« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
after which it will be free to him to attack us when he will ! Lesley in fact considers, or at least the Committee of Estates and Kirk consider, that Oliver is lost ; that on the whole, he must not be left to retreat, but must be attacked and annihilated here. A vague story, due to Bishop Burnet, the watery source of many such, still circulates about the world, That it was the Kirk Com. mittee who forced Lesley down against his will; that Oliver, at sight of it, exclaimed, “ The Lord hath delivered,” &c. : which nobody is in the least bound to believe. It appears, from other quarters, that Lesley was advised or sanctioned in this attempt by the Committee of Estates and Kirk, but also that he was by no means hard to advise ; that, in fact, lying on the top of Doon Hill shelterless in such weather,'was no operation to spin out beyond necessity ;—and that if any body pressed too much upon him with advice to come down and fight, it was likeliest to be Royalist Civil Dignitaries, who had plagued him with their cavil. lings at his cunctations, at his ó sacret fellow feeling for the Sec. tarians and Regicides,' ever since this War began. The poor Scotch Clergy have enough of their own to answer for in this business ; let every
back bear the burden that belongs to it. In a word, Lesley descends, has been descending all day, and shogs' himself to the right,—urged, I believe, by manifold counsel, and by the nature of the case; and, what is equally im. portant for us, Oliver sees him, and sees through him, in this movement of his.
At sight of this movement, Oliver suggests to Lambert standing by him, Does it not give us an advantage, if we, instead of him, like to begin the attack? Here is the Enemy's right wing coming out to the open space, free to be attacked on any side ; and the main-battle hampered in narrow sloping ground between Doon Hill and the Brook, has no room to manœuvre or assist :* beat this right wing where it now stands; take it in flank and front with an overpowering force,—it is driven upon its own main-battle, the whole Army is beaten ? Lambert eagerly assents, “had meant to say the same thing." Monk, who comes up at the moment, likewise assents; as the other Officers do, when the
case is set before them. It is the plan resolved upon for battle. The attack shall begin to-morrow before dawn.
And so the soldiers stand to their arms, or lie within instant reach of their arms, all night; being upon an engagement very difficult indeed. The night is wild and wet ;—2d of September means 12th by our calendar: the Harvest Moon wades deep among
clouds of sleet and hail. Whoever has a heart for prayer, let him pray now, for the wrestle of death is at hand. Pray,– and withal keep his powder dry! And be ready for extremities, and quit himself like a man!—Thus they pass the night; making that Dunbar Peninsula and Brock Rivulet long memorable to
We English have some tents; the Scots have none. The hoarse sea moans bodeful, swinging low and heavy against these whinstone bays; the sea and the tempests are abroad, all else asleep but we,-and there is One that rides on the wings of the wind.
Towards three in the morning the Scotch foot, by order of a Major-General say some,* extinguish their matches, all but two in a company : cower under the corn-shocks, seeking some imperfect shelter and sleep. Be wakeful, ye English ; watch, and pray, and keep your powder dry. About four o'clock comes order to my puddingheaded Yorkshire friend, that his regiment must mount and march straightway; his and various other regiments march, pouring swiftly to the left to Brocksmouth House, to the Pass over the Brock. With overpowering force let us storm the Scots right wing there ; beat that, and all is beaten. Major Hodgson riding along, heard, he says, 'a Cornet praying in the night;' a company of poor men, I think, making worship there, under the void Heaven, before battle joined ; Major Hodgson, giving his charge to a brother Officer, turned aside to listen for a minute, and worship and pray along with them ; haply his last prayer on this Earth, as it might prove to be. But no : this Cornet prayed with such effusion as was wonderful; and imparted strength to my Yorkshire friend, who strengthened his men by telling them of it. And the Heavens, in their mercy, I think,
Major-General Holburn' (he that escorted Cromwell into Edinburgh in 1648), says Walker, p. 180.
have opened us a way of deliverance !- The Moon gleams out, hard and blue, riding among hail-clouds; and over St. Abb’s Head, a streak of dawn is rising.
And now is the hour when the attack should be, and no Lambert is yet here, he is ordering the line far to the right yet; and Oliver occasionally, in Hodgson's hearing, is impatient for him. The Scots too, on this wing, are awake; thinking to surprise us; there is their trumpet sounding, we heard it once; and Lambert, who was to lead the attack, is not here. The Lord General is impatient;-behold Lambert at last! The trumpets peal, shattering with fierce clangor Night's silence; the cannons awaken along all the Line : “'The Lord of Hosts! The Lord of Hosts !' On, my brave ones; on!
The dispute on this right wing was hot and stiff, for three quarters of an hour. Plenty of fire, from field-pieces, snaphances, matchlocks, entertains the Scotch main-battle across the Brock ;—poor stiffened men, roused from the corn-shocks with their matches all out! But here on the right, their horse, with lances in the front rank,' charge desperately; drive us back across the hollow of the Rivulet ;-back a little ; but the Lord gives us courage, and we storm home again, horse and foot, upon them, with a shock like tornado tempests; break them, beat them, drive them all adrift. Some fled towards Copperspath, but most across their own foot.' Their own poor foot, whose maiciies were hardly well alight yet! Poor men, it was a terrible awakening for them : field-pieces and charge of foot across the Brocksburn; and now here is their own horse in mad panic trampling them to death. Above Three-thousand killed upon the place : 'I never saw such a charge of foot and horse,' says one; nor did I. Oliver was still near to Yorkshire Hodgson when the shock succeeded ; Hodgson heard him say, " They run! I pro. fess they run!” And over St. Abb’s Head and the German Ocean just then burst the first gleam of the level Sun upon us, and I heard Nol say, in the words of the Psalmist, “ Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered," ».
-or in Rous's metre,
Let all his eneinies be ;
Before his presence flee!
The Scotch Army is shivered to utter ruin; rushes in tumultuous wreck, hither, thither; to Belhaven, or, in their distraction, even to Dunbar; the chase goes as far as Haddington led by Hacker. The Lord General made a halt,' says Hodgson, and sang the Hundred-and-seventeenth Psalm,' till our horse could gather for the chase. Hundred-and-seventeenth Psalm, at the foot of the Doon Hill; there we uplift it, to the tune of Ban. gor, or some still higher score, and roll it strong and great against the sky:
O give ye praise unto the Lord,
All nati-ons that be;
His name to magnify!
For great to-us-ward ever are
His lovingkindnesses ;
The Lord 0 do ye bless!
And now, to the chase again.
The Prisoners are Ten-thousand, -all the foot in a mass. Many Dignitaries are taken; not a few are slain ; of whom see Printed Lists,-full of blunders. Provost Jaffray of Aberdeen, Member of the Scots Parliament, one of the Committee of Estates, was very nearly slain : a trooper's sword was in the air to sever him, but one cried, He is a man of consequence; he can ransom himself !—and the trooper kept him prisoner.* The first of the Scots Quakers, by and by; and an official person much reconciled to Oliver. Ministers also of the Kirk Committee were slain ; two Ministers I find taken, poor Carstairs of Glasgow, poor Waugh of some other place,-of whom we shall transiently hear again.
General David Lesley, vigorous for flight as for other things, got to Edinburgh by nine o'clock; poor old Leven, not so light of movement, did not get till two. Tragical enough. What a change since January, 1644, when we marched out of this same
* Diary of Alexander Jaffray (London, 1834;—unhappily relating almost all to the inner man of Jaffray).
Dunbar up to the knees in snow ! It was to help and save these very men that we then marched; with the Covenant in all our hearts. We have stood by the letter of the Covenant; fought for our Covenanted Stuart King as we could ;—they again, they stand by the substance of it, and have trampled us and the letter of it into this ruinous state !-Yes, my poor friends ;and now be wise, be taught! The letter of your Covenant, in fact, will never rally again in this world. The spirit and substance of it, please God, will never die in this or in any world!
Such is Dunbar Battle; which might also be called Dunbar Drove, for it was a frightful rout. Brought on by miscalculation; misunderstanding of the difference between substances and semblances; by mismanagement, and the chance of war. My Lord General's next four Letters will now be intelligible to the reader.
For the Honorable William Lenthall, Speaker of the Parliament
of England: These.
Dunbar, 4th September, 1650. SIR,
I hope it's not ill taken, that I make no more frequent addresses to the Parliament. Things that are in trouble, in point of provision for your Army, and of ordinary direction, I have, as I could, often presented to the Council of State, together with such occurrences as have happened ;-who, I am sure, as they have not been wanting in their extraordinary care and provision for us, so neither in what they judge fit and necessary to represent the same to you. And this I thought to be a sufficient discharge of my duty on that behalf.
It hath now pleased God to bestow a mercy upon you, worthy of your knowledge, and of the utmost praise and thanks of all that fear and love His name; yea the mercy is far above all praise. Which that you may the better perceive, I shall take the boldness to tender unto you some circumstances accompanying this great business, which will manifest the greatness and seasonableness of this mercy.
We having tried what we could to engage the Enemy, three or four miles West of Edinburgh; that proving ineffectual, and our victual fail