« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
have misled him, and clouded his fine understanding, and rendered him as it were a beloved Parent fallen insane); that Robert Earl of Essex, we say, is Lord General for King and Parliament; that William the new Earl of Bedford is General of the Horse, and has, or is every hour getting to have, 'seventy-five troops of 60 men each ;' in every troop a Captain, a Lieutenant, a Cornet and Quartermaster, whose names are all given. In Troop Sixty-seven, the Captain is 'Oliver Cromwell,'-honorable member for Cambridge; many honorable members having now taken arms; Mr. Hampden, for example, having become Colonel Hampden,busy drilling his men in Chalgrove Field at this very time. But moreover, in Troop Eight of Earl Bedford's Horse, we find another Oliver Cromwell, Cornet ;'-and with real thankfulness for this poor flint-spark in the great darkness, recognize him for our honorable member's Son. His eldest Son Oliver,* now a stout young man of twenty. "Thou too, Boy Oliver, thou art fit to swing a sword. If there ever was a battle worth fighting, and to be called God's battle, it is this; thou too wilt come!" How a staid, most pacific, solid Farmer of three-and-forty decides on girding himself with warlike iron, and fighting, he and his, against principalities and powers, let readers who have formed any notion of this man conceive for themselves.
On Sunday, 23d October, was Edgehill Battle, called also Keinton Fight, near Keinton on the south edge of Warwickshire. In which Battle Captain Cromwell was present, and did his duty, let angry Denzil say what he will. The Fight was indecisive; victory claimed by both sides. Captain Cromwell told Cousin Hampden, They never would get on with a set of poor tapsters and town apprentice-people fighting against men of honor. To cope with men of honor they must have men of religion. 'Mr. Hampden answered me, It was a good notion, if it could be executed.' Oliver himself set about executing a bit of it, his share of it, by and by.
'We all thought one battle would decide it,' says Richard Baxter ;—and we were all much mistaken! This winter there
* See p. 67.
Vicars, p. 198; Denzil Holles's Memoirs (in Mazeres's Tracts, vol. i.).
arise among certain Counties' Associations' for mutual defence, against Royalism and plunderous Rupertism; a measure cherished by the Parliament, condemned as treasonable by the King. Of which Associations,' countable to the number of five or six, we name only one, that of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridge, Herts; with Lord Gray of Wark for Commander; where, and under whom, Oliver was now serving. This 'Eastern Association' is alone worth naming. All the other Associations, no man of emphasis being in the midst of them, fell in few months to pieces; only this of Cromwell's subsisted, enlarged itself, grew famous;—and indeed kept its own borders clear of invasion during the whole course of the War. Oliver, in the beginning of 1643, is serving there, under the Lord Gray of Wark. Besides his military duties, Oliver, as natural, was nominated of the Committee for Cambridgeshire in this Association; he is also of the Committee for Huntingdonshire, which as yet belongs to another 'Association.' Member for the Committee of Huntingdonshire; to which also has been nominated a 'Robert Barnard, Esquire,**who, however, does not sit, as I have reason to surmise!
Husbands, i., 892; see for the other particulars, ii., 183, 327, 804, 809; Commons Journals, &c.
THE reader recollects Mr. Robert Barnard, how, in 1630, he got a Commission of the Peace for Huntingdon, along with Dr. Beard and Mr. Oliver Cromwell,' to be fellow justices there. Probably they never sat much together, as Oliver went to St. Ives soon after, and the two men were of opposite politics, which in those times meant opposite religions. But here in twelve years space
is a change of many things!
To my assured friend, Robert Barnard, Esquire: Present these.
It's most true my Lieutenant, with some other soldiers of my troop, were at your House. I dealt 'so' freely ‘as to inquire after you; the reason was, I had heard you reported active against the proceedings of Parliament, and for those that disturb the peace of this Country and the Kingdom,—with those of this Country who have had meetings not a few, to intents and purposes too too full of suspect.*
It's true, Sir, I know you have been wary in your carriages: be not too confident thereof. Subtilty may deceive you; integrity never will. With my heart I shall desire that your judgment may alter, and your practice. I come only to hinder men from increasing the rent,—from doing hurt; but not to hurt any man: nor shall I you; I hope you will give me no cause. If you do, I must be pardoned what my relation to the Public calls for.
If your good parts be disposed that way, know me for your servant, OLIVER CROMWELL.
Be assured fair words from me shall neither deceive houses nor your liberty.†
* Country is equivalent to county or region; too-too, in those days, means little more than too; suspect is suspectability, almost as proper as our modern suspicion.
† Original, in the possession of Lord Gosford at Worlingham, in Suffolk.
My Copy, two Copies, of this Letter I owe to kind friends, who have carefully transcribed it from the Original at Lord Gosford's. The present Lady Gosford is grand-daughter of Sir Robert Barnard,' to whose lineal ancestor the Letter is addressed. The date of time is given; there never was any date or address of place,— which probably means that it was written in Huntingdon and addressed to Huntingdon, where Robert Barnard, who became Recorder of the place, is known to have resided. Oliver, in the month of January, 1642-3, is present in the Fen-country, and all over the Eastern Association, with his troop or troops; looking after disaffected persons; ready to disperse royalist assemblages, to seize royalist plate, to keep down disturbance, and care in every way that the Parliament Cause suffer no damage. A Lieutenant and party have gone to take some survey of Robert Barnard, Esquire; Robert Barnard, standing on the right of injured innocence, innocent till he be proved guilty, protests: Oliver responds as here, in a very characteristic way.
It was precisely in these weeks, that Oliver from Captain became Colonel Colonel of a regiment of horse, raised on his own principles so far as might be, in that Eastern Association :' and is henceforth known in the Newspapers as Colonel Cromwell. Whether on this 23d of January, he was still Captain, or had ceased to be so, no extant accessible record apprises us. On the 2d March, 1642-3, I have found him named as 'Col. Cromwell,** and hitherto not earlier. He is getting 'men of religion' to serve in this cause, or at least would fain get such if he might.
* Cromwelliana, p. 2.
THE address of this Letter is lost; but the label of the address remains, from which it can be with certainty enough restored. Unhappily the date too is missing, which can only be restored by probable conjecture. We are in the Eastern Association still, and indeed for above a year to come.
'To my assured friend, Thomas Knyvett, Esquire, at his House of Ashwellthorpe: These.'
'January, 1642, Norfolk.'
1 cannot pretend any interest in you for anything I have done, nor ask any favor for any service I may do you. But because I am conscious to myself of a readiness to serve any gentleman in all possible civilities, I am bold to be beforehand with you to ask your favor on behalf of your honest poor neighbors of Hapton, who, as I am informed, are in some trouble, and are likely to be put to more, by one Robert Browne your Tenant, who, not well pleased with the way of these men, seeks their disquiet all he may.
Truly nothing moves me to desire this, more than the pity I bear them in respect of their honesties, and the trouble I hear they are likely to suffer for their consciences, and humor as the world interprets it. I am not ashamed to solicit for such as are anywhere under pressure of this kind; doing even as I would be done by. Sir, this is a quarrelsome age; and the anger seems to me to be the worse, where the ground is difference of opinion;-which to cure, to hurt men in their houses, persons or estates, will not be found an apt remedy. Sir, it will not repent you to protect those poor men of Hapton from injury and oppression: which that you would is the effect of this Letter. Sir, you will not want the grateful acknowledgment, nor utmost endeavors of requital from
Your most humble servant,
* Letter once in the possession of Lord Berners, at Didlington in Norfolk; copied by or for Mr. Dawson Turner of Yarmouth, and by him com