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judge Oliver with increasing clearness; otherwise with increasing darkness, misjudge him.
In fact, Oliver's dialect is rude and obsolete; the phrases of Oliver, to him solemn on the perilous battlefield as voices of God, have become to us most mournful when spouted as frothy cant from Exeter Hall. The reader has, all along, to make steady allowance for that. And on the whole, clear recognition will be difficult for him. To a poor slumberous Canting Age, mumbling to itself everywhere, Peace, Peace, where there is no peace,such a Phenomenon as Oliver, in Ireland or elsewhere, is not the most recognizable in all its meanings. But it waits there for recognition; and can wait an Age or two. The Memory of Oliver Cromwell, as I count, has a good many centuries in it yet; and Ages of very varied complexion to apply to, before all end. My reader, in this passage and others, shall make of it what he can.
But certainly, at lowest, here is a set of Military Despatches of the most unexampled nature! Most rough, unkempt; shaggy as the Numidian lion. A style rugged as crags; coarse, drossy: yet with a meaning in it, an energy, a depth; pouring on like a firetorrent; perennial fire of it visible athwart all drosses and defacements: not uninteresting to see! This man has come into distracted Ireland with a God's Truth in the heart of him, though an unexpected one; the first such man they have seen for a great while indeed. He carries Acts of Parliament, Laws of Earth and Heaven, in one hand; drawn sword in the other. He addresses the bewildered Irish populations, the black ravening coil of sanguinary blustering individuals at Tredah and elsewhere: "Sanguinary blustering individuals, whose word is grown worthless as the barking of dogs; whose very thought is false, representing no fact but the contrary of fact,-behold, I am come to speak and to do the truth among you. Here are Acts of Parliament, methods of regulation and veracity, emblems the nearest we poor Puritans could make them of God's Law-Book, to which it is and shall be our perpetual effort to make them correspond nearer and nearer. Obey them, help us to perfect them, be peaceable and true under them, it shall be well with you. Refuse to obey them, I will not let you continue living! As articulate-speaking veracious orderly men, not as a bluster
ing murderous kennel of dogs run rabid, shall you continue in this Earth. Choose !"-They chose to disbelieve him; could not understand that he, more than the others, meant any truth or justice to them. They rejected his summons and terms at Tredah: he stormed the place; and according to his promise, put every man of the Garrison to death. His own soldiers are forbidden to plunder, by paper Proclamation; and in ropes of authentic hemp they are hanged when they do it. To Wexford Garrison the like terms as at Tredah; and, failing these, the like storm. Here is a man whose word represents a thing! Not bluster this, and false jargon scattering itself to the winds: what this man speaks out of him comes to pass as a fact; speech with this man is accurately prophetic of deed. This is the first King's face poor Ireland ever saw; the first Friend's face, little as it recognizes him,-poor Ireland!
But let us take the Letters themselves; and read them with various emotions, in which wonder will not fail. What a rage, wide-sweeping inexorable as Death, dwells in that heart;-close neighbor to pity, to trembling affection, and soft tears! Some readers know that softness without rigor, rigor as of adamant to rest upon, is but sloth and cowardly baseness; that without justice first, real pity is not possible, and only false pity and maudlin weakness is possible. Others, again, are not aware of that fact. To our Irish friends we ought to say likewise that this Garrison of Tredah consisted mostly of Englishmen.* Perfectly certain this:—and therefore let "the bloody hoof of the Saxon,' &c., forbear to continue itself on that matter. At its peril! Idle blustering, and untruth of every kind, lead to the like terrible results in these days as they did in those.
The following Two Letters on Tredah, or Drogheda as we now name it, contain in themselves, especially the Second and more deliberate of the two contains, materials for a pretty complete account of the Transaction there. It requires only to be added, what Cromwell himself has forborne to do, that on the repulse of the first attack, it was he, in person, who, 'witnessing
* Ludlow, i., 301.
it from the batteries,' hastened forward and led on the new attack: My pretty men, we must positively not be repulsed; we must enter here, we cannot do at all without entering!—The rest of these Irish Letters may, I hope, tell their own tale.
'To the Honorable John Bradshaw, Esquire, President of the Council of State: These.'
'Dublin,' 16th September, 1649.
It hath pleased God to bless our endeavors at Drogheda.* After battery, we stormed it. The Enemy were about 3,000 strong in the Town. They made a stout resistance; and near 1,000 of our men being entered, the Enemy forced them out again. But God giving a new courage to our men, they attempted again, and entered; beating the Enemy from their defences.
The Enemy had made three retrenchments, both to the right and left 'of' where we entered; all which they were forced to quit. Being thus entered, we refused them quarter; having the day before summoned the Town. I believe we put to the sword the whole number of the defendants. I do not think Thirty of the whole number escaped with their lives. Those that did, are in safe custody for the Barbadoes. Since that time, the Enemy quitted to us Trim and Dundalk. In Trim they were in such haste that they left their guns behind them.
This hath been a marvellous great mercy. The Enemy, being not willing to put an issue upon a field-battle, had put into this Garrison almost all their prime soldiers, being about 3,000 horse and foot, under the command of their best officers; Sir Arthur Ashton being made Governor. There were some seven or eight regiments, Ormond's being one, under the command of Sir Edmund Varney. I do not believe, neither do I hear, that any officer escaped with his life, save only one Lieutenant, who, I hear, going to the Enemy said, That he was the only man that escaped of all the Garrison. The Enemy upon this were filled with much terror. And truly I believe this bitterness will save much effusion of blood, through the goodness of God.
*This is Oliver's spelling; contrary to what was then usual, almost universal.
I wish that all honest hearts may give the glory of this to God alone, to whom indeed the praise of this mercy belongs. 'As' for instruments, they were very inconsiderable the work throughout. * * *
Captain Brandly did with forty or fifty of his men very gallantly storm the Tenalias; for which he deserves the thanks of the State. I rest,' Your most humble servant,
Tenalia,' I believe, is now called Tenaille by engineers; a kind of advanced defensive-work, which takes its name from resemblance, real or imaginary, to the lip of a pair of pincers.
The 'Sir Edmund Varney' who perished here was the son of the Standard-bearer at Edgehill. For Sir Arthur Ashton see Clarendon. Poor Sir Arthur had a wooden leg which the soldiers were very eager for, understanding it to be full of gold coin ; but it proved to be mere timber: all his gold, 200 broad pieces, was sewed into his belt, and scrambled for when that came to light. There is in Wood's Life‡ an old-soldier's account of the Storm of Tredah, sufficiently emphatic, by Tom Wood, Anthony's brother, who had been there.
'For the Honorable William Lenthall, Speaker of the Parliament of England: These.'
Dublin, 17th September, 1649.
SIR, Your Army being safely arrived at Dublin; and the Enemy endeavoring to draw all his forces together about Trim and Tecroghan, as my intelligence gave me,—from whence endeavors were made by the Marquis of Ormond to draw Owen Roe O'Neil with his forces to his assistance, but with what success I cannot yet learn,—I resolved, after some refreshment taken for our weatherbeaten men and horses, and accommodations for a march, to take the field. And accordingly, upon Friday, the 30th of August last, rendezvoused with eight regiments of
* Whitlocke, p. 412. † Ibid.
+ Prefixed to the Athenæ Oxonienses. § Friday is 31st; this error as to the day of the month continues through the Letter.
foot, six of horse and some troops of dragoons, three miles on the north side of Dublin. The design was, To endeavor the regaining of Drogheda; or tempting the Enemy, upon his hazard of the loss of that place, to fight.
Your Army came before the Town upon Monday following.* Where having pitched, as speedy course was taken as could be to frame our batteries; which took up the more time because divers of the battering guns were on shipboard. Upon Monday, the 9th of this instant, the batteries began to play. Whereupon I sent Sir Arthur Ashton, the then Governor, a summons, To deliver the Town to the use of the Parliament of England. To the which receiving no satisfactory answer, I proceeded that day to beat down the Steeple of the Church on the south side of the Town, and to beat down a Tower not far from the same place, which you will discern by the Chart enclosed.
Our guns not being able to do much that day, it was resolved to endeavor to do our utmost the next day to make breaches assaultable, and by the help of God to storm them. The place pitched upon was that part of the Town-wall next a Church called St. Mary's; which was the rather chosen because we did hope that if we did enter and possess that Church, we should be the better able to keep it against their horse and foot until we could make way for the entrance of our horse; and we did not conceive that any part of the Town would afford the like advantage for that purpose with this. The batteries planted were two: one was for that part of the Wall against the east end of the said Church; the other against the Wall on the south side. Being somewhat long in battering, the Enemy made six retrenchments: three of them from the said Church to Duleek Gate; and three of them from the east end of the Church to the Town-wall and so backward. The guns, after some two or three hundred shot, beat down the corner Tower, and opened two reasonable good breaches in the east and south Wall.
Upon Tuesday, the 10th of this instant, about five o'clock in the evening, we began the Storm: and after some hot dispute we entered, about seven or eight hundred men; the Enemy disputing it very stiffly with us. And indeed, through the advantages of the place, and the courage God was pleased to give the defenders, our men were forced to retreat quite out of the breach, not without some considerable loss; Colonel Cassel being there shot in the head, whereof he presently died; and divers officers and soldiers doing their duty killed and wounded. There was a Tenalia to flanker the south Wall of the Town, between Duleek Gate and the corner Tower before mentioned;-which our men entered, wherein they found some forty or fifty of the Enemy, which
* 3d September.