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Which begat great trouble in the General, and us all; fearing to see so famous a City burnt to ashes before our faces. Whilst we were viewing so sad a spectacle, and consulting which way to make further advantage of our success, the Prince sent a trumpet to the General to desire a treaty for the surrender of the Town. To which the General agreed; and deputed Colonel Montague, Colonel Rainsborough, and Colonel Pickering for that service; authorizing them with instructions to treat and conclude the Articles,-which accordingly' are these enclosed. For performance whereof hostages were mutually given.
On Thursday about two of the clock in the afternoon, the Prince marched out; having a convoy of two regiments of Horse from us; and making election of Oxford for the place he would go to, which he had liberty to do by his Articles.
The cannon which we have taken are about One hundred and forty mounted; about One hundred barrels of powder already come to our hands, with a good quantity of shot, ammunition, and arms. We have found already between Two and Three thousand muskets. The Royal Fort had victual in it for One hundred and fifty men, for Three hundred and twenty days; the Castle victualled for nearly half so long. The Prince had in foot of the Garrison, as the Mayor of the City informed me, Two thousand five hundred, and about One thousand Horse, besides the Trained Bands of the Town, and Auxiliaries One thousand, some say One thousand five hundred.-I hear but of one man that hath died of the plague in all our Army, although we have quartered amongst and in the midst of infected persons and places. We had not killed of ours in the Storm, nor in all this Siege, Two hundred men.
Thus I have given you a true, but not a full account of this great business; wherein he that runs may read, That all this is none other than the work of God. He must be a very Atheist that doth not acknowledge it.
It may be thought that some praises are due to those gallant men, of whose valor so much mention is made:-their humble suit to you and all that have an interest in this blessing, is, That in the remembrance of God's praises they be forgotten. It's their joy that they are instruments of God's glory, and their country's good. It's their honor that God vouchsafes to use them. Sir, they that have been employed in this service know, that faith and prayer obtained this City for you: I do not say ours only, but of the people of God with you and all England over, who have wrestled with God for a blessing in this very thing. Our desires are that God may be glorified by the same spirit of faith by which we ask all our sufficiency, and have received it. It is meet that
He have all the praise. Presbyterians, Independents, all have here the same spirit of faith and prayer; the same presence and answer; they agree here, have no names of difference: pity it is it should be otherwise anywhere! All that believe, have the real unity, which is most glorious; because inward, and spiritual, in the Body, and to the Head.* For being united in forms, commonly called Uniformity, every Christian will for peace-sake study and do, as far as conscience will permit. And for brethren, in things of the mind we look for no compulsion, but that of light and reason. In other things, God hath put the sword in the Parliament's hands,-for the terror of evil-doers and the praise of them, that do well. If any plead exemption from that, he knows not the Gospel: if any would wring that out of your hands, or steal it from you under what pretence soever, I hope they shall do it without effect. That God may maintain it in your hands, and direct you in the use thereof, is the prayer of
Your humble servant,
These last paragrapns are, as the old Newspapers say, 'very remarkable.' If modern readers suppose them to be 'cant,' it will turn out an entire mistake. I advise all modern readers not only to believe that Cromwell here means what he says; but even to try how they, each for himself in a new dialect, could mean the like or something better!
Prince Rupert rode out of Bristol amid seas of angry human faces glooming unutterable things upon him; growling audibly, in spite of his escort, "Why not hang him!" For indeed the poor Prince had been necessitated to much plunder; commanding 'the elixir of the Blackguardism of the three Kingdoms,' with very insufficient funds for most part!-He begged a thousand muskets from Fairfax on this occasion, to assist his escort in protecting him across the country to Oxford; promising on his honor to return them after that service. Fairfax lent the muskets; the Prince did honorably return them, what he had of them,-honorably apologising that so many had 'deserted' on the road, of whom neither man nor musket were recoverable at present.
* 'Head' means Christ; 'Body' True Church of Christ.
FROM Bristol the Army turned Southward again, to deal with the yet remaining force of Royalism in that quarter. Sir Ralph Hopton, with Goring and others under him, made stubborn resistance; but were constantly worsted, at Langport, at Torrington, wheresoever they rallied and made a new attempt. The Parliament Army went steadily and rapidly on; storming Bridgewater, storming all manner of Towns and Castles; clearing the ground before them: till Sir Ralph was driven into Cornwall; and, without resource or escape, saw himself obliged next spring* to surrender, and go beyond seas. A brave and honorable man; respected on both sides; and of all the King's Generals the most deserving respect. He lived in retirement abroad; taking no part in Charles Second's businesses; and died in honorable poverty before the Restoration.
The following Three Letters are what remain to us concerning Cromwell's share in that course of victories. He was present in various general or partial Fights from Langport to Bovey Tracey; became especially renowned by his Sieges, and took many Strong Places besides those mentioned here.
"To the Honorable William Lenthall, Speaker of the Commons House of Parliament: These.'
'Winchester, 6th October, 1645.'
SIR, I came to Winchester on the Lord's day, the 28th of September; with Colonel Pickering,-commanding his own, Colonel Montague's, and Sir Hardress Waller's regiments. After some dispute with the Governor, we entered the Town. I summoned the Castle; was
* Truro, 14th March, 1646 (Rushworth, vi., 110).
denied; whereupon we fell to prepare batteries,-which we could not perfect (some of our guns being out of order) until Friday following. Our battery was six guns; which being finished,-after firing one round, I sent in a second summons for a treaty; which they refused. Whereupon we went on with our work, and made a breach in the wall near the Black Tower; which, after about 200 shot, we thought stormable; and purposed on Monday morning to attempt it. On Sunday night, about ten of the clock, the Governor beat a parley, desiring to treat. I agreed unto it; and sent Colonel Hammond and Major Harrison in to him, who agreed upon these enclosed Articles.
Sir, this is the addition of another mercy. You see God is not weary in doing you good: I confess, Sir, His favor to you is as visible, when He comes by His power upon the hearts of your enemies, making them quit places of strength to you, as when He gives courage to your soldiers to attempt hard things. His goodness in this is much to be acknowledged for the Castle was well manned with 680 horse and foot, there being near 200 gentlemen, officers, and their servants; well victualled with 15,000 weight of cheese; very great store of wheat and beer; near twenty barrels of powder, seven pieces of cannon; the works were exceeding good and strong. It's very likely it would have cost much blood to have gained it by storm. We have not lost twelve men: this is repeated to you, that God may have all the praise, for it's all His due.
Sir, I rest,
Your most humble servant,
'Lieutenant-General Cromwell's Secretary,' who brings this Letter, gets 507. for his good news.† By Sprigge's account, he appears to have been 'Mr. Hugh Peters,' this 'Secretary.' Peters there makes a verbal Narrative of the affair, to Mr. Speaker and the Commons, which, were not room so scanty, we should be glad to insert.
It was at this surrender of Winchester that certain of the captive enemies having complained of being plundered contrary to Articles, Cromwell had the accused parties, six of his own soldiers, tried: being all found guilty, one of them by lot was hanged, and the other five were marched off to Oxford, to be there disposed of as the Governor saw fit. The Oxford Governor
Sprigge, p. 128, and Newspapers (in Cromwelliana, p. 25).
politely returned the five prisoners, with an acknowledgment of the Lieutenant-General's nobleness."*
BASING House, Pawlet Marquis of Winchester's Mansion, stood, as the ruined heaps still testify, at a small distance from Basingstoke in Hampshire. It had long infested the Parliament in those quarters; and been especially a great eyesorrow to the Trade of London with the Western Parts.' With Dennington Castle at Newbury, and this Basing House at Basingstoke, there was no travelling the western roads, except with escort, or on sufferance. The two places had often been attempted; but always in vain. Basing House especially had stood siege after siege, for four years; ruining poor Colonel This and then poor Colonel That: the jubilant Royalists had given it the name of Basting House; there was, on the Parliament side, a kind of passion to have Basing House taken. The Lieutenant-General, gathering all the artillery he can lay hold of; firing about 200 or 500 shot at some given point till he sees a hole made; and then storming like a fireflood:-he perhaps may manage it.
To the Honorable William Lenthall, Speaker of the Commons House of Parliament: These.
Basingstoke, 14th October, 1645.
SIR, I thank God, I can give you a good account of Basing. After our batteries placed, we settled the several posts for the storm: Colonel Dalbier was to be on the north side of the House next the Grange; Colonel Pickering on his left hand, and Sir Hardress Waller's and Colonel Montague's regiments next him. We stormed this morning after six of the clock; the signal for falling on was the firing four of our cannon, which being done, our men fell on with great resolution and cheerfulness; we took the two Houses without any considerable loss to ourselves. Colonel Pickering stormed the New House, passed
Sprigge, p. 133.