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self might partly think probable, about to quit St. Ives. His mother's brother, Sir Thomas Steward, Knight, lay sick at Ely, in those very days. Sir Thomas makes his will in this same month of January, leaving Oliver his principal heir; and on the 30th it was all over, and he lay in his last home: Buried in the Cathedral of Ely, 30 January, 1635–6.'
Worth noting, and curious to think of, since it is indisputable : On the very day while Oliver Cromwell was writing this Letter at St. Ives, two obscure individuals, 'Peter Aldridge and Thomas Lane, Assessors of Shipmoney,' over in Buckinghamshire, had assembled a Parish Meeting in the Church of Great Kimble, to assess and rate the Shipmoney of the said Parish: there, in the cold weather, at the foot of the Chiltern Hills, '11 January, 1635,' the Parish did attend, John Hampden, Esquire,' at the head of them, and by a return still extant,* refused to pay the same or any portion thereof,-witness the above 'Assessors,' witness also two 'Parish Constables' whom we remit from such unexpected celebrity. John Hampden's share for this Parish is thirty-one shillings and sixpence; for another Parish it is twenty shillings; on which latter sum, not on the former, John Hampden was tried.
* Facsimile Engraving of it, in Lord Nugent's Memorials of Hampden (London, 1832), i., 231.
OLIVER removed to Ely very soon after writing the foregoing Letter. There is a receipt for 107.' signed by him, dated Ely, 10th June, 1636 ;* and other evidence that he was then resident there. He succeeded to his Uncle's Farming of the Tithes; the Leases of these, and new Leases of some other small lands or fields granted him, are still in existence. He continued here till the time of the Long Parliament; and his Family still after that, till some unascertained date, seemingly about 1647, when it became apparent that the Long Parliament was not like to rise for a great while yet, and it was judged expedient that the whole household should remove to London. His Mother appears to have joined him in Ely; she quitted Huntingdon, returned to her native place, an aged grandmother, was not, however, to end her days there.
As Sir Thomas Steward, Oliver's Uncle, farmed the Tithes of Ely, it is reasonable to believe that he, and Oliver after him, occupied the House set apart for the Tithe-Farmer there; as Mark Noble, out of dim Tradition, confidently testifies. This is 'the house occupied by Mr. Page ;'t under which name, much better than under that of Cromwell, the inhabitants of Ely now know it. The House, though somewhat in a frail state, is still standing; close to St. Mary's Churchyard; at the corner of the great Tithe-barn of Ely, or great Square of tithe-barns and offices,—which is the biggest barn in England but one,' say the Ely people. Of this House, for Oliver's sake, some Painter will yet perhaps take a correct likeness:—it is needless to go to Stuntney, out on the Soham road, as Oliver's Painters usually do; Oliver never lived there, but only his Mother's cousins! Two years ago this House in Ely stood empty; closed finally up, † Noble, i., 106.
* Noble, i., 107.
deserted by all the Pages, as 'the Commutation of Tithes' had rendered it superfluous: this year (1845), I find, it is an Alehouse, with still some chance of standing. It is by no means a sumptuous mansion; but may have conveniently held a man of three or four hundred a year, with his family, in those simple times. Some quaint air of gentility still looks through its ragged dilapidation. It is of two stories, more properly of one and a half; has many windows, irregular chimneys and gables. Likely enough Oliver lived here; likely his Grandfather may have lived here, his Mother have been born here. She was now again resident here. The tomb of her first husband and child, Johannes Lynne and poor little Catharina Lynne, is in the Cathedral hard by. procureth.'
'Such are the changes which fleeting Time
This Second extant Letter of Cromwell's is dated Ely, October, 1638. It will be good to introduce, as briefly as possible, a few Historical Dates, to remind the reader what o'clock on the Great Horologe it is while this small Letter is a-writing. Last year in London there had been a very strange spectacle; and in three weeks after, another in Edinburgh, of still more significance in English History.
On the 30th of June, 1637, in Old Palaceyard, three men, gentlemen of education, of good quality, a Barrister, a Physician and a Parish Clergyman of London were set on three Pillories; stood openly, as the scum of malefactors, for certain hours there; and then had their ears cut off,—bare knives, hot branding-irons, -and their cheeks stamped 'S. L.' Seditious Libeller; in the sight of a great crowd, 'silent' mainly, and looking' pale."* The men were our old friend William Prynne,-poor Prynne, who had got into new trouble, and here lost his ears a second and final time, having had them 'sewed on again' before: William Prynne, Barrister; Dr. John Bastwick; and the Rev. Henry Burton, Minister of Friday-street Church. Their sin was against Laud and his surplices at Allhallow-tide, not against any other man or thing. Prynne, speaking to the people, defied all Lambeth, with
* State Trials (Cobbett's, London, 1809), iii., 746.
Rome at the back of it, to argue with him, William Prynne alone, and these practices were according to the Law of England; " and if I fail to prove it," said Prynne, "let them hang my body at the door of that Prison there," the Gate-house Prison. Whereat the people gave a great shout,'-somewhat of an ominous one, I think. Bastwick's wife, on the scaffold, received his ears in her lap, and kissed him.* Prynne's ears the executioner rather sawed than cut.' "Cut me, tear me," cried Prynne; "I fear thee not; I fear the fire of Hell, not thee!" The June sun had shone hot on their faces. Burton, who had discoursed eloquent religion all the while, said, when they carried him, near fainting, into a house in King-street, "It is too hot to last."
Too hot indeed. For at Edinburgh, on Sunday the 23d of July following, Archbishop Laud having now, with great effort. and much manipulation, got his Scotch Liturgy and Scotch Pretended-Bishops ready,† brought them fairly out to action,-and Jenny Geddes hurled her stool at their head. "Let us read the Collect of the Day," said the Pretended-Bishop from amid his tippets ;-" De'il colic the wame of thee!" answered Jenny, hurling her stool at his head. "Thou foul thief, wilt thou say mass at my lug?" I thought we had got done with the mass some
* Towers's British Biography.
† Rushworth, ii., 321, 343; iii., Appendix, 153--5; &c.
'No sooner was the Book opened by the Dean of Edinburgh, but a number of the meaner sort, with clapping of their hands and outcries, made a great uproar; and one of them, called Jane or Janot Gaddis (yet living at the writing of this relation) flung a little folding-stool, whereon she sat, at the Dean's head, saying, "Out thou false thief! dost thou say the mass at my lug?" Which was followed with so great a noise,' &c. These words are in the Continuation of Baker's Chronicle, by Phillips (Milton's Nephew); fifth edition of Baker (London, 1670), p. 478. They are not in the fourth edition of Baker, 1665, which is the first that contains the Continuation; they follow as here in all the others. Thought to be the first grave mention of Jenny Geddes in Printed History; a heroine still familiar to Tradition everywhere in Scotland.
In a foolish Pamphlet, printed in 1661, entitled Edinburgh's Joy, &c.— Joy for the Blessed Restoration and Annus Mirabilis,—there is mention made of the immortal Jenet Geddis,' whom the writer represents as rejoicing exceedingly in that miraculous event; she seems to be a well-known person keeping 'a cabbage-stall at the Tron Kirk,' at that date. Burns, in
time ago; and here it is again! "A Pape, a Pape!” cried others: "Stane him!'"*-In fact the service could not go on at all. This passed in St. Giles's Kirk, Edinburgh, on Sunday 23d July, 1637. Scotland had endured much in the bishop-way for about thirty years bygone, and endeavored to say nothing, bitterly feeling a great deal. But now, on small signal, the hour was come. All Edinburgh, all Scotland, and behind that all England and Ireland, rose into unappeasable commotion on the flight of this stool of Jenny's; and his Grace of Canterbury, and King Charles himself, and many others had lost their heads before there could be peace again. The Scotch People had sworn their Covenant, not without 'tears;' and were in these very days of October, 1638, while Oliver is writing at Ely, busy with their whole might electing their General Assembly, to meet at Glasgow next month. I think the Tulchan Apparatus is likely to be somewhat sharply dealt with, the Cow having become awake to it! Great events are in the wind; out of Scotland vague news, of unappeasable commotion risen there.
In the end of that same year, too, there had risen all over England huge rumor concerning the Shipmoney Trial at London. On the 6th of November, 1637, this important Process of Mr. Hampden's began. Learned Mr. St. John, a dark tough man, of the toughness of leather, spake with irrefragable law-eloquence, law-logic, for three days running, on Mr. Hampden's side; and learned Mr. Holborn for three other days;-preserved yet by Rushworth in acres of typography, unreadable now to all mortals. For other learned gentlemen, tough as leather, spoke on the opposite side; and learned judges animadverted ;-at endless length, amid the expectancy of men. With brief pauses, the Trial lasted for three weeks and three days. Mr. Hampden became the most famous man in England,†-by accident partly. The sentence was not delivered till April, 1638; and then it went
his Highland Tour, named his mare Jenny Geddes. Helen of Troy, for practical importance in Human History, is but a small Heroine to Jenny;— but she has been luckier in the recording!-For these bibliographical notices I am indebted to the friendliness of Mr. D. Laing of the Signet Library, Edinburgh.
* Rushworth, Kennet, Balfour.