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intent to grow not as Dutch dragons, but as real trees; a Party which naturally increased with the increasing earnestness of events and of men.
The King stayed but a few hours in Leicester; he had taken Leicester, some days before, and it was retaken from him some days after he stayed but a few hours here; rode on, that same night, to Ashby de la Zouch, which he reached at daybreak,'— poor wearied King!—then again swiftly Westward, to Wales, to Ragland Castle, to this place and that; in the hope of raising some force, and coming to fight again; which however he could never do.* Some ten months more of roaming, and he, 'disguised as a groom,' will be riding with Parson Hudson towards the Scots at Newcastle.
The New-Model Army marched into the Southwest; very soon ' relieved Colonel Robert Blake' (Admiral Blake), and many others ;-marched to ever new exploits and victories, which excite the pious admiration of Joshua Sprigge; and very soon swept all its enemies from the field, and brought this War to a close.†
The following Letters exhibit part of Cromwell's share in that business, and may be read with little commentary.
* Iter Carolinum; being a succinct Relation of the necessitated Marches, Retreats and Sufferings of his Majesty Charles the First, from 10 January, 1641, till the time of his Death, 1648: Collected by a daily Attendant upon his Sacred Majesty during all the said time. London, 1660.—It is reprinted in Somers Tracts (v., 263), but, as usual there, without any editing except a nominal one, though it somewhat needed more.
† A Journal of every day's March of the Army under his Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax (in Sprigge, p. 331).
THE victorious Army, driving all before it in the Southwest, where alone the King had still any considerable fighting force, found itself opposed by a very unexpected enemy, famed in the old Pamphlets by the name of Clubmen. The design was at bottom Royalist; but the country people in those regions had been worked upon by the Royalist Gentry and Clergy, on the somewhat plausible ground of taking up arms to defend themselves against the plunder and harassment of both Armies. The great mass of them were Neutrals; there even appeared by and by various transient bodies of Clubmen' on the Parliament side, whom Fairfax entertained occasionally to assist him in pioneering and other such services. They were called Clubmen, not, as M. Villemain supposes,* because they united in Clubs, but because they were armed with rough country weapons, mere bludgeons if no other could be had. Sufficient understanding of them may be gained from the following letter of Cromwell, prefaced by some Excerpts.
From Rushworth: Thursday, July 3d, Fairfax marched from Blandford to Dorchester, 12 miles; a very hot day. Where Colonel Sidenham, Governor of Weymouth, gave him information of the condition of those parts; and of the great danger from the Club-risers;' a set of men' who would not suffer either contribution or victuals to be carried to the Parliament's garrisons. And the same night Mr. Hollis of Dorsetshire, the chief leader of the Clubmen, with some others of their principal men, came to Fairfax and Mr. Hollis owned himself to be one of their
* Our French friends ought to be informed that M. Villemain's Book on Cromwell is, unluckily, a rather ignorant and shallow one.-Of M. Guizot, on the other hand, we are to say that his Two Volumes, so far as they go, are the fruit of real ability and solid studies applied to those Transactions.
Leaders; affirming that it was fit the people should show their grievances and their strength. Fairfax treated them civilly, and promised they should have an answer the next morning. For they were so strong at that time, that it was held a point of prudence to be fair in demeanor towards them for a while; for if he should engage with General Goring, and be put to the worst, these Clubmen would knock them on the head as they should fly for safety. That which they desired from him was a safe-conduct for certain persons to go to the King and Parliament with petitions ;** which Fairfax in a very mild but resolute manner refused.
From Sprigge, copied also into Rushworth with some inaccuracies: On Monday, August 4th, Lieutenant-General Cromwell having intelligence of some of their places of rendezvous for their several divisions, went forth' from Sherborne with a party of Horse to meet these Clubmen; being well satisfied of the danger of their design. As he was marching towards Shaftesbury with the party, they discovered some colors upon the top of a high Hill, full of wood and almost inaccessible. A Lieutenant with a small party was sent to them to know their meaning, and to acquaint them that the Lieutenant-General of the Army was there; whereupon Mr. Newman, one of their leaders, thought fit to come down, and told us, The intent was desire to know why the gentlemen were taken at Shaftesbury on Saturday? The Lieuter ant-General returned him this answer: That he held himself not bound to give him or them an account; what was done was by authority; and they that did it were not responsible to them that had none: but not to leave them wholly unsatisfied, he told him, Those persons so met had been the occasion and stirrers of many tumultuous and unlawful meetings; for which they were to be tried by law; which trial ought not by them to be questioned or interrupted. Mr. Newman desired to go up to return the answer; the Lieutenant-General with a small party went with him; and had some conference with the people; to this purpose: That whereas they pretended to meet there to save their goods, they took a very ill course for that: to leave their
*Rushworth, vi., 52.
† pp. 78, 9.
houses was the way to lose their goods; and it was offered them, That justice should be done upon any who offered them violence; and as for the gentlemen taken at Shaftesbury, it was only to answer some things they were accused of, which they had done contrary to law and the peace of the Kingdom.-Herewith they seeming to be well satisfied, promised to return to their houses; and accordingly did so.
'These being thus quietly sent home, the Lieutenant-General advanced further, to a meeting of a great number, of about 4,000, who betook themselves to Hambledon Hill, near Shrawton. At the bottom of the Hill ours met a man with a musket, and asked, Whither he was going? he said, To the Club Army; ours asked, What he meant to do? he asked, What they had to do with that? Being required to lay down his arms, he said he would first lose his life; but was not so good as his word, for though he cocked, and presented his musket, he was prevented, disarmed, and wounded, but not'-Here however is Cromwell's own narrative:
To the Right Honorable Sir Thomas Fairfax, Commander in Chief of the Parliament's Forces,' at Sherborne: These.'
'Shaftesbury,' 4th August, 1645.
I marched this morning towards Shaftesbury. In my way I found a party of Clubmen gathered together, about two miles on this side of the Town, towards you; and one Mr. Newman in the head of them, who was one of those that did attend you at Dorchester, with Mr. Hollis. I sent to them to know the cause of their meeting: Mr. Newman came to me; and told me, That the Clubmen in Dorset and Wilts, to the number of ten thousand, were to meet about their men who were taken away at Shaftesbury, and that their intendment was to secure themselves from plundering. To the first I told them, That although no account was due to them, yet I knew the men were taken by your authority, to be tried judicially for raising a Third Party in the Kingdom; and if they should be found guilty, they must suffer according to the nature of their offence; if innocent, I assured them you would acquit them. Upon this they said, If they have deserved punishment, they would not have anything to do with them; and so were quieted as to that point. For the other point,' I assured them, That it was your great care, not to suffer them in the least to be plundered, and that they should
defend themselves from violence, and bring to your Army such as did them any wrong, where they should be punished with all severity: upon this, very quietly and peaceably they marched away to their houses, being very well satisfied and contented.
We marched on to Shaftesbury, where we heard a great body of them was drawn together about Hambledon Hill;-where indeed near two thousand were gathered. I sent 'up a forlorn-hope of about fifty Horse; who coming very civilly to them, they fired upon them; and ours desiring some of them to come to me, were refused with disdain. They were drawn into one of the old Camps,* upon a very high Hill I sent one Mr. Leef to them, To certify the peaceableness of my intentions, and To desire them to peaceableness, and to submit to the Parliament. They refused, and fired at us. I sent him a second time, To let them know, that if they would lay down their arms, no wrong should be done them. They still (through the animation of their leaders, and especially two vile ministers) refused; I commanded your Captain-Lieutenant to draw up to them, to be in readiness to charge; and if, upon his falling-on, they would lay down arms, to accept them and spare them. When we came near, they refused this offer, and let fly at him; killed about two of his men, and at least four horses. The passage not being for above three a-breast, kept us out; whereupon Major Desbrow wheeled about; got in the rear of them, beat them from the work, and did some small execution upon them ;-I believe killed not twelve of them, but cut very many, and put them all to flight.' We have taken about 300; many of which are poor silly creatures, whom if you please to let me send home, they promise to be very dutiful for time to come, and will be hanged before they come out again.
The ringleaders which we have, I intend to bring to you. They had taken divers of the Parliament soldiers prisoners, besides Colonel Fiennes his men: and used them most barbarously; bragging, they hoped to see my Lord Hopton, and that he is to command them. They expected from Wilts great store; and gave out they meant to raise the siege at Sherborne, when 'once' they were all met. We have gotten great store of their arms, and they carried few or none home. We quarter about ten miles off, and purpose to draw our quarters near to you to-morrow.
Your most humble servant,
*Roman Camps (Gough's Camden, i., 52).
'One Mr. Lee who, upon the approach of ours, had come from them (Sprigge, p. 79).
Newspapers (Cromwelliana, p. 20). Also Sprigge, pp. 112, 118.