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under cover enclosing another Letter of an official sort, to one 'Mr. Rumsey' (a total stranger to me); and is superscribed For Yourself.
'To Major Thomas Saunders, at Brecknock: These.'
'Before Pembroke,' 17th June, 1648.
1 send you this enclosed by itself, because it's of greater moment. The other you may communicate to Mr. Rumsey, as far as you think fit and I have written. I would not have him or other honest men be discouraged that I think it not fit, at present, to enter into contests; it will be good to yield a little, for public advantage: and truly that is my end; wherein I desire you to satisfy them.
I have sent, as my Letter mentions, to have you remove out of Brecknockshire; indeed, into that part of Glamorganshire which lieth next Monmouthshire. For this end: We have plain discoveries that Sir Trevor Williams, of Llangibby,* about two miles from Usk in the County of Monmouth, was very deep in the plot of betraying Chepstow Castle; so that we are out of doubt of his guiltiness thereof. I do hereby authorize you to seize him; as also the High Sheriff of Monmouth, Mr. Morgan, who was in the same plot.
But, because Sir Trevor Williams is the more dangerous man by far, I would have you seize him first, and the other will easily be had. To the end you may not be frustrated and that you be not deceived, I think fit to give you some characters of the man, and some intimations how things stand. He is a man, as I am informed, full of craft and subtlety; very bold and resolute; hath a House at Llangibby well stored with arms, and very strong; his neighbors about him very Malignant, and much for him,—who are apt to rescue him if apprehended, much more to discover anything which may prevent it. He is full of jealousy; partly out of guilt, but much more because he doubts some that were in the business have discovered him, which indeed they have,—and also because he knows that his Servant is brought hither, and a Minister to be examined here, who are able to discover the whole plot.
If you should march directly into that Country and near him, it's odds he either fortify his House, or give you the slip: so also, if you should go to his House, and not find him there; or if you attempt to
* He writes Langevie;' Munmouth' too.
take him, and miss to effect it; or if you make any known inquiry after him, it will be discovered.
Wherefore, as' to the first, you have a fair pretence of going out of Brecknockshire to quarter about Newport and Caerleon, which is not above four or five miles from his House. You may send to Colonel Herbert, whose House lieth in Monmouthshire; who will certainly acquaint you where he is. You are also to send to Captain Nicholas, who is at Chepstow, to require him to assist you, if he 'Williams' should get into his House and stand upon his guard. Samuel Jones, who is Quartermaster to Colonel Herbert's troop, will be very assisting to you, if you send to him to meet you at your quarters; both by letting you know where he is, and also in all matters of intelligence. If there shall be need, Captain Burge's troop, now quartered in Glamorganshire, shall be directed to receive orders from you.
You perceive by all this that we are, it may be, a little too much solicitous in this business;-it's our fault; and indeed such a temper causeth us often to overact business. Wherefore, without more ado, we leave it to you; and you to the guidance of God herein; and rest,
Saunders, by his manner of endorsing this Letter, seems to intimate that he took his two men; that he keeps the Letter by way of voucher. Sir Trevor Williams by and by* compounds as a Delinquent, retires then into 'Langevie House' in a diminished state, and disappears from History. Of Sheriff Morgan, except that a new Sheriff is soon appointed, we have no farther notice whatever.
SINCE Cromwell quitted London, there have arisen wide commotions in that central region too; the hope of the Scotch Army and the certainty of this War in Wales excite all unruly things and persons.
May 16th. Came a celebrated 'Surrey Petition:' highflying armed cavalcade of Freeholders from Surrey, with a Petition craving in very high language that Peace be made with his † Commons Journals.
* Harris, p. 495.
Majesty they quarrelled with the Parliament's Guard in Westminster Hall, drew swords, had swords drawn upon them; the Miller of Wandsworth was run through with a halbert,' he and others; and the Petitioners went home in a slashed and highly indignant condition. Thereupon, May 24th, armed meeting of Kentishmen on Blackheath ; armed meeting of Essex-men ; several armed meetings, all in communication with the City Presbyterians Fairfax, ill of the gout, has to mount,-in extremity of haste, as a man that will quench fire among smoking flax.
June 1st. Fairfax, at his utmost speed, smites fiercely against the centre of this insurrection; drives it from post to post; drives it into Maidstone about 7 in the evening,' with as hard fighting as I ever saw; tramples it out there. The centre-flame once trampled out, the other flames, or armed meetings, hover hither and thither; gather at length, in few days, all at Colchester in Essex; where Fairfax is now besieging them, with a very obstinate and fierce resistance from them. These are the ' glorious successes God has vouchsafed you,' which Oliver alludes to in this Letter.
We are only to notice farther that Lambert is in the North; waiting, in very inadequate strength, to see the Scots arrive. Oliver in this Letter signifies that he has reinforced him with some horse and dragoons,' sent by West Chester,' which we now call Chester, where 'Colonel Dukinfield' is Governor. The Scots are indubitably coming; Sir Marmaduke Langdale (whom Oliver, we may remark, encountered in the King's left wing at Naseby Fight) has raised new Yorkshiremen, has seized Berwick, seized Carlisle, and joined the Scots; it is becoming an openly Royalist affair.
Very desirable, of course, that Oliver had done with Pembroke and were fairly joined with Lambert. But Pembroke is strong; Poyer is stubborn, hopes to surrender 'on conditions ;' Oliver, equally stubborn, though sadly short of artillery and means, will have him 'at mercy of the Parliament,' so signal a rebel as him. Fairfax's Father, the Lord Ferdinando, died in March last ;* so that the General's title is now changed:
* 13 March, 1647-8 (Rushworth, vii., 1030).
To his Excellency the Lord Fairfax, General of the Parliament's Army: These.
Before Pembroke, 28th June, 1648.
I have some few days since despatched horse and dragoons for the North. I sent them by the way of West Chester; thinking it fit to do so in regard of this enclosed Letter which I received from Colonel Dukinfield;-requiring them to give him assistance in the way. And if it should prove that a present help would not serve the turn, then I ordered Captain Pennyfeather's troop to remain with the Governor Dukinfield;' and the rest immediately to march towards Leeds, and to send to the Committee of York, or to him that commands the forces in those parts, for directions whither they should come, and how they shall be disposed of.
The number I sent are six troops: four of horse, and two of dragoons; whereof three are Colonel Scroop's-and Captain Pennyfeather's troop, and the other two dragoons. I could not, by the judgment of the Colonels here, spare more, nor send them sooner without manifest hazard to these parts. Here is, as I have formerly acquainted your Excellency, a very desperate Enemy; who, being put out of all hope of mercy, are resolved to endure to the uttermost extremity; being very many of them' gentlemen of quality, and men thoroughly resolved. They have made some notable sallies upon Lieutenant-Colonel Reade's quarter,* to his loss. We are forced to keep divers posts, or else they would have relief, or their horse break away. Our foot about them are Four-andtwenty hundred; we always necessitated to have some in garrisons.
The Country, since we sat down before this place, have made two or three insurrections; and are ready to do it every day; so that,—what with looking to them, and disposing our horse to that end, and to get us in provisions, without which we should starve, this country being so miserably exhausted and so poor, and we no money to buy victuals,— indeed, whatever may be thought, it's a mercy we have been able to keep our men together in the midst of such necessity, the sustenance of the foot for most part being but bread and water. Our guns, through the unhappy accident at Berkley, not yet come to us;-and indeed it was a very unhappy thing they were brought thither; the wind having been always so cross, that since they were recovered from sinking, they
* Reade had been entrusted with the Siege of Tenby; that had ended June 2 (Commons Journals, v., 588); and Reade is now assisting at Pembroke.
could not come to us;' and this place not being to be had without fit instruments for battering, except by starving.* And truly I believe the Enemy's straits do increase upon them very fast, and that within a few days an end will be put to this business;-which surely might have been before, if we had received things wherewith to have done it. But it will be done in the best time.†
I rejoice much to hear of the blessing of God upon your Excellency's endeavors. I pray God that this Nation, and those that are over us, and your Excellency and all we that are under you, 'may discern' what the mind of God may be in all this, and what our duty is. Surely it is not that the poor Godly People of this Kingdom should still be made the object of wrath and anger; nor that our God would have our necks under a yoke of bondage. For these things that have lately come to pass have been the wonderful works of God; breaking the rod of the oppressor, as in the day of Midian,-not with garments much rolled in blood, but by the terror of the Lord; who will yet save His people and confound His enemies, as on that day. The Lord multiply His grace upon you, and bless you, and keep your heart upright; and then, though you be not conformable to the men of this world, nor to their wisdom, yet you shall be precious in the eyes of God, and He will be to you a horn and a shield.
My Lord, I do not know that I have had a Letter from any of your Army, of the glorious successes God has vouchsafed you. I pray pardon the complaint made. I long to 'be' with you. I take leave, and rest,
Your most humble and faithful servant,
'P.S.' Sir, I desire you that Colonel Lehunt may have a Commission to command a Troop of horse, the greatest part whereof came from the Enemy to us; and that you would be pleased to send blank Commissions for his inferior officers,-with what speed may be.‡
In Rushworth, under date March 24th, is announced that 'Sir W. Constable has taken care to send ordnance and ammunition from Gloucester, for the service before Pembroke.'§ 'The unhappy accident at Berkley,' I believe, is the stranding of the 'Frigate,' or Shallop, that carried them. Guns are not to be
* Without either fit instruments for battering except by starving.' Great haste, and considerable stumbling in the grammar of this last sentence ! After starving,' a mere comma; and so on.
† God's time is the best.
Sloane Mss., 1519, f. 90.
§ vii., 1036.