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Here has been a design to steal away the Duke of York from my
Lord of Northumberland : one of his own servants, whom he preferred to wait on the Duke, is guilty of it; the Duke himself confessed so. I believe you will suddenly hear more of it. I have no more to trouble you' with ;' but praying for you, rest, Your Excellency's most humble servant,
Skippon, as is well known, carried up the cash 200,0001. to Newcastle, successfully in a proper number of wagons; got it all counted there, bags of 1001., chests of 1,0007. (5-16th Janu ary, 1646-7), after which the Scots marched peaceably away.
The little Duke of York, entertained in a pet-captive fashion at St. James's, did not get away at this time; but managed it, by and by, with help of a certain diligent intriguer and turncoat, called Colonel Bamfieldt-of whom we may hear farther.
On Thursday, 11th February, 1646-7, on the road between Mansfield and Nottingham, -road between Newcastle and Holmby House,—Sir Thomas Fairfax went and met the King; who stopped his horse : Sir Thomas alighted, and kissed the King's hand; and afterwards mounted, and discoursed with the King as they passed towards Nottingham.' The King had left Newcastle on the 3d of the month ; got to Holmby, or Holdenby, on the 13th ;-and there,' says the poor Iter Carolinum, during pleasure.'
there is barely room for his signature, on the outmost verge of the sheet; which, as we remarked already, is a common practice with him in writing Letters :-he is loath always to turn the page ; having no blotting-paper at that epoch ; having only sand to dry his ink with, and a natural indisposition to pause till he finish!
* Sloane mss., 1519, fol. 78, p. 147. † Clarendon, iii., 188.
# Whitlocke, p. 242; Iter Carolinum (in Somers Tracts, vi., 274): Whitlocke's date, as usual, is inexact.
LETTERS XXV, XXVI.
BEFORE reading these two following Letters, read this Extract from a work still in Manuscript, and not very sure of ever getting printed :
• The Presbyterian “Platform” of Church Government, as recommended by the Assembly of Divines or "Dry-Vines," has at length, after unspeakable debatings, passings and repassings through both Houses, and soul's-travail not a little, about "ruling-elders," "power of the keys," and such like, -been got finally passed, though not without some melancholy shades of Erastianism, or “the Voluntary Principle,” as the new phrase runs. The Presbyterian Platform is passed by Law; and London and other places, busy “electing their ruling-elders,” are just about ready to set it actually on foot. And now it is hoped there will be some uniformity” as to that high matter.
Uniformity of free-growing healthy forest-trees is good; uniformity of clipt Dutch dragons is not so good! The question, Which of the two ? is by no means settled,—though the Assembly of Divines, and majorities of both Houses, would fain think it so. The general English mind, which, loving good order in all things, loves regularity even at a high price, could be content with this Presbyterian scheme, which we call the Dutchdragon one; but a deeper portion of the English mind inclines decisively to growing in the forest-tree way,-and indeed will shoot out into very singular excrescences, Quakerisms and what not, in the coming years. Nay already we have Anabaptists, Brownists, Sectaries and Schismatics springing up very rife : already there is a Paul Best, brought before the House of Commons for Socinianism ; nay we hear of another distracted individual who seemed to maintain, in confidential argument, that “ God was mere Reason."* There is like to be need of gardenshears, at this rate! The devout House of Commons, viewing these things with a horror inconceivable in our loose days, knows not well what to do. London City cries, “ Apply the shears !" :--the Army answers, “ Apply them gently ; cut off nothing that is sound! The question of garden-shears, and how far you are to apply them, is really difficult :—the settling of it will lead to very unexpected results. London City knows with pain, that there are “rany persons in the Army who have never yet taken the Covenant;" the Army begins to consider it unlikely that certain of them will ever take it !
These things premised, we have only to remark farther, that the House of Commons, meanwhile, struck with devout horror, has, with the world generally, spent Wednesday, the 10th of March, 1646–7, as a Day of Fasting and Humiliation for Blas. phemies and Heresies.* Cromwell's Letter, somewhat remarka. ble for the grieved mind it indicates, was written next day. Fairfax with the Army is at Saffron Walden in Essex ; there is an Order this dayt that he is to quarter where he sees best. There are many Officers about Town; soliciting payments, attending private businesses : their tendency to Schism, to Anabaptistry and Heresy, or at least to undue tolerance for all that, is well known. This Fast-day, it would seem, is regarded as a kind of covert rebuke to them. Fast-day was Wednesday ; this is Thursday evening :
For his Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax, General of the Parliamentary
Army, ' at Saffron Walden :' These.
• London, 11th March, 1646.' .
Your Letters abont your head-quarters, directed to the Houses, I came seasonably, and were to very good purpose. There want not in all places men who have so much malice against the Army as besots them : the late Petition, which suggested a dangerous design against the Parliament in your' coming to those quartersg doth suffi* Whitlocke, p. 243.
+ Commons Journals, v., 110. | Ibid., 11 March, 1646 (Letter is dated Saffron Walden, 9 March).
§ Saffron Walden, Eastern Association; Manchester's deliverance about it is in Commons Journals.
ciently evidence the same: but they got nothing by it, for the Houses did assoil the Army from all suspicion, and have left you to quarter where you please.*
Never were the spirits of men more embittered than now. Surely the Devil hath but a short time. Sir, it's good the heart be fixed against all this. The naked simplicity of Christ, with that wisdom He is pleased to give, and patience, will overcome all this. That God would keep your heart as He has done hitherto, is the prayer of Your Excellency’s most humble servant,
· P.S.'t Adjutant Allen desires Colonel Baxter, sometime Governor of Reading, may be remembered. I humbly desire Colonel Overton may not be out of your remembrance. He is a deserving man, and presents his humble service to you. Upon the Fast-day, divers soldiers were raised (as I heard), both horse and foot, near 200 in Covent Garden, To prevent us soldiers from cutting the Presbyterians' throats ! These are fine tricks to mock God with.I
This flagrant insult to us soldiers,' in Covent Garden and doubtless elsewhere, as if the zealous Presbyterian Preacher were not safe from violence in bewailing Schism,--is very significant. The Lieutenant-General might himself have seen as well as heard' it,-for he lived hard by, in Drury Lane I think ; but was of course at his own Church, bewailing Schism too, though not in so strait-laced a manner.
Oliver's Sister Anna, Mrs. Sewster, of Wistow, Huntingdonshire, had died in these months, 1st November, 1646.9 This Letter lies contiguous to Letter XVIII. in the Sloane Volume; Letter XVIII. is sealed conspicuously with red wax; Letter XXV. with black. The Cromwell crest, lion with ring on his foregamb,'--the same big seal,-is on both.
* Commons Journals, V., 110, 11 March, 1646.
COMMONS JOURNALS, 17th March, 1646: Ordered, That the Committee of the Army do write unto the General and acquaint him that this House takes notice of his care in ordering that none of the Forces under his Com should quarter nearer than Five-and-twenty Miles of this City : That notwithstanding his care and directions therein, the House is informed that some of his Forces are quartered much nearer than that; and To desire him to take course that his former Orders, touching the quartering of his Forces no nearer than Twenty-five Miles, may be observed.'
* To his Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax, General of the Parliament's
London,' 19th March, 1646.
This enclosed Order I received; but, I suppose,
Letters from the Committee of the Army to the effect of this are come to your hands before this time. I think it were very good that the distance of Twenty-five Miles be very strictly observed; and they are to blame that have exceeded the distance, contrary to your former appointment. This Letter I received this evening from Sir William Massam,* a Member of the House of Commons; which I thought fit to send you ; his House being much within that distance of Twenty-five Miles of London. I have sent the Officers down, as many as I could well light of. Not having more at present, I rest, Your Excellency's most humble servant,
OLIVER CROMWELL.t The troubles of the Parliament and Army are just beginning. The order for quartering beyond twenty-five miles from London, and many other orders' were sadly violated in the course of this season !
—Sir W. Massam's House,? Otes in Essex,' is a place known to us since the beginning of these Letters.
The Officers ought really to go down to their quarters in the Eastern Counties ; Oliver has sent them off, as many of them as he could well light of.'
| Sloane mss., 1519, fol. 74.