« PreviousContinue »
commons, after it had voted his Majesty's
him, I was fent to fafeguard, and not to murther him. I wifht him to be confident no fuch thing fhould be done. I would firft die at his foot in his defence; and I therefore fhewed it him, that he might be affured, though menacing fpeeches came frequently to (2) Peck's his care, our general officers abhorred fo bloody and -Milton's vindication of Cremix. p. 42. well, against the charge of perfuading the King to withdraw into the Isle of Wight, muft not be here omitted. Alterum eft crimen perfuafifle regi Cromuellum, ut
• villanous a fact (g)..
‹ in infulam Vectim clanculum fe fubduceret. Constat regem Carolum rem fuam multis aliàs rebus; ter fuga perdidiffe; primùm cum Londino Eboracum fugit, deinde cum ad Scotos in Anglia conductitios, poftremò cum ad infulam Vectim. At hujus poftremæ fuafor erat • Cromuellus. Optime; fed tamen ego regios illos primùm miror, qui Carolum toties affirmare non dubitant fuiffe prudentiffimum, & eundem fimul vix unquam fuæ fpontis; five apud amicos five inimicos, in aula vel in caftris, in aliena ferè poteftate femper fuifle; nunc uxoris, nunc epifcoporum, nunc purpuratorum, nunc militum, denique hoftium: pejora • plerumque confilia, & pejorum fermè fequutum ; Carolo perfuadetur, Carolo imponitur, Carolo illuditur • metus incutitur, fpes vana oftenditur, velut præda omnium communis, tam amicorum quam hoftium, agitur & fertur Carolus. Aut hæc è fcriptis fuis tollant, aut fagacitatem Caroli prædicare defiftant. Fateor deinde, quam vis prudentia atque confilio præftare pulcrum fit tamen ubi refpublica factionibus laborat, fuis incommodis haud carere; & confultiffimum quemque eo magis obnoxium calumniis utriufque partis reddere: hoc fæpe Cromuello obfuit: hinc Presbyteriani, inde hoftes quicquid in fe durius fieri putant non id communi fenatus confilio, fed Cromuello foli imputant; immo fi quid per imprudentiam ipfi malè gerunt, id dolis & fraudibus Cromuelli affignare non
< erubefcunt; culpa omnis in eum derivatur, omnis in • eum faba cuditur. Et tamen certiffimum eft fugam ad vectim regis Caroli abfenti tum aliquot millibus paffuum Cromuello, tam novum accidiffe & inopinatum, quàm cuilibet ex fenatu tum in urbe verfanti, quem ut de re inopinatiffima fibi recens allata per literas cer⚫tiorem fecit. Res autem ita fe habuit; exercitus ⚫ univerfi vocibus rex territus, qui eum nullis officiis fuis aut pollicitis factum meliorem, ad fupplicium pofcere jam tunc cæperat, ftatuit cum duobus tantummodo confciis nocturna fugâ fibi confulere: verùm fugiendi certior, quàm quo fugeret, per comitum fuorum vel imperitiam vel timiditatem, inops confilii quo fe reciperet, Hamundo Vectis infulæ præfidi fe • ultro dedidit; ea fpe, facilem fibi ex ea infula, parato jam navigio, tranfitum in Galliam aut in Belgium fore. Hæc ego de fuga regis in Vectim ex iis comperi quibus rem totam pernofcendi quàm proxima facultas • erat (h).' i. e. · Another crime is, that Cromwell per- works, fuaded the King to withdraw himself privately to the vol. ii. p. Ifle of Wight. Now its plain King Charles ruined his 306. own affair otherwife in many things, and no lefs than three times by flight: as, firft, when he fled • from London to York; afterwards, when he ran to the hireling Scots in England; and, laft of all to the Ifle of Wight. But Cromwell was the perfuader of this laft flight! Good indeed! But I firft admire thofe royalifts, who never ftick to affirm so often, that Charles was one of the most prudent perfons living, and ftill, that the fame man was hardly ever at his own difpofal: that, whether with his enemies or his friends, in the court or in the camp, he was almost always in the power of another; now of his wife, then of the bishops; now of the peers, then of the foldiery; and laft of his enemies: that, for the molt < part, he followed the worfer counfels; and, almost always, of the worfer men. Charles is perfuaded; • Charles is impofed on; Charles is deceived; fear is im• pressed on him; vain hope is fet before him; Charles ⚫ is carried and hurried about, as if he was the comof all, both friends and enemies.
them either blot these things out of their writ ings, or else give over trumpeting up the fagacity of Charles. Next, I confefs, though it be honourable to excel in prudence and counfel, yet that, ⚫ where a commonwealth labours under factions, this doth not always want its inconveniencies; but renders any, even the moft prudent, fo much the more • obnoxious to the calumnies of each party. This ofC ten was the case of Cromwell. On the one fide, the , Presbyterians; on the other, the enemy [Royalists] whatever hardships they are loaded with, impute it all, not to the common advice of parliament, but • of Cromwell only. Nay, if themselves imprudently
act any thing amifs, do not blush to lay it wholly to the deceits and frauds of Cromwell! All the fault is thrown upon him; all the black is stuck upon his coat. And yet it is most certain, that the flight of King Charles to the Ifle of Wight fell out as new and unexpectedly to Cromwell (who was then fome miles off) as it was furprising to any of the parliament, at that time refiding in London, whom he made acquaint⚫ed with it by letter, as of a moft unlooked-for accident, the news whereof was just then brought him. Now the matter happened thus: the King (affrighted by the menaces of the whole army, who, finding him nothing amended, either by their good offices or promifes for him, had now begun to require he should ⚫ be brought to punishment) determined, with only two attendants, to provide for his own fafety by a noctur⚫nal flight; but furer of flying, than whither he should fly, either by the unskilfulness or timidity of his companions; and, not knowing where to betake himself, he, at laft, voluntarily threw himself into the hands of Hammond, governor of the Isle of Wight; with this hope, that he might find an eafy paffage out of that ifland, a fmall veffel being provided privately for the purpose, either into France or Holland. And thefe matters, touching the King's flight into the Ifle of • Wight, I learnt of them, who had as great advantage C as may be for knowing the truth.'This feems very ftrong in Cromwell's behalf.But, had he wrote the
conceffions a fufficient ground (EE) to pro
letter to Whalley, with the defign fuggefted, of which there is no proof, where would have been the harm of it, as I before faid, or who would not have thought himself at liberty to have acted a like part with a man of fuch a character and fuch views? The ftatesman, perhaps, would not easily be found; or, if fuch an one there were, his understanding would not be greatly admired by men of the fame profeffion.
(BE) He defeated the Welch and Scots, and purged the boufe of commons, &c.] Charles having thrown himfelf into the hands of Hammond, governor of the Ifle of Wight, was treated by him with great civility and respect. And the parliament, who had been much alarmed at his Majesty's escape, being informed of the place of his abode, determined to fend commiffioners to the Isle of Wight, in order to treat with him concerning peace, fo neceffary to himself and the kingdom. But, on the King's refufal to agree to the preliminary. propofitions, they immediately determined to make no more addreffes to him, but to proceed to the fettlement of the nation without him. Their reafons they fubmitted to the public, in a declaration which was printed and difperfed in every corner. This declaration, and the votes on which it was founded, very juftly alarmed the fears of Charles and his friends. They wrote, they petitioned, they were tumultuous at the door of the house of commons, and, at length, had recourse to arms in his favour. But none of these things, for the prefent, fucceeded. The infu rection under the lords Gering and Capel, on the furrender of Colchester to Fairfax, came to nothing; that in Wales, under colonel Poyer, Cromwell, with no very great difficulty, fubdued; and, immediately, with very fpeedy marches, he came up with Duke Hamilton, who himself was taken prifoner, and the whole body of Scots and English, under his command, routed. This, properly, put a period to the second civil war, in which the rafhness and impruN 3
ceed upon for the fettlement of the
(i) Vol. v. p. 165.
dence of the one fide was as remarkable, as the valour and good conduct of the other. All this great victory,' fays Clarendon, was got by Cromwell, with an army amounting to a third part of the Scots in number, if they had been all together; and it was not diminifhed half an hundred in obtaining this victory, after the English forces, under Langdale had been defeated (i). This was the battle of Prefton, fought August 17, 1648. The Scots army were • twelve thoufand foot, well armed, and five thousand horse. Langdale had two thousand five hundred foot, and one thousand five hundred horfe; in all twenty one ⚫ thousand; and in the parliament's army, in all, about
eight thoufand fix hundred! and, of the enemy, about ⚫ two thousand were flain, and about nine thousand prifoners taken, befides what were lurking in hedges and private places, which the country people daily lock, p. 332. brought in or deftroyed (j). For this victory a folemn thanksgiving was ordered throughout the kingdom, on the feventh of September following (*). After (*) Journal of the house this Cromwell marched forward for Scotland, in order of com- effectually to fupprefs the Hamiltonian party. In his march his difcipline was very exact, and his order fo good, that no ground of complaint was given to the inhabitants. At length he arrived at Edinburgh, where he was received with great ceremony, and demanded, that none, who had been in action in the late wicked engagement and invafion, might, henceforward, be employed in any public place of truft; to which the ⚫ committee of eftates there gave a fatisfactory answer. He had alfo vifits and conferences with commiffioners from the kirk, and from the provoft and magiftrates of Edinburgh, and a ftrong guard of foldiers at his
dging. At the time of his being at Edinburgh fe • veral other demands were made by him to the committee of eftates, who gave him very fair answer, and he referved liberty for the parliament of England
mons, Aug. 23, 1648,