
April, Venables effected a landing on Hispaniola, and marched through
the woods to attack its capital, San Domingo. The Spaniards had stopped
up the wells, and the soldiers, who had no water-bottles, were worn out
by thirst and fatigue before they came in sight of the town. Twice they
fell into ambuscades, and were shamefully repulsed by a handful of
Spaniards. In the second defeat, they lost eight colours and four
hundred men, while Major-General Heane, disdaining to fly, fell pierced
by a dozen Spanish lances as he strove to rally his broken regiment.
Heavy rains and bad food completed the disorganisation of the troops.
“Never did my eyes see men more discouraged,” wrote Venables, and when a
third attempt was proposed, the officers declined to lead their men, but
offered to try to take the town without them.

Hoping for better fortune elsewhere, Venables embarked his forces and
sailed to attack Jamaica. Winslow died on the voyage, saying that the
disgrace of the defeat had broken his heart. On May 10, 1655, the army
landed at Jamaica, occupied its capital, St. Jago de la Vega, without
much resistance, and drove the Spaniards to fly to the mountains or to
embark for Cuba. But now the troubles of the expedition began again. It
was the rainy season, and the army, ill supplied with provisions, tools,
and other necessaries, was decimated by sickness. Hundreds died of
fevers and dysentery. Venables himself was so ill that his life was
despaired of, and he was reported to be dead. In June, Penn with the
bulk of the fleet sailed for England, and Venables followed a few days
later. Each laid the blame of the failure on the other, and Cromwell,
knowing how much their mutual quarrels had contributed to it, sent both
to the Tower. They were soon released, but neither was ever employed

The Protector was deeply mortified by the result of the expedition. “The
Lord,” said he, “hath greatly humbled us”: but nevertheless he persisted
in his projects. Jamaica, he was told by men who knew it, was a better
country than Hispaniola, more fertile, more healthful, better situated
either for trade or for war, so he resolved to hold it, and to make it
the corner-stone of British power in the West Indies. To Major-General
Fortescue, whom Venables had left in command, Cromwell promised ample
supplies and reinforcements. “We think,” he added, “and it is much
designed amongst us to strive with the Spaniard for the mastery of all
those seas.” Writing to Vice-Admiral Goodson, Fortescue’s colleague, he
reminded him that the war was a war not for dominion only, but for

  “Set up your banners in the name of Christ, for undoubtedly it is
  his cause. And let the reproach and shame that hath been for your
  sins, and through the misguidance of some, lift up your hearts to
  confidence in the Lord, and for the redemption of his honour from
  men who attribute their success to their idols, the work of their
  own hands.... The Lord himself hath a controversy with your enemies;
  even with that Roman Babylon of which the Spaniard is the great
  underpropper. In this respect we fight the Lord’s battles.”

The battle was long and hard. At the end of 1655, when Robert Sedgwick,
the conqueror of Acadia, arrived at Jamaica with the first
reinforcements, he found Fortescue dying, and the army

  “in as sad and deplorable and distracted a condition as can be
  thought. The soldiery many dead, their carcases lying unburied in
  the highways and among bushes; many of them that were alive walked
  about like ghosts or dead men, who, as I walked through the town,
  lay groaning and crying out, ‘Bread, for the Lord’s sake!’”

Much of this suffering was due not to hardships or necessity, but to the
mismanagement of the commanders and the misconduct of the men. Though
they were dying at the rate of a hundred a week, the survivors would do
nothing to secure themselves against the climate, or to provide for
their future subsistence. “Dig or plant they neither can nor will, but
do rather starve than work,” complained Sedgwick. He termed the soldiers
a people “so basely unworthy, lazy, and idle, as it cannot enter into
the heart of any Englishman that such blood should run in the veins of
any born in England.”

The Protector looked to New England and the islands to supply him with
the planters and farmers whom the new colony needed. Above all, he
desired to obtain as its nucleus a body of industrious, God-fearing
Puritans, such as New England alone amongst English colonies seemed able
to supply. In 1650, he had asked the New Englanders to help in the
recolonisation of Ireland, and, undeterred by his failure, he now
invited them to remove to Jamaica. “Our desire is,” said he, “that this
place may be inhabited by people who know the Lord and walk in his fear,
that by their light they may enlighten the parts about them, which was a
chief end of our undertaking this design.” Daniel Gookin of
Massachusetts, Cromwell’s agent, was commissioned to make large offers
to his fellow citizens to induce them to emigrate. Ships were to be
furnished for their transportation; they were to be given lands rent
free for seven years, and to be free from all taxes for three; they were
to be guaranteed as large privileges and rights of self-government as
any English city enjoyed. Cromwell felt confident that many would accept
the offer, for, remembering the early hardships of the settlers, he
regarded New England as barren and unhealthy, and thought his new
conquest a much better country. He made his offer, he declared,

  “out of love and affection to themselves, and the fellow-feeling we
  have always had of the difficulties and necessities they have been
  put to contest with, ever since they were driven from the land of
  their nativity into that barren wilderness, for their conscience
  sake; which we could not but make manifest at this time, when, as we
  think, an opportunity is offered for their enlargement and removing
  them out of a barren country into a land of plenty.”

They had “as clear a call,” he told Captain Leverett, to transport
themselves from New England to Jamaica, “in order to their bettering
their outward condition, as they had had from England to New England.”

But the New Englanders were more prosperous than Cromwell imagined, and
at the worst their climate was more healthful than that to which he
invited them to remove. New Haven—threatened just then by an Indian
war—was the only colony which seriously considered the proposal, and in
the end it answered in the negative. In the reply of Massachusetts,
“intelligence from Jamaica of the mortality of the English race there,”
was the only definite objection mentioned. Its people thanked the
Protector for his good intentions with humble and effusive piety,
promised him their prayers, and made it quite clear that they meant to
stay where they were. Two or three hundred New Englanders accepted the
invitation, but that was all.

As little feasible was it to people Jamaica from Scotland or Ireland.
Cromwell thought of transporting Lowland vagrants and turbulent
Highlanders on a large scale, but was told that any plan for compulsory
emigration would set all Scotland in a blaze. There was a scheme
discussed for transporting one thousand Irish boys and as many Irish
girls to Jamaica, but it came to nothing. Jamaica was colonised by the
surplus population of the other West Indian islands. St. Kitts,
Barbadoes, and the Bermudas sent numerous settlers, while the island of
Nevis furnished seventeen hundred with its governor at their head. By
degrees the mortality amongst soldiers and colonists diminished;
cultivation spread, and a little trade in colonial products sprang up.
Under Sedgwick’s rule, the work of plantation really began. He died in
May, 1656, and was succeeded as governor by Major-General William
Brayne, an officer who had been serving in Scotland under Monk, and to
whose wisdom the pacification of the Western Highlands was chiefly due.
Brayne died in September, 1657, “infinitely lamented,” wrote a colonist,
“being a wise man, and perfectly qualified for the command and design.”
To him succeeded Colonel Edward Doyley, who governed Jamaica till after
the restoration of Charles II.

All this time the infant colony was engaged in an active war with the
Spaniards, both by sea and land. The fleet lay in wait for the Spanish
treasure-ships, or attacked the towns on the Spanish main. In 1655,
Goodson took Santa Martha; in 1656, Rio de la Hacha. Sedgwick was much
opposed to these buccaneering raids, thinking them not only unprofitable
but harmful. “We are not able,” he wrote, “to possess any place we
attack, and so in no hope thereby to effect our intention in dispensing
anything of the true knowledge of God to the inhabitants.” To the
Indians and blacks he added, “we shall make ourselves appear a cruel,
bloody, and ruinating people,” which “will cause them, I fear, to think
us worse than the Spaniard.” Few shared these conscientious scruples. In
1657, Captain Christopher Mings took Coro and Cumana, in Venezuela,
bringing home “more plunder than ever was brought to Jamaica,” and
enriching the whole island. The buccaneering spirit, which produced such
demoralising results in later years, tainted the colony from its birth.

On their part, the Spaniards made repeated attempts to reconquer
Jamaica. Some still lurked in the forests and mountains, and, aided by
the mulattoes and negroes, cut off small parties of settlers. Spain sent
fresh soldiers to Cuba, and expeditions from Santiago or Havana landed
more than once on the northern coast of Jamaica. In 1657, Doyley killed
or took a party of three hundred. In 1658, he defeated thirty companies
of Spanish foot, who had established themselves near Rio Nova, killing
three hundred, taking one hundred prisoners, and storming the fort they
had built. He sent ten flags as trophies to Cromwell, but the Protector
was dead ere the news of the victory reached him. “So,” writes a
colonial historian, “he never had one syllable of anything that was
grateful from the vastest expense and the greatest design that was ever
made by the English.”

Yet, though to Cromwell himself the history of his West Indian
expedition must have seemed a dreary record of failure, it was in
reality the most fruitful part of his external policy, and produced the
most abiding results. Through it, the Spaniards were forced to refrain
from molesting the English colonies in the West Indies, and England
obtained, as he desired, “the mastery of those seas.” Unlike other parts
of his policy, it was not reversed but maintained at the Restoration.
Charles II. kept Jamaica, and forced Spain with a high hand to submit to
its retention by England. He succeeded in effecting the conquest of
Dutch America, which Cromwell had been so eager to undertake. He ceded
Acadia to France, but his successors won it back, and won all Canada
too. Under him and under them the power of the Home Government was
systematically directed to the defence of existing colonies and the
foundation of new ones. Thus the colonial policy which Cromwell and the
statesmen of the Republic had initiated became the permanent policy of
succeeding rulers, and it became so because it represented not the views
of a particular party, but the aspirations and the interests of
Englishmen in general.



                               CHAPTER XX
                      CROMWELL AND HIS PARLIAMENTS

From 1654 to 1658, the fundamental question of English politics was,
whether Cromwell would succeed in securing the assent of the nation to
the authority which the army had conferred upon him. Foreigners saw the
situation clearly. After the famous Swedish chancellor, Oxenstiern, had
heard Whitelocke’s account of the foundation of the Protectorate, he
told him there was but one thing remaining for the Protector to do and
that was “to get him a back and breast of steel.” “What do you mean?”
asked Whitelocke. “I mean,” replied the Chancellor, “the confirmation of
his being Protector by your Parliament, which will be his best and
greatest strength.” Cromwell himself was not content to remain the
nominee of the soldiers, and wished to govern by consent and not by
force. But two great obstacles stood always in his way. One was the
rooted aversion of Englishmen to the rule of the sword, which was the
origin of his power. The other was the traditions of the House of
Commons. In January, 1649, it had claimed to be the supreme power in the
state in the right of the sovereign people it represented, and that
claim, once made, could never be forgotten. To one section of the
Republicans, the only legitimate Government was the expelled Long
Parliament, granted by statute the right never to be dissolved but by
its own consent. To another section, any elected Parliament was as
all-powerful as the people from which its rights were derived. To admit
the right of any external power to limit the authority of Parliament,
seemed to both a betrayal of the liberty of the nation.

The first Parliament elected under the provisions of the Instrument of
Government met in September, 1654. The majority of its members were
Presbyterians or moderate Independents, for the extreme men of the
Little Parliament had been rejected at the polls. It soon became evident
that while the House was prepared to accept Cromwell as head of the
state, it was not willing to accept the constitution which the officers
had devised. Instead of contenting itself with the functions of a
legislature, it claimed to be a constituent assembly. The Protector
might exercise the executive power, provided the representatives of the
people settled the terms upon which he held it. “The government,” ran
the formula adopted, “should be in the Parliament and a single person
limited or restrained as the Parliament should think fit.” The
co-ordinate and independent power which the Instrument of Government
gave the Protector was thus called in question, and Parliament once more
laid claim to sovereignty.

Cromwell thought it necessary to intervene to maintain his own authority
and that of the constitution. He offered a compromise. Parliament might
revise the constitution if its essentials were left untouched.
“Circumstantials” they might alter; “fundamentals” they must accept.
Those fundamentals he summed up in four principles: government by a
single person and Parliament; the division of the control of the
military forces between Parliament and the Protector; limitation of the
length of time which a Parliament might sit; and, finally, liberty of
conscience. As for himself, Cromwell asserted that his title to rule had
been ratified by the nation. The army, the City, most of the boroughs
and counties of England had by their addresses signified their approval.
The judges by taking out new commissions had accepted his authority. The
sheriffs by proceeding to elections in accordance with his writs, and
the members themselves chosen in those elections, had thereby owned it
too. Either directly or indirectly therefore his power was founded on
the acceptance and consent of the people. For the good of these nations
and their posterity he would maintain the present settlement against all
opposition. “The wilful throwing away of this Government, so owned by
God, so approved by men,—I can sooner be willing to be rolled into my
grave and buried with infamy, than I can give my consent unto.”

About a hundred members were excluded from the House for refusing to
sign an engagement to be faithful to the Commonwealth and the Protector,
and not to alter the government as settled in a single person and
Parliament. The rest, accepting the Protector’s invitation, proceeded to
revise the constitution. Many days they spent in these debates, wasting
much time in futile disputes about words, but making some judicious
amendments. They made the office of Protector elective, and the Council
more dependent upon Parliament. On the other hand, they restricted the
Protector’s veto over legislation, and sought to limit the toleration
granted by the constitution. A list of damnable heresies was to be drawn
up, and twenty articles of faith were to be enumerated, which no man was
to be permitted to controvert. At this both the army and the Protector
took alarm, and Cromwell was petitioned by the officers to intervene. In
the end, it was agreed that the question of heresy should be left to the
joint decision of Protector and Parliament, but another question
remained behind, on which no compromise was possible. By the
“Instrument,” the Protector was empowered to maintain a standing army of
thirty thousand men, but at the close of 1654, the forces actually on
foot in the three nations amounted to fifty-seven thousand. The annual
expenditure of the state had risen to £2,670,000, while the revenue
amounted only to two millions and a quarter. Parliament was eager to
reduce taxation, and above all to reduce the cost of the army, which
amounted to £1,560,000 per annum. It demanded the reduction of the army
to the legal maximum, voted after much discussion a revenue of one
million three hundred thousand pounds, which it held to be sufficient to
maintain an army of thirty thousand, and promised to provide money to
pay off the twenty-seven thousand men to be disbanded. At the same time,
it insisted that the control of the military forces of the nation should
belong to Parliament, not to the Protector. On this question Oliver
could not yield. In his opinion and in the opinion of his Council,
thirty thousand men were not sufficient to keep the three nations in

The royalist rising in Scotland was only just put down, and Ireland,
though subdued, was seething with discontent. In England, preparations
for an insurrection were in progress, encouraged by the disputes between
Parliament and the Protector. “Dissettlement and division, discontent
and dissatisfaction,” he said, “together with real dangers to the whole,
have been more multiplied within these five months of your sitting than
in some years before. Foundations have been laid for the future renewing
of the troubles of these nations by all the enemies of them abroad and
at home.”

The Cavaliers, said Cromwell, had been for some time furnishing
themselves with arms; “nothing doubting but that they should have a day
for it, and verily believing that whatsoever their former
disappointments were, they should have more done for them by and from
our divisions than they were able to do for themselves.” The Levellers
were working in concert with the Cavaliers, “endeavouring to put us into
blood and confusion, more desperate and dangerous confusion than England
ever yet saw.” Republicans of position were joining with the Levellers
to create discontent and mutiny amongst the soldiers, and the delay to
vote money for the payment of the army and the insufficiency of the sum
yet voted had furthered these designs. The army in Scotland was thirty
weeks behindhand with its pay, and in danger of being reduced to take
free quarters. A plot had been discovered to seize Monk, make someone
else general, and march the army into England to overthrow the
Government. Under such conditions, it was impossible for the Protector
to consent to so great a reduction of the army, or to give up the
control of it. “If,” said he, “the power of the militia should be
yielded up at such a time as this, when there is as much need of it to
keep this cause, as there was to get it, what would become of us all?”
Nor was it possible for him at any time to surrender the control of the
army if the balance of the constitution was to be preserved. Unless that
control were equally shared between the Protector and Parliament, said
Cromwell, it would put an end to the Protector’s power “for doing the
good he ought, or hindering Parliament from perpetuating themselves,
from imposing what religion they please on the consciences of men, or
what government they please upon the nation.” If this fundamental
principle were abandoned, all the others would be endangered.
“Therefore,” he concluded, “I think it my duty to tell you that it is
not for the profit of these nations, nor for common and public good, for
you to continue here any longer.”

The plots of which Cromwell had spoken were widespread and dangerous,
but the vigilance of the Government nipped them in the bud.
Major-General Overton, whom the Scottish mutineers had pitched upon as
their leader, was imprisoned first in the Tower and then in Jersey.
Major-General Harrison, whom the Fifth Monarchy men in England relied
upon to head them, was sent to Carisbrooke Castle. Major Wildman, the
chief of the Levellers, was arrested in the act of dictating a
“Declaration of the free and well affected people of England now in arms
against the tyrant, Oliver Cromwell.” The seizure of many royalist
agents paralysed the plots of the Cavaliers. Their rising had been fixed
to take place on February 13th, but it was adjourned for three weeks,
and when March came, though there were gatherings in half a dozen
places, so few obeyed the signal that the conspirators generally
dispersed, and went home again. The only actual outbreak took place at
Salisbury, where Colonel Penruddock and Sir Joseph Wagstaff got together
three or four hundred men, and proclaimed Charles II. Then they made for
Cornwall, where royalist feeling was still strong, but they were
overtaken and routed by Cromwell’s soldiers at South Molton in
Devonshire. Penruddock and a few others were executed, and some scores
of their followers were transported to the West Indies to work in the
sugar plantations.

As soon as the insurrection was over, Cromwell, to show his desire to
diminish the burdens of the nation, and his wish to meet as far as
possible the reasonable demands of the late Parliament, took in hand the
reduction of the army. During the summer and autumn of 1655, ten or
twelve thousand men were disbanded, and the pay of those maintained in
the service was diminished. Then followed an extension of military rule
which brought more odium upon the Protector than any other act of his
Government. England was divided into twelve districts, and over each was
set an officer with the local rank of major-general, and the special
duty of maintaining the order of his district. He was charged to put in
force an elaborate system of police regulations meant to prevent
conspiracies against the Government, and to see to the execution of all
laws relating to public morals. He had command of the local militia, and
of a troop of horse raised in every county to supplement it.

This “standing militia of horse” as it was termed, consisted of about
six thousand men, paid a small sum as a retaining fee, and liable to be
called out at a day’s notice. The eighty thousand pounds a year required
to maintain them was to be procured by a tax of ten per cent. on the
income of the royalist gentry, the assessment and collection of which
were entrusted to the major-generals assisted by local commissioners.

As a measure of police the institution was a great success, but
politically it was a great mistake. It was a reversal of the policy
which Cromwell had hitherto followed. By the amnesty he had carried in
1652, and by the repeal of the compulsory engagement to be faithful to
the Commonwealth, Cromwell had sought to induce the Royalists to forget
their defeat and to become good citizens. In the declaration now
published, to justify his proceedings for securing the peace of the
nation, he adopted the view that the Royalists were irreconcilable. They
had laboured, he complained, to keep themselves distinct and separate
from the well-affected, “as if they would avoid the very beginning of
union.” They bred their children under the ejected clergy, and confined
their marriages within their own party, “as if they meant to entail
their quarrel and prevent the means to reconcile posterity.” People
might say it was unjust to punish all the Royalists for the fault of a
few, but “the whole party generally were involved in this business,”
either directly or indirectly. Therefore, “if there were need of greater
forces to carry on the work, it was a most righteous thing to put the
charge on that party which was the cause of it.”

The defence convinced only the supporters of the Government. To the rest
of England, the arbitrary and inquisitorial proceedings of the
major-generals were sufficient to condemn the institution. It was
evident that the military party amongst the Protector’s advisers had
obtained the upper hand of the lawyers and civilians. The Protectorate,
which had hitherto striven to seem a moderate and constitutional
government, stood revealed as a military despotism.

Meanwhile a legal opposition more dangerous than royalist plots
threatened the Protector’s authority. The lawyers began to call in
question the validity of his ordinances, and the judges to manifest
scruples about enforcing them. Whitelocke and Widdrington, two of the
Commissioners of the Great Seal, resigned their posts because of
scruples about executing the ordinance for the reform of Chancery.
Judges Newdigate and Thorpe declined to act on the commission appointed
for the trial of the insurgents in the north. A merchant named Cony
refused to pay customs duties not imposed by act of Parliament, and his
counsel, Serjeant Twysden, asserted that their levy by Cromwell’s
ordinance was contrary to Magna Carta, Chief-Justice Rolle, before whom
the case came, resigned his place to avoid determining the question.

Cromwell met this opposition by arresting those who refused to pay
taxes, sending Cony’s lawyers to the Tower, and replacing the doubters
by more compliant judges. Cony, intimidated or cajoled, withdrew his
plea, and the lawyers apologised and submitted. Necessity was the
Protector’s only excuse for these despotic acts. “The people,” he had
asserted when he dissolved Parliament, “will prefer their safety to
their passions, and their real security to forms, when necessity calls
for supplies.” Convinced that the maintenance of his Government was for
the good of the people, he was resolved to maintain it by force, and did
not shrink from the avowal. “’Tis against the will of the nation: there
will be nine in ten against you,” Calamy is reported to have told
Cromwell, when he assumed his protectorship. “Very well,” said Cromwell,
“but what if I should disarm the nine, and put a sword in the tenth
man’s hands. Would not that do the business?”

Nevertheless, neither the argument from necessity nor the appeal to
force could persuade the Republican leaders to recognise the authority
of the Government. Men like Vane and Ludlow steadily refused even an
engagement not to act against it.

“Why will you not own this Government to be a legal government?” said
Lambert to Ludlow. “Because,” replied Ludlow, “it seems to me to be in
substance a re-establishment of that which we all engaged against, and
had with a great expense of blood and treasure abolished.” “What is it
you would have?” asked the Protector himself. “That which we fought
for,” said Ludlow, “that the nation might be governed by its own
consent.” “I am as much for government by consent as any man,” answered
Cromwell, “but where shall we find that consent?”

That was the difficulty. Ludlow said that the consent required was that
of “those of all sorts who had acted with fidelity and affection to the
public.” Vane in his _Healing Question_ said that a convention
representing “the whole body of adherents to this cause” was the only
body that had a right to determine the government of the nation. Both
were blind to the fact that the divisions of the Puritan party had made
agreement impossible, and that government by consent would necessarily
bring about the restoration of the Stuarts.

In the summer of 1656, the Protector summoned a second Parliament,
although according to the terms of the “Instrument” he need not have
done so till 1657. He needed money to carry on the war with Spain, and
the major-generals told him that they could secure the election of
members favourable to the Government. When the elections came, the
major-generals had an unpleasant surprise. Everywhere the arbitrary
measures of the last eighteen months had aroused general discontent. “No
courtiers, nor swordsmen,” was the popular cry, and in the counties,
where the electorate was too large to be overawed, a large number of
opposition candidates were returned. When Parliament met, the
Protector’s Council assumed the right to decide on the qualifications of
the persons elected, and excluded a hundred members as disaffected to
the Government.

Those excluded protested, but their protest was unheeded; those allowed
to sit submitted with hardly a murmur. They were in general moderate
Presbyterians or Independents, willing to support any Government which
promised tranquillity to a nation weary of political strife. Their
willingness to accept Cromwell as Protector was shown by an act
annulling the title of the Stuarts to the throne, and by another making
it high treason to plot for the overthrow of his Government. The capture
of the Spanish treasure ships by Stayner, which happened just about the
opening of the session, gave Cromwell’s foreign policy the prestige of
success, and the House responded to his appeal for supplies by approving
the Spanish war and voting £400,000 for its expenses.

On other questions, it soon appeared how little even adherents of the
Protectorate sympathised with the Protector’s hostility to religious
persecution, and how much they resented the arbitrary proceedings of the
major-generals. In the case of James Naylor the House assumed judicial
power, and many members were eager to punish his blasphemies with death.
Cromwell’s intervention was repulsed and Naylor was sentenced to be
branded, scourged, and imprisoned at pleasure. Still more bitter was the
struggle over the bill for continuing the “decimation” tax imposed on
the Cavaliers for the support of the new militia. The major-generals
were attacked from all quarters of the House, and the tax was denounced
as unjust, and as a breach of the public faith. Cromwell’s son-in-law,
Claypole, spoke against the bill, and so did his trusted councillor,
Lord Broghill. Excepting the soldiers themselves, few defended it, and
it was finally negatived by an overwhelming majority.

While these debates were still in progress, a new plot against the
Protector’s life was discovered. Miles Sindercombe, a discharged soldier
of Levelling principles, after the failure of several schemes for
shooting Cromwell from a window on his way to Hampton Court, or
assassinating him in his coach as he took the air in Hyde Park,
attempted to set Whitehall Chapel on fire, hoping to find a better
opportunity in the confusion. When an account of the plot was laid
before Parliament, Mr. Ashe, a Presbyterian member of little note, moved
a startling addition to the address of congratulation. “It would tend
very much to the preservation of himself and us,” he declared, “that his
Highness would be pleased to take upon him the government according to
the ancient constitution. Both our liberties and peace and the
preservation and privilege of his Highness would then be founded upon an
old and sure foundation.”

The same suggestion had often been made outside the walls of the House.
In the first draft of the “Instrument of Government,” the officers had
offered Cromwell the title of King instead of Protector, and he had
refused it. In August, 1655, a petition had been circulated in London
pressing Cromwell to assume the title of King or Emperor, but its author
had been reprimanded by the Council, and the petition suppressed. At the
close of 1656, the victories over the Spaniards had roused a widespread
feeling that Cromwell was worthy to be enrolled amongst English kings.
It found expression in Waller’s verses on the capture of the Spanish
treasure ships.

“Let it be as the glad nation prays,” sang the poet.

              “Let the rich ore forthwith be melted down,
              And the state fixed, by making him a crown;
              With ermine clad and purple, let him hold
              A royal sceptre made of Spanish gold.”

But neither foreign glories nor domestic dangers were so strong a motive
for the revival of monarchy as the desire to return to constitutional
government. The reaction against the rule of the Fifth Monarchy men had
made Cromwell Protector, the reaction against the rule of the swordsmen
produced the attempt to make him King. “They are so highly incensed
against the arbitrary actings of the major-generals,” wrote an observing
member of Parliament, “that they are greedy of any power that will be
ruled and limited by law.” Ashe’s suggestion was denounced as a crime by
a few staunch Republicans, but it fell upon fruitful ground. Five weeks
later, Alderman Pack, one of the members for London, brought in a bill
proposing a revision of the constitution and a revival of monarchy.
Republicans regarded the scheme as prompted by Cromwell himself, but in
reality it was the work of the merchants and the lawyers of the middle
party. Again the military element in the House took one side and the
civil the other. The major-generals, backed by the soldiers and the
Republicans, stubbornly contested the Bill, article by article, but at
last, on March 25th, the House resolved, by 123 to 62 votes, that the
Protector should be asked to assume the name and office of King. On the
31st of March, the scheme was presented to the Protector for acceptance,
under the title of “The Humble Petition and Advice” of Parliament.

Cromwell’s answer was hesitating and ambiguous. He expressed his thanks
for the honour done him, and his approval of the new constitution, but
ended with a refusal. He said that as he could not accept a part of the
scheme without accepting the whole, he could not “find it his duty to
God and the Parliament to undertake this charge under that title.” For
the next five weeks committees of Parliament argued with the Protector
to remove his scruples and to prove the necessity of his accepting the
crown. The title meant everything to them.

  “Parliament,” wrote Thurloe, “will not be persuaded that there can
  be a settlement any other way. The title is not the question, but
  it’s the office, which is known to the laws and to the people. They
  know their duty to a king and his to them. Whatever else there is
  will be wholly new, and upon the next occasion will be changed
  again. Besides they say the name Protector came in with the sword,
  and will never be the ground of any settlement, nor will there be a
  free Parliament so long as that continues, and as it savours of the
  sword now, so it will at last bring all things to be military.”

But the same reasons which made the revival of monarchy seem so
desirable to Parliament and the lawyers, made it obnoxious to the army.
A month before the offer of the crown to Cromwell, Major-General Lambert
and a hundred officers petitioned him to refuse it. Cromwell answered
with firmness; to him their objections to the title seemed overstrained
and unreasonable. “Time was,” he reminded them, “when they boggled not
at the word king.” “For his own part,” he added, “he loved the title as
little as they did.” It was only “a feather in a hat.” But the policy of
the officers had failed. The constitution they had drawn up needed
mending. The experiment of the major-generals had ended in failure. “It
is time,” he concluded, “to come to a settlement, and to lay aside
arbitrary proceedings so unacceptable to the nation.”

Cromwell was desirous to accept the constitution drawn up by Parliament,
because it seemed to secure that settlement by consent of the nation, so
long and so vainly sought. “I am hugely taken with the thing,
settlement, with the word, and with the notion of it,” declared Cromwell
to the parliamentary committee. “I think he is not worthy to live in
England that is not.”

In itself the constitutional scheme contained in the Petition and Advice
seemed a good scheme. There was the monarchical element which Cromwell
had pronounced desirable in 1657. There were the checks on the arbitrary
power of the House of Commons which he always thought necessary, not
only in the existence of a written constitution, such as the officers
had devised in 1653, but in the revival of a Second Chamber as a balance
to the Commons. Civil liberty seemed fully provided for, and “that great
natural and civil liberty, liberty of conscience,” securely guaranteed.
“The things provided in the Petition,” asserted Cromwell, “do secure the
liberties of the people of God so as they never before had them.”

For five weeks these conferences continued. “I do judge of myself,” said
the Protector soon after they began, “that there is no necessity of this
name of king, for the other name may do as well.” He was even disposed
to think that God had blasted the title as well as the family which had
borne it. Moreover, he told Parliament, many good men could not swallow
the title, and they should not run the risk of losing one friend or one
servant for the sake of a thing that was of so little importance. If
left to himself the Protector would probably have waived his scruples,
and accepted, but this last consideration decided his answer. From many
a staunch Cromwellian outside the army, letters and pamphlets against
kingship reached Cromwell. He was plainly told that for him “to re-edify
that old structure of government” which God by his instrumentality had
overthrown, and to set up again that monarchy which Parliament had
declared burdensome and destructive to the nation, would be “a fearful
apostacy.” In the army, it was clear that his acceptance of the crown
would create an irreconcilable schism. When the day for his final answer
came, Fleetwood, Desborough, and Lambert threatened to lay down their
commissions if he accepted, and that morning about thirty officers
presented a petition to Parliament, begging it to press the Protector no
more, and protesting against the revival of kingship. On May 8, 1657,
Cromwell answered Parliament with another refusal, saying: “Though I
think the act of government doth consist of very excellent parts in all
but that one thing of the title as to me, I cannot undertake this
government with the title of King.”

Parliament, though much disappointed, took the hint these words
contained. Had Cromwell definitely refused when the Petition and Advice
was first offered to him, Parliament would have thrown up the whole
scheme in disgust. As it was, in its anxiety to obtain his acceptance,
it had adopted all the amendments which he suggested during the
conferences, and had gone too far to abandon the constitution so
carefully elaborated. On May 25th, the Petition and Advice was presented
to Cromwell again, with the title of Protector substituted for that of
King, and this time he gave his assent to it. In Westminster Hall, on
Friday, the 26th of June, he was for the second time installed as
Protector, with great pomp and ceremony. The Speaker, as representative
of Parliament, invested him with a robe of purple velvet, lined with
ermine, “being the habit anciently used at the investiture of princes,”
presented him with a Bible, girt a sword to his side, and put a golden
sceptre into his hands. He took the oath to maintain the Protestant
religion and to preserve the peace and the rights of the three nations,
and sat down in the chair of state. The trumpets sounded, the people
shouted “God save the Lord Protector,” and the heralds made proclamation
after the ancient fashion when kings were crowned.

Cromwell had gained what he desired. At last his authority rested upon a
constitutional basis. Henceforth he was not merely the nominee of the
army, but the elect of the representatives of the people. Moreover,
under the Petition and Advice his powers were more extensive than they
had been under the Instrument of Government. He had acquired the right
to nominate his own successor and to appoint, subject to the approval of
Parliament, the seventy members of the new Second Chamber. He had
obtained a permanent revenue of one million three hundred thousand
pounds, which Parliament held sufficient to cover the ordinary
expenditure of Government in time of peace, while for the next three
years he had been granted an additional revenue of six hundred thousand
pounds to meet the cost of the war. On the other hand, the authority of
Parliament had been enlarged, and that of the Protector’s Council
diminished. Parliament had gained control over its own elections, and
the arbitrary exclusion of its members was made henceforth impossible.
But it remained to be seen whether a Parliament, representing all
sections of the Puritan party, would accept a settlement made by a
packed Parliament, or whether the newly devised Second Chamber would be
a more effectual check to the Lower House than the paper limitations of
the Instrument of Government.

In January, 1658, when Parliament met again after a six months’
vacation, the situation was altered. About forty of the Protector’s
chief supporters in the Lower House had been called to the new Second
Chamber, and their places had not been filled up by fresh elections. At
the same time all the leading Republicans, excluded at the opening of
the first session,—old parliamentary hands, skilful in debate, and
bitterly hostile to the Protectorate,—swelled the ranks of the
Opposition. Instead of there being a strong Government majority, the two
parties in the House of Commons were pretty equally balanced.
Nevertheless, the Protector’s opening speech was full of hope and
confidence. Looking back on the past work of this Parliament and the
settlement achieved by it, his heart overflowed with gratitude and
gladness. “How God hath redeemed us as we stand this day! Not from
trouble and sorrow and anger only, but into a blessed and happy estate
and condition, comprehensive of all interests.” We have “peace and rest
out of ten years’ war,” religious freedom after years of persecution.
“Who could have forethought, when we were plunged into the midst of our
troubles, that ever the people of God should have had liberty to worship
God without fear of enemies?” Let them own what God had done, and build
on this foundation of civil and spiritual liberties which he had given

  “If God shall bless you in this work,” continued Cromwell, “and make
  the meeting happy on that account, you shall be called the blessed
  of the Lord. The generations to come shall bless us. You shall be
  ‘the repairers of breaches, and the restorers of paths to dwell in.’
  And if there be any higher work which mortals can attain unto in the
  world beyond this, I acknowledge my ignorance of it.”

Cromwell was speedily undeceived. As soon as the proceedings began, it
was evident that a breach between the two Houses was imminent. In
Cromwell’s second speech to them, four days after the session began, he
spoke of his fears rather than his hopes. Abroad, he said, the
Protestant cause was in danger through the complications in Northern
Europe, and Charles II. had got together an army and was projecting a
landing in England. At home, the Cavaliers were planning another
insurrection, but the greatest danger lay in their own divisions. “Take
us in that temper we are in: it is the greatest miracle that ever befell
the sons of men that we are got again to peace.” Consider how many
different sects and parties there were in the nation, each striving to
be uppermost. “If God did not hinder, it would all make up one
confusion. We should find there would be but one Cain in England, if God
did not restrain; we should have another more bloody civil war than ever
we had in England.” What stood between England and anarchy except the
army, and except the Government established by the Petition and Advice?
“Have you any frame or model of things which would satisfy the minds of
men if this be not the frame?”

The Republican leaders, who had now obtained the guidance of the Lower
House, were deaf to these arguments. They were pledged by oath to be
true and faithful to the Lord Protector, and not to contrive anything
against his lawful authority, and they were careful to keep the word of
promise to the ear. But they insisted on discussing the Petition and
Advice over again, taking nothing for granted which had been done during
their absence. “Unless you make foundations sure, it will not do your
work,” said Haslerig. “We who were not privy to your debates upon which
you made your resolutions should have liberty to debate it over again,”
added another. With great acuteness they fixed upon the authority of the
new Second Chamber as the point of attack, denied it to be a House of
Lords as Cromwell styled it, and insisted that its proper title,
according to the Petition and Advice, was “the other House.”

If it were suffered to call itself a House of Lords, it would claim all
the legislative and judicial powers the old Lords had possessed: and
then what would become of the rights of the people? The people, said
Scot, had been by the providence of God set free from any authority
which could exercise a veto on their resolutions. “Will they thank you,
if you bring such a negative upon them? What was fought for, but to
arrive at a capacity to make your own laws?” “The Commons of England,”
chimed in Haslerig, “will quake to hear that they are returning to
Egypt.” For seven whole sittings these debates continued, and the Lower
House refused to have any dealings with the Upper House till this
question was decided. To the republicans the title meant everything.
“Admit Lords and you admit all,” argued Ashley Cooper. “I can suffer to
be torn in pieces,” cried Haslerig, “I could endure that; but to betray
the liberties of the people of England, that I cannot.”

The Republican leaders did not confine their opposition to words. Some
of them entered into communication with the malcontents in the city and
the army. It was arranged that a petition should be presented, signed by
ten thousand persons in London, demanding the limitation of the
Protector’s power over the army, and the recognition of the House of
Commons as the supreme authority in the nation. In reply, the House was
to vote an address asserting both these principles, and if need be to
appoint Fairfax commander-in-chief instead of Cromwell. The Republicans
expected to be backed by part of the army, for there were rumours of
disaffection in the ranks. Soldiers had been heard to say that under
pretence of liberty of conscience they had been fooled into betraying
the civil liberties of their country, and all to make one family great.
And nowhere was the hostility to the new House of Lords stronger than
amongst the officers of the Protector’s own regiment of horse.

The scheme came to Cromwell’s ears, and the next morning he sent a
sudden summons to both Houses to meet him (February 4, 1658). He was
Protector, he told them, by virtue of the Petition and Advice. “There is
not a man living can say I sought it, no, not a man nor woman treading
upon English ground.” They had petitioned and advised him to undertake
his office, and he looked to them to make their engagements good. Then,
addressing himself to the members of the Commons, he complained that,
instead of owning the settlement made by their consent, they were
attempting to upset it. “The nation is in likelihood of running into
more confusion in these fifteen or sixteen days that you have sat, than
it hath been from the rising of the last session to this day. Through
the intention of devising a Commonwealth again, that some people might
be the men that might rule all.” Some were “endeavouring to engage the
army to carry that thing,” others “to stir up the people of this town
into a tumulting.” These things tended “to nothing else but the playing
of the King of Scots’ game,” and could end in nothing but blood and
confusion. “I think it high time,” he concluded, “that an end be put to
your sitting, and I do dissolve this Parliament. And let God be judge
between you and me.”

“Amen,” responded the defiant Republicans.




  (_From Henfrey’s “Numismata Cromwelliana.”_)


                              CHAPTER XXI
                         THE DEATH OF CROMWELL

To contemporaries, the Protectorate had never seemed stronger than it
did in the summer of 1658. “From the dissolution of Cromwell’s last
Parliament,” writes Clarendon, “all things at home and abroad seemed to
succeed to his wish, and his power and greatness to be better
established than ever it had been.” Military mutiny, royalist
insurrection, projected invasion—the three dangers which threatened his
rule in the spring—had all been successfully overcome. The conspiracies
were frustrated by the timely arrest of their leaders. Some disaffected
officers lost their commissions, a few of the Fifth Monarchy men were
imprisoned, while about a dozen Royalists were tried by a High Court of
Justice, of whom five suffered on the scaffold or the gallows. Abroad,
the victory of the Dunes and the capture of Dunkirk shed new lustre on
English arms, and raised Cromwell’s fame still higher in Europe, while
the splendid reception of Lord Fauconberg at the French Court, and the
complimentary mission sent by Louis XIV. to the Protector, attested the
value which the most powerful sovereign in Europe set on Cromwell’s

Modern historians have taken a less favourable view of the situation
than contemporaries did. Some have assumed that Cromwell’s power was
tottering to its fall, and that he must have succumbed to the
difficulties which surrounded him. He was faced, it has been said, by
the certainty of bankruptcy without a supply from Parliament, and the
certainty of overthrow if he summoned Parliament. Both statements are
exaggerated, for neither difficulty was insuperable. Cromwell had been
faced by both ever since he began to rule, and his Government had
contrived to live through them.

In 1658, the financial difficulty was more serious than the
parliamentary difficulty. When the Long Parliament was expelled, the
national finances were in a state of chaos. The monthly property tax had
risen to £120,000 per mensem, there was a debt of about £700,000, and
the Crown lands, Church lands, and confiscated estates—which were the
great resource of the treasury in emergencies—had almost all been sold.
During the Protectorate the financial administration was improved,
public money thriftily husbanded, and taxation reduced. The monthly
assessment was lowered first to £90,000, then to £60,000, and finally to
£50,000. But as the reduction of the expenditure of the state did not
proceed at the same pace, the receipts did not balance the outgoings.
The income of Cromwell’s Government for 1657–1658 may be estimated at
about £1,900,000, while its expenses were about £400,000 more. The army
cost about £1,100,000, the navy about £900,000, and the civil government
about £300,000. The causes of this large deficit were two. One was the
cost of holding down Ireland and Scotland, the revenues of which were
insufficient to defray the cost of their garrisons, so that the English
treasury had to supply about a quarter of a million a year for that
purpose. The second cause was the Protector’s foreign policy. It was
calculated by financiers that less than half a million was enough to
maintain a fleet sufficient for defensive purposes. But a navy strong
enough to fight Spain for the mastery of the Western seas, blockade the
Spanish coasts, and interfere in the disputes of the Baltic powers, cost
twice that sum. The consequence of this was that the Protector’s
Government was always embarrassed for money, and that a considerable
debt accumulated. By the spring of 1659, that debt amounted to about a
million and three quarters. Had the financiers of the Protectorate, like
the financiers of the time of William III., adopted the device of
funding the debt, and raising loans to cover the deficits caused by war,
the difficulty would have been temporarily solved. But as the conditions
of the time and the want of skill amongst Cromwell’s financial advisers
prevented the adoption of that plan, the only course was to reduce
expenditure, or to obtain larger supplies from Parliament, neither of
which things was easy, but neither impossible. After the successful
campaign of 1658, it became evident that Spain would be forced to make
peace, and a reduction both in naval and military expenditure became
feasible. In the opinion of the French Ambassador (a shrewd observer,
and deeply concerned in forming a right estimate of the question), there
was nothing in the financial embarrassments of the Government to
endanger its stability. As little danger, according to his view, was
there of its overthrow by Parliament. The temporary success of the
Republicans in the second session of the last Parliament was due to a
cause which would not recur, that is, the weakening of the Government
majority by the withdrawal of forty of its supporters to form the new
Second Chamber. The Protectorate had gained, rather than lost,
parliamentary strength. While the result of the Parliament of 1654 had
been to weaken the authority of the Protector, the result of that of
1656 had greatly increased it. In the summer of 1658, therefore, the
Protector resolved to summon another Parliament towards the close of the
year, and but for his death the intention would have been fulfilled. It
was confidently expected on all hands that the offer of the Crown would
have been renewed by that body, and, as the elections of December 1658
proved, the Government would have had a majority of at least three to
two. The support which Richard Cromwell obtained from Parliament
negatives the theory that the opposition would have succeeded in the
attempt to overthrow his father.

Events proved clearly that the maintenance of the Protectorate depended
on the fidelity of the army. At the commencement of the Protectorate, it
numbered not less than sixty thousand men. In December, 1654, there were
still fifty-three thousand men in arms in the three nations, in spite of
recent reductions. By the end of the Protectorate it numbered, including
the troops employed in Flanders and Jamaica, about forty-eight thousand
men. During this period a considerable change had taken place in its
character and composition. Officers opposed to the Government had been,
one after another, deprived of their commands: Harrison in December,
1653, Overton and four other colonels in 1654, Lambert in 1657, Packer
and five captains of Cromwell’s own regiment in the spring of 1658. By
1658 the superior officers were generally either personal adherents of
the Protector or professional soldiers who took little interest in
political questions. Men of the type of Monk had taken the place of men
of the type of Harrison. Amongst the subordinate officers and
non-commissioned officers there were many Republicans, but they were
without sufficient influence to be dangerous. All Anabaptists and Fifth
Monarchy men had been purged out of the ranks; private soldiers in
general looked to military service as a livelihood, and might become
mutinous if their pay was too much in arrears, but hardly for the sake
of maintaining political principles.

The history of the Protectorate is the history of the gradual
emancipation of the Protector from the political control of the army.
Twice he had successfully frustrated attempted alliances between the
parliamentary opposition and the malcontents in the army, and each
attempt had strengthened his authority over the army.

It was this sense of the hopelessness of insurrectionary movements, so
long as Cromwell lived, which caused the repeated conspiracies of
Royalists and Levellers for Cromwell’s assassination. In 1654, some of
the people round Charles II. issued a proclamation in the King’s name
offering five hundred pounds, knighthood, and a colonel’s commission, to
any one who succeeded in killing “a certain mechanic fellow” called
Oliver Cromwell, “by pistol, sword, or poison.” Charles was cognisant of
these plots, and stipulated only that the Protector’s assassination
should be connected with a general royalist rising, not an isolated act.
There were many subsequent designs of the same nature, especially after
the alliance between the Levellers and the Royalists. Lieutenant-Colonel
Sexby, once a soldier in Cromwell’s own regiment, undertook to arrange
the assassination of the Protector, and was supplied with money by the
Spanish Government for that purpose. Sindercombe, whose plot was
detected in January, 1657, was his agent. In the following May, Sexby
published a tract entitled _Killing No Murder_, the object of which was
to prove that it would be both a lawful and a glorious act to kill the
Protector. “Let every man,” said he, “to whom God hath given the spirit
of wisdom and courage be persuaded by his honour, his safety, his own
good, and his country’s, to endeavour by all rational means to free the
world from this pest. Either I or Cromwell must perish,” announced
Sexby. But, visiting England in disguise to make further arrangements
for this purpose, Sexby was arrested, and died a prisoner in the Tower.

Cromwell was kept well informed of these designs by his police, and
spoke of them with great contempt. “Little fiddling things” he termed
them in one of his speeches. “It was intended first for the
assassination of my person,” he told Parliament of the plot of 1654,
“which I would not remember as anything at all considerable to myself or
to you, for they would have had to cut throats beyond human calculation
before they could have been able to effect their design.”

As a precaution against such designs, the Protector’s life-guard, which
had originally consisted simply of the forty-five gentlemen forming the
life-guard of the Commander-in-chief, was raised in 1656 to 160 men.
Royalist accounts say that during the last months of his life Cromwell
was “much more apprehensive of danger to his person than he had used to
be,” and that in consequence he surrounded himself with guards, never
returned from Hampton Court by the road by which he went thither, and
rarely slept twice in the same bed. These are legends for which there is
no solid foundation. The Protector took reasonable, but not exaggerated
precautions. He was not a man whose nerves could be shaken by threats,
but he knew as well as his enemies did how much depended on his life,
and how little the permanence of his work was assured.

The real danger to the Protectorate was that Cromwell was growing old.
He was now in his fifty-ninth year. The fatigues of campaigning had
injured his health before he began to rule. He had one dangerous illness
in the spring of 1648, and another in the spring of 1651. “I thought I
should have died of this sickness,” he said of the latter. Under the
fatigues of government, his health was still more impaired. The
despatches of foreign ambassadors have frequent references to the ill
health of the Protector as one of the causes which retarded their
negotiations. The difference between his signatures in 1651 and in 1657
is very remarkable. The bold firm hand of the first date becomes shaky
and feeble six years later. His speeches prove that he felt the weight
which rested upon his shoulders. “It has been heretofore,” he said in
1657, “a matter of, I think, but philosophical discourse, that a great
place, a great authority, is a great burden. I know it is.” Danton,
disillusioned by failure, cried that it was better to be a poor
fisherman than a ruler of men. Cromwell sometimes regretted the quiet
country life he had exchanged for the cares and vicissitudes of supreme
power. “I can say in the presence of God, in comparison of whom we are
but like poor creeping ants upon the earth, I would have lived under my
woodside, to have kept a flock of sheep, rather than undertook such a
government as this is.”



  OCTOBER 19, 1651.



  AUGUST 11, 1657.

He met each new difficulty with his old resourcefulness and courage, but
when one was overcome another rose before him, and the incessant
struggle made increasing demands upon his vital forces. In the opinion
of his steward, Maidston, “being compelled to wrestle with the
difficulties of his place as well as he could without parliamentary
assistance,” after the dissolution of his second Parliament, was a fatal
addition to his burdens. “I doubt not to say it drank up his spirits, of
which his natural constitution afforded a vast stock, and brought him to
his grave.”

Private griefs also contributed their share to his load. In February,
1658, Robert Rich died, the husband of Cromwell’s youngest daughter
Frances, married only four months earlier. On the 6th of August
following, died Elizabeth Claypole, his favourite daughter, after a long
and painful illness. The Protector was much with her in her last days,
and his “sense of her outward misery in the pains she endured took deep
impression upon him.”

A little time after his daughter’s funeral, Cromwell fell ill of an
ague, or intermittent fever, but in a few days he seemed to shake it off
and to regain strength. On August 20th, George Fox, going to Hampton
Court to plead with the Protector “about the sufferings of Friends,” met
him riding in the Park at the head of his guards. “Before I came to
him,” says Fox, “I saw and felt a waft of death go forth against him,
and when I came to him he looked like a dead man.” The next day Cromwell
fell sick again, but he felt certain that the prayers put up for him
would be answered, and was assured that he would recover. “Banish all
sadness from your looks, and deal with me as you would with a serving
man,” he said to a doubting physician. “You may have skill in the nature
of things, yet nature can do more than all physicians put together; and
God is far above nature.” When the fit was past, his physicians ordered
him to remove to Whitehall, thinking that he would be benefited by the
change of air.

At Whitehall, his condition became worse instead of better: he was
racked by alternate heats and chills; all recognised that the danger was
great; “our fears are more than our hopes,” wrote Thurloe to Henry
Cromwell. On Tuesday, the last day of August, the French Ambassador told
his Government that the Protector was at death’s door, but the same
evening he rallied, and hope gained the upper hand again. That night,
one who watched in Cromwell’s bedchamber heard him praying, and remarked
that “a public spirit to God’s cause did breathe in him to the very
last.” For he prayed, not for himself or for his family, but for
Puritanism and for all Puritans—for “God’s cause” and “God’s people.”
“Thou hast made me,” he said, “though very unworthy, a mean instrument
to do them some good, and Thee service. And many of them have set too
high a value upon me, though others wish and would be glad of my death.
But, Lord, however Thou dost dispose of me, continue and go on to do
good for them. Give them consistency of judgment, one heart, and mutual
love, and go on to deliver them.... Teach those who look too much upon
Thy instruments to depend more upon Thyself. Pardon such as desire to
trample upon the dust of a poor worm, for they are Thy people too. And
pardon the folly of this short prayer, even for Jesus Christ’s sake, and
give us a good night, if it be Thy pleasure.”

Cromwell hourly grew weaker. Through the night of Thursday, the 2nd of
September, he was very restless, speaking often to himself in broken
sentences difficult to hear. “I would be willing,” he said once, “to
live to be further serviceable to God and His people, but my work is
done.” “God will be with His people.” He resigned himself to die.

A physician offered him something to drink, bidding him to take it, and
to endeavour to sleep, but he answered: “It is not my design to drink or
to sleep, but my design is to make what haste I can to be gone.” Towards
morning he spoke again “using divers holy expressions, implying much
inward consolation and peace,” and with them he mingled “some exceeding
self-debasing words, annihilating and judging himself.” After that he
was silent, and at four o’clock on the afternoon of Friday he died.

It was the 3rd of September, his fortunate day, the anniversary of
Dunbar and Worcester.

As Marvell sang:

            “No part of time but bare his mark away
            Of honour—all the year was Cromwell’s day,
            But this, of all the most auspicious found,
            Thrice had in open field him victor crowned,
            When up the armèd mountains of Dunbar
            He marched, and through deep Severn, ending war:
            What day should him eternise, but the same,
            That had before immortalised his name?”

Sometime during his illness Cromwell had verbally nominated his eldest
son as his successor, so, about three hours after Oliver’s death,
Richard was proclaimed Protector. Addresses from counties, cities, and
regiments poured in to the new ruler, and foreign powers hastened to
congratulate and to recognise him. There was no more opposition than if
he had been the descendant of a long line of hereditary sovereigns.
“There is not a dog that wags his tongue, so great a calm are we in,”
wrote Thurloe to Henry Cromwell.

Richard’s first care was his father’s funeral. The body of the late
Protector was embalmed and removed from Whitehall to Somerset House,
there to lie in state, as that of James I. had done. His waxen effigy,
clad in royal robes of purple and ermine, with a golden sceptre in the
hand and a crown on the head, was for many weeks exhibited. The corpse
was privately buried in the chapel of Henry VII., in Westminster Abbey,
on September 26th, but the public funeral took place with extraordinary
pomp on November 23rd. All the great officers of state and public
officials, with officers from every regiment in the army, walked in
solemn procession from Somerset House to the Abbey, through streets
lined with soldiers in new red coats with black buttons.

The funeral ceremonies cost sixty thousand pounds, and this profusion,
which the Government could ill afford, excited angry criticism amongst
the Republicans. Their dissatisfaction would have mattered little, but
there were already signs of coming trouble in a more dangerous quarter.
A quarrel began between the civil and the military faction in the
Protector’s council. Oliver had been Commander-in-chief, as well as
Protector, but now the superior officers demanded a commander-in-chief
of their own choosing, and put forward Fleetwood as their candidate.
Their aim was to shake off the control of Richard’s civilian advisers,
and make the army independent of the civil power. Richard firmly refused
their demand, and the storm seemed to blow over, but the officers only
waited for a more convenient opportunity.

In January, 1659, the necessity of providing money for the public
service obliged Richard to call a Parliament. All the Republican leaders
obtained seats, but more than two-thirds of the members elected were
supporters of the Government. There was a long struggle over the
recognition of Richard as Protector, followed by excited debates about
the right of the members for Scotland and Ireland to sit in Parliament,
and over the old question of the House of Lords. On all these points,
the Government carried the day, but in the meantime the agitation in the
army had begun again, and a council of officers repeated the demands
made in the previous autumn. The Protector, backed by his Parliament,
which was indignant at military dictation, ordered the council to cease
meeting. The military leaders, allying themselves with the Republican
minority in the House, refused obedience. A few colonels adhered to the
Protector, and obeyed his orders, but they were deserted by their men,
and all the regiments in London gathered round Fleetwood at St. James’s.
On behalf of the council of officers, Fleetwood and Desborough demanded
the immediate dissolution of Parliament. “If he would dissolve
Parliament,” said Desborough, “the officers would take care of him; if
he refused, they would do it without him and leave him to shift for
himself.” Richard might have resisted with some chance of success, for
Monk and the army in Scotland remained faithful, and Henry Cromwell,
with the Irish army, would have supported him. But he trusted the
promises of his uncles, and, whatever the result to himself, he shrank
from beginning a civil war. “I will not have one drop of blood spilt for
the preservation of my greatness,” he is reported to have said. Yielding
to the pressure put upon him, he dissolved Parliament (April 21, 1659),
and a fortnight later he had ceased to reign.

Thus the Protectorate fell before that alliance between the Republicans
and the malcontents in the army which Cromwell had always been strong
enough to prevent. Fleetwood had no wish to overthrow his
brother-in-law, Desborough no animosity to his nephew; they meant to
make him their tool, and to govern under his name. But the inferior
officers declared for the restoration of the Republic, and threw over
the House of Cromwell. On May 7th, the Long Parliament was restored to
power by the men who had expelled it in April, 1653, and the Revolution
was completed.

There was no real union between these temporary allies. The fifty or
sixty members of the Long Parliament who governed England in the name of
the Republic had learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. The soldiers,
conscious that the Government could not live for a day without their
support, grew restive and indignant when their claims were ignored and
their requests slighted. After the suppression by Major-General Lambert
of a royalist insurrection in August, 1659, Parliament and army came to
an open breach. Parliament cashiered Lambert and eight other officers
for promoting a petition which it had declared seditious, and Lambert
retaliated (October 13, 1659), by putting a stop to its sittings.

Lambert—the real leader of the army, though Fleetwood was its nominal
head—stood now in the position which Cromwell had occupied in April,
1653; but this time the army was divided. In Scotland, Monk declared for
the restitution of the Parliament, and by dilatory negotiations kept
Lambert and Fleetwood from acting until the desertion of their soldiers,
the defection of the fleet, and the opposition of London obliged them to
give way. At the end of December, 1659, the Long Parliament was a second
time restored, and Monk, with six thousand men, entered England
unopposed. It was not zeal for that assembly which caused its
restoration, but hostility to military government. Under the opprobrious
nickname of “The Rump,” Parliament was the laughing stock of every
ballad-maker, but for the moment it represented all that was left of the
constitution. Weary of experiments, and most weary of the rule of the
sword, the English people wished to return to the known laws and the old
government. As Monk marched to London, petitions poured in urging him to
declare for a free Parliament, and every petitioner knew that a really
representative Parliament meant the restoration of Charles II. Monk
answered by protesting unalterable fidelity to the Republic, but made up
his mind to use his power to let the nation determine freely its own
future. When he reached London he availed himself of the disaffection of
the City to oblige Parliament to readmit the Presbyterian members whom
Pride had expelled in 1648 (Feb. 21, 1660). Having thus secured a
majority ready to do his bidding, he obliged the House to vote its own
dissolution, and issue writs for the calling of a free Parliament (March
16, 1660). As commander-in-chief, he maintained the freedom of the
elections, kept the army under control, and watched over the peace of
the nation.

Monk’s greatest service to England was not the restoration of Charles
II. After the breach between army and Parliament that was inevitable.
“The current,” said Cowley, “was so irresistible, that the strongest
strove against it in vain, and the weakest could sail with it to
success.” Monk’s merit was that he brought about the Restoration without
a civil war. His dexterous and unscrupulous policy blinded the
Republicans to his intentions till it was too late for them to resist,
and made the army instrumental in effecting what the bulk of it would
have fought to prevent. But for him, England would have been, in
Cromwell’s phrase, “one Cain.” Thanks to him, the transition from the
government of an armed minority to the government which an overwhelming
majority of the nation desired was a peaceable and constitutional
revolution. So the rule of Puritanism, founded with blood and iron, fell
without a blow. The alliance between the Presbyterians and the
Royalists, begun thirteen years ago, was now at last completed. The once
triumphant Independents were divided and powerless. Maidston, the
steward of Cromwell’s household, in a letter to John Winthrop, wrote the
epitaph of militant Independency.

  “The interest of religion lies dreadfully in the dust, for the
  eminent professors of it, having achieved formerly great victories
  in the war, and thereby great power in the army, made use of it to
  make variety of changes in the government, and every one of those
  changes hazardous and pernicious.... They were all charged upon the
  principles of the authors, who, being Congregational men, have not
  only made men of that persuasion cheap, but rendered them odious to
  the generality of the nation.”

At the end of April, 1660, a free Parliament met, the first for twenty
years. On May 29th, Charles II. re-entered London “with a triumph of
above twenty thousand horse and foot, brandishing their swords and
shouting with inexpressible joy; the ways strewed with flowers, the
bells ringing, the streets hung with tapestry, the fountains running
with wine.”

  “I stood in the Strand and beheld it, and blessed God,” wrote John
  Evelyn. “And all this was done without one drop of blood shed, and
  by that very army which rebelled against him; but it was the Lord’s
  doing, for such a restoration was never mentioned in any history,
  ancient or modern, since the return of the Jews from the Babylonish
  captivity; nor so joyful a day, and so bright, ever seen in this
  nation, this happening when to expect or to effect it was past all
  human policy.”

In the constitutional settlement which followed the King’s return,
England reverted to the state of things which had existed before the
Civil War began. Cromwell’s legislation and all the laws made by the
Long Parliament were regarded as null and void. There was a general
amnesty for all political offenders excepting the Regicides and a few
persons regarded as specially dangerous. Twelve Regicides suffered the
penalties of high treason, and Hugh Peters and Sir Henry Vane shared
their fate. About twenty escaped into foreign parts, and about five and
twenty were imprisoned for life. After the punishment of the living,
came vengeance against the dead. In November, 1660, a bill for the
attainder of Cromwell and other dead Regicides was introduced into the
House of Commons. During its progress, Captain Titus stood up and

  “that execution did not leave traitors at their graves, but followed
  them beyond it, and that since the heads of some were already put
  upon the gates, he hoped that the House would order that the
  carcases of those devils who were buried at Westminster—Cromwell,
  Bradshaw, and Ireton—might be torn out of their graves, dragged to
  Tyburn, there to hang some time, and afterwards be buried under the

It was voted without any opposition, though many present must have
agreed with Pepys, whom it “troubled, that a man of so great courage as
Cromwell should have that dishonour done him, though otherwise he might
deserve it well enough.”

Accordingly, on Saturday, January 26, 1661, the bodies of Cromwell and
Ireton were disinterred from their graves in Westminster Abbey, and on
the Monday conveyed from Westminster to the Red Lion Inn, in Holborn.
Finally, on the morning of January 30th, the twelfth anniversary of the
execution of Charles I., their bodies, and that of Bradshaw, were drawn
upon sledges from Holborn to Tyburn. “All the way, as before from
Westminster, the universal outcry and curses of the people went along
with them.” “When these three carcases were at Tyburn,” continues the
newspaper, “they were pulled out of their coffins, and hanged at the
several angles of that triple tree, where they hung till the sun was
set; after which they were taken down, their heads cut off, and their
loathsome trunks thrown into a deep pit under the gallows.” The common
hangman took the heads, placed them on poles, and set them on the top of
Westminster Hall, Bradshaw’s head in the centre, Ireton’s and Cromwell’s
on either side.

Yet, though all this was done in the face of day, as many places claim
to be Cromwell’s sepulchre as once contended for the honour of being
Homer’s birthplace. Strange rumours spread abroad that the body
subjected to all these indignities was not Cromwell’s. Two years later,
a French traveller in England was told that Cromwell had caused the
royal tombs in Westminster Abbey to be opened and the bodies transposed,
so that none might know where his own body was laid. Pepys repeated the
story to one of the late Protector’s chaplains, who answered, “That he
believed Cromwell never had so poor a low thought in him as to trouble
himself about it.” Another rumour was that Cromwell’s body was secretly
conveyed away, and buried at dead of night on Naseby Field. According to
a third, Cromwell’s daughter, Lady Fauconberg, foreseeing changed times,
had ere this removed her father’s body from Westminster, and reinterred
it in a vault at Newburgh Abbey, in Yorkshire. All these stories found,
and find, believers, but there is no reasonable ground for doubting that
it was Cromwell’s body which hung on the gallows at Tyburn, or that it
was duly buried in the pit beneath them. Where Connaught Square now
stands, a yard or two beneath the street, trodden under foot and beaten
by horsehoofs, lies the dust of the great Protector.



                              CHAPTER XXII
                        CROMWELL AND HIS FAMILY

“Mr. Lely,” said Cromwell to the painter, “I desire you would use all
your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all;
but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts, and everything,
otherwise I never will pay a farthing for it.” Doubtless the Protector
would have given a similar charge to his biographers, but their task is
more difficult; much contemporary evidence is merely worthless gossip,
much is vitiated by party spirit, and on many points the authorities are

John Maidston, the steward of Cromwell’s household, supplies us with
what he terms “a character of his person:”

  “His body was well compact and strong, his stature under six foot (I
  believe about two inches), his head so shaped as you might see it a
  storehouse and a shop both of a vast treasury of natural parts. His
  temper exceeding fiery, as I have known, but the flame of it kept
  down for the most part, or soon allayed with those moral endowments
  he had. He was naturally compassionate towards objects in distress,
  even to an effeminate measure; though God had made him a heart,
  wherein was left little room for fear but what was due to himself,
  of which there was a large proportion, yet did he exceed in
  tenderness towards sufferers. A larger soul I think hath seldom
  dwelt in house of clay than his was. I believe if his story were
  impartially transmitted, and the unprejudiced world well possessed
  with it, she would add him to her nine worthies.”

The numerous portraits of Cromwell help to complete Maidston’s
description. Like most Puritan gentlemen he wore his hair long; the
thick light brown locks which began to grow grey before he became
Protector covered his collar and almost reached his shoulders. His eyes,
according to Cooper’s and Walker’s portraits, were blue or grey, and his
eyebrows strongly marked. His nose was long, thick, and slightly arched,
with full nostrils—the beak of a vulture, said royalist pamphleteers,
and even political friends jested about its size. “If you prove false,”
said the downright Haslerig to Cromwell, “I will never trust a fellow
with a big nose again.” The mouth was large, firm, and full-lipped.
Strength, not grace, marked both face and figure. But the rough-hewn
features have an air of kindness and sagacity mingled with the
resolution and energy which are their most marked characteristics. In
some portraits there is an air of melancholy.

The dignity of the Protector’s outward bearing was admitted even by


  (_From a miniature by Cooper, in the Baptist College at Bristol._)

  “When he appeared first in Parliament,” writes Clarendon, “he seemed
  to have a person in no degree gracious, no ornament of discourse,
  none of those talents which use to reconcile the affections of the
  standers by; yet as he grew into place and authority his parts
  seemed to be renewed, as if he had concealed faculties till he had
  occasion to use them; and when he was to act the part of a great
  man, he did it without any indecency through the want of custom.”

To another Royalist, Sir Philip Warwick, he appeared “of a great and
majestic deportment and comely presence,” and he made a similar
impression on foreign observers.

When the Protector gave audience to ambassadors or received official
deputations an elaborate ceremonial of a quasi-regal character was
strictly observed. Sir Oliver Fleming, who had been one of the
continental agents of Charles I., and was skilled in all the niceties of
diplomatic etiquette, acted as Cromwell’s master of the ceremonies. But
the Protector transacted much important business in less formal
interviews with the representatives of foreign states. He was easily
accessible to his subjects in general, and petitioners found no great
difficulty in putting their grievances before him. Opponents of his
policy were allowed opportunity to set forth their objections, and he
argued with them freely in reply. Even religious enthusiasts contrived
to deliver their messages from the Lord or, like Fox, to explain what
their religious views really were. About three times a month the
Protector took part in the proceedings of the Council of State, but most
of his political or administrative work was transacted with small
committees or with Secretary Thurloe alone. With these trusted
councillors he freely unbent.

  “He would sometimes be very cheerful with us,” says Whitelocke, “and
  laying aside his greatness he would be exceeding familiar with us,
  and by way of diversion would make verses with us, and everyone must
  try his fancy. He commonly called for tobacco, pipes, and a candle,
  and would now and then take tobacco himself; then he would fall
  again to his serious and great business.”

Whitelocke also gives some account of the Protector’s recreations.
Cromwell retained throughout his life the tastes of a country gentleman.
At Hampton Court he often amused himself with bowls, but his favourite
sports were hunting and hawking. As he rode from Worcester to London
after his victory in 1651, he diverted himself, on the way, with
hawking, and he sometimes practised the same sport on Hounslow Heath
after he was Protector. When he entertained the Swedish Ambassador at
Hampton Court in 1654, after dinner was over the Protector, the
ambassador, and the rest of the company “coursed and killed a fat buck”
in the park. Cromwell was a bold jumper, and it was noticed that the
ambassador “would not adventure to leap ditches after the Protector, but
was more wary.”

Good horses of every kind were always Cromwell’s delight. English
diplomatic agents in the Levant were employed to procure Arabs and Barbs
for his riding or for breeding purposes. “Six gallant Flanders mares,
reddish grey,” had drawn the General’s coach when he set out for the
reconquest of Ireland, and six white horses drew the Protector’s coach
when it conveyed the Spanish Ambassador to his place of embarkation. Of
these white horses it was said that they were a finer team than any king
of England had ever possessed. Another team of six horses—presented by
the Count of Oldenburg in 1654—ran away in Hyde Park when the Protector
himself was driving them. Cromwell, who was flung off the box upon the
pole, got entangled in the harness, and was dragged for some distance by
one foot, but he escaped in the end with nothing more than a few
bruises. Andrew Marvell and George Wither both published poems
celebrating the Protector’s deliverance, and the incident furnished
several royalist wits with a theme for satires and epigrams.

Another recreation which found great favour with Cromwell was music.
When he gave a banquet to foreign ambassadors or members of the House of
Commons, “rare music, both of instruments and voices,” was always an
important part of the entertainment. The same thing took place in hours
of relaxation or domestic festivities, for the Protector, according to a
contemporary biographer, was “a great lover of music, and entertained
the most skilful in that science in his pay and family.” In the great
hall at Hampton Court he had two organs, and his organist, John
Hingston, was a pupil of Orlando Gibbons. James Quin, a student of
Christ Church, Oxford, who had been deprived of his place by the Puritan
visitors of that university, obtained his restoration to it through the
Protector’s love of music. Quin was not a very skilful singer, but he
had a bass voice “very strong and exceeding trolling.” Some of his
friends brought him into the company of the Protector, “who loved a good
voice, and instrumental music well.” Cromwell “heard him sing with very
great delight, liquored him with sack, and in conclusion said, ‘Mr.
Quin, you have done well; what shall I do for you?’ To which Quin made
answer, with great compliments, that his Highness would be pleased to
restore him to his student’s place, which he did accordingly.”

A few other notices of the Protector’s personal habits may be gleaned
from contemporary sources. In his diet his tastes were very simple;
according to a contemporary pamphleteer, it was “spare and not curious”;
no “French quelquechoses” were to be found on his table, but plain,
substantial dishes. His ordinary drink, according to the same authority,
consisted of “a very small ale” known by the name of “Morning Dew.” He
also drank freely a light wine which his physicians had recommended to
him as good for his health.

In dress Cromwell’s tastes were marked by the same simplicity. When he
expelled the Long Parliament in 1653, he was wearing “plain black
clothes with grey worsted stockings.” At his installation in the
following December he had on “a plain black suit and cloak,” though a
few weeks later when he was entertained by the Lord Mayor he wore “a
musk colour suit and coat richly embroidered with gold.” When Protector,
his dress was naturally more sumptuous than it had been before, and Sir
Philip Warwick, who had so contemptuously criticised the cut of his
clothes in 1640, attributed the improvement in his appearance to a
better tailor as well as to converse with better company. But even then
a young Royalist fresh from the French Court described the Protector as
“plain in his apparell,” and “rather affecting a negligence than a
genteel garb.”

The Protector’s household was naturally organised on a more magnificent
scale than that which had sufficed him as General. The sum allowed for
its maintenance was sixty thousand pounds during the first Protectorate,
and a hundred thousand pounds during the second. But many other expenses
were defrayed from this fund, and Cromwell spent a large amount in
charity; according to one biographer as much as forty thousand pounds a
year. Speaking of the Protector’s second installation, and the increased
state which was its consequence, Sir Philip Warwick says: “Now he models
his household so that it might have some resemblance to a Court, and his
liveries, lackies, and yeomen of the guard are known whom they belong to
by their habit.” The forty or fifty gentlemen employed in the internal
service of Whitehall and Hampton Court, or in attendance upon the
Protector’s person, wore coats of grey cloth with black velvet collars,
and black velvet or silver lace trimming. And besides these “yeomen of
the guard” he had the life-guard of horse which has been mentioned
before. All this show and state offended many rigid Puritans, to whom
even the semblance of a Court was hateful. Others held that it was
“necessary for the honour of the English nation” that its head should be
surrounded by a certain amount of pomp, and this opinion was generally

Both newspapers and private letters make frequent mention of the
Protector’s family. When Cromwell took up his residence at Whitehall in
April, 1654, his aged mother removed with him. But she took no pleasure
in her son’s grandeur, and it was said that she “very much mistrusted
the issue of affairs, and would be often afraid when she heard a musket
that her son was shot, being exceedingly dissatisfied unless she might
see him once a day at least.” She died in November, 1654, in her
ninety-fourth year, and a little before her death, gave her blessing to
her son, in words which show how fully she sympathised with the aims of
his life. “The Lord cause His face to shine upon you, and comfort you in
all your adversities, and enable you to do great things for the glory of
the most High God, and to be a relief unto His people. My dear son, I
leave my heart with thee: good night.”

Of the Protector’s wife, “her Highness the Protectress” as she was
officially styled, little mention is ever made. There is no doubt some
foundation for the account of her methodical and economical management
of the Protector’s household, which is contained in a contemporary
pamphlet, but the main object of the pamphleteer was to sneer at her
“sordid frugality” and unfitness for the station in which fortune had
placed her. Mrs. Hutchinson, while owning that Cromwell “had much
natural greatness and well became the place he had usurped,” describes
his wife and children “as setting up for principality,” which suited
them no better than fine clothes do an ape. The Protector’s daughters
according to her were “insolent fools,” with one exception. The
exception was Bridget, the eldest, who after the death of her first
husband, Ireton, became the wife of Lieutenant-General Fleetwood. She
alone “was humbled and not exalted with these things.”

Elizabeth Claypole, the Protector’s second and favourite daughter, was
in her father’s opinion in danger “of being cozened with worldly
vanities and worldly company,” while some of the sharp sayings
attributed to her account for Mrs. Hutchinson’s severe judgment. On the
other hand we have the evidence of James Harrington, the author of
_Oceana_, that “she acted the part of a princess very naturally,
obliging all persons with her civility, and frequently interceding for
the unhappy.” Harrington owed to her the restoration of the confiscated
manuscript of _Oceana_, and she often interceded with her father on
behalf of imprisoned Royalists. Perhaps it was owing to this that, when
the bodies of the Protector and Admiral Blake and many other great
Parliamentarians were exhumed from their graves in Westminster Abbey,
hers was left undisturbed, and lies there still.

Mary, the third daughter, who was born in 1637, married Thomas Belasyse,
Lord Fauconberg, in November, 1657, while Frances, the youngest, became
in the same month the wife of Robert Rich, grandson of the Earl of

Both weddings were celebrated by festivities which scandalised some
Puritans. The wedding feast of Frances was kept at Whitehall, “when,”
says a news-letter, “they had forty-eight violins and much mirth with
frolics, besides mixt dancing, (a thing heretofore accounted profane)
till five of the clock yesterday morning.” That of Mary Cromwell was at
Hampton Court, and songs for the occasion were composed by Andrew
Marvell, in which the bride was introduced as Cynthia, Fauconberg as
Endymion, and the Protector himself as Jove.

Both these two ladies lived to see the Revolution, Mary dying in 1712,
and Frances in 1721. Lady Fauconberg was childless, and Mrs. Claypole’s
children died unmarried. But after the death of Robert Rich, Frances
Cromwell married Sir John Russell of Chippenham, and from her or her
sister Bridget many existing families can trace their descent.



  (_From a drawing by W. Bond._)

The Protector’s sons fare little better at Mrs. Hutchinson’s hands than
his daughters. According to her, Henry Cromwell and his brother-in-law
Claypole were “two debauched, ungodly cavaliers,” while Richard though
“gentle and virtuous” was yet a “peasant in his nature” and “became not
greatness.” Richard’s education had not fitted him for greatness.
Cromwell, until his second Protectorate at least, never contemplated
being succeeded in power by one of his sons. He objected on principle to
hereditary governments, and declared, in 1655, that if Parliament had
offered to make the Government hereditary in his family he would have
rejected it. Rulers should be chosen for their love to God, to truth,
and to justice, not for their birth. “For as it is in the
_Ecclesiastes_, who knoweth whether he may beget a fool or a wise man?”
Cromwell therefore made at first no attempt to advance either of his
sons. For six or seven years after his marriage, Richard lived on his
property in Hampshire, devoting himself to hunting and other amusements.
His father’s complaints show that he was idle, ran into debt, neglected
the management of his estate, and made “pleasure the business of his
life.” In November, 1655, however, the Protector appointed him one of
the Council of Trade, in order, no doubt, to give him some training in
public business. In 1657, after the Protector’s second installation, a
further change took place. Richard was suddenly brought to the front; he
succeeded his father as Chancellor of the University of Oxford, was made
a member of the Protector’s council, and was given the command of a
regiment of horse. When he travelled about the country, he was received
by the local authorities as if he were the destined heir of his father’s
authority. It was a poor training for a future ruler, and, after he
became Protector, Richard was heard to complain that “he had thought to
have lived as a country gentleman, and that his father had not employed
him in such a way as to prepare him for such employment; which he
thought he did designedly.” Yet though Richard showed no political
ability during his brief reign, he was far from being the country clown
which royalist satires represented him. In his public appearances he
displayed a dignity of bearing which surprised even his friends, and an
oratorical power which they had never suspected. After the Restoration,
the debts which he had contracted as Protector, and the jealous
suspicion with which the Government of Charles II. always regarded him,
obliged him to live many years in exile. “I have been alone thirty
years,” he wrote to his daughter in 1690, “banished and under silence,
and my strength and safety is to be retired, quiet, and silent.” After
his return to England, which took place about 1680, he thought it safer
to adopt a feigned name, and lived in complete retirement. He died in
1712, leaving three daughters, and his eldest son, who died in 1705,
left no issue.

Henry Cromwell, though a man of much greater natural capacity than his
brother, was also for a time kept back by his father. From 1650 to about
1653, he was colonel of a regiment of horse in Ireland, and was reputed
to be a good officer. In August, 1654, the Protector’s council nominated
him to command the forces in Ireland, but the Protector was reluctant to
allow his son to take the post, and kept him a year longer in England.
“The Lord knows,” wrote Cromwell to Fleetwood, “my desire was for him
and his brother to have lived private lives in the country; and Harry
knows this well, and how difficultly I was persuaded to give him his
commission.” As Commander-in-chief and a member of the Irish council
Henry proved his ability, and in November, 1657, he succeeded his
brother-in-law, Fleetwood, as Lord Deputy of Ireland.

His task, like his father’s task in England, was to establish civil
government in place of military rule, and to unite all Protestant sects
in support of the Protectorate. He had many difficulties to contend
with, both political and financial; the Anabaptists and a faction
amongst the officers gave continual trouble. The land settlement was but
half completed, prosperity was slow to return, and order hard to
re-establish. Yet he was more successful than could have been expected,
and with the majority of the Protestant colony in Ireland he gained
great popularity. Rigid Puritans held that his way of living and his
ostentation in dress savoured too much of the world, but in other
respects his conduct was blameless. His chief defect was an infirmity of
temper. He was very sensitive to criticism and very impatient of
opposition; insomuch that his father warned him against making it a
business to be too hard for his opponents.

It is sometimes said that if the Protector had made Henry his successor
instead of Richard, the Protectorate might have lasted. But the choice
of Cromwell was dictated by the circumstances in which he was placed.
Among his councillors and generals there was no man whom the rest would
willingly have accepted as their ruler, and of his sons Richard was far
more acceptable to the chief supporters of the Protectorate than his
abler and more masterful brother would have been. The military cabal
which overthrew Richard would have proved too strong for Henry, to whom,
moreover, some of its leaders were personally hostile.

A month after the fall of his brother, Henry Cromwell resigned the
government of Ireland, and rejecting all the overtures of the Royalists,
acquiesced in the re-establishment of the Republic. He declared that he
had formerly had an honourable opinion of the Republic, but was
satisfied also of the lawfulness of the “late government under a single

  “And whereas my father (whom I hope you yet look upon as no
  inconsiderable instrument of these nations’ freedom and happiness),
  and since him my brother, were constituted chief in those
  administrations, and the returning to another form hath been looked
  upon as an indignity to these my nearest relations, I cannot but
  acknowledge my own weakness to the sudden digesting thereof, and my
  own unfitness to serve you.... And as I cannot promote anything
  which infers the diminution of my late father’s honour and merit, so
  I thank the Lord, for that He hath kept me safe in the great
  temptation, wherewith I have been assaulted to withdraw my affection
  from that cause wherein he lived and died.”

At the Restoration, Henry, thanks to his friends amongst the Royalists,
and to the moderation with which he had used his power, was not
molested, though he lost a portion of his estates by the change. He
lived in retirement on his property in Cambridgeshire, dying there in
1674. Henry’s great-grandson, Oliver Cromwell of Cheshunt, who died in
1821, was the last descendant of the Protector in the male line.




  (_From a drawing by W. Bond._)


                             CHAPTER XXIII

Either as a soldier or as a statesman Cromwell was far greater than any
Englishman of his time, and he was both soldier and statesman in one. We
must look to Cæsar or Napoleon to find a parallel for this union of high
political and military ability in one man. Cromwell was not as great a
man as Cæsar or Napoleon, and he played his part on a smaller stage, but
he “bestrode the narrow world” of Puritan England “like a colossus.”

As a soldier he not only won great victories, but created the instrument
with which he won them. Out of the military chaos which existed when the
war began he organised the force which made Puritanism victorious. The
New Model and the armies of the Republic and the Protectorate were but
his regiment of Ironsides on a larger scale. As in that regiment, the
officers were carefully chosen. If possible, they were gentlemen; if
gentlemen could not be had, plain yeomen or citizens; in any case, “men
patient of wants, faithful and conscientious in their employment.”
Character as well as military skill was requisite. A colonel once
complained that a captain whom Cromwell had appointed to his regiment
was a better preacher than fighter. “Truly,” answered Cromwell, “I think
that he that prays and preaches best will fight best. I know nothing
that will give the like courage and confidence as the knowledge of God
in Christ will. I assure you he is a good man and a good officer.”
Inefficiency, on the other hand, certain heresies which were regarded as
particularly blasphemous, and moral backslidings in general, led at once
to the cashiering of any officer found guilty of them.

Officers, it has been well said, are the soul of an army; and the
efficiency and good conduct which Cromwell required of his, they exacted
from the rank and file. Most of the private soldiers were volunteers,
though there were many pressed men amongst them, and it cannot be said
that all those who fought for Puritanism were saints in any sense of the
word. But regular pay and severe discipline made them in peace the best
conducted soldiers in Europe, and in war an army “who could go anywhere
and do anything.” A common spirit bound men and officers together. It
was their pride that they were not a mere mercenary army, but men who
fought for principles as well as for pay. Cromwell succeeded in
inspiring them not only with implicit confidence in his leadership, but
with something of his own high enthusiasm. He had the power of
influencing masses of men which Napoleon possessed. So he made an army
on which, as Clarendon said, “victory seemed entailed”—“an army whose
order and discipline, whose sobriety and manners, whose courage and
success, made it famous and terrible over the world.”

Cromwell’s victories, however, were due to his own military genius even
more than to the quality of his troops. The most remarkable thing in his
military career is that it began so late. Most successful generals have
been trained to arms from their youth, but Cromwell was forty-three
years old before he heard a shot fired or set a squadron in the field.
How was it, people often ask, that an untrained country gentleman beat
soldiers who had learnt their trade under the most famous captains in
Europe? The answer is that Cromwell had a natural aptitude for war, and
that circumstances were singularly favourable to its rapid and full
development. At the outset of the war he showed an energy, a resolution,
and a judgment which proved his possession of those qualities of
intellect and character which war demands of leaders. The peculiar
nature of the war, the absence of any general direction, and the
disorganisation of the parliamentary forces gave him free scope for the
exercise of these qualities. In the early part of the war each local
leader fought for his own hand, and conducted a little campaign of his
own. Subordinate officers possessed a freedom of action which
subordinates rarely get, and with independence and responsibility good
men ripened fast. At first, Cromwell was matched against opponents as
untrained as himself, till by constant fighting he learnt how to fight.
In a happy phrase Marvell speaks of Cromwell’s “industrious valour.” If
he learnt the lessons of war quicker than other men it was because he
concentrated all his faculties on the task, let no opportunity slip, and
made every experience fruitful.

It was as a leader of cavalry that Cromwell earned his first laurels. In
attack he was sudden and irresistibly vigorous. Like Rupert he loved to
head his charging troopers himself, but in the heat of battle he
controlled them with a firmer hand. When the enemy immediately opposed
to him was broken he turned a vigilant eye on the battle, ready to throw
his victorious squadrons into the scale, either to redress the balance
or to complete the victory. At Marston Moor, as on many another field,
he proved that he possessed that faculty of coming to a prompt and sure
conclusion in sudden emergencies which Napier terms “the sure mark of a
master spirit in war.” When the fate of the battle was once decided he
launched forth his swordsmen in swift and unsparing pursuit. “We had the
execution of them two or three miles” is the grim phrase in which he
describes the conclusion of his fight at Grantham, and after Naseby
Cromwell’s cavalry pursued for twelve miles.

When he rose to command an army, Cromwell’s management of it in battle
was marked by the same characteristics as his handling of his division
of cavalry. In the early battles of the Civil War there was a strong
family likeness: there was an absence of any generalship on either side.
The general-in-chief exhibited his skill by his method of drawing up his
army and his choice of a position; but when the battle began the army
seemed to slip from his control. Each commander of a division acted
independently; there was little co-operation between the different parts
of the army; there was no sign of a directing brain. Cromwell, on the
other hand, directed the movements of his army with the same purposeful
energy with which he controlled his troopers. Its different divisions
had each their definite task assigned to them, and their movements were
so combined that each played its part in carrying out the general plan.
The best example of Cromwell’s tactical skill is the battle of Dunbar.
There, though far inferior in numbers, Cromwell held in check half the
enemy’s army with his artillery and a fraction of his forces, while he
attacked with all his strength the key of the enemy’s position, and
decided the fate of the day by bringing a strong reserve into action at
the crisis of the battle. Whenever the victory was gained it was
utilised to the utmost. At Dunbar the Scots lost thirteen thousand men
out of twenty-two thousand; after Preston less than a third of
Hamilton’s army succeeded in effecting their return to Scotland: after
Worcester, not one troop or one company made good its retreat.

Cromwell’s strategy, compared with that of contemporary generals, was
remarkable for boldness and vigour. It reflected the energy of his
character, but it was originally dictated by political as well as
military considerations. “Without the speedy, vigorous, and effectual
prosecution of the war,” he declared in 1644, the nation would force
Parliament to make peace on any terms. “Lingering proceedings, like
those of soldiers beyond seas to spin out a war,” must be abandoned, or
the cause of Puritanism would be lost. Therefore, instead of imitating
the cautious defensive system popular with professional soldiers, he
adopted a system which promised more decisive results. “Cromwell,” says
a military critic,. “was the first great exponent of the modern method
of war. His was the strategy of Napoleon and Von Moltke, the strategy
which, neglecting fortresses and the means of artificial defence as of
secondary importance, strikes first at the army in the field.”

In his Preston campaign Cromwell had to deal with an invading army more
than twice the strength of his own, which ventured because of that
superiority to advance without sufficient scouting and without
sufficient concentration. He might have thrown himself across Hamilton’s
path and sought to drive him back; he chose instead to fall upon the
flank of the Scots, and thrust his compact little force between them and
Scotland. Thus he separated the different divisions of Hamilton’s army,
drove Hamilton with each blow farther from his supports, and inflicted
on him a crushing defeat instead of a mere repulse. In 1650 and 1651,
Cromwell had a much harder task given him. He had to invade a country
which presented many natural difficulties, and which was defended by an
army larger than his own under the command of a man who was a master of
defensive strategy. All his efforts to make Leslie fight a pitched
battle in the open field completely failed until one mistake gave him
the opportunity which he seized with such promptitude at Dunbar. In the
campaign of 1651, Cromwell found himself brought to a standstill once
more by Leslie’s Fabian tactics. As Leslie gave him no opportunity he
had to make one, and with wise audacity left the way to England open in
order to tempt the Scots into the invasion which proved their

In his Irish campaigns Cromwell had an entirely different problem to
solve. The opposing armies were too weak to face him in the field and
too nimble to be brought to bay. The strength of the enemy consisted in
the natural and artificial obstacles with which the country abounded:
fortified cities commanding points of strategic value; mountains and
bogs facilitating guerrilla warfare; an unhealthy climate, a hostile
people, a country so wasted that the invader must draw most of his
supplies from England. Under these conditions the war was a war of
sieges, forays, and laborious marches, but there were no great battles.
Cromwell combined the operations of his army and his fleet so as to
utilise to the full England’s command of the seas. He attacked the
seaports first, and after mastering them secured the strong places which
would give him the control of the rivers, thus gradually tightening his
grasp on the country till its complete subjugation became only a matter
of time.

Opinions may differ as to the comparative merits of these different
campaigns. What remains clear is that Cromwell could adapt his strategy
with unfailing success to the conditions of the theatre in which he
waged war and to the character of the antagonists he had to meet. His
military genius was equal to every duty which fate imposed upon him.

Experts alone can determine Cromwell’s precise place amongst great
generals. Cromwell himself would have held it the highest honour to be
classed with Gustavus Adolphus either as soldier or statesman. Each was
the organiser of the army he led to victory, each an innovator in
war—Gustavus in tactics, Cromwell in strategy. Gustavus was the champion
of European Protestantism as Oliver wished to be, and each while
fighting for his creed contrived to further also the material interests
of his country. But whatever similarity existed between their aims the
position of an hereditary monarch and an usurper are too different for
the parallel to be a complete one. On the other hand, the familiar
comparison of Cromwell with Napoleon is justified rather by the
resemblance between their careers than by any likeness between their
characters. Each was the child of a revolution, brought by military
success to the front rank, and raised by his own act to the highest.
Each, after domestic convulsions, laboured to rebuild the fabric of
civil government, and to found the State on a new basis. But the
revolutions which raised them to power were of a different nature and
demanded different qualities in the two rulers.

Cromwell’s character has been the subject of controversies which have
hardly yet died away. Most contemporaries judged him with great
severity. To Royalists he seemed simply, as Clarendon said, “a brave,
bad man.” Yet while Clarendon condemned he could not refrain from
admiration, for though the usurper “had all the wickedness against which
damnation is pronounced, and for which hell fire is prepared, so he had
some virtues which have caused the memory of some men in all ages to be
celebrated.” Though he was a tyrant he was “not a man of blood,” and he
possessed not only “a wonderful understanding in the natures and humours
of men,” but also “a great spirit, an admirable circumspection and
sagacity, and a most magnanimous resolution.”

The Republicans regarded the Protector as a self-seeking apostate. “In
all his changes,” said Ludlow, “he designed nothing but to advance
himself.” He sacrificed the public cause “to the idol of his own
ambition.” All was going well with the State, a political millennium was
at hand, “and the nation likely to attain in a short time that measure
of happiness which human things are capable of, when by the ambition of
one man the hopes and expectations of all good men were disappointed.”

Baxter, a Presbyterian, though as convinced an opponent of the Protector
as Ludlow, was a more generous critic. According to him, Cromwell was a
good man who fell before a great temptation. He

  “meant honestly in the main, and was pious and conscionable in the
  main course of his life, till prosperity and success corrupted him.
  Then his general religious zeal gave way to ambition, which
  increased as successes increased. When his successes had broken down
  all considerable opposition then was he in face of his strongest
  temptations, which conquered him as he had conquered others.”

But like Milton’s Satan, even after his fall “all his original virtue
was not lost.” As ruler of England “it was his design to do good in the
main, and to promote the interest of God more than any had done before

Eighteenth-century writers judged Cromwell with the same severity as his
contemporaries. “Cromwell, damned to everlasting fame,” served Pope to
point a moral against the desire of making a name in the world. Voltaire
summed up Cromwell as half knave, half fanatic, and Hume termed him a
hypocritical fanatic. Even as late as 1839, John Forster quoted as
“indisputably true” Landor’s verdict that Cromwell lived a hypocrite and
died a traitor.

Six years later, Carlyle published his collection of _Cromwell’s Letters
and Speeches_, which for every unprejudiced reader effectually dispelled
the theory of Cromwell’s hypocrisy. “Not a man of falsehoods, but a man
of truths,” was Carlyle’s conclusion, and subsequent historians and
biographers have accepted it as sound. It is less easy to answer the
question whether Cromwell was a fanatic or not. Fanaticism, like
orthodoxy, is a word which means one thing to one man and something else
to the next, and to many besides Hume enthusiast and fanatic are
synonymous terms. It is plain, however, that Cromwell was a statesman of
a different order from most. Religious rather than political principles
guided his action, and his political ideals were the direct outcome of
his creed. Not that purely political considerations exercised no
influence on his policy, but that their influence instead of being
paramount was in his case of only secondary importance.

In one of his speeches Cromwell states in very explicit language the
rule which he followed in his public life. “I have been called to
several employments in this nation, and I did endeavour to discharge the
duty of an honest man to God and His people’s interest, and to this

What did these phrases mean? If anyone had asked Cromwell what his duty
to God was in public affairs, he would have answered that it was to do
God’s will. “We all desire,” he said to his brother officers in 1647,
“to lay this as the foundation of all our actions, to do that which is
the will of God.” He urged them to deliberate well before acting, “that
we may see that the things we do have the will of God in them.” For to
act inconsiderately was to incur the risk of acting counter to God’s
design, and so “to be found fighting against God.”

But, in the maze of English politics, how were men to ascertain what
that will was? Some Puritans claimed to have had it directly revealed to
them, and put forward their personal convictions as the dictates of
Heaven. Cromwell never did so. “I cannot say,” he declared in a
prayer-meeting where such revelations had been alleged, “that I have
received anything that I can speak as in the name of the Lord.” He
believed that men might still “be spoken unto by the Spirit of God,” but
when these “divine impressions and divine discoveries” were made
arguments for political action, they must be received with the greatest
caution. For the danger of self-deception was very real. “We are very
apt, all of us,” said he, “to call that Faith, that perhaps may be but
carnal imagination.” Once he warned the Scottish clergy that there was
“a carnal confidence upon misunderstood and misapplied precepts” which
might be termed “spiritual drunkenness.”

For his own part, Cromwell believed in “dispensations” rather than
“revelations.” Since all things which happened in the world were
determined by God’s will, the statesman’s problem was to discover the
hidden purpose which underlay events. When he announced his victory at
Preston he bade Parliament enquire “what the mind of God is in all that
and what our duty is.” “Seek to know what the mind of God is in all that
chain of Providence,” was his counsel to his doubting friend, Colonel
Hammond. With Cromwell, in every political crisis this attempt to
interpret the meaning of events was part of the mental process which
preceded action. As it was difficult to be sure what that meaning was,
he was often slow to make up his mind, preferring to watch events a
little longer and to allow them to develop in order to get more light.
This slowness was not the result of indecision, but a deliberate
suspension of judgment. When his mind was made up there was no
hesitation, no looking back; he struck with the same energy in politics
as in war.

This system of being guided by events had its dangers. Political
inconsistency is generally attributed to dishonesty, and Cromwell’s
inconsistency was open and palpable. One year he was foremost in
pressing for an agreement with the King, another foremost in bringing
him to the block; now all for a republic, now all for a government with
some element of monarchy in it. His changes of policy were so sudden
that even friends found it difficult to excuse them. A pamphleteer, who
believed in the honesty of Cromwell’s motives, lamented his “sudden
engaging for and sudden turning from things,” as arguing inconstancy and
want of foresight. Moreover the effect of this inconsistency was
aggravated by the violent zeal with which Cromwell threw himself into
the execution of each new policy. It was part of his nature, like “the
exceeding fiery temper” mentioned by his steward. “I am often taken,”
said Cromwell in 1647, “for one that goes too fast,” adding that men of
such a kind were disposed to think the dangers in their way rather
imaginary than real, and sometimes to make more haste than good speed.
This piece of self-criticism was just, and it explains some of his
mistakes. The forcible dissolution of the Long Parliament in 1653 would
never have taken place if Cromwell had fully appreciated the dangers
which it would bring upon the Puritan cause.

On the other hand, this failure to look far enough ahead, while it
detracts from Cromwell’s statesmanship, helps to vindicate his
integrity. He was too much taken up with the necessities of the present
to devise a deep-laid scheme for making himself great. He told the
French Ambassador in 1647, with a sort of surprise, that a man never
rose so high as when he did not know where he was going. To his
Parliaments he spoke of himself as having seen nothing in God’s
dispensations long beforehand. “These issues and events,” he said in
1656, “have not been forecast, but were sudden providences in things.”
By this series of unforeseen events, necessitating first one step on his
part and then the next, he had been raised to the post of Protector. “I
did out of necessity undertake that business,” said he, “which place I
undertook, not so much out of a hope of doing any good, as out of a
desire to prevent mischief and evil which I did see was imminent in the

Conscious, therefore, that he had not plotted to bring about his own
elevation, Cromwell resented nothing so much as the charge that he had
“made the necessities” to which it was due. For it was not merely an
imputation on his own honesty, but a kind of atheism, as if the world
was governed by the craft of men, not by the wisdom of God. People said,
“It was the cunning of my Lord Protector that hath brought it about,”
when in reality these great revolutions were “God’s revolutions.”
“Whatsoever you may judge men for, however you may say this is cunning,
and politic, and subtle, take heed how you judge His revolutions as the
product of men’s invention.”

Cromwell said this with perfect sincerity. He felt that he was but a
blind instrument in the hands of a higher power. Yet he had shaped the
issue of events with such power and had imposed his interpretation of
their meaning upon them with such decision, that neither contemporaries
nor historians could limit to so little the sphere of his free will.

It was possible to “make too much of outward dispensations,” and
Cromwell owned that perhaps he did so. His system of being guided by
events instead of revelations did not put an end to the possibility of
self-deception, though it made it less likely. “Men,” as Shakespeare
says, “may construe things after their fashion clean from the purpose of
the things themselves.” But if Cromwell sometimes mistook the meaning of
facts he never failed to realise their importance. “If the fact be so,”
he once said, “why should we sport with it?” and the saying is a
characteristic one. He was therefore more practical and less visionary
than other statesmen of his party; more open-minded and better able to
adapt his policy to the changing circumstances and changing needs of the
times. To many contemporary politicians, the exact carrying out of some
cut-and-dried political programme seemed the height of political wisdom.
The Levellers with their Agreement of the People and the Scottish
Presbyterians with their Covenant are typical examples. The persistent
adhesion of the Covenanters to their old formulas, in spite of defeats
and altered conditions, Cromwell regarded as blindness to the teaching
of events. They were blind to God’s great dispensations, he told the
Scottish ministers, out of mere wilfulness, “because the things did not
work forth their platform, and the great God did not come down to their
minds and thoughts.” He would have felt himself guilty of the same fault
if he had obstinately adhered either to a republic or a monarchy under
all circumstances. Forms of government were neither good nor bad in
themselves. Either form might be good: it depended on the condition of
England at the moment, on the temper of the people, on the question
which was more compatible with the welfare of the Cause, which more
answerable to God’s purpose as revealed in events. It was reported that
Cromwell had said that it was lawful to pass through all forms to
accomplish his ends, and if “forms” be taken to mean forms of
government, and “ends” political aims, there can be no doubt that he
thought so. However much he varied his means, his ends remained the

To understand what Cromwell’s political aims were, it is necessary to
enquire what he meant when he spoke of his discharging his duty to “the
interest of the people of God and this Commonwealth.” The order in which
he places them is in itself significant. First, he put the duty to a
section of the English people; last, the duty to the English people in
general. Cromwell was full of patriotic pride. Once, when he was
enumerating to Parliament the dangers which threatened the State, he
wound up by saying that the enumeration should cause no despondency, “as
truly I think it will not; for we are Englishmen: that is one good
fact.” “The English,” he said on another occasion, “are a people that
have been like other nations, sometimes up and sometimes down in our
honour in the world, but never yet so low but we might measure with
other nations.” Several times in his speeches he termed the English “the
best people in the world.” Best, because “having the highest and
clearest profession amongst them of the greatest glory—namely,
religion.” Best, because in the midst of the English people there was as
it were another people, “a people that are to God as the apple of His
eye,” “His peculiar interest,” “the people of God.” “When I say the
people of God,” he explained, “I mean the large comprehension of them
under the several forms of godliness in this nation”; or, in other
words, all sects of Puritans.

To Cromwell the interest of the people of God and the interest of the
nation were two distinct things, but he did not think them
irreconcilable. “He sings sweetly,” said Cromwell, “that sings a song of
reconciliation between these two interests, and it is a pitiful fancy to
think they are inconsistent.” At the same time the liberty of the people
of God was more important than the civil liberty and interest of the
nation, “which is and ought to be subordinate to the more peculiar
interest of God, yet is the next best God hath given men in this world.”
Religious freedom was more important than political freedom. Cromwell
emphatically condemned the politicians who said, “If we could but
exercise wisdom to gain civil liberty, religion would follow.” Such men
were “men of a hesitating spirit,” and “under the bondage of scruples.”
They were little better than the carnal men who cared for none of these
things. They could never “rise to such a spiritual heat” as the Cause
demanded. Yet the truth was that half the Republican party and an
overwhelming majority of the English people held the view which he

Cromwell wished to govern constitutionally. No theory of the divine
right of an able man to govern the incapable multitude blinded his eyes
to the fact that self-government was the inheritance and right of the
English people. He accepted in the main the first principle of
democracy, the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people, or, as he
phrased it, “that the foundation of supremacy is in the people and to be
by them set down in their representatives.” More than once he declared
that the good of the governed was the supreme end of all governments,
and he claimed that his own government acted “for the good of the
people, and for their interest, and without respect had to any other
interest.” But government for the people did not necessarily mean
government by the people. “That’s the question,” said Cromwell, “what’s
for their good, not what pleases them,” and the history of the
Protectorate was a commentary on this text. Some stable government was
necessary to prevent either a return to anarchy or the restoration of
the Stuarts. Therefore he was determined to maintain his own government,
with the assistance of Parliament if possible, without it if he must. If
it became necessary to suspend for a time the liberties of the subject
or to levy taxes without parliamentary sanction, he was prepared to do
it. In the end the English people would recognise that he had acted for
their good. “Ask them,” said he, “whether they would prefer the having
of their will, though it be their destruction, rather than comply with
things of necessity?” He felt confident the answer would be in his




England might have acquiesced in this temporary dictatorship in the hope
of a gradual return to constitutional government. What it could not
accept was the permanent limitation of the sovereignty of the people in
the interest of the Puritan minority whom Cromwell termed the people of
God. Yet it was at this object that all the constitutional settlements
of the Protectorate aimed. It was in the interest of this minority that
the Instrument of Government restricted the power of Parliament and made
the Protector the guardian of the constitution. It was in their interest
that the Petition and Advice re-established a House of Lords. That
House, as Thurloe said, was intended “to preserve the good interest
against the uncertainty of the Commons House,” for, as another
Cromwellian confessed “the spirit of the Commons had little affinity
with or respect to the Cause of God.”

Cromwell trusted that the real benefits his government conferred would
reconcile the majority of the nation to the rule of the minority and
“win the people to the interest of Jesus Christ.” Thus the long
hostility between the people and “the people of God” would end at last
in reconciliation.

It was a fallacious hope. Puritanism was spending its strength in the
vain endeavour to make England Puritan by force. The enthusiasm which
had undertaken to transform the world was being conformed to it. A
change was coming over the party which supported the Protector; it had
lost many of the “men of conscience”; it had attracted many of the
time-servers and camp-followers of politics; it was ceasing to be a
party held together by religious interests, and becoming a coalition
held together by material interests and political necessities. Cromwell
once rebuked the Scottish clergy for “meddling with worldly policies and
mixtures of worldly power” to set up that which they called “the kingdom
of Christ,” and warned them that “the Sion promised” would not be built
“with such untempered mortar.” He had fallen into the same error
himself, and the rule of Puritanism was founded on shifting sands. So
the Protector’s institutions perished with him and his work ended in
apparent failure. Yet he had achieved great things. Thanks to his sword
absolute monarchy failed to take root in English soil. Thanks to his
sword Great Britain emerged from the chaos of the civil wars one strong
state instead of three separate and hostile communities. Nor were the
results of his action entirely negative. The ideas which inspired his
policy exerted a lasting influence on the development of the English
state. Thirty years after his death the religious liberty for which he
fought was established by law. The union with Scotland and Ireland,
which the statesmen of the Restoration undid, the statesmen of the
eighteenth century effected. The mastery of the seas he had desired to
gain, and the Greater Britain he had sought to build up became sober
realities. Thus others perfected the work which he had designed and

Cromwell remained throughout his life too much the champion of a party
to be accepted as a national hero by later generations, but in serving
his Cause he served his country too. No English ruler did more to shape
the future of the land he governed, none showed more clearly in his acts
the “plain heroic magnitude of mind.”




 “Agitators,” 158, 166–167, 176, 186

 “Agreement of the People,” 177, 183, 236–237

 Alablaster, Dr., 17

 Anabaptists, 111, 147, 150–151, 360, 437, 465

 Antinomianism, 147, 150

 Argyle, Marquis of, 204, 276, 287, 293

 Arminianism, 16–18, 147, 360

 Army of the Commonwealth, corporate feeling in, 247–248;
   Levellers’ principles rife in, 248–249;
   expenditure on, 435;
   reduction of, 415, 437;
   character of, under Cromwell, 468–469

 Ayscue, Sir George, 309, 315


 Baillie, Major-General William, 200, 202, 298

 Barbadoes, 392, 394, 401, 406

 Barnard, Robert, 31–32

 Basing House, 132–133

 Bastwick, John, 22

 Bath, capture of, 132

 Baxter, Richard, 147–148, 345, 360, 475

 Beard, Dr., 17

 Berkeley, Sir William, 392

 Berwick, Treaty of, 42

 Bethell, Major, 131

 Biddle, John, 365–366

 Birmingham, Parliamentarians supported by, 71

 Blair, Robert, 296

 Blake, Admiral Robert, 308, 312, 315, 377–378, 382, 461

 Bradock Down battle, 87

 Bradshaw, John, 219, 222–223, 307–308, 324, 451

 Brandenburg, 385, 387

 Brayne, Major-General William, 406

 Brentford battle, 82

 Bridgwater, capture of, 131

 Bristol, 88, 132, 136

 Broghill, Lord, 421

 Buckingham, Duke of, 13–16

 Burnet, Bishop, 297–298, 388

 Burton, Henry, 22

 Byron, Lord, 103, 105


 Cæsar, Cromwell compared with, 467

 Cambridge, Parliamentarians supported by, 71

 Carisbrooke Castle, 184

 Carlyle, cited, 260, 476

 Catholics, intolerance and persecution of, 10–11, 265, 267–268, 344,
    359, 361–362;
   establishment of Catholicism in Ireland offered by Charles, 137;
   establishment denied, 157;
   union with Royalists in Ireland, 255, 261–262;
   Duke of Lorraine invited to Ireland by, 263;
   conversion of, attempted, 268–271, 274

 Cavaliers, _see_ Royalists.

 Chancery, Court of, 332

 Charles I., Buckingham favoured by, 13–14;
   forced loans exacted by, 14–15;
   Parliament adjourned by, for eleven years, 17–19;
   financial measures of, 20;
   foreign policy of, 23–24;
   attempt to crush Scots, 41–46;
   efforts to save Strafford, 52–53;
   resources of, in Civil War, 77–78;
   movements during Civil War, 103, 111, 113, 129–130, 133–134, 139,
   offers three years’ establishment of Presbyterianism, 154;
   removed to Holmby House, 155;
   plays off Parliament against Army, 173, 186;
   flees to Carisbrooke, 184;
   intrigues with Scots, 184, 186;
   concludes “The Engagement” with Scots, 188;
   makes treaty with Parliamentary Commissioners, 207–208;
   brought to Windsor, 216;
   indictment, 217;
   trial, 220–223;
   takes leave of his children, 225–226;
   execution, 226–229;
   funeral, 230;
   revenue of, in 1633, 246

 Charles II., proclaimed king in Edinburgh, 276;
   reaches Edinburgh, 278;
   gains influence in Scotland, 287–288;
   advances on England, 289–290;
   defeated at Worcester, 291–292;
   flees to France, 293;
   supported by Spain, 382;
   foreign policy of, compared with Cromwell’s, 388;
   proclaimed in Virginia, 392;
   colonial policy of, compared with Cromwell’s, 408;
   offers reward for assassination of Cromwell, 438;
   restoration of, 449

 Charles Gustavus, King of Sweden, 380–381, 384–387

 Chester, Royalists supported by, 71

 Christina, Queen of Sweden, 373

 Church reform, 332, 337–338, 358–360

 Clanricarde, Earl of, 263

 Clarendon, Earl of, 388, 454, 474.
   _See_ Hyde, Edward.

 Claypole, John, 141, 421

 Cleveland, John, 356

 Clonmel, 262–263

 “Clubmen,” 135

 Colchester, siege of, 195, 203

 Committee of Both Kingdoms, 100, 123–125

 Condé, Prince of, 310, 373, 375, 384

 Connecticut, 391, 396

 Cony, George, 418

 Cooper, Sir Anthony Ashley, 431

 Council of the North, 21–22, _note_ 3

 Covenanters, rise of, 41–42

 Cowley, Abraham, 356

 Crawford, Major-Gen. Laurence, 106, 108, 111, 151

 Cromwell, Bridget, 461

 Cromwell, Elizabeth (Claypole), 441, 461

 Cromwell, Elizabeth (mother of Protector), 460

 Cromwell, Elizabeth (wife of Protector), 8, 460–461

 Cromwell, Frances, 141, 441

 Cromwell, Henry, 3

 Cromwell, Henry (son of Protector), 141, 264, 446, 462, 464, 466

 Cromwell, Henry (cousin of Protector), 73

 Cromwell, Mary, 141, 461

 Cromwell, Oliver:
   _Historical Sequence of Career_:
     Birth and boyhood, 4–5;
     Cambridge days, 5–7;
     legal studies, 7;
     marriage, 7;
     elected for Huntingdon, 8;
     defies order for adjournment of Parliament, 18;
     succeeds Sir Thomas Cromwell at Ely, 28;
     emigration contemplated, 37;
     work in Long Parliament, 49;
     raises regiment of horse, 91;
     victories at Grantham, 94;
     defeats Colonel Cavendish, 96;
     made governor of Isle of Ely, 98;
     retreats to Lincoln, 98;
     victorious at Winceby, 99;
     appointed member of Committee of Both Kingdoms, 100;
     appointed Lieut.-General of army of Eastern Association, 100;
     Marston Moor, 105–108;
     Newbury, 113;
     arraigns Manchester in House of Commons, 115;
     joins Waller in the west, 119;
     successes at Islip and Bampton, 124;
     appointed Lieut.-General under Fairfax, 126;
     Naseby, 127–129;
     Langport, 130–131;
     Basing, 132–133;
     disperses “Clubmen,” 136;
     defeats Wentworth, 137;
     thanked and rewarded by Parliament, 139;
     removes family from Ely to London, 141;
     illness (1647), 159;
     interviews with Elector Palatine, 160;
     supports Army against Parliament, 163, 212–213;
     sanctions the seizure of Charles I., 165;
     suspected by Independents, 175, 191;
     reconciled to Rainsborough, 190;
     campaign in Wales, 194;
     campaign against Hamilton, 198–203;
     at Charles’s trial, 219;
     quells mutiny in the army, 249–250;
     appointed Lord Lieutenant and Commander-in-Chief in Ireland, 258;
     campaign in Ireland, 258–262;
     illness, 261;
     return to England, 263;
     appointed Captain-General and Commander-in-Chief, 280;
     campaign in Scotland, 280–292;
     illness, 288;
     defeats Charles II. at Worcester, 291–292;
     triumphal entry into London, 300;
     dissolves Long Parliament, 323;
     nominates Parliamentary Assembly of 140 members, 329;
     refuses position of king, 337;
     installed as Protector, 341;
     Chancellor of Oxford (1651–1657), 355;
     concludes treaties with Holland, Sweden, Denmark, and Portugal,
     struggle with Parliament, 410–414;
     reduces the army, 415, 437;
     summons his second Parliament, 419;
     attempted assassination of, 421;
     refuses title of king, 422–423, 426;
     second time installed as Protector (1657), 426;
     financial difficulties, 434–435;
     illness and death of, 441–443;
     funeral, 444;
     corpse dishonoured, 451
   _Personal Characteristics_:
     Affection for his wife, 8
     Appearance, 453–454
     Compassion, 453–454
     Conciliatory policy, 250–251
     Courage, 292, 440
     Energy, 469, 471
     Enthusiasm, 110, 192, 476, 485
     Fatalism, 252
     Geniality, 148, 454, 456
     Hot temper, 148, 453
     Ill-health, 440
     Integrity, 474, 477
     Large-mindedness, 481, 486
     Military ability, 198, 467, 469–473
     Moderation and good sense, 181, 353, 367
     Opportunism, 191, 478
     Recreations, 456–458
     Religious views, 35, 36;
       doubts, 38–40
     Severity of discipline, 197
     Simplicity of tastes, 458
     Tolerance, 150–153, 168, 205–206, 211, 307, 343, 367–369, 420

 Cromwell, Oliver (uncle of Protector), 3, 9, 73

 Cromwell, Captain Oliver (son of Protector), 110, 141

 Cromwell, Sir Richard, 1–3, 8

 Cromwell, Richard (son of Protector), 141, 436, 443, 446, 462–465

 Cromwell, Thomas, 1–3, 10

 Cropredy Bridge battle, 111


 Denmark, 238, 371, 374, 387

 Derby, Earl of, 291

 Dering, Sir Edward, bill of, 56

 Desborough, Col. John, 131, 301, 426, 445

 Dorislaus, Dr., murder of, 238

 Doyley, Col. Edward, 406–407

 Drogheda, 259–260

 Dunbar, 280–284, 471

 Dunkirk, 311, 384

 Durham, college founded at, 355–356


 Eastern Association, 90, 100

 Edgehill, 73, 79–80

 Education, Cromwell’s care for, 353–357

 _Eikon Basilike_, 240

 Eliot, Sir John, 14–15, 18, 22, 25

 Elizabeth, Princess, Charles’s farewell to, 225–226

 Elizabeth, Queen, position of Parliament under, 9, 11

 “Engagement, The,” 188

 “Engagers,” disabilities of, 205

 English nation, Cromwell’s estimate of, 482

 Episcopacy, abolition of, advocated, 54

 Essex, Earl of, 60, 68, 79–83, 86, 103

 Evelyn, John, cited, 449


 Fairfax, Ferdinando, Lord, 95, 99, 103, 106–107, 111

 Fairfax, Sir Thomas, afterwards Lord, movements in Civil War, 95, 98,
    103–104, 106, 124, 127–129, 137–138;
   appointed General of Parliamentary forces, 118;
   characteristics and appearance of, 122;
   urges Cromwell’s appointment as Lieutenant-General, 126;
   asked to represent soldiers’ grievances to Parliament, 158;
   orders rendezvous of whole army, 163;
   arrives at Hounslow, 171;
   marches against Scots, 193;
   siege of Colchester, 195, 203;
   executes Lucas and Lisle, 210;
   occupies London, 214;
   takes no part in trial of Charles, 224;
   quells mutiny in army, 249–250;
   retires from command, 279–280

 Falkland, Lord, 56

 Fauconberg, Lord, 433, 461

 Fens, Cromwell’s championship of commoners in, 32–34

 Fiennes, Nathaniel, 49, 54

 Fifth-Monarchy men, 360, 367, 433, 437

 Fleet, Charles I. acknowledged by, 194;
   under Prince Rupert, 196, 241;
   improvement and increase in, 247;
   expenditure on, 435

 Fleetwood, Colonel, afterwards Lieut.-Gen., Charles, 150, 158, 263,
    282, 291, 426, 445

 Fleming, Sir Oliver, 455

 Forster, John, estimate of Cromwell, 476

 Fortescue, Major-General, 402–403

 Fox, George, 363–364, 441

 France, hostility of, to England, 238–239, 241;
   Charles II.’s flight to, 293;
   refuses to recognise English republic, 309;
   recognises it, 312;
   pernicious effect on English youth, 353;
   hostilities between England and, 371;
   negotiations with, regarding alliance, 375–377;
   protects Vaudois, 378;
   treaty with, 380, 383;
   Acadia taken from, 398;
   ceded to, 408


 Gainsborough, 95, 98–99

 Gauden, Dr. John, _Eikon Basilike_ written by, 240

 Germany, 238

 Gibraltar, Cromwell’s proposal regarding, 381, 382

 Gloucester, Duke of, 225, 301

 Gloucester, siege of, 88

 Goring, Lord, 70, 107, 119, 130–131, 135, 137

 Grantham, battle of, 470

 Graves, Colonel, 164

 Grenville, Sir John, 308

 Grenville, Sir Richard, 135

 Gustavus Adolphus, 23, 25, 30, 131, 474


 Hacker, Col. Francis, 226–227

 Hale, Matthew, 305

 Hallam, cited, 346–347

 Hamilton, Marquis, afterwards Duke of, 42, 196–203, 472

 Hammond, Col. Robert, 185, 212, 252

 Hampden, John, 37, 48, 54, 62 _note_, 81–82, 86–87

 Hampton Court, 184–185

 Harrington, James, 233, 389, 393, 461

 Harrison, Major-Gen. Thomas, 150, 184, 290–291, 318, 323, 328, 415, 437

 Haslerig, Sir Arthur, 49, 60, 62 _note_, 321–322, 430–431, 454

 Henry VIII., 2–3, 9–10

 Hinchinbrook, 4, 9, 165

 Holland, ambassadors of, appeal to Parliament on behalf of Charles I.,
   sympathy with Charles II., 238, 241;
   war between England and, 312–315, 334, 371;
   treaty with (1654), 372, 398;
   hostilities against, in New England, 394, 396–397

 Holland, Lord, 70, 196

 Holles, Denzil, 48, 62 _note_, 82

 Hooke, William, 397

 Hopton, Sir Ralph, 74, 87–88, 103, 137–138

 Hotham, Sir John, 65, 94

 Huguenots, Cromwell’s interest in, 311

 Hull, 65, 75

 Hume cited, 476

 Huntingdon, 4, 8

 Hutchinson, Col. John, 72

 Hutchinson, Mrs., 460–463

 Hyde, Edward, 56, 64, 66, 243.
   _See_ Clarendon, Earl of.


 Independency, rise of, 11, 144–146;
   strong in the army, 147;
   Cromwell a type of, 149

 Independents, intolerance towards, 152–153;
   Cromwell distrusted by, 191;
   hostility to Charles, 208 _seq._;
   represented among the Triers, 359;
   powerless and divided, 449

 Ingoldsby, Col. Richard, 224

 Ireland, condition of, under Wentworth, 22–23;
   rebellion of (1641), 57–60;
   Charles’s treaty with rebels in, 137;
   Ormond unable to crush rebellion in, 157;
   reluctance of soldiers to serve in, 248–249;
   national hostility to, 256–257, 262;
   Cromwell’s campaigns in, 258–263, 473;
   devastation and misery of, 264;
   land settlement system of Cromwell, 265–267, 275;
   education in, 269;
   economic policy of Cromwell in, 271–272;
   representation of, in English Parliament, 272–273;
   commercial and agricultural ruin of, 274;
   Henry Cromwell commander in, 464

 Ireton, Major-Gen. Henry, at Naseby, 128;
   Cromwell’s daughter married to, 141;
   sympathies with Independents, 150;
   sent by Parliament to quiet soldiers, 158;
   Declaration of the Army formulated by, 168;
   Proposals submitted to Charles by, 172–173;
   distrusted by Charles, 175;
   supports Cromwell in further appeal to Charles, 176;
   opposes manhood suffrage, 179;
   readiness in debate, 181;
   urges Parliament to settle regardless of Charles, 189;
   captures Waterford and Limerick, 263;
   advises friendly overtures to Scots, 284;
   his death, 263;
   corpse dishonoured, 451

 “Ironside,” origin of title, 109

 Islip, 123


 Jamaica, conquest of, 401–407, 408

 James I., 4, 11–13

 Jews, Cromwell’s attitude towards, 362–363

 Jones, Col. Michael, 256, 258, 261

 Juxon, Bishop, 225–228


 Knighthood fines, 20


 Lambert, Major-Gen. John, defeats

 Langdale and Musgrave, 196;
   Hamilton capitulates to, 203;
   at Doon Hill, 282–283;
   conquers Brown at Inverkeithing, 289;
   success of, against Charles II., 290–291;
   hostility of, to Long Parliament, 318;
   character and political views of, 327–328;
   advocates written constitution, 336;
   urges Cromwell to take chief power, 337, 340;
   resists proposal for Cromwell to accept kingship, 424, 426;
   opposes Parliament, 447

 Landor cited, 476

 Langdale, Sir Marmaduke, 128, 199, 200

 Langport, battle of, 130–131

 Laud, William, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, 25–27, 35–36, 41,

 Law reform, 304–305, 332, 347–351

 Leicester sacked by Royalists, 125

 Leslie, Alexander, afterwards Earl of Leven, 45, 46, 103, 106–107, 110,

 Leslie, David, 106–108, 134, 280–284, 288–289, 473

 Levellers, 184, 244–245, 335, 383, 413

 Leverett, Capt. John, 397–398

 Lilburn, John, prisoner in the Fleet, 49;
   appeals to “supreme authority of the nation,” 146;
   Cromwell’s patronage of, 149;
   reproaches Cromwell for attitude towards army, 160–161;
   attacks Cromwell, 176;
   accuses Cromwell of high treason, 191;
   Levellers represented by, 245;
   return and trial of, 335

 Lilburn, Col. Robert, defeats the Earl of Derby, 291

 Limerick, siege of, 263

 Lincoln, 97–99, 103

 Lockhart, Sir William, 383

 London, Parliamentarians supported by, 71, 89;
   feeling of, against Independents, 159, 170;
   unwilling to restore Charles unconditionally, 196;
   demands personal treaty with Charles, 207;
   occupied by Fairfax, 214;
   represented by only one citizen in Commonwealth Parliament, 235;
   Presbyterian party strong in, 243;
   blames Cromwell’s foreign policy, 387

 Lorraine, Duke of, 136

 Lostwithiel, 112

 Louis XIV., 434

 Ludlow, Col., afterwards Lieut.-Gen., Edmund, 160, 190, 230, 250, 263,
    303–304, 344, 418–419, 475


 Maidstone, John, 441, 449, 453

 Major-Generals, the, 352, 419–421, 423

 Manchester, 71

 Manchester, Earl of, military operations of, 98, 103–104;
   Cromwell’s influence over, 100;
   Cromwell’s influence lost, 111;
   dilatoriness of, 111–114;
   defends himself against Cromwell in House of Lords, 115

 Manly, Sir Richard, 49

 Mardyke, 383–384

 Marston Moor, 104–108

 Marten, Harry, 49, 174, 218, 219, 237

 Marvell, Andrew, 310, 356, 387, 443, 462, 469

 Maryland, 394

 Massachusetts, 319, 395–397, 404–405

 Maynard, 116

 Mazarin, Cardinal, 310, 311, 362

 Milton, John, 233, 240, 245, 307, 356, 366

 Moltke, Von, 472

 Monk, General George, 256, 282–283, 290, 293–294, 297, 315, 334, 414,

 Montrose, Marquis of, 134, 241, 278–279


 Nantwich, 103

 Napoleon, Cromwell compared with, 346–347, 467, 474

 Naseby, 127–129, 151, 470

 Navy, _see_ Fleet

 Naylor, James, 365, 420

 Neile, Dr., Bishop of Winchester, 17

 New Haven (New England), 390, 396, 405

 Newark, 95, 139

 Newbury, battle of, 112–113

 Newcastle, Duke of, 98, 103

 Newcastle Propositions, 153, 174

 Newdigate, Judge, 417–418

 Newmarket, 165–166

 Nottingham, 68, 75


 O’Neill, Hugh, 262

 O’Neill, Owen, _see_ Roe, Owen.

 Ormond, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 102, 157, 255, 258, 263

 Overton, Major-General, 415, 437

 Oxenstiern, 409

 Oxford (town), Parliamentarians supported by, 71;
   Charles I. established at, 81;
   Queen joins Charles at, 87, 88;
   left by Charles and threatened by Parliament, 103;
   besieged by Fairfax, 124, 138;
   surrender, 139;
   artillery at, seized by army, 163

 Oxford (University), 71, 78, 355–356, 463


 Pack, Alderman, 422–423

 Palatine, Elector, 160

 Parliament, position of, under Henry VIII. and Elizabeth, 9;
   under James I., 12–13

 Parliament, Long, unlimited powers of, after abolition of monarchy,
   non-representative character of, 235;
   Scottish envoys expelled by, 276;
   settlement of Scotland arranged by, 294;
   illegal confiscations of, 315;
   forcible dissolution of, 323;
   restoration of (1659), 446–447

 Penn, Admiral William, 377, 400, 402

 Penruddock, Colonel John, 415

 Pepys, Samuel, 388, 451

 Peters, Hugh, 300, 450

 Petition and Advice, the, 424–427, 430–431

 Petition of Right, 16

 Philip IV. of Spain, 382

 Pignerol, Treaty of, 378

 Plymouth (Devon), 77

 Plymouth (New England), 391, 396

 Poland, 380–381, 384–385

 Portugal, 370, 374

 Poyer, Colonel, 193, 194

 Poyntz, Major-General, 134, 169, 170

 Prelacy, 361

 Presbyterianism, rise of, 11;
   growth of, in England, 143–145;
   Charles offers to grant establishment of, for three years, 154

 Presbyterians, Charles’s offers refused by, 251;
   Royalists distrusted by, 243;
   terms imposed on Charles II. by, 277–278;
   division among, 286;
   represented among the Triers, 359

 Preston, 199–200, 471, 472

 Pride, Colonel, 214–215, 251, 283

 Prynne, William, 22

 Puritanism, rise of, 10–11;
   Strafford’s opinion of, 27;
   lectureships, 35–36;
   outlook in 1638, 40;
   Cromwell’s national policy regarding, 485

 Pym, John, 47–48, 51–52, 60, 62 _note_, 89


 Quakers, 363–364

 Quin, James, 457


 Rainsborough, Colonel, 174, 178–179, 190

 Rathmines, 259

 Reading, 86, 89, 103

 Remonstrants and Resolutioners, 286–287, 295

 Reynolds, Sir John, 383

 Rhode Island, 394–395

 Rich, Robert, 441, 462

 Rinuccini (Papal Nuncio), 255

 Roe, Owen, 256, 258, 262

 Rogers, John, 367

 Rolle, Chief-Justice, 418

 Roundway Down battle, 88

 Rouse, John, 339

 Royalists, helpless condition of, after king’s execution, 241–242;
   Presbyterians distrusted by, 243–244;
   amnesty granted to, 303;
   Anglicanism of, winked at, 361;
   take refuge in Barbadoes and Virginia, 392;
   arming, 413;
   rising of, a failure, 415;
   additional taxes imposed on, 416–417

 Rudyard, 49, 51

 “Rump” Parliament, 447

 Rupert, Prince, Charles’s confidence in, 80;
   relieves siege of York, 104;
   at Marston Moor, 104–106;
   retreat to Lancashire, 108;
   appreciation of Cromwell, 109;
   capitulates at Bristol to Fairfax, 132;
   urges Charles to make peace, 135;
   protected from “Clubmen,” 136;
   equips fleet in Dutch waters, 238;
   seizes prizes on the high seas, 241;
   with squadron in harbour of Munster, 256;
   defeated by Blake, 308

 Russell, Sir John, 462

 Russia, 238


 Say, Lord, 37, 70, 219

 Scotland, Cromwell’s settlement of, 296–297;
   representation of, in English Parliament, 295–296;
   heavy taxation in, 298–299;
   insurrection in, 334

 Scots, Parliamentary Party assisted by, 102;
   Cromwell opposed by, 115–116;
   Charles’s negotiations with, 140;
   Charles abandoned by, 155;
   Charles’s intrigues with, 184, 186;
   England invaded by (1648), 194;
   Charles II. proclaimed by, 276

 Sedgwick, Major Robert, 397–398, 403, 406

 Seekers, the, 150

 Self-Denying Ordinance, 118

 Sexby, Lieutenant-Colonel, 438

 Sherborne, 132

 Ship-money, 20–21, 40, 44, 45, 53

 Sidney, Algernon, 217–218

 Sindercombe, Miles, 421

 Skippon, Major-General Philip, 112, 113, 123, 128, 158

 Solemn League and Covenant 102, 143

 Spain, feeling of, towards England, 239–240;
   friendly towards Commonwealth, 309;
   captures Dunkirk, 312;
   negotiation with, regarding alliance, 375–376;
   war declared by, 380;
   war with, 381–382;
   supports Charles II., 382;
   hostilities against, in West Indies, 398–403;
   war with West Indies, 406–408;
   treasure-ships captured by Stayner, 420;
   peace with, 435

 Spenser, Peregrine, 267

 St. John, Oliver, 44, 48, 161, 284, 312

 St. Kitts, 401, 406

 Stapleton, Sir Philip, 83

 Star Chamber, 21 and _note_, 22 _note_

 Stayner, Captain Richard, 382, 420

 Steward, Sir Thomas, 8, 28, 37

 Steward, William, 4

 Strachan, Major, 279, 286

 Strafford, Earl of, _see_ Wentworth.

 Stratton battle, 87

 Strickland, Walter, mission to The Hague, 312

 Strode, William, 48, 54, 62 _note_

 Sweden, 238, 373, 380–381, 385–387


 Thorpe, Judge, 418

 Thurloe, John, 423, 456

 Tithes, 357–358

 “Triers,” 358–360

 Tromp, Admiral, 314–315

 Turenne, Marshal, 383


 Ussher, Archbishop, 356

 Uttoxeter, capitulation at, 203


 Vane, Sir Henry, religious views of, 49;
   abolition of Episcopacy advocated by, 54;
   Lilburn’s reference to, 161;
   supports Cromwell in further appeal to Charles, 176;
   Milton’s opinion of, 245, 307;
   complains of obstructiveness of Long Parliament, 303;
   action on bill for a new representative, 321, 324;
   opposes state interference with Church, 366;
   refuses to recognise Cromwell’s government, 418–419;
   executed, 450

 Vaudois, 378–379

 Venables, General Robert, 400–402

 Virginia, 390, 392, 394

 Voltaire, 476


 Wales, represented by only three members of Parliament, 235

 Waller, Edmund, 345, 356, 379, 422

 Waller, Sir William, 74, 88, 103, 111, 113, 119

 Walton, Colonel Valentine, 109–111

 Warrington, capitulation at, 202

 Warwick, Earl of, 37, 70, 76, 247

 Warwick, Sir Philip, 33, 49, 455, 461

 Waterford, 261, 263

 Wentworth, Sir Thomas, afterwards Earl of Strafford, 22–23, 27, 44–45,

 West Indies, 376–377, 380, 415

 Wexford, 259–260

 Whalley, Colonel Edward, 97, 122, 165, 184

 Wharton, Lord, 251

 Whitelocke, Bulstrode, 300, 317–318, 373, 409, 417, 456

 Wildman, Major John, 176, 415

 William II., 238

 William III., 435

 Williams, Bishop of Lincoln, 35

 Willoughby, Lord, 95, 392

 Winceby, 99

 Winslow, Edward, 400, 402

 Worcester, 79, 103, 291–292, 471


 York, 71, 103, 104


                  _A Selection from the Catalogue of_

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  THE BRITISH EMPIRE. Alfred T. Story. Two vols.

  THE FRANKS. Lewis Sergeant.

  THE WEST INDIES. Amos K. Fiske.

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                         HEROES OF THE NATIONS

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  GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS. By C. R. L. Fletcher.

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  THEODORIC THE GOTH. By Thomas Hodgkin.

  SIR PHILIP SIDNEY. By H. R. Fox-Bourne.

  JULIUS CÆSAR. By W. Warde Fowler.

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  HENRY OF NAVARRE. By P. F. Willert.

  CICERO. By J. L. Strachan-Davidson.

  ABRAHAM LINCOLN. By Noah Brooks.



  LOUIS XIV. By Arthur Hassall.

  CHARLES XII. By R. Nisbet Bain.

  LORENZO DE’ MEDICI. By Edward Armstrong.

  JEANNE D’ARC. By Mrs. Oliphant.

  CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS. By Washington Irving.

  ROBERT THE BRUCE. By Sir Herbert Maxwell.

  HANNIBAL. By W. O’Connor Morris.

  ULYSSES S. GRANT. By William Conant Church.

  ROBERT E. LEE. By Henry Alexander White.

  THE CID CAMPEADOR. By H. Butler Clarke.

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  ALEXANDER THE GREAT. By Benjamin I. Wheeler.

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  OLIVER CROMWELL. By Charles Firth.

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  DANIEL O’CONNELL. By Robert Dunlop.

  SAINT LOUIS (Louis IX. of France). By Frederick Perry.

  LORD CHATHAM. By Walford Davis Green.

  OWEN GLYNDWR. By Arthur G. Bradley.

  HENRY V. By Charles L. Kingsford.

  EDWARD I. By Edward Jenks.



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  CHARLES THE BOLD. By Ruth Putnam.

  WASHINGTON. By J. A. Harrison.




  BLÜCHER. By Ernest F. Henderson.

Other volumes in preparation are:

  MARLBOROUGH. By C. T. Atkinson.

  MOLTKE. By James Wardell.

  ALFRED THE GREAT. By Bertha Lees.

  GREGORY VII. By F. Urquhart.

  JUDAS MACCABÆUS. By Israel Abrahams.

  FREDERICK II. By A. L. Smith.

            New York—G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS, PUBLISHERS—London


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Changed “the horse, There” to “the horse. There” on p. 123.
 2. Silently corrected typographical errors.
 3. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 4. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

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Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.