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too unequal engagement, and to be nearer a communication with our friends.
Since our coming hither, we hear Prince Rupert has come to Marshfield, a market-town not far from Trowbridge. If the enemy advance altogether, how far we may be endangered,—that I humbly offer to you; entreating you to take care of us, and to send us with all speed such an assistance, to Salisbury, as may enable us to keep the field and repel the enemy, if God assist us: at least to secure and countenance us so, as that we may not be put to the shame and hazard of a retreat; which will lose the Parliament many friends in these parts, who will think themselves abandoned on our departure from them. Sir, I beseech you send what Horse and Foot you can spare towards Salisbury, by way of Kingscleere, with what convenient expedition may be. Truly we look to be attempted upon every day.
These things being humbly represented to your knowledge and care, I subscribe myself,
Your most humble servant,
In Carte's Ormond Papers (i., 79) is a Letter of the same date on the same subject, somewhat illustrative of this. See also Commons Journals in die.
PRINCE RUPERT had withdrawn without fighting; was now at Worcester with a considerable force, and had sent 2000 men across to Oxford, to convoy his Majesty with the artillery thither to him. The Committee of Both Kingdoms order the said convoy to be attacked. The charge of this service they recommended particularly to General Cromwell, who looking on himself now as discharged of military employment by the New Ordinance, which was to take effect within few days, and to have no longer opportunity to serve his country in that way,—was, the night before, come to Windsor, from his service in the West, to kiss the General's hand and take leave of him: when, in the morning ere he was come forth of his chamber, those commands, than which he thought of
* D'Ewes's Mss., vol. v., p. 189; p. 445 of Transcript.
nothing less in all the world, came to him from the Committee of Both Kingdoms.*
'The night before' must mean, to all appearance, the 22d of April. How Cromwell instantly took horse; plunged into Oxfordshire, and on the 24th, at Islip Bridge, attacked and routed this said convoy; and the same day, 'merely by dragoons' and fierce countenance, took Bletchington House, for which poor Colonel Windebank was shot, so angry were they; how Cromwell, sending off the guns and stores to Abingdon, shot across westward to 'Radcot Bridge' or ' Bampton-in-the-Bush ;' and on the 26th gained a new victory there; and on the whole made a rather brilliant sally of it :—all this is known from Clarendon, or more authentically from Rushworth:† but only the concluding unsuccessful part of it has left any trace in autograph.
To the Governor of the Garrison in Farringdon.
I summon you to deliver into my hands the House wherein you are, and your Ammunition, with all things else there; together with your persons, to be disposed of as the Parliament shall appoint. Which if you refuse to do, you are to expect the utmost extremity of war. I rest,
29th April, 1645.
This Governor, Roger Burgess,' is not to be terrified with
† vi., 23, 4.
Rushworth, vi., 26.
* Sprigge's Anglia Rediviva (London, 1647), p. 10. Sprigge was one of Fairfax's Chaplains; his Book, a rather ornate work, gives florid but authentic and sufficient account of this New-Model Army in all its features and operations, by which England' had come alive again.' A little sparing in dates; but correct where they are given. None of the old Books is better worth reprinting.-For some glimmer of notice concerning Joshua Sprigge himself, see Wood in voce,-and disbelieve altogether that 'Nat. Fiennes' had anything to do with this Book.
fierce countenance and mere dragoons; he refuses. Cromwell withdrew into Farringdon Town, and again summons.
I understand by forty or fifty poor men whom you forced into your House, that you have many there whom you cannot arm, and who are not serviceable to you. If these men should perish by your means, it were great inhumanity surely. Honor and honesty require this, That though you be prodigal of your own lives, yet not to be so of theirs. If God give you into my hands, I will not spare a man of you, if you put me to a storm.
Roger Burgess, still unawed, refuses; Cromwell waits for infantry from Abingdon 'till 3 next morning,' then storms; loses fourteen men, with a captain taken prisoner ;-and draws away, leaving Burgess to crow over him. The Army, which rose from Windsor yesterday, gets to Reading this day, and he must hasten thither.
To the same; same date.
Yesterday, Wednesday, Monthly-fast day, all Preachers, by Ordinance of Parliament, were praying for God's merciful assistance to this New Army now on march, and his blessing upon their endeavors.'† Consider it ; actually praying!' It was a capability old London and its Preachers and Populations had; to us the incrediblest.
By Letter Twelfth it will be seen that Lieutenant-General Cromwell has never yet resumed his Parliamentary duty. In fact, he
† Rushworth, vi., 25.
is in the Associated Counties, raising force; for protection of the Isle of Ely,' and other purposes. To Fairfax and his Officers, to the Parliament, to the Committee of Both Kingdoms, to all persons, it is clear that Cromwell cannot be dispensed with. Fairfax and the Officers petition Parliament that he may be appointed their Lieutenant General, Commander-in-Chief of the Horse. There is a clear necessity in it. Parliament, the Commons somewhat more readily than the Lords, continue by instalments of 'forty days,' of 'three months,' his services in the Army, and at length grow to regard him as a constant element there. A few others got similar leave of absence, similar dispensation from the Self-denying Ordinance. Sprigge's words, cited above, are no doubt veracious; yet there is trace of evidence that Cromwell's continuance in the Army had, even by the framers of the Selfdenying Ordinance, been considered a thing possible, a thing desirable. As it well might! To Cromwell himself there was no overpowering felicity in getting out to be shot at, except where wanted; he very probably, as Sprigge intimates, did let the matter in silence take its own course.
'To the Right Honorable Sir Thomas Fairfax, General of the Parliament's Army: These.'
Huntingdon, 4 June, 1645.
SIR, I most humbly beseech you to pardon my long silence. I am conscious of the fault, considering the great obligations lying upon me. But since my coming into these parts, I have been busied to secure that part of the Isle of Ely where I conceived most danger to be.
Truly I found it in a very ill posture and it is yet but weak; without works, ammunition or men considerable,—and of money least: and then, I hope, you will easily conceive of the defence: and God has preserved us all this while to a miracle. The party under Vermuyden waits the King's Army, and is about Deeping; has a command to join with Sir John Gell, if he commands him. So 'too' the Nottingham Horse. I shall be bold to present you with intelligence as it comes to
* Their Letter (Newspapers, 9-16 June) in Cromwelliana, p. 18.
I am bold to present this as my humble suit: That you would be pleased to make Captain Rawlins, this Bearer, a Captain of Horse. He has been so before; was nominated to the Model; is a most honest man. Colonel Sidney leaving his regiment, if it please you to bestow his troop on him, I am confident he will serve you faithfully. So, by God's assistance, will
Your most humble servant,
The Vermuyden' mentioned here, who became Colonel Vermuyden, is supposed to be a son of the Dutch Engineer who drained the Fens. 'Colonel Sidney' is the celebrated Algernon; he was nominated in the 'Model,' but is 'leaving his regiment.’ Captain Rawlins does obtain a Company of Horse; under 'Colonel Sir Robert Pye.'t-Colonel Montague, afterwards Earl of Sandwich, has a Foot-Regiment here. Hugh Peters is 'Chaplain to the Train.'
The King has got into the Midland Counties; 'hunting,' driv. ing 'large herds of cattle' before him,-uncertain whitherward : and we are now within sight of Naseby Field.
*Rushworth, vi. (London, 1701), p. 37.
† Army-List, in Sprigge (p. 330).