« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
had many enemies, who watched for such an occasion to destroy the good people.'*
Such, and still dimmer, is the jotting of dull authentic Bulstrode, drowning in official oil, and somnolent natural pedantry and fat, one of the remarkablest scenes our History ever had: An Armed Parliament, extra-official, yet not without a kind of sacredness, and an Oliver Cromwell at the head of it; demanding with one voice, as deep as ever spake in England, “ Justice, Justice !" under the vault of Heaven.
That same afternoon, the Army moved on to St. Albans, nearer to London ; and from the Rendezvous itself, a joint Letter was despatched to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, which the reader is now at last to see. I judge it, pretty confidently, by evidence of style alone, to be of Cromwell's own writing. It differs totally in this respect from any other of those multitudinous Army-Papers; which were understood, says Whitlocke, to be drawn up mostly by Ireton, who had a subtle working brain ;' or by Lambert, who also had got some tincture of Law and other learning, and did not want for brain. They are very able Papers, though now very
This is in a far different style; in Oliver's worst style; his style when he writes in haste,—and not in haste of the pen merely, for that seems always to have been a most rapid business with him; but in haste, before the matter had matured itself for him, and the real kernels of it got parted from the husks. A style of composition like the structure of a block of oak-root,-as tortuous, unwedgeable, and as strong! Read attentively, this Letter can be understood, can be believed ; the tone of it, the
voice' of it, reminds us of what Sir Philip Warwick heard ; the voice of a man risen justly into a kind of chaunt,—very dangerous, for the City of London at present. To the Right Honorable the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council of the City of London : These.
Royston, 10th June, 1647. Right HONORABLE AND WORTHY FRIENDS,
Having, by our Letters and other Addresses presented by our General to the Honorable House of Commons, endeavored to
* Whitlocke, p. 255.
give satisfaction of the clearness of our just Demands; and having' also, in Papers published by us, remonstrated the grounds of our proceedings in prosecution thereof;—all which being published in print, we are confident 'they' have come to your hands, and received at least a charitable construction from you.
The sum of all these our Desires as Soldiers is no other than this ; Satisfaction to our undoubted Claims as Soldiers ; and reparation upon those who have, to the utmost, improved all opportunities and advantages, by false suggestions, misrepresentations and otherwise, for the destruction of this Army with a perpetual blot of ignominy upon it. Which “injury' we should not value, if it singly concerned our own particular persons;' being ready to deny ourselves in this, as we have done in other cases, for the Kingdom's good : but under this pretence, we find, no less is involved than the overthrow of the privileges both of Parliament and People ;—and that rather than they* shall fail in their designs, or we receive what in the eyes of all good men is ‘our' just right, the Kingdom is endeavored to be engaged in a new War. 'In a new War,' and this singly by those who, when the truth of these things shall be made to appear, will be found to be the authors of those said' evils that are feared ;-and who have no other way to protect themselves from question and punishment but by putting the Kingdom into blood, under the pretence of their honor of and their love to the Parliament. As if that were dearer to them than to us; or as if they had given greater proof of their faithfulness to it than we.
But we perceive that, under these veils and pretences, they seek to interest in their design the City of London :—as if that City ought to make good their miscarriages, and should prefer a few self-seeking men before the welfare of the Public. And indeed we have found these men so active to accomplish their designs, and to have such apt instruments for their turn in that City, that we have cause to suspect they may engage many therein upon mistakes,—which are easily swallowed, in times of such prejudice against themf that have given (we may speak it without vanity) the most public testimony of their good affections to the Public, and to that City in particular.
· As’ for the thing we insist upon as Englishmen,--and surely our being Soldiers hath not stript us of that interest, although our malicious enemies would have it so, we desire a Settlement of the Peace of the Kingdom and of the Liberties of the Subject, according to the Votes and Declarations of Parliament, which, before we took arms, were, by
* The Presbyterian leaders in Parliainent, Holles, Stapleton, Harley, Waller, &c.
† Oblique for us.'
the Parliament, used as arguments and inducements to invite us and divers of our dear friends out: some of whom have lost their lives in this War. Which being now, by God's blessing, finished,—we think we have as much right to demand, and desire to see, a happy Settlement, as we have to our money and to’the other common interest of Soldiers which we have insisted upon. We find also the ingenuous and honest people, in almost all parts of the Kingdom where we come, full of the sense of ruin and misery if the Army should be disbanded before the Peace of the Kingdom, and those other things before mentioned, have a full and perfect Settlement.
We have said before, and profess it now, We desire no alteration of the Civil Government. As little do we desire to interrupt, or in the least to intermeddle with, the settling of the Presbyterial Government. Nor did we seek to open a way for licentious liberty, under pretence of obtaining ease for tender consciences. We profess, as ever in these things, When once the State has made a Settlement, we have nothing to say but to submit or suffer. Only we could wish that every good citizen, and every man who walks peaceably in a blameless conversation, and is beneficial to the Commonwealth, might have liberty and encouragement; this being according to the true policy of all States, and even to justice itself.
These in brief are our Desires, and the things for which we stand ; beyond which we shall not go. And for the obtaining of these things,* we are drawing near your City ;-professing sincerely from our hearts, “That'we intend not evil towards you; declaring, with all confidence and assurance, That if you app not against us in these our just desires, to assist that wicked Party which would embroil us and the Kingdom, neither we nor our Soldiers shall give you the least offence. We come not to do any act to prejudice the being of Parliaments, or to the hurt of this · Parliament' in order to the present Settlement of the Kingdom. We seek the good of all. And we shall wait here, or remove to a farther distance to abide there, if once we be assured that a speedy Settlement of things is in hand, -until it be accomplished. Which done, we shall be most ready, either all of us, or so many of the Army as the Parliament shall think fit,--to disband, or to go for Ireland.
And although you may suppose that a rich City may seem an enticing bait to poor hungry Soldiers to venture far to gain the wealth thereof,—yet, if not provoked by you, we do profess, Rather than any
* Here is the remarkable point !
such evil should fall out, the soldiers shall make their way through our blood to effect it. And we can say this for most of them, for your better assurance, That they so little value their pay in comparison of higher concernments to a Public Good, that rather than they will be unrighted in the matter of their honesty and integrity (which hath suffered by the Men they aim at and desire justice upon), or want the settlement of the Kingdom's Peace, and their own' and their fellowsubjects' Liberties,—they will lose all. Which may be a strong assurance to you that it's not your wealth they seek, but the things tending in common to your and their welfare. That they may obtain these,' you shall do like Fellow-Subjects and Brethren if you solicit the Parliament for them, on their behalf.
If after all this, you, or a considerable part of you, be seduced to take up arms in opposition to, or hindrance of, these our just undertakings,—we hope we have, by this brotherly premonition, to the sincerity of which we call God to witness, freed ourselves from all that ruin which may befal that great and populous City; having thereby washed our hands thereof. We rest,
Your affectionate Friends to serve you,
This Letter was read next day in the Commons House, t—not without emotion. Most respectful answer went from the Guildhall in three coaches with the due number of outriders.'
On June 16th, the Army, still at St. Albans, accuses of treason Eleven Members of the Commons House by name, as chief authors of all these troubles; whom the Honorable House is respectfully required to put upon their trial, and prevent from voting in the interim. These are the famed Eleven Members; Holles, Waller, Stapleton, Massey are known to us; the whole List, for benefit of historical readers, we subjoin in a Note. I
* Rushworth, vi., 554.
† Commons Journals, V., 208 | Denzil Holles (Member for Dorchester), Sir Philip Stapleton (Boroughbridge), Sir William Waller (Andover), Sir William Lewis (PetersThey demurred; withdrew; again returned ; in fine, had to ask leave to retire for six months,' on account of their health, we suppose. They retired swiftly in the end; to France; to deep concealment,—to the Tower otherwise.
The history of these six weeks, till they did retire and the Army had its way, we must request the reader to imagine for himself. Long able Papers, drawn by men of subtle brain and strong sincere heart : the Army retiring always to a safe distance when their Demands are agreed to; straightway advancing if otherwise, —which rapidly produces an agreement. A most remarkable Negotiation; conducted with a method, a gravity and decorous regularity beyond example in such cases. The 'shops' of London were more than once shut;' tremor occupying all hearts :- but no harm was done. The Parliament regularly paid the Army; the Army lay coiled round London and the Parliament, now advancing, now receding ; saying in the most respectful emblematic way, “Setilement with us and the Godly People, or .!" - The King, still with the Army, and treated like a King, endeavored to play his game, 'in meetings at Woburn' and elsewhere; but the two Parties could not be brought to extirpate one another for his benefit.
Towards the end of July, matters seem as good as settled : the Holles · Declaration, that blot of ignominy,' being now expunged from the Journals ;* the Eleven being out; and now at last, the New Militia Ordinance for London (Presbyterian Ordinance brought in by Holles on the 4th of May) being revoked, and matters in that quarter set on their old footing again. The two Parties in Parliament seem pretty equal in numbers; the Presbyterian Party, shorn of its Eleven, is cowed down to the due pitch; and there is now prospect of fair treatment for all the
field), Sir John Clotworthy (Malden), Recorder Glynn (Westminster), Mr. Anthony Nichols (Bodmin); these seven are old Members, from the beginning of the Parliainent: the other Four are ' recruiters,' elected since 1645: Major-General Massey (Wooton Basset), Colonel Walter Long (Ludgershall), Colonel Edward Harely (Herefordshire), Sir John Maynard (Lestwithiel).
Asterisks still in the place of it, Commons Journals, 29th March, 1646-7.