« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
ment; that all shall be null and void till they do get there. A rash step; for which, on the 30th of the same month, they are, by the Commons, voted guilty of Treason; and 'in a cold evening,' with small ceremony, are bundled, the whole dozen of them, into the Tower. For there is again rioting, again are cries 'loud and hideous;'-Colonel Lunsford, a truculent one-eyed man, having 'drawn his sword' upon the Apprentices in Westminster Hall, and truculently slashed some of them; who of course responded in a loud and hideous manner, by tongue, by fist, and single-stick nay, on the morrow, 28th December,* they came marching many thousands strong, with sword and pistol, out of the City, "Slash us now! while we wait on the Honorable House for an answer to our Petition!"—and insulted his Majesty's Guard at Whitehall. What a Christmas of that old London, of that old Year! On the 6th of February following, Episcopacy will be voted down, with blaze of 'bonfires' and 'ringing' of all the bells,―very audible to poor old Dr. Laud† over in the Tower yonder.
January 4th. His Majesty seeing these extremities arrive, and such a conflagration begin to blaze, thought now the time had come for snatching the main livecoals away, and so quenching the same. Such coals of strife he counts to the number of Five in the Commons House, and One in the Lords: Pym, Hampden, Haselrig, with Holles and Strode (who held down the Speaker fourteen years ago), these are the Five Commons; Lord Kimbolton, better known to us as Mandevil, Oliver's friend, of the 'Soke of Somersham,' and Queen's-Court Committee, he is the Lord. His Majesty flatters himself he has gathered evidence concerning these individual firebrands, That they 'invited the Scots to invade us' in 1640 he sends, on Monday, 3d January,‡ to demand that they be given up to him as Traitors. Deliberate, slow, and as it were evasive reply. Whereupon, on the morrow, he rides down to St. Stephen's himself, with an armed very miscellaneous force,
* Rushworth, iv., 464. † Wharton's Laud, p. 62; see also p. 65. Commons Journals, ii., 367.
of 500 or of 300 truculent braggadocio persons at his back; enters the House of Commons, the truculent persons looking in after him from the lobby,—with intent to seize the said Five Members, five principal hot coals; and trample them out, for one thing. It was the fatallest step this poor King ever took. The Five Members, timefully warned, were gone into the City; the whole Parliament removed itself into the City, 'to be safe from armed violence.' From London City, and from all England, rose one loud voice of lamentation, condemnation: Clean against law! Paint an inch thick, there is, was, or can be, no shadow of law in this. Will you grant us the Militia now; we seem to need it now!-His Majesty's subsequent stages may be dated with more brevity.
January 10th. The King with his Court quits Whitehall; the Five Members and Parliament purposing to return to-morrow, with the whole City in arms round them.* He left Whitehall; never saw it again till he came to lay down his head there. The King has sent away his Queen from Dover, to be in a place of safety,'-and also to pawn the Crown-jewels in Holland, and get him arms. He returns Northward again, avoiding London. Many Messages between the Houses of Parliament and him: "Will your Majesty grant us Power of the Militia; accept this list of Lord-Lieutenants ?" On the 9th of March, still advancing Northward without affirmative response, he has got to Newmarket; where another Message overtakes him, earnestly urges itself upon him: Could not your Majesty please to grant us Power of the Militia for a limited time? No, by God!" answers his Majesty, "not for an hour!"'+-On the 19th of March he is at York; where his Hull Magazine, gathered for service against the Scots, is lying near; where a great Earl of Newcastle, and other Northern potentates, will help him; where at least London and its Puritanism, now grown so fierce, is far off.
* Vicars, p. 64.
There we will leave him; attempting Hull Magazine, in vain ; exchanging messages with his Parliament; messages, missives, printed and written Papers without limit :-Law-pleadings of both parties before the great tribunal of the English Nation, each
† Rushworth, iv., 533.
party striving to prove itself right, and within the verge of Law: preserved still in acres of typography, once thrillingly alive in every fibre of them; now a mere torpor, readable by few creatures, not rememberable by any. It is too clear his Majesty will have to get himself an army, by Commission of Array, by subscriptions of loyal plate, pawning of crown-jewels, or how he can. The Parliament by all methods is endeavoring to do the like. London subscribed 'Horses and Plate,' every kind of plate, even to women's thimbles, to an unheard-of amount ;* and when it came to actual enlisting, in London alone there were 'Four thousand enlisted in a day.'t The reader may meditate that one fact. Royal messages, Parliamentary messages; acres of typography thrillingly alive in every fibre of them, these go on slowly abating, and military preparations go on steadily increasing till the 23d of October next. The King's Commission of Array for Leicestershire' came out on the 12th of June, commissions for other counties following as convenient; the Parliament's 'Ordinance for the Militia,' rising cautiously pulse after pulse towards clear emergence, had attained completion the week before. The questions puts itself to every English soul, Which of these will you obey?—and in all quarters of English ground, with swords getting out of their scabbards, and yet the constable's baton still struggling to rule supreme, there is a most confused solution of it going on.
Of Oliver in these months we find the following things noted; which the imaginative reader is to spread out into significance for himself the best he can.
February 7th. Mr. Cromwell,' among others, 'offers to lend Three hundred pounds for the service of the Commonwealth,'§— towards reducing the Irish Rebellion, and relieving the afflicted Protestants there, or here. Rushworth, copying a List of such subscribers, of date 9th April, 1642, has Cromwell's name written down for '5007.,'||—seemingly the same transaction; Mr. Crom
*Vicars, pp. 93, 109; see Commons Journals, 10th June, 1642.
t Wood's Athenæ, iii., 193.
Husbands the Printer's First Collection (London, 1643), pp. 346, 331. § Commons Journals, ii., 408. || Rushworth, iv., 564.
well having now mended his offer; or else Mr. Rushworth, who uses the arithmetical cipher in this place, having misprinted. Hampden's subscription there is 1,000l. In Mr. Cromwell it is clear there is no backwardness, far from that; his activity in these months notably increases. In the D'Ewes MSS.* he appears and reappears; suggesting this and the other practical step, on behalf of Ireland oftenest; in all ways zealously urging the work.
July 15th. 'Mr. Cromwell moved that we might make an order to allow the Townsmen of Cambridge to raise two Companies of Volunteers and to appoint Captains over them.'† On which same day, 15th July, the Commons Clerk writes these words: 'Whereas Mr. Cromwell hath sent down arms into the County of Cambridge, for the defence of that County, it is this day ordered,'—that he shall have the '1007.' expended on that service, repaid him by and by. Is Mr. Cromwell aware that there lies a color of high treason in all this; risk not of one's purse only, but of one's head? Mr. Cromwell is aware of it, and pauses not. The next entry is still stranger.
August 15th. Mr. Cromwell in Cambridgeshire has seized the Magazine in the Castle at Cambridge; and hath hindered the carrying of the Plate from that University; which, as some report, was to the value of 20,0007. or thereabouts.'§ So does Sir Philip Stapleton, member for Aldborough, member also of our new Committee for Defence of the Kingdom,' report this day. For which let Mr. Cromwell have indemnity.||-Mr. Cromwell has gone down into Cambridgeshire in person, since they began to train there, and assumed the chief management,-to some effect, it would appear.
The like was going on in all shires of England; wherever the Parliament had a zealous member, it sent him down to his shire in these critical months, to take what management he could or durst. The most confused months England ever saw. In every shire, in every parish; in courthouses, alehouses, churches, markets, wheresoever men were gathered together, England, with
† D'Ewes's Mss., f. 658-661. § Commons Journals, ii., 720.
Commons Journals, ii., 674. || Ibid., 726.
sorrowful confusion in every fibre, is tearing itself into hostile halves, to carry on the voting by pike and bullet henceforth.
Brevity is very urgent on us, nevertheless we must give this other extract. Bramston the Shipmoney Judge, in trouble with the Parliament and sequestered from his place, is now likely to get into trouble with the King, who in the last days of July has ordered him to come to York on business of importance. Judge Bramston sends his two sons, John and Frank, fresh young men, to negotiate some excuse. They ride to York in three days; stay a day at York with his Majesty; then return, 'on the same horses,' in three days,—to Skreens in Essex; which was good riding. John, one of them, has left a most watery incoherent Autobiography, now printed, but not edited, nor worth editing, except by fire to ninety-nine hundredths of it; very distracting; in which, however, there is this notable sentence; date about the middle of August, not discoverable to a day. Having been at York, and riding back on the same horses in three days:
'In our return on Sunday, near Huntingdon, between that and Cambridge, certain musketeers start out of the corn, and command us to stand; telling us we must be searched, and to that end must go before Mr. Cromwell, and give account from whence we came and whither we were going. I asked, Where Mr. Cromwell was? A soldier told us, He was four miles off. I said, It was unreasonable to carry us out of our way; if Mr. Cromwell had been there, I should have willingly given him all the satisfaction he could desire;—and putting my hand into my pocket, I gave one of them Twelve-pence, who said we might pass. By this I saw plainly it would not be possible for my Father to get to the King with his coach ;**—neither did he all, but stayed at home till he died.
September 14th. Here is a new phasis of the business. In a List of the Army under the command of the 'Earl of Essex,'t we find that Robert Earl of Essex is 'Lord General for King and Parliament' (to deliver the poor beloved King from traitors, who
Autobiography of Sir John Bramston, Knight (Camden Society, 1845),
King's Pamphlets, small 4to, no. 73.