History of England, Part II From the Accession of Henry VIII to the Revolution of 1689

Tout, T. F. --Powell, F. York

1898

CHAPTER III. The Fall of the Monarchy of Charles I., the Long Parliament and the Great Rebellion. 1637-1649.

 

1. For many years the people of the three kingdoms had submitted patiently to the growing tyranny. About public opinion began to stir itself from its [1]  lethargy. The strong feeling against the ecclesiastical despotism of Laud first made itself felt in the outburst of enthusiasm that made popular

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Charles made an effort to prevent from slipping entirely away from his authority. He saw that he had gone too far, and sent down as his representative James Hamilton, Marquis of Hamilton, a weak, [3]  self-seeking courtier, anxious for compromises. It was a great triumph for the Scots opposition when Hamilton revoked the Prayer Book and summoned a General Assembly at Glasgow for November . But the Assembly claimed jurisdiction over the bishops, whereupon Hamilton declared it dissolved. The Assembly, maintaining that the State had no right to interfere with the spiritual power, went on with its work all the same, and abolished Episcopacy.

The Marquis of Huntly, head of the great Gordon clan, strove to raise the north-east in the king's favour, but was put down by Montrose. Charles thereupon resolved to coerce his unruly subjects by an English army. But the pressed men, who gathered together at Berwick to fight the Scots, were badly trained and out of sympathy with [4]  the king's policy. The Scots army which encamped against them on Diunse Law (a solitary hill over against Dunse, a town twelve miles from Berwick) was enthusiastic and well drilled, many of the troops, like the general, Alexander Leslie, having fought hard and well for the Protestant cause in . Charles found that his men would not stand fire, and that it was useless to continue the campaign. On 18th June he signed with the rebels the Treaty of Berwick, by which it was agreed that the civil and religious grievances of should be settled by a free Parliament and Assembly. Before long the General Assembly and Parliament met and declared once more for the abolition of Episcopacy. Charles loved bishops so well that he broke his word, adjourned their sessions, and again resolved to have recourse to the sword.

3. Wentworth came over from to England and was made Earl of Strafford. His strong head and clear eye made him necessary to the weak king in such a crisis, [5]  and for the first time Charles really gave him his confidence. Strafford saw that Charles could not succeed if he blindly set himself against public opinion, and urged him to summon a Parlia ment. Very reluctantly Charles took his advice, and on 13th April his Fourth Parliament gathered together at . John Pym, a Somerset gentleman of great courage, resolution, oratorical skill, and statecraft, became

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the leader of the Commons. Hampden, the hero of the resistance to Ship Money, ably seconded his efforts. Pym demanded that redress of grievances should go before supply. Charles offered to give up Ship Money in return for twelve subsidies-nearly a million of money. But the Commons wanted to get more and give less. On 5th May Charles dissolved Parliament just as the Commons were preparing to express their sympathy with the Scots. It was known as the Short Parliament.

4. The dauntless Strafford still persuaded the king to wage offensive war against the Scots, and an army was again got ready for a Second Bishops' War. [7]  But the pressed troops were mutinous and discontented. Several regiments showed their Puritan sympathies by breaking open churches and making bonfires of Laud's new communion rails. At home an obstinate passive resistance made the continued levy of Ship Money excessively difficult, while the rumour that the wild Irish army was to be brought over by Strafford to take away Englishmen's liberty, spread a general indignation. The Scots did not wait for Charles's advance, but crossed the Tweed at Coldstream. For the first time in history, a Scots army marched through Northumberland amidst the welcome of the inhabitants. Even the fierce Highlanders, with their bows and arrows, plundered none save "Popish recusants" and the bishop and chapter of Durham. On 28th August, the English strove to defend the passage of the Tyne at Newburn, a few miles higher up than Newcastle. But the Scots, from the high ground on the north of the river, poured a well-directed fire on their enemies drawn up on the flat southern bank. The English broke and fled, and the Scots dashed through the river and occupied their position. Despairing of further resistance, Charles again entered into negotiations. In October, the Treaty of Ripon left Northumberland and Durham in the hands of the Scots as a security for the payment of the £850 a day which the king promised to pay the troops until the permanent settlement was effected. This was at last arranged in , on terms that left all in the hands of the Presbyterians.

5. Charles, at his wits' end for money, now summoned a Great Council at York. This was a gathering of peers [8]  alone, and was a revival of the old Parliaments of nobles, which had fallen into disuse since the setting up of the Parliament of the Three Estates.

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However, the time had passed when the nobles could even pretend to act as a council of the nation without the representatives of the people. The Great Council told Charles that he must meet another Parliament. To such straits was he reduced, that he took their advice.

On , the Fifth Parliament of . met together at . The whole of the Commons and a large minority in the Lords were now [9]  bent on pushing matters to a conclusion. Charles was at last at their mercy. He could only pay the Scots if they granted him a subsidy. The Scots army put, for the first time, an armed force at the disposal of the Parliament, while Charles himself had none. The king was forced to stand aside while a series of well-directed blows was levelled against the great fabric of despotism, so laboriously built up during the last eleven years. William Lenthall, a lawyer, was chosen speaker. Pym and Hampden were the leaders of the popular party. Among the less prominent of their followers was the member for the borough of Cambridge, Hampden's cousin, Oliver Cromwell, a Huntingdonshire squire of small means but good family, descended from a Welsh nephew of the famous Thomas Cromwell.

6. The first desire of the Commons was vengeance on the king's advisers. They believed that Strafford and Laud had formed a deliberate plot with the Pope to [10]  bring back despotism and Catholicism, and , the queen's foolish intrigues and earnest requests for help from the papal agents gave some colour to the notion. On Pym's motion, Laud was impeached of high treason, as "the root and ground of all our miseries." The Lords sent him to the Tower. Secretary Windebank and Lord Keeper Finch fled to Holland. But the worst vengeance of the Commons was reserved for Strafford.

Sir Harry Vane, the ardent and visionary son of Secretary Vane, had found among his father's papers notes of a speech by Strafford in the Council in which he urged the king to use the Irish army to reduce either England or . On this was based an impeachment for treason, the Commons maintaining that Strafford's counsel amounted to levying war against the king. It was a wholly political and arbitrary interpretation of the rigid law of treason. Treason was an offence against the king; and the Commons really accused Strafford of treason against the nation, which was a crime that the law of England knew nothing of

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The House of Lords, the judges of the impeachment, were no friends of Strafford, but many wished well to the king, and more were doubtful whether the law could thus be wrested. Despairing of convicting their enemy by this method, the Commons thought it wise to drop the impeachment, and preferred to follow one of the worst precedents of Tudor times by bringing in a Bill of Attainder. This was simply an ordinary act of Parliament, enacting by virtue of the absolute rights of the legislature that the person condemned should be put to death. The Bill of Attainder was carried in the Commons by two hundred and four to fifty-nine, and the minority were denounced in a placard as "Straffordians, betrayers of their country." The queen now gave her support to some hot-headed courtiers and officers who had formed what was called the Army Plot. This was an attempt to use the troops that had been collected to fight the Scots and were not yet disbanded, to coerce the Commons into desisting from their attacks on the King's ministers and policy. Pym discovered and denounced the intrigue. The Lords were frightened into passing the Bill of Attainder. Charles, after a pitiful hesitation, gave the royal assent, though he had lately assured Strafford that, "upon the word of a king, you shall not suffer in life, honour, or fortune." "If my own person only were in danger," he now said, " I would gladly venture it to save Lord Strafford's life: but seeing my wife, children, and kingdom are concerned in it, I am forced to give way." On 12th May , Strafford was beheaded on Tower Hill. "His condition," lamented Charles, "is more happy than mine."

7. A whole series of constitutional reforms was carried out by the victorious Parliament. Its first care was to [12]  destroy the chief supports of the system of arbitrary government. The Star Chamber was abolished, and its victims-Prynne, Bastwick, and Burton-were released from their prisons in triumph. The Court of High Commission, the Council of the North, and the other new courts by which Charles had sought to supersede the Common Law, shared the fate of the Star Chamber. The unconstitutional decisions of the judges were reversed. Ship Money was declared illegal. The levying of Tonnage and Poundage and the New Impositions, the levying of fines for not taking up knighthood, the pretensions of the king to enlarge the forests, were all unequivocally condemned.

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The independence of the judges was secured by a law that they should hold office during good behaviour, and not simply at the king's pleasure. The extraordinary powers which the Crown had claimed to inherit from Tudor times were brought to an end; and a legal check put for the future on all encroachments of the prerogative. Moreover, ample care was taken to provide for the future security of the Constitution. A Triennial Act was passed which enacted that not more than three years should pass by without a Parliament, and provided that, if the king did not summon one, other means should be taken to ensure its assembling. Also in the crisis of the Army Plot Charles was forced to accept an act that the existing Parliament should not be dissolved without its own consent. As with the impeachment of Strafford, there was practical unanimity in all these proceedings. The king had set himself against the nation, and now paid the penalty for his defeat. There was as yet no royalist party.

8. The gievances in the Church were even more felt than the grievances in the State, and Parliament set to work with great zeal to break up the system of Laud. In [13]  the Convocation of Canterbury had granted Charles liberal supplies, and had passed new Canons declaring that "the most high and sacred order of kings is of divine right," and that " for subjects to bear arms against their kings was to resist the power ordained by God.' Enraged by such acts, the Commons joined together with one accord in impeaching Laud, and in passing a Bill turning the bishops out of the House of Lords, which the Lords themselves rejected. Thereupon Sir Edward Dering brought forward, with Pym and Hampden's support, what was called the Root-and-Branch Bill, which proposed to do away with the bishops altogether, and put the control of the Church in the hands of nine lay commissioners. This measure first broke up the Long Parliament into parties. All were willing to get rid of the " innovations," and make the Church dependent on Parliament, but a large party in the House was warmly attached to the Church as set up by . Those who still loved Episcopacy and the Prayer Book stoutly opposed Dering's revolutionary proposal. This group found spokesmen in Edward Hyde, an able and rising lawyer, and in Lucius Cary, Viscount Falkland in the Scottish Peerage, and a man of the largest tolerance and liberality, with a warm heart, a sweet but impulsive

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temper, wide learning, deep religious feeling, and a rare sense of uprightness. They fought so well that the second reading of the Bill was only carried by a small majority. It had not got through its final stages when in September the first session of the Long Parliament came to an end.

9. In the summer of Charles went to , hoping, in return for his complete submission, to persuade the Scots to take up arms against the English [15]  Parliament. But the Scots and English were still on the best of terms. A plot called the Incident, to arrest Argyll and the Presbyterian leaders, was detected, and Charles, though vehemently denying all complicity, got much of the discredit of it. He returned to England more unpopular than ever.

A sudden rebellion now broke out in . After Strafford's return to England the government remained with two Lords Justices, the active Sir William Parsons and the aged and indolent Sir John Borlase. Parsons pushed forward Strafford's policy of colonising Connaught, and was eager to persecute the Catholics. The Irish Parliament was indignant and got quite beyond his control, especially as Charles, hoping to win Irish support, conceded everything that the Irish Commons asked for, and intrigued with the Catholic Lords of the Pale (descendants of the old Norman settlers) to get the Irish army brought over to help him in England. But behind the Catholic Lords were the multitude of oppressed and starving peasants and the newly conquered tribesmen of the north, eager for revenge and retaliation. In a plot was formed by a few desperate Irish leaders to seize Dublin and at the same time attack the Ulster colonists. The assault on Dublin failed; but the Ulster rising succeeded. Sir Phelim O'Neill, a vain braggart desperado, raised the greatest of the ancient clans of Ulster against the Saxons who had supplanted them, and was before long joined by Owen Roe O'Nell, the gallant and high-minded chief of the clan, who in his exile had won great glory as a soldier in the Spanish service. Many of the scattered colonists of Ulster were barbarously murdered or tortured to death. Others were driven from their homes, destitute and hungry, to make their way to Dublin. Fearful atrocities were wrought on every side. The Strafford system of Thorough was violently overthrown. In England the greatest horror was excited, and men blamed the

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king, if not for stirring up the revolt, for engaging in the intrigues with the Papists, which had been the signal for the outbreak.

10. When Parliament met for an autumn session it was distracted by divided counsels. Pym and his party distrusted the king more than ever, and [16]  drew up the Grand Remonstrance.

This was a long document of two hundred and four clauses, which enumerated all the unconstitutional acts of Charles from the beginning of his reign, and attributed "the root of all this mischief to a malignant and pernicious design of subverting the fundamental laws and principles of government upon which the religion and justice of this kingdom are firmly established." It demanded as remedies "that his Majesty shall employ in places of trust such as Parliament may have cause to confide in," and that "a general synod of the most grave, most learned, and judicious divines be assembled to settle the future state of religion."

The Remonstrance was a declaration that, despite all Charles's concessions, the Commons would be satisfied with nothing less than getting the government into their own hands, and abolishing the existing Church system. Such a policy drove the supporters of Hyde and Falkland to become a constitutional royalist as well as a Church party. They stoutly opposed that part of the Remonstrance which suggested revolutionary remedies. About midnight on 22nd November, after a hot debate, the followers of Pym and Hampden carried the whole document by the narrow majority of eleven.

Two days later Charles came back to London from . He sent out a proclamation in which he made himself the champion of the existing constitution in Church and State. He plucked up courage to reject the requests made in the Remonstrance. After some delay he even gave office to Falkland and his friend Colepepper. He had now for the first time the chance of making himself the leader of a great national party. But neither Charles nor his supporters had yet learned wisdom. The bishops were alarmed at the noisy crowds, that beset the House of Lords, crying "No bishops !" and withdrew from its debates, protesting that all that was done during their enforced absence was invalid. This annoyed the Lords, jealous of the prelates' claim to be an essential part of their House. It led the indignant Commons to impeach of treason Williams, recently appointed Archbishop of York, and eleven other bishops.

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11. Charles himself now went back to his old personal policy, and again put himself out of touch with public [18]  opinion. At the very moment when his admission of Falkland and Colepepper to office seemed the best proof of his wish to govern on constitutional lines, the rumour that the popular leaders had proposed to impeach the Queen led Charles to the most fatal false step that he ever made. On 3rd January he impeached Lord Kimbolton and five commoners, Pym, Hampden, Denzil Holles, Arthur Hazlerigge, and William Strode for having "traitorously invited a foreign power (the Scots) to invade England," and therefore for having conspired to levy war against the king. But the king's right to impeach was very doubtful and the Commons took no notice of the charge. Charles thereupon went down to the House attended by a great crowd of armed followers including "divers desperate ruffians." But the Five Members had been forewarned and fled to the City. Charles entered the House and stood before the Speaker's chair, searching eagerly round the room for the Five Members. "Where are they?" he said to the Speaker. Lenthall dropped on his knee and answered, "I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place, but as this House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here." Charles once more looked over the benches. " I see that the birds are flown," he now said. "I do expect that you shall send them unto me as soon as they return hither." He then left the House amidst angry cries of "Privilege! Privilege !" His followers were eager for massacre and violence, but Charles went back to the palace, angry at his failure yet afraid of decided action.

12. The Commons now moved to the City which was enthusiastically on their side. Thoroughly baffled, Charles left Whitehall on 10th Jan., abandoning the [19]  capital and all the resources of the state to his enemies. Next day the Commons went back in triumph to . They had for the time broken with their love of old precedents, and had determined to show that they were masters. The Lords were forced by mob violence to accept their measures. Both Houses again sent to the king a bill "disenabling all persons in holy orders to exercise any temporal jurisdiction or authority," and therefore excluding bishops from the Lords. In his despair, Charles gave the royal assent to it. They next sent up a Militia Ordinance,

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transferring the control of the trained bands of militia (which were in these days the only armed force in the country), to officers chosen by themselves. "Not for an hour," was Charles's angry answer. But the two Houses appointed a joint Committee of Safety, and decreed that the ordinance should be executed despite the king. They got possession of the chief fortresses, such as Portsmouth, the Tower of London, and Hull. Charles appeared outside the walls of Hull, but Sir John Hotham, the Parliamentary commander, shut the gates in his face. In June the king rejected the Nineteen Propositions which the Houses had presented to him at York, and which required him to surrender every scrap of power. Both sides raised troops and appointed generals. In July the first blood was shed at Manchester, when Lord Strange (afterwards Earl of Derby)-sought to prevent the townsmen from carrying out the Militia Ordinance. On 22nd August, Charles set up his standard at Nottingham. This was the sign of civil war.

.13 The struggle that now began was called the Great Rebellion and the Great Civil War. It was no simple fight between despotism and liberty. Charles's [20]  concessions had made many who loved Parliament and the old constitution ardent in his support. With Hyde and Falkland still at their head, most of the party that had opposed the Remonstrance fought for the king. Bit by bit a majority of the Lords slipped away from and ranged themselves on Charles's side. Moreover the ecclesiastical struggle complicated the olitical struggle. Many who still distrusted Charles, distrusted Parliament still more, since Parliament had pledged itself to overthrow the Church and set up a rigid and exclusive Calvinistic despotism over consciences. The real strength of the Royalist cause was still the Church party, which, though disliking Laud, loved the Prayer Book and Episcopacy. Side by side with it were the whole of the Roman Catholics, who, though expecting little from the Church, were sure to be bitterly persecuted by the Parliament. Dashing but unscrupulous soldiers of fortune, such as the king's nephews, the young Counts Palatine, Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice, fought bravely but plundered recklessly in the King's name. Like the mere courtiers, they cared nothing for religion and liberty, and the fortune of war often gave them the upper hand in the weak king's councils. They were specially

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favoured by the queen, who worked strenuously but toolishly on her husband's behalf.

The Rebellion was not complicated by any social issues, dividing class from class. Though the majority of lords and gentry fought for the king, a considerable minority ranged themselves with the Parliament, and supplied it with all its leaders, both in council and camp. Though fighting against the king, the supporters of the Parliament professed that they were upholding the monarchy, and always pretended to act in the king's name. But religion was the chief motive that implelled them to draw the sword. All Puritans who desired to reform the Church root and branch were eager for the Parliament, as were the growing sects of Separatists, who shrank from no revolution. The mass of th God-fearing yeomanry and the middle class townsmen were against the king. As far as districts went, the rich and populous south and east were Parliamentary. London headed the resistance, though many of the rich merchants secretly wished well to the king. The whole of the royal navy declared for Parliament. The Eastern counties were banded together in an Eastern Association to uphold the Parliament, of which Oliver Cromwell soon became the leading spirit. The Puritan clothing towns of the West Riding were the centre of opposition to the Crown amidst Royalist . Nearly all was ardent for the king. But the war was neither a war of classes nor one of districts. There was fighting in nearly every county besides the general great campaigns. The Royalists were nicknamed Cavaliers, and the Parliamentarians Roundheads, from the close cropped hair affected by some of the stricter sort. Both sides found it hard to collect funds, but the Parliament which had possession of all the resources of the governmemt, and contolled the wealthier part of the country, stood in a much stronger financial position than the king.

14. Charles was soon at the head of a gallant army, of which he made the Earl of Lindsay general, though the [22] . horse, under Prince Rupert, took their orders directly from the king. Charles's plan was to push southwards to London before the Parliament's troops were ready. But the , the Puritan general (the son of 's favourite), soon followed [23]  in his track, and, on 23rd Oct., Charles saw from the ridge of Edgehill the Parliamentary army drawn up against him in the rolling plains

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of Warwickshire that stretch northward towards Stratford-on-Avon.

After the fashion of the time, Charles went down from the heights and ranged his troops on the level ground between Edgehill and the little town of Kineton. The foot were in the middle, and the horse, under Rupert and Wilmot, at the wings. The battle was a strange one. The king's cavalry easily routed the horsemen of the Parliament, and drove them in confusion into Kineton town. Their wild haste left the king's infantry to fight against without any support from cavalry, and after a hot fight, Charles's foot were pushed back towards the hill, until nightfall and the return of Rupert caused to withdraw his troops.

 

Next day retreated to Warwick, leaving Charles the fruits if not the name of victory. The king now marched through Oxford and Reading towards [24]  London. On IIth Nov., Rupert again scattered the Puritan foot at Brentford, eight miles west of . The trained bands of London were massed two miles nearer town on Turnham Green, but Charles did

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not venture to attack them. He retreated to Oxford, which henceforth became his headquarters. He was never nearer victory than when he thus turned back at the very gates of London.

15. During the winter months there was but little fighting, and much hollow negotiation for peace. The early stages [26]  of the campaign of were decidedly in favour of Charles. The main armies of king and Parliament, drawn up between Oxford and London, did not show much energy. took Reading in the spring, but had no heart to push on against Oxford, though Hampden, as prominent in war as he had [27]  been in debate, strongly urged on him to do so. But on 18th June, Rupert made a brilliant foray into the midst of the Parliamentary quarters, and on his retreat turned and routed the foe at Chalgrove Field, ten miles east of Oxford. Hampden was here shot through the shoulder, and rode off the field " before the action was over, which he never used to do." He died a few days later at Thame. "Every honest man," wrote a Puritan colonel, "hath a share in the loss. He was a gallant man, an honest man, an able man, and, take all, I know not to any living man second."

More stirring scenes were being enacted in the north and west, where separate campaigns were fought with independent armies. William Cavendish, Earl of Newcastle, a very fine gentleman and a magnificent horseman, but a poor general and politician, gradually conquered all for the king, defeating Lord Fairfax and his son, Sir Thomas Fairfax, at Adwalton Moor, four miles [28]  south of Bradford, on 30th June. Hull, the only Parliamentary post remaining in , was now closely besieged by the victorious royalists. At the same time Sir Ralph Hopton with his army of loyal Cornishmen defeated the Earl of Stamford at Stratton (16th May), a victory which secured Cornwall. Hopton [29]  then advanced through Devon and Somerset. On 5th July he checked the victorious career of Sir William Waller on Lansdown near Bath, completing his triumph by a second battle at Roundway [30]  Down, near Devizes (13th July). Rupert now took Bristol by storm, and thus the second seaport of the kingdom was won for the King.

Charles now wished that Hopton and Newcastle should both march on London, but the rude Cornishmen and

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Yorkshiremen, who made up the victorious armies, had no mind to leave their own country for long, especially as Hull still held out and the Parliamentary [31]  garrison at Plymouth plundered far and wide. Charles was therefore forced to give up his well-conceived plan, until the capture of the enemy's fortresses completed the royalist conquest of North and West. The Northern and Western armies now strove to effect the capture of Hull and Plymouth. Moreover, Gloucester, which commanded the lowest bridge over the Severn, still cut off communications between Oxford, the southwest and , from which country Charles drew a very large proportion of his infantry. The king, therefore, laid siege to it in August with his main army.

This was the turning point of the war. Had Hull, Plymouth, and Gloucester fallen, London could hardly have resisted the combined attack of three great [32]  armies. A desperate effort was necessary. The London trained bands joined 's army in marching to the relief of Gloucester. After a circuitous march to the south to avoid Oxford, looked down from Prestbury Hill over the rich vale of the Severn. But Charles hastily raised the siege, hoping to force to a battle. On 8th September marched through the gates of the beleaguered town. Above was the proud inscription "A city assailed by man but saved by God." Charles failed to tempt to a battle and now sought to block up his way back to London. On 2oth September the Puritan army was stopped in its retreat along [33]  the great western road at Newbury, twenty-seven miles south of Oxford.

Charles held a strong position to the south-west of the town on a ridge between the Kennet and the En Brook. had to advance to the attack through narrow lanes and deep copses, while to the south his right had to march through the open country of Enborne Heath, fully exposed to the terrible cavalry of Rupert. Charles had simply to hold his own in a favourable position. For hours the fight raged from hedge to hedge between the foot of the two armies. Meanwhile Rupert, unapt to play a mere defensive game, easily scattered the enemy's horse and charged the London trained bands with his wonted fire. But the Londoners, said Hyde, "behaved themselves to wonder and were the preservation of the army that day, standing as a bulwark and rampire to defend the rest." Rupert's cavalry were caught in a narrow lane and shot down by scores from the deep banks that bounded it. When night ended the fight the Puritan army still held its own. Next day it was found that Charles had retreated to Oxford leaving

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the way open to London. It was a great triumph for the Roundhead cause. Among those slain on the king's side was Falkland, who had long been " weary of the times," and boasted that he would be " out of it before night." He spurred his horse "more gallantly than advisedly " through a gap in a hedge, where he offered himself as a target to the bullets of the enemy and soon met his death.

 

The misfortune that had beset the main Royalist army was now extended to their army in the north. The advance of Newcastle was now checked. On [35]  11th October a successful sortie forced him to raise the siege of Hull. The same day the army of the Eastern Association was led by their general, the Earl of Manchester (formerly Lord Kimbolton), to victory at Winceby Fight, where Colonel Cromwell led the van with his cavalry regiment and narrowly escaped death. This led to the Parliamentary conquest of Lincolnshire. In the Association Army Cromwell now became the leading spirit. He already set up an iron discipline in his own "goodly company" of horse, and had filled

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every trooper with the loftiest religious enthusiasm. The result was a force that was as daring and dashing, but far more self-restrained and better drilled than the cavaliers of Rupert. Cromwell, in his own phrase, had now set up "men of religion " against the king's"gentlemen of honour."

16. The campaign of had proved so evenly balanced that both sides looked for outside help. Foreign assistance was luckily impossible for either party, as the Thirty Years' War still occupied the chief nations of Western Europe. But within the British Islands help was to be expected in two directions, and King and Parliament now sought new allies in and . In September , Charles concluded a Cessation of arms with the Irish [36]  Catholics, and the Parliament joined with the Scots in a treaty called the Solemn League and Covenant, in which they swore to maintain the Scottish Kirk, to reform religion in England and "according to the Word of God and the example of the best reformed churches," and to extirpate "popery, prelacy, superstition, heresy, schism, and profaneness." On this condition the Scots agreed to send their well-tried and victorious army over the Border to help Parliament against the King. Thus Charles made friends with Papists, while Parliament at last adopted Presbyterianism, though few Englishmen believed in the divine right of Presbytery like the Scots. The Presbyterian Assembly of Divines that had sat in since the summer, now set to work to get rid of bishops and the Prayer Book, to set up the rigid Calvinistic doctrines, the synods and the long prayers that the Scots preferred. The league with the Scots was the last work of Pym, who died in December.

17. Charles was now forced on the defensive. His agreement with the Irish Catholic Lords brought him much ill-will and hardly any military advantage. In [37]  Jan. , the English troops from ,who had been set free by the Cessation, landed in England, but they had been but a few weeks in the country, when they were routed by Fairfax at Nantwich in Cheshire, and more than half the prisoners took service with the Parliamentary general. In February a Committee of Both Kingdoms was set up, composed of members of the two Houses of Parliament and some Scottish Commissioners, to control the joint war of English and Scots against the king. The Scots army, led by Leslie (since Earl of

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Leven), now joined Fairfax, drove Newcastle's army into York, and besieged that city. They were soon joined by the [39]  army of the Eastern Association under Manchester and Cromwell. Meanwhile Charles was equally hard pressed in the South. and Waller united their forces and threatened Oxford, from which Charles escaped, fearing to risk a siege. foolishly divided his forces, leaving Waller to fight against the king, while he himself invaded the royalist south-west.

Rupert now left his uncle and rode northwards with his gallant horsemen, intent on the relief of York. On his way, he broke down the Puritan rule in Lancashire, and relieved the heroic Countess of Derby, who had long been straitly besieged in Lathom House. He then crossed the moors into . On his reaching Knaresborough, eighteen miles to the west of York, the Puritan generals, out-manceuvred by his skilful movements, raised the siege, and marshalled their three armies on Marston Moor (eight miles west of York), to block his advance. But Rupert cleverly avoided them, and swept round on his left to York, joining forces with Newcastle, and taking command of the combined army. His eager desire for [40]  battle overcame the sluggishness of Newcastle, and the retreating Puritans went back to their position at Marston Moor, on the news that the Cavaliers had drawn up their forces against them. Here, on 2nd July , was fought the first really decisive battle of the war.

The three armies of the Parliament stood amidst the fields of rye that covered the slopes of the long low ridge that, running east and west behind Tockwith and Long Marston, overlooks the rough plain of Marston Moor, lying to the north. On the left was Manchester, and the army of the Association, whose extreme flank was protected by Cromwell's horsemen. Leven with the Scots held the centre; while the right was occupied by the Fairfaxes with their Yorkshiremen. A long hedge and ditch and a road divided them from the Royalist forces that were stationed in the plain. Here Rupert put himself over against Cromwell, knowing that there the decisive struggle would be fought; while Newcastle's northern army held the centre, and a strong force of cavalry, under the drunken and ruffianly Goring held the left wing. The armies faced each other until six in the evening, when Rupert resolved to postpone the attack till next day. But as Rupert was eating his supper, and Newcastle smoking a pipe in his carriage, the Parliamentary army dashed over the ditch in sudden and unexpected assault. Taken by surprise as they were, Rupert's cavalry fought gallantly against the horsemen of Cromwell; "they stood at the sword's point a pretty while, hacking one another." But a timely charge of the Scots horse under David Leslie (Leven's nephew), turned

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the balance, and Rupert's Cavaliers were scattered "like a little dust." In the centre the Scots kept their enemies in check; but to the right the Fairfaxes were hopelessly defeated, and Goring chased their demoralised troops along the road to Tadcaster. Sir Thomas Fairfax, at great personal risk, sought out Cromwell, who, unlike Rupert at Edgehill and Newbury, still kept his horsemen well under centrol. Cromwell now turned from the pursuit, and caught Goring
as he returned weary and without order from his pursuit of the Yorkshiremen. This settled the fate of the day. "We never charged but we routed the enemy," boasted Cromwell. "God made them as stubble to our swords." Rupert's army had been hopelessly scattered. Newcastle took ship to in despair. York opened its gates to the victors. The whole of the north fell into the hands of the "godly party."

Decisive for the north, Marston Moor had little immediate effect on the struggle in the south. It shows how evenly England was still divided that Charles's losses in were almost balanced by his gains elsewhere. The early successes of Montrose [see pages 241-2] in made Leven unwilling to leave the Lowlands unprotected by a further advance into England. In the south, Charles still proved victorious. On 29th June, he held Waller in check by the hard fought but indecisive battle of Cropredy Bridge (over the Cherwell, north of Banbury), after which Waller's trained bands went quietly home, having no stomach for further fighting. Charles then pursued into Cornwall, and forced his whole infantry to surrender at Lostwithiel, the sluggish and desponding

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[41] 
general only escaping by boat on the open sea (1st Sep.). The victorious army of the Association was then ordered [42]  south to block the threatened advance of Charles on London. On 27th Oct., Charles and Manchester fought the Second Battle of Newbury, where the laziness and weakness of the Presbyterian general ["a sweet, meek man"] allowed Charles to hold his own and escape in the night.

18. At the end of , Charles still held the field against his revolted subjects; while the stern and ardent spirits, [43]  who already looked up to Cromwell as their leader, saw with disgust that the Scottish alliance and the adoption of Presbyterianism had brought the war no nearer the end. They loudly denounced the self-seeking Scots, and held up to scorn the sluggishness and incompetence of the great Presbyterian lords who had waged war, as if afraid of the results of victory. The fortune of war naturally brought to the top men of the extreme party, who knew their own minds and were not afraid of revolution. A great growth of the more enthusiastic types of Puritanism had marked the outbreak of hostilities. The new party of Independents, who wished to crush the king and set up toleration for the sectaries, who had established religious organisations of their own, began to make itself formidable. So strong was their hold that, in deadly fear of the extremists, the Presbyterians, who were remodelling the English Church on the fashion of the Scottish with a view of crushing out all dissent from it, now wished to make peace and restore the king to at least a nominal power.

In , negotiations for peace were begun at Uxbridge; but failed, as Charles would not accept the [44]  demand of the Parliament that he should take the Covenant, surrender the militia, and repudiate the Irish Cessation. Henrietta Maria sought for French aid at Paris, while Charles gave a commission to the Catholic Earl of Glamorgan to levy an army of Irish and foreign Papists.

The extreme party grew stronger and stronger at . On 10th Jan., the aged Laud, who had been shut [45]  up in the Tower since , was executed for high treason by an Ordinance of Attainder. It was a mere act of vengeance and served no end save to embitter the struggle. Of more direct bearing on the fortunes of the war was the resolution to reorganise the military forces that fought against the King. In February,

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the New Model Ordinance was forced on the little knot of timid peers that still sat at . By it the various armies of the Parliament were reorganised as a single whole, as a thoroughly professional and permanent [46]  body, under uniform command, stern discipline and with regular pay, for which latter purpose new taxes were imposed. The officers were forced to take the Covenant, and side by side with the gentlemen who had hitherto alone held command, commissions were given to "plain russet-coated captains" of humbler station, but of earnest Puritan views and strong love of revolutionary change. In April, the Self-Denying Ordinance completed the new system. By it all members of either House of Parliament were compelled to resign their commands within forty days. This finally got rid of , Manchester, and Waller; but Cromwell, who as member for Cambridge should have resigned as well, was speedily appointed Lieutenant-General, with supreme command of the horse. He disliked taking the Covenant, both because he sighed for universal toleration and thought Presbytery bondage, and because he considered that military efficiency and not religious orthodoxy ought to determine the position of an officer in the army. But he saw that the New Model would be no sure support of the dominant party, and swallowed his scruples. Sir Thomas Fairfax had been nominated General in the Ordinance. He was a tall dark man of few words, and "meek and humble carriage"; a "lover of learning," and a moderate and upright man. "In the field he was so highly transported, that he would seem like a man distracted and furious," and men spoke of his "irrational and brutish valour." But he was a vigorous and active soldier, upholding strong discipline, moving his forces with great rapidity, and showing no contemptible skill in planning his campaigns. Skippon, as Major-General, was the third in command.

19. Charles began the campaign of with great energy, while Fairfax was organising the New Model and wasting his time in blockading Oxford, from which [47]  Charles had at last been forced to flee. . Charles took advantage of Fairfax's mistake to capture Leicester, a central position, from which he could equally threaten the Scots in , the eastern counties or London itself. This forced Fairfax to abandon his attack on Oxford and march in pursuit, while Charles, swayed as ever by distracting counsels, loitered aimlessly in the midlands.

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[48] 
On 14th June the armies met between Naseby and Sibbertoft, in Northamptonshire, about six miles south-west of Market Harborough. The king's troops (among whom a large proportion of [49]  the foot were Welshmen) were outnumbered by nearly three to two; and the impatience of Rupert had spoilt Charles's plan of waiting, strongly posted on a hill two miles south of Harborough, until Fairfax attacked him. Rupert forced on the battle by a premature movement to the south. Thereupon Fairfax, by Cromwell's advice, took up a strong position in a fallow field on a hill north of Naseby village, where a long hedge protected his left. Skippon marshalled
the foot in the centre; Ireton (who afterwards married Cromwell's daughter) commanded the left, while Cromwell posted himself with his horse on the right. The king's army was drawn up on Dust Hill opposite, with Rupert on the right facing Ireton, Astley in the centre opposite Skippon, and Langdale over against Cromwell. Despite the disparity of numbers the fight was furiously contested. Rupert defeated Ireton, and pursued him towards Naseby village; just before reaching which he came across the baggage train of the Parliamentary army. The guard of the baggage attempted resistance, and did good service to the enemy, for Rupert, checked in his wild career, rallied his troops,

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and, abandoning the baggage, returned to share in the main encounter. But he was once more too late. In the centre the New Model infantry barely held its own. Skippon was badly wounded, and his raw recruits were rapidly becoming a confused mob. But Cromwell, with numbers, ground, and generalship all in his favour, had made short work of Langdale, and was able both to scatter the reserve, commanded by Charles himself, and pour the mass of his forces on the half victorious royalist foot in the centre. The king's centre was now between the squadrons of Cromwell and the rallying battalions of Skippon. No infantry could resist such terrible odds; and the Welshmen were soon seized with a panic and surrendered in droves. Rupert retreated after the king. Of the royalist army none was left save a part of the horse. The victors found in the pursuit the king's secret despatches, and published to the world the damning record of his intrigues with Papists and foreigners that he might obtain the aid of a French or Irish army to put down his English enemies.

20. While Charles's cause was becoming desperate in England, the genius of Montrose had again created a royalist party in . Since Argyll, in his double character of Lowland Marquis and Highland clan chieftain, had made himself [50]  the master of , and was even thought to be aspiring to the crown. The support of the bigoted Covenanting clergy and middle-classes secured his preponderance among the Saxons of the south, while the sharp broadswords and cunning policy of the Campbell clan had given him an absolute preponderance over the Gael in the Western Highlands. But a strong reaction was now setting in. In the Lowlands the lesser nobles and gentry were sick of the Calvinistic tyranny, and disgusted at their own powerlessness. In the Highlands the Macdonalds and other once powerful clans were only prevented by mutual jealousies from making common cause against the greedy Campbells. Montrose now strove to bind together the southern gentry and the discontented clansmen against Argyll and his party. Montrose was no friend of bishops or of despotism. He had resisted Charles's earlier policy and had drawn his sword to defend the Covenant. Now, however, like Hyde in England, he believed that Charles had become a constitutional king; and his ardent soul was filled by lofty visions of loyalty to a just and lawful monarch, ruling constitutionally through his faithful gentry, and protecting his people from the tyranny of an overmighty subject and an inquisitorial and narrow-minded kirk. Early in Montrose visited England and went back a marquis and the king's lieutenant-general in .

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[51] 

 

He now resolved on a desperate venture, believing, as he says in his own poem-

"He either fears his fate too much, Or his deserts are small, Who dares not put it to the touch, And win or lose it all."

Failing to raise the gentry of Angus, Montrose betook himself to the Highlands. He was perhaps the first Lowlander to discover the military value of the fierce rush of the brave clansmen, but he found the clans slow to move, distracted by feuds and jealousies, and hard [52]  to unite. He succeeded, however, in bringing under his command a force of perhaps Macdonalds from Antrim, commanded by Alister Macdonald, who, after the cessation of the Irish war, had come back to their native hills on an unsuccessful mission of vengeance against the Campbells. These tried soldiers remained henceforth the one really indestructible part of his army. But even with their help Montiose marched on Perth with only 3000 footmen and no cavalry at all. On that little force swept before them the host of raw Covenanting [53]  . militia that went out to Tippernuir to defend the Lowland city. Perth at once surrendered, and Montrose marched forthwith on Aberdeen, where, on 13th September, he gained a second victory, that was followed by a pitiless massacre [54]  of the defenceless townsmen. But the country refused to rise, and at the approach of winter Montrose was forced again to take to the hills. This time he was received with wild enthusiasm by the Macdonalds, and was soon surrounded by a great army of the clans. Amidst the snows and storms of December, he led the Macdonalds across the trackless hills that separated their valleys from the Campbell country, where they wreaked their wild vengeance on their cruel enemies. Argyll left his subjects to be butchered, and managed, with a small force, to follow the Macdonalds on their northward retreat, along the great chain of lakes where the Caledonian Canal now runs. Montrose now learnt that an army under Lord Seaforth blocked his further progress. He turned back on the Campbells, and, on 2nd February , signally defeated them at Inverlochy, [55]  underneath Ben Nevis, the cowardly Argyll watching from a boat the slaughter of his gallant followers. Montrose now hoped that all would be at his feet. In proud anticipation of victory he wrote to Charles, " I shall come, with a brave army, which will make the rebels in England as well as feel the just rewards of rebellion, only give me leave to say to you as David's general did to his master, 'Come thou thyself lest this country be called by my name.' "

In the early spring of Montrose, now joined by the great Gordon clan, again invaded the eastern Lowlands and captured Dundee. But [56]  the Highland host melted away as usual, and Montrose had the utmost difficulty in retreating to the hills before the trained soldiers of Generals Hurry and Baillie. However, in May he had again got an army together and utterly

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defeated Hurry at Auldearn, near Forres. In July he defeated Baillie at Alford on the Don. This led to a fresh invasion of the south. On 15th August, Montrose won his crowning victory over Baillie at Kilsyth. Glasgow opened its gates, and [57]  at last seemed conquered.

Montrose was a practical soldier but a visionary politician. He could win victories, but he had too few sympathisers with his policy among the Lowland Scots for his victories to serve any permanent end. Within a few days all his hopes were destroyed. The mass of the people paid no heed to Montrose's policy of moderate Presbyterian royalism, and were indignant at the violence and brutality of his savage followers. The Highlanders went home after their wont, preferring to take back their booty to their native glens or to still further glut their vengeance against the Campbells. Of the victors of Kilsyth soon only 500 Irish foot remained. To these was added a new force of about 1200 cavalry, the lesser noblemen and gentlemen of the Border country, who alone had responded to his [58]  appeals. Montrose hurried to join them amidst the rugged Border moorlands. David Leslie now came up with 4000 horse from the Scottish army in England. On 13th September he burst upon Montrose under the hill of Philiphaugh, on the long green meadow that lies beside Ettrick water. The southern gentry scattered in panic flight, but the 500 Irish veterans fought bravely to the last, and perished all but fifty, after a brave struggle against overwhelming numbers. The women and children, who had followed their wanderings, were barbarously put to death. Montrose again fled to the Highlands; but neither Macdonalds nor Gordons would follow a defeated and discredited leader. In he crossed over to Norway. was again dominated by the Covenanters.

21. After Naseby the royalists were brought to bay; but they still went on fighting with infinite spirit. In the summer of Charles marched northwards, hoping to join hands with Montrose, but his troops were defeated at Rowton Heath near, and soon afterwards he heard the news of the fatal disaster of Philiphaugh. With the failure of Montrose, Charles's last hopes of successful resistance fell to the ground. He returned to Oxford only to receive intelligence of new misfortunes. Fairfax pressed forward to the west, where Goring now [59]  commanded the last royalist army. In July Fairfax defeated Goring at Langport, and in September forced Rupert to surrender at Bristol. For this submission Charles angrily dismissed his nephew from his service. In March the army of the west capitulated to Fairfax. Oxford was now threatened. Save for a few castles and fortresses, where chivalrous gentlemen held out for glory rather than for victory, the whole of southern Britain was in the hands of the combined forces of the Scots and the New Model.

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[60] 
Charles had now to choose between flight from the country and surrender to his enemies. He chose the latter course, and believing that the Scots were more likely to give him good terms than the English, he resolved to submit himself to the Scottish army, which was then besieging Newark, the last of his midland strongholds to hold out. In May he joined the Scots camp at Southwell, and

was promptly sent under honourable restraint to Newcastle. With the captivity of the king there seemed every reason to hope for the final settlement of the two kingdoms. The conditions of the settlement were, however, very difficult to determine. Charles had hoped that the Scots would support him against the Parliament. But the English Parliament and the Scots remained of one mind. They jointly resolved that they would restore Charles to the throne, only if he agreed to take the Covenant, abolish bishops, and surrender the militia for twenty years. Charles strongly believed in Episcopacy, and could only be brought to offer to accept Presbyterianism for three years, hoping that by that time he could play off the factions against each other, and so avoid the disagreeable necessity of sticking to his promise. Neither the Scots nor the Parliament would accept this. The Scots were so angry at Charles's refusal of their terms, that they gladly agreed to the proposal of Parliament that they should go home to their country, on condition of receiving the large sums due to them from the English. In they crossed the Border, leaving Charles behind in England. The Parliament now removed him to Holmby House in Northamptonshire.

22. Fortune still favoured the fallen king. The strained relations between the Presbyterian Parliament and the Independent army still gave him good chances of obtaining favourable terms. The Presbyterians, led by Denzil Holles, played into his hands by their unwise eagerness [61]  to get the better of the Independents. They declared that the army should at once be disbanded, as there was no longer any need for soldiers now that peace had been restored. But they were so greedy to get a reputation for economy, that they ignored the righteous demand of the soldiers to receive in full their arrears of pay, before they were got rid of. This false step for the first time joined together the indifferent professional soldier with the ardent fanatics and sectaries. The troops prepared to resist the Parliament, and elected representatives to look

245

after their interests. These were called the Agitators or agents. After some hesitation Cromwell lent his all-powerful support to their cause. In great fear of the army, the Presbyterians patched up an agreement with the king, on the terms which they had rejected in the previous year, and called in the Scots to join hands with them in restoring the monarchy. Hearing that there was a plot to convey Charles away from Holmby, Cromwell sent Cornet Joyce with a force of cavalry to secure for the army the person of the king. On Joyce led away Charles to Newmarket.

The Parliament was aghast at the abduction of the king, and prepared to make war upon the army, with the help of the Scots and the trainbands of Presbyterian London. The Independent minority fled in alarm to the soldiers. Thereupon the troops marched from their quarters near Cambridge on the refractory capital. On 7th August London was occupied. Eleven of the Presbyterian leaders of the Commons fled beyond sea in alarm. The army had now both king and Commons at its mercy. But its leaders, Cromwell and Ireton, were still anxious to avoid the appearance of a military revolution, and hoped to win over the king to their policy of toleration. They, therefore, offered to Charles, who was now living at Hampton Court, a plan for the settlement of the nation called the Heads of Proposals, drawn up by Ireton, who was as ready with his pen as with his sword.

The Heads of the Proposals provided that the king should be restored on the following conditions: i. A Parliament should meet every two years and sit a hundred and twenty days certain. 2. Members should be returned to the Commons " according to some rule of proportion," and "poor decayed [62]  or inconsiderable towns" should lose their representatives. 3. The power of the militia should belong to Parliament for ten years. 4. The king's ministers should be appointed by Parliament for the same period. 5. Bishops should lose their jurisdiction and none be compelled to take the Covenant. 6. Liberty to worship God in their own way should be given to all men except Papists. 7. A general Act of Oblivion should be passed.

Charles had now his last chance. The fanatical and democratic army had offered him better terms than those which the Presbyterians were willing to allow him. He was offered freedom to worship God in his own way, provided that he would allow a similar freedom to others. Despite their professed hostility to monarchy, the army

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[63] 
leaders were willing to continue him as their king with as much show of power as he was likely to have under the schemes of the Presbyterians, to which he had given an unwilling consent. Charles, however, was not clear-headed enough to understand the complicated situation. Deceived by the deference which Presbyterians and Independents had in turns paid him, he still imagined that he was strong enough to do without either. His whole policy was still to balance the two sections of his enemies against one another. Accordingly he now rejected the Heads of the Proposals, and again entered into secret negotiations with the Scots. This gave some show of reason to the contention of the more violent of the soldiers, that no trust could be put in him. They had objected to the Heads of the Proposals as too favourable to the King. Now that he was again intriguing, they clamoured for his trial as a traitor to the nation. Cromwell again changed his mind and resolved to have no more dealings with him. In great alarm Charles fled in November to the Isle of Wight; but he was soon captured and shut up, with more restraint than before, in Carisbrook Castle. He still persisted in his old policy of intrigue and secretly signed the Engagement with the Scots, promising to set up Presbyterianism for three years in England, and to put down the heresies that were rife among the troops. At the same time he rejected the Four Bills sent up to him by the cowed Parliament. Thereupon Parliament passed in January a vote of No Addresses, in which they solemnly renounced any further negotiations with him.

23. In the summer of , Presbyterians and Anglicans joined in a common revolt against the army of sectaries [64]  and the self-seeking Parliament that registered its will. But all was in disorder and confusion, and no common plan or unity of purpose bound together the ill-assorted coalition that now set on foot the Second Civil War. Popular risings burst out in North and South . The royalists of the North seized Berwick and Carlisle. The Associated Counties felt the stress of war for the first time, as revolts broke out in Kent, Sussex, and . A large part of the fleet deserted the Parliament, and put itself under the . But the undrilled loyalty of the insurgents was no match for the veterans of the New Model. The Parliament and army again united to meet the common danger, and the country people were so sick of war, that they held aloof from the gentry and townsmen that now

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called on them to arms. Even London gave no sign of revolt. Fairfax drove the Kentish insurgents out of Maidstone. A miserable remnant of them, under the Earl of Norwich (father of the royalist leader, Goring), united with the rebels under Capel, Lisle, and Lucas. They were soon driven to defend themselves with desperation behind the strong walls of Colchester, which Fairfax closely besieged. Cromwell put down the Welsh risings with stern energy. The royalist fleet hesitated to strike a decisive blow.

All now depended on the Scots. The party of the nobles, led by the Duke of Hamilton, now secured a majority in the Scots Parliament over the party of the ministers led by the Marquis of Argyll. Hamilton urged an invasion of England to save Charles from his enemies and carry out the Engagement. But the sterner Presbyterian Protesters still declared for peace, and though Hamilton and the Engagers crossed the Border at the head of a considerable army, the veterans of the Covenant refused to follow his standards, and the General Assembly denounced him as a friend of the uncovenanted king. The Scots troops united with the northern insurgents, and advanced to Preston. Here they were out-generalled by Cromwell, and signally defeated (17th Aug.). After a last vain stand at Winwick, the mass of the army laid down their arms at Warrington. A few days later, the defenders of Colchester were forced by famine to surrender to Fairfax. Lisle and Lucas were shot in cold blood on the spot. Other leaders of the revolt, including Capel and the Duke of Hamilton, were executed in March . The Second Civil War was at an end, and king and Parliament alike lay at the mercy of the soldiers, who believed that their triumph was by the special Providence of God.

24. The failure of the rebellion had revived the spirits of the Parliament, which renewed the negotiations with the king in what was called the Treaty of Newport. [65]  But the army had now lost all love of constitutional ways, and Cromwell had fallen in with their cry that Charles Stewart, "the man of blood," must be brought to justice. On 6th Dec., Colonel Pride went down to the House and drove out the Presbyterian members. The Independent minority, known henceforth as the Rump, were but puppets in the hands of the soldiers. On 1st Jan. , they voted that a High Court of Justice should be set up to bring Charles to trial

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[66] 
The little handful of Independent peers that now formed the House of Lords refused to agree to this; but the Commons declared that, as representatives of the people, they had power to act alone. Every legal and constitutional obstacle was brushed aside by Cromwell, who, when he had made up his mind how to act, had a supreme contempt for forms. "I tell you," he now declared, "we will cut off the king's head with the crown upon it." On 19th Jan., Charles was brought before the High Court of Justice, on which, however, barely half of the appointed members consented to act. Fairfax himself was among the absentees. With the quiet dignity that seldom failed him, Charles refused to plead before the unlawful tribunal, urging that no subject had a right to sit in judgment on his sovereign. After a mockery of a trial, he was condemned to death as a murderer and traitor to the Commonwealth. On 27th Jan., the President, John Bradshaw, pronounced the sentence in Hall. On 30th Jan., Charles was led out to die on a scaffold that was erected in front of Inigo Jones's noble Banqueting House at Whitehall. He had taken a touching farewell of his two youngest children, and of his nephew the Elector Palatine, who alone of his kinsfolk were with him at the last. The holy Bishop Juxon gave him the last consolations of religion. The great throng of sympathetic spectators were kept far from the scaffold by a strong force of soldiers. in a brief speech declared that Parliament, and not he, was guilty of the Civil War, and set forth his views of government. " For the people," said he, " I desire their liberty and freedom as much as anybody whatsoever; but I must tell you that their liberty and freedom consists of their having those laws by which their lives and their goods are most their own. It is not their having a share in the government; that is nothing appertaining unto them." He then lay down, resting his head on a low block. A masked executioner then did his work, and holding the head on high, cried, " Behold the head of a traitor." The troops dispersed the angry and horrorstricken crowd. The patience and meekness of the king made a lasting impression. His errors were forgotten in his tragic death. He was regarded as a martyr to the Church and Constitution, and his memory was reverenced with almost religious worship.

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Footnotes:

[1] The Beginningsof Resistance,1637-1640.

[2] -1640

[3] The Glasgow Assembly andthe Abolitionof Episcopacy1638

[4] The FirstBishops' War,1639

[5] The Short Parliament,April-May,1640.

[6] 1640--1641]

[7] The Second Bishops' War,1640.

[8] The Council at York.

[9] The Meeting of the Long Parliament,3 Nov. 1640.

[10] Execution of Strafford 12 May1641.

[11] [1641--1641

[12] Constitutional.Reforms and Safeguards, 1640-1641.

[13] EcclesiasticalReform and theformation of aChurch Party,1641.

[14] 1641-1641

[15] The Incidentand the Irish Rebellion, 1641.

[16] The Grand Remonstrance. Formation of aconstitutional Royalist Party1641

[17] 1642--1642

[18] The Arrest of the Five Members, 1642.

[19] The militiaOrdinance and the preparations for Civil War,1642.

[20] General Character of the Great Rebellion,1642-1646.

[21] 1642--1642

[22] The Campaign of 1642

[23] Edgehill

[24] Brentford.

[25] 1642.-1643

[26] Campaign of 1643.

[27] Chalgrove

[28] Adwalton Moor.

[29] Stratton.

[30] Waller's Defeat.

[31] Gloucester besieged.

[32] Relief ofGloucester.

[33] Newbury.

[34] 1643--1644

[35] The Triumph of the Association Army.

[36] The Scots Alliance and the Adoption of Presbyterianism.

[37] Campaign of1644.

[38] 1644--1644

[39] Royalist Disasters.

[40] Marston Moor.

[41] 1644--1645

[42] The Last Royalist Successes.

[43] Rise ofIndependency.

[44] Treaty of Uxbridge, 1645

[45] Attainder of Laud.

[46] The New Model and the Self-Denying Ordinance.

[47] The Campaign of1645

[48] 1645--1645

[49] Naseby.

[50] Montrose in Scotland, 1644-1645

[51] 1645--1647

[52] The Highland Revolt.

[53] Tippermuir

[54] Aberdeen

[55] Inverlochy

[56] The Invaion ofthe Lowlands.

[57] Kilsyth.

[58] Philiphaugh.

[59] End of the English War,1646-7.

[60] [1647--1647

[61] Parliament andthe Army, 1647.

[62] The Heads of the Proposals, August1647

[63] 1648--1649

[64] The Second civil war,May-August,1648.

[65] Pride's Purge andthe Execution ofthe King, 1648-1649.

[66] 1649-

[67] 1649--1649