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draw up an Ordinance for 500l. per annum to be settled upon you and your heirs. This was done with smoothness; your friends were not wanting to you. I know thy burden; this is an addition to it: the Lord direct and sustain thee.
Intelligence came to the hands of a very considerable Person, That the King attempted to get out of his window; and that he had a cord of silk with him whereby to slip down, but his breast was so big the bar would not give him passage. This was done in one of the dark nights about a fortnight ago. A Gentleman with you led him the way, and slipped down. The Guard, that night had some quantity of wine with them. The same party assures that there is aquafortis gone down from London, to remove that obstacle which hindered; and that the same design is to be put in execution in the next dark nights. He saith that Captain Titus, and some others about the King are not to be trusted. He is a very considerable Person of the Parliament who gave this intelligence, and desired it should be speeded to you.
The Gentleman who came out of the window was Master Firebrace; the Gentlemen doubted are Cresset, Burrowes, and Titus; the time when this attempt of escape was, the 20th of March.
Henry Firebrace is known to Birch, and his Narrative is known. He became Clerk of the Kitchen to Charles II.'—The old Books are full of King's Plots for escape, by aquafortis and otherwise.f His Majesty could make no agreement with the Parliament, and began now to smell War in the wind. His presence in this or the other locality might have been of clear advantage. But Hammond was too watchful. Titus, with or without his new horse, attends upon his Majesty ; James Harrington also (afterwards author of Oceana); and the Honorable Thomas Herbert,' who has left a pleasing Narrative concerning that affair. These, though appointed by the Parliament, are all somewhat in favor with the King. Hammond's Uncle the Chaplain, as too favorable, was ordered out of the Island about Christinas last.
* Birch, p. 41. The Original in cipher.
The Scotch Army of Forty-thousand, to deliver the King from Sectaries,' is not a fable but a fact. Scotland is distracted by dim disastrous factions, very uncertain what it will do with the King when he is delivered ; but in the meanwhile Hamilton has got a majority in the Scotch Parliament; and drums are beating in that country : the 'Army of Forty-thousand, certainly coming,' hangs over England like a flaming comet, England itself being all very combustible too. In few weeks hence, discontented Wales, the Presbyterian Colonels declaring now for Royalism, will be in a blaze ; large sections of England, all England very ready to follow, will shortly after be in a blaze.
The small Governing Party in England, during those early months of 1648, are in a position which might fill the bravest mind with misgivings. Elements of destruction everywhere under and around them; their lot either to conquer, or ignominiously to
A King not to be bargained with ; kept in Carisbrook, the centre of all factious hopes, of world-wide intrigues: that is one element. A great Royalist Party, subdued with difficulty, and ready at all moments to rise again: that is another. A great Presbyterian Party, at the head of which is London City, the Purse-bearer of the Cause,' highly dissatisfied at the course things had taken, and looking desperately round for new combinations and a new struggle: reckon that for a third element. Add lastly a headlong Mutineer, Republican, or Levelling Party; and consider that there is a working House of Commons which counts about Seventy, divided in pretty equal halves too,—the rest waiting what will come of it. Come of it, and of the Scotch Army advancing towards it !
Cromwell, it appears, deeply sensible of all this, does in these weeks make strenuous repeated attempts towards at least a union among the friends of the Cause themselves, whose aim is one,
whose peril is one. But to little effect. Ludlow, with visible satisfaction, reports how ill the Lieutenant-General sped, when he brought the Army Grandees and Parliament Grandees to a Dinner at his own house “in King Street,' and urged a cordial agree. ment: they would not draw together at all.* Parliament would not agree with Army; hardly Parliament with itself: as little, still less, would Parliament and City agree. At a Common Council in the City, prior or posterior to this Dinner, his success, as angry little Walker intimates, was the same. Saturday, 8th April, 1648,' having prepared the ground beforehand, Cromwell, with another leader or two, attended a Common Council ; spake, as we may fancy, of the common dangers, of the gulfs now yawning on every side : 'but the City,' chuckles my little gentleman in grey, with a very shrill kind of laughter in the throat of him, 'were now wiser than our First Parents; and rejected the Serpent and his subtleties.'t In fact, the City wishes well to Hamilton and his Forty-thousand Scots; the City has, for some time, needed regi. ments quartered in it, to keep down open Royalist-Presbyterian insurrection. It was precisely on the morrow after this visit of Cromwell's that there rose, from small cause, huge Apprenticeriot in the City : discomfiture of Trainbands, seizure of arms, seizure of City Gates, Ludgate, Newgate, loud wide cry of “God and King Charles !”-riot not to be appeased but by desperate charge of cavalry,' after it had lasted forty hours. Such are the aspects of affairs, near and far.
Before quitting Part Third, I will request the reader to undertake a small piece of very dull reading; in which, however, if he look till it become credible and intelligible to him, a strange thing, much elucidative of the heart of this matter, will disclose itself. At Windsor, one of these days, unknown now which, there is a Meeting of Army Leaders. Adjutant-General Allen, a most au. thentic earnest man, whom we shall know better afterwards, re. ports what they did. Entirely amazing to us. These are the longest heads and the strongest hearts in England; and this is the thing they are doing; this is the way they, for their part, begin despatch of business. The reader, if he is an earnest man, may
| History of Independency, part i., 85.
* Ludlow, i., 238.
look at it with very many thoughts, for which there is no word at present.
"In the year Forty-seven, you may remember,' says Adjutant Allen, we in the Army were engaged in actions of a very high nature; leading us to very untrodden paths,—both in our Contests with the then Parliament, as also Conferences with the King. In which great works wanting a spirit of faith, and also the fear of the Lord, and also being unduly surprised with the fear of man, which always brings a snare, we, to make haste, as we thought, out of such perplexities, measuring our way by a wisdom of our own, fell into Treaties with the King and his Party: which proved such a snare to us, and led into such labyrinths by the end of that year, that the very things we thought to avoid, by the means we used of our own devising, were all, with many more of a far worse and more perplexing nature, brought back upon us.
To the overwhelming of our spirits, weakening of our hands and hearts; filling us with divisions, confusions, tumults, and every evil work; and thereby endangering the ruin of that blessed Cause we had, with such success, been.prospered in till that time.
'For now the King and his Party, seeing us not answer their ends, began to provide for themselves, by a Treaty with the then Parliament, set on foot about the beginning of Forty-eight. The Parliament also was, at the same time, highly displeased with us for what we had done, both as to the King and themselves. The good people likewise, even our most cordial friends in the Nation, beholding our turning aside from that path of simplicity we had formerly walked in, and been blessed in, and thereby much endeared to their hearts,-began now to fear, and withdraw their affections from us, in this politic path which we had stepped into, and walked in to our hurt, the year before. And as a farther fruit of the wages of our backsliding hearts, we were also filled with a spirit of great jealousy and divisions amongst ourselves; having left that Wisdom of the Word, which is first pure and then peaceable; so that we were now fit for little but to tear and rend one another, and thereby prepare ourselves, and the work in our hands, to be ruined by our common enemies. Enemies that were
ready to say, as many others of like spirit in this day do,* of the like sad occasions amongst us, “ Lo! this is the day we looked for.” The King and bis Party prepare accordingly to ruin all; by sudden Insurrections in most parts of the Nation : the Scot, concurring with the same designs, comes in with a potent Army under Duke Hamilton. We in the Army, in a low, weak, divided, perplexed condition in all respects, as aforesaid :-some of us judging it a duty to lay down our arms, to quit our stations, and put ourselves into the capacities of private men,-since what we had done, and what was yet in our hearts to do, tending as we judged to the good of these poor Nations, was not accepted by them.
Some also even encouraged themselves and us to such a thing by urging for such a practice the example of our Lord Jesus ; who, when he had borne an eminent testimony to the pleasure of his Father in an active way, sealed it at last by his sufferings; which was presented to us as our pattern for imitation. Others of us, however, were different-minded ; thinking something of another nature might yet be farther our duty ;-and these therefore were, by joint advice, by a good hand of the Lord, led to this result; viz., To go solemnly to search out our own iniquities, and humble our souls before the Lord in the sense of the same ; which, we were persuaded, had provoked the Lord against us, to bring such sad perplexities upon us at that day. Out of which we saw no way else to extricate ourselves.
• Accordingly we did agree to meet at Windsor Castle about the beginning of Forty-eight. And there we spent one day together in prayer; inquiring into the causes of that sad dispensation,'—let all men consider it ; coming to no farther result that day ; but that it was still our duty to seek. And on the morrow we met again in the morning ; where many spake from the Word, and prayed; and the then Lieutenant-General Cromwell,'--unintelligible to Posterity, but extremely intelligible to himself, to these men, and to the Maker of him and them,—did press very earnestly on all there present, to a thorough consider.
1659; Allen's Pamphlet is written as a Monition and Example to Fleetwood and the others, now in a similar peril, but with no Oliver now among them.