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I perceive that it's their desire to have the place* taken in. But truly I could not do other than let them know what the condition of affairs in the West is, and submit the business to them and you. I shall be at Langford to-morrow night, if God please. I hope the work will not be long. If it should, I will rather leave a small part of the Foot (if Horse be not sufficient to take it in), than be detained from obeying such commands as I shall receive. I humbly beseech you to be confident that no man hath a more faithful heart to serve you than myself, nor shall be more strict to obey your commands than
Your most humble servant,
Sir, I beseech you to let me know your resolution in this business with all the possible speed that may be ; because whatsoever I be designed to, I wish I may speedily endeavor it, time being so precious for action in this season.t
The date14th’ is evidently an error. Basing, as we have just seen, was taken on the 14th ; news of it are read in the House on Wednesday, the 15th, and a Letter ordered to be writ ten,' which naturally arrives, on the Road from Basing to Laagford, on the 16th; and is here forwarded from Wallop in haste that same evening. Langford House, whither Oliver is now bound, hoping to arrive next night, is near Salisbury. He did arrive accordingly ; drew out part of his brigade, and summoned the place : place surrenders; to march forth to-morrow at twelve of the clock, being the 18th instant. I
Colonel Dalbier, a man of Dutch birth, well known to readers of the old Books, is with Cromwell at present; his Second in command. It was from Dalbier that Cromwell first of all leared the mechanical part of soldiering; he had Dalbier to help him in drilling his Ironsides; so says Heath, credible on such a point. Dennington Castle was not besieged at present; it surrendered next Spring to Dalbier. Cromwell returned to Fairfax ; served through Winter with him in the West, till all ended there.
Dennington Castle. | Sloane mss. 1519, fol. 61 :-only the signature is in Oliver's hand. I Sprigge, p. 145. § 1st April, 1646 (Rushworth, vi., 252).
About a month before the date of this Letter, the King had appeared again with some remnant of force, got together in Wales; with intent to relieve Chester, which was his key to Ire. land : but this force too he saw shattered to pieces on Rowton Heath, near that city.* He had also had an eye towards the great Montrose in Scotland, who in these weeks was blazing at his highest there: but him too David Lesley with dragoons, emerging from the mist of the Autumn morning, on Philipshaugh near Selkirk, had, in one fell hour, trampled utterly out. The King had to retire to Wales again; to Oxford and obscurity again.
On the 14th of next March, as we said, Sir Ralph Hopton surrendered himself in Cornwall.t On the 22d of the same month Sir Jacob Astley, another distinguished Royalist General, the last of them all,—coming towards Oxford with some small force he had gathered,—was beaten and captured at Stow among the Wolds of Gloucestershire : I surrendering himself, the brave veteran said, or is reported to have said, “ You have now done your work, and may go to play,-unless you will fall out among your
On Monday night, towards twelve of the clock, 27th April, 1646, the King in disguise rode out of Oxford, somewhat uncertain whitherward,—at length towards Newark and the Scots Army.§ On the Wednesday before, Oliver Cromwell had returned to his place in Parliament.|| Some detached Castles and Towns still held out, Ragland Castle even till the next August ; but the First Civil War, we may say, has now ended.
The Parliament, in these circumstances, was now getting itself recruited,'—its vacancies filled up again. The Royalist Members who had deserted three years ago, had been, without much difficulty, successively disabled,' as their crime came to light : but to issue new writs for new elections, while the quarrel with the King still lasted, was a matter of more delicacy ; this too,
* 24th September, 1645 (Rushworth, vi., 117; Lord Digby's Account of it, Ormond Papers, ii., 90).
| Hopton's own account of it, Ormond Papers, ii., 109–26.
! | Cromwelliana.
however, was at length resolved upon, the Parliament Cause now looking so decidedly prosperous, in the autumn of 1645. Gradually, in the following months, the new Members were elected, above two hundred and thirty of them in all. These new Mem. bers, Recruiters,' as Anthony Wood and the Royalist world reproachfully call them, were by the very fact of their standing candidates in such circumstances, decided Puritans all,Independents many of them. Colonel, afterwards Admiral Blake (for Taunton), Ludlow, Ireton (for Appleby), Algernon Sidney, Hutchinson known by his Wife's Memoirs, were among these new Members. Fairfax, on his Father's death some two years hence, likewise came in.*
* The Writ is issued 16th March, 1647–8 ) Commons Journals).