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Title: A Popular History Of England From the Earliest Times To The Reign Of Queen Victoria; Vol 3
Author: Guizot, François, Witt, Madame de (Henriette Elizabeth)
Language: English
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[Image]
Execution Of King Charles.


{1}


        A Popular History Of England

          From the Earliest Times

   _To The Reign Of Queen Victoria_


                     By

                  M. Guizot

  Author of "The Popular History or France," etc.


         _Authorized Edition_

                 Illustrated

                  Vol. III


[Image]
Publisher's Logo: ALDI DISCIP ANGLVS

                  New York
            John W. Lovell Company

     150 Worth Street, corner Mission Place

{2}

{3}

              List Of Illustrations.



                  Volume Three.


Execution of King Charles. -- Frontispiece.

The Gunpowder Plot Discovered. -- 14

Sir Walter Raleigh. -- 28

Assassination of Buckingham. -- 44

Queen Henrietta Maria. -- 85

Death of Hampden. -- 104

Battle of Marston Moor. -- 118

Will you go upon your Death? -- 134

Fairfax kissing the King's hand. -- 156

Portrait of Lord Fairfax. -- 172

King Charles' Children. -- 194

Cromwell dismissing the Long Parliament. -- 244

Cromwell at the Death-Bed of his Daughter. -- 278

Richard Cromwell. -- 282

Charles II. -- 292

Portrait of Monk. -- 296

Lambert. -- 302

Lambert confronted by Colonel Morley. -- 304

Effacing the Inscriptions. -- 328

Charles at the House of Lady Castlemaine. -- 352

Portrait of Monmouth. -- 378

Lord Russell's Trial. -- 388

James II. -- 396

Remember, Sire, I am your Brother's Son. -- 414

{4}

{5}

                 Table Of Contents.


Chapter XXII.   James I. (1603-1625) -- 9

Chapter XXIII.  Charles I. and his Government (1625-1642) -- 42

Chapter XXIV.   Charles I. and the Civil War. -- 92

Chapter XXV.    Charles I. and Cromwell.
                Captivity, Trial, and Death of the King. -- 157

Chapter XXVI.   The Commonwealth and Cromwell (1649-1653) -- 199

Chapter XXVII.  Cromwell Protector (1653-1658) -- 247

Chapter XXVIII. Protectorate of Richard Cromwell
                (1658-1659) -- 282

Chapter XIX.    The Restoration of the Stuarts (1659-1660) -- 293

Chapter XXX.    Charles II. (1660-1685) -- 342

Chapter XXXI.   James II. and the Revolution (1685-1688) -- 396

{6}

{7}

                    Guizot's

               History Of England,

                    Vol. III.

           From the Accession of James I.,
	   to the Expulsion of James II.,
                    1603-1688.

{8}

{9}

                History Of England.



                  Chapter XXII.

              James I. (1603-1625).


Scarcely had the soul of Queen Elizabeth taken farewell of her
body when a distant cousin of the great sovereign, Sir Robert
Carey, posted to Scotland, being advised of her death by his
sister, Lady Scrope, who formed part of the royal household.
Cecil and the members of the council, outdistanced by the haste
of the courtier, had at least the advantage, in despatching their
emissaries to Edinburgh, of being able to announce to the king
that he had been solemnly proclaimed in London a few hours after
the death of Elizabeth. The wise promptitude of Cecil forestalled
any foreign pretension. The only person who might have urged her
rights to the throne, Lady Arabella Stuart, cousin-german of the
King of Scotland by her father, and descending as he did, from
Henry VII., was in good keeping. None thought of stipulating for
a few guarantees in favor of the liberties of the country or for
the reform of the abuses grown old with the royal power. The
great men of the council expected the reward of their intrigues
in favor of the new king, and public opinion saw with
satisfaction the prospect of a union with Scotland, which
promised to put an end to the continual wars between the two
kingdoms. The Scots hoped to enrich themselves in England.

{10}

No one was more in need of such an opportunity than the king. His
Majesty James VI. of Scotland, now also James I. of England, was
so poor that he could not set out for his new kingdom until Cecil
sent him money. He had, besides, no desire to encounter in death
the sovereign whom he had so much dreaded during her lifetime,
and the journey, begun on the 6th of April, proceeded so slowly
that Elizabeth had for three weeks been sleeping in her tomb when
her successor at length arrived, on the 3d of May, at Theobalds,
in Hertfordshire, the country house of Sir Robert Cecil, where
all the members of the council awaited him. On his way he had
lavished the honor of knighthood upon all who had asked for it;
since his departure from Scotland he had made a hundred and
forty-eight knights. Cecil took advantage of the sojourn which
the king made at Theobalds to completely gain his favor. Alone,
among the colleagues of whom he was jealous, the Earl of
Northumberland contrived to preserve his honors. Lord Cobham,
Lord Grey, and especially Sir Walter Raleigh, were disgraced. The
first concession granted to the wishes of the nation was the
suspension of all the monopolies. This favor was proclaimed, on
the 7th of May, upon the entrance of the king into the city of
London. Severe measures with regard to hunting immediately
followed the arrival of the monarch, who was passionately fond of
that amusement.

The plague had broken out in London and delayed the coronation,
but it did not hinder the conspiracies. The powerful hand of
Elizabeth had been able to keep down, but could not prevent them.
Her successor might disparage the wisdom and prudence of the
government of the great queen who had raised him to his throne;
but he was destined to see his authority often threatened and
disowned.
{11}
He began by making himself a dangerous enemy in depriving Raleigh
not only of his place in the council, but of the honors and
monopolies which constituted his fortune. The favor which the
king manifested naturally enough to his Scottish friends made
other malcontents. The Catholics, at first allured by the
promises of James, saw him turn to the side of the Anglican
Church. "I make the judges," he said joyfully during his journey
from Scotland to England; "I make the bishops. By God's wounds, I
can do as I please, then, with the law and the Gospel." He
necessarily inclined to the side of power. Raleigh, Cobham, and
Grey, supported for some time by the Earl of Northumberland,
still an enemy of Cecil, found support among the priests and
lesser Catholic gentlemen, to whom the Puritans allied
themselves. The conspirators proposed to take possession of the
person of the king, to induce him, it was said, to change his
ministers. Before the day fixed upon, all the conspirators were
arrested. Sir Walter Raleigh and Lord Cobham were conducted to
the Tower. The plague delayed the judgment as it had delayed the
coronation. The trial of Raleigh was, besides, difficult to
conduct. Cecil took all the care that the matter deserved. Lord
Cobham, in cowardly alarm, betrayed his accomplice. Both were
accused of having sought to assassinate James in order to raise
to the throne Lady Arabella Stuart. Raleigh defended himself in
person with all the intelligence, all the animation, all the
indomitable courage of which he had so many times given proof
during his adventurous life. He was nevertheless condemned as
well as Lord Cobham and Lord Grey.
{12}
All three were pardoned when Cobham and Grey were already upon
the scaffold. The tragic adventures of Sir Walter Raleigh were
not yet at an end.

The king hunted in peace since the conspirators, who had so
greatly alarmed him, were in the Tower. He also indulged in the
pleasure of theological polemics. As long as he was King of
Scotland he was obliged to accept the yoke of the Puritans. Happy
to escape from them, he pursued them in his new kingdom with
bitter rancor. Suddenly smitten with the episcopacy, he discussed
personally with the doctors favorable to Presbyterian principles.
"No bishops, no king," exclaimed James, who did not leave his
adversaries time to reply. Then, making use of the prerogative
which he so resolutely claimed, he gave orders to all his
subjects to conform themselves to the ordinances, doctrines, and
ceremonies of the Church of England, authorizing the bishops to
dismiss from their livings those of the clergy who refused to
obey. More than three hundred pastors were thus deprived suddenly
of their functions as well as their means of subsistence. A great
number proceeded abroad; others remained in their country, and
the spies, formerly exclusively commissioned to ferret out the
Catholics who dared to hear mass, added to this duty that of
discovering the secret meetings which the dismissed pastors often
held even in their former parishes. King James was preparing by
religious persecution that great Puritan party which was to
contribute so powerfully to the overthrow of his son.

{13}

Parliament assembled on the 19th of March, 1604, and the leaven
of opposition which had already appeared under Elizabeth, was not
wanting in the first relations of the new sovereign with the
representatives of his people. The contested election of Mr.
Goodwin marked the commencement of the struggle. The Commons had
the audacity to complain of some abuses, and they did not prove
themselves generous in voting supplies. King James was profoundly
imbued with the doctrine which he had promulgated in a pamphlet
entitled, _The true Law of free Monarchies_, namely, that
the king has the right of commanding, and the subject the duty of
obeying. He pronounced as soon as possible the dissolution of
Parliament; but the Commons had, nevertheless, time to call the
royal attention to the Papists, recommending them to all the
rigor of the laws. The bishops and the Puritans were agreed upon
this point. The enormous fines regularly imposed upon the
Catholics for their absence from the established worship, were
exacted with a severity that filled the coffers of the king while
ruining numerous families. James had claimed all the arrears for
one year. The wealthy Papists were threatened with judicial
prosecutions. They knew the sentence beforehand. Many ransomed
their lives by the payment of large sums. The king began to hunt
again, and forbade any one to speak to him of business on the
days which he devoted to that pastime. The counties which he
honored with his presence groaned under the burden. One of the
hounds of his Majesty appeared one morning bearing upon his neck
a petition addressed to him conceived thus: "Good Medor, we beg
you to speak to his Majesty, who hears you every day and does not
listen to us, that he may kindly return to London to his
business, for our provisions are exhausted, and we shall have
nothing left to give him to eat." The king laughed and remained
where he was; but matters were preparing in London to recall him.

{14}

Among the Catholics ruined by the successive exactions which they
had suffered was Robert Catesby, a renegade in his youth, but who
returned with zeal to the faith of his fathers, and had since
then engaged in all the Catholic intrigues. Weary of persecution,
and seeing no hope of relief either in the anterior promises of
the king, or in the influence of Spain which had been counted
upon to some extent, he conceived the atrocious project of
causing all the persecutors to perish at a blow--King, Lords,
and Commons, upon the opening of Parliament convoked for the 7th
of February, 1605. Prudent and circumspect, he sought
accomplices. Thomas Winter, a gentleman and a Catholic like
himself, formerly employed by Spain in the Low Countries, only
consented to enter into the plot after having asked the Spaniards
if they had no longer any hope. Upon his return from Ostend, with
a reply in the negative, he brought back a former comrade, Guy
Fawkes, a soldier of fortune, resolute and fanatical like the two
other conspirators. Seven persons in all were bound by the most
solemn oath, and the plotters set to work in a house which they
had taken beside Whitehall, under the name of Percy, one of the
conspirators, an officer of the royal household. They reckoned
upon digging a mine which was to extend beneath the Houses of
Parliament. "No one set to work to dig or to transport the powder
who was not a gentleman," said Fawkes, in his examination. "While
the others worked I acted as sentinel, and the work was stopped
if any passer-by appeared." The stores were deposited at Lambeth,
on the other side of the river. They were brought in small
quantities as the subterranean passage progressed.


[Image]
The Gunpowder Plot Discovered.

{15}

Twice the work was suspended: the prorogation of Parliament was
prolonged--at first until the month of October, then until
November. The conspirators, who were no longer pressed for time,
separated in order not to arouse suspicion. At the end of May the
work was completed. They had been able to take a cellar which
extended beneath the floor of the House of Lords. Thirty-six
barrels of powder were deposited therein; but to these minds,
agitated by dark designs and burdened with a weighty secret,
idleness was fatal. They were, besides, nearly all without
resources, and the successive delays brought about in their
enterprise placed them in a great embarrassment. The want of
money induced Catesby, still the prime mover in the plot, to
admit among the conspirators two rich men upon whom he thought he
could rely. One, Sir Everard Digby, promised to invite to a great
hunting expedition all the Catholic gentlemen, members of
Parliament, whose lives it was desired to save. The other,
Tresham, a relative of Catesby, and already compromised with him
in certain intrigues, undertook to provide the necessary funds;
but scarcely had he taken the oath when the confidence with which
Catesby had hitherto been animated suddenly failed him. He became
dispirited: day and night he felt himself haunted by the most
sinister forebodings.

All was ready; Prince Charles, the second son of King James, was
to be proclaimed by Catesby at Charing Cross at the moment of the
destruction of Whitehall. Tresham was to depart in a ship
freighted for that purpose, and repair to Flanders to invoke the
assistance of the Catholic powers.
{16}
Guy Fawkes was entrusted to set fire to the mine. The general
meeting-place was at Dunchurch. The uneasiness of the greater
number of the accomplices was concerning their friends, whom they
were afraid of making the victims of their enterprise. Catesby
had, it was said, taken steps for keeping a great number of
Catholics away from Whitehall. "But were they as dear to me as my
own son, they should be blown up with the rest rather than cause
the affair to fail," he added. Meanwhile, on the 26th of October,
ten days before the opening of Parliament, Lord Monteagle,
father-in-law of Tresham, received a letter in a disguised hand,
enjoining him not to repair to Whitehall on the 5th of November.
"The Parliament will receive a terrible blow," said the anonymous
writer, "and yet they shall not see who hurts them."

Lord Monteagle immediately carried the warning to Cecil. On the
morrow the conspirators learnt that they were betrayed. Nothing
happened, however, to show that the mine had been discovered. Guy
Fawkes recognized all his secret marks again, and,
notwithstanding the growing uneasiness engendered by the
information received, Guy Fawkes continued to mount guard in the
cellar. The other conspirators waited the event with the courage
of insanity. On the 4th, in the daytime, Fawkes was at his post
when the Earl of Suffolk, High Chamberlain, entrusted with the
preparations for the opening of Parliament, appeared at the door
of the cellar. He cast a careless look around him. The barrels of
powder were hidden beneath a heap of wood and fagots. "Your
master has made great provision of fuel," he said to Fawkes, who
had represented himself as the servant of Percy, and he quitted
the dangerous cellar. Fawkes hastily gave intimation to Percy,
who had remained in London, then he returned to his mine. At two
o'clock in the morning he was arrested.

{17}

All the conspirators had taken to flight. Catesby still hoped to
rouse the Catholics to insurrection, but none responded to the
appeal. On the 7th of November they were assembled together in a
house at Holbeach, upon the borders of Staffordshire, being
resolved to perish to the last man in defending themselves. Sir
Robert Walsh, sheriff of Worcester, caused the residence to be
surrounded by his troops. There was no means of escaping, the
house had already been fired. "Stay, fool!" cried Catesby to
Winter, "we will die together." Both grasped their swords and
sprang upon the assailants. They were immediately killed. Several
others perished likewise. Sir Everard Digby was arrested, as well
as other less distinguished conspirators. Tresham had remained
quietly in London, counting upon his treachery to save him. He
was arrested and taken to the Tower with his accomplices.

Guy Fawkes had, meanwhile, been questioned by the king himself.
Indomitable even in the ruin of his hopes and the mortal peril in
which he was situated: "How could you bear the thought of causing
my children and so many innocent persons to perish?" said King
James. "For desperate ills there must be desperate remedies,"
replied the bold conspirator. "Why did you collect so much
powder?" asked a Scottish courtier. "I had purposed to cause all
the Scots to be blown as far as Scotland," Fawkes said gravely.
He was several times put to the torture, always refusing to tell
the names of his accomplices.
{18}
He was assured they had fled and were arrested. "It is useless
then to name them," maintained Fawkes, "they have named
themselves." It was through Bates, a servant of Catesby, that the
complicity of the Jesuits Greenway and Garnet was discovered.
Tresham had also given evidence against them, but being attacked
in his prison with a serious illness he retracted his
accusations, and died on the 23d of December, not without some
suspicion of poison.

Greenway had succeeded in escaping; but Garnet, a provincial of
the order of Jesuits, was arrested with Oldcorne, one of his own
order. Both were submitted to torture; both finally confessed
their knowledge of the plot, which, they said, they had often
opposed, the order of Pope Paul V. being to suffer all and to win
by patience the crown of life. In spite of the skill and
eloquence of Garnet the two Jesuits suffered death; but Garnet
was not executed till the 3d of May. All the conspirators who had
fallen into the hands of justice had expiated their crime on the
30th of January. Oldcorne died at the end of February.

The terror which the plot occasioned, the horror excited in all
classes of society, of which we still find the traces in the
custom of burning in the streets upon the 5th of November, an
effigy that bears the name of Guy Fawkes, fell upon the
Catholics, who were persecuted in a mass with fresh rigor, even
though they were strangers to the conspiracy. It was Parliament
that urged the king into this fatal path. The ministers were
obliged to moderate the ardor of the members who had been
threatened with being blown into the air with his Majesty.

{19}

Royal visits amused James, and relieved him for awhile from the
anxieties which his people occasioned him. The King of Denmark,
brother-in-law of the King of England, who had married Anne of
Denmark, and the Prince of Vaudemont, of the House of Guise,
spent a few weeks in England, setting the courtiers an example of
debauchery which did not prevent James from continuing to discuss
all the theological questions of the time, in writing or by word
of mouth, with Catholics as well as Puritans. He would always
cause his adversaries to be thrown into prison when their reasons
became too powerful, a resource especially valuable when it
happened, as in 1607, an insurrection broke out during the
discussions. A question had arisen, as in the days of Edward VI.,
of the right of enclosure. The people of Northamptonshire,
Warwickshire, and Leicestershire, claimed, with arms in their
hands, the pasturage of waste lands. When the king was assured
that it was not a plot of his theological antagonists, the
insurrection was soon repressed, without revealing the extreme
weakness of the government and the indolence of the king as well
as of his ministers.

Parliament rejected the favorite project of James, who desired to
unite not only the two crowns, but the two nations of England and
Scotland by common laws and a common religion. The plan was good
and useful, but premature. Scotland rejected it angrily, fearing
to be subjected to England. The latter rejected it with disdain,
asserting that the beggars of Scotland already came to England in
sufficiently numerous bands, without its being necessary to make
Englishmen of them. The subsidies were not voted. The king,
dissatisfied, abandoned his proposals; but for two years he did
not convoke Parliament.
{20}
It was necessity alone which compelled him, in 1610, to claim the
co-operation of his people in filling the treasury. Cecil, who
had become successively Lord Cranborne and Earl of Salisbury, now
sat at the Treasury and proposed enormous subsidies to the
Commons; but Parliament presented a petition of grievances, and
refused to vote anything without being assured of the redress of
its wrongs. Negotiations were carried on for several months.
Parliament at length granted a greatly reduced subsidy, without
having obtained all that it demanded in return. A weak, indolent
monarch, often indifferent concerning the most important affairs,
James was as obstinate when it was a question of his prerogative
as he was in matters of theology. Cecil died, it is said, of the
sorrows and vexations which Parliament had compelled him to
endure in the two sessions of 1610 and 1611. He expired on the
24th of May, 1612. Cunning and avaricious as his father, he had
not always given proof of that greatness of purpose and firmness
of resolve which made Burleigh the worthy minister of Queen
Elizabeth.

While the king was discussing with the Dutchman Conrad Vorstein,
upon the nature and attributes of the divinity, demanding of the
States of Holland the banishment of his adversary, Lady Arabella
Stuart, whose name had so often served as a watchword for
conspiracies, without her ever having been implicated in them
herself, for the first time in her life had become a plotter. Her
object, however, was simply to marry William Seymour, grandson of
the Earl of Hereford, to whom she had been attached from infancy.
When the secret was discovered, the princess was imprisoned at
Lambeth, and her husband thrown into the Tower. She saw him,
however, sometimes, and being forcibly removed to Durham, she
contrived to escape.
{21}
Seymour also fled from his prison. Both desired only to live
together abroad; but the husband alone reached a free country.
The poor Lady Arabella was arrested aboard the vessel which was
taking her across the Channel, and consigned to the Tower for the
remainder of her life. She lost her reason and died in 1615, long
forgotten even by those who had dreaded her name.

The favorites of James I. succeeded each other in the royal
household without intermission, often arousing the jealousy of
the queen. These favorites were loaded with riches and honors
while they were all-powerful, abandoned and forgotten when they
were replaced by others, unless they possessed some dangerous
secret. Robert Carr or Ker, of an old Border family, had recently
taken possession of this envied position, when Cecil died, in
1612. Still young, but having already become Viscount Rochester,
a member of the Privy Council, and Knight of the Garter, he was
created Lord Chamberlain, and fulfilled the functions of
Secretary of State, thanks to the assistance of one of his
friends, Sir Thomas Overbury, who was destined to pay dearly for
the honor. Sinister rumors soon began to circulate concerning
Rochester himself.

Prince Henry, the eldest son of James, was the idol of the
people. Handsome, well formed, brave, bold, and skillful in all
bodily exercises, he had, it was said, chosen the Black Prince
for his model, and was studying the science of war with more
pleasure than letters and theology. The pedantry of his father
was odious to him, and he did not scruple to blame his actions.
{22}
A great admirer of Sir Walter Raleigh, who was still imprisoned
in the Tower, he often said that no other king than his father
would keep such a bird in a cage. "He has become a man too soon
to live long," it was said among the people. Yet the greatest
hopes were founded on him. His life was regular, and his opinions
appeared to incline to the side of the Puritans, the real party
of the people, who looked upon him as the liberator promised by
the Scriptures. King James was afraid of his son. "Will he bury
me alive?" he said, when he heard of the multitude which
surrounded the young prince. He endeavored, meanwhile, to marry
his son, first to the Infanta of Spain, then to the Princess
Christine of France; but the negotiations proceeded slowly, and
the English people flattered themselves with hopes of a
Protestant alliance, like that which had recently been concluded
for the young Princess Elizabeth, betrothed to the Count Palatine
Frederick V. This prince had arrived in England, on the 16th of
October, 1612, for the celebration of the marriage, when Prince
Henry, who had been for some time ill, suffered a sudden relapse.
He was weak, and appeared to be in a state of stupor. An
energetic will still triumphed, however, over the disease. He
raised himself several times, appeared in public and dined with
the king. But the strength of the young man was declining
rapidly. His physicians were not agreed as to the nature of the
illness. On the 5th of November, the king was informed of the
desperate condition of his son. The prince was in London; but the
king, dreading the sorrow which awaited him, immediately set out
for Theobalds, of which Cecil had formerly given up the ownership
to him, and awaited the event from afar. The prince died on the
6th of November, 1612, amidst general grief, mingled with
indignation.
{23}
Rochester was everywhere accused of having poisoned the prince,
although the accusation had no appearance of foundation. Henry
had grown too rapidly, and had not strength to bear the attacks
of a putrid fever. The king did not manifest for his son the same
regret as his people. He immediately resumed for Prince Charles
the negotiations of marriage begun for Prince Henry, and
celebrated, on the 13th of February, 1613, the nuptials of his
daughter with a pomp and splendor which were to be the only
satisfaction of the young princess, who was prematurely destined
to suffer from the difficulties and trials of the regal state.

The king was more than ever embarrassed for money. He endeavored
to contract loans; he re-established and increased all the
monopolies; he sold to all comers the honors of knighthood, a new
intermediate order between the nobility and the common people,
which was soon after to take the title of "baronetage;" but the
avidity of the courtiers, the prodigality of the king, in
ministering both to his own pleasures and to those of his
favorites, as well as old debts which oppressed him, exhausted
all resources. It was necessary to have recourse to Parliament.
Sir Francis Bacon, formerly a dependent of the Earl of Essex,
afterwards his accuser, one of the greatest minds and the most
despicable characters in a period accustomed to such contrast,
made a promise to James to undertake the task of making
Parliament obey. Rochester, who had become Earl of Somerset,
joined him. They were called with regard to this the
_undertakers_. The Commons assembled in ill-humor. They had
received intelligence of the audacious project formed to
constrain them.
{24}
They consulted the Lords upon the right of the king to establish
various taxes. The Upper House refused the conference, but the
subsidies were not voted. The king caused Parliament to be warned
that he would dissolve it if it did not fulfill its task, the
only one for which it was convoked. Parliament replied that it
would not vote as long as the grievances were not redressed. It
was dissolved, not to be called for six whole years. Parliament
had not voted a single act, but it had powerfully contributed to
establish that independence of the House which was soon to strike
the death-blow to absolute power in England.

The star of a new favorite who was destined to have a hand in the
work of shaking the foundations of the throne had already become
visible above the horizon. George Villiers, known in history
under the name of Buckingham, had begun to take the place of the
Earl of Somerset in the heart of the king. The latter had
recently married the Countess of Essex, who had been separated by
divorce from her husband, the son of the unfortunate favorite of
Queen Elizabeth. Somerset and his wife were accused by the public
voice of having imprisoned, then poisoned an old friend of
theirs, Sir Thomas Overbury. The growing favor of Villiers gave
to the enemies of the declining favorite courage to denounce him
to the king. The great judge Coke, rival of Bacon, adopted the
low calumny circulated against Somerset, and accused him also of
having poisoned Prince Henry. Several accomplices were arrested
and the assassination of Overbury was proved; but the connivance
of Somerset remained doubtful. Justice proceeded against him
slowly and as though regretfully; the tone of the earl was often
haughty; the king intervened in his favor: the favorite had been
initiated into many important secrets.
{25}
Bacon conducted the affair with consummate prudence and ability.
The countess was separately condemned to death. Somerset being
declared guilty in his turn, was pardoned, as was his countess:
and the earl received royal gifts even after retirement to his
country seat, which was soon afterwards granted to him as a
prison. Either through fear or from a lingering affection, James
I. did not abandon his former favorite, notwithstanding his
growing passion for a new face. George Villiers was henceforth to
reign undividedly over the father as well as the son. Prince
Charles had assumed the title of Prince of Wales; his friendship
for Villiers equalled that of the king.

Fourteen years had passed since James had quitted Scotland, and
he had never visited his hereditary kingdom; he had no money for
that purpose; but the States of Holland, free from the war with
Spain since the recognition of their independence in 1609, had
recently paid their debts to England, and the journey to Scotland
was resolved upon. The king besides had a great task to achieve
there; he was laboring to establish religious uniformity among
his subjects. Twelve years previously he had undertaken to found
the episcopacy in Scotland. Persecution, imprisonment, exile had
by degrees disposed of the chiefs of the resistance. Welch and
Decry, condemned to death, then to banishment, had retired
abroad. Old Andrew Melvil, called to London for a conference, and
forcibly detained, as his nephew had already been, had left the
latter in his prison in Scotland, where he died. At this period
Melvil was living at Sedan, ever indomitable in his aversion to
the episcopacy and his
support of the rights of a free-born Scot.
{26}
James had in Scotland an agent as able as he was unscrupulous.
Sir George Hume, whom he had made Earl of Dunbar, succeeded at
length, partly by intimidation, partly by corruption, in imposing
silence upon the Scottish clergy. Two courts of high commission
still more tyrannical than those of London, were sitting at St.
Andrew's and Glasgow when the king arrived in Scotland, in 1617.
Parliament presented for the royal sanction the bill which
definitively constituted the episcopal Church; but a remonstrance
from the clergy arrested the arm of the king as he extended the
sceptre to give the authority of law to the project; the bill was
withdrawn, the episcopacy was held to be established by the royal
prerogative, and the refractory were cited before the high
commission. Calderwood went to swell the band of Scottish exiles
upon the Continent, and the people, deprived of the religious
form which pleased them and to which they were accustomed,
allowed their resentment to slumber until the day when the
Covenant was to protest against the work of the father as
developed by the son.

King James had been much vexed in Scotland by the strict
observance of the "Sabbath." When he set out to return to
England, he composed a work to which he gave the authority of
law, under the title of _The Book of Sports_. Under the
pretext of regulating the pleasures permitted on Sunday, this new
ordinance forbade the respectful observances which marked among
the Puritans the rest of the seventh day. The _Book of
Sports_ was ill received by the majority of the population.
They refused to be merry by compulsion, and the new arm, more
dangerous to royalty than to the Puritans, lay in the arsenal of
despotism, until Archbishop Laud subsequently drew it forth for
his own injury as well as that of his master.

{27}

At the moment of leaving Scotland, the king had raised Bacon to
the dignity of Keeper of the Seals and had entrusted extensive
powers to him. This royal favor had turned the brain of the
illustrious lawyer, who had affected the dignity of king during
the absence of the legitimate monarch. Upon his return, however,
Bacon resumed his accustomed humility in presence of the great
men of the land. After waiting for two days at the door of
Villiers, who had become Duke of Buckingham, he at length
obtained admission, and threw himself prostrate before the
favorite, kissing his feet. He did not rise until he had obtained
his pardon. "I was obliged to kneel myself before the king to
make him revoke your disgrace," said the haughty favorite to the
repentant magistrate. The disgrace had reference especially to
the part which Bacon had played in a project of marriage for the
brother of Villiers with the grand-daughter of Coke. The union
was accomplished, but Coke only gained by the sacrifice of his
grand-daughter a place in the Council, while Bacon, reconciled
with Buckingham, became Chancellor and Lord Verulam, thus adding
fresh riches to the treasures which he dissipated as quickly as
he acquired them.

Bacon was not the only person who sold justice and favor.
Buckingham, his family, and his friends, were publicly
trafficking in offices, posts, and titles, which were even
imposed sometimes upon those who did not ask for them. The
favorite was created a Marquis and appointed High Admiral, to the
detriment of the aged Howard, formerly commander of the fleet
that had vanquished the Armada.
{28}
Trials, skillfully conducted by Bacon and Coke, added fines and
confiscations to the produce of the malversations. All articles
of primary necessity were the subject of monopolies. The people
regretted Somerset, and still more the wise administration and
economy of Queen Elizabeth.

Amidst the system of plunder which he tolerated, the king was
still poor. He had for a moment hoped for a fresh source of
wealth; Sir Walter Raleigh, still confined in the Tower, had
succeeded in bringing to the knowledge of the king the details of
a gold-mine, which he had formerly discovered in Guiana. Raleigh
was quite ready to direct an expedition, promising to pay all
expenses himself and asking from the king nothing but his
liberty. A fifth of all the profits was to belong to the Crown.
James hesitated for a long time. He dreaded the valor of Raleigh,
which might involve him in a war with Spain; but the skillful
adventurer contrived to purchase the good-will of the favorite.
Raleigh issued forth from the Tower, free, but not pardoned.
Protesting his pacific intentions with regard to the Spaniards,
he set sail on the 28th of March, 1617, as King James was
preparing to start for Scotland.

From the moment of its departure misfortune attended the
expedition of Raleigh: sickness decimated his crews and stretched
him upon a bed of suffering. He found the Spaniards warned of his
approach and disposed to oppose his progress. The little squadron
which he commissioned to ascend the river Oronoco, in search of
the gold-mine, was attacked by the Spaniards of the town of St.
Thomas; in return, the English captured and burnt down the town.


[Image]
Sir Walter Raleigh.

{29}

The son of Raleigh was killed, the crews mutinied, and the
expedition returned without gold and almost without soldiers. Sir
Walter Raleigh, distracted with grief and anger, flew into a
passion with Captain Kemyss, who commanded the detachment; his
old friend, in despair, killed himself. Other captains abandoned
their unfortunate chief. The sailors were in revolt, those who
remained urged Sir Walter to return to former methods, and to
overrun the sea and the coasts with them in order to seize and
pillage the Spanish ships and settlements. Raleigh resisted, not
without some efforts and relapses. He set sail, however, for
England. When he landed in the month of June, 1618, he learnt
that a warrant of arrest had been issued against him. Spain had
complained of the capture of St. Thomas. The governor, who had
been killed, was a relative of Gondomar, the ambassador in
England; the latter had raised the cry of piracy and made threats
of royal vengeance. The moment was fatal to Raleigh. James was
negotiating for the marriage of his son with the Infanta, Donna
Anna, daughter of Philip III. He was resolved to please Spain at
any price. Raleigh was soon lodged in the Tower once more. "The
guilty man is in our hands," wrote Buckingham to Gondomar, "and
we have seized his ships; if it please the king your lord, his
Majesty will punctually fulfill his engagements, by sending the
criminals to suffer their punishment in Spain, unless he should
find it more satisfactory and exemplary that the chastisement
should be inflicted upon them in England." Philip III. deigned to
entrust this business to King James.

{30}

Raleigh was still under the weight of the old sentence of death
pronounced against him fifteen years previously, without which it
would have been difficult to convict him this time of a crime
involving capital punishment. "Your recent offences have roused
the justice of his Majesty," declared the great judge Montague;
"May God have mercy on your soul!" Weak and ill as he was,
Raleigh defended himself with as much skill as complacency. He
asked for a short delay, in order to put his affairs in order.
"Not," he said, "that I desire to gain a minute of existence.
Old, sick, and dishonored, and approaching my end, life has
become wearisome to me." It was, indeed, the expression of
supreme weariness in this man, who had always loved life more
than he had dreaded death, even according to the statements of
his enemies. The respite was refused. Lady Raleigh, on going to
say farewell to her husband, announced to him that she had
obtained the favor of receiving his body after the execution. The
hideous punishment of traitors had been commuted. Raleigh was to
be beheaded. "Well done, Bess," he said, smiling; "it is
fortunate that you will be able to dispose in death of a husband
whom you have not always had when alive at your disposal." He had
cast aside, by an effort of his powerful will, all the ambitious
projects, all the romantic, adventurous, strange ideas, which
still crowded in his brain. The greatness of his soul, often
darkened during lifetime by many faults and even vices, was freed
from the dark mist at the hour of death. On the 29th of October
he was calm, grave, pious. He received the sacrament before
walking to the scaffold, erected at Westminster. An immense crowd
surrounded it. He addressed the people and made a long speech,
protesting his innocence. The morning was cold.
{31}
It was proposed to the condemned man that he should warm himself
for an instant before the fatal moment. "No," said Raleigh, "it
is the day of my ague; if I were to tremble presently, my enemies
will say I quake for fear. It were better to have done with it."
He knelt, uttering aloud a beautiful prayer. He touched the axe,
"'Tis a sharp medicine, but a sound cure for all diseases," he
said, and he laid his head upon the block. The executioner
delayed. "What do you fear?" exclaimed Raleigh; "strike." His
head fell immediately. The great soldier, the illustrious sailor,
the statesman, the scholar, the incomparable adventurer, was not
yet sixty-seven years of age. King James had truckled to Spain,
and had added one more stain to his name.

One of the most implacable of the judges who were the instruments
of the ruin of Raleigh was already threatened in his exalted
seat. At the beginning of 1621 the king was compelled to convoke
a Parliament, to obtain the subsidies which he needed. His
son-in-law, the Elector-Palatine, placed by the Protestant
faction on the throne of Bohemia, had imprudently accepted that
offer without measuring the opposition which was about to be
raised against him on the part of the Catholics of the Empire. He
was now in danger of being driven from Bohemia, and deprived at
the same time of his hereditary states. The Lower Palatinate had
been attacked by the Catholic armies. James hesitated, lamented,
cursing the ambition of his son-in-law, which had placed this
business upon his shoulders; but he had already sent a small army
corps to his assistance, and promised larger reinforcements.
Parliament alone could place him in a position to keep his
promises.

{32}

Parliament had no objection to this war, popular in England as a
Protestant crusade; but it desired to set a price upon its
liberality, and demanded that several retainers of monopolies
should be tried, who had unworthily abused their scandalous
privileges. From Sir Giles Mompesson and Sir Francis Mitchell,
they soon came to the Attorney-General, Sir Henry Yelverton, and
from him to one of the judges of the court of prerogatives, to
the Bishop of Llandaff, convicted of having sold or bought
justice. The vengeance of the Commons aimed even higher still:
the Chancellor Bacon had said that corruption was the vice of the
time. He had been profoundly smitten with it, and was to bear a
signal punishment for his offences. On the 21st of March, 1621,
the commission of Parliament entrusted with the inquiry into
abuses in the matter of justice accused the Lord Chancellor,
viscount of St. Alban's, upon twenty-two personal counts, while
at the same time he was reproached with his connivance at
offences of the same nature among his subordinates.

Bacon had hitherto resolutely denied the deeds with which the
public voice reproached him; but the blow was too bold and the
accusations too plainly specified for him to be able to resist
the evidence any longer. His eloquence, the marvellous resources
of his mind, the brilliancy of his genius, all failed him with
the decline of court favor. He felt himself abandoned by the
king, who had never had any liking for him, the servility of
Bacon not succeeding in veiling his intellectual superiority. The
Duke of Buckingham coveted his offices for some of his own
dependents. The great chancellor was stricken with sickness, he
took to his bed and asked for time to prepare his defence.
{33}
It was not a defence, but a general confession which he caused to
be presented on the 24th of April to the House of Lords. Being
pressed with questions, he avowed one after another all the
shameful actions of which he was accused, palliating them as well
as he was able and asking mercy of his judges. "The poor
gentleman," wrote a contemporary, "elevated formerly above pity,
has now fallen below it; his tongue, which was the glory of his
time for eloquence, is like a forsaken harp hung upon the willow,
while the waters of affliction flow over upon the banks." The
abasement was complete. The Lords had spared this great criminal
the humiliation of appearing at their bar, but a deputation
repaired to his residence in order to cause the authenticity of
the writing and the circumstantial confession to be certified.
"It is my act, my hand, my heart. Oh my Lords, spare a broken
reed!" sobbed the great philosopher, the brilliant genius, the
profound thinker who is still one of the glories of England.
Moral character had been lacking to these intellectual gifts.

Bacon was condemned to lose all his offices and to pay a fine of
forty thousand pounds sterling, which was remitted by the king,
for he was in no condition to discharge it. His imprisonment was
commuted into exile within his estates. It was forbidden him
during his lifetime to approach the court, to sit in Parliament,
or to serve his country in whatever capacity it might be.

No punishment could be more bitter to Bacon. Confined to his
country seat, he revised his former works, his _Essays_, his
_Novum Organum_, or New Philosophy, his two books on the
_Progress of Science_. He caused them to be translated into
Latin; he even wrote a _History of Henry VII.;_ but his
heart was still in court and in public life.
{34}
He only asked to reappear upon that scene from which he had been
so ignominiously expelled, and he harassed the King, Prince
Charles, and the Duke of Buckingham with his petitions. None gave
ear to him, none replied to him; his temper became embittered,
his health became impaired, and this great mind, fallen so low,
was extinguished in 1626, five years after his disgrace. He died
at the age of sixty-five.

The affairs of the Elector-Palatine, who had become King of
Bohemia, were becoming more and more serious. The five thousand
Englishmen sent by King James, ill-paid and poorly commanded, had
rendered little service. The embassies with which he importuned
all the powers interested exerted no influence. The throne of
Bohemia, like the hereditary states of Prince Frederick, had been
taken from him, and, driven from Germany, he had been compelled
to take refuge at the Hague with his wife and children, there to
live upon a pension allowed him by the Dutch; but his
father-in-law, King James, had conceived a project which was, he
thought, calculated at least to re-establish his son-in-law in
the Palatinate. He counted in this affair upon the influence of
Spain.

In spite of the national opposition to a Catholic marriage for
the heir to the throne, and notwithstanding the recent petitions
of Parliament to this effect, King James, who had moreover
quarrelled with the House of Commons and had caused several of
its members to be arrested, continued his negotiations with
Philip IV. for the marriage of Prince Charles with the Infanta,
Donna Maria. For nearly twenty years the King of England had, in
common with Spain, dreamed of this alliance, which he at length
regarded as on the point of being realized.
{35}
The scheme had been proposed more than once in the shape of a
union between Prince Henry with the Infanta Anne; the prince had
died and the Infanta had married the King of France. The King of
Spain, Philip III., had at first appeared favorable to the
marriage, but on his death-bed he recommended his son Philip IV.
to make his sister an empress by uniting her to her cousin the
Emperor Ferdinand. King James did not know of the last wish of
the dying king, but he hoped to find the new Spanish sovereign
more accommodating than his father. After endless negotiations
and journeys to and fro, after Catholic pretensions on the part
of Spain, and displays of pecuniary avidity on that of King
James, who threatened to break off everything, an almost complete
understanding had been arrived at in the month of January, 1623:
the Infanta was to preserve the free exercise of her religion;
the English Catholics were to enjoy a practical, if not legal,
toleration; the payments of the dowry of two millions of crowns
were arranged, the dispensation of Rome was expected, and people
spoke of celebrating the marriage by proxy through the ambassador
forty days after the arrival of that important document.
Everything appeared propitious. Lord Digby, Earl of Bristol,
ambassador at Madrid, wrote to the king, "I do not wish to
inspire by uncertain reasons a vain hope in your Majesty, but I
can inform you that the court of Spain openly manifests its
intention of giving you real and prompt satisfaction. If this is
not really their design, they are more false than all the devils
in hell, for they could not make more protestations of sincerity
nor more ardent vows."

{36}

The Spaniards could scarcely be absolved from the reproach of
double-dealing in this affair; for notwithstanding appearances,
the two negotiations in favor of the Elector-Palatine and the
Prince of Wales did not make progress. The towns of the
Palatinate, which still held out for their hereditary prince,
were falling by degrees into the hands of the emperor without
Spain intervening in any manner, and the dispensation of Rome did
not arrive. A strange and chivalrous project suddenly arose in
the mind of Prince Charles, suggested, it is said, by Buckingham,
who had himself conceived it upon a proposal of the Duke
Olivarez, first and all-powerful minister in Spain. Why not go
himself to Madrid to conquer and bring back the Infanta? Why not
put an end to this interminable negotiation by the act of an
amorous, headstrong prince? King James consented to the scheme
after much hesitation and even after tears. He had the matter at
heart; his self-love was at stake. The prince set out secretly,
accompanied by Buckingham.

The undertaking was hazardous, and it appeared even more so than
it was. When it was known in England that the prince had
departed, and with what object, the emotion and uneasiness were
great. Public agitation communicated itself to the king. "Do you
think," he said to his keeper of the seals, Bishop Williams,
"that this knight-errant journey will succeed?" "Sire," said the
bishop, "if my Lord Marquis of Buckingham treat the Duke Olivarez
with great consideration, remembering that he is the favorite in
Spain, and if the Duke Olivarez is very polite and careful
towards my Lord Marquis of Buckingham, remembering that he is the
favorite in England, the prince your son may pay his addresses
happily to the Infanta; but if the duke and the marquis mutually
forget what they both are, it will be very dangerous for the
design of your Majesty. God will that neither one nor the other
will fall into that error."

{37}

The far-seeing good sense of the bishop keeper of the seals had
not deceived him. The whims and vanity of Buckingham encountering
the Spanish haughtiness, were to be as a rock to this frail bark.
The undertaking had succeeded well: the prince and the favorite
had traversed Paris and France under an incognito, which was
penetrated on several occasions, and they had arrived safe and
sound at Madrid on the 17th of March, 1623, "more gay than they
had ever been in their lives." This chivalrous freak, the
imprudent straightforwardness of the proceeding for a moment
appeared to seduce the Spaniards. "It only remains for us to
throw the Infanta into his arms," Count Olivarez exclaimed, and
the prince, putting aside all mystery, was sumptuously received
at the court of Spain, admitted to the presence of the Infanta,
and entertained with hopes of a speedy triumph. Appearances were
soon to give way to reality. The months elapsed, the Prince of
Wales and Buckingham were still at Madrid. The demands of Pope
Gregory XV. became every day more extensive, and the situation
more treacherous. The three sovereigns reciprocally demanded an
act of respect for religious liberty, which in the main and on
principle neither of them recognized nor intended to grant. The
King of England wished his son to marry a Catholic princess,
while remaining exclusively Protestant himself, his son, and his
people. The King of Spain desired that his daughter and all her
personal servants should remain openly Catholics, while living in
a Protestant family and among a Protestant people, while he
himself absolutely excluded all Protestants from his realm.
{38}
The Pope claimed for the Catholics of England full liberty of
conscience, while peremptorily refusing the same privilege to the
Protestants throughout his dominions, and called upon the King of
England to return, together with his people, to the yoke of the
only true and sovereign Church.

So many conflicting and obstinate pretensions could not be
reconciled. King James yielded as much as he could; he signed the
articles of toleration with regard to the Catholics which were
demanded of him, publicly so far as public opinion in England
grudgingly permitted; secretly in respect of that which concerned
the influence to be exerted upon Parliament on the subject of
penal laws. He even sent (to his son and Buckingham) a blank
signature, which approved in advance all that they might concede.
Matters proceeded from bad to worse; the first surprise at the
proceeding of the Prince of Wales had subsided. There was no
longer any hope of seeing Charles become a Catholic. "I have come
to Spain to seek a wife and not a religion," he said frankly. The
views of the English and Spanish favorites had clashed upon
several occasions. Buckingham, irritated at not having succeeded
immediately in an undertaking which his foolish vanity had
suggested, altered his mind, and no longer urged the completion
of the project. Nothing had been broken off, but everything
remained in suspense, and King James as well as England had for
more than six months been demanding the return of the absent
Prince of Wales. "I care neither for the marriage nor for aught
else, provided I fold you once more in my arms," wrote the king
to his son and the favorite.
{39}
"God grant it! God grant it! God grant it! Amen! amen! amen!"
There was a tender separation in appearance, at least, between
the royal persons. The two favorites were more bitter. "I remain
for ever," said Buckingham to Olivarez, "the servant of the King
of Spain, the queen, the Infanta, and I will render to them all
the good offices in my power. As to you, you have so often
thwarted and disobliged me that I make you no declaration of
friendship." "I accept your words," dryly replied the Count Duke.
"If the prince had come here alone he would not have gone away
alone," it was said in Madrid. He embarked at Santander, on the
28th of September, and landed, on the 5th of October, at
Portsmouth, amidst the acclamations and transports of joy of all
England. This time, Buckingham was of the same opinion as the
people of England, and he henceforth exerted all his influence
toward preventing this marriage for which he had toiled so long,
and which Spain at length appeared to seriously desire. In the
month of January, 1624, the Earl of Bristol was recalled from
Spain, where he had loyally served the king his master, and made
a mortal enemy in the Duke of Buckingham. The sumptuous
preparations for the nuptials were suspended. The Infanta
renounced the title of Princess of Wales, which she already bore,
and war with Spain became imminent. King James, who detested war,
and who had striven for so many years for a union with Spain, was
greatly dejected. "War," he said, "will not restore the
Palatinate to my son-in-law." The Protestant passion of England
and the ill-humor of Buckingham, fomented by the tardiness and
the demands of the Pope and Spain, had triumphed.
{40}
Parliament, convoked with regret in 1624, immediately offered
substantial supplies, and the rigorous laws against the
Catholics, suspended for a moment, were applied with more
severity than ever. Alliances began to be formed against the
House of Austria in Germany and in Spain. France, Savoy, Denmark,
Sweden, united with England and Holland, which latter country
having already resumed the war with its perpetual enemies, it was
a question of nothing less than completely delivering the soil of
the Low Countries from the presence of the Spaniards and retaking
the Palatinate. The English troops, placed under the orders of
Prince Maurice of Nassau, were defeated. The prince died at the
Hague. The Count of Mansfeldt, then the great adventurer in war,
came to seek in England the reinforcements which had been
promised him. The soldiers were inexperienced, the quarters
unhealthy; before arriving at the frontiers of the Palatinate
half the troops were unfit for service. The Elector-Palatine was
not yet upon the point of recovering his states.

While England was thus raising the standard of the Protestant
war, King James was negotiating another Catholic marriage. He had
long kept the court of Spain in suspense, pretending successively
to seek for his two sons the hand of a French princess. When the
affair decisively miscarried at Madrid, he turned again towards
Paris. Cardinal Richelieu was more resolute and his designs were
grander than those of Olivarez. "The marriage of the Princess
Henrietta-Maria with the King of England, and the league of the
Protestant states under the patronage of the King of France were
necessary to the greatness of France and to his own power."
{41}
He had formed a league against the House of Austria, and
consolidated it by promising the sister of Louis XIII. to the
Prince of Wales. A secret act, securing to the English Catholics
not only toleration, but more liberty and immunity, was signed on
the 12th of December, 1624, by King James and the Prince of
Wales. The preparations were already begun for receiving the
French princess in London, when King James fell ill and died on
the 6th of April, 1625, at the age of fifty-eight. He had been
twenty-two years king of England. His foolish pretensions to
absolute power, his religious tyranny, his bad and weak policy
had prepared the storm which was to burst upon the head of his
son.



{42}

                   Chapter XXIII.

     Charles I. And His Government (1625-1642).

King James I. had wearied his people, who had learned to despise
him. King Charles I. ascended the throne amidst the hopes of his
people. He was already respected, and his subjects were disposed
to have confidence in him. He immediately convoked a Parliament.
When, on the 18th of June, 1625, the two Houses assembled at
Westminster, Parliament, as well as the king, was as yet ignorant
of the profound hostility which separated a sovereign imbued with
all the notions of absolute power which had been developed half a
century previously upon the Continent, and a people who, on their
part, had made progress and who now claimed to take part in the
affairs of the country and in their own government.

The struggle was not long in beginning. It was to the king that
all the petitions and remonstrances of the House of Commons were
addressed, but Parliament looked to everything and claimed to
reform all abuses. The supplies necessary for sustaining the war
against Spain were withheld during the examination of grievances.
They had only been partially voted when the king, young and
impatient, wearied by delays and complaints, pronounced the
dissolution of Parliament, and had recourse to a loan to procure
money.

{43}

The loan succeeded ill, and the enterprise against Cadiz, which
had rendered it necessary, having miscarried, the king found
himself compelled to convoke another Parliament, which it was
hoped would be found more docile; but at the court of Charles,
and in his closest intimacy, lived a man, the favorite of the son
as well as of the father, to whom the English people attributed
the dissensions which separated them from their sovereign. The
Commons arrived in London, resolved to overthrow Buckingham. The
king protected him and angrily rejected the accusations which
were presented. Two of the commissioners entrusted with the
impeachment--Sir John Eliot and Sir Dudley Digges--were placed in
the Tower for insolent words. On the 15th of June, 1626, the
second Parliament of the reign of Charles I. was dissolved like
the first, and the monarch felt himself king.

He was resolved to govern alone, but he had no money. The war
with Spain and Austria weighed heavily upon his finances.
Buckingham, animated by personal spite against Cardinal
Richelieu, involved his master in a struggle with France, in the
interests of threatened Protestantism. It was thought that the
heart of the English people would be regained, and its purse
everywhere opened by announcing an expedition for the deliverance
of La Rochelle, which was besieged. Buckingham himself was to
command it.

Distrust was felt towards the favorite and his zeal for the
Protestant cause. The new loan supplied little money; the tax
called ship-money, imposed for the first time upon the ports and
seaside districts, produced fewer vessels, armed and equipped,
than had been hoped for, and the expedition sent to the
assistance of La Rochelle failed miserably. Buckingham, who had
effected a descent upon the island of Ré, was unable to take
possession of it.
{44}
He lost many men, and returned to England after this sanguinary
blow, more hated and despised than ever. "All the known or
possible resources of tyranny were exhausted." The king and the
favorite, haughty as they were, felt the necessity of becoming
reconciled with the people. A fresh Parliament was convoked, on
the advice of Buckingham, as was everywhere announced.

Parliament assembled on the 17th of March, 1628. It numbered in
its midst nearly all the men who, in their counties, had resisted
the royal tyranny or exactions. The language of the king, on
opening the session, was haughty and threatening. He had wavered,
but he desired to raise himself in his own eyes as well as those
of the world by an especially regal attitude. The Houses did not
trouble themselves about threats. They too were animated by a
passionate and haughty resolve. Their purpose was to proclaim
aloud their liberties and cause them to be recognized by the
Government. The aged Coke, young Wentworth, destined shortly to
serve the interests of absolute power under the name of Lord
Strafford, Denzil Hollis, Pym, and many others, of different
manners and sentiments, but united in the same patriotic desire,
were at the head of the Parliamentary coalition. Less than two
months after its assembling, on the 8th of May, 1628, the House
of Commons had voted the famous political declaration known under
the name of the _Petition of Right_. After some hesitation,
the Upper House accepted it also. The petition was immediately
presented to the king, who, after struggling in vain for several
weeks, ultimately promised his assent.


[Image]
Assassination Of Buckingham.

{45}

It was one of the misfortunes, perhaps the greatest misfortune of
King Charles I., never to admit that a monarch owed his subjects,
however refractory, truth and fidelity. He evaded replying to the
Petition of Right, contenting himself with protesting his
attachment to the Great Charter, and he forbade the House to
meddle in future with state affairs.

The exasperation was great. Charles and Buckingham took alarm;
they yielded. This Parliament which had but lately been thought
of no use but to vote subsidies, was already treated with upon a
footing of equality; the Petition of Right was again presented to
the king, and he replied with the usual formula, always uttered
in French: _Soit droit fait comme il est désiré_. But the
abuses were not reformed; it was a question of applying the
principles. The king collected the customs dues without the
authority of Parliament. The conflict recommenced; the king
wished to gain some respite without dissolving Parliament. He
prorogued the Houses until the month of January, 1629. Before
that period, on the 23rd of August, 1628, the Duke of Buckingham
was assassinated by a disaffected officer, named Felton, and in
the hat of the latter was found some writing which recalled to
mind the recent remonstrance of the House. The king, indignant
and disconsolate, returned noiselessly into the path of despotism
which he had, for a moment, apparently forsaken. He lost a
favorite odious to Parliament; he detached from the coalition of
the Commons one of its boldest and most esteemed chiefs. Sir
Thomas Wentworth, soon afterwards Lord Strafford, entered the
council of the king, notwithstanding the entreaties of his
friends. When the House again assembled, on the 20th of January,
1629, it learned that the evasive reply of the king to the
Petition of Right had been affixed at the bottom of the petition.
{46}
The printer had received orders to modify the legal text in this
manner. The commissioners of the Commons, entrusted to verify the
matter, did not mention it, as though blushing to disclose such a
breach of faith; but their silence did not promise oblivion.

All the attacks against the abuses still subsisting recommenced.
The king, on his part, endeavored to obtain the concession of the
customs dues, which he claimed in advance and for all the
duration of his reign, like the majority of his predecessors. The
Commons remained immovable; the voting of the supplies was the
sole efficacious arm which remained to them wherewith to fight
against absolute power. The king spoke of proroguing the Houses
again. The Commons caused their doors to be closed in order to
deliberate without restraint. As preparations were being made for
breaking them open, the Council were apprised that the members
had retired, after having voted that the collecting of the
customs duties was illegal, and that those who should raise them,
or who should merely consent to pay them, were traitors to the
country. On the 16th of March, 1629, Parliament was dissolved. A
few days afterwards the king published a declaration, which ended
in these terms: "It is spread abroad, with evil design, that a
Parliament will soon be assembled. His Majesty has well proved
that he had no aversion to Parliaments, but their last excesses
have determined him against his wish to change his conduct. He
will in future account it presumption for any to prescribe a time
for convoking a new Parliament."

The king was about to endeavor to govern alone, after having
attempted in vain to govern with his Parliament.

{47}

The English people did not rise in revolt. They were exasperated
and distrustful, preoccupied with the political trials which
everywhere awaited the leaders of the parliamentary resistance;
but nowhere did they disregard the laws. At the beginning of his
exercise of absolute power, Charles I. met no obstacle on the
part of his subjects. It was his friends who soon caused
embarrassment to his government. The capricious frivolity of
Queen Henrietta Maria, her attachment to her favorites, ambitious
and frivolous like herself, the court intrigues, and the division
which was becoming greater and greater between these persons
absorbed in pleasures and the serious part of the nation, which
was passionately devoted to the affairs of this world and those
of eternal life; such were the first obstacles which King Charles
encountered. He had to assist him, however, the two ministers to
whom he had given his confidence, Lord Wentworth and Bishop Laud.

In forsaking the national party, to which he belonged, for hatred
to Buckingham rather than from personal or fixed principles,
Wentworth had embraced the royal cause with all his heart. "With
an intellect too great to confine itself to domestic intrigues,
and a pride too passionate to bow to the proprieties of the
palace, he gave himself up enthusiastically to business, braving
all rivalries as he shattered all resistance, ardent in extending
and strengthening the royal authority, which had become his own,
but assiduous at the same time in re-establishing order, in
repressing abuses, in subjugating private interests which he
deemed illegitimate, in serving the general interests which he
did not fear." A friend of Wentworth, Laud, who was soon
nominated Archbishop of Canterbury, had, with less worldly
passions and with sincere piety, carried to the Council the same
dispositions and the same designs.
{48}
He had less understanding than his colleague, and "pursued
incessantly with an activity, indefatigable but narrow, violent,
and harsh, whatever fixed idea dominated him, with all the
transport of passion and the authority of duty."

Such counsels would necessarily enter before long into contention
with the court. Strafford (we give him the title under which he
is known in history, although he did not yet bear it) went to
Ireland, where he re-established order in the country and in the
finances, so that kingdom, but lately a source of great
expenditure, furnished revenues to the king. Laud was
commissioner of the treasury, and endeavored to apply the same
rules to the resources of the royal treasury in England; but the
prodigality of the queen, the somewhat disdainful generosity of
the king, who easily granted pensions, and the sumptuous life of
the court, exhausted the resources of the arbitrary but regular
government of the two ministers. The central power was weak and
impotent, foreign politics were ill-directed, and the king was
little regarded upon the Continent. Barbary Corsairs ventured
into the British Channel, and as far as St. George's Channel,
landing, pillaging the houses, and making prisoners. The merchant
navy in vain asked for protection; the royal fleet was unarmed
and ill equipped. Everywhere money was wanted; recourse was had
to ever-increasing exactions. Strafford convoked the Irish
Parliament, and contrived to chain it to his feet like a docile
slave. The king forbade him to assemble it again, for both he and
the queen dreaded the mere name of Parliament.
{49}
There, as elsewhere, the able, skillful, and foreseeing minister
suffered under the yoke of feeble incompetence. Monopolies
reappeared, affecting trade in all commodities: justice was sold,
and everything furnished matter for litigation, out of which
there was no escape but by payment of money. Absolute government
continued without power, while its mean tyranny and
administrative abuses weighed upon all classes of the nation. The
country gentlemen especially were incessantly a mark for the
rigors of authority, and saw grow up beside them, in every
village, a new power. Laud enrolled the Anglican Church in the
service of his king. He thus brought him a faithful and numerous
militia. Charles, sincerely pious and Protestant, notwithstanding
the weaknesses charged against him with regard to the Catholics,
ardently confided himself to this army which came to his
assistance. The alliance between the king and the Church soon
became close and irrevocable.

It was the Puritans, as the dissenting sects were then called,
who bore the burden of this alliance. Laud insisted upon
establishing everywhere an absolute conformity in the rites and
ceremonies which he modified without scruple in the Roman
Catholic spirit. Everywhere where the conscience of the Anglican
ministers was opposed to these innovations, they were dismissed
from their livings. The churches which they went forth to found
in France, Holland, and Germany, did not even secure to them the
liberty of their faith. Laud claimed to extend his jurisdiction
upon the Continent, and pursued them with his tyranny upon the
foreign soil on which they sought to establish themselves.

{50}

The numerous refugees who were driven from their country by
religious persecution, and who had obtained charters for the free
exercise of their national worship in England, found these
charters abolished. Absolute conformity with the Anglican rite
was required by the Archbishop, supported by the royal power.
Imprisonment and exile overtook the delinquents on all hands.

The anger and terror of the English people were becoming great.
The Reformation had been, in England, of a double nature.
Interested and worldly on the part of the king and the great
noblemen, it had been earnest, sincere, profound, among the
nation properly so called, and it had always leaned to the side
of the Puritans. The novelties introduced by Laud into the
worship agitated minds and consciences alike. The Catholics
rejoiced, and the Pope thought himself in a position to cause a
Cardinal's hat to be offered to the Archbishop; but the latter
only wished to secure the supremacy of the Anglican Church and of
the bishops in the Anglican Church. When he caused the office of
high treasurer to be given to Juxon, Bishop of London, Laud
exclaimed in excess of his joy, "Now that the Church subsists and
supports itself unassisted, all is consummated; I can no more."

He had done enough, for he had brought the Anglican Church to the
brink of the abyss, and had prepared for it grievous trials.

For some time disaffection had been increased among all classes
of society. The weakness and incapacity of the government in
general, notwithstanding the efforts of Strafford and Laud, the
pecuniary exactions and religious tyranny attacked and
exasperated all citizens; numerous emigrations had begun; men
passionately attached to their faith went to seek upon the
Continent, and even in America, the liberty of worship which was
refused to them in their own country.
{51}
Obscure and unknown sectaries had been the first to adopt the
refuge of exile; by degrees men of greater consideration followed
their example. When an order of the royal council forbade
emigration, a ship anchored in the Thames already bore the future
heroes of the revolution of England, ready to expatriate
themselves in order to escape an odious government. It was the
hand of the king himself which retained in England Pym, Haslerig,
Hampden, and Oliver Cromwell.

The wrath of the people did not yet burst forth, but it began to
be heard in suppressed tones; the assemblages of nonconformists
increased everywhere under different names. The Independents or
Brownists were the most numerous of those who separated
themselves openly from the Anglican Church, and all the vigilance
of Laud did not suffice to disperse the faithful, nor his
severity to punish them. Numerous pamphlets circulated among the
people of an insolent and vigorous kind. They were bought
eagerly, and the rigors of the star chamber did not succeed in
arresting the smugglers who brought them from Holland, and the
pedlars who spread them throughout the country. It was resolved
to make a great example; a lawyer, a theologian, and a physician,
Prynne, Burton, and Bastwick, were arrested at the same time,
and, after an iniquitous trial, were condemned to the pillory, to
lose their ears, and to pay an enormous fine. Their imprisonment
was to be for life.

{52}

The populace of London thronged around the pillory, when the
three condemned men, pale and bleeding, were fixed there. Their
courage did not falter for a moment, and their sufferings served
their cause better than all their writings. A libeller by
profession, John Lilburne, condemned to a punishment of the same
kind, received at the hands of the nation the same impassioned,
albeit still silent sympathy. The whole country was moved, but it
awaited a chief who should give the signal of legal resistance--a
name around which the scattered forces might range themselves. It
was for John Hampden that this honor was reserved.

Grave and irreproachable in conduct, Hampden was also a man of
substance. He lived peacefully in Buckinghamshire, esteemed and
honored by all. He was known to be adverse to the government, but
not violently so, and when, in 1636, the king was desirous of
collecting ship-money, which was illegal without the
authorization of Parliament, Hampden was rated at twenty
shillings only. He refused to pay, being determined to carry the
question personally before the courts. The trial was conducted
with moderation on the part of the accused as well as on that of
the counsel and judges. No insult to the government, no violence
towards Hampden, but justice was deaf to legal argument, and
Hampden was condemned. The court congratulated itself upon the
judgment which gave a sanction to arbitrary power. It did not
foresee that the name of Hampden was about to serve as a
rallying-point to all malcontents and all conspiracies. The party
of resistance now began its existence.

{53}

The outburst came sooner and with more violence in Scotland. King
James had succeeded in founding the episcopate there against the
wish and notwithstanding the traditional habits of the people,
passionately attached to the Presbyterian system; but the new
bishops had been prudent and had attempted nothing, either
against the clergy whom the people loved, or against the worship
to which they were accustomed. Charles I. and Laud were more
bold. By degrees the bishops had raised their heads; secure of
being acknowledged and supported, they had become imbued with the
doctrine of the divine right of the episcopate, and had taken a
place in political councils. The Archbishop of St. Andrew's was
chancellor of Scotland, the Bishop of Ross was about to become
treasurer, nine bishops sat in the privy council. On the 23d of
July, 1637, the Anglican litany was suddenly put in force in the
cathedral at Edinburgh.

When the astonished people heard these accents, which were
strange to their ears and which they regarded as savoring of
Popery, a profound emotion took possession spontaneously of the
whole assembly. An old woman threw her footstool at the head of
the officiating clergyman; sedition sprang up in the streets.
Repression did not calm the agitation. From Edinburgh it spread
into all the counties of Scotland. Every day the privy council
and the municipal council were besieged by a numerous, earnest,
and ardent mob; by gentlemen, farmers, townsmen, artisans,
peasants, who complained of the innovations introduced into their
worship. Upon being ordered to retire, they gave way without
violence, but the petitioners came back in greater numbers on the
morrow. Everywhere resistance was being organized, and when a
royal order was at length promulgated, prohibiting any assemblage
under pain of treason, the Lords Hume and Lindsay, both peers of
the Realm, following in the steps of the herald who read the
royal proclamation, caused to be affixed to the walls a protest
which they had signed in the name of their fellow-citizens.
{54}
The same care was taken in all places in which the king's
proclamation was made public. Six weeks after the imprudent and
arbitrary act of Charles, the whole of Scotland was confederated
under a solemn pledge called the "Covenant," a profession of
religious faith, and a national protest against the new liturgy
which the Government wished to impose upon the public. The king
and Laud had roused the Scottish nation to rebellion against
them.

Charles was both astonished and indignant. Imbued with all the
principles which flourished on the Continent respecting the royal
dignity and authority, he looked upon resistance as a crime of
the lower classes, and marvelled to see noblemen and gentlemen
united in the same feeling and serving the same cause. He
immediately resolved to have recourse to force in order to
chastise the rebels, but he required time to raise an army. The
Marquis of Hamilton, despatched into Scotland to negotiate with
the Covenanters, promised all that was desired, and authorized
the assembling of a general synod, wherein all the controverted
questions might be discussed. The assembly met at Glasgow; but
the Scots, distrusting with good cause so much condescension,
soon perceived that Hamilton was merely endeavoring to delay
matters. At the moment when the synod was preparing to accuse the
bishops, the marquis suddenly declared its dissolution. At the
same time it learned that war was imminent, and that a body of
troops raised in Ireland by Strafford was about to land in
Scotland. The king was preparing to chastise his rebellious
subjects, and Hamilton returned precipitately to London, while
the synod, without troubling itself about its dissolution,
continued its deliberations and abolished the episcopate.

{55}

The Scottish Covenanters did not confine themselves to mere words
or even to serious and impassioned utterances. They raised
troops. The Scots who were serving upon the Continent and one of
their best officers, Alexander Lesley, formerly in the service of
Gustavus Adolphus, were induced to come over and defend their
country. The Scottish people addressed to the English, their
brothers, a declaration intended to expound their grievances.
Before the common beliefs and opinions which now united the two
peoples the old national hatred disappeared. When the king
arrived at York with all his court, and his general, the Earl of
Essex, entered Scotland, the two armies communicated with each
other fraternally. The soldiers were more disposed to embrace
than to fight. The royal troops did not begin the struggle. Lord
Holland, who commanded the first corps, fell back without a
struggle. Negotiations were soon resorted to, and peace was
concluded at Berwick on the 18th of June, 1639, without a musket
having been fired. The disbanding of the two armies was resolved
upon, as well as the convocation of a synod and a Scottish
Parliament; but the treaty did not affect the root of the
difficulties, and the situation remained the same. It was a
suspension of arms, not a peace.

Both parties felt this. The Scots disbanded their troops, but
maintained the staff officers. Charles summoned Lord Strafford
from Ireland to his assistance; this was announcing a
predetermination to abandon a conciliatory policy. "It is
necessary," said the earl, "to bring back all these people to
their senses with the lash."
{56}
The conditions of peace with the Scots, ill-defined and scarcely
reduced to writing, gave occasion to interminable discussions.
Parliament and the synod assembled at Edinburgh, raised every day
fresh pretensions. War was resolved upon in the royal council,
but a pretext was necessary. A letter, addressed by the Scottish
chiefs to Louis XIII., with the simple title, _To the King_,
fell into the hands of Strafford. The support of the foreign
monarch was being invoked. Charles I., indignant himself, thought
that his indignation would be shared by all his people. He needed
money wherewith to fight the Scots; his coffers were empty, and
he had exhausted every means, legal and otherwise, of obtaining
resources. He determined upon his course, and convoked a
Parliament.

Great was the astonishment in England. Time had calmed public
excitement. The king, in his own person, had governed ill, but
people remembered the impediments which the last Parliament had
placed in the way of the royal administration; they desired more
prudence and moderation in the newly-elected members. The former
leaders of the liberal party re-entered the House; but they found
themselves surrounded by a sensible and moderate knot of men,
resolved to abolish abuses without violence and without insult.
They desired neither to alienate the king nor to trouble the
repose of the country. Charles himself was animated by the same
spirit towards Parliament.

{57}

The power of circumstances easily triumphs over good intentions.
Upon the reading of the letter of the Scots to the King of France
the House remained cold; and thus the arm upon which the king had
reckoned failed him when within his grasp. Charles had decided
for war, and demanded supplies, but the House was resolved to
cause the redress of grievances to be passed before voting the
taxes. Parleyings were again of no avail; the king began to grow
angry; Parliament was still calm, hurrying on its discussion, but
without departing from its pacific resolutions. At length the
king caused the House to be informed that if they would vote
twelve subsidies, payable in three years, he would abandon the
system of demanding ship-money without the approbation of
Parliament. The sum was enormous, they became alarmed and angry,
but the House would not sever their connection with the king.
They were about to proceed to the voting of some subsidies
without fixing the amounts, when Sir Henry Vane, a favorite of
Queen Henrietta Maria, who had been raised against the wish of
Strafford to the post of secretary of state, rose from his seat,
and announced that, without adopting the entire message, the vote
was useless; for the king would not accept a reduction of his
demands. The anger and amazement of the Commons were at their
height, when, on the morrow, at the moment of opening the
sitting, the king caused them to be summoned to the Upper House,
and announced the dissolution of Parliament; it was on the 5th of
May, 1640; the Houses had assembled on the 13th of April.

Strafford had succeeded better than his master; he had obtained
from the Irish Parliament all that he had demanded, and the
voluntary subscriptions which he instigated, brought to the royal
treasury nearly three hundred thousand pounds sterling. Vexations
of all kinds resumed their course; the policy was to get money at
all costs.
{58}
Strafford impelled the king towards despotism; it was necessary
either to conquer or die. Twice the earl fell seriously ill; but
he raised himself from his bed when scarcely recovered, and set
out with the king for the army of Scotland, which he was to
command.

The Scots did not wait for his arrival. They entered England, and
defeated at Newburne the first English army which they
encountered. It was an easy matter; the war was still less
popular among the English people than it was with Parliament, and
the secret negotiations between the Scottish generals and the
chiefs of the malcontents in England were re-echoed among the
soldiers. When Strafford assumed the command of the army, he
found it undisciplined and disaffected. The two camps confronting
each other were really animated by the same feelings as well as
the same beliefs. An action took place upon the banks of the
Tyne, insignificant in itself, but the Scots crossed the river,
and Strafford was compelled to fall back upon York, leaving the
enemy masters of the north of England. The anger of the king was
powerless in presence of the popular passion. All the authority
and ardor of the general could not make the soldiers fight
against those whom they called their brothers, and Charles felt a
dread of the energy of Strafford's policy. The negotiations
between the two armies continued without regard to the king and
notwithstanding the protestations of loyalty of the Scots. The
cry of _peace_ began to be associated with the word
_Parliament_.

{59}

The king dreaded Parliaments. He endeavored to escape from the
dilemma by convoking at York the great council of the peers of
the realm, a feudal assembly, fallen into disuse for four
centuries past. The peers had not yet assembled when two
petitions, one from the City of London and the other signed by
twelve of the most powerful noblemen, formally demanded the
convocation of a real Parliament. The king no longer resisted.
The great council of the peers nominated a commission entrusted
to negotiate with the Scots. As a preliminary, it was decided
that the two armies should remain on foot, both to be paid by the
king. It was found necessary to provide for this expense by a
loan, and the signatures of the sixteen commissioners were added
to that of the king to guarantee the objects for which it was to
be raised. Charles departed for London, weary and sad. The whole
of England was ardently engaged in the elections, of which the
importance was felt. Everywhere the candidates of the court were
rejected. The assembling of the new Parliament was fixed for the
3d of November, a fatal date, it was said, for Laud. The
Parliament assembled upon the same day under Henry VIII. had
begun by overthrowing Wolsey, and had ended with the destruction
of the abbeys. Laud refused to alter the date of the convocation.
He was, like his master, weary of the struggle, and he abandoned
himself, without further resistance, to the chances of a future
as yet veiled in obscurity.

Parliament was opened, and scarcely had the king quitted
Westminster when his friends--small in number among the
Commons--were enabled to assure themselves that the public wrath
was greater still than had been foreseen. The dissolution of the
last Parliament had caused the cup to overflow. Charles, imbued
with haughty ideas of absolute power, had desired to govern
alone. In principle Parliament did not claim sovereignty, but it
felt its strength, and was resolved to exert it. The monarch was
foredoomed to defeat.

{60}

The session began with a long and complete enumeration of
grievances. The abuses of tyranny were numerous, and all were
brought to light. Monopolies, ship-money, arbitrary arrests,
venality of justice, exactions of the bishops, the proceedings of
the courts of exception--nothing was spared. Before considering
the redress of wrongs, it was voted that the complaints were
legitimate; they rained down from all quarters, and more than
forty committees spent many days in receiving the petitions which
came from the counties. Everywhere lists were drawn up of
"delinquents," a name which was given to the agents of the crown
who had taken part in the execution of the measures complained
of. Before any resolution was made against these numerous guilty
persons, they found themselves suddenly in danger of being
summoned before the House, and condemned to a fine, imprisonment,
or confiscation. All the servants of the king were thus placed at
the mercy of their enemies. Once inscribed upon the list of
"delinquents," no man could enjoy an instant's repose.

The explosion of the new power was sudden and terrible. Strafford
had foreseen it. He begged the king to absolve him from appearing
before Parliament. "I cannot," Charles answered him, "do without
your counsels here. As truly as I am king of England, you incur
no danger; they shall not touch a hair of your head." Strafford
was not reassured. He set out, however, still bold and resolved
to strike the first blow. He was not allowed time to do so: on
the 9th of November he arrived in London ill; on the 11th, upon
the motion of Pym, the House of Commons charged him with high
treason.
{61}
"The least delay may ruin all," the latter said. "If the earl has
communication but once with the king, Parliament will be
dissolved; besides, the House only impeaches, and will not
judge." Strafford arrived at this moment in the House of Lords,
but his impeachment had preceded him there. The door was closed;
the earl caused it to be opened, and he was entering the House
when his colleagues called out to him to withdraw. He stopped,
looked around him, and obeyed after a few seconds' hesitation.
Being recalled an hour afterwards, he was enjoined to kneel at
the bar. There he learned that the House had admitted the
impeachment of the Commons. On the same evening he was conducted
to the Tower, whither Laud was conveyed not many days afterwards.

Some other important personages were accused with Strafford; but
it was upon the latter that there was concentrated the vengeance
of the triumphant party. Scotland and Ireland united themselves
with England to overwhelm him with the proofs of his arbitrary
rule. For nothing less than this league of three nations against
the imprisoned minister could satisfy the feeling of hatred and
apprehension among the people.

The House of Commons was henceforth master of the Government;
commissioners taken from its midst alone had the right of
administering the supplies which it voted, and the loans which it
decreed in its own name. Political reforms, important and
radical, succeeded each other almost without discussion, upon a
simple exposition of grievances. The courts of exception were all
abolished, and triennial Parliaments were voted. If the king
failed in this duty, twelve peers of the kingdom assembled at
Westminster were empowered to summon the Houses without his
concurrence.
{62}
Parliament could not be dissolved or adjourned without the
approbation of the two Houses, at least for fifty years after its
assembling. The king accepted the bill with ill-humor; but he
attempted no resistance. He hoped, and he had some reason for
hoping, for divisions among his enemies.

There was agreement upon political questions. Hampden, Pym,
Hollis, Stapleton, moderate leaders of the Commons, were followed
by Cromwell and Henry Martin, more violent, but as yet obscure.
The divergences of feeling were made manifest when religious
ground was touched. The question of the episcopacy, passionately
attacked by the numerous Presbyterians in the House, was not yet
resolved upon, and among the nation opinions were as various and
conflicting as in the House. The friends of the king advised him
to attach himself to the more moderate of the political chiefs,
and to take advantage of the religious discussions which occupied
the party. Secret negotiations were opened up; but, at the same
time, through the intercession of the queen, Charles received
proposals from a number of officers of the army, dissatisfied
with the favor which Parliament manifested towards the Scots.
Various advices, all menacing for the House, were discussed
without any great effect and without any efficacious remedy. The
king listened to all and often accorded his approbation. He even
consented to affix the initial of his name to the petition which
the army was to deposit upon the table of the Houses. The
petition was not presented; but the chiefs of the popular party
were apprised of it. Silently and without breaking off their
negotiations with the king, they resolutely adopted a
determination to unite themselves with the fanatical
Presbyterians, and to ruin Strafford. The trial of the earl
began.

{63}

The Commons of England were the prosecutors, supported by the
commissioners of Scotland and Ireland. Eighty peers were present
as judges. The bishops, yielding to the desire of the Commons,
excused themselves against their wish. The king and queen were
there, "in a closed gallery, eager to see all, but concealing,
the one his anguish, the other her curiosity." The crowd of
spectators was immense.

The accused arrived without suffering any insult from the
multitude. "As he passed, his frame prematurely bent slightly by
sickness, but with the proud and brilliant look that had
distinguished his youth, all raised their hats, and he bowed
courteously, looking upon this attitude of the people as of good
augury." He was full of hope and did not doubt the happy issue of
his trial. He was soon undeceived.

For seventeen days he sustained his cause without aid against
thirteen accusers. The most odious impediments embarrassed his
defense; but the earl manifested neither bitterness nor anger. He
simply claimed his right, thanking his judges if they consented
to recognize it, forbearing from complaining of their refusal,
and replying to his enemies that they were provoked to anger by
the delay arising from his skillful resistance. "It is as much my
business, I think, to defend my life, as for any other to attack
it." The Commons trembled with rage, for Strafford was gaining
the ascendancy. The examination into the facts cleared the earl
of the charge of high treason. The text of the law, and the
steadfast ability of the accused had triumphed over all the
obstacles opposed to the defense.
{64}
Sir Arthur Haslerig proposed to declare Strafford guilty by an
act of Parliament, and to condemn him by a bill of attainder.
This proceeding was more violent and arbitrary than the greater
number of the acts with which Strafford was so loudly reproached;
but passion easily blinds even the most sincere. The bill,
resting upon certain notes of Strafford delivered by the son of
Sir Henry Vane, at once obtained a first reading. This time,
Strafford was accused of having advised the king to make use of
the army of Ireland to subjugate England. "Some thought they
sacrificed law to justice, others, justice to necessity."

The regular trial meanwhile continued. Before his counsel began
to speak to the question of right, Strafford summed up his
defense himself with admirable eloquence. "My Lords," he said in
conclusion, "your ancestors have carefully bound with the chains
of our statute law, these terrible accusations of high treason;
do not be ambitious of being more learned in the art of killing
than our fore-fathers. Let us not awaken those sleeping lions to
our destruction, by raking up a few musty records that have lain
by the walls so many ages forgotten or neglected. I have troubled
you, my Lords, longer than I should have done; were it not for
the interest of those pledges that a saint in heaven left me ...
(at these words he stopped, burst into tears, and immediately
raising his head, continued) I would not give myself so much
trouble to defend this body already falling into decay, and
burdened with so many infirmities, that of a truth I have little
pleasure in bearing the burden of it any longer ... (he stopped,
as if in search of an idea): My Lords (he resumed), you will
pardon my infirmity of weeping, I should have added, but am not
able, therefore let it pass. And so, my Lords, even so, with all
tranquillity of mind, I freely submit myself to your judgment,
and whether that judgment be of life or death, _Te Deum
laudamus_."

{65}

Compassion and admiration moved the most implacable enemies of
the earl. Pym, in agitation, sought in vain for the paper upon
which he had written his reply. None gave ear to him, and the
accuser hastened to conclude his speech, vexed and confused by
his involuntary emotion.

It was necessary at all cost to come to an end with an enemy so
able and powerful, even when a prisoner--such was the force of
his courage and eloquence. The second reading of the bill of
attainder was hastened on; the most able and distinguished
lawyers contended against it; the infuriated Commons desired to
prevent the Lords from listening to the advocates of Strafford.
The Lords resisted, and heard the pleadings, but the Lower House
did not present itself, but four days subsequently, on the 21st
of April, 1641, the bill was definitively passed. Fifty-nine
members alone voted against it.

The king was disconsolate and profoundly anxious. He had himself
exposed Strafford to this danger. "Be assured," he wrote to him,
"upon my word as a king, that you shall suffer nothing, either in
your life, or your fortune, or your honor." Negotiations and
conspiracies were tried alternately, or at one and the same time.
Attempts were on foot to pacify the chiefs of the Commons, or to
obtain in the House of Lords a majority in favor of the earl.
Enormous offers were made to the Governor of the Tower, Sir
William Balfour, to allow the prisoner's escape. All collapsed in
the face of official fidelity and popular passion.
{66}
The king at length caused the two Houses to be summoned, and
admitting the faults of the earl, promised that he would never
employ him, even in the humblest office. He declared, however,
that never would any reason, or any threat, make him consent to
his death.

Charles presumed too much upon his courage. He did not yet know
how completely the hatred of the Commons against Strafford was
under the control of courage and ability. Popular violence was
added to Parliamentary prosecutions. The Upper House, to which
the bill of attainder had been carried, was besieged every day by
a furious multitude, crying, "Justice! justice!" The Lords were
insulted and summoned to declare themselves. Pym had for a long
while held in reserve what he knew of the manœuvres of the court
and the officers, to excite the army against Parliament; he
published an account of this matter. Some of the accused persons
fled, and terror spread in the House as well as among the people.
It was decreed that all the ports should be closed, and that all
letters coming from abroad should be opened. In remembrance of
the conspiracy of Guy Fawkes, a rumor was circulated that the
House was undermined, and the people hastened to Parliament to
ascertain or to share its dangers. Meanwhile the two Houses
united themselves by a vow for the defence of the Protestant
religion and the public liberties. It was even attempted to
impose the same pledge upon all citizens. In vain the Lords
struggled against the rising tide; they endeavored to modify the
bill of attainder. This the Commons refused; they were determined
to obtain their complete vengeance. The Upper House yielded.
Thirty-four of the Lords who had been present at the trial
absented themselves; twenty-six voted for the bill, fourteen
against; nothing was now wanting but the acquiescence of the
king.

{67}

Charles still resisted. His affection and his honor were equally
shocked. Hollis, brother-in-law of Strafford, advised the king to
go himself and present to the Houses the petition of the earl,
demanding a respite. He promised to induce his friends in the
House to content themselves with banishment; but the queen beset
him with her apprehensions. She did not like Strafford; she was
terrified by the riots; she wished to fly, to embark, and return
to France. The king listened, troubled and undecided. He convoked
the privy council, then the bishops. Juxon alone advised him to
follow his conscience; all the others persisted that Charles
should sacrifice an individual to a throne; his conscience as a
man to his conscience as a king. The Earl of Essex had said
shortly before, "The king is obliged to conform both in regard to
his person and his conscience to the advice and conscience of
Parliament." His servants were repeating to him under another
form this harsh truth, when Charles received a letter from
Strafford himself. "Sire," wrote the Earl, "after a long and hard
struggle, I have taken the only resolution which becomes me.
Every private interest should give way to the prosperity of your
sacred person and of the commonwealth. In passing this bill I
beseech you to remove the obstacle to a blessed agreement between
you and your subjects. Sir, my consent shall more acquit you
herein to God than all the world can do besides. To a willing man
there is no injury done, and as by God's grace I forgive all the
world with a calmness and meekness of infinite contentment to my
dislodging soul, that in your goodness you would vouchsafe to
cast your gracious regard upon my poor son and his three sisters
less or more, and no otherwise than as their (in present)
unfortunate father may hereafter appear more or less guilty of
this death."

{68}

On the morrow Strafford learnt in his prison that the king had
given his assent to the fatal bill. He did not reply, but raising
his hands toward heaven muttered this passage of the Psalm: "Put
not your trust in princes nor in the sons of men, for in them
there is no salvation."

It was on the 10th of May. On the morrow, the 11th, the Prince of
Wales presented himself before Parliament with a letter from the
king ending with these words: "If he must die it were charity to
reprieve him till Saturday." Without taking heed of this last and
miserable effort of Charles in favor of his great servant, the
House appointed the morrow for the execution.

Strafford issued forth on foot from his prison, outstripping the
guards as though he were marching at the head of his army: He
declined the coach which the Governor of the Tower offered him,
being afraid of the violence of the people. "No, Master
Lieutenant," he said, "I dare look death in the face, and I hope
the people too. I care not how I die, whether by the hand of the
executioner or by the madness and fury of the people. If that may
give them better content it is all one to me." Having arrived
before the window of Laud's prison, he stopped. The old
archbishop, informed on the previous evening of what was about to
happen, stretched out his arms to bless the condemned man; but,
agitated and enfeebled, he swooned and fell. "Farewell, my lord,"
said Strafford, as he went away, "God protect your innocence."
{69}
He knelt upon the scaffold; then, raising himself, he addressed
the immense crowd which surrounded him. "I wish," he said, "to
this kingdom all the prosperity on earth; alive, I have always
done so; dying, it is my only wish. But I implore each of those
who listen to me to consider earnestly, with his hand upon his
heart, whether the beginning of the reformation of a kingdom
should be written in characters of blood. Think of it in
returning to your homes. God forbid that the least drop of my
blood fall upon any of you! But I fear that you are in a bad
way." He knelt again, then shook hands with the friends who
accompanied him. "I have nigh done," he said, "one stroke will
make my wife husbandless, my dear children fatherless, and my
poor servants masterless. But let God be to them all in all." He
prepared himself to receive the fatal blow. "I thank God," he
continued, "I am no more afraid of death, nor daunted with any
discouragement arising from any fears, but do as cheerfully put
off my doublet at this time as ever I did when I went to bed." He
called to the executioner and gave the signal. "God save the
king," exclaimed the executioner, showing the head to the people.
Shouts of triumph answered him; but some were silent, and many
people returned to their houses sad, uneasy, and almost doubting
the justice of the act which they had so ardently desired.

The feeble policy of the king had missed its mark, as a policy of
that kind always does. The death of Strafford had not removed the
obstacle in the way of a reconciliation between the king and his
subjects. In accepting the bill which struck down the most
illustrious of his servants, Charles had at the same time, and
almost without taking heed of the step he was taking, sanctioned
a bill which prohibited any dissolution of Parliament without the
approbation of the two Houses.
{70}
But a mutual understanding, far from being re-established, became
every day less possible between the king and the people. The
power which the Commons had wrested piece by piece from the
sovereign appeared to impel them more and more towards tyranny.
Political reform was accomplished, but religious reform remained
to be effected. Notwithstanding the moral enfeeblement of the
Anglican Church, it retained its position. It was henceforth
against this object that the confused and often antagonistic
efforts of a great number of the chiefs of the Commons and the
people were directed; but on the religious question their union
was not so complete as when they stood on purely political
ground, and the bold innovators were uneasy in the very midst of
their success.

Charles suddenly announced an intention of setting out for
Scotland, where his presence had, he said, become necessary for
the execution of the treaty of peace. At the same time the queen
prepared to make a journey to the Continent. The House took
alarm; they dreaded the passing of the king through the army,
which was being disbanded and was known to be disaffected; they
feared the secret manœuvres of the queen among the absolute
sovereigns. They asked Charles to delay his departure; they
implored the queen to remain in England: both consented. The
disbanding of the army was in vain hurried on by promising the
soldiers the arrears of their pay. Money was borrowed, plate was
melted down to meet this enormous expenditure.
{71}
The operation was not completed when the king at length departed
on the 10th of August. The House adjourned on the 27th. A
committee, at the head of which was Hampden, was sent to Scotland
to remain with the king, in order to watch over the interests of
Parliament.

This measure was prudent and effective. Charles passed through
the English and Scottish armies without daring to stay long; but
his attempts to influence the officers meanwhile engaged the
attention of Lord Holland, who was entrusted with the
disbandment. He wrote on this matter with uneasiness to the Earl
of Essex in London. On arriving in Edinburgh the king accorded to
the Parliament and Church of Scotland all the religious and
political concessions which they demanded. He attended the
Presbyterian worship with a pious gravity which touched the
Scots. He appeared to have regained in favor and confidence that
ancient kingdom of his fathers, which had formerly risen in its
entirety against the tyranny which attempted to interfere with
its faith. The chiefs of the Covenanters themselves were received
with eager good grace. Distrustful people in Scotland, anxious
lookers-on in England, in vain endeavored to penetrate the
mystery of this conduct.

Suddenly it became known that the two most influential of the
great lords in the Scottish Parliament, Hamilton and Argyll, had
left Edinburgh with their friends, and retired into the country
to escape the danger of arrest. The king loudly complained of the
conjectures which were in circulation; Parliament ordered an
inquiry. The proceedings were in secret; the committee declared,
without any particulars, that there was no claim on the side of
the king for any reparation nor ground for any alarm on the part
of the fugitives. The latter resumed their seats in Parliament,
and the public knew nothing of what had happened.

{72}

Nothing was known, but the object of the journey of Charles to
Scotland had failed. He had thought of collecting upon the spot
such proofs of the correspondence of the English malcontents with
the Covenanter chiefs of Scotland that the judges could not help
declaring guilty of high treason those leaders of the Commons who
had caused, by their intrigues, the invasion of their country. He
intended to hurl against them the accusation which Strafford had
not had time to prepare. The hopes of the king were sustained by
his correspondence with a young and impetuous nobleman, the Earl
of Montrose, formerly attached to the Covenant, but who had now
given himself up body and soul to the royal cause. In Scotland
the king had found Montrose in prison, suspected by Argyll; but
the prison bolts were drawn now and then. Montrose had come by
night to see Charles; he had inspired him with some uneasiness
concerning Hamilton and Argyll, asserting that their papers would
furnish the proofs which the king sought. The arrest of the two
noblemen was agreed upon, when the latter frustrated the scheme
by publicly quitting Parliament and the city. Far from ridding
himself of them, Charles was compelled to load his enemies with
favors: Hamilton was made a duke, Argyll a marquis, Lesley, the
general of the Scottish troops, became Earl of Leven. But these
indications did not deceive Hampden; he knew all, and informed
his London friends of the fact. The period of adjournment of the
Houses was drawing to an end.

{73}

Great was the terror among the Parliamentary leaders when the
proof was forthcoming of the vindictive rancor of the king. They
consulted with uneasiness upon the conduct to be observed. The
Scottish Parliament had wisely suppressed the affair. The English
Parliament could not make use of it to agitate the people.
Ireland undertook this task.

On the 1st of November, 1641, it was suddenly learned that an
immense insurrection had broken out in Ireland, threatening the
most imminent danger to the Protestant religion and the
Protestants of the country. The Catholics had everywhere risen,
chiefs and people, claiming the liberty of their faith, vaunting
the name of the queen and even of the king, setting up a
commission signed, it was said, by the latter, and announcing the
design of delivering Ireland and the throne from the tyranny of
the English Puritans. On the very eve of the day on which the
conspiracy was to break out it was accidentally discovered and
quelled in Dublin. Throughout the country it had met with no
obstacle. Murders, fires, horrible and nameless crimes, it is
said, were rife throughout Ireland. Everywhere Protestants were
massacred without resistance. The Government, disarmed by
Strafford and the crown, was powerless before a half-savage
people eager to avenge in one day centuries of outrage and
misfortune. The Earl of Leicester, nominated viceroy in place of
Strafford, had not yet arrived. To oppose so terrible a storm the
English Government had in Ireland only two judges of no ability,
of no credit, whose Presbyterian zeal alone had caused them to be
invested with that difficult employment.

{74}

England uttered a prolonged cry of terror and rage; every
Protestant considered himself attacked in common with his
brothers of Ireland. The king, who was a stranger to the
insurrection, hastened to communicate to Parliament the news
which had reached him in Scotland, placing the affair in the
hands of the Commons and entrusting them with the repression,
partly to rid himself of all complicity, partly to avoid in the
eyes of his Catholic subjects, whom he had not encouraged, but
whom he was in no hurry to restrain, the responsibility for the
severities to which they might be compelled to submit.

The leaders of the Commons were not much more eager than the king
to stamp out the Irish insurrection. It furnished them with the
popular agitation and general uneasiness of which they stood in
need in order to continue their work. They eagerly took
possession of the power which the king offered them; but their
efforts against the Irish insurgents were more ostentatious than
sincere, and more noisy than efficacious. The Protestants of
Ireland were left in the hands of their enemies. All speeches and
acts were directed towards England; the moment for striking the
great blow had come.

Shortly after the opening of Parliament, in the month of
November, 1640, a committee was chosen to prepare, with an
exposition of grievances, a solemn remonstrance to the king; but
political reforms had been so rapid, and the king had so
completely given way before the growing power of Parliament, that
the majority of the grievances had in reality disappeared, when,
on the morrow of the insurrection of Ireland, amidst the popular
excitement, the committee received orders to resume and complete
its work without delay.
{75}
The remonstrance but lately intended for the king became a sombre
exposition addressed to the people, retracing all the past evils,
and all those which yet subsisted, the wrong-doings of the king,
the virtues of Parliament, and the dangers which faith and
liberty incurred as long as the nation should not be unreservedly
devoted to the House of Commons, which was alone capable of
saving them from Popery, the bishops, and the king.

So much violence, without fresh pretexts, or any direct or
apparent aim, raised numerous murmurs. The ever-growing
pretensions of Parliament began to create, even in its midst, a
party of resistance, favorable, in a certain measure, to the
threatened royal power. The popular chiefs endeavored to quiet
the distrust and exasperation, asserting that they only wished to
intimidate the court and to thwart its intrigues, and that the
remonstrance being once adopted it would not be promulgated. They
asked for the vote towards the end of a sitting, at the moment
when the House, being fatigued, was thinking of separating. Lord
Falkland, Hyde, Colepepper--the friends of the king, as they were
called--demanded that there should be a postponement until the
morrow. "Why," said Cromwell to Falkland, "do you so greatly
desire this delay?" "Because it is too late to-day, and because
there will certainly be a debate." "A light debate," replied
Cromwell impassively. The discussion began on the morrow; sides
were taken. For the first time two national parties were at
contention. It was no longer the court and the country; the good
citizens were divided; both sides found support in public
interests and opinions. There were discussions; there was
vehement speaking. Hour after hour passed by; the sitting had
opened at three o'clock; it was midnight.
{76}
The delicate or ailing members, and the old men had all retired.
"This," said Sir Benjamin Rudyard, "will be the verdict of a
famished jury." When the vote was taken, a hundred and fifty-nine
members adopted the remonstrance, against a hundred and
forty-eight who voted against it.

The result had scarcely been announced when Hampden rose and
demanded that the remonstrance should be printed. "We said so,"
it was exclaimed on the other side, "you wish to take from the
Lords their legitimate share of authority; you desire to walk
alone and arouse the people to insurrection." "I protest, I
protest," exclaimed Mr. Palmer, and his friends followed his
example. Protests were usual in the House of Lords; they were not
in the Commons. Indignation was felt at this new proceeding, and
the disturbance increased; several members had already placed
their hands upon their swords. Hampden addressed the House,
deploring the sad disorder, and proposing to adjourn the
discussion to the morrow. This was agreed to. "Well," said Lord
Falkland to Cromwell, on leaving, "has it been debated?" "I will
take your word another time," replied Cromwell, and he added in a
lower tone: "If the remonstrance had been rejected, I would have
sold all I have the next morning, and never would have seen
England more, and I know there are many honest men of the same
resolution." The printing of the remonstrance was voted on the
morrow without any disturbance, almost without discussion, by a
majority of twenty-three. The return of the king, to whom it was
first to be presented, was the only event waited for in order to
publish it.

{77}

He arrived, and was magnificently received by the city of London,
the new lord mayor, Richard Gourney, being devoted to him.
Already confident in the movement which manifested itself in his
favor, he allowed his new hopes to be revealed at the first
moment, by withdrawing from the Commons the guard which the Earl
of Essex had given to them for their safety in his absence.

The remonstrance was immediately presented to Charles; he
listened patiently to the reading of it. "Does the House intend
to publish this declaration?" he asked. "We are not authorized to
answer the questions of your Majesty." "Well, I suppose you do
not either expect my reply at once; I will send it to you as soon
as the importance of the affair will allow." The leaders of the
Commons did not wait for the royal reply before proposing to the
Houses what were no longer reforms, but innovations. A bill
relating to the pressing of soldiers, another to the militia, a
third excluding the clergy, of whatever grade they might be, from
all civil offices, were presented and adopted in a few days by
the Lower House. The remonstrance was published on the 14th of
December. Popular ardor, from day to day more impassioned,
corresponded with the new attitude of the leaders of the
opposition. The aspect of affairs was undergoing a change; to the
unanimous movement of the nation succeeded the strife of parties;
to reform, revolution. Parliament asked to have its guard back
again; but the multitude which thronged around Westminster, the
committees formed in all places for the defence of liberty and
the faith, represented a militia more formidable than all the
soldiers, all busy in proclaiming with loud voice the common
danger.

{78}

The king did not stand alone before this bold and persevering
effort of the popular reformers. Among the most esteemed members
of the House of Commons who had fought against tyranny, a certain
number, and these of the best, were brought back to the crown by
the dread of innovations and excesses. Charles resolved to secure
the attachment of the chiefs of this growing royalist party--Mr.
Hyde, Sir John Colepepper, and Lord Falkland. The latter did not
please him; he had little esteem for the king, and a great effort
of his friends was necessary in order to induce him to enter
publicly into his service. He allowed himself to be overcome by
the solicitations of Charles himself, constrained by necessity;
but when he accepted the office of secretary of state, it was
with a profound sense of discouragement and as a victim to a
devotion without affection and without hope. These three friends
undertook the difficult task of directing the affairs of the king
in the House, and the former promised to attempt nothing without
their advice.

Charles could no more keep his word with his friends than with
his enemies. He drew courage from the adhesion of the gentlemen
attached by tradition to the throne, who arrived with clamor from
their counties to offer to the king their service. Every day
struggles took place in the streets, and particularly around
Westminster, between the partisans of the king--the "cavaliers"
as they were called, and the "roundheads," a name which the
cavaliers themselves gave to the citizens, on account of the
contrast which the short hair of the Puritans presented to the
long ringlets of the gentlemen. The bill for the exclusion of the
bishops, still in suspension in the Upper House, was the special
cause of outbreaks.
{79}
The bishops every day ran the risk of their lives in going and
taking their seats, and they were obliged in order to leave
Westminster, to hide themselves in the carriages of some popular
noblemen. The House of Commons did not reply to the complaints of
the Lords against the disturbance excited at its doors: "We need
all our friends," said the leaders; "God forbid that we should
prevent the people obtaining thereby that which they are right in
desiring." At the same time the Commons decreed that as the king
persisted in refusing their guard, each of the members was
entitled to bring an armed servant and to keep him at the door.
Blood was shed incessantly around Westminster Palace.

The bishops adopted their course, a strange and frivolous one in
so grave a situation; they resolved to absent themselves, while
protesting by anticipation against all bills which might be
adopted during their retirement, as not being invested with the
necessary assent of all the members of Parliament. This
declaration, signed by twelve bishops, being communicated to the
king, was approved by him; he seized it as a pretext which might
one day permit him to annul the acts of the indomitable
Parliament against which he was struggling without success. He
did not speak of the matter to his new councillors; but, on the
same day, the keeper of the great seal carried, by his orders,
the protest of the bishops to the Upper House, who sent it
immediately to the Commons.

{80}

The surprise of the Lords and the anger of the Commons were
great, and the popular leaders immediately contrived to find
therein a new weapon. The impeachment of the bishops was suddenly
proposed and resolved upon; they had designed to determine the
fate of Parliament itself, and to destroy it by separating
themselves from its debates; they were conducted to the Tower,
upon the vote of the Upper House, which received the indictment
of the Commons. The point was urged further. The king had taken
the government of the Tower from Sir William Balfour, to entrust
it to a cavalier. Sir Thomas Lunsford, a man little esteemed and
very violent. The nomination of a new governor was demanded. Lord
Digby, formerly animated with a patriotic zeal but now become the
most intimate confidant of the king, was denounced for having
said that Parliament was not free. The Commons again claimed
their right to have a guard.

Charles did not lose his temper at so many proofs of growing
distrust; he nominated as governor of the Tower, Sir John Byron,
a man esteemed by all, and he replied to the inquiries of the
House: "We do engage to you solemnly on the word of a king, that
the security of all and every one of you from violence is and
ever shall be with as much our care as the preservation of
ourselves and our children," but he refused the guard. The House
caused the militia of London to be mustered, and bodies of troops
were placed in different parts of the city.

The instinct of the popular leaders had not deceived them
concerning the apparent moderation of the king. On the same day,
the 3rd of January, 1642, Sir Edward Herbert, the
attorney-general of the crown, appeared in the House of Lords,
and there, in the name of the king, charged with high treason,
Lord Kimbolton and Messrs. Hampden, Pym, Hollis, Strode, and
Haslerig, all five members of the House of Commons, for having
attempted to destroy the fundamental laws of the kingdom, to
deprive the king of his legal power, and to provoke war against
him. Such was the substance of the accusations unfolded at
length. Sir Edward Herbert demanded at the same time that the
House should secure the accused.

{81}

Lord Kimbolton rose. "I am ready," he said, "to obey all the
orders of the House; but, since my accusation is public, I demand
that my justification may be public also." Silence reigned in the
Hall, nobody spoke. Lord Digby leaned towards Lord Kimbolton.
"How deplorably," he said, "the king is advised. I shall be very
unfortunate if I do not learn whence this comes." He left as if
to hasten after news. The advice had emanated from him.

A message from the Lords immediately warned the Commons. The
servants of the five accused members hastened at the same time to
give notice that the king's men were affixing seals to the locks
at their residences. While the Lower House was asking for
conference with the Lords, a herald at arms entered the Hall. "In
the name of the king, my master," he said, "I come to request the
speaker to consign into my hands the five gentlemen, members of
the House, whom his Majesty has commanded me to arrest for high
treason." None stirred, the accused members remained in their
places. The speaker enjoined the herald to withdraw, and a
committee nominated without opposition repaired to the palace of
the king to say that to so grave a message the House could only
reply after mature examination. Two ministers. Lord Falkland and
Sir John Colepepper, formed part of the deputation. They had
known nothing of the projects of the king. The Lords joined with
the Commons in demanding a guard for Parliament. "I will reply
to-morrow," the king said in his turn.

{82}

On the morrow, the House opened its sitting at one o'clock. The
five members arrived among the first; they preserved silence,
being fully informed of what was being prepared; they were
surrounded; they were questioned. The agitation was at its height
when there was a rush to announce that the king, accompanied by a
retinue of four hundred cavaliers, all armed, had arrived at the
House, and that he was coming in person to arrest the accused.
The House at once urged the five members to withdraw. Pym,
Hollis, Hampden, Haslerig went out immediately; it was found
necessary to thrust Mr. Strode outside by the shoulders. The
House was seated and silent. The king approached, accompanied
only by his nephew, the Prince Palatine; he entered the hall; all
the members rose, bareheaded. The king cast a rapid glance around
him; the seats of the five members were empty. "Mr. Speaker," he
said, "with your permission, I will borrow your chair for a
moment. Gentlemen, I am sorry for this occasion of coming to you.
... I expected from you obedience and not a message. ... I come
to see whether any of the accused are here; as long as they shall
sit in this house, I cannot hope that it will return into the
good path which I sincerely desire it to be in. ... Mr. Speaker,
where are they?" The speaker fell upon his knees. "Under the good
pleasure of your Majesty, I have not here either eyes to see or
tongue to speak except so much as the House, of which I am the
servant, chooses to command me; I humbly implore your Majesty to
forgive me." "Well, since I see that the birds have flown," said
the king, "I expect that you will send them to me as soon as they
return. But I assure you, on the word of a king, I never did
intend any force, but shall proceed against them in a fair and
legal way.
{83}
I do not wish to disturb you any longer. I repeat to you, I
expect you to send them to me as soon as they shall re-enter the
Hall, otherwise I will take means to find them." He left. The
House had remained motionless. Cries of "Privilege! privilege!"
emanated from some corners of the Hall; then an adjournment until
the morrow took place. All the members were eager to know what
was being done and said without.

The people were as much agitated as the House, and the cavaliers
as energetic as their master. The projected political manœuvre
had been the object of their most ardent and haughty wishes; the
check they experienced was bitter. The king persisted in his
design, but without knowing how to accomplish it. The five
members had retired to the city, where the citizens had
spontaneously taken to arms. Charles resolved to proceed on the
morrow to claim the accused men at the hands of the common
council.

The mob thronged upon his passage with grave, sombre looks. Some
voices resounded with the threatening cry of "Privilege!
privilege!" The whole nation adopted as their own grievance the
violated privileges of the Commons. The language of the king
towards the common council was mild and conciliatory. He promised
to act in all things according to the law, but he claimed the
five members, and he did not obtain them. The aldermen of the
city looked as grave as the multitude which encumbered the
streets. The king returned to his palace foiled and angry.

{84}

The House adjourned for six days, declaring that after the attack
upon its privileges, it could not sit in safety without a guard.
But a committee had been established in the city, close to the
house inhabited by the five accused members. The latter were
consulted upon all the resolutions, and they even came several
times and sat with the committee, which was open to all the
members of the House. Popular anger increased from hour to hour,
and its alliance with the House became closer. The adjournment of
Parliament was about to expire. The king learnt that the five
members were to be brought back in triumph to Westminster by the
trainbands and the people. He could not endure to see his enemies
pass in front of his palace. The queen had for a long time
implored him to go away. The nobility of the counties promised
aid and security. Away from this city of London, delivered from
the roundheads, far from Parliament, the king would be free, and
what could Parliament do without the king? It was resolved to go
at first to Hampton Court; but orders were given to secure a more
remote refuge in case of need. The Earl of Newcastle, faithfully
attached to the king, set out for the north, where his influence
was predominant, on the 10th of January. On the eve of the
reassembling of the Commons, Charles, accompanied only by his
wife, his children, and a few servants, quitted London and that
palace of Whitehall which he was never to see again, except on
his way to the scaffold.

It was time for the king to fly from London if he wished to avoid
the triumph of Parliament. On the 11th of January, the Thames was
covered with boats armed for war, bringing back to Westminster
the five members. A fleet of vessels, adorned with flags,
followed them. Along the shore marched the soldiery of London,
bearing at the end of their pikes the last declaration of
Parliament.


[Image]
Queen Henrietta Maria.

{85}

The Commons were sitting at Westminster, awaiting their
colleagues, and as soon as the five members had entered the Hall,
the sheriffs were introduced, the House wishing to address its
thanks to the City. The gates of Westminster were besieged by an
enthusiastic and triumphant crowd; in its midst were a retinue of
four thousand gentlemen or freeholders of Buckinghamshire, all on
horseback, bringing a petition to Parliament against the Papist
lords and bad advisers of the crown. They bore inscribed upon
their hats a vow to live and die with Parliament. The breeze of
popular favor favored every sail. The leaders of the Commons
contrived to take advantage of it. It was voted, in a few hours,
that no member could be arrested without the authorization of the
House, that Parliament should be free to sojourn wherever it
should think proper. Skippon, the commander of the soldiery of
London, was entrusted to watch the approaches to the Tower, still
governed by Sir John Byron, whose dismissal was demanded by the
House. The governor of Portsmouth was forbidden to receive into
his town troops or supplies without the order of Parliament. Sir
John Hotham was sent to Hull, an important town and the real key
to England in the north. It was declared that the kingdom was
threatened and that it should be placed in a state of defence.
The Lords refused to consent to this vote, but the Commons had
attained their object; the people had been apprised of the
danger.

{86}

The king was warned as well as the people, and he knew that his
project of waging war would not take his enemies unawares. Away
from London, where at every moment he had suffered humiliations
and defeats, he no longer came into contact with any but his
servants, faithful, and often confident of success. With the
influence which they enjoyed in their counties his cavaliers
found once more their joyful arrogance and valiant ardor. On all
sides Charles was urged to declare war, and small isolated
enterprises formed a prelude to hostilities. Two hundred
cavaliers, commanded by Lunsford, had already repaired to
Kingston, near London, the depot of the warehouses of the county;
but Parliament adopted its measures, and Lunsford, with his
cavaliers, proceeded towards Windsor, whither the king had
transported himself. He did not reckon upon staying there long;
the queen was secretly preparing to depart, carrying off the
crown jewels, in order to make purchases of arms and supplies in
Holland. Under the pretext of conducting to the Prince of Orange,
the little Princess Henrietta Maria, whom he had married six
months before, she was also to negotiate with the sovereigns of
the Continent, from whom assistance might be hoped for. It was at
York that the king reckoned upon establishing his quarters while
awaiting succor. In order to veil his designs, he invited the
Houses to make a summary of their grievances, promising to set
them right immediately and thus put an end to their discussions.

The Upper House received the message with joy. Even among the
popular lords, many were afraid of the struggle which was only at
its beginning, and which they wished to see ended. They
immediately proposed for the assent of the Commons some hasty
thanks to the king; but the Lower House had no confidence in
royal promises; it demanded that the king should first consent to
consign the command of the Tower, the strongholds, and the
soldiery to men enjoying the confidence of Parliament.
{87}
The Lords rejected this amendment, but thirty-two votes among
them had supported it, and the Commons presented their petition
alone. As regards the Tower and the fortresses, the king
absolutely refused; as regarded the soldiery, his reply was
evasive and vague; he wished to gain time.

The Commons, however, knew that they had no time to lose, and the
leaders excited among the people a new and keen emotion. They
were easily aroused to insurrection; from all counties, from all
classes, merchants, artisans, and even women, came numberless
petitions, demanding reform of the Church, the punishment of
Papists, the repression of malevolents. The multitude stopped at
the gate of Westminster. "The Upper House impedes everything," it
was said. "We have never doubted the House of Commons," cried the
workmen; "but let them give us the names of those who prevent
harmony between the good Lords and Commons, and we will see to
it." Fear began to overcome the timid; the popular Lords more and
more took up the cause of the Lower House. "Whoever refuses to
join the Commons in the matter of the soldiery is an enemy of the
state," said the Earl of Northumberland. Some few Lords withdrew,
others altered their minds, and the bill regarding the soldiery,
as well as that for the exclusion of the bishops, was at length
voted by the two Houses. Once more the Commons triumphed.

{88}

Charles now announced to Parliament the approaching departure of
the queen, and, to soften the irritation which he dreaded, he
officially abandoned the prosecution of the five members, and
nominated as governor of the Tower Sir John Conyers, who had been
designated by the Commons; but when the bill for the exclusion of
the bishops was presented to him, he was agitated and perplexed.
His conscience opposed the acceptance. His best advisers, with
the exception of Hyde, urged him to consent to it. The ordinance
respecting the soldiery, which the leaders held in reserve, was
more important in their eyes, for it completely disarmed the
king. He could not refuse everything; the bishops were vanquished
and in prison. ... The king continued to hesitate; the queen
intervened; she did not trouble herself in any way concerning the
bishops, and feared that the House might oppose her departure.
She supplicated, wept, flew into a passion, and, as usual, the
king yielded, sorrowfully, regretfully, but he authorized
commissioners to sign in his name, and set out to accompany his
wife as far as Dover, where she was to embark.

The Commons were of the same opinion as Colepepper, and made a
stand at the question of the soldiery even more than at that of
the bishops. They followed the king with their messages as far as
Dover, and on his return, having insisted upon a prompt sanction
of the ordinance which they sent him, the king replied vaguely,
but ill-humoredly, being exasperated by the persistent distrust
of the Commons, as though his concessions had been sincere. On
arriving at Greenwich, he there found his son, the Prince of
Wales, whom the Marquis of Hertford, his tutor, had brought,
notwithstanding the prohibition of the House. Being reassured as
to the fate of his wife and children, he at length replied to
Parliament, consenting to entrust the soldiery to the commanders
who were designated, except in large towns, but preserving the
right of dismissing them. He thereupon set out for York.

{89}

The Houses received the reply of the king as a formal refusal. At
Theobalds, and at Newark, fresh messages reached him, haughty at
first, then marked by a certain emotion, betraying itself in
spite of the firmness of the language. The king was implored to
return to London, and to come to an understanding with his
people. Upon the brink of an unknown future, dark and troublous,
all hesitated and reciprocally endeavored each to influence the
other. The negotiations came to no issue, and they were carried
on without hope of arriving at any result. Negotiations, however,
continued. It was on behalf of the public, of the whole nation,
rather than of an immediate and present adversary that the
opposition contended. It was in the name of the liberties of old
England, of the traditional rights of the people, invaded by
royal tyranny, that the resistance of Parliament had begun; it
was now in the name of the traditional rights of the crown,
attacked by the innovations of Parliament, that the royalist
party, every day stronger and more ardent, defended their cause.
The ardor of men's minds was immense; the movement universal,
strange, irregular. In London, in York, in all the great towns of
the kingdom, pamphlets, periodicals, irregular journals increased
in numbers, and were circulated in all directions. Amidst this
outburst of views of all parties, and in the face of an appeal of
so novel a kind, to the opinion of the people--even while the
principle of national sovereignty in opposition to the divine
right of kings had taken possession of all minds and was the
foundation of all proceedings--the statutes, traditions, customs,
were incessantly invoked as the only legitimate tests of the
discussion. Revolution was everywhere in progress, though no one
dared to say so, or even avow it to himself.

{90}

The situation became day by day more violent and more strained. A
great number of members of Parliament had left London, many had
joined the king at York. The Houses in their turn entered upon
the path of tyranny. Lord Herbert and Sir Ralph Hopton, having
raised their voices in favor of the king, one was placed in the
Tower, the other censured and threatened; the royalist petitions
were suppressed. Cromwell, as yet not very conspicuous in the
House, but more involved than any other in the plots of the
revolution, brought special ability to bear upon tracing out and
denouncing the royalist conspiracies.

An unexpected incident widened irreparably the abyss which was
opening up between the two parties: the king, on the 23d of
April, asked Sir John Hotham, governor of Hull, to resign the
town to him. Already the Duke of York and the Prince Palatine had
entered it under the pretext of spending a day there. Already the
mayor and some citizens were marching towards the gates, to open
them to his Majesty, who was arriving at the foot of the
ramparts. Hotham ordered them to return to their homes, and he
appeared upon the wall, surrounded by his officers. The king
summoned him to open the gates. Sir John fell upon his knees,
apologizing for his resistance. He had, he said, taken an oath to
Parliament. "Kill him! kill the traitor!" exclaimed the cavaliers
who surrounded the king; "cast him down!" But the officers of Sir
John were more resolute than he. The king was compelled to
withdraw, and on the same day he addressed a message to
Parliament, asking justice for such an offense.

{91}

Parliament approved of the act of its governor in all respects,
saying that the strongholds and arsenals had been formerly
confided to the king for the safety of the kingdom, and that the
same reason might now command the Houses to seize them. This was
a declaration of war. Thirty-two Lords and sixty-five members of
the Commons, Mr. Hyde among others, set out for York. The
Chancellor caused the great seal to be given over to the king,
and made his escape on the morrow. Each party was about to make
the last effort for sustaining the struggle. None foresaw how far
it was to go, nor what misfortunes and crimes were to signalize
the civil war which was now about to commence.

{92}

                  Chapter XXIV.

          Charles I. And The Civil War.


War was resolved upon by the Parliamentary leaders as well as by
the king. Preparations were being made with ardor on both sides;
but all official relations were not yet broken off between the
monarch and his subjects. The Houses, however, now negotiated
with Charles I. on the footing of one power with another. They
sent to York, as their permanent ambassadors at the court of the
king, a committee of rich and consequential men well known in the
northern provinces, commissioned to render an account to
Parliament of all that took place under their eyes. The situation
was difficult and unpleasant. The commissioners maintained their
ground with firmness and resolution.

Even at York, in the presence of the king, the resistance of the
country made itself felt. Charles had been desirous of raising a
guard, and had applied to the gentry of the neighborhood; they
had assembled in great numbers, but when it was desired to
inscribe their names, fifty refused to enroll themselves. At
their head was Sir Thomas Fairfax, young as yet, but already a
resolute and sincere patriot. The freeholders and farmers claimed
the right of discussing the affairs of the country with the
gentlemen. The king convoked a great assemblage upon Heyworth
Moor; it was numerous and animated, more than forty thousand men
had hastened thither, but soon intelligence reached the king that
a petition was being circulated in the ranks, imploring his
Majesty to abandon all thoughts of war and come to an agreement
with Parliament. Charles would not receive the petition.
{93}
He hastened to say a few hesitating words, and was withdrawing
precipitately, when young Fairfax, suddenly kneeling before his
horse, deposited the document upon the pommel of his saddle. The
king urged his steed violently forward, and ran against the bold
petitioner without compelling him to give way.

The royal partisans who arrived from London having officially
severed their connection with Parliament, were struck painfully
with the contrast which they observed between the bold efficiency
of the Parliamentary government and the ostentatious feebleness
which reigned around the king. Charles was poor. He had no money
and had appealed to the zeal of his servants; but the resources
which reached him were inconsiderable, and the sums which the
queen enabled him to keep out of the sale of the crown jewels
scarcely sufficed for daily wants. Parliament had also appealed
to the popular patriotism. A loan was announced, and the sums
received in ten days, the plate, the jewels offered to the public
service, so greatly exceeded the expectations, that the poor
women who brought their wedding-rings or the gold pins out of
their hair, often waited for a long time until time was found for
receiving them. Squadrons of cavalry began to be formed.

The majority of Parliament, delivered from the royalist members
who had joined the king at York, voted nineteen propositions of
reconciliation, which were sent to Charles as a supreme
ultimatum. It was the complete subjugation of the crown to
Parliament.
{94}
Even as regarded the education and marriage of the children of
the king, nothing was henceforth to be decided without the formal
approbation of the Houses. Upon reading these propositions, the
king's countenance flushed deeply. "Should I grant these
demands," he said, "I may be waited on bareheaded, I may have my
hand kissed; the title of Majesty may be continued to me, and the
king's authority signified by both Houses may still be the style
of your commands; I may have swords and maces carried before me,
and please myself with the sight of a crown and sceptre (though
even these twigs would not long flourish when the block upon
which they grew was dead), but as to true and real power, I
should remain but the outside, but the picture, but the sign of a
king." And he broke off the negotiation.

Parliament had only waited for this. Civil war was put to the
vote and immediately decided on. The Houses seized upon all the
public revenues for their benefit; the counties had orders to
hold themselves ready at the first signal. The Earl of Essex was
nominated commander of the army of Parliament, and the most
illustrious men of the popular party, Lord Kimbolton, Lord Brook,
Hampden, Hollis, Cromwell, received command of regiments.

All was ready in London, as in York. The assemblages of the
partisans of the king or Parliament, the tours of the king in the
counties of the north to encourage his friends or repress their
violence, the gentlemen raising bodies of troops on their
estates, the soldiery forming in the name of Parliament, the
roads covered with armed travelers, everything bore the impress
of hostilities; but both parties hesitated to declare war, ready
as they were to risk all to maintain their rights, both trembled
before the responsibility of the future.
{95}
The king at length took his resolve. On the 23d of August, he
caused the royal standard to be set up at Nottingham. At six
o'clock in the evening a small body of eight hundred horse
surrounded Charles who caused his proclamation to be read by a
herald. The standard bore the device: "Render unto Caesar that
which is Caesar's." It was fixed at the summit of a tower. On the
morrow the wind had blown it down. When it was desired to plant
it in the ground in the level country, there was nothing to be
found but rock, and it was necessary to scoop out a hole with
daggers, and then to support by hand the tottering standard. All
present were smitten with a deep depression. "What dark
forebodings!" it was said.

The king awaited the result of his appeal, but the people did not
rise. The army of Parliament was being formed at Northampton. "If
they wish to attempt a bold stroke," said Sir Jacob Astley,
major-general of the royal troops, "I do not answer for it but
the king might be carried off from his bed." Charles was urged to
open negotiations again. He yielded with reluctance, and sent to
London four deputies who returned without success. A few days
later, the king refused in his turn to receive a petition with
which the commissioners of Parliament accompanying the Earl of
Essex, were entrusted. It implored Charles to return to London,
and, upon his refusal, it announced the intention to follow him
everywhere, and "by battle or other means, to take away his
Majesty, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York, his two sons,
from their perfidious councillors, and to bring them back to
Parliament."

{96}

The king was then at Shrewsbury, more confident and better
served. He had received numerous reinforcements, and, to equip
them, the arms of the soldiery of several counties had been taken
by force; the convoys intended for Ireland had been stopped. The
Catholics sent money; some of them had even come down from
London. The king had about twelve thousand men. At the head of
his cavalry, his nephew, Prince Rupert, son of his sister, had
already made himself dreaded by his daring and detested for his
habit of pillage and his cruelty. The Earl of Essex appeared
disposed to adhere to the terms of the petition of Parliament and
content himself with following the king everywhere. Twenty
thousand men marched under the orange banners of his house; but
he had been for three weeks at Worcester without doing anything
when Charles, emboldened by this inaction, took the course of
marching upon London, in order to end the war at one stroke.
Essex thereupon went back to defend Parliament.

The agitation was great in London, and fear soon gave way to
anger. Parliament took defensive measures against the king, and
redoubled its severity towards the malevolents. All the
population proceeded to the hurriedly constructed fortifications.
Barricades were raised in the streets. Night and day the assault
was expected, when, on the 24th of October, in the morning, the
rumor of a great battle was suddenly spread throughout the city.
Contradictory and confused rumors were abroad, some announcing
the complete victory of the king, others that of Essex.
Parliament caused the shops to be closed, armed the soldiery, and
required of each of its members a declaration of firm adhesion to
the parliamentary general as well as to his cause. Upon the
morrow only, Lord Wharton and Mr. Strode arrived in London with
the official news of the battle which had taken place at
Edgehill, in Warwickshire.

{97}

It was the Earl of Essex who commenced the struggle. The king was
about to give the same order; he had been urged to try the
fortune of war. Warwickshire was so hostile to his cause that the
farriers fled, to avoid shoeing the horses of his troops. The
cavalry of Parliament had been broken through by the onslaught of
Prince Rupert, who had thereupon pursued the fugitives. Being
arrested, however, by the regiment of Hampden, who arrived late
with the artillery, the prince, compelled to retreat, had found
the royal infantry destroyed, the Earl of Lindsay, generalissimo,
mortally wounded and a prisoner, and the royal standard in the
hands of the Parliamentarians. Charles, aided by his nephew, had
desired to attempt a fresh charge; but the soldiers and horses
were weary, and it was necessary to abandon the idea. Both armies
encamped upon the battle-field. In the morning it was asked in
the two camps whether the action would be recommenced. The king
soon assured himself that the step was impossible. A great number
of volunteers had already dispersed, a third of the infantry
failed him. On the side of the Parliamentarians, the experienced
soldiers, formed in the wars on the Continent, contested the
opinion of Hampden and Hollis, who desired to give battle again.
The Earl of Essex fell back upon Warwick, and the king removed
his headquarters to Oxford, of all the great towns of the kingdom
the most devoted to his cause. The two armies both claimed the
victory and celebrated thanksgivings.
{98}
London and Parliament found themselves delivered from the attack
which they dreaded, but the king had cause to congratulate
himself upon the state of his affairs. Many towns of which the
Parliamentarians thought themselves assured had opened their
gates to the royal troops. The king therefore came and
established himself at Reading. Prince Rupert carried on, even in
the environs of London, his pillaging incursions. The Houses
became uneasy. Essex was told to draw nearer. When he arrived the
king was at Colebrook, fifteen miles from London; there were
despatched to him five deputies, who were well received. Upon
their advice, Sir Peter Killigrew set out to negotiate for an
armistice. But, while negotiating, the king continued to advance.
He fell unexpectedly upon the quarters of Hollis, situated at
Brentford, seven miles from the capital. Hollis valiantly
resisted; the regiments of Hampden and Lord Brook, encamped in
the environs, had time to arrive, and alone bore, for some hours,
the whole brunt of the attack of the royal army. At the first
sound of the cannon, Essex, who sat in the House, mounted his
horse, gathered together all that he was able, and set out to
succor his troops. The action had ceased when he arrived. The
king occupied Brentford; but the fight had been animated, and he
did not appear to be in haste to press forward.

London was equally exasperated and alarmed. It was at the moment
when he had shown himself disposed to negotiate that the king had
attempted a surprise. He wished (it was said) to take the city by
storm and to deliver it up to pillage. Parliament took advantage
of the terror and anger of the people.
{99}
"Enroll," it was said to the apprentices, "and the time of your
service shall reckon in your apprenticeship." The city supplied
four thousand men taken from its trainbands and commanded by
Skippon. "Come, my children, let us pray with all our heart, and
fight with all our heart," he said, placing himself at the head
of his troops; "remember that this is the cause of God, and He
will bless you." Two days after the fight at Brentford, Essex
reviewed twenty-four thousand men at Turnham Green, about a mile
from the advanced posts of the royal forces.

The two armies thus confronted each other, but Essex still
hesitated to assume the offensive. The Parliamentary officers
urged him to proceed to the front. "Never," they said, "will the
people be found so firmly assured and imperiously compelled to
conquer." The general did not count much upon the people; he
preferred to have time to make soldiers of them; he established
himself everywhere upon the defensive, and the king retired to
Oxford, where he took up his winter quarters.

Essex was not alone in his feelings of repugnance and hesitation.
The popular party no longer marched forward with one same mind
and one firm will as when it was a question of political reforms.
Peace had numerous partisans who spoke more loudly every day.
Strife was in the midst of Parliament, and this constant effort
over itself deprived it of the leisure and energy necessary for
actively urging forward the war. The greater part of the winter
was passed without a single pitched battle.

{100}

The war continued meanwhile to be irregular and spontaneous.
Great noblemen or plain gentlemen, confederations of towns and
counties raised at their expense small corps, asked for a
commission from king or Parliament, and warred against each other
with ardor, but without violence and without cruelty, as men of a
common origin, often of the same family, who did not wish to
break off all amicable relations forever. Blood flowed and the
country already suffered, but the bitterness of the antagonistic
passions had not yet taken possession of the combatants. In the
eastern, central, and southeastern counties, the most thickly
peopled and the richest, the Parliamentarians were in the
ascendant. The preponderance pertained to the king in the north,
in the west, and in the south-west. London was surrounded by
counties devoted to Parliament, which formed, as it were, a
formidable girdle for it. At Oxford, the king found himself
placed in an advanced post.

In the month of February (1643) the queen arrived, animated and
confident. She had succeeded in interesting in the king's favor
the States of Holland. The Stadtholder, her son-in-law, had
helped her with all his resources. She brought four ships loaded
with supplies and troops. Admiral Batten did not contrive in time
to intercept the convoy which landed at Burlington. The town was
immediately cannonaded. The queen saw the balls fall even in her
apartment. She fled into the country and sheltered herself under
a bank. Lord Newcastle went to seek her with a body of troops, to
conduct her to York. She installed herself there, and a mass of
Catholics soon hastened to enroll themselves under her flag.
Henrietta-Maria made no haste to rejoin her husband; she liked to
reign alone and to maintain with her caressing ardor the zeal of
her partisans. Hamilton and Montrose came from Scotland to confer
with her upon the means of attaching that kingdom to the cause of
the king.
{101}
Hamilton wished to win over Parliament. Montrose was desirous of
making use of a corps of Irishmen under the orders of the Earl of
Antrim, to subjugate and massacre the Presbyterian chiefs, rouse
the highlanders, and take possession of the whole of Scotland.
Intrigues with the Parliamentary commanders were carried on as
much as conferences with the Royalists. Sir Hugh Cholmondeley
promised to surrender Scarborough. Sir John Hotham appeared
disposed to open the gates of Hull to the queen. Parliament began
to grow uneasy.

The friends of peace took advantage of this moment to propose
fresh negotiations. "It has been said in this House," said Sir
Benjamin Rudyard, "that we were bound in conscience to finish the
shedding of innocent blood; but who shall answer for all the
innocent blood which is about to flow if we do not march to peace
by the means of a prompt treaty?" His motion, which involved
nothing less than the disbandment of the two armies as a
preliminary of the negotiations, was rejected; but it was agreed
to send to Oxford five commissioners entrusted to discuss, for
twenty days at first, a suspension of arms, then a treaty. The
committee, at the head of which was the Earl of Northumberland,
set out from London on the 20th of March.

The king received the commissioners well, and their relations
with the court were polite and courteous. The Royalists were
magnificently treated at the residence of the Earl of
Northumberland, who had caused his household to follow him; but
when the negotiations were begun ill-feeling reappeared in full
force. Neither the king nor Parliament had abated any of the
conditions resolutely rejected before the war.
{102}
One evening the emissaries of Parliament believed they had gained
something; on the morrow morning, the written reply of Charles
did not resemble his words of the previous day; his councillors
and the emissaries of the queen had induced him to alter his
resolve. Secret and personal intrigues did not succeed better
than official negotiations. The king had promised his wife never
to make peace without her approbation, and she angrily wrote to
him to dissuade him from it. These manœuvres corresponded with
the secret wishes of the king, who did not desire peace. He ended
by offering to the negotiators to return to the Houses, if the
latter were willing to transport the seat of Parliament at least
twenty miles from London. Upon this message the Houses suddenly
recalled their commissioners, and, by an order so pressing that
they deemed themselves compelled to set out on the same day
(April 15th), although it was late, and their travelling coaches
were not ready.

On the same day the Earl of Essex took the field again. Hampden
would have preferred that a hasty march should be made to Oxford,
there to besiege the king. The earl refused this, even when he
had taken Reading, an indispensable town for the safety of
Parliament. Complaints were uttered concerning his delay and
hesitation. The most violent among the leaders of the Commons
spoke even of appointing a successor. Hampden, Fairfax, Lord
Manchester, Sir William Waller, had obtained successes and
rendered great services. Colonel Cromwell, already famous for his
bold strokes, as fortunate as they were skillful, had done more
still.
{103}
He was lamenting one day with Hampden the inferiority of the
Parliamentary cavalry, constantly defeated in the little
engagements which had taken place with the cavaliers. "What would
you?" said Cromwell; "your troops are most of them old, decayed
serving-men and tapsters. Do you think that the spirits of such
base and mean fellows will be ever able to encounter gentlemen
that have honor and courage and resolution in them? I will raise
men who have the fear of God before them, and I warrant you they
will not be beaten." The levies of volunteers which he had
formed, fanatical, proud, and severe of manner, engaged in the
war for conscience sake, and under the orders of Cromwell from
confidence in him. They already composed, at the opening of the
campaign of 1643, a body of a thousand men, the germ and nucleus
of the famous "Ironsides."

The bitter speeches against Essex came to no result. Complaints
were made, but there was a disinclination to separate from him.
The ill-will of the leaders, however, was manifested by the
destitution in which the army was left, through the insufficiency
of the resources and the irregularity of its pay. A royalist
plot, upon the point of bursting forth in the city, was
discovered: two of the conspirators only, Challoner and Tompkins,
rich citizens of London, suffered the extreme penalty. Edmund
Waller, a member of the House of Commons and already a famous
poet, repurchased his life with cowardly revelations. Many
important men were compromised, and while Parliament perceived
that conspiracy was going on at its doors against its safety,
successive disasters overtook its arms and placed its cause in
peril.

{104}

A great loss--that of Hampden--was the signal for these reverses.
A trifling encounter of cavalry had taken place on the 18th of
June, in the plain of Chalgrave, a few leagues from Oxford.
Prince Rupert defeated the Parliamentarians. Hampden was there.
"I saw him," said a prisoner, "go away, contrary to his custom,
from the field of battle before the end of the action. His head
was bent low, his hands rested upon the neck of his horse;
without doubt he is wounded." The people of Oxford were agitated,
almost fearing to rejoice. The king sent one of his physicians, a
country neighbor of Hampden, to know whether he did not want
assistance. A thought of conciliation towards this powerful
adversary had crossed the mind of Charles. Doctor Giles found
Hampden dying: a bullet had shattered his shoulder. He was told,
however, who had sent to enquire after him, and with what
intention. A violent agitation seized the wounded man. He wished
to speak, but death had already frozen his tongue; he expired a
few instants afterwards. When he was no longer to be feared, the
people rejoiced in Oxford; while in London, and in nearly all the
kingdom, the grief was as violent as it was profound.

"Never had man inspired so much confidence in a people. Whoever
belonged to the national party, no matter in what degree or for
what motives, counted upon Hampden for the success of his wishes.
The more moderate believed in his wisdom, the more passionate in
his patriotic devotion, the more honest in his uprightness, the
more intriguing in his skill. Prudent and reserved, while ready
to brave all perils, he who had never yet been wanting suddenly
disappointed all hopes. A marvellous good fortune, which forever
placed his name in the high position assigned to it by the
expectation of his contemporaries, and perhaps saved his virtue
as well as his glory, from the rocks whereon revolutions impel
and shatter their noblest favorites!"


[Image]
Death of Hampden.


{105}

The people wept; they soon began to tremble. Everywhere the
Parliamentary generals were beaten by the royalist chiefs. The
enemies of Essex, by allowing his army to suffer, had reckoned
upon the successes of his rivals. Fairfax had been beaten on the
30th of June at Atherton Moor. Sir John Hotham was upon the point
of surrendering Hull to the queen. Lord Willoughby could no
longer defend Lincolnshire against Lord Newcastle. The
confederation of the eastern states, the great bulwark of
Parliament, seemed about to be broken up. In Cornwall, where the
command was in the hands of the most faithful and best servants
of the king, the Marquis of Hertford, Sir Bevil Grenville, Sir
Ralph Hopton, the peasants hereditarily attached to their lords
had followed them to the war, as in France the Vendéans were to
follow the nobles a hundred and fifty years later. Like them they
seized upon the batteries, assaulting them with their staves. Sir
William Waller there lost two battles in one week. Everywhere the
cities opened their gates to the king. Bristol, the second
stronghold in the kingdom, surrendered at the first attack. The
queen had rejoined the king, bringing three thousand men and some
cannon, upon that same plain of Keynton, where, in the preceding
year, the two parties had for the first time come to blows.
Charles and his wife returned to Oxford in triumph, and Sir
William Waller came back to London without troops.

{106}

Amidst so many disasters, Essex had not stirred, imputing his
inaction to those very persons who reproached him with it. He
caused the Upper House to be advised to sue for peace from the
king. "If this proceeding does not bring about a treaty," he
said, in conclusion, "it will be necessary, I think, to beg his
Majesty to go away from this scene of slaughter, and then, in one
day, the two armies must settle the dispute." A few days earlier
the overtures of Essex might, perhaps, have been well received;
but the king had recently declared officially that the
individuals still assembled at Westminster, after the retirement
of so many members, no longer formed two real Houses, that they
had lost all legal existence, and no longer deserved the name of
Parliament. He forbade all his subjects to obey this set of
traitors and sedition-mongers. Parliament, thus attacked, voted
the formation of a committee entrusted to ask assistance of the
Scots, and the House of Lords declared that it would not address
any proposal for peace to the king until he should have revoked
his proclamation against the legality of Parliament.

It was not merely votes and declarations that were relied upon.
The army of Essex received reinforcements and supplies; the
formation of a new army began in earnest in the eastern counties;
it was to be placed under the command of Lord Manchester, with
Cromwell as lieutenant-general. In Hull, Lord Fairfax succeeded
Sir John Hotham, arrested by order of the Commons before he had
been able to accomplish his treason. Religious services increased
in London. The wives and mothers of the combatants filled the
churches; every morning, at beat of drum, a crowd of citizens,
men and women, rich and poor, issued forth in a mass to work at
the fortifications.

{107}

The effort was great and general, but it was not more than
necessity demanded; for the successes of the king continued, and
the desire for peace began to spring up again in the minds of the
majority of the Lords, with the gleam of hope revealed by a fresh
proclamation of the king, more skillful and more agreeable than
the preceding one. On the 5th of August the Upper House
transmitted to the Commons pacific proposals which they had voted
on the previous day, declaring in a sufficiently haughty tone
that it was time to put an end to the calamities of the country.
The leaders of the Commons grew alarmed. Peace, thus demanded,
was a defeat. They had not been able to prevent the House from
taking into consideration the proposals of the Lords. They called
the people to their assistance; a riotous assemblage demanded
with loud cries the continuation of the hostilities. The vote was
doubtful in the Commons; a first scrutiny gave the majority to
the partisans of peace. The party of war demanded a fresh
examination; they carried this proposal at length, but with a
majority of seven votes only. On the morrow, a crowd of women who
besieged the gates of Westminster, demanding peace, could only be
dispersed by a charge of cavalry; two corpses remained upon the
ground.

The triumph of the popular leaders was complete, but it was
stained with those frauds and acts of violence with which they
had but recently so bitterly reproached the king. Six members of
the Upper House quitted London, to repair to the court of
Charles. Northumberland retired to his castle. The Commons were
soon about to find themselves alone; they were astonished and
uneasy, for the most impetuous sectaries and the most violent
demagogues began to give themselves free play.
{108}
"If the king will not lend himself to every demand," wrote a
pamphleteer, "he must be extirpated, he and his race, and the
crown must be entrusted to some one else." Henry Martyn supported
the pamphlet, attacked before the House. "Without doubt," he
said, "the ruin of a single family is better than that of many."
"I demand," exclaimed Sir Nevil Poole, "that Mr. Martyn be
summoned to say of what family he speaks." "Of the king and his
children," replied Martyn, without hesitating. The most violent
spirits in the House had not yet gone to the length of
proclaiming their hopes aloud. Martyn was suffered to be placed
in the Tower without resistance, and was excluded from
Parliament.

The danger, however, became too pressing to admit of division
among the party. The king laid siege to Gloucester, the only
stronghold which still arrested him in his march upon London, or
impeded the free communication of the royal armies. Common sense
gained the ascendant over party hatreds. The moderate understood
that before negotiating it was necessary to conquer; the fanatics
recognized the truth, that to gain a victory it was for them to
serve, for their rivals to command. Essex and his friends
regained everywhere the authority of which they had but recently
been deprived, and the more impassioned of their adversaries
omitted nothing in assuring them of the confidence of Parliament
and the country. The week had scarcely passed when the earl set
out at the head of fourteen thousand men, to proceed by forced
marches to the relief of Gloucester, which city the king had been
closely blockading for a fortnight.

{109}

Charles had not found even in his most illustrious servants the
intelligence and ready disinterestedness which inspired the
leaders of the popular party. Lord Newcastle, victorious in
Yorkshire, refused to rejoin the king under the walls of London.
"As long as Hull shall not be taken," he said, "I cannot leave
this part of the country." Hull was in the hands of Fairfax, and
the king could not or dared not undertake to attack London
unaided. He thought he had secret understandings with the town of
Gloucester, and resolved to lay siege to it. A garrison of
fifteen hundred men alone defended the town; but the inhabitants
were devoted to Parliament, and replied to the order to
surrender, "We hold this town for the service of his Majesty and
his posterity. We consider ourselves obliged to obey the orders
of his Majesty, as they are transmitted to us by the two Houses
of Parliament; consequently with the help of God, we will guard
the said town with all our might." For twenty-six days they had
kept their word, when the king learnt that the Earl of Essex was
approaching.

Every means, both warlike and peaceful, was tried to arrest him.
Prince Rupert hastened to place himself before him with his
cavalry; the king made proposals for peace to him. Essex did not
fight, still pressing on his march, and he replied to Charles,
"Parliament has not commissioned me to negotiate, but to deliver
Gloucester. I will do it, or I will leave my body under the
walls." As he deployed his army on the morrow, the 5th of
September, upon the hills of Prestbury, two leagues from the
besieged town, the sight of the quarters of the king in flames
informed him that he had accomplished his task without striking a
blow. Charles had raised the siege of Gloucester.

{110}

It was not to avoid a combat that the cavaliers had abandoned an
investment of which they were weary. Gloucester being
revictualled, the Earl of Essex turned back towards London; but
on arriving before Newbury, on the 19th of September, he
perceived that the enemy had preceded him, and that a battle was
inevitable. The action began at daybreak. Valiant was the
fighting upon both sides; "the Royalists therein felt the hope of
redeeming a reverse which had suspended the course of their
triumphs; the Parliamentarians, the desire not to lose, when so
near the goal, the fruit of a triumph which had put an end to so
many reverses." The soldiery of London manifested the most
brilliant courage. At nightfall, both parties maintained their
positions. Essex, however, had gained ground, and was preparing
to resume the action at daybreak; but the enemy withdrew during
the night, and the road was free. On the 22d Essex and his army
arrived at Reading, henceforth sheltered from all danger.

The royal army had suffered losses which cast down the courage of
the chiefs and the soldiers. More than twenty officers of
distinction had fallen; among others, and first of all, Lord
Falkland, the honor of the royalist party. "Still a patriot,
although proscribed in London, still respected by the people,
although a royal counsellor at Oxford, nothing made it incumbent
on him to seek the field of battle, but he sought danger with a
painful ardor. Profoundly saddened by the evils which he
contemplated and those which he foresaw, ill at ease amidst a
party whose successes and reverses he almost equally dreaded, his
temper had become embittered, he had grown taciturn and gloomy.
'Peace! peace!' he often exclaimed amidst the conversations of
his friends; then he relapsed into his despondency.
{111}
On the morning of the combat he had attired himself carefully,
according to his former custom, for some time abandoned, and, as
he was urged to remain at his residence, 'No,' he said, 'too long
has all this been breaking my heart; I hope that I shall be out
of it before it is night,' and he went and joined the regiment of
Lord Byron as a volunteer. He fell at the beginning of the
action, being dead before his fall was noticed. His friends, Hyde
especially, preserved an inconsolable remembrance of him. The
courtiers learnt, without any great emotion, the death of a man
who had been a stranger to them. Charles manifested decent
regrets, and felt himself more at ease in council."

Joy reigned supreme in London. While Essex was re-entering the
city with his triumphant troops, it became known that Vane had
concluded with the Scots, under the name of "a solemn league" or
"covenant," a close alliance, which was sworn to both in
Edinburgh and in London. The Presbyterian leaders and people were
at the summit of their wishes. Their general had conquered, and
their natural allies, the Scots, were coming to their aid. They
took advantage of this situation of affairs to exert their
religious tyranny; the assemblage of theologians received orders
to prepare a scheme of ecclesiastical government, and committees
were formed to examine, in each county, the doctrine and conduct
of the clericals. Those who had escaped the persecutions of Laud
against the nonconformists, now succumbed to the Presbyterian
inquisitions. Some few even, who had resumed possession of their
livings since the fall of the episcopacy, found themselves again
prosecuted.
{112}
More than two thousand clergymen were expelled from their
parishes, and the Anabaptists, the Brownists, and the
Independents, were thrown into prisons, where their tyrants had
but recently groaned with them. Archbishop Laud, forgotten for
three years past in his imprisonment, was summoned to the bar of
the Upper House, to reply to the accusation of the Commons, the
triumphant Presbyterians bringing the weight of their vengeance
and their fears to bear upon adversaries of all parties.

They hastened, for the ground trembled beneath their feet. It was
too much to cope, on the one hand, with the Royalists, and on the
other with the religious or political Independents, who every day
became more numerous and more bold. In religious matters, the
Presbyterians admitted neither discussion nor liberty. They
looked upon their doctrinal and ecclesiastical system as the only
law and the only government permitted and revealed by the word of
God. In politics they were moderate. They liked the monarchy
while fighting against the king; they respected the prerogative
while laboring to subjugate the crown; and they obeyed old
customs as much as new requirements, without knowing precisely
whether they were proceeding by means of the reforms which they
had prosecuted for three years with so much ardor. The leaders
themselves came from different sides, and were not all animated
by the same desires. Hesitation began to discover itself among
them: Rudyard no longer appeared in Parliament, except at rare
intervals. St. John and Pym treated the Independents gently; the
lords quitted Westminster by degrees and withdrew to their
estates, when they did not proceed to rejoin the king. On the
morrow of the battle of Newbury, ten lords only sat in the Upper
House; they were, for the Presbyterians, an incumbrance rather
than a support; the popular movement became every day more
estranged from the high aristocracy, separated from the
Presbyterians by the religious fanaticism of the latter.
Revolution succeeded reform.

{113}

The new party had grown in the shadow of the Presbyterian power;
but from the first it had set up a very different flag. Liberty
was the basis of the structure that liberty yet so misunderstood
and so often dishonored by the very persons who demanded it.
"Whatever may have been the boldness of their ventures, neither
the politicians nor the devotees of the new party were a prey to
vague desires, to unlimited pretensions. No precise design
regulated their course, no historical or legal act comprised the
limits of their belief. It was this very belief which they
wished, at all costs, to set forth. Proud of its elevation, of
its holiness, of its daring, they awarded to it the right of
judging all, of ruling all; and taking it solely for their guide,
the philosophers sought with indefatigable ardor, the truth; the
enthusiasts, the Lord; the libertines, success. All could find
therein full satisfaction for their schemes and hopes. The double
policy of the Presbyterians did not hinder the progress of those
free spirits who claimed to shake off all impediments and remake
the world in their own fashion. Hostility increased every day
between the new party of the Independents, impelled by the breeze
of revolution as well as by popular favor, and the old
Presbyterian party, triumphant and everywhere in power, but
hesitating and uneasy in the very midst of its victories."

{114}

At Oxford, divisions among the enemy were not unknown, and men of
ability would have been ready to profit by them: but in vain were
secret negotiations carried on sometimes with the Presbyterians,
sometimes with the Independents; the plots were neither active
nor efficacious, and they displeased the king even while he
tolerated them. He had less repugnance in negotiating with other
enemies, odious to England and his people. He was in treaty with
the Irish rebels, with the ferocious Papists who had put Ireland
to fire and sword, now organized by the great council which had
been formed at Kilkenny. When Charles heard of the negotiations
of the Scotch with Parliament, and when he saw that a fresh
kingdom was about to slip from his grasp, he hastened to come to
an end with the Irish. The Protestant army, commanded by the Earl
of Ormond, which had always remained faithful to the royal cause,
was disbanded; its regiments crossed the sea and joined the army
of the king. A truce of one year was concluded with the rebels;
Ireland was abandoned to the Papists. It was a terrible blow
struck in England to the traditional respect which many people
still preserved towards the king. His duplicity, his tedious
falsehoods, the haughty tone of his protests, his decided
tendency towards Roman Catholicism, all this recurred to the
recollection of the people, and his name, hitherto treated with
respect amidst the most bitter strife of the contending parties,
was no longer spared from insult.

Charles was deeply offended at the violence which was manifested
towards him. His timid and easily offended dignity was shocked at
the idea that people should dare to judge him according to his
acts. He sent for Hyde. "I desire to dissolve Parliament," he
said. "The act by which I promised only to do so with their own
consent, is, I am assured, null and void; for I could not thus
abolish the prerogatives of the crown, but rather desire to make
use of them.
{115}
Let a proclamation be prepared which shall declare the Houses
dissolved from this time, and expressly forbid them from
reassembling, or any one, whosoever he may be, from recognizing
or obeying them." Hyde listened, surprised and grieved. "I cannot
imagine," he said, "that your Majesty's forbidding them to meet
any more at Westminster will prevent one man the more going
there, and, nevertheless, the kingdom will, without doubt, take
violent umbrage at it. It was the first powerful reproach they
corrupted the people with against your Majesty, that you intended
to dissolve this Parliament, and in the same way repeal all the
other acts made by that Parliament, whereof some are very
precious to the people. As your Majesty has always disclaimed any
such thought, such a proclamation now would confirm all the
jealousies and fears so excited, and trouble many of your true
subjects. I implore your Majesty to reflect well before further
pressing this project."

All the members of the council spoke like Hyde, and the king
abandoned his project, not without ill-humor. It was necessary,
however, to do something. Some one proposed, since the name of
Parliament exercised such a dominion over the people, to convoke
at Oxford all the members of the two Houses who had quitted
Westminster, and thus to oppose to the factious and mutilated
Parliament a real and legal Parliament, since the king would form
part of it. The proposal displeased the king, who detested the
very name of parliament. The queen was still more opposed to it;
but the royalist party received the measure with ecstasy, and no
one dared to withdraw it. The Parliament of the king was convoked
at Oxford for the 22nd January, 1644.

{116}

On the same day, at Westminster, a kind of muster of the Houses
took place. Twenty-two lords still sat in the Upper House, and
two hundred and eighty members of the Commons responded to their
names. A certain number were absent in the service of the country
and by order of Parliament. One of its oldest and most useful
leaders had recently been taken from them. "Pym had died on the
8th of December, after a sickness of a few days. A man of a less
brilliant renown than Hampden, in the secret councils as well as
the public acts of the House, he had not rendered less important
services. Firm, patient, and shrewd, skilled in pursuing an
enemy, in directing a debate, or an intrigue, in fomenting the
anger of the people, in engaging or retaining in his cause the
great lords who were in a state of uncertainty, he was, moreover,
an indefatigable member of the greater number of the committees,
the customary chief mover of decisive measures, always ready to
undertake onerous and dreaded duties; indifferent, in short, to
labor, to mortifications, to fortune, to glory, and placing in
success his sole ambition. The House felt its loss, and rendered
the greatest honors to his memory. He was buried at Westminster."

The new Parliament had attempted to establish relations with
Essex. It received from the Earl of Forth, commander-in-chief of
the army of the king, a packet which it consigned in a sealed
cover to the Upper House. After an examination by a committee of
the two Houses, the papers were sent to Oxford without any
answer.
{117}
A demand for a safe-conduct for the deputies whom the king
desired to send to London was not better received. "My Lord,"
replied Essex, "when you ask for a safe-conduct in order that
these gentlemen may repair, on behalf of the king, to the two
Houses of Parliament, I will do, with all my heart, what shall be
in my power to contribute to all that is desired by all good
men--the re-establishment of an amicable understanding between
his Majesty and his faithful and only council, the Parliament."

The king was delighted to find his adversaries so untractable;
his hopes lay entirely in war and nowise in negotiations. The
assembly of Oxford, consisting of forty-five Lords and a hundred
and eighteen members of the Commons, obtained however a slight
concession from him. The name of Parliament had not, in the first
message rejected by Essex, been applied to the House at
Westminster. A letter of the king was addressed "to the Lords and
Commons of the Parliament assembled at Westminster;" but he spoke
of the Lords and Commons assembled at Oxford as of their equals.
A trumpeter from Essex brought the reply of the Houses. "The
letter of your Majesty," it ran, "gives us, as to peace, the
saddest thoughts. The persons now assembled at Oxford, and who,
against their duty, have deserted your Parliament, are therein
placed in the same rank as the latter, and this Parliament
itself, convoked according to the fundamental laws of the
kingdom, authorized to continue to sit by a special law
sanctioned by your Majesty, finds itself denied even its name. We
cannot betray in this manner the honor of the country entrusted
to our keeping, and it is our duty to make known to your Majesty
that we are firmly resolved to defend and maintain, at the risk
of our fortunes and our lives, the just rights and the full
powers of Parliament."

{118}

The assembly of Oxford did not long resist. Henceforth, without
hope of conciliation, and consequently without object, it
continued to sit until the 16th of April, still faithful to the
king, voting a few loans, and addressing long and bitter
reproaches to the Houses of Westminster; but timid, inactive, and
careful to manifest in presence of the court its ardent desire
for legal order and peace. When their adjournment was at length
pronounced, the king rejoiced with the queen at being delivered
from this mongrel Parliament, the haunt of cowardly and seditious
motions.

Charles counted upon war; but the campaign about to open
presented itself under grievous aspects. All the small
engagements which had taken place during the winter had turned to
the advantage of the Parliamentarians. The Earl of Newcastle had
been compelled by Fairfax to shut himself up in York. Parliament
possessed five armies: those of the Scots, Essex, and Fairfax,
were paid at the expense of the public treasury; those of
Manchester and Waller were supported by the Eastern and Southern
counties commissioned to recruit them. Under the name of
Committee of the Two Kingdoms, a committee of the Chambers,
composed of seven lords, fourteen members of the Commons, and
four Scottish commissioners, was invested with almost absolute
power over the war and foreign relations. The measures of
Parliament were every day becoming more regular and energetic.
Weakness and want of discipline, on the contrary, increased in
the camp of the king.


[Image]
Battle Of Marston Moor.

{119}

Suddenly it became known at Oxford that the army of Essex,
strengthened by that of Waller, was advancing to besiege the
town. The troops of Fairfax and Manchester and the Scots were to
assemble under the walls of York, and besieged that town in
common. The two great towns and the two great armies of the
royalists, the king and Lord Newcastle, were thus attacked at
once by all the forces of Parliament. Such was the simple and
bold plan which the committee of the two kingdoms had adopted.

The queen took alarm. She was in expectation of a child, but she
was anxious not to be delivered within a besieged town. The evil
effect of her departure was represented to her without success;
she flew into a passion, wept, implored. She set out at length
for Exeter, determined to proceed to France in case of danger.
Her husband never saw her again.

A month later, at the end of May, Oxford was almost completely
surrounded. A considerable reinforcement of militiamen coming
from London, was about to put Essex in a position to complete the
investment. The danger was so urgent that one of the faithful
councillors of the king proposed to him to surrender to the earl.
"It may be," said Charles in indignation, "that I may be found in
the hands of the Earl of Essex, but I shall be dead." A week
afterwards the army and Parliament learnt that the investment of
Oxford had become useless, for the king had escaped.

{120}

On the 3d of June, accompanied by the Prince of Wales, and
leaving in the town the Duke of York with all his court, the king
had issued forth from Oxford. Passing between the two hostile
camps, and, joining a corps of light troops who awaited him upon
the northern side, he rapidly placed himself out of reach.
Seventeen days subsequently, while Waller was pursuing him in
Worcestershire and Essex was advancing towards Lyme, which Prince
Maurice kept besieged, Charles, bold and determined for the first
time, reappeared in Oxford, and placing himself once more at the
head of his troops, vigorously resumed the offensive. On the 29th
of June he defeated, in Buckinghamshire, at Cropredybridge, the
army of Waller, which had advanced to cut off his road to London.
At rest upon this point, he resolved to pursue Essex, who had
appeared before the walls of Exeter, and might terrify the queen,
who had been delivered of a child two days before. One of the
armies which had but recently kept him a prisoner was destroyed;
the other, it seemed, would soon share its fate. Satisfied with
his triumph, the king addressed from Evesham a message to the
Houses, in which, without giving to them the name of Parliament,
he made pacific protestations and offered to reopen negotiations;
he then pursued his march towards the west.

Before his message arrived in London everything had assumed a
different aspect. Fresh actors had entered upon the scene, the
battle of Marston Moor, fought by the three armies of Fairfax,
Manchester, and the Scots, against Prince Rupert and Lord
Newcastle, had annihilated the royalist party in the north. York
could not delay surrendering. Neither the defeats of Waller nor
the former triumphs of Essex were thought of any longer.

{121}

It was on the evening of the 2d of July, from seven to ten
o'clock, at Marston Moor, that the battle had taken place which
brought about these great results. At the approach of Prince
Rupert the Parliamentary generals had raised the siege of York
and proceeded towards him to arrest his progress. They had not
succeeded; the prince had entered the town without striking a
blow. The Parliamentarians retired; but notwithstanding the
counsels of Lord Newcastle, Rupert followed them. When the two
armies met, it was five o'clock in the evening; they spent two
hours in sight of each other without engaging. "What position
does your Highness intend for me" asked Newcastle of the prince.
"I do not count upon making the attack before to-morrow morning,"
said Rupert; "you may rest until then." The earl retired and shut
himself up in his coach. Scarcely was he settled there, when the
firing informed him that the battle had begun; he ran thither,
without command, at the head of a few volunteer gentlemen like
himself. The most complete disorder reigned on the plain. The two
armies were fighting helter-skelter, without leaders and without
discipline: Parliamentarians and Royalists, horsemen and
foot-soldiers, were wandering about the field of battle, seeking
their corps, fighting upon meeting the enemy, but without result
as well as without general purpose. The right wing of the
Parliamentarians wavered under a charge of the Royalists; the
Scottish cavalry took to flight. They were pursued, and a rumor
of the victory of Prince Rupert spread as far as Oxford, where
bonfires were lighted. But, as usual, the cavaliers had suffered
themselves to be carried away by their ardor. When they returned
to the field of battle, they found their positions occupied by
the enemy. The cavalry of Prince Rupert had given way before the
squadrons of Cromwell; the infantry of Manchester had completed
his defeat.
{122}
The Parliamentarians had not pursued their adversaries, but had
hastened to secure the field of battle. The combat which took
place between the two victorious corps ended to the advantage of
the Ironsides, a name given upon this occasion to the soldiers of
Cromwell. Three thousand corpses strewed the field. Sixteen
hundred Royalists were prisoners.

Rupert and Newcastle re-entered York in the middle of the night.
Without seeing each other, they merely exchanged messages. "I
have resolved," the prince sent word, "to set out this morning
with my cavalry and what I have left of my infantry." "I start at
once," Newcastle said, "and I am going to cross the sea to retire
to the Continent." Both kept their word. York capitulated at the
end of a fortnight.

Never had Parliament achieved so brilliant a success, and it was
to the Independents that they owed it. The Scots, those allies
whom the Presbyterians had brought from so far, had fled
disgracefully. _The day of the Lord_ was at length coming,
thought the enthusiasts. "My Lord," said Cromwell to Lord
Manchester in their camp intercourse, "place yourself decisively
with us, say no longer that we must hold ourselves in readiness
for peace, or spare the House of Lords, or fear the refusals of
Parliament. What have we to do with peace and the nobility? It
never will be well with England till you are called plain Mr.
Montague. If you will stick firm to honest men, you shall find
yourself at the head of an army which shall give law both to king
and Parliament."

The audacious counsels of Cromwell were not to serve the purpose
of Lord Manchester; but himself and his party were nearing the
goal of their hopes, for Essex had recently been vanquished.

{123}

More and more occupied in the west, the general-in-chief of the
Parliamentary armies had allowed himself to be allured by easy
successes. As he approached Exeter, the queen sent to ask for a
safe-conduct, in order to proceed to Bath to recover from her
accouchment. "If your Majesty wishes to repair to London," he
replied, "not only will I give you a safe-conduct, but I will
accompany you myself. It is there that you will receive the best
advice and the most efficacious cares for the restoration of your
health. For any other place I cannot accede to your desires
without consulting Parliament." Essex might be dispirited, and
disgusted even with the cause he had embraced; he could not fail
in fidelity. Stricken with terror, the queen fled to Falmouth,
where she embarked for France.

Upon the advice of several of his officers, Essex entered
Cornwall. The population were hostile to him, and the king was
pressing him closely. He asked for reinforcements and counselled
that Waller should effect a diversion upon the rear of the royal
army. The committee of the two kingdoms was earnest, agitated,
ordered public prayers, and commanded Waller and Middleton to
march to the aid of the general. "Let money and men be sent to
me," wrote Waller; "God is my witness that it is not my fault if
I do not go more quickly; if the money does not come, I shall go
without money." He did not depart. Middleton moved his army
forward, but stopped at the first obstacle. Essex remained alone.

{124}

Abandoned by Parliament, the general was ardently sought after by
the Royalists, who were incapable of believing that a man of his
rank could earnestly serve any other cause than theirs. The king
wrote him on the 6th of August, at his headquarters at
Lestwithiel, a letter full of esteem and promises, urging him to
restore peace to his country. It was Lord Beauchamp, nephew of
the earl, who brought the royal missive. "I have but one counsel
to give to the king, that is to return to his Parliament."
Charles did not persist, but many cavaliers around him desired
peace, and were beginning to shake off the exclusive yoke of the
royal will. They resolved to offer to the earl their personal
guarantee for the promises of the king. A rough draft of a
letter, signed by Lords Wilmot and Percy, commanders of the
cavalry and infantry, circulated among the officers. The king
concealed his ill-humor. His nephew. Prince Maurice, like the
Earl of Brentford, commander-in-chief of the royal army, signed
the proposals of negotiation addressed to the hostile general.
The king had authorized the proceeding. "My Lords," replied
Essex, "you have been careful to express, in the first lines of
your letter, in virtue of what authorization it has been
addressed to me. I have received from Parliament which I serve no
authority to negotiate, and I could not lend myself to it without
a breach of trust. I am, my Lords, your very humble servant,
Essex."

It remained but to fight with the redoubled ardor which arises
from vexation. The Parliamentary general was hemmed in on all
sides by the royalist forces. Skirmishes took place every day,
without great result. Provisions were becoming scarce in the army
of Parliament. The Royalists had come so near that they could see
all that went on in the camp. Essex resolved to endeavor to reach
the port of Fowey.
{125}
The cavalry, under orders of Sir William Balfour, spent the night
between the two divisions of the royal army; but the infantry
became involved in narrow roads, where they advanced slowly; they
were pursued by all the army of the king: they had lost their
baggage; they spoke aloud of capitulating. Essex could not submit
to so great a disgrace; he reached the coast with two officers,
threw himself into a boat and made sail for Plymouth, leaving his
army under the orders of Major-General Skippon. The soldiers were
discouraged, the officers discontented: the king caused
unexpected terms to be proposed to them; the capitulation was
accepted. The artillery, provisions, and arms remained in the
hands of the Royalists. The men were reconducted to the quarters
of the Parliamentarians. They had saved their lives and liberty,
but without arms and without a leader they traversed, under the
escort of the cavaliers, the counties which they had but recently
overrun as conquerors. Their general had fled from this
humiliation; he did not endeavor to escape the justice of his
country; he wrote to Parliament, on arriving at Plymouth, "It is
the most severe blow which our cause has ever sustained. I desire
nothing so much as to be put upon my trial; such disasters should
not be suppressed."

The English Parliament was worthy to have descended from the old
Roman Senators contending against Hannibal. Instead of placing
Essex upon trial, the formation of a new army for his use was
immediately set about. The imminence of the peril rallied to his
party those men who were uncertain, and the leaders of the
Independents, able and patient, were in no hurry to throw light
upon the causes which had brought about the defeat of the earl.
Manchester and Waller received orders to join the army of Essex.
{126}
When the king, confident from his successes in Cornwall, and glad
to learn that at the instigation of Montrose, war had broken out
in Scotland, commenced his movements towards London, he
encountered by the way imposing forces. The army of Essex was
there, but its general was wanting. The earl, disheartened and
ill, had remained in London. The assurances of the confidence of
Parliament had not sufficed to rouse him from his dejection:
battle was given in his absence on the 29th of October, once more
before Newbury.

The action was long and desperate. The soldiers of Essex
performed on this occasion prodigies of valor to retake the
cannon which they had lost in Cornwall; but they remained
uncertain, and both sides claimed the victory. The king abandoned
his designs upon London, and withdrew towards Oxford, where he
counted upon taking up his winter quarters. Cromwell reproached
the Earl of Manchester with having attacked without vigor, and
with having but feebly followed up his advantages. The struggle
became more resolute every day between the Presbyterians and the
Independents--between the partisans of peace and those who
desired war at any price. Of these latter, Cromwell was becoming
the acknowledged leader.

Essex and his friends resolved to attempt a great effort. They
urged the committee of the House which, for six months, had
worked with the Scotch commissioners, to prepare the proposals
for peace. In a few days these proposals were presented to the
Houses, discussed and adopted. On the 20th of November, nine
commissioners set out to present them to the king.
{127}
They found him at Oxford, and on the first day the insults of the
cavaliers towards the Parliamentarians threatened to bring about
personal encounters between the emissaries of the Parliament and
the partisans of the king. "Have you power to negotiate?" asked
Charles of Lord Denbigh. "No, Sire, our mission is limited to
presenting to your Majesty the proposals, and to soliciting your
answer in writing." "Well; I will remit it to you (he replied) as
soon as I am able." The commissioners waited for three days. The
proposals of Parliament were not conciliatory; they involved a
veritable abdication of the royal power. When the commissioners
from Parliament were at length summoned before the king, he
consigned a sealed document to them, saying, "This is my answer;
take it to those who have sent you." Lord Denbigh in vain
endeavored to ascertain what the document contained; the king
would not give to the Houses the name of Parliament. "Your duty
is to take my answer, were it only the ballad of Robin Hood."
"The matter which has brought us, Sire, is a trifle more serious
than a ballad." "I know it; but you told me that you had no power
to negotiate. My memory is as good as yours; you were only
charged to remit the proposals to me. A post-boy would have done
as much in the matter as you." The conversation became more and
more bitter. The commissioners set out on their return, without
obtaining from the king an admission that his message was
addressed to Parliament. He only asked for a safe-conduct for the
Duke of Richmond and the Earl of Southampton. They proceeded to
London, and conferences were resolved upon; these were to take
place at Uxbridge. Forty commissioners, twenty-three in the name
of Parliament, and seventeen in the name of the king, were to
discuss that peace which was every day becoming more the object
of all the desires as well as the only hope of the Presbyterians.

{128}

The Independents knew this well, but they also knew the
passionate pride and the deceptions of the king, and the
fanaticism and haughtiness of the Parliamentarians. While
dreading the pacific conferences which might have caused the
triumph of their rivals, they occupied themselves in preparing
for war. Cromwell made a great speech condemning the division of
power and the slowness of the military operations. "If the army
be not put into another method, and the war more vigorously
prosecuted, the people can bear the war no longer, and will
enforce you to a dishonorable peace. Let us waive a strict
inquiry into the causes of these things; let us apply ourselves
to the remedy which is most necessary. And I hope we have such
true English hearts and zealous affections towards the general
weal of our mother-country, as no members of either House will
scruple to deny themselves and their own private interest for the
public good, nor account it to be a dishonor done to them
whatever Parliament shall resolve upon." "There is but one way to
end the matter," said Zouch Tate, an obscure fanatic, "each of us
must freely sacrifice himself. I propose that no member of either
House shall, during the war, enjoy or execute any office or
command, civil or military, and that an ordinance be brought in
accordingly."

After the first moment of astonishment, a violent discussion
arose. It was in the Houses that lay all the strength of the
Presbyterians, until then the real leaders of the revolution. The
"self-denying" ordinance deprived them of the executive power and
created an army of strangers to Parliament.
{129}
They did not deceive themselves as to the pretended
disinterestedness which had inspired the proposals of Cromwell
and his friends. "There is some talk here of self-denial," they
said; "it will be the triumph of personal envy and interest." But
this time public opinion was with the Independents. The
Presbyterian party was worn-out and discredited. Notwithstanding
their real strength in the House of Commons, the ordinance was
voted and sent up to the House of Lords on the 21st of September.

In voting the proposal of Zouch Tate, the Upper House abandoned
the remnant of power which it still retained, for nearly all its
members were affected. While they deliberated, the political
leaders of the party in the House of Commons increased the
concessions to the religious prejudices, as well as to the
malignant resentments of the multitude. Long-forgotten
prosecutions were resumed. Archbishop Laud, imprisoned for four
years, was condemned by a simple ordinance of the two Houses,
illegal even according to the traditions of Parliamentary
tyranny. He died with pious courage, filled with scorn for his
adversaries and with uneasiness for the future of the king. Sir
John Hotham and his son, accused of having plotted to deliver to
the king the town of Hull; Lord Macguire, who had fomented the
Irish insurrection, and Sir Alexander Carew, governor of the
island of St. Nicholas, who had relaxed his zeal in favor of the
royalist conspiracies, expiated their transgressions by capital
punishment. At the same time, the litany of the Church of
England, hitherto tacitly tolerated, was definitively abolished.
A book entitled _Directions for Public Worship_ received
instead the sanction of Parliament, which no longer refused
anything to the fanatics whose support it claimed. The House of
Lords did not deceive their hopes. On the 15th of January, 1645,
it rejected the self-denying ordinance.

{130}

A few days later, on the 29th of January, the negotiations at
Uxbridge were at length opened. The king had consented to accord
to the Houses at Westminster the name of Parliament. "If I had
had in my council," he wrote to the queen, "two persons of my own
opinion, I should never have yielded." The negotiators wished for
peace, with the exception of Vane, St. John, and Prideaux, who
formed other projects.

The will of men soon yields to the irresistible force of
circumstances. Each of the Parliamentary factions had its private
interest. The two parties endeavored to secure power in case
peace should be concluded. Theological discussions inflamed the
political negotiations. The conferences, begun with mutual
good-will and courtesy, soon became bitter and difficult to
manage. On each side, the ebullition of popular passions
aggravated the difficulties. An obscure minister arriving from
London, preached in the parish church of Uxbridge, in presence of
a numerous gathering. "No good must be expected from those men,"
he said, speaking of the Royalists; "they have come from Oxford
with their hearts full of blood. They only wish to divert the
people until they may be able to cause them some great evil.
There is as great a distance between this treaty and peace as
between earth and heaven." The people were convinced that in his
heart the king did not wish for peace.

{131}

His councillors were as distrustful as the mob. The end of the
negotiations was approaching. Some concession which might at
length cause the scale to turn was insisted upon at the court of
Charles. He gave way to entreaties, and promised to propose to
Parliament a certain number of leaders of the army, among whom
were Cromwell and Fairfax. The friends of peace were joyful. Lord
Southampton, who had negotiated the whole affair, was preparing
to depart for Uxbridge, in order to announce the favors accorded
by his Majesty. When he presented himself at the king's quarters
to receive his final instructions, Charles had altered his mind
and withdrawn his promise. News of a victory achieved in Scotland
by Montrose, over the army commanded by Argyle, had revived all
his high hopes. The conferences at Uxbridge were broken up, on
the 22nd of February, without having brought about any result.
The Presbyterian leaders, sorrowful and dejected, returned to
Westminster, to convince themselves personally that their
adversaries had contrived to make profitable use of the time
during their absence. The military reorganization was effected. A
single army, mustering twenty-one thousand men, was henceforth to
maintain the struggle. On the 15th of February, the command of
this army had been entrusted to Fairfax, for whom Cromwell had
answered in public to Parliament, in secret to the parties. The
almost constant successes of the young general, besides, spoke
for him. He had already received the official compliments of the
speaker in the House of Commons, in the midst of which body he
had been introduced.

{132}

The Presbyterian leaders in vain attempted to recover from this
defeat. Their friends even were becoming weary of the constant
efforts necessary to support them. The Marquis of Argyle had
arrived from Scotland; bitterly resolved to wipe out the
remembrance of his defeat at Inverlochy, he made use of his
influence to turn aside the Scottish commissioners from a longer
opposition. "We must yield to necessity," he said; "this division
places everything on sufferance." The vote which had consigned to
Fairfax the effective power, had preserved Essex in his command,
as well as Manchester and Waller. The earl resolved to give in
his resignation. He rose, on the 1st of April, in the Upper
House, with a written paper in his hand, for he could not make a
speech. "My Lords," he said, "having received this great charge,
in obedience to the commands of both Houses, and taken their
sword into my hand, I can with confidence say that I have for
this now almost three years faithfully served you, and I hope
without loss of honor to myself, or prejudice to the public. I
see by the now coming up of these ordinances that it is the
desire of the House of Commons, that my commission may be
vacated. I return my commission into those hands that gave it me,
wishing it may prove as good an expedient to the present
distempers as some will have it believed. My Lords, I know that
jealousies cannot be avoided, yet wisdom and charity should put
such restraints thereto as not to allow it to become destructive.
I hope that this advice from me is not unseasonable, wishing
myself and my friends may, among others, participate the benefit
thereof. This proceeding from my affection to Parliament, the
prosperity whereof I shall ever wish from my heart, what return
soever it may bring me, I being no single example in that kind of
that fortune I now undergo."

{133}

Manchester and Waller followed the example of Essex. The Upper
House, delivered from an obligation of fidelity which weighed
upon it, hastened to adopt the scheme of remodelling the army,
and on the morrow a fresh self-denying ordinance, slightly
different from the first, though tending towards the same result,
was voted by the two Houses. The power was now definitively
displaced. It passed from the hands of Parliament into those of
the army.

Fairfax encountered little difficulty on the part of the officers
and soldiers called upon to serve under his orders. Essex loyally
advised his friends, Cromwell hastened to proceed to preach
submission to the battalions of the Ironsides. As he had fully
resolved, he was not long separated from them. Towards the end of
April, Fairfax was about to open the campaign, when Cromwell
arrived at Windsor to kiss, he said, the hand of the general and
to bring his resignation to him. "I have just," Fairfax said,
"received from the Committee of the Two Kingdoms orders enjoining
you to proceed immediately, with a few squadrons, to the road
from Oxford to Worcester to intercept communications between
Prince Rupert and the king." Cromwell immediately set out. Three
brilliant skirmishes and the capture of the town of Blechingdon
signalized his march. Parliament voted that Cromwell should
retain his command for forty days longer. Three other members of
the House of Commons, distinguished officers, received the same
instructions, doubtless in order that Cromwell should not appear
to be alone excepted from the operation of the law.

{134}

Meanwhile the king, having issued forth from Oxford, had joined
Prince Rupert, and was advancing rapidly towards the north. The
siege of Chester was raised at his approach, and he directed his
course towards the associated counties of the east. A few days
later, he took possession of Leicester. Fairfax, who was
besieging Oxford by the order of the Committee of the two
kingdoms, had made no movement to hinder the course of his
successes. The Presbyterians were already triumphant. "There then
is the fruit of this reorganization which was so much vaunted,"
they said; "the king in one day takes our best towns, and your
general remains motionless before Oxford, waiting, doubtless, for
the women of the court to take alarm and open the gates to him."
They did not speak of the inaction of the Scotch, who had fallen
back upon their frontiers instead of marching to meet the king.
Fairfax received orders to raise the siege of Oxford, to seek the
king and give battle to him at all costs. In his turn, he wrote
to the Houses to demand the prolongation of the service of
Cromwell. Sixteen colonels signed the letter. On the 12th of
June, in the environs of Northampton, some Parliamentary
horsemen, sent to reconnoitre, suddenly came up with a detachment
of the army of the king.

Charles was advancing, in fact, to relieve Oxford. The successes
of Montrose in Scotland renewed his confidence. "Since the
rebellion," he wrote to the queen, "my affairs have never been in
so good a state." He made no haste, but enjoyed the amusement of
hunting upon his way, allowing full liberty to his cavaliers, who
were even more confident than their master. He was expecting
troops which were to arrive from Wales and the western counties.
When he obtained tidings of the approach of the Parliamentarians,
he fell back towards Leicester. Meanwhile, the hostile squadrons
caused uneasiness to his rear-guard. Cromwell had joined the
army. The king resolved to give battle without awaiting his
reinforcements.


[Image]
"Will You Go Upon Your Death?"

{135}

The encounter took place on the morrow, the 14th of June, upon
the table-land of Naseby, north-west of Northampton. At daybreak,
the army of the king, posted in an advantageous position, awaited
the Parliamentarians. The latter did not attack. Prince Rupert,
always impatient, advanced to the front with his cavalry. He soon
encountered the advanced guard of the enemy. Fearing that they
would withdraw, the prince continued his advance, giving orders
for the army to support the movement. About ten o'clock the
Royalists arrived, somewhat distressed by the rapidity of their
movements. The action commenced at once, and was fierce and
general. The two armies were of about equal strength. The
cavaliers, intoxicated by anticipation with the joy of victory,
had taken for their rallying-cry the words, "Queen Mary." The
Parliamentarians cried aloud, "God is with us." Prince Rupert
broke the squadrons of Ireton, who was afterwards to marry one of
the daughters of Cromwell. He immediately pursued the fugitives;
but Cromwell, master of himself and his men as at Marston Moor,
had broken up the cavaliers commanded by Sir Marmaduke Langdale,
and, entrusting two of his officers with the duty of preventing
them from rallying, he returned, with a portion of his troops, to
the field of battle. There the infantry of both sides were
engaged: Skippon was seriously wounded, but he remained
obstinately at the head of his soldiers. The helmet of Fairfax
had been battered in by a blow from a sword, and he fought
bare-headed. Meanwhile the cavaliers held their ground, and a
corps of royal infantry remained immovable notwithstanding the
reiterated attacks of Doyley, the colonel of the guards of
Fairfax.
{136}
"Take them in front, I will take them in the rear," said the
general; "we shall meet again in the midst of them." They did so,
in effect, at the moment when Cromwell, with his victorious
squadrons, arrived to support them. At the sight of this new and
dangerous enemy, the king, in great distress, placed himself in
person at the head of the regiment of guards. These were all that
remained to him, and he was preparing to charge the Ironsides,
when the Earl of Carnewarth, a Scotchman, who galloped beside
him, abruptly seized the bridle of his horse, exclaiming, "Will
you go upon your death?" and compelled him to turn to the right.
The cavaliers followed the movement without understanding the
reason for it. In an instant the regiment turned their backs upon
the enemy. All disbanded, some to seek safety in flight, others
to restrain the fugitives. The king, surrounded by a few
officers, in vain cried, "Halt! halt!" Prince Rupert returned. A
small corps was re-formed around the king, but the soldiers were
weary and dismayed. Charles, sword in hand, with eager eyes and
despair visible upon his countenance, threw himself twice in
front, exclaiming with all his energy, "Gentlemen, another
charge, and we shall win the day." None followed him. The
infantry were routed or prisoners. The only safety lay in flight.
The king precipitated himself towards Leicester with about two
thousand cavalry. His artillery, his supplies, his baggage, his
standards, and all the papers in his cabinet, together with five
thousand prisoners, remained in the hands of the
Parliamentarians.

{137}

No loss could have been more damaging to the cause of the king
than that of his secret correspondence. After Fairfax had
modestly informed the House of this unexpected success, and
Cromwell had joined to the news some pious reflections and some
of his politic counsels, the papers of the king were opened,
notwithstanding the scruples of Fairfax. Proof was therein found
that he had never desired peace; that no concession was, in his
eyes, definitive; no promise binding; that in his heart he always
counted upon force, and still claimed absolute power. Finally,
that, in spite of his reiterated denials, he had applied to the
King of France, the Duke of Lorraine--to all the princes of the
Continent, in fact--to introduce foreign troops into the kingdom.
A protestation was even found, inscribed upon the registers of
the council of Oxford, against that name of Parliament which he
had consented to accord to the Houses for the purposes of the
conferences at Uxbridge. Falsehood was in every part written by
the very hand of the king. After the public assemblage at the
Guildhall, where an immense crowd was present at the reading of
the papers, Parliament caused them to be published. The king did
not dispute their authenticity.

Exasperation was general, and the warlike ardor revived on all
hands. In order to make peace it would have been necessary to put
trust in the king; it was now known what his word was worth.
Fairfax advanced towards the western counties, only recently
devoted to the royal cause; but the great noblemen or the popular
and disinterested gentlemen, the Marquis of Hertford, Sir Bevil
Grenvil, Sir Ralph Hopton, were dead, or had been removed by
court conspiracies, which were favored by the weakness of the
king.
{138}
The young Prince of Wales, fifteen years of age, accompanied by
Hyde, Colepepper, and Lord Capel, commanded in the capacity of
generalissimo. The troops were entrusted to Lord Goring and Sir
Richard Grenville, one the most dissolute, the other the most
avaricious of the cavaliers. Disorder and extortions had
alienated the people. Bodies of peasants were formed under the
name of "Clubmen," to resist pillage. When Fairfax appeared in
the west, the Royalists ceased devastating the country, and the
Clubmen turned against Fairfax and his soldiers; but the
Parliamentary general did not permit any license. He treated the
peasants with gentleness, and entered into negotiations with
them, while he was actively prosecuting the war. On the 10th of
July Goring was surprised and defeated at Langport, in
Somersetshire, and the troops which remained with him were
dispersed. Sir Richard Grenville, being no longer able to
plunder, sent back to the Prince of Wales his commission as
Field-Marshal, complaining with effrontery of the burdens which
the war had imposed upon him, and the cavaliers remaining
faithful withdrew into the towns which Fairfax was preparing to
besiege.

Meanwhile the king appeared to have forgotten for a moment his
misfortunes and anxieties. Wandering about, after the disaster of
Naseby, he had finally arrived in Wales, where he hoped to
recruit some infantry, while Prince Rupert set out for Bristol.
Charles accepted the splendid hospitality of the Marquis of
Worcester, the leader of the Catholic party and the richest of
the great noblemen of England. For a fortnight the fugitive king
found once more in Ragland Castle all the homage and pleasures of
a court, and he thought of nothing but enjoying that royalty of
which he had so long tasted the bitterness and mortifications.

{139}

The successes of his adversaries did not leave the king long in
repose. To the news of the reverses in the west was added that of
the success of the Scotch army which had taken Carlisle and was
advancing towards the south to lay siege to Hereford. Charles
desired to march to the aid of Goring; but he was arrested at
every step by the bad condition of his troops. He fell back upon
Cardiff, where the Duke of Richmond brought him a letter written
by Prince Rupert, and intended to be shown him. The prince
considered that all was lost, and counselled peace at all costs.
This time the honor of the king was in question, and he regained
all his energy. He immediately wrote to his nephew: "If I had any
other quarrel but the defence of my religion, crown, and friends,
you had full reason for your advice. Speaking rather as a mere
soldier or statesman, I confess there is probability of my ruin.
As a Christian, however, I must tell you that God will not suffer
rebels to prosper, or His cause to be overthrown. Of this I warn
my friends without evasion. Henceforth whoever remains with me
must expect to die for a good cause; or, worse still, to live
while sustaining it as miserable as insolent rebels can render
him. In God's name let us not flatter ourselves with vain
chimeras. The idea alone that you desire a treaty would hasten my
ruin." A few days later, the king, quitting Wales, passed,
without being perceived, beyond the quarters of the Scotch army,
already encamped before Hereford, and arrived by forced marches
in Yorkshire. He convoked, at Doncaster, his faithful cavaliers,
to proceed with him to join Montrose, still faithful and still
victorious.

{140}

The cavaliers hastened at the summons. The king found himself in
a few days at the head of a body of three thousand men. They were
preparing to join Montrose, and only awaited their instructions,
when it was learned that David Lesley, at the head of the Scotch
cavalry, was approaching Doncaster. The Royalists took alarm.
Many retired, and when the news of the recent and brilliant
successes of Montrose reached the king, he had no longer
sufficient forces to attempt the venture. He was urged not to
expose his person. He re-entered Oxford, on the 29th of August,
not knowing what to do with the few troops which he had left.

The victories of Montrose, however, revived the dejected monarch.
Edinburgh and Glasgow were in the hands of the conqueror. He had
set free all the Royalists whom the Scotch Parliament had kept in
prison, and timid men hastened to place themselves under his
standard. The Scotch had recalled David Lesley with his cavalry.
They needed all their strength to protect their country.

The king wished to take advantage of the enfeeblement of the
Scotch army. He advanced towards Hereford; but the besiegers did
not await him, and fell back towards the north. He was urged to
pursue them, but refused to do so, being already wearied by this
effort so little in accord with his tastes and habits. Prince
Rupert held Bristol, which town Fairfax was besieging. He
promised to resist for four months. The king did not trouble
himself about the matter and repaired to take rest at Ragland, at
the residence of Lord Worcester, with whom he had constant
conferences.
{141}
Scarcely had he arrived when he learnt that Bristol was occupied
by Fairfax. Prince Rupert had surrendered the town at the first
assault, almost without resistance, when as yet nothing had
failed him--neither provisions nor soldiers. Charles was
dismayed. It was his ruin in the west and the most bitter
disappointment of the hopes he had placed in his nephew. His
courtiers, especially Lord Digby, who detested Rupert, envenomed
his anger. He wrote to the prince an offensive letter, which
concluded with these words: "My conclusion is to desire you to
seek your subsistence, until it shall please God to determine of
my conditions, somewhere beyond seas; to which end I send you
herewith a pass, and I pray God to make you sensible of your
present position and give you means to recover what you have
lost, for I shall have no greater joy in a victory than a just
occasion without blushing to assure you of my being your loving
uncle and most faithful friend,--C. R."

Prince Rupert had taken refuge in Oxford. He did not depart,
despite the injunctions of the king. He asserted that he had been
calumniated, and asked to make an explanation to his uncle; but
Lord Digby had taken care to prevent the interview. Charles
resumed the road to the north. He wished to relieve Chester,
which was again besieged, and was now the only port in which the
assistance expected from Ireland could arrive. He was in sight of
the town with five thousand men, Welsh foot-soldiers or cavaliers
of the north, when he was attacked in the rear by a Parliamentary
corps, commanded by Major-General Poyntz.
{142}
A detachment coming from the little army which was investing
Chester, attacked the advance guard at the same time. The king,
pressed between two fires, after a desperate resistance, saw his
best officers fall around him, and was compelled to return to
Wales, abandon Chester to its fate and once more separated as
though by an insurmountable barrier from that camp of Montrose
which constituted his only hope.

The army of Montrose no longer existed. For ten days already, the
marquis had, like the king, been seeking a shelter while
endeavoring to collect his soldiers. On the 30th of September he
had been beaten at Philip-Haugh by David Lesley. His forces had
dissolved at the first blow. Brilliant and rash, in the base he
excited envy, while in the timid he inspired no sense of
security. A reverse sufficed to dissipate all his successes, and
on the morrow of his defeat the conqueror of Scotland was only an
audacious outlaw.

This last blow overwhelmed the king. He no longer knew where to
rest his hopes. Urged by Lord Digby, he retired to Newark, while
the courtier, determined to avoid an interview with Prince
Rupert, who had set out to rejoin the king, placed himself at the
head of fifteen hundred horse, which Charles still possessed.
Under the pretext of taking succor to Montrose, he started for
the north.

The explanations of Prince Rupert did not satisfy the king,
notwithstanding the favorable declaration of the council of war.
The insolence of the cavaliers who accompanied his nephew hurt
his dignity. A quarrel began. "Begone, begone!" exclaimed Charles
angrily, "and do not appear again before me." Agitated in their
turn, Rupert, his brother Maurice, and their partisans quitted
Newark in the middle of the night.
{143}
The king was no longer safe there. Lord Digby had been defeated
at Sherborne, in his march towards the north. There were now on
the king's side neither soldiers nor generals. Charles assembled
together four or five hundred cavaliers, the remnants of several
regiments, and, on the 3d of November, at eleven o'clock at
night, he left the town, taking the road to Oxford. He re-entered
the city after a forced march, thinking himself saved, for he had
once more found his council and his court, and could indulge his
habits and find some repose.

The relief was not of long duration. The royalist towns were
falling one by one into the power of Fairfax and Cromwell.
Fifteen had surrendered or had been taken by assault within five
months. Scarcely had Charles returned to Oxford, when he wrote to
the Prince of Wales to hold himself in readiness to proceed to
the Continent. At the same time he made overtures of peace to
Parliament, demanding a safe-conduct for four negotiators.

Never had Parliament been less inclined towards peace. The
hundred and thirty new members, who had replaced in the House of
Commons those who had followed the king, had increased the power
and daring of the Independents, though all did not belong to
their party. The severities towards the Royalists were redoubled.
The war everywhere became harsher, sometimes cruel. Fairfax alone
still preserved the fine humanity which distinguished nearly all
the leaders at the opening of the war. Misunderstandings broke
out even between the Scots and the Houses. The former complained
that their army was not paid; the latter, that an army of allies
plundered and devastated, like a hostile body, the counties which
it occupied.
{144}
The strongest fermentation, the deepest hostility, the bitterest
and most decisive measures on all hands, left little chance for
peace to arrest or even suspend the rapid course of events.

The overtures of the king were rejected, and a safe-conduct was
refused to the negotiators. Charles persisted, but without
success, and as he proposed to repair to Westminster to negotiate
in person with Parliament, his enemies solemnly declared that
they at length possessed proof of the falsity of his words. The
king had concluded a treaty of alliance with the Catholic
Irishmen still in revolt. Ten thousand of these barbarians, under
the orders of the Earl of Glamorgan, were soon to land at
Chester. They had obtained, as the price of their assistance, the
complete abolition of the penal laws against the Catholics, and
the freedom of their worship. Ireland, in fact, was delivered up
to the Papacy. For two months the Committee of the two kingdoms
had known of the conspiracy and reserved the publication of it
for an important occasion. The day had at length arrived.

The king was struck down by this discovery. For two years he had
personally conducted this negotiation with the Earl of Glamorgan,
the eldest son of the Marquis of Worcester. Brave, generous,
thoughtless, passionately devoted to his master in danger, and to
his oppressed religion, Glamorgan had plotted in every form,
proceeding incessantly from England to Ireland, often entrusted
with secret missions unknown to the Marquis of Ormond, lieutenant
of the king in Ireland, and alone knowing to what point the
concessions of the king might reach. The treaty had been
concluded since the 20th of August preceding, and Parliament did
not know all that Charles had promised in its name.

{145}

When it was learned in Dublin that the plot was known in London,
Ormond easily saw what a blow the affairs of the king had
sustained even among his own party. He immediately caused
Glamorgan to be arrested as having exceeded his powers. The earl
kept his counsel, and did not produce the secret documents signed
"Charles," which he held in his hands. He even said that the king
was not bound to ratify what he had thought himself able to
promise for him. On his part, Charles hastened to disown the
affair in the proclamation which he addressed to the Houses, as
well as in his official letters to the Council of Dublin.
Glamorgan, he said, had no other mission than to recruit soldiers
and to second the efforts of the Lord Lieutenant. Neither
Parliament nor the people believed this. Glamorgan, being soon
released, recommenced his attempts to assemble an Irish army to
proceed to England. In reply, the command of Cromwell, already
several times renewed, was again prolonged, and the king found
himself compelled to resume hostilities as though he had been in
a position to sustain them.

The last remnants of the royalist armies still fought, but
without ardor and without hope. When the Prince of Wales found
himself abandoned by his generals, Goring and Grenville, he
implored Sir Ralph, now Lord Hopton, to resume command of the
troops in the west. "Your Highness," replied the brave soldier,
"I cannot obey you without resigning myself to the sacrifice of
my honor, for with the troops which you have entrusted to me how
can I preserve it?
{146}
Their friends alone fear them; their enemies despise them; they
are only terrible on the day of pillage; and only determined when
they are resolved to fly. However, since your Highness has judged
it well to summon me, I am ready to follow you at the risk of
losing my honor;" and he resumed the command of seven or eight
thousand men who detested him, and to whom his discipline was
odious. On the 16th of February he was defeated by Fairfax at
Torrington, upon the borders of Cornwall. All the troops that had
remained with him were dispersed. Fairfax pursued him, while the
Prince of Wales, driven into a corner at the Land's End, in
Cornwall, embarked for the Scilly Isles, being unwilling to leave
English soil. Fairfax offered honorable conditions. Hopton, free
from all anxiety as to the safety of the prince, desired to
attempt once more to fight with the small corps which he had
re-formed with great difficulty; but the soldiers called upon him
to capitulate. "Bargain, then," said Hopton, "but not for me." He
embarked with Lord Chapel to join the Prince of Wales. The king
now possessed in the south-west only insignificant garrisons,
scattered in a few towns.

Sir Jacob Astley was defeated at Stow, in Gloucestershire, as he
was advancing with three thousand men to join the king, who had
issued forth with fifteen hundred horse from Oxford to meet him.
The rout was complete. The aged Astley resisted for a long while,
then fell into the hands of the enemy. The soldiers, touched by
his white hairs and his courage, brought him a drum. He sat down;
then addressing the Parliamentary officers, he said, "Gentlemen,
you may now sit down and play, for you have done all your work,
if you fall not out among yourselves."
{147}
The king had no longer any hope save in the dissensions which he
might foment among his enemies. He had for a long while been
maintaining secret relations with the Independents, especially
with Vane. He wrote himself to the latter after Astley's
disaster, "Be assured that everything shall come to pass
according to my promise. By all that is dearest to a man, I
implore you to hasten your good offices, for otherwise it will be
too late, and I shall perish before gathering the fruit. Trust to
me. I will fully reward your services. I have said all. If in
four days I should not have an answer I shall be compelled to
find some other expedient. May God direct you! I have done my
duty." He at the same time addressed a message to the Houses,
offering to disband his troops, to open all his towns, and to
take up his residence again at Whitehall.

Great was the emotion at Westminster; all knew that if the king
were at Whitehall he would no longer be the object of the
disturbances if the city should break out, and all were equally
determined not to fall into his power. All the necessary
precautions were adopted to prevent Charles from appearing
unexpectedly in the capital. Violent measures were taken against
those who should negotiate secretly or who should maintain any
relations with him. Vane left the letter of the king unanswered.

Meanwhile Fairfax advanced, and Oxford was about to be invested.
The king made an offer to Colonel Rainsborough, who had already
arrived before the town, to surrender to him on condition that he
should conduct him to Parliament at once. The colonel refused.
Charles was about to fall as a prisoner of war into the hands of
his enemies.
{148}
One resource only remained to him. For two months M. de
Montreuil, the French ambassador, had been laboring to procure
him an opportunity of taking refuge in the camp of the Scots. He
thought himself secure of the personal safety of the king in the
midst of an army which looked upon Charles as its legitimate
sovereign. The queen, still in France, also kept up relations
with the Scotch military leaders. She urged her husband to put
trust in them. He still hesitated, but he issued forth from
Oxford on the 27th of April, at midnight, followed only by his
valet-de-chambre, Ashburnham, and a clergyman. Dr. Hudson, well
versed in all the roads.

For a moment, when at Harrow-on-the-Hill, in sight of London, the
king stopped. Should he take a bold step and suddenly appear in
the midst of the city? It was too venturesome a stroke for his
timid and sensitive dignity. He turned away, directing his course
towards the north, still desiring to join Montrose. Hudson, who
had gone forward to reconnoitre, came back to say that M. de
Montreuil still answered for the Scots. The king at length made
up his mind, though from weariness rather than from choice. On
the morning of the 5th of May he arrived at Kelham, the
headquarters of the Scotch commander.

The Earl of Leven and his officers at first affected surprise,
but they received the king with great respect. They however
hastened to apprise the Parliaments of Edinburgh and London, and,
in the evening, when the king wished to give the watchword to the
sentinels placed at his door, "Pardon me, Sire," Leven said, "I
am the oldest soldier here; your Majesty will permit me to
undertake that duty."

{149}

It was soon known in London that the king had quitted Oxford, but
nothing indicated the direction of his flight. On the 6th of May
it was at length learned that he had confided his person to the
Scotch, who had raised their camp and were marching in great
haste towards the border. They only stopped at Newcastle. From
there the king could negotiate with the Presbyterians of the two
kingdoms.

This was what all the Independents dreaded. For a year past
everything had prospered with them. They were masters of the
army, and all daring spirits, the energetic and ambitious had
placed themselves under their banner. Their influence continued
to increase on all hands. They were ruined if at the moment of
reaching the summit of power, the king should ally himself with
the Presbyterians against them.

They adopted every means to ward off the blow, without scrupling
to offend the Scotch, whom they desired to separate from the
Presbyterian party in England. The Commons voted that the Scotch
army was no longer necessary; that a hundred thousand pounds
would be paid to it in advance on account of their claims, and
that it should be induced to return to Scotland. Insults were
lavished upon those allies, of whom it was now desired to be rid
at all costs.

{150}

The Scotch and their illustrious guest facilitated the task of
their enemies. They were not angry, but they hesitated, they felt
their way carefully, they were afraid to take sides. The king
still endeavored to deceive his rebellious subjects. "I do not
despair," he wrote to Lord Digby before his departure from
Oxford, "of inducing the Presbyterians or the Independents to
join with me to exterminate each other, and then I shall become
once more king in reality." On their side, the Presbyterians,
passionately attached to the Covenant, would not hear of any
arrangement which did not secure the triumph of their Church.
While promising the king to negotiate for peace, they gave
further tokens of fidelity towards their brothers, the English,
and caused the execution of the most illustrious companions of
Montrose, who had been prisoners of war since the battle of
Philip-Haugh. The Marquis of Ormond published a letter of the
king, asserting that he only repaired to the camp of the Scotch
upon their promise, in case of need, to support him and his just
rights. The Scotch immediately caused this almost exact
interpretation of their words to be belied. The cavaliers could
no longer have access to their master, and the clergy were
invited to instruct the monarch in the true doctrine of Christ.

Charles did not resist, but even bore with the theological
discussions; though the learned preacher, Henderson, who had
undertaken his conversion, was not able to congratulate himself
upon having shaken the king's fidelity to the Anglican Church.
Charles was expecting proposals from the House, to whom he caused
to be surrendered all the towns which still held out for him. But
he hoped for aid from Ireland, and he wrote to Glamorgan, who was
still the sole depositary of his secret designs, "If you can
procure a large sum of money for me, pledging my kingdoms as a
guarantee, I shall be delighted, and as soon as I shall have
recovered the possession, I will amply pay this debt. Tell the
nuncio that if I find some means of placing myself in his hands
and yours, I will certainly not neglect it, for all the others
despise me as I fully see."

{151}

At length the proposals of Parliament arrived: they were more
humiliating and harsh than those which the king had hitherto
rejected. He was asked to adopt the Covenant, to abolish the
Church of England, to consign to the Houses for twenty years the
command of the army, the militia, and the navy; to allow to be
excluded from the armistice seventy-one of his most faithful
friends, while all those who had taken arms for him were to be
removed from all public functions at the good pleasure of
Parliament. On all sides he was urged to accept this disgraceful
peace. The queen sent messenger after messenger to him. M. de
Bellièvre, the French ambassador, proceeded to Newcastle to
advise him to accept it in the name of his court. Several towns
in Scotland sent amicable petitions to him. The city of London
wished to do likewise: a formal prohibition only prevented it.
Threats were coupled with entreaties. The general assembly of the
Scotch Church demanded, if the king should refuse the Covenant,
that he should be forbidden to remain on Scottish soil, and the
Chancellor of Scotland, Lord Lowsden, made him understand that,
deprived of his hereditary kingdom, he might very probably find
himself deposed in England.

All was powerless against the pride of the king, his religious
scruples and also some secret hope which credulous or intriguing
friends still kept alive. After having delayed his reply from day
to day, he at length consigned to the commissioners on the 1st of
August, a written message, in which, without absolutely rejecting
the proposals, he again demanded that he should be received in
London to negotiate in person with Parliament.

{152}

The Independents were unable to restrain their joy. "What is to
become of us," said a Presbyterian, "now that the king has
refused our proposals?" "What would have become of us if he had
accepted them?" replied an Independent. The Scotch proposed to
withdraw from England; but they required first the settlement of
the arrears, and their claims were enormous. It was necessary to
decide who should dispose of the person of the king. The parties
commenced the struggle upon this point.

An understanding was arrived at, however, after bitter words and
reciprocal recriminations. The arrears were fixed at four hundred
thousand pounds sterling, and the House of Commons finally
brought the Lords to accept the vote in the terms it had given
out for five months past, "that to Parliament alone belonged the
right of disposing of the king's person." The Scots resisted
feebly, saying that Charles was their king as well as the
sovereign of the English. Charles continued to demand to
negotiate in person with Parliament.

The wish was as useless the fifth time as the first. The Houses
had just signed the treaty which arranged for the withdrawal of
the Scotch army, and how the price should be paid. The name of
the king was not mentioned in all the clauses of this
negotiation, but, on the 3d of December, 1646, at the moment when
the convoy of wagons bearing twenty thousand pounds sterling to
the Scotch, entered York, the Houses voted that the king should
be conducted to Holmby Castle, in Northamptonshire.
{153}
On the 12th of January, 1647, nine commissioners, three Lords,
and six members of the Commons departed from London to take
possession respectfully of their sovereign. The dignity of the
king proudly resisted this terrible blow. "I am bought and sold,"
he said, when he learnt that the Parliament of Scotland
officially consented to his being consigned into the hands of the
English; but he quietly finished his game of chess, replying to
the growing anxiety of his servants that he would make known his
will to the commissioners when they should arrive. He awaited
them without countenancing the confused projects of flight or
insurrection which were being hatched around him. The people
began to take pity on him. One Sunday, at Newcastle, the Scotch
minister who preached before him having chosen his text from a
version of the 52d Psalm, beginning,

    Why dost thou, tyrant, boast thyself,
    Thy wicked deeds to praise?

the king suddenly rose and began instead of this the 56th Psalm,
commencing,

    Have mercy on me, Lord, I pray,
    For men would me devour!

The whole congregation joined with him. A last attempt of the
Scotch in favor of the Covenant having miscarried, the Scotch
army delivered both Newcastle and the king into the hands of the
English. On the 9th of February, Charles left that town under the
escort of a regiment of cavalry, everywhere followed by a
numerous crowd which thronged on his way, not hostile, but
respectful, and asking him to touch the sick persons afflicted
with king's evil. The commissioners became uneasy at this
gathering, but their prohibitions were ineffectual. When the king
arrived at Holmby, where many gentlemen from the neighborhood had
assembled, he congratulated himself upon the reception which he
had received from his subjects.

{154}

Dissensions at Westminster broke out afresh. Assured of the
person of the king, the Presbyterians, whose influence had once
more become paramount in the House, in consequence of the terror
which the Independents began to inspire among moderate men,
carried a motion for disbanding the army, except the troops
required by the war in Ireland and the service of the garrisons.
Fairfax was to retain the command of the reduced forces, but no
officer under his orders was to rise above the rank of colonel.
All were obliged to conform to the Presbyterian form of
government. A loan was voted to pay the arrears due the soldiers.
Cromwell sat in the House, when this vote dealt a death-blow to
the army he had been instrumental in forming, and among whom his
authority continued to increase. He remained in London, and burst
into protestations of devotion towards Parliament, but the
numerous friends who followed his secret inspiration secretly
entertained the natural discontent of the army. A petition,
modest and friendly in tone, reached the Houses, signed only by
fourteen officers. They promised to repair to Ireland at the
first order, merely offering their humble advice upon the payment
of the troops and the guarantees to which they were entitled.
After this petition, which was somewhat ill-received, came
another, more firm and precise, demanding the prompt settlement
of the arrears, the pensions for the widows of the soldiers, and
asserting the right of the troops to decline service in Ireland.
The petition was read at the head of the regiments, and the
officers who refused to sign were assailed with threats.

{155}

Parliament became incensed and commanded Fairfax to put an end to
all these disorders. The facts were impudently denied. The House
sent five commissioners to headquarters, to urge forward the
disbandment. Two hundred officers came to meet them. "Who are to
command us in Ireland?" asked Lambert, a brilliant soldier,
ambitious and skilled in oratory. "Major-General Skippon and
Major-General Massey." "They are brave soldiers, but we must have
general officers whom we have so many times put to the proof."
And all the officers exclaimed at once, "Yes, all, Fairfax and
Cromwell." A few days afterwards, eight regiments of cavalry
refused to repair to Ireland. "A treacherous snare," said the
petition brought to the House, "to separate the soldiers from the
officers whom they love, and to cover the ambition of a few men
who have tasted sovereignty, and who in order to remain masters,
degenerate into tyrants." The attack was personal. The soldiers
who had brought the petitions were sent for. "Where was this
letter taken into consideration?" the speaker asked them. "At a
meeting of regiments." "Have your officers approved of it?" "Very
few know it." "Have you not been cavaliers?" "We entered the
service of Parliament before the battle of Edgehill, and we have
never quitted it. We are only the agents of our regiments."

{156}

A great uproar arose in the House. Cromwell leant over Ludlow.
"Those men," he said, "will have no rest until the army has put
them outside by the ears." The instrument was being prepared for
the execution. Two councils, one composed of the officers, the
other of the representatives of the soldiers, fixed all the
proceedings of the army. It was said that it had proposed to the
king, if he would place himself at its head, to restore to him
his just rights. The Presbyterian leaders took alarm; concessions
were made to the soldiers. Cromwell, Ireton, Skippon, Fleetwood,
all members of the Commons, were empowered to re-establish a good
understanding between Parliament and the army. They repaired to
headquarters, where their efforts, certainly not very sincere,
brought about no result. The same demands continued to arrive
from the army; immediate disbandment was ordered, and five
Presbyterian commissioners set out to see to the execution of the
decree. They found the army in a full state of insurrection. In
the council of war which Fairfax convoked, all the officers, with
the exception of six, voted that the resolutions of Parliament
were not sufficient, and that the army could not separate without
more substantial guarantees. Fairfax had become powerless; the
power was passing into the hands of the soldiers and the leaders
who possessed their confidence. The Presbyterians had now to
struggle against a new enemy. If the army joined the king, they
were ruined. Their leaders thought of becoming reconciled with
the king.


[Image]
Fairfax Kissing The King's Hand.

{157}

                   Chapter XXV.

               Charles I. And Cromwell.
       Captivity, Trial, And Death Of The King.


While the Presbyterians were discussing and voting, Cromwell and
his friends were acting. On the 4th of June, news arrived in
London that on the preceding day the king had been taken away
from Holmby by a detachment of seven hundred men, and that the
army held him in its power.

It was a cornet named Joyce, of the regiment of the guards of
Fairfax, who had performed the feat. Arriving secretly with his
detachment of cavalry, he at first introduced himself alone into
the castle, then he returned at midnight with his soldiers,
demanding to speak with the king. Colonel Greaves and the
commissioners of Parliament residing with his Majesty refused;
they desired to close the iron portcullises, but the new comers
dismounted and chatted with the garrison. Colonel Greaves's men
declared that they would not be separated from the rest of the
army. At midday Joyce was master of the castle. He retired after
having stationed sentinels in various parts. In the evening he
caused the king to be awakened in order to speak to him. "I will
go with you, Mr. Joyce," said Charles, after a rather long
conference, "if your soldiers confirm what you have promised."

{158}

On the morrow, at six o'clock in the morning, Joyce's troopers
were grouped in battle-array in the courtyard. "Mr. Joyce," said
the king, appearing upon the steps, "by what authority do you
intend to take me from here?" "Sire, by the authority of the
army, to prevent the designs of its enemies, who would once more
plunge the kingdom in blood." "That is not a legal authority. I
know no other in England but mine, and after mine that of
Parliament. Have you a commission written by Sir Thomas Fairfax?"
"I have the orders of the army, and the general is included in
the army." "That is not a reply; where is your commission?"
"There it is, Sire." "Where?" "There, behind me," and he pointed
to his soldiers. "Never," said the king, smiling, "have I yet
seen such a commission. It is written, I admit, in fair
characters, legible without spelling; but know that, to take me
away, you will have to use force, if you do not promise me that
nothing will be required of me which may wound my conscience and
honor." "It is not our manner," said Joyce, "to constrain the
conscience of any one, still less that of our king." "Now,
gentlemen, whither will you conduct me?" "To Oxford, Sire, if you
please." "No, the air is not good." "To Cambridge?" "No, I prefer
Newmarket; it is an air that has always suited me." "As you will,
Sire." And they departed, notwithstanding a last protest from the
commissioners of Parliament.

When the news of the capture of the king reached headquarters, it
threw Fairfax into extreme agitation. "I do not like this," he
said to Ireton; "who gave such orders?" "I ordered," said Ireton,
"that the king should be secured in Holmby, but not that he
should be made to depart thence." "It was quite necessary," said
Cromwell, who had arrived from London, "otherwise the king would
have been taken and brought back to Parliament."
{159}
Charles received the staff of the army at Childersley, near
Cambridge. The majority, Fairfax taking the initiative, kissed
his hand with respect. Cromwell and Ireton held aloof. Fairfax
protested to the king that he was a stranger to the project of
his removal. "I do not believe you," said the king, "unless you
hang Joyce." Joyce was sent for. "I have told the king," he said,
"that I had no commission from the general. I acted by order of
the army. Let it be assembled again; if three-fourths do not
approve of the act, I consent to be hanged at the head of the
regiment." Joyce was not hanged. "Sir," said the king to Fairfax
on leaving him, "I have as good interest in the army as you." And
continuing to complain of the violence which he had suffered, but
satisfied in his heart at changing his prison and seeing discord
break out among his enemies, he established himself at Newmarket
under the care of Colonel Whalley.

Cromwell returned to London. He found the House of Commons a prey
to the most violent agitation. Every one imputed to him the
audacious stroke of seizing upon the king. He passionately
resented the suspicions, taking God, the angels, and men to
witness that, before that day, Joyce was as much a stranger to
him as the light of the sun to the child in the womb of its
mother. All these protestations did not convince the
Presbyterians. Hollis and Grimstone sought everywhere for proofs
against Cromwell, being determined to demand his arrest. Two
officers came to see Grimstone. "Lately," they said to him, "at a
meeting of officers it was discussed whether it would not be
advisable to purge the army. 'I am sure of the army,' the
lieutenant-general said; 'but there is another body which it is
more urgent to purge, that is the House of Commons, and the army
alone can do it.'"
{160}
Grimstone took them to Westminster; they repeated their speech
before the House. Cromwell rose, then fell upon his knees,
bursting into tears, with a vehemence of speech, sobs, and
gestures which overcame with emotion and surprise all present;
praying the Lord to wreak upon his head all His vengeance if any
man in all the kingdom was more faithful than he to the House.
Then, rising, he spoke for two hours, being humble and audacious,
prolix and impassioned, with so much success that, when he sat
down, the paramount influence had passed over to his friends, and
that, "if he had wished," Grimstone himself said, thirty years
afterwards, "the House would have sent us to the Tower, the
officers and myself, as calumniators." On that very evening
Cromwell secretly quitted London, and, repairing to the army
assembled at Triploe Heath, near Cambridge, he openly placed
himself at the head of the Independents and soldiers.

A few days after his arrival the army was marching towards
London, and consternation reigned in the Houses which had
received the "humble remonstrance" of the soldiers. It was no
longer a question of the exposition of their own grievances, it
was the haughty expression of their demands regarding the general
reform of the state. They demanded, besides, the expulsion of
eleven members of the Commons, including Hollis, Stapleton,
Maynard, the enemies, they said, of the army. They advanced,
complaining as they went. They were already at St. Alban's, when
the Common Council of the city wrote to Fairfax to demand that
the army should remain forty miles from London. It was too late,
the general replied; they wanted a month's pay. The Houses
granted the pay, persisting that the army should go away. The
troops continued their march.

{161}

Parliament meanwhile redoubled its concessions. All the
reproaches which were addressed, all the requests which were made
met with a friendly reception. Remedies were granted for the
grievances complained of; the king was invited to reside at
Richmond under the sole custody of Parliament. They did all they
could to escape the necessity of mutilating their body, by
expelling the eleven members designated by the army; but, on the
26th of June, the headquarters were at Uxbridge. The shops were
closed, and people spoke openly of the obstinacy and selfishness
of the eleven members. At length they offered to retire. Their
devotion was accepted with such satisfaction that, on the very
day of their retirement, the Commons voted that they approved of
the army in everything, and would provide for its maintenance
while commissioners should settle, in co-operation with others
from the soldiers, the affairs of the kingdom. Fairfax consented
to withdraw a few miles.

The king was informed that it was no longer desired that he
should go to Richmond. "Since my Houses ask me to go to
Richmond," he said, "if any one claim to prevent me therefrom it
will have to be by force and by seizing the bridle of my horse;
and if there be a man who dares attempt it, it will not be my
fault if it be his last act." He was informed that the Houses
themselves opposed his departure, and that they had yielded in
everything to the army. He smiled disdainfully, happy at seeing
his first adversaries thus humiliated, and he followed
unresistingly the movements of the army.
{162}
He was carefully guarded, but he enjoyed a liberty which the
commissioners of Parliament had not allowed him till recently. He
had chaplains, a certain number of his friends were admitted into
his presence, he was even permitted to see his children, the
Dukes of York and Gloucester, with the Princess Elizabeth, and he
was enabled to keep them with him for two days. Some few of the
leaders of the army, Cromwell and Ireton especially, asked each
other whether the favor of the king, restored by their hands,
would not be the best guarantee for their party, and for
themselves the surest means of obtaining fortune and power.

The king resolutely forebore from any negotiation with the army,
but he was not ignorant of the relations which, with the approval
of the queen, his valet-de-chambre, Ashburnham, and the former
royalist governor of Exeter, Sir John Berkeley, maintained with
Cromwell. The manœuvres of the latter, among the army, were not
without effect: the general council of officers was preparing
proposals to remit to the king. Charles appeared cold and not
very eager when Berkeley joyfully brought the project entrusted
to him by Ireton. Never had anything so moderate been asked of a
vanquished monarch. It was required that he should surrender for
ten years the nominations to the great offices and the command of
the soldiery. The political reforms were numerous, but he was not
asked to abolish the Episcopal Church, or to ruin with fines the
faithful servants who had fought for him, and the exceptions to
the armistice numbered only seven. The king appeared so haughty
that Berkeley was confounded. "If they really wished to conclude
with me," he said, "they would propose things which I might
accept." Then, abruptly breaking up the interview, he said, "You
will soon see them only too happy themselves to accept conditions
more equitable."

{163}

Berkeley retired, endeavoring to guess the secret of so much
confidence, when he learned that a riot had broken out in the
city. Westminster was besieged by bands of citizens and
apprentices, loudly demanding the return of the king. A petition,
consisting of a pledge to do everything in order that the king
might return to London with honor and liberty, was instantly
covered with a mass of signatures. Everywhere the officers of the
army, but recently remodelled by the Independents, united
themselves with the people. The Presbyterians, defeated both in
military operations and in the Houses, felt themselves supported
by the popular movement, and resumed the control of the
trainbands of London, which had been taken from them. The House
of Commons, finding its doors forced open by a furious mob, voted
the return of the king. Parliament was besieged both by the
people and the army.

The king and his confidants triumphed, for insurrection had
broken out according to their wish and at their instigation. They
were suspected among the army, and the haughtiness displayed by
Ashburnham, who had arrived three days after his master,
redoubled the ill-humor of the representatives of the soldiers,
with whom he forbore negotiating. "I have always lived in good
company," he said to Berkeley; "I can have nothing in common with
those fellows. We must secure the officers, and, through them, we
shall have the whole army." The officers themselves began to
distrust the double-dealing which Charles was carrying on.
{164}
"Sire," Ireton said to him, "do you claim to constitute yourself
arbitrator between us and Parliament? It is we who wish to be the
arbitrators between Parliament and you." They, however,
officially presented their proposals to him. The king listened to
them in silence, with an ironical smile, then he rejected them
nearly all in few words, and as Ireton was beginning to support
them with warmth, Charles abruptly interrupted him: "You cannot
be without me (he said); you will fall to ruin if I do not
sustain you." The officers looked in astonishment at Berkeley;
the latter approached the king. "Sire," he said to him in a
whisper, "your Majesty speaks as if you had some secret strength
and power which I do not know of. Since your Majesty hath
concealed it from me, I wish you had concealed it from these men
too." The king endeavored to mitigate his words, but the majority
of the officers had already adopted their course. It was said
everywhere among the army, that there was no possibility of
placing reliance on the king. Charles confidently awaited
intelligence from London.

News was brought to headquarters by messengers of distinction.
More than sixty members of the two Houses, with Lord Manchester
and Speaker Lenthall at their head, arrived unexpectedly in the
army, coming, they said, to seek the security and liberty which
were denied to them by the fury of the populace. For a week
Cromwell and his friends had been laboring, through the medium of
Vane and St. John, to bring about this division among Parliament.
They affected, however, to partake of the general surprise.
Parliament, the real Parliament, with its legal chiefs and
faithful members, was henceforth united with the army and under
its protection. Joy shone on every countenance: the Lord was
loudly praised.

{165}

Berkeley was not satisfied. He hastened to bring to the king news
so fatal to the success of his negotiations; and urged him to
write to the chiefs of the army a letter which should cause a
better reception of their proposals to be hoped for. At this
price, Cromwell and Ireton still answered for the inclinations of
the army. But the king also had news from London. The members of
Parliament remaining in the capital were more numerous than those
who had quitted it. They had elected a new speaker; they had
given orders to form new regiments; the city was full of ardor,
and was preparing to defend itself. The king was formally invited
to return to London. The vote proclaimed in the streets might
reach him at any moment. "I will wait," said Charles to Berkeley.
"There will be yet time to write that letter."

The king waited, then wrote; but it was too late. Every day more
members of Parliament proceeded to join their colleagues at
headquarters. Popular exasperation gave way to fear and
uneasiness; compromises were spoken of. Cromwell caused the king
to be pressed; he continued to hesitate still. Ashburnham and
Berkeley arrived at length at headquarters, the bearers of the
letter so often demanded. The submission of the city had preceded
them, and the alliance of the king was no longer of any value to
the conquerors. Two days afterwards, on the 6th of August, the
army, bringing back the fugitive members in triumph, entered
London without one single excess characterizing their march, and
Fairfax took possession of the Tower, of which the Houses had
nominated him governor. All the acts passed by Parliament in the
absence of the members who had taken refuge in the army, were
declared null in law, for the troops were encamped around
Westminster. Everywhere the army triumphed. Parliament was now a
docile and humbled instrument in its hands.

{166}

It was in the very midst of the army that fresh difficulties were
about to arise. Intoxicated with their triumph, the obscure
enthusiasts, fanatics of religion or liberty, thought that they
had become masters, and aspired to alter not only the State, but
society itself, and the face of the world. Possessed of a blind
but pure ambition, intractable to any one who appeared to them
weak or interested, they constituted in turn the strength and
terror of the different parties who were all successively
compelled to make use of and deceive them.

Cromwell had formerly found among them a few of his most useful
agents, but they began to distrust him. The Lord had delivered
into the hands of His servants all their enemies. Meanwhile, they
continued to live upon good terms with the "delinquents," even
with the greatest of all, who had been permitted to establish
himself at Hampton Court, where he was served with idolatrous
pomp. His most dangerous councillors were allowed to approach
him, and the generals themselves saw them frequently. Rumors were
in circulation at the meetings of the soldiers, and Lilburne,
still indomitable even in the prison in which the Upper House had
caused him to be incarcerated on account of his pamphlets, wrote
to Cromwell, "If you despise my warnings as you have hitherto
done, know that I will set forth against you all that I have of
strength and influence, in order to produce changes in your
fortune, which will be very little to your liking."

{167}

Cromwell did not remain insensible to all these tokens. He begged
the king that he would place their relations under more reserve.
"As I am an honest man," he said, "I have said enough to convince
his Majesty of the sincerity of my intentions, otherwise nothing
will suffice." But with an increase of prudence, the relations of
Cromwell with the king did not become less active. The great and
firm mind of the general doubted the success of the republicans;
the desires of the enthusiasts appeared to him chimerical, and
his genius was irritated by disorder. Charles lavished promises,
more personal now than political or general. To Ireton was
offered the command of Ireland, to Cromwell the command of the
armies, the Order of the Garter, and the title of Earl of Essex.
Silence was not maintained throughout as to these negotiations,
and rumors of them reached the army, every day more resentful and
defiant. Two great Scottish noblemen, Lord Lauderdale and Lord
Lanark, arrived at Hampton Court, to urge the king once more to
unite himself finally with the Presbyterians and the Scotch, who
alone were sincere in the desire of saving him. This, for the
duplicity natural to Charles, was a new power. Everything was
made known in the council of the agitators. The soldiers
separated themselves from their leaders. A few officers and
members of the Commons placed themselves at their head. It was
announced that a Scotch army was about to march to the aid of the
king; the English cavaliers were preparing an insurrection.
Cromwell became more and more perplexed. All his skill did not
suffice to divine the schemes of the king. He saw the army, the
instrument upon which he had counted, upon the point of slipping
from his grasp. The day had come for adopting a final course of
action.

{168}

It was the king himself who caused the scale to incline towards
his ruin. Cromwell had been informed by one of the spies whom he
kept at Hampton Court, that a confidential letter from the king
to the queen was to be forwarded concealed in a saddle which a
man who was not in the secret would carry upon his head. At the
time indicated, Cromwell and Ireton, clad like simple troopers,
were at the Blue Boar Inn, in Holborn, awaiting the messenger. He
appeared; both issued forth sword in hand, seized the saddle,
broke open the sides, took therefrom the letter, then returned
the saddle to the messenger, saying to him in a good-humored tone
that he was a worthy fellow, and that he might proceed on his
way.

The letter was indeed confidential. Charles had written to the
queen that the two factions were courting him equally, and that
he thought of treating rather with the Scotch Presbyterians than
with the army. "Besides," he said, "rest entirely easy as to
whatever concessions I shall make them, for I shall know in due
time how to deal with the rogues, who, instead of a silken
garter, shall be fitted with a hempen cord." The two generals
eyed each other, and, with all their distrust thus confirmed,
they immediately departed on their return to their quarters at
Windsor, henceforth without uncertainty regarding their designs
towards the king and his belongings.

{169}

It was time that their policy should cease to be embarrassed and
undecided. The wrath of the enthusiasts was bursting forth. On
the 9th of October, five regiments of cavalry, among which
figured that of Cromwell himself, caused to be drawn up by fresh
agitators, under the name of "Situation of the Army," a long
declaration of their principles and demands, which was presented
to the general. On the 1st of November, a second pamphlet,
entitled "Agreement of the People," was addressed to the whole
nation in the name of the sixteen regiments. In each paper the
soldiers accused the officers of treason and the Houses of
extortion. The most senseless and most anarchical theories were
mingled with a few noble ideas. No more royalty and no more Upper
House; the House of Commons alone to be elected for two years.
Such was the abstract of the popular demands which threw the
leaders into agitation and uneasiness. The two Houses voted
prosecutions against the authors of the pamphlets, but at the
same time decided that the king was obliged to accept all that
Parliament proposed. The committee of officers was compelled to
promise the agitators that the question of the preservation of
the royal office should be freely discussed at a general meeting
of the army, which would then be able collectively to display its
sentiments.

When the day fixed upon arrived (November the 6th), all
discussion was prohibited. The officers and agitators received
orders to return to their regiments. Three partial meetings were
appointed in the cantonments of the principal corps. Meanwhile
the council of officers was to suspend its sittings, to allow the
general and Parliament to act alone. Cromwell had decided on his
course. He had determined not to be separated from the army, or
to allow it to be destroyed by disunion and want of discipline.
The soldiers desired to have no more to do with the king. That
man alone could dispose of their obedience and their power, who
would accept their common will and make himself its executor.
Cromwell was resolved to be that man.

{170}

Thenceforth the situation of the king underwent a sudden change.
The friends who surrounded him received orders to depart. His
most trustworthy servants, Ashburnham and Berkeley, were
withdrawn from him. The guards were doubled around them, and from
all parts arrived sinister warnings of abduction and
assassination.

Charles was oppressed by a growing anxiety. His susceptible and
ardent, though grave imagination, was shaken. Projects of flight
began to spring up in his mind; but where was he to take refuge?
The Scotch commissioners caused an offer to be made him to
facilitate his escape, but the Scots had already delivered him up
once to Parliament. Mention was made of the island of Jersey. It
was far off, and the king would not quit English soil. Cromwell
meanwhile, by all kinds of means, caused it to be insinuated that
flight was a necessity. The Isle of Wight was proposed, the
governor of which, Colonel Hammond, was the nephew of the
chaplain of the king. This proposal pleased Charles, but he
continued to hesitate, notwithstanding the anonymous letters
which warned him that the danger was urgent. A nocturnal council
of the agitators had resolved to get rid of him. At length, on
the 11th of November, at nine o'clock in the evening, the king
left the palace by a secret staircase, with one single
valet-de-chambre, and, crossing the park, reached the forest,
where Ashburnham and Berkeley, who had been hurriedly warned,
awaited him.
{171}
The night was dark, and the fugitives lost their way. Not till
daybreak did they arrive at the little town of Sutton in
Hampshire, where a relay had been got ready. When they reached
Southampton, opposite the Isle of Wight, Ashburnham and Berkeley
embarked, to go and sound the governor. The king retired to the
neighboring castle of Titchfield, inhabited by the mother of Lord
Southampton. The two messengers met the governor on horseback
upon the road. They informed him of the motive of their coming.
Hammond turned pale; the reins of his horse slipped from his
grasp. "Gentlemen," he said, "you have undone me by bringing the
king into this island, if you have brought him. If he is not here
yet, I implore you do not let him come. ..." A long conversation
began; the governor at length appeared to give way. "The king,"
he said, "shall have no cause to complain of me. I will perform
whatever can be expected from a man of honor and honesty. Let us
go to him together." They arrived at Titchfield. Ashburnham
ascended alone to the king. After his account, "Ah! John, John,"
exclaimed Charles, "you have undone me by bringing the governor
here. Do you not see that I can no longer stir?" Ashburnham
protested the good intentions of Hammond. The king was
disconsolate, walking hurriedly about the apartment, with an
expression of the keenest anguish. "Sire," said Ashburnham, in
his turn agitated, "the colonel is here with one man only;
nothing is so easy as to secure him." "What?" replied the king.
"Do you mean to kill him? Would you have it said that I
infamously deprived him of the life he hazarded for me? No, no;
it is too late to adopt another course.
{172}
We must resign ourselves to the will of God," And he sent for
Hammond and received him with an open and confident air. The day
began to wane; they embarked for the island. A rumor had been
spread abroad that the king was to arrive. The inhabitants set
out to meet him. It was affirmed that they were all devoted to
him. The terrors of the unhappy Charles subsided on the morrow
morning, at the contemplation of the magnificent sight which
presented itself to his gaze from the windows of Carisbrooke
Castle. "After all," he said to Ashburnham, "this governor is a
gallant man. I am here protected from agitators. I shall, I
think, only have to congratulate myself upon my resolve."

The news of the flight of the king caused great consternation at
Westminster. It was soon known that he had taken refuge in the
Isle of Wight. Colonel Hammond hastened to write to the Houses
and to the lieutenant-general, protesting his devotion and asking
for instructions. Cromwell gave notice of the event to Parliament
with a gayety which astonished the less suspicious, but of which
the most shrewd in vain sought the cause.

Two days later, he repaired with Fairfax to the first of the
three appointed _rendezvous_ of the army. This was near
Ware, in Hertfordshire. Seven of the most reasonable of the
regiments only had been convoked for that day. But, upon arriving
at the place of meeting, the generals found nine regiments
instead of seven; that of Harrison (cavalry) and that of Robert
Lilburne (infantry) had come without orders.

[Image]
Portrait Of Lord Fairfax.


{173}

Suffering from the most violent agitation, they bore, affixed to
their caps, _Liberty for England_, and from time to time
their shouts resounded in the plain, excited by those of the
officers and members of the House of Commons who had placed
themselves at the head of the fanatics. The generals advanced;
calm and grave, and caused to be read a remonstrance, reproaching
the new negotiators with their culpable conspiracies, the
soldiers with their want of discipline, and distrustfulness.
Seven regiments greeted the reading with their acclamations.
Fairfax advanced towards the regiment commanded by Harrison.
Scarcely had the horsemen heard his voice, when they tore from
their caps the _Liberty for England_, vowing to live and die
with their general. Cromwell marched straight up to the regiment
of Lilburne, which remained isolated and was uttering seditious
cries. "Take that paper from your hats," he said to the soldiers,
and as they refused, he abruptly entered the ranks and ordered
fourteen of the most mutinous to be seized. Immediately, a
council of war was formed, and three soldiers were condemned to
death. "Let lots be drawn to determine the fate of one of them,"
the council ordered, "and let him be shot upon the spot." Richard
Arnold, a fiery agitator, condemned by this means, was executed
in front of the regiment; and the thirteen other prisoners were
put in irons. Silence reigned in the plain. All the troops
returned to their quarters without a murmur. The army appeared to
be once more in the hands of its leaders.

{174}

Cromwell, however, did not abuse his victory. Scarcely recovered
from their stupor, officers, sub-officers, and private soldiers
came in a mass to declare to the lieutenant-general that no
severity could turn them aside from their designs; that they were
determined to rid themselves of the king and to establish a
republic; and that they would divide the army rather than abandon
their undertaking. Cromwell did not feel inclined to reduce them
to this extremity. Without giving them a positive answer, he
allowed it to be understood that he also was dissatisfied with
the king, that he might have permitted himself to be dazzled for
a moment by worldly glories, but that he had recognized his
error. He dwelt at the same time upon the necessity for
discipline in the army. The agitators confessed their
transgressions like their general. While the Houses were voting
their thanks to Fairfax and Cromwell for the firmness with which
they had quelled the insurrection, a great gathering and a solemn
banquet, at which were present, in common, officers, agitators,
and preachers, sealed that reconciliation, the price of which was
the destruction of the king.

Meanwhile, Charles, informed of the result of the rendezvous at
Ware, had hastened to despatch Berkeley to the generals, to
remind them of their promises. On arriving, Berkeley felt some
uneasiness. The trial of the king was spoken of. He was, however,
introduced to the council of the officers; and he delivered his
letters. "We are the army of Parliament," said Fairfax, in a
severe tone. "We have nothing to reply to the proposals of his
Majesty. It is for him to decide." Berkeley, in astonishment,
eyed Cromwell and Ireton; they remained impassive. The letters of
the king intended for them were handed them; no answer was given.
"I will do my best to continue to serve the king," was the only
message sent, "but let him not expect me to undo myself for love
of him." Trustworthy advices counselled the king to fly to the
Continent if possible.
{175}
A vessel sent by the queen was cruising about, it was said, in
the vicinity of the island, but a fresh intrigue revived the
king's hopes. Parliament voted four propositions or bills. If the
king should accept them, he was to be admitted to negotiate in
person with the Houses. These bills were a justification of the
war which had brought Charles to imprisonment. On his part, they
involved a veritable abdication. He was determined not to accept
them, but he did not say so, for the proposals of Parliament
would be of use to him, he thought, in the secret relations which
he had renewed with the Scotch commissioners. "We must wait," he
said to Berkeley, on his return; "I wish to conclude with the
Scotch before quitting the kingdom. If they were to see me out of
the hands of the army, they would be much more exacting."

A few days subsequently. Lords Lauderdale, Lowden, and Lanark,
having arrived at Carisbrooke at the same time as the
commissioners of Parliament, the treaty with Scotland was
concluded, signed, and buried in a garden. The king, about to fly
from the Isle of Wight, in order to take refuge upon the borders
of Scotland, definitively refused the proposals of Parliament,
demanding to negotiate in person without being pledged to accept
anything. The commissioners made no effort to induce him to alter
his mind; they departed, and a few hours after their departure,
as the king was conferring with his confidants upon the means of
escape for the following night, the gates of the castle were
closed, the guards were doubled, and the servants of the king
received orders to quit the island. The wrath and reproaches of
the king were powerless to move Hammond. All hope of flight was
at an end.

{176}

In Parliament, Ireton bluntly proposed to settle public affairs
without the king. "The king," he said, "has denied safety and
protection to his people; it is for us to settle the kingdom
without him." The Presbyterians rose against the measure. "Mr.
Speaker," said Cromwell, "the king is a man of great parts, but
so false that no one can trust him. While he protests his love of
peace, he is engaged in secret treaties with the Scotch
commissioners to embroil the nation into a new war. The time has
arrived for Parliament to govern and defend the kingdom by its
own power and resolution. The men who have defended Parliament
from so many dangers with the expense of their blood, will defend
it herein with fidelity and courage against all opposition. Teach
them not by neglecting your own and the kingdom's safety to think
themselves betrayed, lest despair teach them to seek their safety
by some other means than adhering to you who will not stick to
yourselves: and how destructive such a resolution in them will be
to you all I tremble to say, and I leave you to judge!" He
resumed his seat, with his hand upon his sword. The motion was
voted without further opposition. After some hesitation, it
passed on the 15th of January, 1648, in the House of Lords.
Warwick and Manchester alone protested against the measure.

Violent indignation burst forth in all parts of the kingdom; a
multitude of voices, up to this time uncertain, now united to
those of the cavaliers in cursing this detestable treason. Never
had so many rumors of royalist plots, never had so many or such
violent pamphlets threatened Westminster. The Presbyterians,
vanquished in Parliament as well as in the army, raised their
heads again at these tokens of public wrath.
{177}
Cromwell, always prudent and sensible, endeavored to unite
himself with this party, urging them at least to postpone their
quarrels and to face in concert the new perils which it was easy
to foresee. They would agree to nothing. Cromwell encountered the
same resistance among the republican party which had manifested
itself in the House. Ludlow, Vane, Hutchinson, Sydney, Haselrig
loudly declared themselves opposed to the continuance of the
monarchy, which was condemned, they said, by the Bible. Ardent in
their fanaticism, they troubled themselves little about the
external dangers which menaced their cause. Hamilton was in the
ascendant in Scotland. The Parliament at Edinburgh voted the
raising of an army of forty thousand men for the defence of the
country, it was said; while in the north of England, in the west,
in Wales, and even as far as the counties of Kent and Essex, the
cavaliers openly set up the royal standard, boldly recruiting for
the king, with the support, in various places, of almost the
entire population. The Presbyterians took advantage of the breeze
which was blowing, and obtained a vote of the House of Commons,
on the 28th of April, 1641, that they would not change the form
of government by a king, lords, and commons. Notwithstanding the
vote which prohibited any address to the king, every member was
to be at liberty to propose what the interest of the country
should appear to him to require. A few days later, Cromwell,
weary of inaction and the perplexity of affairs, suspected by
some for his attempts to bring about an arrangement, by others
for the hastiness of his measures, resolved to fight the
insurgents in the west and to seize once more by the sword the
ascendancy which was slipping from him. He had scarcely set out
for Wales when the insurrection burst forth in all parts, and
Fairfax and Lambert were also taking the field, the former to
defend the environs of London, the latter to march towards the
north.

{178}

The Scotch were hastening, being forewarned by the heedless ardor
of the cavaliers. Hamilton had only been able to gather together
fourteen thousand men when he crossed the border on the 8th of
July. The news of the invasion caused great commotion at
Westminster. Fairfax promptly reduced the insurgents of the
south, but they took refuge in Colchester, and the general was
detained before the town by their courageous resistance. Cromwell
in the same manner besieged Pembroke Castle, the bulwark of the
royalists in the west. Lambert had great difficulty in holding in
check the cavaliers of Langdale and Musgrave in the north; he
could not struggle alone against so many enemies. Alarm was
taken; it was resolved to press forward the new negotiations
opened up with the king. This time, the Commons abandoned the
three bills, the condition of which they had wished to make the
preliminary of any negotiation. Meanwhile, the committee of war,
sitting at Derby House, where the Independents prevailed, sent
money and reinforcements to Lambert, urging Cromwell to join him,
secretly writing him to fear nothing, to act with vigor, and to
count upon his friends, whatever distrust he might formerly have
encountered from them.

{179}

Cromwell waited neither for orders nor promises. Being well
informed of the movements of the Scotch army, he had written a
month before to Lambert to fall back as soon as it should appear
necessary, and to avoid any engagement until he should be able to
join him. "Send me some shoes for my poor tired soldiers," he
wrote to the committee of Derby House; "they have a long march to
make." Pembroke Castle capitulated, and Cromwell set out for the
north with extraordinary rapidity. On the 7th of August,
Langdale, who marched with the English cavaliers in front of the
Scotch army, caused the Duke of Hamilton to be advised of the
approach of Cromwell. Everything indicated upon his part an
intention of beginning the attack. "Impossible," replied the
duke; "he has not had time to be here. If Cromwell be near, of a
certainty it is with a small army; he will be very careful not to
attack us;" and he transferred his headquarters to Preston. But
the cavaliers of Langdale were already fighting with the enemy;
reinforcements were asked for; the duke promised them, but did
not send them. After a desperate resistance, Langdale was
compelled to fly, and Cromwell marched direct towards Hamilton,
whom he defeated without difficulty. Three battles and three
successive defeats soon cooled the ardor of the Scotch. A
tumultuous despair took possession of the army; the infantry
surrendered in its entirety. Hamilton, at the head of the
cavalry, altered his course and proceeded towards the north-east,
endeavoring to reach Scotland. He was pursued; his troops
mutinied; he surrendered, accepting the conditions imposed by
Lambert. After a campaign of five days, Cromwell in his turn
entered Scotland, determined to wrest from the royalist
Presbyterians all means of action and salvation. Scarcely had he
arrived when an insurrection took place in his favor, against the
influence of the vanquished Hamilton.
{180}
Argyle and his friends, borne back into power, received Cromwell
in Edinburgh with the greatest honors. He left there Lambert and
two regiments to protect their government; then he set out for
London, where the great game was being played. The negotiations
with the king had begun; fifteen commissioners of Parliament had
set out to treat with Charles in the Isle of Wight.

The king disputed the ground step by step; he was urged to accept
everything by those who assured him that the treaty being once
concluded, Satan himself could not dissolve it. "Consider if you
call this a treaty," said Charles, "whether it be not like the
fray in the comedy, where the man comes out and says, 'There has
been a fray and no fray;' and being asked how that could be,
'Why,' says he, 'there hath been three blows given, and I had
them all.' Look, therefore, whether this be not a parallel case.
Observe whether I have not granted absolutely most of your
propositions, and with great moderation limited only some few of
them: nay, consider whether you have made me any one concession."
The concessions of the king were more apparent than real. He
wrote to Ormond, "Obey my wife's orders, not mine, until I shall
let you know I am free from all restraint; nor trouble yourself
about my concessions as to Ireland; they will lead to nothing;"
and to Sir William Hopkins, after consigning to the Houses for
twenty years the command of the forces, "But for the hope of an
early escape never would I have yielded in such a way. My
captivity at present would break my heart, for I have done what
my escape alone can justify."

{181}

The day had in fact arrived when escape alone could save the
king. Cromwell was approaching London, and already the energy of
the resolutions made his influence felt. Charles was informed
that troops were landing in the island, and that he would be
carried off during the night. The guards were numerous; sentinels
were stationed in all parts. Meanwhile, Colonel Cook, an officer
devoted to the king, possessed the watchword. He proposed to pass
Charles with him; the friends of the king pressed him. His
sensitive dignity took alarm. "No," he said; "they have given me
their word; I have given them mine; I will not betray it." "But,
Sire, I presume that by 'they' and 'their' your Majesty means
Parliament; but all is changed; it is the army that desires to
cast your Majesty in prison." "No matter, I will not betray my
word. Good night. I am going to sleep as long as I can." "Sire, I
fear that it will not be long." "As it pleases God." It was one
o'clock in the morning. The king sought his couch. In the early
morning he was carried off by a detachment of cavalry under the
orders of Lieutenant-general Cobbett and transported to Hurst
Castle, in an apartment so dark that at midday torches were
required to light it. "They could not name a worse," said the
unhappy prisoner when he was informed of his destination.

At this news anger and terror agitated Parliament. It was
proposed to vote that the replies of the king were suitable for a
basis of peace. The discussion lasted for a long time, and was
passionate and ardent; the royal cause was defended by Prynne,
who had, twelve years before, sustained the severest contest
against the tyranny of Laud and the court. "I am accused of
apostasy, Mr. Speaker," he said. "Here are all the favors that I
have ever received from his Majesty or his party.
{182}
They caused my ears to be cut off in the most barbarous fashion;
they placed me three times in the pillory; they caused my works
to be burnt before my eyes, and by the hand of the executioner;
they inflicted upon me two fines each of five thousand pounds
sterling ...;" and continuing with agitated eloquence the picture
of his grievances, he dwelt nevertheless upon the evils which
threatened the nation if it should not be reconciled with the
king; "notwithstanding (he said) the threats of the army and
whatever may happen, _fiat justitia et ruat cœluin_, let us
do our duty and leave the event to God." The House accepted the
resolution by a hundred and forty votes against a hundred and
four. Once more the Independents were defeated.

They had arrived at the point at which lawful defeats of right
are met by force. The republican statesmen, Ludlow and
Hutchinson, allied themselves with the army. Fairfax was left
ignorant of all that was passing. On the 6th of December, the
infantry regiment of Colonel Pride, and the cavalry regiment of
Colonel Rich, occupied the courtyard and avenues of the palace of
Westminster. As the members arrived, Pride, standing at the
entrance, was examining a list which he held in his hand. "You
shall not enter," he said to those whose names were inscribed
upon his document, and he even ordered those who were most
obnoxious to be seized. It was found necessary to drag Prynne to
the foot of the staircase. Two members only, among those who were
designated, contrived to enter the Hall; these were Mr. Stephens
and Colonel Birch. They were induced to come out by false
pretexts, and were arrested like the others.
{183}
The House in vain endeavored to resist; the sergeant-at-arms,
whom it sent, was unable to reach the captive members whose
exclusion the army caused to be solemnly demanded. The prisoners
asked to see Colonel Pride. "I have not time," said the rough
soldier, "I have something else to do." More politely put off by
Fairfax, they saw him no more. On the 7th, forty more members
suffered the fate of their predecessors. When the House,
mutilated and subjugated, at length voted that it would take into
consideration the proposals of the army, the twenty-eight members
who had protested against this act of suicide retired of their
own accord. Voluntarily or under coercion a hundred and
forty-three members of the House of Commons had ceased to sit
upon its benches. The army and the republicans at length found
themselves in full possession of power. Cromwell proceeded to
resume his seat at Westminster. "God be my witness," he repeated
everywhere, "that I had not been acquainted with this design; yet
since it is done I am glad of it, and will endeavor to maintain
it." He established himself at Whitehall, in the very apartments
of the king.

On the 17th of December, in the middle of the night, Charles was
awakened by the noise of the drawbridge, and a troop of horsemen
were heard entering the courtyard of the castle. Before daybreak,
he sent his groom of the chamber, Herbert, to ascertain who had
arrived. "It is Major Harrison, Sire," the faithful servant
announced. The king appeared agitated; he had tears in his eyes.
"Your pardon. Sire," said Herbert; "I am dismayed at perceiving
your Majesty so much troubled and concerned at this news."
{184}
"I am not afraid," replied Charles; "but do not you know that
this is the same who intended to assassinate me, as by letter I
was informed during the late treaty? I would not be surprised;
this is a place fit for such a purpose. Go again and make further
inquiry into his business," Herbert returned to say that Harrison
was commissioned to take the king to Windsor. "With all my
heart!" said Charles, joyfully; "they are becoming more
tractable. Windsor is a spot where I have always found pleasure.
I shall there be compensated for what I have suffered here." A
few days later, the king arrived in Windsor, delighted to return
to one of his palaces, to occupy his usual apartment there, with
the customary ceremonies. He almost forgot that he was a
prisoner.

On the same day, at the same moment, the Commons voted that the
king should be impeached, and entrusted a committee to prepare
the charge. The rigid and enthusiastic republicans desired a
public and solemn trial, which would prove their power and
proclaim their right. No one had been more ardent than Cromwell
in bringing about this step; but he never forgot his prudent
measures. "Should any one have voluntarily proposed," he said,
"to bring the king to punishment, I should have regarded him as
the greatest traitor; but since Providence and necessity have
cast us upon it, I will pray to God for a blessing on your
counsels, though I am not prepared to give you any advice on this
important occasion." It was voted that the king had rendered
himself guilty of high treason by waging war with Parliament. A
High Court, composed of a hundred and fifty commissioners, was
immediately constituted to try him. All the important men of the
party were to form part of it, save St. John and Vane, who
formally declared that they disapproved of the act and would take
no part in it.
{185}
The House of Lords protested. Some feeling of pride appeared to
revive in its bosom. "There is no Parliament without the king,"
maintained Lord Manchester. "The king cannot be a traitor towards
Parliament." The order was rejected. The Commons declared that
the people being, after God, the origin of all just power, the
Commons of England, representing the people, are alone the
supreme authority. The High Court, reduced to a hundred and
thirty-eight members, received from the Commons orders to
assemble without delay, to settle the preparations for the trial.

It met in fact for this object from the 8th to the 19th of
January, under the presidency of John Bradshaw, a cousin of
Milton and an esteemed lawyer, grave and gentle in his character,
but of a narrow and harsh mind, a sincere and ambitious fanatic.
Already division sprang up in the very midst of the court; on no
occasion did more than fifty-eight members attend the preparatory
sittings. Fairfax attended the first time and then appeared there
no more. Others presented themselves to proclaim their
opposition. Algernon Sidney, the son of Lord Leicester, feared
the aversion which such an act would inspire in the people
towards the Commonwealth. "No one will stir," exclaimed Cromwell,
annoyed by such forebodings. "I tell you that we will cut his
head off with the crown upon it." "Do as you please," replied
Sidney; "I cannot prevent you; but, of a surety, I will have no
hand in this matter," and he went out, to return no more. The
king was summoned to appear, on the 20th of January, before the
court, at Westminster Hall. On the 17th, as if the condemnation
had already been pronounced, a committee was entrusted to take an
exact inventory of the furniture in all the royal palaces,
henceforth to be the property of Parliament.

{186}

The king lived at Windsor in a strange security, more merry than
his servants had seen him for a long while. "I have three cards
to play," he said, "and the worst may enable me to regain all." A
significant sign, however, troubled his repose. Hitherto he had
been served upon bended knees, with all the forms used at court.
Suddenly, upon an order coming from headquarters, the ceremony
disappeared, and the canopy which surmounted the royal chair was
taken away. Charles was keenly affected at this. "Is there
anything more contemptible than a despised prince?" he said; and
he desired henceforth to take his meals in his apartment, in
order to escape the contrast between the present and the past, in
this same Windsor Castle.

On the 19th of January, the king was transferred to London, and
lodged in St. James's palace. "God is everywhere," he said, when
attendants came to prepare him for departure, "and everywhere the
same in power and goodness." Nevertheless he was visibly
affected.

On the morrow, the 20th, towards noon, it was announced to the
high court that the king, borne in a close sedan-chair between
two rows of soldiers, was about to arrive. Cromwell hastened to
the window, pale, but nevertheless very animated. "He is come! he
is come!" he said, "and now we are doing that great work that the
whole nation will be full of; therefore I desire you let us
resolve here what answer we shall give the king when he comes
before us: for the first question he will ask us will be by what
authority and commission we do try him."
{187}
No one spoke. "In the name of the Commons and Parliament
assembled, and of all the good people of England," said Henry
Martyn. The doors opened; the mob rushed into the Hall.
"Sergeant," said Bradshaw, "let the prisoner be brought in."

The king appeared under the custody of Colonel Hacker and
thirty-two officers. He advanced, cast a long and severe look
upon the tribunal, and sat down, without removing his hat, upon
the chair prepared for him at the bar; then, rising, he looked
behind him at the guard placed upon the left, and the crowd of
spectators on the right of the hall; he resumed his seat, looked
again at the judges, and waited.

Bradshaw immediately arose. "Charles Stuart, King of England," he
said, "the Commons of England, assembled in Parliament, being
deeply sensible of the calamities that have been brought upon
this nation which are fixed upon you as the principal author of
them, have resolved to make inquisition for blood. You are about
to hear the charges which weigh upon you."

The solicitor-general. Coke, immediately read the indictment,
which, imputing to the king all the evils arising at first from
his tyranny, afterwards from the war, demanded that justice
should be done to him as a tyrant, a traitor, and a murderer. The
king remained calm, casting quiet glances upon his judges. For a
moment he rose again, turned his back to the tribunal to look
behind him, then sat down again, with an air of mingled
indifference and curiosity. At the words, "Charles Stuart,
tyrant, traitor, and murderer," he smiled, albeit he still
preserved silence.

"Sir," said Bradshaw, "you have heard your charge read; the court
expects your answer."

{188}

The King.--"I would know by what power I am called hither. I was,
not long ago, in the Isle of Wight, in treaty with both Houses of
Parliament, with as much public faith as is possible to be had.
We were upon a conclusion of the treaty. I would know by what
authority, I mean lawful, for there are many unlawful authorities
in the world, as of thieves and robbers by the highways; but I
would, I say, know by what authority I was brought from thence
and carried from place to place, and I know not what. When I know
by what lawful authority, I shall answer."

Bradshaw.--"The court requires you, in the name of the people of
England, of which you are elected king, to answer them."

The King.--"I deny that England was ever an elective kingdom. It
has been for these thousand years an hereditary one. Therefore
tell me by what authority I am called hither. I will stand as
much for the privileges of the House of Commons rightly
understood as any man here. I see no House of Lords here that may
constitute a Parliament; and the king too should have been. Is
this the bringing the king to his Parliament?"

Bradshaw became impatient. The court was adjourned to the
following Monday. On retiring the king touched with his staff the
sword resting upon the table. "I do not fear that," he said. As
he descended the staircase, a few voices were heard crying
"Justice! justice!" but a much greater number exclaimed, "God
save the king! God save your Majesty!"

The same scene was enacted at the second sitting. "We are not
sitting here to reply to your questions," said Bradshaw to the
king. "Plead to the charge, guilty or not guilty."

{189}

The King.--"Show me that jurisdiction where reason is not to be
heard."

Bradshaw.--"Sir, we show it to you here--the Commons of England.
Sergeant, take away the prisoner."

The king turned abruptly towards the people. "Remember," said he,
"that the King of England is condemned without being suffered to
give his reasons for the liberty and freedom of the subject." An
almost general cry arose of "God save the king!"

The same cry resounded incessantly around Westminster, stifling
the voices demanding "Justice, execution!" One day, as the king
was passing by, coming from the sitting, a soldier exclaimed,
"God bless you, sir!" An officer struck him with his cane. "Sir,"
said the king, who was being brought forth, "the punishment
exceeds the offence." The proceedings of Queen Henrietta-Maria,
of the Prince of Wales, of the commissioners of Scotland,
maintained the public indignation and sympathy, which were every
day manifested more clearly in favor of Charles. Announcement was
made of the early arrival of an embassy extraordinary from the
States-general of Holland to intervene in favor of the king. This
was the signal for the catastrophe.

On the 24th and 25th of January, the Court heard the depositions
of thirty-two witnesses. On the latter day, at the close of the
sitting, and almost without discussion, the condemnation of the
king as a tyrant, a traitor, a murderer, and a public enemy, was
voted. Scott, Martyn, Harrison, Ireton, and three others were
entrusted to draw up the sentence, which was adopted on the
morrow with closed doors.

{190}

On the 27th, at midday, as the sitting was being opened by a call
of the House, the name of Fairfax was uttered. "He has too much
wit to be here," said the voice of a woman from the end of a
gallery. After a moment's silence and hesitation the proceedings
were resumed; sixty-seven members were present. When the king
entered the Hall, a violent cry was raised among the soldiers of
"Execution, justice, execution!" The crowd, in consternation,
remained silent.

"Sir," said the king to Bradshaw before seating himself, "I shall
desire a word; and I hope I shall give no occasion of
interruption."

Bradshaw.--"Sir, you may answer in your time. Hear the court
first."

The King.--"Sir, I desire ... It will be in order to what the
court, I believe, the court will say. Sir, a hasty judgment is
not so soon recalled."

Bradshaw.--"Sir, you shall be heard before the judgment be
given." The king sat down.

"Gentlemen," said Bradshaw, "it is well known that the prisoner
here at the bar has been brought before the court in the name of
the people of England. ..."

"Not half the people!" exclaimed the same voice which had
answered to the name of Fairfax. "Where are the people and their
consents? Oliver Cromwell is a traitor!" The whole assembly
shuddered; all looks were turned towards the gallery. "Fire upon
her, soldiers!" exclaimed Axtell. Lady Fairfax was recognized.

{191}

The tumult increased. The king endeavored to speak. "I desire,"
he said, when Bradshaw had ended his speech, "that I may have a
conference with a committee of Lords and Commons, upon a proposal
which is of far more consequence to the peace of the kingdom and
the liberty of my subjects than to my own preservation."

A violent agitation spread throughout the court and the assembly.
Friends and enemies alike endeavored to guess what the king might
have to propose in this conference with the two Houses. Many
persons thought that he desired to abdicate in favor of his son.
The embarrassment of the court was extreme; the soldiers loudly
complained, lighting their pipes and blowing the smoke into the
face of the king. The latter desired to speak; the cries of
"Justice, execution!" redoubled around him. Agitated and beside
himself, he at length exclaimed, "Hear me! hear me!" The
agitation reached the members of the tribunal. One of them,
Colonel Downs, was restrained with great difficulty by his two
neighbors. "Have we hearts of stone?" he said; "are we men?" "You
will undo us all," he was told. "It matters not," replied Downs,
"were I to die for it I must do it." At these words Cromwell, who
sat below him, turned around abruptly. "Are you in your senses,
colonel?" he said. "Can you not be silent?" "No," replied Downs,
"I cannot;" and immediately rising, "My Lord," he said to the
President, "my conscience is not sufficiently clear to allow me
to deny the request of the prisoner. I demand that the court
shall retire to deliberate upon it." "Since one of the members
desires it," Bradshaw gravely replied, "the court must retire,"
and they all proceeded to the adjacent hall.

{192}

Alone in the presence of all his colleagues, Downs was soon
overcome. The court resumed the sitting. Bradshaw declared to the
king that it rejected his proposal. "I will add nothing, sir,"
replied the king, visibly overwhelmed; "I would only desire that
what I have said may be recorded." And he listened to the
judgment in silence, with a serious gravity which only belied
itself towards the end. He appeared agitated, and endeavored to
speak. The whole court rose to give its assent to the sentence.
"Sir," said the king abruptly, "will you hear me, a word?"

Bradshaw.--"Sir, you are not to be heard after the sentence."

The King.--"No, sir?"

Bradshaw.--"No, sir, by your favor. Guard, withdraw your
prisoner."

The King.--"I may speak after the sentence. By your favor, sir, I
may speak after the sentence. ... By your favor ... hold ... The
sentence, sir ... I say, sir ... that ... I am not permitted to
speak; expect what justice other people will have."

At this moment some soldiers surrounded him, and dragged him
violently to the spot where his close chair awaited him. On
descending the staircase he was insulted; lighted pipes were
thrown under his feet; tobacco smoke was blown in his face. The
same threatening cry still resounded in his ears, "Justice!
execution!" With these exclamations, however, the people at times
mingled their own: "God save your Majesty! God deliver your
Majesty from the hands of your enemies!" As long as he was not
shut up in his chair the bearers remained bareheaded,
notwithstanding the threats and even the blows of Axtell.
Whitehall being reached, the king regained his composure; he
shrugged his shoulders at the cries of the soldiers. "Poor men,"
he said, on getting out of his chair, "for a little money they
would do as much against their commanders."

{193}

Having entered his apartment, "Herbert," said the king to his
faithful servant, "my nephew, the Prince Elector, will endeavor
to visit me, and some other lords that love me, which I would
take in good part, but my time is short and precious, I am
desirous to improve it the best I may in preparation. I hope they
will not take it ill that none have access unto me but my
children. The best office they can now do is to pray for me;" and
he sent for the Bishop of London, Juxon. As the latter, upon
approaching him, gave way to his grief, "Let us leave that, my
lord," said Charles, "we have no time to spare. Let us think of
our great affair. I must resign myself to meet my God. We will
not talk of those rogues in whose hands I am. They thirst for my
blood, and they will have it, and God's will be done. I thank God
I heartily forgive them, and I will talk of them no more!" He
remained all day closeted with the Bishop, receiving none of
those who presented themselves to see him.

On the morrow, the 29th, his children were brought to him. The
Princess Elizabeth, who was twelve years of age, burst into tears
at the sight of her father. The Duke of Gloucester, who was but
eight years old, cried on looking at his sister. The king took
them, upon his knees, and shared a few jewels between them. He
consoled his daughter, appointing some pious reading for her. He
enjoined her to tell her brothers that he had pardoned his
enemies; and to say to her mother that, to the last moment, he
would love her as on the first day.
{194}
Then, turning towards the little duke, "Sweetheart," he said to
him, "Now they will cut off thy father's head." The child looked
fixedly at him with a very serious air. "Mark, child, what I say!
They will cut off my head, and perhaps make thee king; but thou
must not be king as long as thy brothers Charles and James are
alive; for they will cut off thy brothers' heads when they can
catch them, and thy head too they will cut off at last.
Therefore, I charge thee, do not be made a king by them." "I will
be torn in pieces first," replied the child, greatly disturbed.
The king embraced him with delight, put him down, kissed his
daughter, and blessed them both; then suddenly rising, "Have them
taken away," he said to Juxon. The children went away in tears.
Charles took them back into his arms, and blessed them once more;
then, tearing himself from their caresses, he fell upon his knees
and resumed his prayers with the Bishop and Herbert, the only
witnesses of these sad farewells.

While the king was thus tasting the bitterness of death, his
judges met to sign the warrant for the execution. Great
difficulty was experienced in assembling the commissioners.
Nearly all were agitated and affected. Their signatures were
scarcely legible. Cromwell alone, gay, clamorous, and bold,
besmeared with ink the face of Martyn, who was seated beside him,
and held the hand of Colonel Ingoldsby to compel him to sign. The
ambassadors of the States-general of Holland, who had arrived
five days previously, and had been received by the Houses, saw
the preparations for the execution commence before Whitehall, and
when, on the morrow, they issued forth after a visit to General
Fairfax, who had promised them to cause a respite to be
solicited, they beheld the cavalry, which was clearing all the
avenues of Whitehall, and among the mob which overflowed into the
adjacent street they heard it repeated that all was ready, and
that the king would not delay long.


[Image]
King Charles' Children.


{195}

The king had risen early.[Footnote 1]

    [Footnote 1: The day of the death of Charles I. is celebrated
    on the 30th of January, because England had not yet adopted
    the Gregorian Calendar. The 30th of January, 1648,
    corresponds with the 9th of February, 1649.]

    [Transcriber's note: From Wikipedia article "Gregorian
    calendar"; "In common usage, 1 January was regarded as New
    Year's Day and celebrated as such, but from the 12th century
    until 1751 the legal year in England began on 25 March (Lady
    Day). So, for example, the Parliamentary record lists the
    execution of Charles I. on 30 January as occurring in 1648
    (as the year did not end until 24 March), although later
    histories adjust the start of the year to 1 January and
    record the execution as occurring in 1649.]

"I have a great work to do," he said to Herbert, and he began his
toilet. The hands of the faithful servant trembled in arranging
his hair. "Take, I pray you, the same pains as usual," said the
king; "although my head is not to remain long upon my shoulders,
I would be as trim to-day as a bridegroom. Let me have a shirt on
more than ordinary," he added, "the season is so sharp as
probably may make me shake, which some observers will imagine
proceeds from fear." The bishop had arrived and opened the
Gospel. He began the 27th chapter of St. Matthew, the narrative
of the passion of Our Lord. The king asked him, "if he had made
choice of that chapter, being so applicable to his present
condition?" "It is the proper lesson for the day," said the
bishop, touched by the coincidence. The king was at prayers; it
was ten o'clock. A light knock was heard at the door: it was
Colonel Hacker. He said in a low tone of voice, and almost
tremblingly, "It is time to go to Whitehall; your Majesty will
have there some further time to rest." "I will come presently,"
said Charles, and, after a moment's meditation, he descended with
the bishop, traversing the Park between the two lines of soldiers
drawn up along his passage, with a serene aspect, a bright
countenance, a firm step, walking even faster than the troop and
marvelling at their slowness. Arriving at Whitehall, he refused
the services of the Independent ministers who desired to pray
with him. "No," said Charles; "they have too often prayed against
me and without any reason to pray with me during my agony. If
they wish to pray for me, I shall be grateful to them."

{196}

He received the communion from the hands of the bishop, and,
rising again, with alacrity, "Now," he said, "let those rogues
come. I have forgiven them from the bottom of my heart. I am
ready for all that is about to befall me." He would eat nothing;
Juxon insisted. "Your Majesty has fasted for a long time. It is
cold, perhaps upon the scaffold, some weakness ..." "You are
right," said the king. He ate a piece of bread and drank a glass
of wine. It was one o'clock; Hacker knocked at the door. Juxon
and Herbert fell upon their knees; it was the king who raised
them. He traversed the banqueting-hall; behind the line of
soldiers, a crowd of men and women, pale, motionless, praying for
the king as he passed. The soldiers did not use him roughly. At
the extremity of the hall, an opening made on the day previous
led to the scaffold, level with it and hung with black. Two men
stood near the axe, each in a sailor's attire and masked. The
king arrived, with head erect, endeavoring to catch the eye of
the people, to speak to them; but the troops alone covered the
spot. None could approach, and it was to Juxon and the colonel of
the guard, Tomlinson, that Charles addressed the little speech
which he had prepared. It was calm and grave even to coldness,
while maintaining that he had always been in the right in his
conduct as king. While he spoke, some one touched the axe.
{197}
He turned abruptly around: "Do not hurt the axe that it may hurt
me," he said. His speech was ended; the most profound silence
reigned in the open space. The king himself arranged his hair
under a silken cap; then, turning towards the bishop, "I have a
good cause and a gracious God on my side." "Yes, Sire, there is
but one stage more; this stage is turbulent and troublesome. It
is a short one, but you may consider it will soon carry you a
very great way. It will carry you from earth to heaven." The king
replied, "I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown,
where no disturbance can be, no disturbance in the world." He had
taken off his collar of St. George and consigned it to the
bishop, saying to him, "Remember." Then he looked at the block.
"Be careful that it is set fast," he said to the executioner. "It
is fast, Sire." "I will offer up a short prayer, and when I put
my hands out this way (stretching them out), then." He collected
his thoughts, said a few words in a low tone of voice, raised his
eyes to heaven and knelt down, placing his head upon the block.
The executioner touched his hair to rearrange it under his cap.
The king thought he was about to strike. "Stay for the sign," he
said. "Yes I will, and until it please your Majesty." A moment
after the king stretched out his hands, and his head fell at the
first blow. "This is the head of a traitor," exclaimed the
executioner, showing it to the people; but a prolonged shudder
alone answered him, and the cavalry, advancing slowly through the
crowd, had great difficulty in dispersing the people, who had
rushed to the foot of the scaffold to steep their handkerchiefs
in the blood of the martyred king.

{198}

The coffin remained exposed for seven days at Whitehall. Cromwell
caused it to be opened, and, taking the head in his hands, as
though to assure himself that it was really separated from the
trunk, "It appeared sound," he said, "and well made for a long
life."

On the 8th of February, a few faithful servants accompanied the
remains of their master to the tomb. It was at Windsor, in St.
George's Chapel, where the body of Henry VIII. reposed, that
Charles I. was to be buried. The sky was cloudless; but suddenly,
as the coffin crossed the courtyard of the castle, a heavy fall
of snow took place, and the pall of black velvet was completely
covered with it. The servants of the king saw therein the
heavenly sign of the innocence of their unhappy master. Juxon
prepared to officiate according to the rites of the Anglican
Church. Hacker opposed this. "The liturgy decreed by Parliament
is obligatory for the king as for all," he said. Juxon submitted,
and the coffin was lowered into the vault without any religious
ceremony. Those who were present prayed in their hearts.

{199}

                 Chapter XXVI.

     The Commonwealth And Cromwell (1649-1653).


King Charles I. had not yet been lowered into his tomb, when, on
the 7th of February, the House of Commons, reduced by successive
purifications to a hundred members, voted an Act reading thus:
"It has been proved by experience, and this House declares, that
the office of king is in this country useless, and dangerous to
the liberty, security, and good of the people; henceforth to be
abolished." The House of Lords had been suppressed on the day
previous. A Council of State was entrusted with executive power.
It was composed of forty-one members, amongst whom were the three
leaders of the army--Fairfax, Cromwell, and Skippon--with five
former peers. Nearly all the others belonged to the House of
Commons.

A disagreement sprang up at the outset. The new councillors were
asked to sign a declaration approving what had been done
regarding the trial of the king and the abolition of the monarchy
as well as in the House of Lords. Twenty-two members of the
council refused to sign. They promised to serve faithfully the
government of the House of Commons, the only power remaining, but
without expounding their views upon acts which they disapproved
in different degrees. Cromwell perceived that the regicides could
not govern alone. He came to an agreement with Sir Henry Vane,
the most sincere, the most able, and the most visionary of the
republican statesmen.
{200}
Sir Henry had refused to take part in the trial of the king, but
he consented to sit in the council of state, provided that the
past should not be referred to. The presidency was conferred upon
Bradshaw. He took, as Latin secretary, one of his cousins who had
recently maintained, in an eloquent pamphlet, that it was right
to summon to trial "a tyrant or a bad king, as well as to depose
him and put him to death after having duly convicted him." This
was the poet Milton.

The Republic was founded and its government was being organized,
but the country submitted without accepting it. Nearly four
months elapsed before it could be proclaimed in the City of
London. It had been found necessary to change the Lord Mayor, and
the aldermen absented themselves upon the day of the solemn
publication. "What was being done was against my conscience and
my oaths," said Sir Thomas Sumes, when summoned to answer for his
absence at the bar of the House. "My heart was not in this work,"
said Richard Chambers. Great difficulty was experienced in
finding aldermen to replace them. Everywhere the same ill-feeling
was manifested. Two years after the establishment of the
Commonwealth, Parliament was compelled to entrust to the parishes
the task of destroying all emblems recalling the monarchy. The
clergy on all hands refused to take the oath of fidelity to the
new power, and the government did not dare to give the name of
the "Commonwealth of England" to a new frigate launched in the
port of London in presence of the assembled council of state. "It
was considered," wrote the Minister of France, M. de Croullé, to
Cardinal Mazarin, "that if this ship were to perish, as all
vessels are liable to do, it would be a bad omen."

{201}

The republican government, so shackled in its course, held in its
hands some of the most eminent royalist leaders: the Duke of
Hamilton, the Earls of Holland and Norwich, Lord Capel, Sir John
Owen--valiant remnants of the last struggles of the civil war,
who for several months had all been prisoners. Scarcely had the
High Court, which condemned Charles I., completed its task when a
fresh tribunal was formed, still under the presidency of
Bradshaw, to try those who had fought for him until the last
moment, and of whom the greater number were to follow him to the
scaffold.

The Court began its sitting upon the 5th of February. The five
accused men represented different shades of the royalist party.
The Duke of Hamilton, a great nobleman and a politician of the
court; Lord Holland, a frivolous and corrupt courtier; Lord
Norwich, a true cavalier, complaisant, jovial, and devoted to the
king; Sir John Owen, a worthy country gentleman, courageous and
simple-minded; finally, Lord Capel, a model of all the firm and
grave virtues, as independent as he was faithful. All five were
condemned to death. The Duke of Hamilton immediately received not
only an offer of his life, but of the return of his former office
if he would make revelations upon the past. "If I had as many
lives as I have hairs upon my head," said the duke, "I would
sacrifice them all rather than ransom them by so shameful a
bargain." When Sir John Owen heard his sentence pronounced, he
made a low bow to the court. "It is a very great honor to a poor
gentleman of Wales," he said, "to lose his head with such noble
lords:" and he added with an oath, "I was afraid they would have
hanged me."

{202}

Everything was tried in order to obtain from Parliament the
pardon of the condemned. The appeal of the Duke of Hamilton and
Lord Holland was rejected; Lord Norwich and Sir John Owen were
pardoned; the latter, at the instigation of Hutchinson, who
observed to Ireton, "I am going to speak for this poor gentleman,
who is alone and without friends." There remained Lord Capel, the
object of passionate solicitude and the most active proceedings
on the part of his family. His appeal was discussed before
Parliament. Cromwell rose, dwelling more especially upon the
virtues of Lord Capel. "My affection for the public interest,
however, weighs down my private friendship," he said. "I cannot
but tell you that you have now to decide whether you will
preserve the most bitter and implacable enemy you have. I know
Lord Capel very well; he will be the last man in England who will
abandon the royal cause; he has great courage, ability, and
generosity; as long as he shall live, whatever may be his
position, he will be a thorn in your side; for the well-being of
the commonwealth I feel compelled to vote against his petition."
It was rejected.

The death of Lord Capel justified the picture which his enemies
had drawn of his life. The Duke of Hamilton and Lord Holland
suffered the penalty simply and worthily, before him; he appeared
alone upon the scaffold, having said farewell to his wife and
children with words of consolation and encouragement. "Is your
chaplain there, sir?" asked the officer in command. "No," replied
he, "I have taken leave of him." Seeing several of his servants,
who were weeping, "Restrain yourselves," he said.
{203}
Then, removing his hat, he addressed the people, frankly and
simply, as a royalist and a Christian. He had promised his
chaplain, Dr. Morley, to take the blame himself for his vote
against Strafford. "I confess," he said, "for the glory of God,
and to the shame of my own weakness, that it was indeed an
unworthy act of cowardice not to resist the torrent which bore us
along in this affair." People and soldiers, friends and
strangers, all beheld him die, the object of admiration and
respect.

The republican leaders perceived that this admiration and respect
were not favorable to them. They desisted from this system of
execution. The royalists remaining in their hands were banished,
and their property was confiscated. Others merely remained in
prison; no more clamor was desired; the proceedings of the High
Court which had condemned Lord Capel were not published, the
rigors of the past were silenced, blood ceased to flow.
Parliament could not, however, suppress a book which had recently
appeared, and the success of which continued to increase. The
_Eikon Basiliké_ (or royal image) revealed to England under
a pious form the reflections and opinions of the king during the
course of his trials. The book professed to be the personal work
of Charles, but it had been written by Dr. Gauden, subsequently
Bishop of Worcester, under the restoration. The king had probably
corrected it during his sojourn in the Isle of Wight. It was in
effect, the royal image, a loftiness that was both natural and
strained, a constant mingling of blind princely pride and sincere
Christian humility, a real piety amidst false dealing, and the
expression of an invincible devotion to his faith, his honor, and
his rank.
{204}
Herein was matter to move royalist hearts. Notwithstanding the
efforts of Parliament, forty-eight thousand copies were
circulated in England during the year. All Europe devoured the
book, which was translated into all languages. The attachment to
the memory of the king became the object of passionate worship.
Milton was commissioned to reply in the name of Parliament, but
the apology of the _Iconoclast_, prolix and cold,
notwithstanding its violence, did not destroy the effect of
_Eikon Basiliké_. To his friends and to many people in
Europe, Charles remained a martyr, and his enemies the
executioners of a saint.

The annoyances and embarrassments caused to Parliament by the
remnant of the royalist party, were not the gravest that it had
to fight against. Barely installed, the republican government
found itself in presence of an ardent, democratic, and mystical
opposition. A man had been found, endowed with an indomitable
courage and devotion, who constituted himself not the chief--no
one was chief at that time--but the interpreter and defender of
all the malcontents. This was John Lilburne, already accustomed
to playing this part under the monarchy.

Having become masters, the republican leaders felt the danger of
the habits of agitation which they had but recently favored in
the army, and they forbade the soldiers to join in any gathering
contrary to discipline. A pamphlet by Lilburne appeared attacking
those prohibitions: the _New Chains of England Discovered_
incited the soldiers to disobedience. Five of them brought to
Fairfax a violent petition; they were degraded. The libels of
Lilburne succeeded each other, personally attacking the generals.
{205}
"Speak to Cromwell of whatsoever it may be," he exclaimed, "he
will place his hand upon his heart, he will raise his eyes to
heaven, he will take God to witness, he will weep, he will groan,
he will repent himself, and so doing, he will strike you under
the first rib." Such violence could not be tolerated. The House
voted that the pamphlet of Lilburne was full of false,
calumnious, and seditious accusations. He was placed in the Tower
with three of his principal fellow-laborers. Two new libels from
the indomitable agitator appeared while he was in prison.

The doctrines which he preached with so much zeal began to bear
their fruits. A band of rough men already overran the county of
Surrey, digging and sowing here and there, first on the commons
and waste lands, but talking of throwing down the fences of the
neighboring parks. They invited the people of the vicinity to
join them, promising clothes and victuals to those who should
come and aid them. Fairfax sent two squadrons against them; the
chiefs were arrested; one of them, Everard, was an old soldier.
"We are of the race of the Israelites," they said; "the liberties
of the people were lost under William the Conqueror; we are
nearing the time of deliverance; I have seen a vision which said
to me: 'Go and till the ground to feed those who are hungry, and
clothe those who are naked;' we do not desire to attack property,
but a time will come when all men will willingly give their
possessions to put them into the common lot. That time is near."

{206}

Lilburne and his friends saw the danger. They added to their
constitution an article formally declaring that "possessions
would not be divided, nor all things put into the common lot;"
but the "Delvers," as the disciples of Everard styled themselves,
or the "levellers," as they were generally called, had excited
the public imagination, and that title was soon applied to all
the little anarchical associations, civil or military, which
decided to found the republic under an absolutely democratic
form, and who offered an ardent opposition to the actual
government of England; from words men soon came to blows.

Every day popular deputations besieged the gates of Westminster,
demanding the restoration to liberty of Lilburne and his
associates. "Return to your platters," was the answer of
Parliament to a band of women. "We no longer have any platters,"
they said, "nor meat to put upon them." Amidst this fermentation,
eight regiments, cavalry and infantry, were chosen for service in
Ireland. The soldiers complained; they were unwilling to leave
England without having their arrears of pay settled, and without
having enforced their political views. A little paper was
circulated in the ranks, advising them not to depart. A squadron
of the cavalry of Whalley, who had received orders to quit
London, took possession of the standard and refused to obey.
Fairfax and Cromwell hastened to the scene; they quelled the
insurrection; fifteen of the most mutinous were arrested, and
five condemned to death by a court-martial, notwithstanding the
representations of Lilburne, who maintained that no Englishman
could, in time of peace, lose his life upon the decree of a
council of war. But Cromwell could caress and strike at the same
time; four of the condemned men were pardoned; the fifth, Robert
Lockyer, was shot in St. Paul's Churchyard.
{207}
He was young, brave, and pious, a fanatical sectarian, beloved by
his comrades. Solemn obsequies were performed in his honor; a
hundred troopers rode in front; the sword of the deceased man and
branches of rosemary dyed with blood rested upon the coffin; a
crowd of sympathetic spectators awaited the body at the cemetery.
Such sights were both an affront and a warning to the government.

Insurrection broke out in several regiments; fermentation was in
progress all around. A corps of insurgent soldiers, placing at
their head Captain Thompson, overran Oxfordshire. The generals
marched upon them, after having in the first place assured
themselves of the fidelity of the troops whom they had under
their control; they attacked the rebels at Burford. Already
discouraged by the blow which they had suffered from a first
detachment sent against them, they defended themselves for some
time in the town, from the housetops and in the streets. Then a
great number surrendered. The others contrived to escape; the
court-martial decided that the rebels should be decimated. The
condemned men were assembled together upon the leads of the
church, whence they saw their comrades brought out one by one to
the square and shot in the face of the army. Three had already
suffered their fate without retracting anything that they had
done, and themselves giving the signal for the firing. Cornet
Dean came fourth: he was a worthy soldier whom the generals knew;
he manifested penitence; Fairfax pardoned him. Cromwell entered
the church, caused the remainder of the condemned men to descend,
rebuked them, admonished them, reproached them for the peril
which they had caused to the cause of God and the country. These
rude and haughty soldiers shed tears, and, when they were
restored to their regiments and sent to Ireland, they marched
with a good will.

{208}

The republican generals had been both prudent and firm, bold and
moderate. Parliament and the city of London congratulated them
upon their success with a degree of gratitude which revealed
their fears; but the danger was only lulled; fresh insurrections
might break out; they were indeed breaking out every day, and the
"levellers," through hatred of Cromwell and his friends, became
reconciled with the cavaliers. "I would rather live seven years
under the government of old King Charles, although they may have
cut off his head as a tyrant, than one year under their present
tyranny," said Lilburne, in his prison; "and I tell you that if
they persist in this tyranny, they will create sufficient friends
for Prince Charles, not only to proclaim his name, but further,
to bring him back to the throne of his father."

Parliament was agitated by this new danger. The trial of
Lilburne, so long deferred, at length began. He appeared before
the jury upon the 24th of October, 1649; he was as skillful in
defending himself as in attacking his opponents. At the moment
when the jurymen were about to retire to deliberate, the accused
suddenly turned towards them. "Gentlemen of the jury," he said,
"you are my sole judges, the keepers of my life, at whose hands
the Lord will require my blood. And therefore desire you to know
your power and consider your duty, both to God, to me, to your
own selves, and to your country, and the gracious assisting
Spirit and presence of the Lord God Omnipotent, the Governor of
heaven and earth, and all things therein contained, go along with
you, give counsel and direct you to do that which is just and for
His glory." Lilburne was acquitted, and the acclamations of the
people greeted this decision, accompanied with such outbursts of
joy that no voice could be heard in the Hall for more than half
an hour.

{209}

Parliament felt keenly this blow, and redoubled its rigors
against the press. At the same time residence in London was
forbidden the Cavaliers, the Catholics, and suspected persons.
The old Presbyterian leaders, Sir William Waller, Major-General
Brown and a few others, hitherto detained at Windsor, were sent
to different towns of England. The Commonwealth exercised a
tyranny which royalty had never known, or practiced, but it did
not contrive to establish itself. Cromwell continued to become
greater in its midst, and without encountering any active
resistance. The republican authorities alone, and surrounded by
irreconcilable enemies, in vain caused the pamphlets entitled the
_Character of King Cromwell_ to be seized at Coventry. The
civil war was still further to increase the power of the rival
whom they dreaded while they served him.

While England was organizing the Commonwealth, Scotland and
Ireland, in the main royalist, notwithstanding the party
dissensions which agitated them, had proclaimed the Prince of
Wales king, and delegates had set out to implore the new monarch
to repair to his kingdom. Charles II. was at the Hague,
surrounded by the best counsellors of the king his father, who
had prevented him from establishing himself in France, the policy
and religion of which country inspired great distrust.
{210}
They persisted, in concurrence with the Scotch commissioners, in
urging the king to sever his connection with Montrose, and to
accept the harsh conditions which the Presbyterians offered him.
Montrose was at the Hague, speaking eloquently of the victories
which might yet be expected in Scotland. The Marquis of Ormond
urged Charles to proceed to Ireland, whither the chief of the
rebels, Owen Rae O'Neill, summoned him. The king hesitated,
recoiled; he endeavored to draw up a manifesto which should
satisfy both the royalists of England, Scotland, and Ireland;
then, abandoning this impossible undertaking, he at length
quitted the Hague, and, under pretext of proceeding to France to
say farewell to the queen his mother, he deferred his departure,
more perplexed in his designs than eager to support by his
presence the efforts which his faithful subjects were about to
make in his behalf.

Parliament had not delayed so long in adopting its course. The
proclamation of King Charles II. in Ireland rendered necessary
the expedition which was to reconquer that kingdom for Protestant
domination and snatch it from the disorder which had so long
reigned there. There was moreover an ardent desire to occupy the
army, and remove Cromwell to a distance on an honorable pretext.
A hundred and twenty thousand pounds sterling per month was voted
for the maintenance of the army. Cromwell was nominated general,
while to Fairfax was given, to console him for his inaction, the
vain title of generalissimo of all the forces of Parliament.

{211}

The army corps intended for Ireland was ready, well equipped,
well clothed, well paid. Skillful precautions and prudent
manœuvres were at work to alienate from the royal party on the
one hand the moderate, and on the other the most fervent
Catholics, who were flattered with the hope of freedom in their
worship. Meanwhile, Cromwell did not depart. "It is scarcely to
be reconciled with common sense," wrote M. de Croullé to Mazarin,
"that Cromwell, who, according to the belief of many, carries his
thoughts far beyond where the most intemperate ambition can lead
him, should determine to abandon this kingdom to the mercy of the
cabals which might be formed in his absence, and which his
presence can prevent from being even undertaken."

If Cromwell thus had a difficulty in tearing himself away from
England, where he must leave behind him rivals and declared or
secret enemies, the successes of Ormond, in Ireland, soon
presented themselves, compelling him to take his course.
Londonderry and Dublin remained in the possession of Parliament;
further, the latter city was besieged before the end of July,
when the advanced guard of the Parliamentary general landed in
Ireland. On the 2d of August the governor of Dublin, Michael
Jones, made a successful sortie. Notwithstanding all the efforts
of Ormond, the royal army, shamefully routed, found itself
compelled to raise the siege. Cromwell himself landed in the port
of Dublin on the 15th of August.

Scarcely had he reached Ireland when he saw that all
consideration towards the moderate party and the Catholics was
difficult: passions were too violent and excited. English against
Irish, Protestants against Catholics, republicans against
royalists, it was necessary to allow full scope to be given to
hatred and vengeance in order to be assured of victory.
{212}
Cromwell was anxious to conquer at all costs. It was under these
dark auspices that the campaign began, on the 31st of August,
with the siege of Drogheda, a town considerable among all those
of the province of Leinster. The garrison was numerous, composed
in great part of English, and they made a vigorous resistance. It
was necessary to make the assault twice, and to carry the towers
one by one. "I do not think," wrote Cromwell, after the victory,
"that, of the whole number of the defendants, thirty have escaped
with their lives. Truly I believe that it will tend to prevent
the effusion of blood for the future, which are the satisfactory
grounds to such actions which otherwise cannot but work remorse
and regret."

The massacre of Drogheda did not suffice to arrest the bloodshed.
Wexford defended itself in the same manner and suffered the same
fate. In the parts in which success was more easy, it was yet
sullied by great cruelties. Meanwhile the strictest discipline
reigned in the army; the country districts were quiet, and the
soldiers were careful to pay for everything they took. Cromwell
had secretly recommenced his intrigues, at times causing the
projects of his enemies to miscarry through their own
dissensions, by means of the skillful agents whom he introduced
among them. This man, who boasted of having slain all the friars
of Drogheda, made useful service of the ecclesiastics as secret
emissaries. His seductive efforts reached even the Marquis of
Ormond, for whom he manifested great esteem, often saying, "What
has Lord Ormond to do with Charles Stuart, and what favors has he
received from him?" At the same time, and by an act of shrewd
foresight, he authorized recruiting in Ireland for the service of
foreign powers.
{213}
In a few months this little Catholic kingdom, which had with
great difficulty furnished an army of eight to ten thousand men
for the service of the king, sent to France and Spain more than
fifty thousand soldiers, fierce enemies of Protestantism and
Parliament. The republican chiefs, in London, began to find that
the absence of Cromwell and his new glory dangerously enhanced
his greatness; they urged him to return to London, placing a part
of Whitehall and of St. James's Palace at his disposal. Cromwell
was profuse in his acknowledgments, but he delayed returning to
England as he had delayed leaving it. Fresh events were preparing
which were about to furnish him with an opportunity for
displaying both his skill and genius.

Charles II. had left Ormond to fight for him in Ireland. At the
first news of his defeat before Dublin, he had for a moment
desired to throw himself in the midst of the struggle. It was
represented to him that the moment was ill-chosen; that it was
not well to go there to take part in a defeat. "Then I must go
there to die," he nobly replied, "for it is shameful for me to
live elsewhere." Recovering from this courageous impulse, he
lived elsewhere, leaving his friends to die in Ireland. The same
fate was soon to overtake in Scotland the most brilliant and
devoted of his adherents.

The Parliament of Scotland had invited Charles to resume the
negotiations previously entered upon at the Hague. The conditions
of the Presbyterians were as harsh as ever, but Ireland was
almost lost. Ormond no longer had any hope save in the diversion
of a war between England and Scotland. The friends of the king
urged him to lend ear to the proposals of the Scots; fresh
conferences were held at Breda.
{214}
While Montrose, still independent and ardently opposed to the
Presbyterians, was seeking soldiers and money in Germany, Charles
II. wrote on the 19th of September, 1649: "I entreat you to go on
vigorously with your wonted courage and care, in the prosecution
of those trusts committed to you, and not be startled with any
reports you may hear, as if I were otherwise inclined to the
Presbyterians than when I left you. I assure you, I am upon the
same principles I was and depend as much as ever upon your
undertakings and endeavors for my service."

Montrose was, in effect, preparing an important enterprise. He
had recruited, with great pains, a certain number of soldiers;
but his first division perished at sea; the second landed in the
Orkney Islands, awaiting their general. It was there, at the
beginning of March, 1650, that Montrose landed in his turn,
accompanied only by a few Scottish noblemen and five hundred
soldiers. He rallied the troops who had preceded him, and full of
confidence in the promises which he had received and the popular
risings upon which he counted, he disembarked at the northernmost
extremity of Scotland, displaying with the royal banner a
standard bearing an image of the decapitated head of Charles I.,
with these words: "Judge, and revenge my cause, O Lord."

Montrose advanced across the counties of Caithness and
Sutherland; but the reinforcements which he expected did not
arrive, the chiefs whose support he hoped for placed themselves,
on the contrary, on the side of Parliament. An army corps sent by
the government of Edinburgh, under the orders of Colonel
Strachan, marched against him.
{215}
Ill-guarded and destitute of information regarding the movements
of the enemy, Montrose was attacked unawares on the 16th of
April, near Corbiesdale, in the county of Ross. The soldiers whom
he had brought from Germany fought valiantly; but the recruits
from the Orkney Islands disbanded. At the moment when Montrose
was vainly endeavoring to rally them, his horse was killed under
him. His friend Lord Frendraught gave him his own. The rout was
complete. The marquis threw away his uniform and decorations; he
donned the clothing of a peasant and plunged into the country,
seeking everywhere a shelter. He wandered about in this manner
for a fortnight among the mountains, now well received by his
partisans, now repulsed with terror. At length he was delivered
up to his enemies on the 3rd of May, by Neil Macleod, formerly
one of his friends, for four hundred bolls of meal. On the 17th
of May, after moving from halting-place to halting-place, he was
transferred to Leith, near Edinburgh. The last act of the tragedy
was at hand.

On the same day, the Parliament, assembled in Edinburgh, voted
that "James Graham, bareheaded and bound by a rope to a cart,
should be brought by the executioner to the bar, there to receive
his sentence, and that he should be carried to Edinburgh, and
there be hanged on a gibbet; then to be taken down, his quarters
to be nailed to the different gates of the city." The hatred of
the enemies of Montrose took pleasure in such a sight, and
persons who were indifferent were more terrified than revolted.

{216}

The noble partisan, the bold and brilliant captain, pale and
wearied by the severities of his captivity, was accordingly
conducted upon a sorry horse from Leith to Edinburgh. Being
received by the magistrates and the executioner, preceded by
thirty-two of his officers bound together two by two, Montrose
entered the city in a cart. The vast crowd was hostile, and had
come with the object of insulting the prisoner. His courage and
gravity imposed silence upon their ill-will. As the procession
passed before the house of the Earl of Moray, the cart stopped
for a moment, and behind a half-opened window the Marquis of
Argyle was seen feasting his eyes upon the humiliation of his
enemy.

On arriving at the prison, Montrose was asked whether he had
anything to say before receiving his sentence. He refused to
reply; he did not know whether the king had concluded any
arrangement with Parliament. The treaty was signed, and Charles
II. was upon the point of proceeding to Scotland. This was made
known to Montrose, who appeared somewhat moved, while persisting
in his silence, notwithstanding the solicitations of the
commissioners. Two days afterwards, at the bar of Parliament,
where he appeared magnificently attired, defending himself from
the cruelties which had been imputed to him during the war, he
heard his sentence kneeling. "I kneel to render honor to the king
my master, in whose name you sit," he said, "and not to
Parliament." The execution was fixed for the morrow.

The soldiers and citizens were under arms; some attempt in favor
of the condemned man was feared. "What!" said Montrose, "do these
good people, who were so greatly in fear of me when I was alive,
still fear me when I am about to die? Let them beware! When I am
dead I shall haunt their consciences, and be far more formidable
than when alive."
{217}
He refused the services of the Presbyterian ministers, and spent
the entire night alone in prayer save when he was composing
verses of a beautiful and noble kind notwithstanding their
subtlety. "I wish," he said, "I had limbs enough to be dispersed
into all the cities of Christendom, there to remain as
testimonies in favor of the cause for which I suffer." Proud and
calm, he thus marched to the scaffold; the executioner wept on
placing the rope round his neck. A sorrowful murmur arose among
the crowd. Argyle himself was agitated and sad, as though smitten
with some regret or with a presentiment of his own fate.

The commissioners of Parliament had not deceived Montrose when
they told him that they had negotiated with the king, and that he
was about to come back among them. At the moment when the news of
the defeat of Montrose arrived at Breda, Charles II., hitherto
hesitating, decided to accept the Covenant and to promise to
govern in all civil matters according to the advice of
Parliament, in all religious matters according to the advice of
the Presbyterian Church. To give to his promises the sanction of
a brilliant falsehood, he wrote to Parliament that, having
forbidden Montrose to undertake his expedition, he could not
regret the defeat of a man who had disobeyed him.

He doubtless accepted in the same spirit the execution of his
loyal servant, whose life, it was said, he wanted to save; no
trace has remained of this disgraceful compact. Montrose died on
the 21st of May. On the 2nd of June, Charles II. embarked for
Scotland with a fleet which his brother-in-law, the Prince of
Orange, placed at his service. Three weeks later, he set foot in
his kingdom, after having signed the Covenant aboard his vessel,
and taking farewell of nearly all the gentlemen who accompanied
him. The King of Scotland had delivered himself up, bound hand
and foot, to Parliament and the Presbyterians.

{218}

At the same moment Cromwell was at last returning victorious from
Ireland. He landed at Bristol. An immense crowd thronged his
passage, rending the air with their acclamations. "What a crowd
come to see your lordship's triumph!" said one of those present
to Cromwell. "If it were to see me hanged, how many more there
would be," abruptly replied the general.

The repose of Cromwell was not to be of long duration. Parliament
had conferred on the Council of State every power necessary to
repress the invasion which was expected on the part of the
Scotch. The council decided that the invasion should be
forestalled by invading Scotland. Fairfax had been nominated
Generalissimo; but when he learnt that the initiative of
hostilities was about to be taken, he resigned his command. In
vain did many remonstrate with him, Cromwell foremost. "The
lieutenant-general," said Ludlow, "acted his part so to the life
that I really thought that he was in earnest; this obliged me to
go to him, as he was issuing forth from the Council Chamber, to
beg him not to push scruples and modesty to a refusal which would
be hurtful to the service of the nation; but the sequel showed
that this was in no wise his intention." Fairfax resigned all his
offices. Cromwell was nominated captain-general, and on the 22d
of July, 1650, he crossed the Tweed at the head of about fifteen
thousand men. On setting foot upon Scottish soil he turned
towards his troops: "As a Christian and a soldier I exhort you to
be wary and worthy, for sure enough we have work before us. But
have we not had God's blessing hitherto? Let us go on faithfully,
and hope for the like still."

{219}

If he had been well acquainted with what was taking place in the
councils of Scotland, Cromwell would, without doubt, have had
confidence in his success. The Presbyterian Scots surrounded with
royal honors the monarch whom they had recalled; but he was
treated as a prisoner who is distrusted, and whom it is desired
to separate from the business in hand. The king did not attend at
the council, and when he wished to consult Argyle upon some
affair of importance, the latter respectfully avoided the
confidence. On the other hand, the theologians overwhelmed with
their exhortations the young prince, who was devoting himself,
but in vain, to becoming a hypocrite. Distrust remained unshaken.
When Cromwell had crossed the border, the king was brought to the
camp, near Leith. In a few days alarm was taken at the influence
which he might exert over the troops, and he was conducted to
Perth, further away than ever from the scene of operations.

This was not sufficient for the fanatics; they asked Charles to
sign an expiatory declaration, in which he should expressly
acknowledge the wrongs of the king his father, the idolatry of
the queen his mother, and his own sin in the treaty which he had
concluded with the Irish rebels. It was at the same time demanded
that, in favor of free Parliaments and the Presbyterian rule in
the Church, in England as well as in Scotland, he should renew
all the protestations and engagements against Papacy which had
already been wrung from him.

{220}

On the first impulse Charles refused. "I could not look my mother
in the face if I were to sign such a document," he said. But the
symptoms of disorganization increased among the royalist party.
The king knew that outside of Scotland there was neither party,
nor army, nor kingdom for him. He signed the expiatory
declaration, and the fanatical preachers assured their audiences
that, "the wrath of heaven being now appeased, an easy victory
would be gained over a general blasphemer and an army of
sectaries."

The sectaries and their general were meanwhile advancing into
Scotland, but in circumstances so difficult that they were more
occupied with escaping from their own perils than with taking
advantage of the weakness and divisions among their enemies.
Everywhere before them, as they marched, they encountered a
desert; men and flocks had disappeared in accordance with the
orders of Lesley and the passionate exhortations of the
Presbyterian ministers. Without any other resource in the country
itself, Cromwell could only feed his troops by means of
provisions coming to him by sea from England, which compelled him
to continually proceed along the coast. Lesley remained behind in
his intrenchments, between Edinburgh and Leith. Bad weather
engendered a host of diseases in the English army. "They hope,"
wrote Cromwell to Bradshaw, on the 30th of July, "that we shall
famish for want of provisions, which is very likely to be if we
are not timely and fully supplied."

The situation had become so urgent that Cromwell resolved to fall
back upon Dunbar, in order to wait there for convoys and
reinforcements. From there it was possible, if the supplies were
too long delayed, to regain the English border.
{221}
Upon the way, Lesley, having at length issued forth from his
camp, constantly harassed the English. Scarcely had they arrived
at Dunbar, when they found their retreat cut off by a
considerable detachment occupying the defile of Copperspath, "so
narrow," said Cromwell himself, "that ten men to hinder are
better than forty to make their way." Lesley yielded to the
solicitations and anger of the fanatics. He had hitherto
carefully avoided battle, being satisfied with driving before him
every day the famous Ironsides and their invincible general,
without endeavoring to measure his strength with them. But the
ministers were eager to enjoy the glory of victory, and called
upon the general not to suffer the enemy to escape whom God had
delivered into their hands. "They had disposed of us," said
Cromwell, "and of their business by sufficient revenge and wrath
towards our persons, and had swallowed up the poor interest of
England, believing that their army and their king would have
marched to London without any interruption." Lesley resisted no
longer. "To-morrow, at seven o'clock in the morning," he said, on
the 2d of September, to his officers, "the English army will be
ours, dead or alive."

At this moment Cromwell was leaving a prayer-meeting, and he
mounted on horseback, with Lambert, his major-general. Surveying
with his telescope the positions of the Scottish army, he was
struck by the movement which was taking place among the enemy.
Lesley was preparing to throw himself across his passage with all
his troops. Cromwell was only anxious to fight. "The Lord
delivers them into our hands; they come!" he exclaimed, and he
proposed to his officers to forestall the Scots and marched
towards them. Monk vigorously supported the opinion of the
general, and solicited the command of the infantry of the
advanced guard. The English spent the night in preparing for the
struggle.

{222}

A dense fog prevailed at daybreak. The first engagements were not
fortunate for Cromwell and his troops. The men fought almost
without seeing each other, to the cries of "Covenant" among the
Scotch, and "The Lord of Hosts" amongst the English. The Scottish
lancers threw the English advanced guard into some disorder;
towards seven o'clock the regiment of Cromwell charged sharply.
At the same time the sun, dispersing the mists, lit up the sea
and mountains. "Let God arise," exclaimed Cromwell, "and let His
enemies be scattered!" Inspired by his enthusiasm, his soldiers
redoubled their efforts; the Scotch cavalry wavered; an infantry
corps, which yet resisted, was broken by the Ironsides. "They
run! they run!" cried the English. The rout had set in. "They
were now but stubble to our swords," wrote Cromwell. At nine
o'clock the battle had ceased; three thousand dead bodies and ten
thousand prisoners testified to the victory of the English
general. Four days later he was master of Leith, of all the
country in the neighborhood of Edinburgh and of the latter city
itself, with the exception of the Castle. Charles II. and his
government were at Perth. Lesley, with the remains of his army,
had fallen back upon Stirling. The republican Parliament could
sleep in peace. Scotland, being invaded, had no longer anything
to do but to defend herself upon her territory.

{223}

Scotland, in effect, thought only of defending herself; but her
king soon thought of attacking. He endeavored to escape, and
place himself at the head of the royalist movements which were
promised in the northern districts; but, although he was soon
retaken and brought back to Perth, his attempt gave uneasiness to
Parliament, that resolved to take a decisive step and solemnly
crown the king at Scone, according to the ancient Scottish
custom. The ceremony took place on the 1st of January, 1651.
Charles, who notwithstanding his grave faults, possessed tact and
the art of pleasing, took advantage of the crowd which thronged
around him to secure numerous partisans. The moderate party began
to regain influence in the councils. Argyle once more found
himself in rivalry with the Duke of Hamilton, brother of him who
had perished upon the scaffold. The Presbyterians were a prey to
the most violent dissensions. The royalist party was re-forming.

Meanwhile, Cromwell, whose skillful management constantly
thwarted the projects and manœuvres of the king, fell seriously
ill; so seriously, that the Parliament of England sent two
physicians to take charge of him, and the general himself thought
he was at death's door. At the same moment royalist plots burst
forth in England, despite the severity displayed towards the
Cavaliers, and the strict surveillance to which they were
subjected by Scott, who was entrusted with this care in the name
of the Council of State.

The plots miscarried, and the health of Cromwell was
re-established; meanwhile the king had gained ground. The army
had been reorganized according to his desire, and he had been
placed at its head by the Presbyterian Parliament. At length
master of his actions, he abruptly announced to his council his
intention of raising the camp, still at Stirling, and waging war
in England, where his partisans were only waiting for his
presence to declare themselves.
{224}
Many people complained, protested; Argyle declared that he would
not take part in such an undertaking, and retired to his castle
at Inverary. The king persisted. He issued a proclamation, and,
on the morrow, being the 31st of July, 1651, he took the road to
Carlisle with an army of about twelve thousand men. David Lesley
had been nominated his Lieutenant-General.



Cromwell had, doubtless, foreseen this movement, and had made no
great effort to prevent it, and he foresaw at the same time the
rage and terror which it was about to cause in London. He
immediately wrote to Parliament: "As the enemy is some few days'
march before us, I do apprehend that it will trouble some men's
thoughts, and may occasion some inconveniences, which I hope we
are as deeply sensible of and have been, and I trust shall be as
diligent to prevent as any; but as there is a possibility for the
enemy to put you to some trouble, we pray you would, with the
same courage, grounded upon a confidence in God--wherein you have
been supported to the great things God hath used you in
hitherto--improve the best you can such forces as you have in
readiness, or as may on the sudden be gathered together, to give
the enemy some check until we shall be able to reach up to him,
which we trust in the Lord we shall do our utmost endeavor in.
This will be a hopeful end of your work, in which it's good to
wait upon the Lord, upon the earnest of former experiences, and
hope of His presence, which only is the life of your cause."

{225}

Cromwell was not mistaken in his forecasts; uneasiness was rife
in London, the fear was great, but vigorous measures were taken.
The republican leaders, Vane, Scott, Martyn, were men of active
and impassioned courage, resolved to make every effort for their
cause. Fresh regiments were raised, the ordinance respecting the
militia was put in force again in all the counties; corps of
volunteers were trusted to protect London; the surveillance of
the Cavaliers was redoubled. Heads of families were forbidden to
allow their children and domestics to leave their residences,
except at fixed hours. It was hoped thus to prevent the royalist
insurrections in favor of Charles, who continued to advance
without obstacle in the north-west of England.

The king, indeed, advanced, but the people did not rise at his
approach, as he had hoped. Surrounded with strangers and
Presbyterians, Charles did not inspire in the Cavaliers or the
partisans of the Anglican Church absolute confidence. The
acclamations were loud, but his army had been increased by a very
small number of English royalists when he arrived before
Warrington, upon the banks of the Mersey. One of the most
faithful servants of his royal father, the Earl of Derby, living
retired in the Isle of Man with his wife, Charlotte de Trémoille,
had hastened to offer his services to the monarch. Being
commissioned by him to overrun Lancashire to assemble together
adherents there, Derby was surprised and defeated by Colonel
Robert Lilburne. He escaped, almost alone, and rejoined the king.
When he arrived at Worcester, Charles had forced the passage of
the Mersey in spite of Lambert and Harrison, despatched by
Cromwell to oppose the achievement, and the Scotch, wearied, were
establishing themselves in a friendly town, counting upon a few
days' repose before the arrival of the Ironsides.
{226}
The royal standard was solemnly unfurled, and all the subjects of
the king were convoked to a great review which was to take place
upon the banks of the Severn. Thirty or forty gentlemen only
repaired thither with their retinues. Two thousand Englishmen at
most joined the Scottish army. Cromwell, on the contrary, had
seen his forces trebled during his march. When he arrived before
Worcester, on the 28th of August, he numbered under his standards
thirty-four thousand men.

A discussion arose in the royal army who should be in chief
command upon the day of battle. Buckingham, Lesley, Middleton,
all urged their claims or their rights. "I will have no other
generalissimo than myself," Charles said, to conciliate all, and
he spent his time in reconciling his lieutenants with each other,
while Cromwell prepared the attack and sent over to the right
bank of the Severn some troops commanded by Lambert and
Fleetwood. He himself occupied the left bank. On the 3d of
September all was ready.

The king was ill-informed, and did not expect any serious
engagement upon that day; but towards noon he ascended the belfry
of Worcester Cathedral, and thence perceived several regiments of
Cromwell crossing the stream upon a bridge of boats, and marching
towards the Scotch corps under the orders of Major-General
Montgomery, entrusted with the task of defending the town upon
the west. Immediately descending from the belfry, the king
mounted a horse and hastened to support his troops, who were
attacked. Cromwell was before him in the combat, and was
vigorously urging matters forward.
{227}
The struggle began at the same time upon the right bank; the
Scotch resisted firmly. The king re-entered the town, placed
himself at the head of his best infantry and his English
horsemen, to attack the camp of Cromwell. The general immediately
crossed the stream after him, and proceeded to defend his
quarters. Fighting was carried on at both extremities of the
town: "as stiff a contest as ever I have seen," wrote Cromwell.
The corps commanded by the king caused the republicans to waver.
Three thousand men of the Scotch cavalry, commanded by Lesley,
were under arms in the rear of the king. They received orders to
charge; they did not stir. "One hour of Montrose! Only one hour!"
cried the English Cavaliers. Montrose was wanting. Cromwell
resumed the offensive. The royal infantry lacked provisions. The
Duke of Hamilton and Sir John Douglas were mortally wounded. The
republicans pushed forward to the foot of the fortress, which was
summoned to surrender. The commander replied with cannon balls.
The fortress was carried by assault, and the garrison was put to
the sword. The struggle became confused; the combatants
re-entered the town in disorder. Everywhere munitions of war
failed the royal troops, who were falling back upon Worcester,
followed by their enemies. Fighting took place in the streets.
The king endeavored to rally his men, crying to his friends, "I
would rather you would shoot me than keep me alive to see the sad
consequence of this fatal day!" But soon his friends were obliged
to think only of saving him; a small body of the most ardent
Cavaliers threw themselves upon the enemy to open up a passage
before the king, and to cover his retreat.
{228}
While the fugitive monarch was proceeding towards the north with
a handful of devoted companions, Cromwell having entered
Worcester, which city was given up to pillage, wrote to
Parliament, "The battle was fought with varying success, but
still hopeful on your part, and in the end became an absolute
victory; and so full a one as proved a total defeat and ruin of
the enemy's army."

The joy and pride of the English Parliament were as great as the
uneasiness which they had felt. Honors and rewards were lavished
upon Cromwell and his officers; severities were not spared the
vanquished. Six or seven thousand prisoners impeded the march of
the triumphant army; the prisoners of importance were numerous.
The Duke of Hamilton died of his wounds. The Earl of Derby was
tried and executed at Chester, with Sir Timothy Featherstonhaugh
and Captain Bembow. "I feel in my conscience," said the earl, on
ascending the scaffold, "no scruple as to the cause to which I
pledged myself; it is in the name of law and religion that I have
supported it; my judgment is fulfilled; and I thank God for it, I
have not the presumption to decide in these controversies. I pray
God to cause to prosper for His glory those who are in the right,
and I wish you as much grace and peace as I am about to find
beyond all that you possess here." Parliament did not add to such
examples. The virtuous nobleman, the loyal and independent
servant, was not followed upon the scaffold by those who had
supported the same cause without being his friends, nor worthy of
being so. While Charlotte de la Trémoille was yet guarding for
the king the Isle of Man, which was only wrested from her by
treachery, the tower held within its walls the greater number of
the prisoners of note. The royalist soldiers were secretly sold
or given to merchants and planters for the work of the colonies
and the African mines. Parliament offered a reward of one
thousand pounds sterling to whoever should deliver up Charles
Stuart, "son of the late tyrant."

{229}

The king, meanwhile, was flying across the kingdom, hiding from
mansion to mansion, from farm to farm--sometimes concealed in
the habitations which served as retreats for the proscribed
Catholic priests, hearing or seeing at every moment the
republican soldiers who were seeking him, ready to seize him;
sometimes in the garb of a peasant, sometimes in that of a
domestic. He spent one night hidden in the leafy branches of a
great tree, which has since that time preserved the name of "the
Royal Oak." Imperturbably gay and fearless, Charles braved the
dangers, which disappeared more than once before his resolution
and skillful self-confidence. All his efforts were directed
towards reaching the coast, where he counted upon embarking for
France. Several attempts to charter a small vessel had failed,
when, on the 14th of October, near Shoreham, the master of a bark
at length promised to take "the gentleman whom he had been spoken
to about." When he saw the king he took aside the merchant who
had engaged him: "You have not dealt fairly with me," he said;
"you have not been clear with me; for he is the king, and I very
well know him to be so." And as the merchant was denying with
effrontery his statement, "I know him very well," repeated the
master, "but be not troubled at it, for I think I do God and my
country good service in preserving the king; and by the grace of
God I will venture my life and all for him, and set him safely on
shore, if I can, in France."
{230}
The master kept his word; the king and Lord Willmot, who had not
left him, landed from a small fishing-smack at Fécamp, on the
16th of October, at one o'clock in the afternoon. They repaired
at once to Rouen; but they were so poorly clad, and presented so
bad an appearance, that they could not get admittance at the inn
at which they presented themselves. On the 30th Charles at length
arrived in Paris, where the queen, his mother, resided, after
having wandered for forty-two days across England, concealed in
eight different places of refuge, and known to forty-five persons
whose names are recorded, without having suffered from any
betrayal, without having been even placed in peril by an act of
indiscretion; a rare proof of an intelligent and passionate
fidelity towards one in the depth of misfortune.

Meanwhile Cromwell had returned in triumph to London, and had
established himself at Whitehall. Before his death, of typhus
fever, Ireton had completed the subjugation of Ireland. Monk had
conquered Scotland. The fleets of the Commonwealth of England had
compelled the Channel Islands to return to their obedience. The
distant colonies had accepted the new rule. Parliament was master
of all English territory; it remained for it to treat with
Europe.

Europe was, at first, ill-disposed towards Parliament and the
Commonwealth. The trial and execution of Charles I. had caused a
powerful sensation, though for different reasons and in different
degrees. The Protestants felt the need of clearing themselves
from association with this deed. The Catholics saw in it the
fruits of heresy.
{231}
In France, amidst the agitations of "The Fronde," the Parliament
of England had found admirers; but the English revolution, with
its consequences, soon excited an exasperation mingled with
alarm, which the presence of Queen Henrietta Maria, her sons and
her fugitive partisans continued to maintain. Cardinal Mazarin
had taken no step in the name of the little king, Louis XIV., for
saving of the king his uncle. The two solemn letters written to
Cromwell and Fairfax were delivered. Before they had even been
despatched from Paris, the king was executed. When he was dead,
however, the ambassador, M. de Bellièvre was recalled, and his
secretary, M. de Croullé, alone remained entrusted to take charge
officially of French interests. Careful to maintain everywhere
relations which might prejudice its rivals, Spain did not recall
Don Alonzo de Cardeñas; but it neglected to renew his
credentials, and he acquired no official position in the
Commonwealth of England. Alone, of all the sovereigns of Europe,
the Czar of Russia, Alexis, the father of Peter the Great,
severed all connection with the revolutionary republic, and drove
English merchants from his empire.

At the Hague, in the United Provinces, notwithstanding the
hostile feelings of a great portion of the States-General, the
devotion of the Prince of Orange to the family of his wife
preserved for the fallen English monarchy a support and shelter.
It was at the Hague that Doctor Dorislaüs, a Dutchman long
naturalized in England, and but recently employed to draw up the
impeachment of Charles I., was assassinated, shortly after the
death of the king, by some cavaliers who had taken refuge in
Holland. Such was also to be the fate a few months later, in an
inn at Madrid, of Asham, who had placed his talent as a writer at
the service of the revolution.
{232}
At the Hague, as at Madrid, public feeling was on the side of the
murderers. A Dutch patrician might have said with Don Luis de
Haro, "I envy the gentlemen who have done so noble a deed;
whatever may befall them in consequence, they have avenged the
blood of their sovereign. If the king my master had had subjects
as resolute, he would not have lost his kingdom of Portugal!"

The words of diplomatists are not always in accordance with their
acts. The English Parliament was not moved by the outburst of
indignation and legitimate anger which had seized on monarchical
and conservative Europe, at the sight of the triumphant
revolution. Reserved and haughty, it waited, with distrust, but
without any outburst of passion, until its successes and its
power should compel its enemies to recognize the Commonwealth of
England. The name did not terrify the sovereigns of the
Continent. The republic of the United Provinces and the Swiss
leagues had lived in peace without disturbing the repose of
Europe. Monarchical power was becoming strengthened in France,
Germany, and Spain, at the moment when the throne was falling in
ruins in England. In vain did Charles II. send agents everywhere,
accredit ambassadors at the courts of all the sovereigns of
Europe. They were received with kindness and with empty looks.
Care was taken not to go beyond this limit, and a strict
neutrality reigned between the exiled monarch and the republican
government.
{233}
"The servants of the king of Great Britain," the agent of
Cardinal Mazarin in Scotland, M. de Graymond, wrote to him on the
23rd of October, 1649, "are here uttering curses against all the
kings and sovereigns of the earth, and principally against his
Majesty, if he does not assist their king, after whose ruin, they
desire that of all the others. ... They do not fear to say that
they will contribute with all their might to their destruction,
which will be very easy for them to bring about, the people
having once got a scent, through the example of England, of the
delights of popular power. ... They say that Cromwell will begin
with us, and that we fully deserve it, because we do not think of
the restoration of the King of England, though we have the
greatest interest to do so."

Upon one single point Parliament discarded its prudent and calm
attitude. In the month of June, 1648, eleven English crews,
having revolted against Parliament, proceeded to Holland to place
their ships under the orders of the Prince of Wales, and to serve
the cause of the captive king. Prince Rupert assumed the command
of this royal fleet, and from that time forth he prosecuted at
sea, against the Commonwealth, the implacable, roving, and
plundering warfare, which he had but recently sustained upon land
against Parliament. Charles II. found in the captures of his
cousin precious safeguards against poverty. A number of
shipowners of all countries asked permission to join the
expeditions of the prince, so as to share the profits of them.
They paid a tithe to the king. All security disappeared from the
seas. The ships of the King of France, as well as those of the
States-General of Holland, did not disdain sometimes to lower
their standards, and to take part in the expeditions and
captures. Against these ruinous and insulting measures Parliament
reorganized and immediately augmented its fleet.
{234}
In the winter of 1650-1651, several squadrons were sent out to
protect the English flag in all parts. Before the end of the
winter the fleet of Prince Rupert, pursued from the coast of
Ireland to Portugal and Spain, by the republican admiral Blake,
took refuge, greatly diminished, in the Mediterranean, and
thence, upon the coast of Africa, while Parliament, determined to
punish equally the French pirates, took possession of six
vessels, which were confiscated. The complaints which came from
Paris upon this subject were not listened to. Upon the seas the
Commonwealth had caused its power to be felt; it was there
dreaded by its enemies and respected by its rivals.

Meanwhile the Spaniards were prosecuting in London secret and
troublesome manœuvres which gave great uneasiness to Cardinal
Mazarin. Through a want of sagacity and foresight, a hatred of
Queen Henrietta-Maria, and a distrust towards her family,
Parliament had not discovered that the power of Spain was
declining, and that the House of Austria was divided and
enervated, while France and the House of Bourbon were walking
hand-in-hand in a path of rapid and bold progress. It was towards
Spain that the preference of the Republican government inclined.
It was Spain which first recognized the Commonwealth. On the 24th
of December, 1650, Don Alonzo de Cardeñas was received in solemn
audience by Parliament, and a few days later, on the 6th of
January, 1651, M. de Croullé was arrested at his residence, while
a priest was repeating mass to him, and was conducted before the
Council of State, who ordered him to quit England within ten
days. Some secret negotiations were attempted, to bring about a
reconciliation, but Mazarin was tottering, and soon found himself
compelled to fly from France. Spain remained sole mistress of the
situation until the end of the year 1654.

{235}

A much more pressing matter at this moment occupied the minds of
the republican leaders. The Prince of Orange had died (6th of
November, 1650), and the disappearance of his influence reduced
the United Provinces and the States-General to a complete
decline. Republican traditions gained fresh force; the civic
aristocracy, scattered by the House of Nassau, was regaining
power. Everything indicated fresh favor towards the Commonwealth
of England, of which the latter power speedily took advantage.
Two envoys extraordinary, St. John and Walter Strickland, set out
in great magnificence for the Hague; they were eagerly received.
The intimate alliance of the two Protestant republics appeared to
be on the eve of consummation. The immoderate ambition of St.
John, as well as of the Parliamentary leaders whom he
represented, placed an obstacle in the way of this desirable
result. Their pretensions involved nothing less than the
incorporation of the United Provinces in the Commonwealth of
England, and the formation of one state under a single
government.

Such audacity was difficult to express in words. Two months
elapsed. The situation at the Hague became every day more grave.
The Cavaliers were numerous there at the court of the young Duke
of York. Their plots, in conjunction with the party of Orange,
thwarted the efforts of the Dutch patriots. "Add to that," John
de Witt subsequently said, "the intolerable caprice of the
English nation, its continual jealousy of our prosperity, and the
mortal hatred of Cromwell towards the young Prince of Orange, son
of the sister of this banished king, who was what he feared most
in the world."
{236}
Negotiations did not progress, and when St. John at length
decided to put forth in seven articles some of his pretensions,
they so completely subordinated the policy of the United
Provinces to the policy and interest of the Commonwealth of
England, that it was not difficult to foresee the failure of the
envoys. They quitted the Hague on the 1st of July, 1651, haughty
and menacing. "Believe me," said St. John to the Dutch with whom
he had negotiated, "you will repent having rejected our offers."
On the 5th of August Whitelocke introduced into Parliament a bill
known under the name of "The Navigation Act," which prohibited
all foreign nations from importing into England any commodity
which should not be the produce of the soil or of the industry of
their own country. It was the most serious blow which could have
been struck at Holland, whose transit business brought it wealth.
Before the end of the year the Bill was passed and put in force.
The United Provinces had not allowed themselves to be conquered
by negotiations; war was prepared against them.

Meanwhile the battle of Worcester had caused the scale in Europe
to incline decidedly towards the Commonwealth. Recognition, and
the resumption of official relations came from all quarters. Don
Alonzo de Cardeñas was entrusted to propose a treaty of alliance
in the name of Spain, and the Republicans manifested sufficient
inclination to accept it. Impelled by so many perils, Mazarin at
length adopted his course. He had been for more than a year in
negotiation with the English, endeavoring to cause the
recognition of the Commonwealth to be purchased by a declaration
of England in favor of France and opposed to Spain.
{237}
He had failed: seven French vessels, having departed from Calais
to revictual Dunkirk, which the Spaniards were closely besieging,
had been captured by Blake, and Parliament refused to surrender
them. The neutrality of the English appeared to be about to
cease. The Cardinal commissioned M. de Bordeaux to bear a letter
of the king to Parliament and to re-establish the official
relations of the two States. The envoy did not possess the title
of ambassador, and the letter of Louis XIV. was addressed to "Our
dear and great friends the people of the Parliament and the
Commonwealth of England." The State Council refused to receive
the missive thus addressed. It soon returned with the
superscription, "To the Parliament of the Commonwealth of
England." Bordeaux was then received, not by Parliament, nor by
the Council of State, but by a committee of this latter body.
Relations were re-established, with bad grace on the part of
France, without good-will on that of the English Republicans. "In
my great misfortune, I experienced nothing equal to this," wrote
Henrietta-Maria, in the meantime. Charles II. spoke of quitting
Paris, but he still remained there. His pension of six thousand
livres per month was continued, but his situation became more and
more isolated and depressing, and his faithful counsellors all
urged him to seek shelter elsewhere.

Holland could no longer offer him support. A decree of the
States-General had closed their territory to foreign princes.
Although the Dutch statesmen in their patriotism and foresight
had rejected the foolish pretensions of St. John, they sincerely
wished for peace.
{238}
A solemn embassy was despatched to London to resume negotiations.
Upon their appearance in Westminster Hall, the speaker and all
the members of Parliament rose and removed their hats; but this
act of courtesy indicated no modification in their pride and
rancor. They listened to the proposals of the Dutchmen with the
obstinacy of haughty power, confident in its might, ardent in
avenging itself for a disappointment which it held as an insult.
The disposition of the people corresponded with that of
Parliament. More than once the population attacked the house
which the Dutchmen occupied at Chelsea. It was found necessary to
assign a guard to the ambassadors.

Amidst these diplomatic agitations, it suddenly became known
that, on the 12th of May, off Dover, the Dutch fleet, commanded
by Tromp, and the English fleet, commanded by Blake, had
encountered and fought. It was said that Tromp had refused a
salute peremptorily demanded by Blake, and that upon a reiterated
summons, he had fired upon the admiral's vessel. The struggle had
been brisk, but without decisive issue. Popular wrath was the
more immediate result of this. All the explanations given by a
new envoy, Adrian de Paw, and the assurance that Tromp had
received no instructions, did not appease the chiefs of the
Council of State. On the 7th of July, 1652, war was declared, and
fifteen days later the States-General accepted perforce and with
sadness the challenge which had been thrown down to them.

The navy of the United Provinces at this time was more renowned
than that of England: captains and sailors were inured to long
cruises; their admirals already practiced ingenious contrivances
as yet unknown to the English.
{239}
The latter, on the other hand, possessed larger vessels, well
manned and rigged; they were more ardent in battle, and supported
by a country richer and more powerful than Holland. The war
opened with impassioned activity. Blake dispersed the fleet of
herring-fishers upon the coast of Scotland after having defeated
the men-of-war which protected them. Tromp endeavored to avenge
his compatriots upon the fleet of Sir George Ayscough; but he was
detained in the first place by a calm, and afterwards beaten
about by a storm. Blake, coming to the assistance of Ayscough,
triumphed without fighting. He impudently cruised along the
western coast of the United Provinces before returning to
Yarmouth, leading in his wake his prizes and nine hundred
prisoners.

Tromp gave in his resignation. He belonged to the party of
Orange, and had no taste for serving the States-General. He was
replaced by Michael Ruyter, a man of obscure origin, of popular
renown, a stranger to political parties and passionately devoted
to his country. He soon compelled Ayscough to return into port at
Plymouth, leaving the Dutch masters of the English Channel. He
marvelled at his own success. "It is only," he said, "when it
pleases God to give courage that one gains a victory. This is a
work of Providence which cannot be accounted for by man." Proud
of this victory and being resolved to prosecute the war with
vigor, the States-General gave the command of a new squadron to
Cornelis de Witt, one of the boldest of the aristocratic leaders,
and committed the mistake of placing Ruyter under his orders.
Cornelis de Witt was courageous in the extreme, but harsh and
little liked by the sailors.
{240}
The Dutch encountered the fleet of Blake. Ruyter was not in favor
of giving battle; but de Witt pressed forward. After a desperate
fight, which lasted during the whole of the day, the advantage
rested everywhere with the English, so much so, that on the
morrow it was impossible for the fleet of the States-General to
resume the struggle, as Cornelis de Witt wished. They were
compelled to return into the ports, followed by Blake, who was
anxious to make manifest his victory. Constrained by the public
voice, the States restored to Tromp the command of their forces.
Ruyter offered no objection to serving under his orders. Cornelis
de Witt was sick and refused. On the 30th of November, 1652, at
the moment when the Parliament of England and its admirals
thought themselves absolved from fresh efforts, the Dutch fleet,
composed of seventy-three vessels, attacked Blake, who had but
thirty-seven. The English were defeated, and Tromp cruised about
the Channel as a conqueror, carrying a broom at his mainmast
head, thus braving the English navy even in those seas of which
it claimed the sovereignty.

Parliament did not accept the resignation tendered by Blake; it
sent him important reinforcements. In all the ports the available
vessels were put in requisition, and two months and a half later,
on the 18th of February, 1653, Blake in his turn was seeking the
enemy. Tromp was occupied in protecting a rich convoy of merchant
vessels, which impeded his progress. He fought for four days with
consummate skill and prudence, continuing to press forward
towards the coast of Holland, in order to conduct his convoy
thither. When he had at length succeeded in this object, an
incontestable advantage rested with the English.
{241}
Parliament made a great demonstration over a victory which had
cost them dear. The war did not progress, and the expenses were
becoming enormous. The courts of Europe, divided between the two
belligerents, sought to embitter the hostilities rather than to
appease them. The ambitious and improvident arrogance of the
English Parliament had plunged it into a policy which placed the
Commonwealth at contention with its natural friends without
securing any ally. At home, it had to contend against
ever-renewing difficulties, and to apply increasing severities.
It was from the Cavaliers that the money necessary for supporting
the war was extorted. While tyranny was resorted to for providing
for the wants which a bad foreign policy had created, Cromwell,
powerful but inactive, was silently undermining the ground
beneath the feet of Parliament, by skillfully taking advantage of
its faults.

Cromwell was inactive for good reasons. On the morrow of the
victory of Worcester, Parliament, anxious both to diminish its
burdens and to enfeeble its rival, had disbanded a portion of the
army, while preparing for further reductions. The general, loaded
with presents and with marks of gratitude, had returned to take
his place in the House, where his presence soon caused itself to
be felt. By his influence, and notwithstanding the resistance of
the majority of the Republican leaders, two popular measures were
voted, a general amnesty act and an electoral law decreeing that
Parliament should not sit beyond the 3d of November, 1654. This
was in the month of November, 1651: a duration of three years
longer was thus assigned to the contest which was beginning
between Cromwell and Parliament. Cromwell had too much good sense
not to be prepared to wait.
{242}
He appreciated correctly what was possible, and he stopped even
when his desires and his schemes would have led him further. He
had succeeded in fixing a term to the existence of Parliament.
His efforts, now impassioned and brilliant, now secret and
indirect, were soon to harass the power with which he was
contending. He contrived with this object to put every means into
operation.

The spirit of innovation had taken possession of the young
Republic. On all hands bold projects, chimerical or practical,
were submitted to Cromwell, who knew by instinct the popular
wants and desires. He had constituted himself the patron of
reform in the matter of civil proceedings, and more than once he
authorized his officers to constitute themselves as improvised
judges. In ecclesiastical matters, amidst new sects which sprang
up every day, Cromwell never abandoned two great principles, the
liberty of conscience, and the regular preaching of the Gospel.
The Presbyterians furnished him with pious and learned preachers
in great numbers. The persecuted of all parties claimed his
support. In all ranks and beneath all Christian standards, he
established relations and nourished fruitful hopes. He wished to
assure himself of the forces which he had conquered, and to act
in a manner favorable to his soldiers.

Upon one occasion, at the residence of the speaker of the House
of Commons, Lenthall, some leaders of the army and of Parliament
were assembled. Cromwell submitted to the little assemblage the
question of a stable government for the nation. The lawyer,
Whitelocke, came at once to the point. "I should humbly offer,"
he said, "whether it be not requisite to be understood in what
way this settlement is desired. Whether of an absolute Republic,
or with any mixture of monarchy?"

{243}

That in fact was the question constantly revived and discussed in
these social meetings, which every day assumed more importance.
Cromwell prudently advocated the establishment of a single power.
He had perceived that the thoughts of some rested upon the young
Duke of Gloucester, still in the hands of Parliament. He
contrived to restore the little prince to liberty. The child was
sent to Holland, to his sister, the Princess of Orange. This
royalist competitor being sent away, Cromwell prosecuted his
purpose. His daughter, the widow of Ireton, had recently married
Fleetwood. He nominated his son-in-law to the command of the
forces of Ireland, taking to his own charge the expenditure of
Lambert while he had been Lord Deputy. The petitions of the army
recommenced. "Take care," said Whitelocke to Cromwell, "this
manner of causing the officers to petition thus, sword in hand,
might very possibly be inconvenient to you some day!" But
Cromwell was more anxious about the success of his schemes than
concerned about the embarrassments which he might cause to spring
up. He proceeded towards his end, feeling his way at each step.
"What if a man should take upon himself to be king?" he said one
day to Whitelocke after a long conversation. "As to your own
person," said the shrewd lawyer, "the title of king would be of
no advantage." And in expounding the reasons for his remark, he
finally proposed to Cromwell a negotiation with King Charles II.
and the Scotch, for effecting a restoration. Cromwell did not
reply, and changed the conversation, being urged in different
directions by his own desire and by the adverse opinions of the
men whom he questioned.
{244}
The English army was devoted to him; that of Ireland was more
divided, owing to the influence of Ludlow. Streater, an officer
in this army, came to England with some comrades, to oppose the
designs which he foresaw. He accused the general of seeking his
own aggrandizement. Harrison resented this accusation, saying
that he was sure that the general only wished to open up the way
for the reign of Christ. "Well!" replied Streater, "let Christ
come then before Christmas, otherwise He will come too late."

The danger was not so urgent. Cromwell allowed his adversaries
time to wear themselves out in public estimation. He ceased to
oppose the new reduction of the army. Absolute master of the
fortune and the fate of all, Parliament soon came to be regarded
in public opinion as an iniquitous and corrupt judge.

This was the juncture which Cromwell had waited for. Impelled by
the country, the Republican chiefs themselves prepared the bill
of dissolution and the law according to which a new Parliament
was to be elected. They still hoped to mislead the public; their
proposal retained the sitting members as the nucleus of the new
assembly; it was represented as a question of completing, not of
renewing Parliament.

Cromwell was not in the House, on the 20th of April, 1653, when
Vane, Martyn, and Sydney introduced what they styled the
Dissolution Bill, while urging its immediate adoption. Colonel
Ingoldsby arrived in haste at Whitehall.


[Image]
Cromwell Dismissing The Long Parliament.


{245}

"If you wish to do something decisive," he said to Cromwell, "you
have not a moment to lose." The general proceeded in the
direction of Westminster, posted some troops at the gates, and
entered, sitting quietly in his usual place. St. John approached
him. "I have come," said Cromwell, "with a purpose of doing what
grieves me to the very soul, and what I have earnestly with tears
besought the Lord not to impose upon me. I would rather a
thousand times be torn piecemeal than do it, but there is a
necessity which weighs upon me in order to the glory of God and
good of the nation." Vane had ceased speaking: the speaker was
about to put the Bill to a vote. Cromwell rose and began to
speak, in the first place doing justice to Parliament, to its
zeal and to the services which it had rendered to the country;
then gradually changing his tone, he reproached the members of
the House with their procrastinations and their corruption. "You
only wish to perpetuate yourselves in power. Your hour has come;
the Lord has done with you--He who has taken me by the hand and
who causes me to do what I do." Vane and his friends endeavored
to reply; all spoke together. Cromwell replaced his hat upon his
head, and stepping into the middle of the Hall, "I will put an
end to your prating," he exclaimed. Upon a sign from Harrison,
the door opened, and a platoon of musketeers entered the Hall.
"You are no Parliament, get you gone," said the general; "give
place to honester men!" And as Lenthall refused to quit the
chair, "Take him down then yourself," said Cromwell. Harrison
placed his hand upon the robe of the speaker, who submitted. The
members resisted. "It is contrary to morality and common
honesty," exclaimed Vane, "it is an indignity."
{246}
"Oh, Sir Harry Vane, Sir Harry Vane," replied Cromwell, "you
might have anticipated all this, but you are but a juggler; the
Lord deliver me from Sir Harry Vane." He addressed the members
one by one as they issued forth, reproaching them for their
faults and vices. The Hall was becoming empty; the general caused
the papers to be seized, taking from the hands of the clerk on
duty the Dissolution Bill which was about to have been put to the
vote. He alone remained and caused the doors to be locked. As he
returned to Whitehall, "I did not think of doing this," he said
to his friends who were awaiting him, "but I felt the Spirit of
God so strong with me that I heeded neither flesh nor blood."

A few hours later, the Council of State was also dissolved,
notwithstanding the protestations of the president, Bradshaw. On
the morrow, the passers-by stopped before Westminster Hall, to
read a large placard, the night-work of some cavalier, on which
were the words, written in large characters: "This house is now
to be let unfurnished."

{247}

                   Chapter XXVII.

           Cromwell Protector (1653-1658).


The deed was done. Parliament, which had at first aided, then
thwarted Cromwell in his aims and in the exercise of power, had
ceased to exist. A Council of State, composed of twelve members,
convoked and presided over by the general himself, was henceforth
charged with the control of public affairs. No resistance was
offered. Scarcely had some austere Republicans protested when
Cromwell felt the weight to be too heavy for his robust
shoulders. The Government of England was not, could not be the
absolute rule of one man. The semblance of a Parliament at least
was necessary. He resolved to constitute it himself with the men
designated for public approval by their virtues and their piety.
A hundred and thirty-nine persons were thus chosen and convoked
in the name of Oliver Cromwell, Captain-general of the forces of
the Commonwealth. On the 4th of July, 1653, in the
Council-chamber at Whitehall, the men elected by Cromwell
listened to his address, which was long and diffuse as usual, but
which tended entirely to give them confidence in their task and
in their right to govern their country. "Accept your trust, for,
I repeat to you, it is of God."

{248}

Cromwell in vain endeavored to establish upon the solid basis of
Divine will that power which he had established with his own
hands and which he was shortly about to overthrow. The "Barebones
Parliament," as it was called, from the name of one of its
members, sat for five months, laborious and exact, ardently
occupied in reforming abuses and in establishing a new
legislature, it was at the same time inclined to dispute the
power and actions of the general more often than was agreeable to
Cromwell. He had but recently leant for support upon the
sectarian reformers, but he soon felt that such innovators,
available for destroying, were still prone to destroy the very
power which they had raised; he resolved, therefore, to rid
himself of them. He declared this to the Anabaptist preacher,
Feake, whose violence embarrassed and exasperated him. "Be
assured that on the day when I shall be pressed by my enemies,
more pressed than I have ever been, it will be with you that I
shall begin to rid myself of them," he said. He found in the very
midst of Parliament the instruments necessary for his purpose.

On Monday, the 12th of December, 1653, the friends of the general
were assembled together at an early hour in the House. Scarcely
had they concluded prayers, which were said as usual by one of
the members present, when Colonel Sydenham, addressing the House,
vigorously attacked the reformers, or rather the revolutionists,
who, he said, rendered all government impossible. "I propose to
declare that the sitting of this Parliament any longer would be
of no service to the nation, and that we shall repair in a body
to the Lord-general and resign the trust which has been committed
to us."

{249}

A debate began upon this strange proposal. The reformers defended
themselves. They sent warning to their friends, who arrived in
haste. The issue became doubtful. Rouse, the speaker, abruptly
closed the sitting, and proceeded to Whitehall, accompanied by
forty members: thirty or thirty-five remained in the House,
embarrassed and indignant. They did not muster a sufficient
number to deliberate; some began to pray. Colonel Goffe entered
with a platoon of soldiers and caused the place to be cleared.
Four days later, the act of abdication of the "Barebones"
Parliament had received eighty signatures, and Cromwell solemnly
accepted the government from the hands of the army in the name of
the three nations of England, Scotland, and Ireland, under the
title of Protector.

This was the re-establishment of a single power, the first step
towards the restoration of a monarchy. As Whitelocke had shortly
before predicted to Cromwell, it was henceforth against him that
all the blows were directed. Sectaries, passionate like Feake, or
sincere like Major Harrison, refused to recognize the new
government. Several colonels immediately entered into hostile
conspiracies. John Lilburne had reappeared in England, and,
although immediately incarcerated in Newgate, he had begun once
more to write and to agitate the public with his indefatigable
ardor. Cromwell resolved to place him upon his trial. "Freeborn
John," wrote one of the confidants of the Protector, "has been
sent to the Old Bailey Sessions, and I think that he will soon be
hanged."

{250}

Every possible precaution had in fact been taken to assure the
issue of the trial and the condemnation of Lilburne, but his
ability, his eloquence, the impassioned ardor of his friends,
thwarted all the efforts of the executive. "Last Saturday," wrote
Beverning to John de Witt, "there were present at his trial no
less than six thousand persons who would not have heard him
condemned without some few of them at least leaving their lives
there." Lilburne was acquitted; but Cromwell was more powerful
and more obstinate than the Long Parliament itself.
Notwithstanding his acquittal, the indomitable pamphleteer was
detained in the Tower, then transported to Jersey. He at length
consented to remain quiet as a condition of freedom, and died in
obscurity four years later, in a little town in Kent. Meanwhile,
before ridding himself of the "Barebones" Parliament, Cromwell,
warned by the trial of Lilburne of the tendencies of juries,
caused to be vested in himself the exceptional jurisdiction which
had at first tried the king, and afterwards Lord Capel and his
friends. The High Court of Justice had been reconstituted under
the presidency of Bradshaw. The Protector took his precautions
against the attacks and conspiracies which he foresaw. He was not
deceived: five months after the establishment of the new power, a
Royalist plot, which was to begin with the assassination of
Cromwell, brought before the judges Colonel Gerard, who perished
with two accomplices. The Protector had the prudence to spare the
persons of distinction who were compromised in the affair. His
wish had been to test the vigilance of his police and the power
of an authority which knew how to practice moderation.

While Cromwell thus displayed his energetic wisdom at home,
rapidly and by his sole authority accomplishing the reforms long
discussed by Parliament, he triumphed in Scotland, through the
efforts of Monk, over the recent Royalist insurrections. A simple
ordinance at the same time incorporated with England the ancient
kingdom of the Stuarts, relieving it of all independent
representation and jurisdiction. Monk was commissioned to govern
quietly the country which he had subjugated. Ireland remained
calm and silent; the Protector had leisure to turn his eyes
towards the Continent of Europe.

{251}

There again fortune served his ability and firmness. The war with
Holland continued, and was generally favorable to the English
arms. "Why should I remain silent longer?" Cornelis de Witt said
in an open assembly of the States. "I am here before my
sovereigns; it is my duty to tell them that the English are now
masters of us and of the seas." The struggle still continued,
negotiations being meanwhile attempted. Tromp was killed on the
31st of July, 1653, in the midst of a desperate combat. "It is
all over with me," he said as he fell, "but you, take courage."
Ruyter, Cornelis de Witt, Floretz, and Ewertz continued the
struggle, which every day became more fierce on the part of the
English. Cromwell, however, was resolved to put an end to it. The
hesitations of diplomacy ceased with the government of
Parliament; the Protector wished for peace with the United
Provinces, and for an alliance with the Protestant States. He set
himself without delay to work, to realize the two indispensable
conditions of the greatness of his country and of his own
influence in Europe.

The conditions imposed by the Protector were harsh, and they
wounded the legitimate pride of the United Provinces: he
renounced the idea of the incorporation of the two Republics; he
admitted the allies of the Dutch to the advantages of the treaty,
but he demanded of the States an undertaking never to receive
upon their territory any enemy of the Commonwealth, thus closing
against the Stuarts theîr last place of refuge.
{252}
He at the same time forbade the United Provinces ever to raise
the young prince, William of Orange, or his descendants, to the
office of Stadtholder or of commander of the land or sea forces.
The States-General declined to assent to this stipulation.
Cromwell then had recourse to indirect negotiations: he obtained,
not without difficulty, a private and secret agreement from the
States of the Province of Holland, which were sufficiently
powerful to decide the question alone in the general assembly. On
the 5th of June, 1654, the articles being at length ratified, the
treaty of peace became definitive, to the general satisfaction of
the English as well as of the Netherlanders.

During this time Whitelocke was negotiating with Queen Christiana
of Sweden, who was struck and touched with the rare faculties
which she recognized in Cromwell. "In the end, I think that your
general will be king of England," she said. On the 28th of April,
1654, the English envoy signed, in common with Chancellor
Oxçnstiern, a treaty of friendship and alliance between the two
countries. On the 30th of May, the Queen of Sweden, seduced by
the vague charms of a free life, solemnly abdicated before the
Diet of Upsal, while Whitelocke, embarking for England, brought
back to Cromwell an important success for his policy and stories
invented to flatter his pride.

Such rapid progress in so many directions ardently preoccupied
the two great Catholic powers which were contending amongst
themselves for the empire of the Continent. Don Alonzo de
Cardeñas, the Spanish ambassador, and M. de Bordeaux, the French
ambassador, treated the Protector with great consideration and
made many overtures to him.
{253}
The Long Parliament inclined towards the Spanish alliance.
Cromwell, with higher sagacity, inclined, on the contrary,
towards France. But Cromwell was in no hurry to declare what he
thought, and he caused Cardeñas and Bordeaux in turn to conceive
a hope of his preference, and thus became every day more the
object of their jealous eagerness.

Thus sought after abroad by every Government, and conqueror at
home of all parties, the Protector at length deemed himself in a
position to confront a Parliament. He ordered therefore, for the
3d of September, 1654, the anniversary of his victories of Dunbar
and Worcester, the assembly of a Parliament freely elected.

It was the first time for fourteen years that there had been in
England a general election. No one was excluded except the
Cavaliers and the Roman Catholics. Four hundred and sixty
deputies, amongst whom the Presbyterians and sectarians were
numerous, were present on the day mentioned at the opening
sitting. All had accepted the condition commemorated on the writ
of their elections: "The persons elected shall not have the power
to alter the government as it is settled, in one single person
and a Parliament."

This was, however, the first question put to the vote by the
House. Returning to the Hall in which their sittings were held,
after the speech of the Protector, the Republicans there revived
all the maxims, all the pretensions of the Long Parliament. The
form of government had for four days been the object of the most
animated discussions, when, on the 12th of September, on arriving
at Westminster, the members found the doors closed and guarded by
soldiers.
{254}
"You cannot pass," said the sentinels; "go into the Painted
Chamber, the Protector will be there soon." He arrived, as
stated, and taking his seat upon the chair of state, which he had
occupied a week before to open Parliament, he reviewed, in a
speech which was both bold and embarrassed, his past works, the
services which he had rendered to the country, and the necessity
of putting an end to the agitation to which it was a prey. "I had
a thought within myself," he said, "that it would not have been
dishonest nor dishonorable, if, when a Parliament was so chosen
as you have been in pursuance of this instrument of government
and in conformity with it, some owning of your call and of the
authority which brought you hither had been required before your
entrance into the House. This was declined. What I forbore from a
just confidence at first you necessitate me unto now. ... I have
caused a stop to be put to your entrance into the Parliament
House. I am sorry, I am sorry, and I could be sorry to the death,
but there is cause for this. ... There is therefore somewhat to
be offered to you, that is to say, in the form of government now
settled, which is expressly stipulated in your indentures not to
be altered. The making of your minds known in that by giving your
assent and subscription to it is the means that will let you in
to act those things, as a Parliament, which are for the good of
the people. The place where you may come thus and sign, as many
as God shall make free thereunto, is in the Lobby without the
Parliament door."

{255}

A hundred and fifty members, belonging to the austere
Republicans, refused to pledge themselves, and immediately
withdrew; before the end of the month, more than three hundred
members had signed, and Parliament continued its labors,
accepting, since it was so compelled, the first article of the
constitutional act, but reserving the right to discuss the
others. During more than four months quibble succeeded to
quibble, difficulty to difficulty. On the 22d of January, 1655,
the five months of session which the act of convocation assured
to Parliament at length expired. Cromwell repaired to
Westminster. "Though some may think it is a hard thing to raise
money without Parliamentary authority upon this nation," he said,
"yet I have another argument to the good people of this nation if
they would be safe and yet have no better principle. ... Whether
they prefer the having of their will though it be their
destruction, rather than comply with things of necessity? ... I
should wrong my native country to suppose this. ... I leave the
unknown to God, and conclude with this, that I think it my duty
to tell you that it is not for the profit of these nations, nor
for common and public good for you to continue here any longer.
And therefore I do declare unto you that I do dissolve this
Parliament."

Cromwell was free, but uneasy and dissatisfied. He had hoped for
much from the new Parliament, and the disappointment was bitter
to him. He had spoken in his speech of the Royalist conspiracies
which had developed under the uncertain government of the
Republicans. An insurrection which broke out shortly afterwards
in the West and in the North, proved the correctness of his
assertions. It was easily repressed, and its chief, Penruddock,
perished upon the scaffold with his principal adherents. Almost
at the same time the Protector was informed of the projects of
insurrection of the Republican sectaries acknowledging the
leadership of Overton and Wildman.
{256}
Both these men were placed in the Tower. Other chiefs of the
Levellers were arrested and sent to prison quietly. When the men
of his former party were concerned, Cromwell behaved in a very
different manner from that which he employed towards the
Royalists. He applied himself to preventing and stifling. He
wished them to be powerless, but not to make them victims
invested with glory.

The conspiracy of the Cavaliers furnished, moreover, to the
Protector a resource which became every day more necessary to
him. He had no money. He resolved to impose upon the Royalists a
tax of ten per cent, upon their incomes. Under pretence of
collecting this impost he established in every county a local
militia, of which he formed twelve corps, under the command of
tried officers. All the Royalists found themselves outlawed. It
was, apparently, against them alone that this measure destined to
secure in all quarters the power of the Protector was directed.

The step was tyrannical; the application was more odious still.
Cromwell gained the money of which he was in need, but the
majors-general nearly everywhere abused their power. Returning
into the old path of revolutionary violence, the parties once
more found themselves at contention, not in the way of civil war,
but of resisting oppression. The allaying of mutual passions and
hatreds, and the establishment of a regular and legal government
continued to be a vain hope for England. Cromwell felt it to be
so, and struggled bitterly against that conviction.

{257}

In the midst of the disorder and violence which he could not or
would not repress, Cromwell always had the honor of understanding
and respecting liberty of conscience. Constrained by the
fanaticism of his friends to oppress the Catholics, often even
the Anglican Church, he secretly used leniency towards the
latter, and left to all the sects which divided England among
them a full and absolute independence. He protected them against
each other, defending even the liberty of George Fox, the founder
of the Quakers; the Jews, who asked to be allowed to establish
themselves in England; and the Republican men of letters like
Harrington, who dedicated to him his Republican Utopia of
_Oceana_. He at the same time defended the Universities of
Oxford and Cambridge against the ignorant and ardent sectaries
who would have destroyed those "Episcopal" homes, and he took
pleasure in restoring to them something of their past splendor.
Few despots have contrived like Cromwell to restrain themselves
within the limits of practical necessity, while leaving to the
human mind a vast and free field of action.

All these efforts in the direction of a good internal government
did not suffice to found his power upon solid basis. Cromwell
sought foreign renown. At the end of October, 1655, he had sent
Blake into the Mediterranean, at the head of a large fleet, to
cruise round Spain and survey its ports, while Admiral Penn was
preparing to extend the war to the Spanish colonies in America.
Blake acquitted himself of his mission as usual, repressing the
acts of piracy and barbarity in the seas which he overran;
bombarding Tunis, which had refused him water, and exhibiting
boldness and moderation in turn. The Republican admiral caused
the English flag to be everywhere respected. Cromwell was
conscious of this and laid great stress upon it. "That is how
things must be done," he said, "and I will render the name of
Englishman as great as was ever that of Roman."

{258}

Unfortunately, the expedition of Penn had partly failed in its
object: the attack upon St. Domingo completely miscarried through
the stupidity of the commanders and their want of foresight; the
object of all these efforts and cost was confined to the taking
of Jamaica. The great attempt against the Spanish colonies proved
more profitable to Mazarin than to Cromwell: it was a definite
rupture between the Protector and Spain. The shrewd French
minister hastened to take advantage of it. On the 24th of
October, 1655, the Spanish ambassador, Cardeñas, embarked at
Dover to return to his country, and on the same day a treaty
between France and England was signed--a treaty of commerce which
became, towards the end of November, a treaty of alliance. The
situation of the Protector in Europe became every day grander and
more powerful; but, for eighteen months, he had governed alone
and arbitrarily: his firm good sense warned him that absolute
power soon exhausts itself. He wanted money to wage war against
Spain. The moment appeared to him propitious for at length
founding legal order, and he again convoked a Parliament.

When the House assembled, on the 17th of September, 1656, the
efforts of the Protector and of his majors-generals had not
succeeded in preventing the entrance of a great number of
indomitable republicans. Vane and Bradshaw had failed; Ludlow and
Harrison had not presented themselves; but Haslerig, Scott,
Robinson, and some hundred of their friends had been elected.
{259}
At the door of the Session Hall were guards, who asked of each a
certificate of admission. The majority presented it: a hundred
and two members were without one and could not enter. The tumult
was great. The Master of the Rolls of the Commonwealth was sent
for. He arrived in great haste. "His Highness," he said, "had
given orders that the certificate of admission should be given
only to members approved of by the Council." On the morrow,
Nicholas Furnes, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, appeared at
Westminster. "According to the constitutional act of the
Protectorate," he said, "none could be elected member of
Parliament who was not a man of recognized integrity, fearing
God, and of good conduct. It was the duty of the Council to
consider whether the elect combined these conditions, without
which none could be admitted to sit."

Thus mutilated at the outset in its functions, the House accepted
its humiliation. The rejected members appeared before the Council
of State; their protest was useless. Parliament passed on to
other matters, being in haste, it was said, to occupy itself with
affairs of state. But public opinion was opposed to the arbitrary
act of the Protector; it weighed upon the whole assembly. Feeble
and inconsiderate, it preserved at the bottom of its heart the
impression of the affront which it had suffered, and a desire to
be avenged.

{260}

Cromwell, however, was in need of Parliament, for he was
meditating a great enterprise. Being assured of the necessity of
founding that great order which he had re-established upon
durable bases, he contemplated taking the title of _king_,
which had been proposed to him by his lieutenants at the time of
the constitutional act of the Protectorate, and which he had then
refused. His pretensions amounted to nothing less than placing
his family upon the re-established throne. His eldest son,
Richard, was of peaceful tastes and manners, with little capacity
for government and contention, but he could lean for support upon
his brother Henry, who had recently given proof of his capacity
as governor-general of Ireland. Parliament appeared devoted;
fortune had favored the Protector with a lucky incident. The
squadron which was cruising in the seas of Spain had captured a
fleet of Spanish galleons, coming from America and laden with
gold. The treasures were brought triumphantly to London; the
people were enthusiastic; the House voted the new taxes demanded
by the Protector. The idea of royalty was everywhere rife in
people's minds, and it easily gained favor throughout the
country.

The Cavaliers were so convinced of it that two of their number,
among those who lived on good terms with him, Lord Hertford and
Lord Broghill, made overtures to Cromwell in favor of Charles
Stuart. "You can bring back the king on any conditions you
please," said Lord Broghill, "and preserve with much less trouble
and peril the authority which you possess." "The king can never
forgive the blood of his father," said Cromwell. "You are but one
of those who took part in that act, and you alone will have the
merit of having re-established the king." "He is so debauched
that he would ruin us all," replied the Protector, and he broke
off the interview, leaving Lord Broghill convinced that he had
himself contemplated this expedient.

{261}

In the country, many wearied and discouraged Cavaliers would
willingly have accepted the return of monarchy, in the hope of
seeing the legitimate monarch ascend the throne again in a short
time. The Presbyterians, who were monarchists by nature, were
protected by Cromwell, and preponderant in religious matters. The
sectaries, who were not favorable to him, and who considered him
lukewarm in religious matters, enjoyed under his government a
liberty for which they felt grateful to him. Everything had
succeeded with him for three years; almost all thought that his
good fortune would go as far as his daring would have urged it,
and manifested an inclination to confide in it, or at least to
acquiesce.

Cromwell began to make overtures to his confidants in this great
affair; he appeared yet to hesitate; exciting by his conversation
their curiosity or their zeal, he skillfully urged them in the
path which was to lead him to the end, always remaining in a
position to stop or repudiate them.

He made use of the same policy for undermining Parliament and the
army. The House had condemned to a cruel punishment John Naylor,
a prophetic enthusiast accused of blasphemy. At the very moment
of the execution, Cromwell demanded of Parliament why the fanatic
had been removed from the jurisdiction of a jury, that bulwark of
individual liberties so dear to Englishmen. Desborough proposed
to prolong the tax of a tenth imposed upon the royalists for the
maintenance of the army. Lord Claypole, son-in-law of the
Protector, energetically opposed this measure, which was
rejected. The majors-general thus remained alone exposed to the
public hatred aroused on all hands by their exactions. The rancor
felt towards them deprived the Protector of some of his most
faithful allies.

{262}

While the friends of Cromwell were disunited, his enemies
rendered assistance to his great design. Charles II., then at
Bruges, where he received assistance from Spain, was preparing,
it was said, an expedition. He possessed some trustworthy
supporters among the Republicans, among others a man named Sexby,
who promised to raise a popular insurrection which would become
royalist as soon as Cromwell should have disappeared.
Assassination was counted upon, and the assassin was already
found. Miles Sindercombe, a bold soldier and an ardent
Republican, passed his time in watching for the moment and in
seeking the means of assassinating the Protector. On the 19th of
January, 1657, Thurloe solemnly revealed the plot at the sitting
of Parliament. Sindercombe was arrested, as well as two of his
accomplices.

Public excitement was great. It was proposed to form a committee
instructed to ask the Protector when it would be convenient to
him to receive the expression of the opinion of the House. "I
propose something more," said an obscure member, Mr. Ashe; "I
would ask his Highness to take upon him the government according
to the ancient constitution; then our liberties and tranquillity,
the safety and the privileges of his Highness would be
established upon solid foundations." A tumult arose; the motion
of Mr. Ashe was violently opposed and warmly defended: it fell as
an untimely measure; but the first landmarks were erected, the
first step was made. One month later, the 22nd of February,
Alderman Pack, member for the City of London, presented to the
House of Commons a proposal entitled, "The humble address and
remonstrance of the knights, citizens, and burgesses, now
assembled in the Parliament of this Commonwealth."
{263}
It was for the re-establishment of the monarchy and of the two
Houses. The Protector was invited to take the title of king, and
to designate his successor. After a violent discussion, the
proposal was taken into consideration, and the debate postponed
until the morrow.

While the House was discussing, some hundred officers, at the
head of whom were Lambert, Desborough, and Fleetwood, son-in-law
of Cromwell, presented themselves at the residence of the
Protector. They implored him not to accept the title of king.
"This title displeases the army," they said; "it is hazardous for
your person and the three nations; it will make way for the
return of Charles Stuart."

Cromwell immediately replied to them, "that the title of king
need not startle them so dreadfully, inasmuch as some of them
well knew it was already offered to him and pressed upon him by
themselves when this government was undertaken, that the title
'king,' a feather in a hat, is as little valuable to him as to
them. But on every occasion," he said, "they had made him their
instrument;" and he briefly recalled all the arbitrary acts which
he had accomplished, he said, at the instigation of the army.
"The nation is tired of uncertain arbitrary ways, and wishes to
come to a settlement," he continued. "By what this Parliament
have done by their own mere vote and will with James Naylor, you
will see that a check is necessary; what has happened to James
Naylor may be any one's case some day. Does the fundamental law
of the Protectorate empower me to check them?"

{264}

The facts which Cromwell recalled were embarrassing; his voice
was full of influence over his old companions. Several wavered in
their resistance; a compromise was arrived at. It was agreed that
the question of the title of king should be suspended until the
end of the debate. Upon this condition the officers accepted the
two Houses of Parliament, and the right of the Protector to
designate his successor; they undertook to allow the discussion
to follow its course peacefully. On the 25th of March, the House
voted, by a hundred and twenty-three votes against sixty-two, the
first clause of the project which had been reserved until that
day: "That your Highness will be pleased to assume the name,
style, title, dignity, and office of King of England, Scotland,
and Ireland, and the respective dominions and territories
thereunto belonging, and to exercise the same according to the
laws of those nations."

On the 25th of March, 1657, Cromwell received the House at
Whitehall, in that banqueting-hall which eight years beforehand,
Charles I. had crossed between two rows of soldiers on his way to
the scaffold. "I am but a servant," said the speaker,
Widdrington, "and I have not to express my own thoughts, but to
declare what Parliament has commanded. I am like a gardener who
plucks flowers in the garden of his master and makes therewith a
nosegay. I will only offer to your Highness what I have gathered
in the garden of Parliament." And he detailed the eighteen
articles of the "humble petition and advice," dwelling upon the
impossibility of mutilating it by rejecting one article to accept
the other.

{265}

Cromwell listened gravely and in silence; he asked time for
reflection. On the 3rd of April, he begged Parliament to send
delegates to him to receive his reply. "You do necessitate my
answer to be categorical," he said, "and you have left me without
a liberty of choice save as to all. I should be very brutish did
I not acknowledge the exceeding high honor and respect you have
had for me in this paper, and by you I return Parliament through
you my grateful acknowledgments. I must need say that that may be
fit for you to offer which may not be fit for me to undertake. I
have been able to attain no further than this, that seeing the
way is hedged up so as it is to me, and I cannot accept the
things offered unless I accept all, I have not been able to find
it my duty to God and to you to undertake this charge under that
title. And if Parliament be so resolved, 'for the whole paper or
none of it,' it will not be fit for me to use any inducement to
you to alter their resolution. ... That is all that I have to
say."

The Parliament understood the perplexity and vagueness of this
reply. It was accustomed to unravel and follow the desire of
Cromwell in the labyrinths of his deeds and words. It determined
that it would persist in its petition, while asking officially to
expound its motives before the Protector.

Cromwell knew, as well as Parliament, what was wanting to the
stability of the government of England. Lord Broghill summed up
the thought of his colleagues as well as that of the Protector
when he said, "It is by the title of king, and never by any
other, that our ancient laws designate the head magistracy; now
ancient foundations, when they are good, are better than new
ones, were they equally good; that which is confirmed by time and
experience has afforded proof of its worth, and carries with it
much more authority."

{266}

In reality, Parliament did not speak to Cromwell nor Cromwell to
Parliament. They were both addressing themselves to a public who
were not in Whitehall--to the dissentient but moderate
Republicans, whom they hoped to bring over to their views; to the
whole country, which they wished to associate with the foundation
of a new dynasty in order that it might compel the ancient
parties to accept it.

The conferences therefore continued. Cromwell listened to the
exhortations of Parliament with evident satisfaction, mingled,
however, with a great perturbation of mind; he was not a man of
simple and fixed ideas, who marched steadfastly towards his
object. When any one addressed him, his powerful imagination
caused to pass rapidly before his eyes the most hidden recesses
as well as the most diverse phases of his position; he saw all
the near or remote consequences, either probable or only
possible, of the act which he was meditating. The matter
progressed slowly, and Parliament began to evince some ill-humor.
It was quite willing to assist the Protector in making him king,
but not to present the appearance of doing it in spite of
himself, thus assuming all the responsibility of the
re-establishment of the monarchy. All the amendments, however,
being adopted, the petition was again presented to the Protector.
He contented himself with glancing at the last sentences, saying
hurriedly and in a low tone of voice that, the document requiring
some consideration, he could not yet appoint a day; as soon as he
should have determined upon one, he would let the House know of
it; it would be as soon as was possible, he doing all he could to
expedite it.

{267}

Cromwell had gained over Parliament; he had influenced the public
mind; but, notwithstanding his ardent endeavors, some of the most
important of the leaders of the army remained hostile to him, and
persisted in their opposition to his design, either through envy
or republican and sectarian fidelity, or as in the case of
Desborough, his brother-in-law, and Fleetwood, his son-in-law, in
the very interests of his family; all were convinced that the
re-establishment of the monarchy would turn to the advantage of
Charles Stuart. In vain did Cromwell repeat his favorite phrase;
that it was a feather in a hat, and that he was astonished that
some men did not allow children to play with their rattles; the
Republican chiefs were inflexible. The country was in reality
indifferent to the question. England did not expect from the
projected change the return of the two things which it had at
heart, a stable monarchy and a free Parliament. Meanwhile the
House was convoked for the 6th of May, at Westminster. The choice
of the place appeared to indicate a resolution at length to
accept the crown, for the Protector ordinarily received the House
at Whitehall. But on the 7th of May the committee learnt that the
general audience was postponed to the morrow; they were awaiting
in vain the interview which had been promised. When they returned
on the morrow to Whitehall, a deputation of officers presented
themselves before the House. "Cromwell has decided to accept the
crown," Desborough said to Colonel Pride. "He will not do it,"
said Pride. "How will you prevent it?" "Get me a petition well
drawn up, and I will prevent it!" It was this petition, written
by Doctor Owen, formerly chaplain to Cromwell, which the officers
brought to the bar of Parliament.
{268}
"Certain people," they said, "were making great efforts to place
their country under its former servitude, by urging their general
to accept the title of king; and that to ruin him, in order that
the power should no longer be in the hands of the faithful
servants of God and the public! They implored the House to lend
no support to such people or to such designs, and to remain firm
to the good old cause, for which they were always ready to
sacrifice their lives."

The House was embarrassed and agitated. Cromwell being
immediately informed of this incident, sent for Fleetwood,
complaining bitterly that he should have suffered such a
petition, and demanding that the House should repair on that very
day to Whitehall. As soon as the assemblage was present in the
Banqueting Hall, Cromwell entered.

"Mr. Speaker," he said, "I come hither to answer that which was
in your last paper to your committee you sent me yesterday, which
was in relation to the desires that were offered me by the House
in that they called their petition.

"I have the best I can resolved the whole business in my
thoughts. I must bear my testimony to the act, that the
intentions and the things are very honorable and honest, and the
product worthy of a Parliament. ... I have only had the
unhappiness not to be convinced of the necessity of that thing
which hath been so often insisted on by you--to wit, the title of
king. ... And whilst you are granting other liberties, surely you
will not deny me this, which is not only a liberty but a duty.
... If I shall do anything on this account to answer your
expectation at the best, I should do it doubtingly. ... And
whatsoever is not of faith is sin to him that doth it. ...

{269}

"I, lying under this consideration, think it my duty, only I
could have wished I had done it sooner for the sake of the House,
who have laid such infinite obligations on me. ... But truly this
is my answer that, although I think the act of government doth
consist of very excellent parts in all but that one thing of the
title as to me, ... I cannot accept of the government, nor
undertake the trouble and charge of it as to which I have, a
little more experimented than everybody. ... I say I am persuaded
to return this answer to you, that I cannot undertake this
government with the title of king. And that is mine answer to
this great and weighty business."

The House withdrew, astonished and discontented. Three weeks
later it voted, in all its details, the "Humble petition and
advice," in which the title of Protector everywhere replaced the
title of King, and on the 26th of June, in great pomp, Cromwell
took the oath to the new constitution which re-established the
two Houses, concentrated the power in the hands of the Protector,
and gave him the right of designating his successor. There was no
longer a Republic. There were only wanting a hereditary right and
the title of king to make a monarchy.

Cromwell had attempted more than he could accomplish; and,
notwithstanding the splendor which surrounded the new act of the
Protectorate, notwithstanding the new rights which were attached
thereto, he felt his power and reputation lessened. A little
tract was profusely circulated, under this title: "Killing no
Murder." The pamphlet was dedicated to Cromwell himself.
{270}
"To your Highness the honor is due of dying for the people," said
the pamphlet, which was attributed to Sexby, "and it will surely
be for you, at the last moment of your life, an inexpressible
consolation to see how much good you will do in the world by
quitting it. Then alone, my Lord, the titles which you now usurp
will really belong to you; then you will be the liberator of your
country, for you will deliver it from a bondage almost equal to
that from which Moses freed the Jews. ... All this we hope from
the death of your Highness. ... It is to hasten this great good
that I write this tract. ..." Sexby was arrested and placed in
the Tower; he died there several months later, thus escaping the
punishment which he had so often merited.

While the assassination of the Protector was thus openly proposed
to the country, as a means of deliverance, the Upper House, which
had been recently formed with great difficulty, met in the
Commons with considerable jealousy and ill-will. Cromwell had
been compelled to place in the former assembly a few of his most
faithful adherents; he had summoned thither seven of his former
peers: one only responded to the appeal. A friend of Cromwell,
Lord Warwick himself, whose son, Mr. Rich, had recently married
Lady Francis, youngest daughter of the Protector, refused to take
his seat. "I will not," he said, "sit beside the shoemaker
Hewson." In vain did Cromwell, on the 25th of January, 1658, open
the sitting of Parliament with a speech which began with these
decisive words: "My Lords and Gentlemen of the House of Commons;"
the Commons refused to give the honorary title of the "other"
House, and only accepted communications with the Peers through
their own messengers. The members excluded at the opening of
Parliament, in 1657, presented themselves to take their seats,
and Cromwell no longer thought of excluding them, for they
proposed to take the oath to the new constitution.
{271}
Republican passion gained the ascendant; it had found its former
chief, Sir Arthur Haselrig; being summoned to the House of Lords
he refused to sit, and returned to take his place in the House of
Commons at the head of the opposition.

Cromwell had in vain kept from any office his former comrade,
Lambert, who had refused to take the oath to the new
constitution. In vain had he been delivered of an austere witness
by the death of Admiral Blake, who had succumbed beneath the
fatigues of his triumph, after having won the victory of
Teneriffe against the Spaniards. The Protector, who had not
succeeded in making himself king, was conscious of a
revolutionary agitation around him. On the 4th of February,
without consulting or apprising any one, he repaired to the House
of Lords and caused the House of Commons to be summoned. "I had
very comfortable expectations," he said, "that God would make the
meeting of this Parliament a blessing. ... It was granted I
should name another House. I named it ... of men of your own rank
and quality, who should shake hands with you, who would not only
be a balance unto you. ... Yet, instead of owning a king, some
must have I know not what, and you have not only disjointed
yourselves but the whole nation, and that at the moment when the
King of Scots hath an army at the water-side ready to be shipped
for England. ... If this be your carriage, I think it high time
that an end be put to your sitting, and I do dissolve this
Parliament. And let God judge between you and me." "Amen!"
replied a few of the opposition.

{272}

Cromwell sought in the army the support which Parliament refused
him; he convoked a grand council of officers, and expounded to
them the perils of the situation, with an invasion and an
insurrection imminent, Charles Stuart united with the Spaniards,
the Spaniards with the Cavaliers, the Cavaliers with the
Levellers; civil war certain, and the army threatened with losing
all the advantages which it had conquered at the price of its
blood. Parliament was laboring to destroy the constitutional act
which it had voted. Were the army and its leaders determined with
him to preserve it? This was responded to with acclamations.
Cromwell urged on his advantages. He had noticed some officers
who were gloomy and silent. He addressed them personally. "We are
ready," said Parker, a major commanding his own regiment, "to
fight against Charles Stuart and his adherents, but we cannot
engage ourselves blindly and for every case." Cromwell did not
reply, but a few days later the adverse officers were dismissed,
and they proceeded to range themselves around Lambert, who was
cultivating flowers in his garden at Wimbledon.

It was the general opinion that, in all these demonstrations, the
Protector much exaggerated the perils with which the public peace
and his government were threatened. The nation was in this
neither so foreseeing nor so well informed as its chief.
Indomitable in their hopes as in their hatreds, the hostile
parties were rallying in the shadow of their reverses. As soon as
the Protector was seen to be in contention with Parliament, which
had wished to make him king, a new and terrible conspiracy was
set afoot against him in all directions. Levellers, Cavaliers,
Republicans, ex-members of the State-Council, Anabaptist
ministers, were alike passionately engaged in it. The
conspirators carried their audacity, in London even and under the
eyes of Cromwell, to the point of fixing the day and hour on
which the city was to be occupied, the Lord Mayor arrested, and
the Tower fired.

{273}

The policy of Cromwell was as bold as, and more experienced than
that of the conspirators. He had known before his best friends
had discovered it that the Marquis of Ormond had visited London,
to come to an understanding with the conspirators of all parties
and all ranks. "Tell him that I know where he is and what he is
doing," the Protector said to Lord Broghill, who was defending
himself from the charge of having been cognizant of the journey
of Ormond. The plot was complete and about to burst forth, but
suddenly numerous hurried arrests took place, surprising the
Republican, Royalist, and Anabaptist conspirators. The Tower was
filled with prisoners. In London, on the very morning of the day
fixed for the great insurrection, the ringleaders were captured
in the house in which they had met, and Colonel Barkstead,
Lieutenant of the Tower, advanced to the middle of the city with
five cannon. The plot was thwarted everywhere, stricken powerless
at the moment when the conspirators thought themselves assured of
success.

Cromwell was unwilling to trust this important matter to a jury.
By virtue of an act of the Parliament which he had recently
dissolved, he constituted a High Court, composed of a hundred and
thirty members and presided over by Lord Lisle, one of the judges
of Charles I. The accused persons all protested against this
exceptional jurisdiction.
{274}
"I demand to be tried by a jury," said Sir Henry Slingsby, an
indomitable Cavalier; "you are my enemies. I see among you
persons who have confiscated and caused my estates to be sold.
... You accuse me of having violated your laws. ... I cannot have
violated them since I have never submitted to them. ..." Doctor
Hewitt, a clergyman justly esteemed by the Church of England,
claimed with the same firmness the rights "which were those of
his fellow-countrymen as well as his own." Both were condemned
and executed, notwithstanding the circumstance that Sir Henry
Slingsby was the uncle of Lord Falconbridge, who had recently
married Lady Mary, one of the daughters of the Protector, and
though Doctor Hewitt had recently bestowed his blessing upon that
marriage privately. Lady Claypole, the favorite daughter of
Cromwell, made in common with her sisters ardent efforts to
obtain the pardon of the Doctor. Cromwell was inflexible; he
thought severity necessary. Six executions took place, then the
Protector allowed the High Court to rest, and the last accused
persons were tried by jury. He continued to be troubled and
dejected--causing horses to be driven fast when he rode in his
carriage, followed by numerous guards, and often changing his
sleeping apartment in Whitehall. This gloomy anxiety with regard
to his safety ill accorded with the character of Cromwell; his
powerful self-will was still firm and bold, but an evident
necessity weighed upon him; he accepted it frankly and without
illusion, guarding his life with the same ardor which he had
formerly brought to bear in achieving his great position.

{275}

He undoubtedly experienced a bitter mixture of pleasure and pride
when he turned his eyes to the other side of the Channel, and
when, while his situation at home was so precarious and so
perilous, he contrasted with this the power and splendor which he
had conquered abroad for his country and himself. It was
precisely at this time, when he was contending so arduously in
England against plots, that he obtained upon the Continent the
most brilliant successes. He had not been slow to perceive that,
to make war against Spain effectively, the treaty of peace and
commerce which he had concluded with France did not suffice; he
had therefore responded to the advances of Mazarin for a more
intimate and fruitful union. A treaty of alliance, offensive and
defensive, between France and England had been concluded in
Paris, on the 23d of March, 1657; and a few weeks later six
thousand English soldiers, carefully chosen by Cromwell, landed
at Boulogne, ready to join the army of Turenne. "Sire," said
Lockhart, the English ambassador and a relative of Cromwell, to
the young king, "the Protector has commanded his officers and
soldiers to display in the service of your Majesty the same zeal
as in his own." Louis XIV. showed himself to be very sensible of
this mark of affection "of a prince whom he considered," he said,
"as one of the greatest and happiest in Europe." The campaign was
prolonged; meanwhile Mazarin did not keep his promise: Cromwell
complained, as he knew how to complain. Mardyck, besieged and
soon captured, was consigned as a hostage to the English; the
troops marched towards Gravelines, but the Spaniards having
opened all the dams around the town, the capture became
impossible. It was found necessary to put off to the spring of
1658 the siege of Dunkirk.
{276}
The town was invested; all the court was present to be witnesses
of the assault. The Spaniards would not believe that Dunkirk was
in danger. Don John of Austria hastened forward, however, to its
defence, with his cavalry and a portion of the artillery. The
Prince of Condé, unhappily engaged among the enemies of his
country, was desirous of awaiting the remainder of the troops. "I
am persuaded," said Don John, "that the French will not even dare
to look at the army of his Catholic Majesty face to face." "Ah!
you do not know M. de Turenne," said Condé; "a mistake is not
made with impunity in presence of that man." The fight began on
the 14th of June. At daybreak Turenne sent an intimation to
Lockhart, who had assumed the command of the English troops. The
aide-de-camp of the marshal was desirous of explaining his plan
to the English general. "It is well," replied Lockhart, "I rely
upon M. de Turenne; he shall tell me his reasons after the
battle, if it is agreeable to him." Strange contrast between the
manly discipline of English good sense, and the frivolous
blindness of Spanish pride. Condé was not mistaken; the issue of
the battle could not be doubtful to his old experience. "My
lord," he said to the young Duke of Gloucester, who was serving
in the Spanish army with his brother, the Duke of York, "you have
never seen an army give battle?" "No, prince." "Well, you are
going to see how a battle may be lost." The battle of the Dunes
was in fact completely lost by the Spaniards. With two
exceptions, all the officers of the regiment of Lockhart were
killed or wounded. On the 25th of June, 1658, Louis XIV. entered
Dunkirk, to solemnly surrender it into the hands of the English.
{277}
"Although the court and the army may be in despair at depriving
themselves of so good a morsel," wrote Lockhart to Thurloe, "the
cardinal is firm in his promises, and appears as pleased at
surrendering this town into the hands of his Highness as I am to
receive it. The king is also extremely obliging and polite, and
he has more probity in his soul than I imagined."

It was a great triumph for Cromwell, and he enjoyed it without
suffering himself to be dazzled by success. An exchange of
magnificent embassies--Lord Falconbridge in France on the part of
the Protector, the Duke of Créquy in England on the part of Louis
XIV.--completed the ratification of this alliance, which had
already borne such glorious fruit and restored to England that
foothold in France of which the Duke of Guise had deprived it in
reconquering Calais. Cromwell began once more to think of the
election of a new Parliament, which at last should sanction,
support, and perpetuate his power. The confidence of the country
and the money necessary for the war were equally wanting to him.
His friends urged him to nominate his successor.

Cromwell listened, hesitated, and did not act. He was painfully
occupied by family afflictions. After three months of marriage
his daughter had lost her husband, Robert Rich, who was scarcely
twenty-three years of age; and Cromwell's favorite daughter, Lady
Claypole, who for a long time had been dangerously ill, was
growing weaker day by day. She was a person of noble and delicate
feelings, of an elegant and cultivated mind, faithful to her
friends, generous towards her enemies, and she had passionately
returned to her father the tenderness which the latter manifested
towards her. For a fortnight he did not leave her bedside, and
when she died at last, on the 6th of April, 1658, all business
was suspended until politics were able to obtain of the father a
momentary cessation of his grief.

{278}

Cromwell himself was moreover ill in health; he had made an
effort to resume his labors, but intermittent fever set in,
aggravating the disorders to which the Protector had for a long
while been subject. His physicians insisted upon his leaving
Hampton Court, where his daughter had died. He returned to
London. The complaint increased and became serious. The Protector
appeared to have no thought of public affairs, but he set in
order matters concerning his family and household. He had,
however, not abandoned the thought of living, and he counted upon
the answer of God to the prayers of his friends. "Treat me like a
poor domestic," he said to his doctors; "ye may have skill in
your profession, but nature can do more than all the physicians
in the world, and God is far above nature." Cromwell, in fact,
was much prayed for. "Truly," wrote Thurloe to Henry Cromwell,
"there is a general consternation upon the spirits of all men,
good and bad, fearing what may be the event of it should it
please God to take his Highness at this time, and God having
prepared the heart to pray, I trust He will incline His ear to
hear."

The disorder increased nevertheless; the attacks were more
violent and frequent, the prostration of Cromwell greater. He had
not yet named his successor; no one dared to speak to him of it.
Thurloe had undertaken to do so, but he still hesitated. The
Protector had kept his intentions secret; mention was made among
the people of his two sons and of his son-in-law, Fleetwood, who
was more agreeable to the army. The prudent Thurloe did not wish
to place himself at variance with any of the pretenders; he
therefore waited.


[Image]
Cromwell At The Death-bed Of His Daughter.


{279}

The religious opinions of Cromwell had very feebly influenced his
conduct, and he had often placed them at the service of worldly
interests, but they had never disappeared from this soul burdened
with prevarications and criminal acts, and they resumed all their
sway upon his deathbed. "Tell me," he said, on the 2nd of
September, to one of his chaplains, "is it possible to fall from
the state of grace?" "No," said the divine. "Then am I safe,"
said Cromwell, "for I am sure that once I was in a state of
grace." He tossed about in his bed, praying aloud. "Lord," he
said, "I am a miserable creature. ... Thou hast made me, though
very unworthy, a mean instrument to do them some good and Thee
service. ... And many of them have set too high a value upon me,
though others wish and would be glad of my death. Lord, however
Thou do dispose of me, continue and go on to do good for them.
Give them consistency of judgment, one heart and mutual love. ...
Pardon such as desire to trample upon the dust of a poor worm.
... Even for Jesus Christ's sake. And give us a good night if it
be Thy pleasure. Amen."

The repose which Cromwell asked of God was approaching for him.
It was on the 3rd of September, the anniversary of his victories
of Dunbar and Worcester. He muttered now only broken words:
"Truly God is good ... indeed He is ... I would be willing to
live to be farther serviceable to God and His people, but my work
is done ... yet God will be with His people." Some drink was
offered to him, and he was urged to sleep. "It is not my design
to drink or sleep," he said, "but my design is to make what haste
I can to be gone." He fell into a profound stupor, from which he
did not arouse again. A sigh alone announced to those present
that he had expired.

{280}

A universal shudder ran through England at this news. Friends and
enemies all felt that the true time of stirring events had come
again. Only a few moments before his death the Protector had
named his son Richard to succeed him; he was proclaimed without
opposition. "It has pleased God," wrote Thurloe to Henry
Cromwell, "to give to his Highness your brother a very easy and
peaceful beginning in his government; there is not a dog who wags
his tongue, so profound is the calm which we are in." The great
head of European Protestantism was interred at Westminster with a
magnificence which surpassed anything that had been seen in
England at the funerals of kings; it was from the obsequies of
the most "Catholic of monarchs," Philip II., King of Spain, that
the ceremony was copied.

Everything had succeeded with Cromwell; he had arrived at the
summit of power and grandeur, and yet he died in sadness.
Whatever may have been his selfishness, he was too high-souled
for the highest fortune of a purely personal and ephemeral kind
to afford him satisfaction. Weary of the destruction which he had
accomplished, he desired in his heart to restore to his country a
regular and stable government, the only kind which was suited to
her, namely, monarchy with Parliament. At the same time carrying
his ambition beyond the tomb, and thirsting for that permanent
place in men's esteem which is the crown of greatness, he aspired
to leave his name and race in the possession of power in the
future.
{281}
In all these designs he was deceived. His daring enterprises had
created around him obstacles which neither his powerful genius
nor his obstinate will had sufficed to overcome. Overburdened
with power and glory personally, he died deprived of his dearest
hopes, leaving behind to succeed him only the two foes whom he
had so ardently contended against--monarchy and the Stuarts.

{282}

                   Chapter XXVIII.

           Protectorate Of Richard Cromwell.


Cromwell was dead, and his son Richard had succeeded him without
any excitement or resistance. To the joy which had seized the
Royalists at the news of the decease of the Protector, to the
transports which had caused cries to be heard in Amsterdam of
"The Devil is dead," had succeeded an exaggerated dejection. "We
have not yet found that advantage by Cromwell's death that we
reasonably hoped," wrote Hyde to Howard, one of the most faithful
servants of the king in England; "nay rather, we are in the worse
situation for it, people imagining by the great calm that has
followed that the nation is united, and that the king has very
few friends. ... I hope, however, that this young man will not
inherit the good fortune of his father, and that there will
happen some confusion which will open a door for us."

Confusion had already set in, latent and silent as yet, but the
most zealous partisans of Cromwell and of his sons were even then
under no delusion. Amidst the general adhesion which had fallen
to the lot of the new Protector at his accession, they were
filled with anxiety and convinced that their success was
superficial and their peril imminent. The body of Cromwell was
still lying upon its bed of state, and already the impression
which his death had caused and the unanimous assent which it had
brought to his successor were but a vain appearance.


[Image]
Richard Cromwell.


{283}

The strong hand which had raised and supported the power was
scarcely cold in death when from all quarters the pretensions
sprang up which he had reduced to silence. The first blow was not
long delayed. For several days the Republican leaders of the army
assembled at the house of Desborough. On the 14th of October, two
or three hundred officers, conducted by Fleetwood, or rather
conducting at their head General Fleetwood, presented to Richard
a petition demanding that the army should henceforth have an
appointed leader empowered to nominate to all the vacant posts.
It was taking away the army from the Protector and placing the
Protector at the mercy of the army. Richard preserved a good
countenance; Thurloe had prepared his answer. He intrenched
himself behind the "Petition and advice," the fundamental act of
the Protectorate, which was opposed to the request of the
officers. He spoke of the arrears due to the troops, of his wish
to pay them. The officers did not persist: it was enough to have
made known their demand; they promised themselves to return to
the attack. Richard and his friends did not deceive themselves as
to these pretensions. "In the present state of affairs," wrote
Henry Cromwell to his brother, "the waves, I am afraid, are too
rough for you to be able to cast your anchor anywhere; you must
content yourself with drifting and waiting for the turn of tide.
... I sometimes think of a Parliament, but I doubt whether wise
men would be willing to embark in such ventures in the midst of
so troubled a State; should they be willing, could the army be
prevented from offering violence to the elections?"

{284}

It was also towards a Parliament that the thoughts of the friends
of the Protector inclined in England. Money was wanting. Thurloe
had caused Mazarin to be sounded as to a loan of fifty thousand
pounds sterling; but the cardinal, recently so assiduous in his
attentions to Cromwell, was not disposed to make the same efforts
in favor of his successors; he wished to live on good terms with
him, and see his destiny accomplished without lending him
efficient assistance to contribute artificially to secure his
position. He pleaded his own embarrassments, and refused the
money. Every resource had been exhausted; the time of arbitrary
taxes and of the rule of the majors-general had passed away; with
his genius, Cromwell had carried tyranny with him to the tomb.
The council of the Protector resolved to convoke a Parliament.
"We shall have great struggles to sustain," wrote Thurloe to
Henry Cromwell; "the Republicans assemble every day and discuss
as to what republic they ought to prefer, for they deem it
certain that they have only to choose and take. They flatter
themselves that a portion of the army will march with them. I
trust that they are mistaken. However, I must say that I do not
like the aspect of things, and my fears outweigh my hopes."

Under the dominion of the fears expressed by Thurloe the new
government did not dare to conduct the elections according to the
electoral system prepared by the Long Parliament and twice
practiced by Cromwell; the customs of the monarchy were revived
in the hope of influencing the elections in the boroughs.
Scotland and Ireland, recently incorporated with England, had no
traditional right to invoke. To each were allotted thirty
representatives, whose elections were necessarily to depend upon
the army which ruled them.
{285}
The army of Ireland was commanded by Henry Cromwell; that of
Scotland by Monk, who had shown himself favorable to the new
power. The "other House" was convoked by letters patent similar
to those which the king had formerly addressed to the peers of
the kingdom. Thus no legal or consistent principle presided at
the formation of the new Parliament. When it assembled on the
27th of January, 1659, after elections which had been much
discussed, but had everywhere been freely accomplished, the
diversity in its ranks was considerable. The Protector and his
advisers were not, however, discouraged. "Our enemies in
Parliament are numerous and bold beyond measure," wrote Lord
Falconbridge to Henry Cromwell, "but more than doubly
counterbalanced by the moderate party, so that if the results are
slow and difficult to obtain, we do not see, as to the present,
great cause for fear."

Delays and difficulties were not slow in manifesting themselves.
On the 1st of February, Thurloe boldly proposed to Parliament the
recognition of the new Protector. "It has pleased God," he said,
"to put an end to the days of his Highness. Sad consequences were
expected from that blow. God has granted us the favor of a son of
his Highness who possesses the hearts of the people, a testimony
to his undoubted right of succession. ... It behooves this House
to respond to this favor by recognizing in his Highness, now
engaged in his functions, the undoubted successor. ... It is with
this object that I propose a bill for the recognition of the
Protector."

{286}

The ill-humor as well as the surprise of the Republicans was
extreme. They did not expect so soon to see recommended the
contest upon fundamental matters. "This is not proposed
opportunely," exclaimed Haslerig; "we have many things to
consider; the committee of grievances, the affairs of religion.
... Let us not busy ourselves with a bill of this importance
before the day of fasting and solemn prayers which we have
ordered; we have never destroyed anything without first
addressing our prayers to God; let us not attempt to establish
without praying." The discussion was long and animated; the
Republicans maintained the full sovereignty of the people and of
their supreme power. The Cromwellians, warned by experience and
political instinct, did not think that the popular voice sufficed
for the whole government, or that they had the right of
destroying and establishing at their pleasure. They gained the
ascendant at last, and, on the 14th of February, the House voted
that it recognized and declared his Highness Richard, Lord
Protector and first magistrate of England, Scotland, and Ireland,
and of all the territories dependent thereon; but, at the same
time, the House declared that the bill should contain additional
clauses intended to limit the power of the first magistrate and
to guarantee the rights and liberties of Parliament and the
people. Thurloe alone voted against this amendment.

The victory appeared decisive; but the long debate had revived
all the memories of discords, inflamed all passions, and once
more set the Republic at contention with the Protectorate under
the eyes of the observant and motionless Royalists. "The
dissension is such in Parliament (wrote to Hyde one of his
friends, John Barwick), that it will probably end in confusion:
one party thinks that the Protectorate cannot last; the other
that the Republic cannot raise itself again; the indifferent hope
that both will be right. It is easy to foresee and foretell the
upshot."

{287}

Beaten upon the Protectorate, the Republicans fell back upon the
second House, the existence of which they called into question.
The debate was long and stormy: all the friends and followers of
Cromwell sat in that assembly which overshadowed the Commons; but
there again, Haslerig, Vane, and their friends were defeated. The
second House remained as it had been constituted by Cromwell; the
attacks directed against the internal and external policy of the
dead Protector also failed. The great name of Cromwell still
protected his work and his son.

Then began a fresh toil; two powers were in opposition,
Parliament and the army. In their blind hatred of the
Protectorate, which claimed, they said, to oppress them, the
Republican leaders undertook to foment the natural jealousy which
existed between the politicians and the soldiers, in order to
compel the Protector to lean for support upon one of the two
parties, thus destroying beforehand all equilibrium in the
government.

The situation could not possibly be sustained; a catastrophe was
rapidly approaching. Cromwell had been able, although with great
difficulty, to caress and misuse in turns the revolution which he
had accomplished, and the army which he had conducted to victory;
neither to Parliament nor to the army was Richard anything. He
still possessed the majority in the House; but when, by the aid
of the alarm of the moment and the services of the adherents of
his father, he triumphed over his enemies, it was for him a
barren victory: the day was coming when, placed between the army
and Parliament as a powerless moderator, he was to fall a victim
to the blows which were aimed at each other by these two great
enemies, for he could neither conciliate them nor choose between
them without peril.

{288}

In a moment of weakness, without consulting his surest friends,
Richard had yielded to the solicitations of Fleetwood and
Desborough, who demanded of him the convocation of a general
council of the officers, summoned to agree amongst themselves and
with the Protector. This was forming a hostile and rival assembly
in opposition to Parliament. The House of Commons complained. The
Republican leaders alone, by a sudden change, manifested some
alarm at the idea of the disaffection of the army. Alarmed at the
constant albeit silent progress of the Royalists, Vane, Haslerig,
and their friends, had secretly become reconciled with the
officers. The House carried out its schemes and voted that the
council general of the officers could not assemble without the
authority of the Protector and of the two Houses of Parliament.
Lord Broghill proposed to Richard that he should himself dissolve
the council. "How am I to proceed?" said the Protector in
embarrassment. "I will compose your speech for you." Accordingly,
on the morrow Richard arrived at the council which was being held
at Wallingford House; he listened for an hour to the discussion,
then, rising suddenly, "Gentlemen," he said, "I gratefully accept
your services; I have examined your grievances and I think that
the best means of redressing them is to confer about them with
Parliament, which will do you justice. I therefore annul the
orders that I gave for your assembling, and I invite you all to
return to your various commands."

{289}

Surprised and exasperated, the malcontents did not dare to resist
in the face of the Protector. They retired, but shortly
afterwards meeting Lord Broghill in the House of Lords, some of
the leaders of the army, turning towards him, loudly demanded
that an address should be presented to the Protector, in order to
ascertain who had counselled him to thus dissolve the council of
war without having previously informed the whole Parliament of
his design. "Since such an address is proposed," said Lord
Broghill, "I in my turn propose another: it must also be learnt
who counselled the Protector to assemble a council of war without
the previous knowledge and approbation of Parliament; it will be
seen which of these two councils is the more guilty." Courageous
frankness impresses the most impetuous: the two propositions
remained without result. But the situation became day by day more
difficult; the struggle was more flagrant between the House of
Commons and the army. Notwithstanding the prohibitions of the
Protector and the House, the council of officers continued to
assemble at Wallingford House, concealing its strength and
preparing its blows. The friends of the Protector urged him to
action. "A bold hand, supported by a good head is necessary
here," said Lord Howard; "Lambert, Desborough, Fleetwood, and
Vane are the leaders of all this. Simply give me your sanction,
and I will rid you of them; for your honor, lend to my zeal the
support of your name." Ingoldsby joined his solicitations to
those of Howard, proposing to take charge of Lambert, who was
looked upon as the most dangerous.
{290}
Richard continued to hesitate. "I have never done anybody any
harm, and I never will," he said; "I will not have a drop of
blood spilt for the preservation of my greatness, which is a
burden to me." Howard persisted. "I thank you for your
friendship," the Protector said at length, "but let us speak no
more of it; violent counsels do not suit me." Howard left
Whitehall. Released from the two Cromwells, whom he had loyally
served, he now, like Lord Broghill, thought only of preparing the
return of Charles Stuart.

The Cavaliers yet hoped to involve the Protector himself in their
cause, and made redoubled advances towards him, but Richard
declined. As honest almost as he was weak, while a Royalist by
inclination, he was loth to betray his name and his cause, or to
attempt serious enterprises by himself. He had for a moment
sought a support in Monk, offering him a pension of twenty
thousand pounds sterling if he would take up his cause and defend
him against his enemies; but Monk, more shrewd than hasty, had
been content to reply, "Let the Protector keep his money; it will
be of more service to him than my adherence."

The enemies whom Richard dreaded, and against whom he wished to
enroll the able commander of the army in Scotland, were in
greater haste than the latter. They desired to obtain from the
Protector the dissolution of the House of Commons, the real
object of their fears and of their wrath. Richard obstinately
refused to grant this object. It was resolved to compel him. The
Protector, being well informed, sent for Fleetwood; he did not
reply, but repaired to St. James's, where were already assembled
a great number of officers.
{291}
The whole army was soon convoked. A counter-order from the
Protector summoned him to Whitehall. A few colonels, faithful to
Richard, would have brought their regiments to him; the majors
and sub-alterns had already ordered the soldiers to proceed
towards St. James's. The very guards of the Protector disbanded;
he found himself almost alone. It was on the 21st of April, at
midday, Desborough arrived at Whitehall, and, with his accustomed
uncouthness, declared to Richard that if he wished to dissolve
Parliament, the officers would take care of him and of his
interests; otherwise, they would effect the dissolution without
him, and would leave him to extricate himself from the difficulty
as he could. The poor Protector yet hesitated; he assembled some
of his most trusty friends: Whitelocke alone spoke against the
dissolution, being prudently resolved not to mix himself up in
it; the necessity was urgent. Richard yielded, and, on the
morrow, April 22d, as the Commons were assembling in their hall,
the Usher of the Black Rod invited them to the House of Lords,
without informing them, however, that the Secretary of State,
Furniss, awaited them there with the decree of dissolution. A few
members left at once; but the immense majority remained
motionless in their seats, notwithstanding a second summons from
the usher. At length, accompanying the speaker in a body to his
coach, in the presence of the soldiers placed at the door of
Parliament, the House of Commons, which had no desire to hear the
reading of its own death-warrant, adjourned until the following
Monday morning to resume its labors.

{292}

On the same evening the decree of dissolution was published, and
padlocks were placed upon the door of the House of Commons. The
monarchical government attempted by Cromwell and the only
Parliament freely elected since the death of Charles I. fell
together. The phantom of the Republic, conjured up by the army,
arose and took its stand between England and royalty.


[Image]
Charles II.

{293}

                   Chapter XXIX.

    The Restoration Of The Stuarts (1659-1660).

The downfall of the Protector was accomplished, although he still
resided at Whitehall. The question was that of founding a
government. The leaders of the army looked with little favor upon
the Republic; they had strongly supported and participated in the
tyranny of Cromwell, and they dreaded the increasing progress of
the Royalists; it was against them that they had allied
themselves with the old Republican leaders in order to submit to
their yoke a phantom Protector. It was also in opposition to them
that they resolved to exterminate all that remained of the
Republic, the remnants of the Long Parliament expelled by
Cromwell in April, 1653.

It was a mere handful of men, the majority already old and
wearied by political struggles, who thus assembled together on
the 7th of May, 1659, and returned to that place of assemblage
from which they had been so roughly ejected; forty-two members
only were there, their former speaker, Lenthall, at their head.
The latter had for a long time hesitated, wishing to preserve
what he already called his peerage in the new House of Lords of
Cromwell; but when the line of members passed near his door, he
joined them, being unable to resist the desire to see once more
the hall of the Long Parliament. The general officers awaited
them at the door, congratulating them as they passed in, and
promising to live and die with them.

{294}

Scarcely had they been restored and placed once more in
possession of the government by the leaders of the army, when the
Republicans of the Long Parliament found themselves confronted
with legal difficulties. The Presbyterians, excluded from the
House of Commons in 1648, claimed their seats; fourteen of them
presented themselves at the door in the name of their companions
in misfortune: there were two hundred and thirteen of them. The
Republicans peremptorily repelled them. Prynne contrived to slip
into the Hall, and he remained imperturbably in his place,
notwithstanding the insults of Haslerig and Vane. The sitting was
declared closed. Prynne was the last to leave; but when he
returned in the evening every outlet was guarded, and placards
posted up in all parts confirmed the exclusion already pronounced
against all members who had been strangers since 1648 to the
sittings of the Long Parliament. "A worse and more oppressive war
against the Commons," said Prynne, "than was ever waged against
them by the beheaded king and the Cavaliers."

Weak in appearance and in reality, the Republican chiefs were
courageous and sincere, profoundly devoted to their cause, and
irrevocably involved in its fate. They hastened to strike another
blow at the shadow of the Protectorate, which was still retained
by Cromwell. Haslerig intimated to him orders to quit Whitehall.
Richard received the message and the messenger with scornful
haughtiness. He lent ear to the solicitations of the Cavaliers,
who were secretly assiduous in their attentions to him as well as
to his brother Henry, who was still Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland
and powerful in the midst of his army.
{295}
The Protector was moreover burdened with debts. ... Whitehall
afforded him a place of refuge against his creditors. It was only
six weeks later, when Parliament guaranteed him against any
proceedings, that Richard at length consented to abandon the
remains of his greatness. "My past conduct," he wrote to
Parliament, "has afforded evidence, I think, of my submission to
the will of God, and also of how far I esteem the peace of my
country beyond my own interests. ... Counting, like all other
men, upon the protection of the present government, I consider
myself bound to live quietly under its laws, and to do whatever
depends on me in order that the persons upon whom I may have some
influence may do likewise." Parliament took charge of all his
debts, and granted, on the 16th of July, to "Richard Cromwell,
eldest son of the late Lord General Cromwell," a yearly income of
£10,000 sterling. For this price Richard consented to quit
Whitehall and Hampton Court. As his personal effects were being
carried away, he specially recommended to his attendants two old
trunks lying in his apartment. One of his friends asked him what
they contained. "Nothing less," said Richard, "than the life and
fortune of all the good people of England." The two cases were
full of the addresses which, on his accession, had come to him
from all parts, placing at his disposal the fortune and the life
of the whole nation, of which his government, they affirmed, was
the salvation.

{296}

The retirement of Henry Cromwell was less disputed, if not less
bitter; he even preserved his dignity in the matter. Being
recalled to England, on the 7th of June, by Parliament, which had
decided that Ireland should be governed by five commissioners, he
sent his formal resignation on the 15th of June. "I adhere," he
said, "to the present government, although I cannot promise it
the devotion which others may honestly bring to it. ... I am not
fitted to serve you in the construction of the edifice which you
wish to raise upon a new basis. But, inasmuch as I can lend
myself to nothing which should detract in any degree from the
merit and glory of my father, I thank the Lord who has preserved
me from succumbing to a temptation with which I have often been
beset, that of deserting the cause for which my father lived and
died."

The Royalists were in consternation; they had counted upon the
support of Henry Cromwell. "Richard has retired into Hampshire,"
Hyde was informed by letter, "having in his purse no money, and
out of his purse no friends. Henry is at the residence of his
father-in-law, in Cambridgeshire. Claypole, who is really very
poor, is in hiding in consequence of his debts, and causes it to
be reported that he is in France. The fortune of the old woman is
much below what was believed, and Falconbridge is not at all
proud of the union." Such a fall for the Cromwells, and such a
mistake on the part of the Royalists was a double victory for
Parliament.

It soon gained a more decided success. Monk declared himself in
its favor. Despising anarchy like an old soldier, and dreading it
for his own fortune as well as for his country, Monk always
rallied, without devoting himself to it, around the power which,
for the moment, appeared to him the best able to govern. After
the expulsion of the Long Parliament he had supported and served
Cromwell.


[Image]
Portrait Of Monk.


{297}

When Richard Cromwell was overthrown he decided for the same
reasons, and within the same limits, to support the Long
Parliament when it was recalled. It was a great joy for London;
the House hastened to manifest to Monk its satisfaction in the
matter, but when it desired to remove some officers from the army
in Scotland, Monk immediately wrote to the speaker, "He heard it
said that the House intended to make some modifications in his
list of officers; it certainly did not know the officers in
person, or their qualities or their shortcomings; it judged of
them according to instructions which others furnished to it; he
thought himself, he, the general, as worthy of being believed as
anybody; he assured the House that the officers who had been
denounced to it were honest and staunch men, and he would answer
for their fidelity as well as for their good conduct." The House
took alarm; it drew back; the officers who had been dismissed
remained at their posts and were not replaced. Monk thus grew in
importance in England as in Scotland, in Parliament as in the
army. While distrusting him, the House sought to conciliate him
as a necessary support, and he served it without belonging to it.

A mutual understanding appeared now to reign at home between
Parliament and the army. Abroad, the Republic was engaged in a
prudent and sensible policy which was already bearing its fruits.
After some hesitation, Mazarin had recognized the Republic, and
Lockhart, who continued its ambassador at the court of France,
accompanied the cardinal to Fontarabia, where peace with Spain
was in course of negotiation. He on the other hand was engaged in
negotiating for a cessation of hostilities between Spain and
England.
{298}
The war still continued between Sweden and Denmark. England had
hitherto supported Sweden, and Holland had remained faithful to
Denmark. The plenipotentiaries of the Republic, commissioned to
settle the question of the Baltic, which disturbed the peace of
the North, the commerce of England, and the harmony of the
Protestant States, having failed to overcome the obstinacy of the
King of Sweden, it was soon perceived that England had changed
its policy. "I foresee, by the language of Mr. Downing," wrote
John De Witt to his ambassador in London, "that England is
determined to vigorously prosecute the war with Sweden, if his
Majesty continues to refuse to make peace on the proposed
conditions. I hope that God will grant a happy ending to all
this." These were real successes for the Republic, and obtained
by the fidelity of its chiefs to their cause, and by their
intelligent activity in the exercise of their power; but these
successes and merits were in vain. The Republicans remained an
isolated coterie, repugnant to the nation, which believed neither
in their right nor in the permanence of their influence. The most
eminent of its chiefs, Vane himself, preserved for the Republic a
devotion devoid of hope. "The king," he said, "will one day or
other take the crown again; the nation is disgusted with every
other government."

{299}

The Royalists had hoped for a more rapid success, and a more
prompt realization of the painful forebodings of Vane. Remaining
inactive hitherto, in the expectation of a conflict between
Parliament and the army, they had counted upon the revolt of
Monk; then upon that of Henry Cromwell; then upon that of
Lockhart; and their expectant policy exasperated the new
Royalists who every day became more numerous. "It is the most
passive and indifferent of the parties," said Mordaunt, one of
the best recruits whom King Charles had made; "I endeavor with a
heavy heart to struggle against this tide of baseness which
invades us, and to shake off this fatal lethargy." Mordaunt did
himself and his friends an injustice; their efforts did not
remain unproductive. A general insurrection was resolved upon in
the eastern, midland, and western counties. The old or new
Royalists, Cavaliers, and Presbyterians, prepared for it with
ardor. The king placed himself at the disposition of his
partisans, being quite ready to land at their call at the place
which should be chosen for him. He even offered to Admiral
Montague, if he would declare himself for him, to proceed
immediately aboard his vessel, and make sail with him for
England.

Parliament was upon its guard. Sir Charles Willis continued to
inform Thurloe of what was going forward among the Royalists, as
he had but recently served Cromwell. The Royalists betrayed
themselves by their foolish confidence. The organization of the
militia was urged forward; six new regiments were formed in the
city. The three regiments which had served in France were
recalled. The strictest supervision was everywhere exercised over
the Royalists; a certain number of them were arrested; many great
noblemen hesitated. The king was at Calais, where the Duke of
York soon arrived; but the prince was the bearer of sad tidings;
irresolution had borne its fruits; the insurrection was deferred;
nobody dared any longer urge the king to proceed to England.
{300}
In some place in Cheshire, a plain Presbyterian gentleman, Sir
George Booth, more bold than the other conspirators, or being
warned later of the postponement, raised the royal standard and
organized the struggle against the Republic. The king did not
lose courage. The Prince of Condé offered him troops, and even
spoke of accompanying him to England. Turenne, on the other hand,
offered him his own regiment of infantry, twelve hundred men
strong, and the Scotch men-at-arms, with provisions and
ammunition. The Duke of Bouillon, a nephew of Turenne, conducted
the first detachment to Boulogne himself, and was preparing to
embark with the Duke of York, when it was learnt that Sir George
Booth had been defeated by Lambert, that his friends were
dispersed or captured, and that the Royalist insurrection,
annihilated by one single blow in the only part in which it had
been attempted, no longer offered to the king and his allies any
support.

Sir George Booth, who had taken up arms on August 1st in
Cheshire, might in effect have conceived some hopes; during the
first days he had seen numerous volunteers hasten to place
themselves under his banner, among others the Earl of Derby, son
of him who had perished upon the scaffold after the battle of
Worcester. The king had been proclaimed in several towns, and the
insurgents were occupying Chester, when Lambert marched against
them with six thousand men. Some hesitation had prevailed as to
entrusting the forces of Parliament to him, but he was accounted
able and fortunate. On August 6th he confronted Booth, who
attempted to enter into negotiations with him. Lambert repelled
all advances, vigorously urged forward the attack, and defeated
almost without any fighting the brave but inexperienced men who
held the city.
{301}
Chester and Liverpool returned once more into the power of
Parliament. The Earl of Derby and Sir George Booth were arrested
and conducted to the Tower. The prisons of London were filled
with Royalists. It was found necessary to hire a portion of the
buildings of the archbishop's palace at Lambeth to lodge the
prisoners in. Parliament was triumphant, and the confiscations of
the property of the insurgents went to fill its coffers; but it
did not forget the perils of its situation, and it treated the
vanquished with leniency. Sir John Grenville and several others
were set at liberty after a simple examination. The king, who was
much grieved, set out for the Pyrenees, in order to seek in
Mazarin and Don Luis de Haro, who were there negotiating for a
reconciliation between the two crowns, some hope of recovering
his own. He could not promise himself any great success in this
attempt. The polite attentions of Don Luis de Haro were as empty
as they were assiduous, and Mazarin bestowed great consideration
upon Lockhart, who was still the ambassador of the Republic. "We
see how the Spaniards treat you," Hyde was told in a letter from
England, "that the French betray you, and that the Dutch have
already declared themselves against you." "If our friends could
stand upon their legs," said Ormond, who had joined the king in
Spain, "until the cardinal should think that it would depend upon
him to cause the balance to turn and to have all the honor of it,
he would then probably involve France in our cause.
{302}
But in order that he should have that conviction, it would be
necessary that his judgment, which is very acute, should count
almost upon the infallibility of success, and meanwhile he will
live on good terms, no matter by what means, with the Republic
and with its very able minister, Lockhart, for whom he has a very
great regard." Charles was not successful in obtaining an
audience with the cardinal.

Meanwhile Lambert did not hasten to return to London. Parliament
had solemnly testified its gratitude by sending him a jewel of
great value; but the victorious general marched through the
country, sounding the population as to their inclination, and
even paying attentions to the vanquished Royalists. It was soon
learnt that a petition, signed by his officers, had arrived in
London. Parliament demanded it from Fleetwood, who brought it the
same evening. It was a renewal of the wishes already expressed a
week after the return of Parliament by the council-general of the
army. The desire was that Fleetwood should become
general-in-chief, and that Lambert should be his major-general.
The House rejected the petition, simply commissioning Fleetwood
to reprimand the officers; but the challenge was thrown down, the
struggle had begun, and even in the midst of Parliament the army
found allies. Vane, who was more pliant than Haslerig, and was
determined to save the Republic at any price, had entered into
relations with the officers and lent them his support. This noble
but visionary character, carried away by his political and
religious passions, had already sacrificed the people to the
sectaries. He allowed himself in this instance to be impelled to
sacrifice Parliament to the soldiers, always obtaining his
support from lower down as his cause declined, and seeking his
own safety in the abandonment of his principles and of his
friends.


[Image]
Lambert.


{303}

The council of officers assembled together by Fleetwood did not
insist upon the petition of the troops of Lambert, but he
prepared another, an offensive compound of hypocrisy and
arrogance. On the 5th of October, Desborough, accompanied by some
of his comrades, carried the address to the bar of Parliament.
The House, forewarned, received the petition without any sign of
dissatisfaction, and promised to occupy itself with its
consideration on the following Saturday, the 8th of October. At
the approach of the crisis, and under the attentive eyes of the
country, which was opposed to the two revolutionary factions, all
felt unnerved, none would provoke the rupture nor accept the
responsibility of it. On the morning of the 12th of October, the
discussion had already begun when the House learnt that the
petition of the officers was circulating in the army, accompanied
by a letter of Lambert, Desborough, and seven other generals,
asking for the support of the troops. Great indignation was
aroused; Lambert and the other signitaries of the letters were
immediately dismissed from their posts. Fleetwood, who was
compromised, though he had not signed, lost the command-in-chief
of the army, which was entrusted to seven commissioners, he being
one of their number. Haslerig encamped around Parliament those
regiments which were relied upon, and the troops, cantoned in the
environs of London, were summoned in great haste. On the 13th of
October, in the morning, Westminster and its neighborhood
presented on all sides the aspect of a camp.

{304}

Lambert meanwhile had arrived, notwithstanding a missive which he
had received during the night: "Place yourself in safety
to-morrow," he was told, "otherwise your head is in peril."
Haslerig had conceived the project of causing him to be shot upon
the spot. The soldier stole a march upon the member of
Parliament; at the head of his own regiment of infantry he
overran the streets, caused those thoroughfares by which the
members could repair to their posts to be barred, cut off all
communication with the city, and marched upon Westminster.
Arriving near the palace, he found himself face to face with
Colonel Morley, who held a pistol in his hand. "I will fire upon
you if you move one step farther," said the latter. "Colonel,"
replied Lambert, "I would go there if I pleased; but I will take
another way," and he turned off, entering at the same time with
Colonel Moss upon a discussion which soon became a parley. The
guards of Parliament had just passed by Lambert, when the coach
of Speaker Lenthall was arrested by a detachment. Lenthall
persisted in his determination to proceed; the soldiers laughed,
proposing to take him to Fleetwood, who would furnish him with
explanations. "If Lieutenant-general Fleetwood has anything to
say to me," replied Lenthall, "he can come and say it to me at my
house," and he returned there unmolested.

Meanwhile matters did not progress; the public were undecided;
the streets were filled with indifferent passers-by who went as
usual about their business; the soldiers belonging to the two
parties chatted together and appeared determined not to come to
blows.


[Image]
Lambert confronted by Colonel Morley.


{305}

A few members had succeeded in penetrating into the House of
Parliament by way of the Thames; they were summoned to the
Council of State, which had assembled. Lambert and Desborough
repaired thither. A negotiation was entered into. Colonel
Sydenham justified the act of the army. "Providence makes it a
necessity for us," he said; "it is our last remedy." Bradshaw,
who was old and in bad health, rose, exclaiming, "It is a
detestable act, and one which I abhor. Being about to appear
before God, I cannot bear to hear His name blasphemed." He
quitted the council, to die a fortnight afterwards, despondent
but indomitable. The parleying still continued; necessity weighed
upon all; they could neither fight nor become reconciled.
Parliament at length yielded; it was agreed that it should cease
to sit, and that the council of officers should undertake to
preserve the public peace until the convocation of a new
Parliament. The troops withdrew into their quarters, and, owing
to the weakness on both sides, the Long Parliament quietly
quitted that hall from which Cromwell, six years before, had
driven them forth amid much commotion. Lambert remained master of
the battlefield without having won the victory.

This was the death-blow of the Republican party, struck by its
own hand. The Royalists, vanquished and inactive, but filled with
ardor and hope, contemplated the death-throes of their enemies
with a joy mixed with anxiety. In the midst of these internal
struggles of the rivalry of Fleetwood and Lambert, Haslerig and
Vane, all eyes were turned frequently towards Monk, who remained
quiet in Scotland, at the head of his army. Conciliated and
sought after by the leaders of the most opposite parties, he
received all instructions, repelled no advances, displayed
uniform good feeling while remaining taciturn, and led all to
hope to secure him without surrendering to any.
{306}
He had neither principles, nor passions, nor any great political
ambition; but he was earnest and shrewd, and would only support a
strong power, which appeared to him equal to its task, and which
inspired in him some confidence in its duration. Since the death
of Cromwell, he had been biding his time.

At the bottom of his heart, by natural instinct as well as by
family tradition, Monk was a Royalist. At the time of the great
insurrection of the Cavaliers, the king himself had written to
Monk, soliciting his services, and the general appeared to have
taken his side. He had already given orders to make sure of
Edinburgh and Leith, when a return of his customary prudence
arrested him. "Gentlemen," he said, to the few persons who were
in possession of his secret, "it will do us no great harm to
await the news of to-morrow's post. Lambert has marched against
Booth; he is now grappling with him; we shall then know whether
Booth really has the forces which are attributed to him, and
whether it is probable that our succor makes success certain." On
the morrow it was learned that Booth had been defeated, and that
the Royalist insurrection had been ruined. Republican officers
abounded at the residence of the general, rejoicing, and loudly
congratulating themselves on the success of Lambert. "I wish,"
said Monk, "that Parliament would pass a law declaring that
whoever should only speak of re-establishing Charles Stuart,
shall be hanged." The conversation became animated; the Church
was attacked as well as the Stuarts.
{307}
"We shall have neither peace nor repose," said a certain Captain
Poole, "as long as there is a parish priest and a steeple." Monk
rose, being at length angry. "Very fine, captain; if you or your
party are still inclined to demolish, I will also demolish, on my
side." He seldom lost his temper, and his authority was
respected; his officers held their peace and retired. While the
confidants of the generals were congratulating themselves upon
his prudence, which had saved them from great danger, Price, his
chaplain, asked, "What would you have done, however, general, if
the news of the defeat of Booth had only arrived after our
project had been revealed?" "I would have secured Edinburgh
Castle and the citadel of Leith," replied Monk. "Some officers
and many soldiers would have followed me, and I should have
raised all Scotland in insurrection."

The reply was as judicious as it was bold, for Monk could rely
upon his army; but he also knew that the good disposition of the
masses is of service only when it is invoked opportunely and
under favorable circumstances. He was struck with the danger
which he had incurred, and he resolved upon the most complete
inaction. His brother Nicholas, the bearer of verbal messages
between him and his cousin, Sir John Grenville, had not been as
discreet as might have been desired; the general reprimanded him
sharply, declaring to him that if ever the affair should be
discovered by his act or by Grenville, he would contrive to ruin
them both, rather than allow himself to be ruined by them.

{308}

Monk was beginning to recover somewhat from his first
discouragement, when news arrived at Dalkeith that Lambert had
turned out Parliament, and that on the eve of its expulsion the
House had nominated Monk as one of the seven commissioners
entrusted with the government of the army. Monk immediately
resolved upon his course of action. He repaired to Edinburgh and
caused the troops to be assembled together. "The army of
England," he said, "has expelled Parliament; in their uneasy and
ambitious frame they claim to govern altogether themselves, and
prevent any sound establishment for the nation. They will soon go
as far as to desire to impose their violent pretensions upon the
army of Scotland, which is neither inferior nor subordinate to
them. As for me, I consider myself compelled by the duty of my
position to keep the military power in obedience to the civil
power; it is from Parliament that you have received your
commissions and your pay: you should defend it. I hope that in
this you will all obey me willingly; but if there are any among
you who think otherwise, they are at liberty to quit the service;
they shall receive their passes." The troops responded with
acclamations, and the resolution of the Scottish army was
immediately notified to the English army, in order to remind it
of the engagements which it had violated, while Monk wrote
himself to Lambert and to Fleetwood, as well as to Lenthall,
declaring to all three that he was resolved to support and
defend, if need be, the cause of Parliament.

When the letters of Monk arrived in London, on the 28th of
October, they caused great commotion. The military leaders had
striven to construct a government, and had as yet only succeeded
in forming a council of safety, in which the members intrigued
against each other. Disorder smouldered in certain regiments. If
Monk should act for Parliament, what would ensue?
{309}
In what direction did he tend? What did he desire? Vane and
Whitelocke gave expression to their suspicions that he meditated
the return of Charles Stuart. Lambert offered to march against
Monk. "It is necessary to send negotiators to him to prevent so
dangerous a rupture," it was said. Three commissioners, among
whom was Clarges, brother-in-law of Monk, and secretly implicated
in all his designs, were commissioned to proceed and confer with
him, while Lambert, having been nominated commander of all the
forces of the North, set out for his post, being instructed to
fight Monk if the attempts at conciliation should collapse. The
army of England replied to the army of Scotland. Fleetwood
replied to Monk with the affectionate familiarity of an old
comrade wounded at heart as well as alarmed. Letters poured down
upon Dalkeith, now designed to awaken sympathy, now to sow
division.

The commissioners reached Monk. The general, for his part,
encountered grave embarrassments; the army of Scotland had coldly
responded to his advances; the governor of some important towns
of which he had wished to take possession had remained faithful
to the army of England. In a conversation with his
brother-in-law, Clarges, the latter asked him what was really his
design. "Do not think," he said, "that after this rupture you
might make your peace with the army of England. ... Those people
never placed confidence in you." "I must have a negotiation,"
said Monk, ever prudent, even with his most confidential friends;
"the time is against them." And he immediately convoked the
council-general of the officers, to confer with them.

{310}

The taciturn chief comprehended that in the great undertaking in
which he had embarked, the simple obedience of his agents was not
sufficient, and that their intelligent and voluntary assistance
was necessary. In the council which he formed he allowed anything
to be said, but spoke little himself. Two commissioners were
chosen by the general at the solicitation of the officers; he
refused to designate the third; the commissioner who was
nominated did not suit his views, but he did not complain, and
the three delegates immediately set out for London, encountering
Lambert on the way, who ill-humoredly suffered them to pass, when
he learnt that the first condition of the negotiations was the
recall of the Parliament which he had expelled.

Lambert, meanwhile, was in no hurry to come to blows. At York he
encountered Morgan, but recently appointed Major-General of the
Scotch army, who was proceeding to his post, when an attack of
gout arrested him on the way. Morgan loudly censured the conduct
of Monk. Lambert asked him whether he would not willingly devote
his efforts to paralyzing his influence over the army. Morgan
consented, and at the moment when the commissioners of the
general were quitting York to proceed to London to prosecute
their negotiation, Morgan on the other hand set out thence to
repair to Edinburgh on behalf of Lambert, to arrange with Monk or
to alienate his soldiers from him.

Monk received Morgan like an old friend and an officer to whom he
owed the greatest consideration. "I come," the latter said to
him, "to ask you whether you will lay down your arms, and become
reunited in friendship with Fleetwood and Lambert." "If they wish
to re-establish Parliament," replied Monk, "I shall not have much
to say."
{311}
"I have promised to put the question to you," said Morgan, "but
not to take back the answer. I am not a politician, but I am
certain that you are a friend of the country, and I am ready to
take part in anything you may do." At the same time the messenger
of Lambert delivered to Monk a letter of the chaplain of Fairfax,
Dr. Bowles, offering to the general of the army of Scotland the
assistance of the former general of the Long Parliament, and of a
great number of gentlemen of Yorkshire, provided he would declare
himself against the established form of government more clearly
than he had done in his declaration.

"I am asked for that which would ruin me," said Monk; "I am
already at sufficient pains to persuade the army that I do not
propose to bring back the king." And he continued in his
falsehoods. But before proceeding to bring his quarters nearer to
the frontier, he came to an understanding with the principal
Scottish noblemen, and with a certain number of deputies of the
towns, entrusting to them the safety of Scotland, and asking them
to cause the arrears of taxes to be paid and to preserve order.
They would willingly have offered more, but Monk contrived to
restrain their zeal, and he was able to cope with the elements of
division which the commissioners of the army of England sought to
sow among his troops. They did not always act with tact. One day,
General Deane, specially sent by Fleetwood, passed in front of a
company of infantry. "Lambert is marching upon you," said he,
"and all the army of Monk will not be a breakfast for him." "The
cold weather then will have given Lambert," said the offended
soldiers, "a good appetite if he eats our pikes and swallows our
bullets."
{312}
Monk sent back Deane, reprimanding him for his arrogance, and he
was at Haddington on the road to England, on the 18th of
November, 1659, when he received despatches from the Committee of
Safety. Scarcely had Monk read them when he re-entered his room
without saying a word, and on the morrow returned to Edinburgh.

It was a treaty comprising nine articles for the reconciliation
of the two armies, concluded in London in three days by the
emissaries of Monk, who had been circumvented and trifled with by
the Republicans. There was no question involved in it of the
re-establishment of the Long Parliament. All the declarations
against Charles Stuart were renewed, and the dissolution of the
Scotch army was prepared for by the revision to which the titles
of the officers appointed by Monk were to be subjected. It was
the ruin of the general, of his power, his partisans, and his
schemes.

On his return to Edinburgh, where the news was already
circulating. Monk found his staff strongly agitated. He was
walking to and fro in silence in the council-chamber when his
chaplain, Gumble, entered. "I come to make a trifling request,"
he said to the general. "What is that?" "I beg you will have the
goodness to sign me a pass for Holland. There is at Leith a
vessel ready to set sail, and I am anxious to take the
opportunity." "What! you desire to leave me?" "I don't know how
your Highness will provide for your own safety when your command
is taken from you; but as for a poor devil like myself I don't
wish to remain in their power. I know what would happen to me if
I did." "Is it to me that you make all these reproaches?" asked
Monk sharply. "Let the army hold for me and I will hold for the
army."
{313}
All present exclaimed that they were ready to live or die with
their general. The same impulse communicated itself to all the
army. The malcontents did not dare to show their dissent. It was
suggested that the treaty should be simply rejected. Monk
contented himself with declaring by the council of officers that
certain articles were obscure, and that negotiations must be
reopened. The messengers of the Committee of Safety were sent
back to their masters with these new propositions; the army of
Scotland, continuing its march, removed its headquarters to
Berwick.

It was there that the general received, at the end of November, a
letter signed by nine members of the old Council of State, who
had met in secret in London under the presidency of Scott, who
conferred on him the title of Commander-in-chief of all the
forces of England and Scotland. The shrewd instincts of Monk had
not deceived him. Time and the very foundation of affairs were
working more effectively for him than all the intrigues. The
party of the army became more and more disorganized. Lambert,
without funds, at the head of troops discontented and divided,
had caused secret proposals to be addressed to the king,
promising to re-establish him on the throne on condition that he
should marry his daughter. Fleetwood also made advances to the
Royalists. The politic Hyde treated with them all, not without
some contempt in the bottom of his heart. "If the two crowns of
France and Spain," he wrote, "would but declare openly that they
will have no dealings with these fanatics who have neither form
nor order of government, and who respect no rule either among
themselves or towards others, we should come to the end of our
work. The money which was required twenty years ago to buy five
of our manors in the west, would suffice now to purchase the
whole kingdom."

{314}

Hyde was mistaken. The kingdom was not to be bought, and
conscientious and indomitable devotion to the republic was not
wanting. But the general disposition of the nation, enlightened
and wearied by its own errors, was leading it back to Charles
Stuart. If the public feeling had not undergone a change, it
would have been in vain to buy the great personages who were
offering themselves to him.

At this moment and on the surface the cause of Parliament seemed
again to become popular; the governor of Portsmouth had summoned
Haslerig thither, who rallied round him his friends. The city of
London renewed its council by elections hostile to military
government. The fleet, commanded by Admiral Lawson, declared
itself in favor of Parliament. A rising gentry in the county of
York was preparing under the inspiration of Fairfax, who, like
Monk, was a Royalist, though he did not pronounce that word. Even
in the councils of the army there had been a talk of the recall
of Charles Stuart as the sole means of restoring peace to the
nation; but that idea had been hurriedly discarded. "We could
not," said he, "trust ourselves to him for our safety; for even
if he was himself well resolved to accomplish what he had
promised, his Parliament would not ratify his promises, and we
should be lost." The summoning of a new Parliament was then
resolved upon, and their meeting fixed for the 24th of January.
The soldiers even no longer obeyed their officers. They disbanded
themselves, and pillaged in the neighborhood of their garrisons.
{315}
Irritation and anxiety reigned on all sides. The Parliamentary
party felt that the moment had arrived. Scott and some other
members of the Council of State met in London at the residence of
Lenthall, and assuming in concert with him the power which no one
now retained, they ordered the troops to assemble in Lincoln's
Inn Fields in order to be passed in review by the Colonels Alured
and Oakey, men devoted to the cause of Parliament. The generals
being deserted retired. Desborough sought safety in the camp of
Lambert. Fleetwood, always weak, acknowledged his error; he sent
to Lenthall the keys of the House of Commons. Forty members
reassembled there on the evening of the 26th of December,
applauded by the soldiers who gathered on their way.

Monk had arrived at Coldstream, a little village situated on the
extreme border of Scotland. He received news at the same time of
the re-establishment of the Long Parliament and the precipitate
insurrection of Fairfax. The old general was threatened by
Lambert. Monk resolved to sustain him, still marching towards
London. On the 1st of January, 1660, in brilliant sunshine,
although the weather was extremely cold, the army of Scotland
crossed the Tweed, and the same day took up its first quarters on
English soil at Wooler, in the county of Northumberland.

The march of Monk towards London was not destined to be retarded
by any struggle. He received in the night letters from the
restored Long Parliament, which thanked him coldly without
undertaking to support him. The same messengers had borne to
Lambert's troops an order to disperse and to return to their
various quarters. Monk had no difficulty in perceiving that
little confidence was reposed in him: but that no one dared
undertake anything against him.
{316}
He continued to advance. Lambert's army was already disbanded
when he arrived at Newcastle. The general, abandoned by all, had
retired to a little country house. Everywhere on his route Monk
was received by the people with acclamations.

On the 11th of January Monk was at York _tête-à-tête_ with
Fairfax, who was detained by the gout. He offered, it is said, to
the old general of the Long Parliament the command of all the
forces which he could gather together for their common object.
Fairfax obstinately refused, declaring that to Monk alone that
command should belong in the interests of the success of his
plans. In the evening the general had a long conversation with
Fairfax's chaplain, Dr. Bowles. "What do you think of this?" said
Monk to his chaplain, Price. "Mr. Bowles, on the part of my Lord
Fairfax, has very warmly pressed me to remain here and declare
for the king." "And you have promised to do so, sir?" "No, truly,
I have promised nothing." They looked at each other. Price
continued: "After the death of the great Gustavus, king of
Sweden, I heard it related that when he entered Germany he said
that if his shirt knew of his intentions he would pull it off his
back and burn it. Do as he did, sir, until you are in London. You
will then see what is to be done." Monk had no need of Price's
counsel to be silent and dissemble. Being informed that an
officer had said that "Monk will end by bringing us back Charles
Stuart," he struck him publicly with his cane, threatening with
the same punishment any one who should dare to repeat the
calumny.
{317}
Meanwhile he advanced, being well informed of the state of public
feeling in London by his chaplain, Gumble, to whom he had
entrusted his letters to Parliament. "The prevailing and
governing influence of Parliament (wrote the latter) is reduced
into the hands of a few and inconsiderable persons, either
hair-brained and hot-headed fools or obscure and disregarded
knaves. They regard all those who have been in the service of
Oliver Cromwell, or who have adhered to the Committee of Safety,
as renegades from the good old cause. They are satisfied that
your inclination is for the king, and would willingly replace
Lambert at the head of their army to resist you. They are about
to confiscate the property of all the gentlemen who were engaged
in Sir George Booth's plot. ... These gentry, moreover, are
infinitely divided among themselves. But keep your troops well
about you, without which you are in the greatest peril."

Gumble had not exaggerated the picture of the miserable
dissensions in the lately restored Parliament. This handful of
Republicans who aspired to keep in subjection to the republic a
nation which obstinately rejected its authority, were still
divided and mutually persecuting each other. Whitelocke,
threatened with confinement in the Tower, was compelled to retire
into the country. Vane was sent to his residence at Raby. Ludlow
was summoned to return from Ireland to answer a charge of high
treason. They would gladly have made the Royalists the objects of
their anger and their attacks; but that party made no movement.
They did not dare to assail Monk, notwithstanding the suspicions
with which he was regarded. Parliament even voted a sum of money
in his favor. A letter was despatched to him, thanking him for
his great services and his march towards London.
{318}
At length it was decreed that two members selected from amongst
the most violent Republicans--Scott and Robinson--should be the
bearers of the acknowledgments of the gratitude of the House, and
should accompany him on his journey. The general was already at
Leicester when the delegates arrived at his headquarters.

Monk had not brought with him his entire army. Only 5,800 men
accompanied him, but his troops were sure. On setting foot in
England they had instituted the strict rule of camps--no more
councils, no more deliberations. The little army advanced
quietly, gently to the sound of the bells which greeted them on
their entry into the towns, confident in their general, and not
requiring to know whither he was leading them.

No one questioned Monk regarding his plans, but dissimulation
became every day more difficult. Everywhere people eagerly
gathered around him. The gentry and the citizens sought
interviews with him and opportunities of presenting addresses
expressing their regrets and their desires. As a rule these were
not Cavaliers--they were Presbyterians; sometimes men who had
previously become compromised among the opposition and who had
long served Parliament. No mention was made of king or monarchy.
Some required the return to Parliament of the members expelled in
1648; others demanded a new and free Parliament. Probably at the
instigation of Scott, Monk had already written to some of his
friends, who demanded the return of the excluded members, to
dissuade them from their design in the name of order and of unity
in the government. Now he scarcely replied to the pressing
appeals of his visitors, confining himself to receiving them with
courtesy, and always intrenching himself behind the civil
authority, which the two members of Parliament always at his side
were eager to exercise.
{319}
Scott became angry with the petitions and the petitioners. "I am
a very old man," he exclaimed one day, "and I could in any case
excuse myself from taking arms; but rather than see the present
Parliament hampered and nullified by the return of the excluded
members or by new elections, I would draw my sword and myself
shut the door against those men!" Amidst these explosions of
anger and tokens of haughtiness from his watchful visitors, Monk
remained cold and impassive. It suited him to let the public
ill-humor fall on them alone, and their presence to appear
evidently the cause of his taciturnity.

Scott and Robinson meanwhile continued to be anxious and
suspicious, and they had good cause. In approaching London, Monk
considered that the moment had arrived for acting with authority;
and without consulting the two commissioners, he despatched to
Parliament a letter prepared long before, which demanded the
removal to other quarters of the army of Parliament recently
reconstituted under the orders of General Butler. "I must tell
you in good truth," he wrote, "that I do not think it good for
your service that those soldiers in London, who once revolted
against you, should mingle with those who have proved to you
their fidelity." He undertook that his troops could easily do the
service required. The city was angry, and there was some
agitation; but the demand was granted. This movement of the
regiments which were compelled to leave London increased the
importance of the protection of the general, and when he entered
the Strand, on the 3d of February, at the head of his cavalry,
the interview between him and Lenthall was as courteous as it was
assiduous. Monk repaired to Whitehall, where he established
himself in the apartments of the Prince of Wales, which were
prepared to receive him.

{320}

Distrust and dissimulation cannot long confront each other
without bringing truth into the light of day. The general was
scarcely in London when ill-feeling began to break out between
him and the Parliament which he professed to serve. He had
refused the oath of abjuration of the monarchy and the Stuarts.
"I must have time to consider it," he said; "many worthy men in
my army have scruples regarding oaths; seven of my colleagues of
the Council of State have refused to take this. I desire to have
a conference with them on the subject." In a solemn sitting of
the House it had been complained that Monk had exhibited too
dictatorial a spirit and too much regard for popularity.
Notwithstanding the general's efforts at
dissimulation--notwithstanding the anger of the eager Royalists,
who wrote to Hyde, "Monk has thrown off the mask, he is openly
republican, he has played the wretchedest part imaginable!"--the
instinct of the masses drew them towards him as towards an
unexpected liberator. It was to Monk and not to the House that
they presented the addresses of the boroughs and the counties,
demanding a complete and free Parliament. All the rigors employed
by the House against the Royalists could not prevent them raising
their heads. "They talk very loud," said Whitelocke, "affirming
that the king will soon be in England."

{321}

A new and powerful ally had arisen for the secret projects of
Monk. The city of London, that hotbed of the Presbyterian and
reforming party whence the Long Parliament in the height of its
power had drawn support in its struggle against Charles I., now
openly raised against the feeble and mutilated Parliament the
standard of resistance. The Common Council decided that it would
not pay taxes imposed on the city until it saw the establishment
of a free and complete Parliament. This was both the moral and
material ruin of the power which was still sitting at
Westminster.

The anger which this excited was commensurate with the danger.
Parliament called on Monk and gave him orders to enter the city,
to pull down in the streets the chains and posts, to destroy the
gates, and arrest eleven of the rebellious citizens. The
conference lasted a long time. Monk returned home at three
o'clock in the morning, gloomy and anxious. At dawn of day, when
the soldiers received the order to march into the city, they
began to question among each other, not knowing what service they
were to be employed in. Those officers who rallied round the
general at an inn with the sign of "The Three Tuns," near
Guildhall, were in consternation, and they entreated him not to
require from them so odious a service. Monk walked to and fro in
the room. "Will you not obey the orders of Parliament?" he asked.
Some few understood him. They obeyed; the work of destruction
began. The citizens rushed out into the streets breathing rage
against their assailants. "Is this that General Monk who was to
bring us back the king? It is a Scottish devil. What new
misfortunes are we doomed to undergo?" The more influential
citizens sought an interview with the general.
{322}
"You would obtain from us much more easily by persuasion than by
force what you might reasonably demand," they said. Monk appeared
moved by this language. He consented to suspend his mournful
task. "I have good reasons for hoping," he wrote to the House,
"that they will pay the tax. I await your orders for continuing
the destruction of the gates and portcullis. They desire the
liberation of the members of the Court of Common Council who have
been arrested. I recommend that prayer to your serious
attention." And he added, "I humbly implore you to hasten to pass
the Elections Bill, so that the orders necessary for completing
the House may be despatched." The House did not yield to the
wishes of Monk, but gave him instructions to complete his work in
the city. He obeyed, notwithstanding the ill-humor of his
soldiers. "We have come from Scotland, where our old enemies
loved us, to oppress our friends here," they said. That evening
the city had lost all its ancient defences, and the general
returned to Whitehall.

There was great anxiety among the friends of Monk. As soon as he
had left the city they flocked around him. "The House," they
said, "distrusted him; in vain it pretended to be grateful. It
might at any moment deprive him of his command." There was urgent
necessity for recovering the shattered confidence of the city and
the Presbyterian party by declaring for a complete and free
Parliament. Monk hesitated, asking for two days to consult with
his officers, but his friends pressed him. A letter to Parliament
was drawn up, setting forth the grievances and the desires of the
country, and demanding that they should be satisfied by a day
fixed. This was signed by the general and fourteen superior
officers.
{323}
The document was conveyed to Parliament. Monk, at the head of his
troops, took the road to the city, which was alarmed and troubled
at seeing those from whom it had just received such harsh
affronts suddenly return. The Lord Mayor did not conceal from the
general the uneasiness of the citizens. "I come precisely,"
replied Monk, "to put an end to the misunderstandings which have
arisen between the city and me. Summon the Common Council for
four o'clock; I desire to have a conference with them." These
words sufficed to throw light on the situation. The Common
Council had been dissolved by Parliament. They sat down at the
council table. Presently two commissioners from Parliament
desired to be conducted into the presence of the general. These
were Scott and Robinson, who were the bearers of the thanks of
the House of Commons to Monk. He pressed them to return to
Whitehall. "Let the House do what I have advised them in my
letter," he said, "let it issue on Friday next the writs for
completing the Parliament, and all will be well." He dismissed
the two commissioners and repaired to the Guildhall. "The last
time that I visited you," he said on entering, "was on the most
disagreeable business that I have ever been charged with in my
life; and one altogether against my inclination. I come to-day to
tell you that I have this morning written to Parliament,
requesting that they will order within a week the elections which
will fill the vacant seats, and that they will dissolve on the
6th of May, to give place to a complete and free Parliament.
Meanwhile I have resolved that my army shall take up its quarters
in the city, there to wait in the midst of you until I have seen
my letter put in execution and your wishes fulfilled."

{324}

As he uttered these last words the voice of Monk was drowned in
acclamations. The news spread through the city with the rapidity
of lightning. Bonfires were lighted in all directions, into which
they cast all the rumps of beef or hind quarters of sheep that
they could find at the butchers. These were the "rumps" which
they roasted to the singing of staves, while dancing, and from
time to time drinking to the health of the king. The bells rang
out with all their power; the soldiers were surrounded and feted
on all sides. The intervention of Monk was necessary to preserve
discipline, and to quiet the people who talked of going in the
morning to drive the speaker from his seat, and Parliament from
its Hall.

Meanwhile the Republican Parliament felt that it had received a
mortal stab, and in its impotent rage it precipitately adopted
odious severities. Vane, who had secretly returned to London some
days before, received orders to return to his residence at Raby.
Ludlow came to bid him farewell. "Unless I am much mistaken,"
said Vane, "Monk has yet several masks to put off. For myself, my
conscience is at rest. I have done all that God enabled me to do
for the Commonwealth. I hope He will grant me strength enough for
my trials, however rough they may be, that I may still render to
His cause faithful testimony." This noble spirit, so sincere in
its visionary doctrines, had yet to suffer much, and was already
hardening himself against the prospect of martyrdom.

{325}

Monk seemed to have relapsed into his habitual mood of indecision
and silence. While the House was preparing the writs which were
to fill up the vacant seats, including those of the expelled
members, the general, still in courteous communication with it,
had interviews at the same time with the members who were pursued
by their old enemies, received daily messages from the Royalists,
who were becoming constantly more exacting regarding his real
intentions, and endeavored to establish a good understanding
between the officers and the Presbyterians, for whom he preserved
his old predilection. The situation, nevertheless, became every
day more strained. At length Monk resolved to do himself without
delay what he had not succeeded in bringing about by the mere
course of events with the adhesion of those who were concerned.
On the 21st of February, after obtaining from the excluded
members an undertaking to summon for the 20th of April following,
a complete and free Parliament, he left his fortified quarters in
the city, and assembling at Whitehall his new allies, "Return to
the House to fulfill your salutary task," he said; "not only will
the guards willingly allow you to enter, but I and the officers
under my orders, and I believe all the officers of these three
nations, will willingly shed our blood for the future
Parliament."

Under the escort of Major Miller, who commanded the general's
guard, the excluded members set out for Westminster. Other
officers were awaiting their arrival at the doors. They entered:
the House was silent but agitated. A few republican leaders rose
and went out. "This is your work," said Haslerig, crossing over
to Ashley-Cooper, "but it will cost you blood." "Your blood, if
you please," replied his colleague. The rest of the members kept
their seats. A letter from Monk arrived. It was read without
comment. The general had quitted his quarters in the city and
established himself in St. James's Palace.

{326}

It was thither that Haslerig and his friends repaired to learn,
as they said, from his own mouth, why he had opened the House to
the expelled members. "To free myself from their importunities,"
replied Monk; "I will take good care to prevent their doing any
mischief." "But will you, general, still join with us against
Charles Stuart and his adherents?" "I have often declared to you
that such is my determination," answered Monk, taking off his
glove, and placing his hand in that of Haslerig. "I do protest to
you once more that I will oppose to the utmost the setting up of
Charles Stuart, a single person, or a House of Peers. What is it
that I have done in bringing these members into the House to
justify your distrust? If others have cut off the head of
Charles, and that just justly; were not they the persons who
conducted him thither?" And to give support to his gross
duplicity he ordered the doors of the House of Lords to be shut
against the peers who had in previous times often supported
Parliament against the king, and who were anxious to resume their
sittings. Major Miller, the same officer who had conducted the
excluded members to the House of Commons, roughly thrust back the
peers, informing them that they could not enter.

It was of little consequence to the monarchical reaction whether
the peers were in a position to take part in it. In reopening to
the Presbyterians the House of Commons Monk struck a decisive
blow. The Republic was beaten. They had desired to reform the
monarchy, not to destroy it; and they returned to power resolved
to seek shelter in the only port which could restore peace to the
country. The king was not yet on his throne; but the Republic had
now neither arms nor ramparts wherewith to bar his passage.

{327}

The renewed Parliament soon gave the measure of its sentiments
and intentions. Monk was appointed commander of all the land
forces and Montague placed at the head of the fleet, a new
Council of State invested with powers of the most extensive kind
for keeping order, the Covenant posted up in all the churches,
and a considerable loan effected in the city, which hastened to
subscribe. The Royalists who had been kept in prison were
everywhere set at liberty. Under the standard of the Republic
still floating in the air the monarchy was visibly arising.
Henceforth masters in the House of Commons, the royalist
Presbyterians everywhere regained power.

In the presence of this reaction, which he had foreseen, Monk
remained silent and reserved, without attempting yet to expedite
or follow the movement which he did not repress, being solely
occupied with the army, which was fretful and disturbed even
under his command. He alone could control it; and he alone knew
how little was his influence over all those officers and soldiers
who were thinking of the future, and were jealous of the present
authority of Parliament, and looked back with regret to their
paramount influence under the name of the Commonwealth. Monk made
many changes of officers. He retained his power with a stronger
and a stronger hand, while still feeling it on the point of
deserting him.

It was on the eve of the day when Parliament was at length to
pronounce its own dissolution. In spite of all the agitations and
manœuvres of the Republicans, both civil and military, the House
now expiring had erased from its registers the oath of abjuration
of Charles Stuart and the monarchy.
{328}
A working painter, accompanied by some soldiers, and carrying a
ladder in his hand, approached a wall in the city near the Royal
Exchange, where eleven years before an inscription in Latin had
been placed, _Exit Tyrannus, regum ultimus, anno libertatis
Angliæ restitutæ primo, annoque Domini_ 1648. The workman
effaced the inscription, and threw his cap into the air,
exclaiming, "God bless King Charles II.!" The crowd joined its
acclamations, and bonfires were lighted on the spot.

It was the 16th of March: Parliament was discussing the form of
the writs of election. "In the name of the king," said Prynne.
"This Parliament has been in law dissolved since the death of the
king his father. King Charles II. alone can summon another." The
question was evaded; and the writs were despatched in the name of
the Trustees of the Liberties of England. Scott proposed that in
the powers accorded to the Council of State to treat with foreign
governments, one exception should be made, namely, that they
should not send any agent to Charles Stuart. A great tumult arose
in the chamber. "I move," exclaimed Mr. Crewe, an ardent
Presbyterian, "that, before separating, we shall testify that we
have not steeped our hands nor our consciences in the detestable
murder of the king, and that we hold that act in horror!" The
voice of Scott was heard in the midst of the confusion: "Although
to-day I know not where I may shelter my head, I acknowledge that
I took part in that affair, not only with my hand but with my
heart, and I wish for no greater honor in this world than to have
this inscription written on my tomb: 'Here lies a man who, with
both hand and heart, did approve the execution of Charles I.,
King of England.'"


[Image]
Effacing The Inscriptions.


{329}

Cries of reprobation stifled his words, and he left the House
with some of his friends, who were as untamable as himself. The
Dissolution Bill was adopted and the Long Parliament, which, in
spite of its many errors and disasters, was destined to occupy so
great a place in the history of its country, hastened to separate
amidst irreverent exhibitions of public delight. The turn of Monk
had come.

Of this he was aware, notwithstanding his habitual reserve and
prudence, and he consented at length to receive Sir John
Grenville, who was the bearer of the letter from the king to the
general, which he had refused to hand to the agents whom the
latter had sent. "I thank your excellency," said Grenville, "for
giving me the occasion to discharge myself of a trust of the
utmost importance for you and for the whole kingdom, which I have
long had in my hands." He tendered to Monk the letter of the
king. The latter took a step backwards without taking the letter.
"Have you considered well the danger you are running by daring to
propose to me such a business?" he asked. "Yes," replied
Grenville, "I have well considered it: nothing shall prevent my
obeying the king. Besides, your excellency cannot have forgotten
the message that you received in Scotland by the hands of my
brother." Without answering a word, and suddenly changing his
manner, Monk offered his hand to Grenville, embraced him in a
friendly manner, and slowly read the letter. "I hope," he said,
"that the king will pardon me the past, both as to actions and
words, for my heart has always been faithful to him. I am ready
not only to obey his Majesty, but to devote to his service my
life and fortune."
{330}
And he continued for some minutes to converse with Grenville on
the difficulties and perils of the situation, which were still
great, pointing out what, in his opinion, the king ought to do to
surmount them. Grenville asked him if he would not write all this
to the king, sending his letter by a man who was devoted to him.
"No," said Monk, "the best security is secrecy." When Grenville
returned on the morrow to receive his written instructions, the
general read them over to him twice. "You are quite sure you will
remember all that?" he asked. "Yes," replied Grenville. Monk
threw the paper into the fire. "Turn this over well in your
memory on the road. Be careful not to write it," he continued;
"say nothing to any one except to the king himself, and do not
return without putting the king out of Flanders."

In effect one of the counsels of Monk to the king was to leave
Spanish territory and establish himself at Breda. He asked for a
general amnesty, excepting only two or three persons; the
ratification of the sales of confiscated property, whatever might
have been the cause, and liberty of conscience for all the king's
subjects. Grenville was instructed to make the most magnificent
offers both for him and his friends. In spite of his avarice,
Monk had too much sense not to know that a man paid in advance
loses his value. "No," said he, "I will not bind the king to me
for any reward. Now I am able to serve him, I prefer his service
to his promises. Ask nothing, therefore, of him either for me or
my friends."

{331}

Great was the delight of Charles when Grenville arrived at his
court in Brussels. Some of the recommendations of Monk
nevertheless embarrassed him; and his most intimate friends, who
alone were made acquainted with the counsels of Monk, advised him
to begin by quitting Brussels. From Breda they could reply to
Monk. Till then it behooved them to preserve the most absolute
secrecy.

The king laughed in his sleeve on receiving the very different
proposals which soon arrived from London. The Presbyterian
leaders offered Charles to re-establish him on his throne,
provided he would accept the conditions that the Long Parliament,
then under the predominant influence of their party, had offered
to King Charles I. in the Isle of Wight. These were the
relinquishment for twenty years to Parliament of the command of
the forces on land and sea, the acknowledgment of the lawfulness
of the war that they had waged against Charles I., the abrogation
of the letters patent conferring peerages which he had granted
since he left London, and, finally, the confirmation of the right
of the Commons to adjourn to the time and place which should
please them. Strange propositions these for the restoration of
the monarchy. Their authors, however, were sincere in their
intentions, and they informed the king that he could not hope for
anything more favorable, so powerful still was the spirit of
opposition among the people. They added that they had great
difficulty in dissuading Monk from being much more exacting; and
they entreated the king to accept their offers without delay, for
hesitation might cost him the last chance of recovering his
crown.

{332}

A few meaningless words were the only reply given to the offers
of the Presbyterians, who persevered not the less in their work.
"Little do they think in England," said the king to Grenville,
"that General Monk and I are on so good terms. I myself should
have found it difficult to believe it if you had not yourself
brought me such good and secret intelligence from the general. My
restoration without conditions! This exceeds all that we could
hope here, and all that our friends in England expected, except
you." He received at the same time, with an easy amiability, the
offers of service and the homage which came to him on all sides
from the great nobles who had supported the cause of the Long
Parliament without desiring the Republic or the rule of Cromwell,
and whom neither Cromwell nor the Republic had favored. With
these there came like missives from Cromwellians
themselves--Thurloe at their head; and finally. Royalists who had
served the Commonwealth--Admiral Montague and Lord Broghill.
Foreign courts began to testify consideration for the exiled
monarch; Bordeaux approached Monk with discreet compliments in
the name of the cardinal: the Spaniards, perceiving King
Charles's return of fortune, would have liked to keep him in
their hands, and the king had some difficulty in escaping from
Brussels to repair to Breda, where he was soon joined by Hyde,
his most faithful as well as his ablest adviser, against whom,
however, all the manœuvres of the Presbyterians were directed,
who could not forgive him for his attachment to the Church of
England.

Scarcely was Charles established on the soil of the Netherlands,
when an unexpected piece of news threw him into the greatest
alarm. Lambert, imprisoned in the Tower since the middle of March
on the charge of fomenting a military conspiracy, had escaped
from his dungeon on the 16th of April by the connivance of
certain republican leaders. They traversed the counties of
Warwick and Northampton at the head of some insurgent squadrons
in the name of the Commonwealth, summoning to their standard all
malcontents. Certain corps already showed signs of wavering. No
one yet could estimate the proportions which this movement might
assume.

{333}

For a moment Monk had entertained the idea of marching against
Lambert; but he judged his presence in London more necessary. He
sent for Colonel Ingoldsby, and informing him what troops would
be available, "Be at Northampton three days hence," he said, "and
pursue Lambert till you overtake him." Ingoldsby obeyed. On the
22d of April (Easter Sunday) he found himself face to face with
the enemy. A little watercourse separated the two armies. There
was a parley. Lambert proposed to restore Richard Cromwell. "It
is you who overthrew him, and now you would raise him again,"
said Ingoldsby. "My orders are not to discuss, but to fight you."
One of Lambert's squadrons approached the enemy's line. Ingoldsby
advanced alone to meet it, conversing in a friendly way with the
soldiers. "Now to end the business," said Ingoldsby; and he
marched forward, giving the order to his troops not to fire till
they were close to the enemy. Lambert's cavalry dropped their
pistols without firing. Ingoldsby urged on his horse towards the
general. "You are my prisoner," he cried. Lambert put spurs to
his horse. Ingoldsby pursued him: he was well mounted, and
overtook the fugitive. Lambert surrendered, irretrievably beaten
and still more humiliated. On the 24th of April he returned to
the Tower.

{334}

It was the last expiring effort of the Republic; the elections
gave the death-blow. A few of the old leaders, respected or
influential in their counties or their boroughs--Ludlow, Scott,
Robinson, Hutchinson--alone succeeded in getting re-elected, and
these with difficulty. Even an express recommendation from Monk
did not support at Bridgenorth the candidature of Thurloe.
Royalists of every shade, old and new, Presbyterians or
Cavaliers, carried the elections in all directions. The Cavaliers
were the most numerous, but they were still prudent and
unassuming. The Presbyterians chose one of their number,
Grimstone, for Speaker of the new House. The peers, a small
number of whom had assembled in their House, were presided over
by Lord Manchester, a moderate Presbyterian. Scarcely had the two
Houses assembled, when they passed a vote of thanks to Monk; the
Lords decreed him a statue. The Commons extended their gratitude
even to Ingoldsby, who had suppressed the insurrection of
Lambert. Nothing less than the influence of Monk was certainly
required to determine so royalist a House to forget the regicide
in order thus to honor in Ingoldsby the obedience and courage of
the soldier.

The royalist reaction burst forth on all sides with violence and
disorder. The Cavaliers in certain parts took possession again of
the estates that had been taken from them. They even laid hand on
some which had never been theirs. The widow of Cromwell, Lady
Elizabeth, fled from London, leaving behind her, it was asserted,
concealed goods and jewels which she had taken from the royal
palaces. Terror spread among the revolutionary party; the
Royalists everywhere rushed to enjoy their triumph. The change of
masters was signalized by redoubled anarchy throughout the
country.

{335}

On the 27th of April Sir John Grenville presented himself at the
door of the Council of State, requesting leave to speak with the
Lord-general. Monk came out from the house; Grenville placed in
his hand a packet sealed with the king's arms. Monk seemed
surprised. The messenger was desired to enter. The president
inquired from whom he had received these letters. "The king, my
master," he answered, "gave them to me with his own hand." It was
determined that they should be handed to Parliament, that alone
had the right to receive them. Some one proposed to place
Grenville meanwhile under arrest. "I have not seen Sir John
Grenville for some years," said Monk, "but he is my near kinsman,
and I will answer for his presenting himself before the House."
Grenville retired at liberty.

Three days later, on the 1st of May, he was introduced to the
House of Commons, and he handed to the Speaker a letter from the
king, dated from Breda, "in the twelfth year of our reign." As
soon as Grenville had retired, Grimstone, standing and uncovered,
read aloud the king's letter. The House listened also standing
and uncovered. In the House of Lords the president rose, and went
to meet Grenville, accompanied by forty-one peers who were then
present; and the messenger, recalled shortly afterwards into the
House, received the thanks of the assembly.

The king's letters, written by Hyde, were elegant and simple.
They promised a general amnesty and liberty of conscience, with
only such exceptions or limits as Parliament should think well to
assign. All questions of delicacy were in like manner referred to
Parliament. The king preserved his freedom of action under the
pretext of his responsibility.
{336}
Similar declarations addressed to the city, the army, and the
fleet, were received with acclamations. Admiral Montague
despatched on the morrow a message to the king. "I rejoice," he
said, "that the king has no need of aid from foreign powers. He
will find a sufficient stay in the affection and loyalty of his
subjects. I covet nothing so much in the world as the honor of
presenting myself before your Majesty, which I hope will not long
be delayed."

The two Houses on their part lost no time, and the Lords declared
on the 3d of May that, in accordance with the fundamental laws of
the realm, the supreme power resided and ought to reside in King,
Lords, and Commons. The House of Commons immediately adopted the
same resolution, and also decided that a gift of £50,000 sterling
should be immediately offered to the king; £10,000 and £5,000
were also voted for his brothers. A jewel valued at £500 sterling
was voted to Grenville, but the treasury was exhausted. It was
necessary to have recourse to the city, which provided at once
for pressing needs. When Grenville arrived at Breda, the bearer
of £30,000 in bills of exchange and specie, the king, overjoyed
at the sight, sent for the Princess of Orange and the Duke of
York, desiring that they should see this gold, so long strange to
their hands, taken out of the portmanteau of the messenger.

The two Houses sent commissioners charged with their answers to
the king; many other deputations preceded or followed them.
Clarges conveyed to Charles II. a letter from Monk; the delegates
from the city and the Presbyterian ministers met at Breda.
Parliament proclaimed the king in the presence of the people at
the gate of Westminster, before Whitehall, and in the city.
{337}
Workmen were busily engaged in repairing all the royal palaces.
"Mistress Monk, with a zeal void of all vanity," wrote Broderick
to Hyde, "is taking care that his Majesty shall be provided with
all the linen he will require, saying frankly that she has not
forgotten her old occupation, and that she is assured that she
will be able to make a saving of one-half in the king's
household."

In the presence of all these facts, what had become of the
intention of the Presbyterians and the political reformers to
treat with the king and secure for the liberties of the people
and themselves strong guarantees? The work of restoration was
accomplished, driven forward by the national feeling: the most
resolute of the moderate party had lent a hand, and were lending
a hand every day, to this spontaneous re-establishment of the
monarchy. The royal declaration of Breda, the assurances of
moderation and respect for old laws, and the promise to settle
all great questions in concert with Parliament, such were the
only guarantees which the restoration of the Stuarts offered to
England.

Above all the numerous civil and religious questions which were
thus about to be discussed, and the fate of which might already
cause anxiety to the faithful friends of liberty, one question
arose which was paramount to all others--a question of life or
death--that of amnesty. It seemed to have been settled. In the
first communication with the king, Monk had expressly advised a
general amnesty, with four exceptions only, and the king appeared
disposed to clemency, but the danger still existed. "We grant a
free and general pardon," said Charles in the Declaration of
Breda, "save and except such persons as shall hereafter be
excepted by act of Parliament."
{338}
And in his letter to the House of Commons: "If there is a crying
sin by reason of which the nation is stained with dishonor, we
doubt not but you will be as forward as ourselves in redeeming
it, and cleansing the nation from that odious crime." On Monday,
the 9th of May, on the first reading of the Amnesty Bill, the
question of the regicides arose. After a violent debate, in which
those of the inculpated persons who were present--Ingoldsby and
Hutchinson--vainly sought to defend themselves, they left the
House, and the Commons resolved that seven exceptions should be
made in the Amnesty Bill. At the same time the arrest was ordered
of all the judges of the High Court, and their property was
placed under sequestration. Others, strangers to the royal
indictment, Thurloe being at their head, were sent to the Tower.
The reaction spread, and became more bitter every day. The
Amnesty Bill remained in suspense, like all those measures which
were destined to settle the great questions opened by the
Declaration of Breda. The promised concessions became doubtful.
The crowd of courtiers increased at the Hague, whither the king
had gone on invitation of the States-General. The favors and good
graces of the king were lavished upon the commissioners of
Parliament; the Presbyterian ministers, though well received,
were put off with vague promises. But, in the midst of the
general joy, a certain amount of distrust on their part
manifested itself, which on the side of the king and his intimate
friends was returned with much haughtiness and reserve. The
country was anxious to receive the king, and Charles was the more
disposed to hasten, because he feared the conditions of the
Presbyterians. Admiral Montague had arrived in sight of the
Hague, in the Bay of Schevelingen, aboard his ship called the
"Naseby"--a sad reminder of the great defeat of King Charles I.

{339}

The king had taken his farewell of the States-General, from whom
he had received the most magnificent hospitality. He recommended
to them his sister, the Princess of Orange, and his nephew,
Prince William, then a child. "I will remember," he said, "all
the effects of your good affection towards them, as if I had
received them in my own person." John de Witt replied in the name
of the States, overflowing with protestations of respect and
friendship. As politic as he was proud, the republican patrician,
who was contending in Holland against the House of Orange, sought
with some solicitude the goodwill of the new ruler of England,
with which country he desired peace, whatever might be the name
and the form of her government. All proper ceremonies having been
accomplished, the king left the Hague on the 23d of May, 1660,
accompanied by a brilliant suite, and stepping aboard the
"Naseby," which he immediately renamed the "Royal Charles," he
set sail for England with his two brothers, the Dukes of York and
Gloucester. On the morning of the 25th he landed at Dover in the
presence of a great multitude, at the head of whom marched Monk,
saluting the king "with such humility," says an eye-witness,
"that he seemed rather to be asking pardon than receiving
thanks." The king embraced him with filial reverence, and was
more anxious to testify his gratitude by presenting him with the
Order of the Garter than to take his advice regarding the
government of the country, or appointments to great offices.
{340}
The general handed to the king a list of persons whom he judged
fitted to compose the privy council. The greater part of the
names suited the views neither of Charles nor of Hyde. They
intimated this to Monk, who made scarcely any opposition,
confining himself to recommending some persons in particular
"whom the king would find it better for his affairs to have
within than without." Charles, confirmed in his opinion of the
obstinacy of Monk, continued his advance towards the capital,
reviewed the army, who, sullen and resigned, were awaiting him on
Blackheath, and at length entered London amidst the ringing of
all the bells, the music of the regiments, the acclamations of an
eager, joyous, and triumphant people.

"I was in the Strand," says an eye-witness. "I beheld this sight,
and I was thankful to God. All this was done without the spilling
of a drop of blood. It was indeed the Lord's will; for since the
return of the Jews from captivity in Babylon, no history, ancient
or modern, has had to record a like restoration." The king
himself expressed his surprise at it with a touch of irony. "It
is assuredly my own fault," he said, "that I did not come back
sooner; for I have not met any one to-day who did not protest
that he always wished for my return."

The restoration was accomplished; but the obstacles which had so
long prevented it had not disappeared. The nation, however,
entirely occupied with its joyful demonstrations, neither saw
them nor were anxious about them. Having set up again the king
and Parliament, they fancied their troubles at an end and their
wishes fulfilled. The people are short-sighted, but their lack of
foresight neither affects the bottom of their hearts nor changes
the course of their destiny.
{341}
The epoch of civil war was passed; that of party struggles and
parliamentary compromises was about to begin. The triumph of the
Protestant religion and the decisive influence of the country in
its own government--such were the objects for which the
Revolutionary party in England had struggled. The English
royalists were to struggle for it still more, and were to find no
repose till they had won their cause.


{342}

                   Chapter XXX.

              Charles II. (1660-1685).

The monarchy of the Stuarts had, on the whole, regained
possession of the throne unconditionally and without striking a
blow. The English nation, with a few exceptions, gave itself up
to joy and hope. It was necessary, however, to govern, and the
difficulties which presented themselves at the first glance were
considerable. Charles II. ruled, evading or cutting the knot of
the difficulties which opposed his progress in many ways, and
with the support of men of profoundly different characters. The
nation accepted him blindly, voluntarily embracing illusions
respecting the monarch whom she had chosen out of regard for the
monarchical principle, and from weariness of revolutionary
shocks. As it became possible to judge of the principles, or
rather the lack of all principles, which characterized him, a
gradual estrangement set in. The history of the reign of Charles
II. presents the spectacle, more flagrant day by day, of the
defects and vices of the government as well as of the reaction
which at the same time was at work within the nation. Three
periods may be noted in the history of that decline in the joyous
illusions of the English people--three different conditions of
the people as of the government during the reign of King Charles
II. First, the constitutional and legal _régime_ under the
ministry of Lord Clarendon (1660-1667); secondly, the government
of intriguing and corrupt statesmen under the rule of the Cabal
(1667-1674) thirdly, the epoch of conspiracies for changing the
succession to the throne, the ministries of coalition and
compromise: the attempts at arbitrary government and the great
political trials, until the death of the king (1674-1685).

{343}

Surrounded in the days of his exile and poverty by numerous
adventurers and debauchees, Charles Stuart, disinherited and a
fugitive, had the good sense and judgment to remain faithful to
his old friends--to the devoted advisers who had long served his
father, and who would have protected him against his worst errors
if he had known how to trust himself to their wise and honest
counsels. Hyde, above all, who had been almost uninterruptedly
attached to the fortune and the person of Charles II., and who
had directed all the negotiations with Monk before the
restoration, was naturally singled out to govern in the name of
the restored monarch. From 1657 he had received the title of Lord
Chancellor of England: this name became a reality. "Thus the Lord
Treasurer Southampton, the Marquis of Ormond, General Monk, and
the two secretaries of state, Morice and Nicolas, composed, with
the chancellor, that secret committee which, under the name of
the Council of Foreign Affairs, was charged by the king to
deliberate on all his affairs before they reached the stage of
public discussion, and it was impossible to find an association
of men more united in mind and feeling."

In this ministry, in which General Monk and the two secretaries
of state alone constituted an element that was a stranger to the
old royalist party. Clarendon was at once the most distinguished
and the most politic. His principles were honest, his views
upright and pure. Two faults obscured his better qualities. He
was grasping, and he brought with him into England the passions
and blunted perceptions of an exile. These inconveniences were
not long in making themselves felt.

{344}

In the face of a Parliament, the summoning of which had been
neither regular nor legal--a Parliament which even then was
called a convention, a title destined later to acquire a sad
celebrity in the history of France--the great questions which it
had become necessary to deal with were all the more urgent since
the country demanded the election of a new Parliament. The king
was pressed to disband the army, then a permanent menace and a
bitter remembrance of the past. More than fifty thousand men
inured to arms, kept down but discontented, were suddenly
dismissed into civil life. They were well treated, but were
irreconcilably hostile to the new power, and were held in check
by habits of discipline and by public opinion--not by repentance
for the past or the return of royalist ideas. The soldiers, in
great number, were still Cromwellians or Republicans.

Their old leaders were Republicans: they were about to pay dearly
for their attachment to the order of things which they desired to
establish. At first an amnesty was granted to all. Monk had
required that the exceptions should be limited to four; they had
now become ten. The king then referred the question to the
justice of Parliament. The passions of men in large assemblies
are the most violent and cruel by reason of the fact that
responsibility rests upon no single one. Before the arrival of
Charles the spirit of vengeance had already arisen in the two
Houses.
{345}
Some arrests had been made, and thirty persons were excluded from
the amnesty by the House of Commons--all who remained of the old
leaders of the revolution--Scott, Harrison, Sir Henry Vane, Sir
John Haselrig, Desborough, Lambert, Fleetwood,
Lenthall--politicians or soldiers. Some had already left England,
distrusting, like Ludlow, the promises of the amnesty. The
greater part were arrested. The House of Lords resolved that one
victim ought to expiate the death of each of the members of the
Upper House executed during the rebellion, and ended by excepting
from the general pardon all those who had signed the sentence of
Charles I., adding to this fatal list Hacker, Vane, Lambert,
Haslerig, Axtel, and Peters, who had not sat among the
revolutionary judges. This was too much. Monk and some others of
moderate views remonstrated. Twenty-nine persons were condemned,
ten perished by the tortures inflicted on traitors inflexible in
their convictions and their courage. "Where is now your good old
cause?" cried a bystander to Colonel Harrison, as he was being
drawn to Charing Cross on a hurdle. "Here!" exclaimed the old
soldier, placing his hand upon his heart, "and I am going to seal
it with my blood." Indifferent to the cruelties which he believed
to be necessary, Cromwell nevertheless had not accustomed the
English people to the sight of torture. The spectacle soon caused
a shock. The executions ceased, political vengeance was
suspended. The ecclesiastical question was pressing; the king's
embarrassment was great.

{346}

At Breda, under the solicitations of the Presbyterians, who were
then all-powerful, Charles II. had made promises and allowed
hopes of union and toleration to be entertained. Profoundly
royalist and conservative, the Presbyterians were separated from
the Church of England by questions of form and ecclesiastical
organization much more than by fundamental doctrines of religion.
In 1660 the king promulgated an ordinance known as the Healing
Declaration, which satisfied the Presbyterians without gravely
offending the Anglican Church. Some distinguished theologians
among the Presbyterians had already accepted the episcopal
ordination and had become bishops, when Parliament rejected the
Royal Declaration, refusing to give it the force of law. At the
same time began the restitution of Church property and the
domains of the Crown, very soon definitively settled by the new
Parliament. The lands of private individuals were in part
restored to them after some delays; but voluntary sales were
respected, whatever might have been the conditions under which
they were effected.

The reaction had commenced, and was violent and spontaneous.
Charles II., cautious and indifferent, took in all this no
personal part. He left full play to individual passions, which
became excited by degrees. The bodies of Cromwell, Ireton, and
Bradshaw were torn out of their tombs, hung at Tyburn, then
decapitated. King Henry the Seventh's Chapel at Westminster
beheld its sanctuary violated for the purpose of searching for
the remains of persons buried under its roof during the
revolution. The tombs of the mother and daughter of Cromwell, and
those of Pym and Blake, were opened, and their coffins broken. On
all sides popular vengeance exhibits the same hideous and
cowardly traits. The English Royalist party were furnishing an
example to the revolutionary populace, who were one day in France
to profane the vaults of St. Denis.

{347}

The agitation out of doors found a counterpart in the sorrows and
troubles of the royal household. The young Duke of Gloucester, an
amiable and popular youth, fell a victim to the small-pox. His
sister, the Princess of Orange, who had come to England to enjoy
the spectacle of the restoration of her family, died soon
afterwards of the same malady. The Queen Henrietta Maria had
lately arrived in London; she was not popular. In spite of the
splendors of her reception, the prejudices formerly excited
against her were not forgotten: the English Court, moreover,
furnished her with a bitter source of discontent. The secret
marriage of the Duke of York with Anne Hyde, daughter of the
chancellor, had been made public through the birth of a child.
The anger of the queen was great; the chancellor pretended to
share in her feeling; he contrived, however, to have his daughter
recognized as Duchess of York. The marriage was declared almost
at the same time that negotiations were in progress for a union
between the Princess Henrietta and the Duke of Orleans, brother
of Louis XIV., which was celebrated in March, 1661. The House of
Stuart had resumed its position among the reigning families of
Europe.

Public emotion in England had scarcely subsided, when a plot
revealed itself in London. A handful of fanatics, led by a Fifth
Monarchy man, named Venner, rushed through the streets of the
city, crying, "Hail to the Lord Jesus, who is coming to reign
upon the earth!" They were easily arrested; but they had made a
noise, and had broken the heads of some of the city watch. This
furnished a pretext for a levy of troops and for doubling the
regiments of guards.
{348}
The military despotism of Cromwell had impressed upon the mind of
the nation, and particularly on that of the Cavaliers, a dread of
a standing army. It was by the Royalist Parliament that Charles
II. and his honest councillors desired to govern. The Convention
Parliament had restored the king, but the Presbyterians among
them were numerous. They embarrassed the plans of Clarendon, who
was passionately devoted to the Anglican Church. A general
election was decided on. Parliament met on the 8th of May, 1661.

It was the triumph, the lasting triumph, of the Cavaliers. Fifty
or sixty Presbyterians at the most were re-elected. For eighteen
years (1661-1679) the Royalist Parliament was destined to sit in
the teeth of the law, which prescribed new elections every three
years. Great changes were about to be effected in its internal
economy as well as in its tendencies. From its opening the new
Parliament entered without reserve upon a course of imprudent
action. The control of the military forces placed in the hands of
the king alone; all resistance to the armed power of the king
declared unlawful and criminal--such were the results of the
proceedings of Parliament in its first session. All constituted
bodies, cities, towns, and corporations, were called upon to take
an oath in these terms: "I declare that it is not lawful upon any
pretence whatsoever to resist the king, and I abhor the treason
which would pretend to take up arms by the king's authority
against his person or against those who are commissioned by him.
In this, so help me God. Amen."

{349}

The bishops were restored to their seats in the House of Lords.
It was the first step, quickly to be followed by the complete
triumph of the Anglican Church. The English nation had never been
deeply penetrated with the Presbyterian spirit. The respect which
the Puritans inspired had been greatly weakened during their
ascendency, when many hypocrites had associated themselves with
those who were sincerely convinced, attracted by the hope of
influence and power. Their narrowness of mind and the rigidity of
their principles, together with certain ridiculous traits in
their manners or their habits, had alienated the popular favor
from their party. The Anglican Church, ancient and persecuted,
long liberal and indulgent in the application of its laws, saw
with passionate regard England return to her. She took advantage
of this change without moderation, without forethought, carried
away, like the political parties, by the pleasure of the triumph.
The Presbyterians had hoped that the project conceived by
Archbishop Usher would be adhered to; this was a skillful
combination of the governments of the bishops and the synod.
After a series of ecclesiastical conferences, as eloquent as they
were fruitless. Parliament, in the month of January, 1661, passed
an Act of Uniformity which re-established in the Church of
England the episcopal rule in all its rigor, leaving no
alternative to the numerous Presbyterian pastors who had been
appointed to benefices under the Commonwealth but to conform in
all matters both to the doctrine and the practice of the Church
of England, or to abandon their office to ecclesiastics
completely subject to the established discipline. The Covenant,
which had been solemnly sworn to by the king himself in Scotland,
was ignominiously burnt in the public streets. The Presbyterians
were driven out of the Church as they had previously been from
Parliament.

{350}

The ecclesiastics exhibited no hesitation. By a strange
coincidence it was on the day of St. Bartholomew that two
thousand of their number took farewell of their charges and their
congregations, followed by their families. They retired from the
spots where they had looked forward to ending their days,
abandoning the care of souls to the old pastors, who had been
driven out like themselves by the revolution, and who now resumed
possession of their benefices. The Long Parliament had of old
shown compassion, though often without effect, by ordering the
application of a fifth part of the ecclesiastical revenues to the
dispossessed ministers. The Royalist Parliament did not take the
same precaution. The Presbyterian ministers remained long
deprived of resources, an object of the spleen of the Government.
The Church of England, transformed by her triumph, and become
more entire and more dominant than she had hitherto been or
desired to be, henceforth enjoyed an undisputed reign. She had
regained possession of all her advantages, both spiritual and
temporal.

This was in great part the work of the lord chancellor, recently
created Lord Clarendon, who pursued with passionate ardor a labor
which the king regarded with indifference. Yielding to the
obstinacy or the enthusiasm of his ministers, Charles
contemplated the measures neither with satisfaction nor personal
sympathy. Inclining at that time, in the bottom of his heart,
towards the doctrines of Catholicism, he would willingly have
granted toleration to the Nonconformists in the hope of including
the Catholics in the universal indulgence.
{351}
This his Parliament would not permit; at the same time they
hurried him towards a descent which conducted to rigors of which
Charles was already weary. "I am tired of hanging!" he said to
Clarendon. Illustrious victims excited the furious passions of
the Cavaliers. Sir Harry Vane and Lambert in England and the
Marquis of Argyll in Scotland imagined themselves safe when the
political executions had ceased. They were deceived, and their
friends had rejoiced prematurely. Argyll died first (1661),
finally ruined by some old letters which he had written to Monk,
and which the latter forwarded to his judges. "I placed the crown
upon the head of the king at Scone," said the marquis, "and this
is my recompense!" The able defence of Vane troubled the Crown
lawyers charged with his indictment. "If we do not know what to
say to him, we know what to do," muttered Chief Justice Foster.
The king was struck with the attitude of the accused. "He is too
dangerous a man to let live if we can honestly put him out of the
way," he wrote to Clarendon. Vane was executed on the 14th of
June, 1662; Lambert was condemned to imprisonment for life. He
was sent to the Island of Guernsey, where he was destined soon
afterwards to end his days.

The execution of Vane had followed with only an interval of a few
days the marriage of the king--an event but little popular in
England, for he espoused a Catholic princess. Clarendon feared
the influence of Spain. It was a princess of Portugal, Catherine
of Braganza, to whom he had destined the sad honor of marrying
King Charles II. The latter had urged objections against every
proposal for a Protestant union. The dower was considerable; the
fortress of Tangier offered an appearance of an acquisition of
territory.
{352}
The Portuguese princess arrived in England in the month of May,
1662. Honest folk founded great hopes upon the marriage of the
king, whose disorderly life caused much scandal. Men of foresight
were not deceived. After the rigid rule of the Puritans and the
heavy yoke of their moral and religious ordinances, the reaction
of license and immorality, of which the king gave the example,
extended to his followers, and in part corrupted his supporters
throughout the country. Those innocent diversions which had been
forbidden by the government of the Commonwealth yielded place
under the Restoration to a vortex of pleasure and debauchery
which began to alarm the serious and sober-minded.

The vices and errors of men enchain them, and bear inevitably
their deplorable fruit. The wild prodigality of Charles II. left
him poor in spite of the considerable revenue which Parliament
assigned him. He had relinquished all the ancient revenues of the
crown, relics of the feudal system which shocked those ideas of
justice and liberty of the subject which for centuries had
gradually been ripening in England, and which had definitely
taken shape under the revolution. In lieu of these an annual sum
had been fixed. All these resources, however, had been exhausted
when Charles II. decided to sell Dunkirk to the young king, Louis
XIV., then beginning his reign, having at last become master of
that power which he was destined to exercise so long, almost
always for the glory, but sometimes for the misfortune of France.


[Image]
Charles At The House Of Lady Castlemaine.


{353}

Cromwell had acquired Dunkirk at the price of the aid of his
brave soldiers in the war against Spain. Charles II. sold it to
Louis XIV. for five millions of livres--a step profoundly
unpopular and one which hurt the pride of the English, long
wounded by the loss of Calais, and for a while consoled by the
acquisition of Dunkirk. The merchants of London offered the king
enormous advances, in order to avert what they regarded as a
national dishonor. Charles II. hoped to obtain from Louis XIV.
something more and better than the price of Dunkirk; he concluded
the treaty notwithstanding the public discontent.

The Queen Henrietta Maria had conducted for her son the
negotiations with France. It was to her that Louis XIV. explained
his reasons for remaining faithful to his alliance with the Dutch
when in 1665 Charles II., under a frivolous pretext, declared war
against the United Provinces. "I desired the Queen of England,
who was at that time in Paris," says the king in his memoirs, "to
explain to her son that in the particular esteem which I felt
towards him, I could not without sorrow take the resolution to
which I found myself obliged by the engagement of my word; for at
the commencement of this war I felt persuaded that he had been
carried by the suffrages of his subjects further than he would
have gone if he had consulted only his own feelings."

The fidelity of Louis XIV. to his engagements did not induce him
to hasten to afford to the Dutch substantial assistance. Defeated
in the outset off Lowestoft (June, 1665), the Dutch, under the
command of Ruyter and Cornelis de Witt, contended with Monk and
Prince Rupert with success. "The court," says Burnet in his
_History of His Own Times_, "gave out that it was a victory,
and public thanksgivings were ordered, which was a horrid mockery
of God and a lying to the world. We had in one respect to thank
God--that we had not lost our whole fleet."
{354}
A secret treaty was then concluded between Louis XIV. and Charles
II. Meanwhile the Dutch fleet again ascended the Thames as far as
Sheerness, insulting English pride at the gates of London.
Charles II. had neglected the defence of his ports; at the moment
when Ruyter and De Witt were sailing proudly on his waters, the
king and his associates, assembled at Lady Castlemaine's, were
chasing a moth which had lost its way in her splendid apartments.
Negotiations were already begun at Breda; three treaties of peace
were concluded there in the month of July, 1667, between Holland,
France, and Denmark.

An ancient commercial and maritime rivalry had at one time
excited the hatred of the English against Holland. The conformity
of manners and religion, and the principles of liberty which
existed in the two countries, counterbalanced the old animosity.
The war had been more royal and less popular than Louis XIV.
imagined. Charles II. had never forgiven the Hollanders for the
decree of exclusion which they had pronounced against his house,
at the instigation of Cromwell. It was felt in England that the
war was not a righteous one; the misfortunes which soon
afterwards overtook the capital seemed like a punishment for it.
The Plague broke out in London in 1665; in five months it
destroyed more than 100,000 persons. "This did dishearten all
people," says Burnet, "and coming in the very time in which so
unjust a war was begun it had a dreadful appearance. All the
king's enemies and the enemies of monarchy said here was a
manifest character of God's heavy displeasure upon the nation,
and indeed the ill life the king led and the viciousness of the
whole court gave but a melancholy prospect."

{355}

The king and court left London; Parliament was convened at
Oxford; the aged Monk alone solicited the government of the
capital. The expelled Nonconformist pastors returned in a mass
into the midst of their old flocks now bewildered with terror.
The Parliament of Oxford rejected an act of indulgence of the
king tending to suspend penal legislation against the nonjurors;
it forbade the dispossessed ministers to approach the scene of
their old functions. When the Plague was at an end the Act of the
Five Thousand once more banished the old pastors from the
congregations whom they had edified and consoled during the
infection. The king had scarcely returned to his capital when a
fire of unparalleled extent devastated it anew. Thirteen thousand
houses were burnt, eighty-nine churches destroyed in the City,
sixty-three in the environs. Two hundred thousand persons, it is
said, found themselves without shelter, compelled to camp out
under tents in the fields. The king and the Duke of York
honorably displayed their courage; but so many calamities began
to weary the nation. In Scotland the tyranny of Lord Lauderdale
and Archbishop Sharp provoked an insurrection which was more
religious than political. The people remained passionately
attached to the Presbyterian Church and the Covenant. The
pressure exercised for the establishment of the Episcopate roused
the Covenanters of the West at the moment when the Fire of London
occupied all minds; it cost some trouble to reduce them;
executions were not successful in calming the irritation.
Smouldering in England, whilst it was bursting forth in Scotland,
discontent was everywhere the same. National loyalty still
protected the king. It was against his ministers, and
particularly against the Earl of Clarendon, that public prejudice
was directed.

{356}

The Chancellor succumbed under the burden both of his virtues and
his defeats. "Raised by the Restoration to the summit of
authority, he succeeded to power with a hatred for all that had
passed during twenty years, and with an intention of restoring
everything in Church and State to the point at which the
revolution had found it. But he had what is often wanting, or is
quickly dissipated in active and elevated spheres of life,
namely, opinions and faith in duty. He was often in error; he
committed, or suffered to be committed, iniquities; but truth and
virtue were not in his eyes chimeras. Often irrational and unjust
in his relations with the national party, he was towards his own
party firm, enlightened, and virtuous. A severe censor of the
corruption of Charles II., frankly Protestant in a Papist court,
notwithstanding his personal hatred towards the Presbyterians;
grave and austere in the midst of frivolous and greedy courtiers;
moderate by reason, though his nature was harsh and perhaps even
vindictive; he constantly set his face against those wild
disorders, that reckless and capricious tyranny, to which the
government was unceasingly impelled by the vices of the king and
the passions of the Cavaliers. As a returned exile he did not
control the evil genius of the Restoration, and did not even
conceive the idea of controlling it. An Englishman of the old
type, he opposed to the perverse nature of his party all his
power, ability, and virtue."

{357}

It was the virtues of Clarendon that alienated from him the mind
of the king. Weary of the constraint which the principles of his
minister imposed upon him, the king deprived him of the seals in
the month of August, 1667. "The Chancellor was as much surprised
as he could have been if one had presented to him an order for
his execution," says Clarendon himself in his memoirs. He had
believed himself assured of the heart and the fidelity of the
king against all his enemies. The House of Commons proceeded at
once to the impeachment. Clarendon was avaricious, yet at the
same time lavish. His princely dwelling was the object of
jealousy among all the Cavaliers, who had been ruined by the
sequestrations and the disadvantageous liquidations to which they
had been subjected under the Commonwealth. "The Act of Indemnity
for the enemies of the king had become an act of oblivion for his
friends," said the country gentlemen who had been deprived of
their property. They accused the Chancellor of having enriched
himself more rapidly than was consistent with honor. The House of
Lords defended him without success. Charles pressed his old
servant to leave England, in order to prevent, as he said, the
evils that might result to the kingdom from the division which
had manifested itself between the two Houses. Clarendon resisted;
the king at length gave him the order to depart. "It is
absolutely necessary that he should go promptly; I answer upon my
salvation for his safety." Such was the language addressed to the
fallen minister by the Bishop of Winchester, who was charged to
deliver the royal message. Clarendon, old and in weak health, set
out immediately. It was on the night of the 25th of November,
1667. Scarcely had he touched the soil of France when the two
Houses voted his banishment; at the same time making it unlawful
to grant him any pardon without the authority of Parliament.
{358}
Dejected and without hope, Clarendon established himself at
Montpelier. There he wrote his admirable _History of the
Rebellion_, his memoirs, and several works of piety. When he
died, at Rouen in 1674, he had not seen England again, and had
not received from the king any testimony of affection or
remembrance--a striking example of royal ingratitude, as well as
of the incapacity of an exile to govern a country the life of
which he had long ceased to share or to understand.

With the downfall of Clarendon commenced the reign of the
intriguers, the corrupt and the corrupters, and the moral decline
of the party of the government, composed at first of men who were
honest even in their excesses, but were soon bought by money or
favors, and led into concessions and to a line of policy often of
shameful kinds. The ministry of the Cabal, as it was called, from
the names of the politicians who composed it--Clifford,
Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale--was not formed in
the interest of any settled principles either political or
social. By turns flattering liberals and arbitrary
absolutionists, complaisant to the whims of the king, and lavish
of their favors towards men whose votes or support were
necessary, they sought abroad the alliance of the King of France,
and soon sank into dependence upon him, impelled towards that
degradation by the need of an _éclat_ which they could find
only in war, with the all-powerful succor of Louis XIV.

{359}

The first effort of the king's new advisers was wiser and more
prescient. Popularity among the Protestants in England and on the
Continent was the object to which their views were directed. They
sent to Holland Sir William Temple, an able and honest
diplomatist, qualified to appreciate the elevated and patriotic
views of the grand pensionary, John de Witt. Naturally favorable
to the French alliance, which he had long sought and sustained,
John de Witt had been rendered anxious by the progress of the
power and ambition of Louis XIV. He desired to protect Europe
against his invasions, by drawing closer that ancient union of
the Protestant countries promoted of old at the instigation of
Burleigh under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth. The treaty of
the Triple Alliance, signed at the Hague on the 23d of January,
1668, engaged England, Sweden, and the United Provinces, to
defend against France the weak monarchy of Spain. A secret
article bound the allies to take up arms to restrain Louis XIV.,
and if possible to bring him back to the conditions of the peace
of the Pyrenees. The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle was the fruit of
that prudent and wise policy.

John de Witt and the Dutch were destined to pay dearly for their
courageous initiative. "In the midst of all my prosperity in my
campaigns of 1667," writes Louis XIV. in his memoirs, "neither
England nor the Empire, convinced of the justice of my cause,
offered any opposition, however much their interests were opposed
to the rapidity of my conquests. On my way I found only my good,
faithful, and old friends, the Hollanders, who, instead of
interesting themselves in my good fortune as furnishing the
foundation of their State, attempted to impose conditions on me
and compel me to make peace. They even dared to employ threats in
case I should refuse to accept their mediation. I confess that
their insolence wounded me to the quick, and that I was tempted
to risk what might happen to my conquests in the Spanish
Netherlands, and to turn all my forces against that haughty and
ungrateful nation. But having called prudence to my aid, I
dissembled, and concluded a peace on honorable conditions,
resolved to postpone the punishment of that perfidy to another
occasion."

{360}

The first care of Louis XIV. in his operations against Holland
was naturally to detach Charles II. from his alliance. In this
business he employed his sister-in-law, Madame Henrietta of
England, an adroit and agreeable person, tenderly attached both
to her brother and to France, without allowing the subjection of
Charles to the all-powerful Louis XIV. to wear the appearance of
a disgraceful or humiliating fact for his native country. The
position of the King of England in his kingdom, in the face of
his Parliament, became every day more difficult. The excesses of
the court party, their corruption, their flagrant vices, had at
last brought about a national reaction which was felt even in
Parliament, at one time so passionately and blindly loyal. The
country party was formed in opposition to the ministry of the
Cabal, which was divided within itself, being now drawn towards
the Dutch alliance by the Earl of Arlington, now driven towards
France by the Duke of Buckingham. The nation awoke from her
ecstatic loyalty, and aspired to resume her share in the
government.

Shrewd and penetrating under his external appearance of
indifference, Charles II. understood better than his ministers
the changes of public opinion, and the risk which they compelled
him to encounter. The constraint of constitutional government was
burdensome to his licentious selfishness, as it had been to the
timid pride of his father.
{361}
He desired to free himself from the trammels which Parliament
imposed upon him. But he had no army; a few regiments of guards,
silently recruited, were insufficient to sustain a struggle for
which he had moreover no pecuniary resources. He could find no
support except from abroad; the alliance which his sister had
offered him in the name of Louis XIV. assured him the aid of
which he stood in need. A secret treaty was concluded at Dover in
the month of May, 1670, but signed only by the Catholic advisers
of the king. The greater part of the ministers were ignorant of
its existence.

Secrecy was necessary, and it was advantageous to conceal the
conditions. The King of England undertook to declare publicly his
return to the Roman Catholic Church as his brother, the Duke of
York, had done. Louis XIV. promised to assist him to that end
with a sum of two millions of livres, as well as with an annual
subsidy of three millions when the two princes should have
declared war against Holland. Peace with Spain, always popular in
England, Spain being the natural enemy of France, was to be
respected by the two sovereigns.

Charles II. knew what his people were capable of enduring, and
what were the limits of their patience. The declaration of
Catholic faith was delayed, and the article concerning it was
passed over in silence in the modified treaty brought to the
knowledge of the king's Protestant ministers, the representatives
of the old party of the Cavaliers--Buckingham, Ashley, and
Lauderdale. They obtained from Charles II. in the place of the
war which the king proposed to declare against the Hollanders, a
declaration of indulgence for the Protestant Nonconformists.
{362}
The Catholics were not included, and the Nonconformists began to
breathe freely. Parliament voted a sum of £800,000 sterling for
the support of the Triple Alliance; at the same time Ashley
declared that the advances deposited in the hands of the
Government by the merchants of London would not be refunded as
usual, and that interest only would be paid on them to the proper
persons. A sum of £1,300,000 sterling was thus added to the
king's resources. Little did Charles heed the financial disasters
which this arbitrary and unjust act entailed upon the city. He
was now rich; he desired to be free. He prorogued Parliament, and
declared war against Holland (March, 1672).

Louis XIV. entered the Netherlands. His conquests began to
disquiet Europe, and caused in Holland the internal revolution
which cost the brothers De Witt their lives, and placed at the
head of the Dutch forces the young Prince of Orange. England took
part in the struggle by a long series of naval engagements. The
first, and the most important of all, the battle of Sole Bay,
cost Admiral Montague, who had become Lord Sandwich, his life.
The struggle was bitter. "Of thirty-two battles in which I have
taken part," said Ruyter, who was gloriously defeated on that
day, "I have never seen one like it." "He is at once an admiral,
a captain, a pilot, a sailor, a soldier," said the English. The
Duke of York incurred the greatest disaster during the action.

{363}

The war continued. The Prince of Orange and the Hollanders were
resolved upon a desperate resistance. "You do not perceive that
your country is lost?" said to William, the Duke of Buckingham,
who had been sent by Charles II. to the Hague. "There is always a
way of not witnessing her loss," replied the hero, "which is to
die in the last ditch." All the dykes of Holland were filled with
water; the country was inundated, the winter arrived, hostilities
were suspended, and the King of France returned to St. Germain's.
Before his departure he wrote in his diary the memorandum: "My
departure; I desire that nothing more be done." The resources of
Charles II. were exhausted; it was necessary to summon
Parliament.

The war was unpopular; but the Houses were occupied with other
affairs, and the subsidies which the king demanded were voted
without resistance if not without ill-humor. Religious questions
assumed in the public mind a predominance over political or
military affairs. Parliament had been passionately royalist; its
attachment to the king and confidence in him diminished day by
day. The two Houses remained constantly attached to the
Established Church, which they had raised up, and were ready to
defend against all her enemies. The royal declaration of
indulgence was the object of a hostile address; Charles had
already received, through Colbert, the representations of Louis
XIV.: he withdrew his measure. This was not enough to satisfy the
fears of Parliament: Protestant England felt that she was
delivered up to the Catholics by a monarch whose faith began to
appear problematical. The Test Act was passed by the two Houses;
every public functionary was compelled to take the oath of
allegiance and supremacy, to sign a declaration against the
doctrine of transubstantiation, and to take the Communion
according to the rites of the Church of England. The king's
desire was to resist; but a dissolution would have resulted in a
House of Commons more violent than the royalist Long Parliament:
he yielded.
{364}
The Duke of York, declaring openly his conversion to Catholicism,
resigned immediately the post of Lord High Admiral; Lord Clifford
left the ministry; in all the public offices a great number of
men, whose attachment to the Roman Catholic faith was previously
unknown, successively sent in their resignation. Parliament,
triumphing in the success of its measure, contemplated with
apprehension the danger which had threatened it. All confidence
in the word of the king disappeared from the public mind. The
cabinet was already shaken by the resignation of Clifford; the
Chancellor, Ashley, now Earl of Shaftesbury, who had long been in
special favor with Charles, and who was worthy to serve him by
reason of his caustic wit and moral corruption, was wounded by
the secret which the king had withheld from him. He deemed the
national liberties and religion in peril, and allied himself with
the country party in the House of Commons in the month of
November, 1673. This Parliament was scarcely prorogued when
Charles commanded him to surrender the seals. "Now to put off my
robe and buckle on my sword," said Shaftesbury; and he placed
himself at the head of the opposition.

The Duke of Buckingham followed Shaftesbury in this political
movement, at the moment when Parliament was appealing to the king
to banish him from his councils, as well as the Earl of
Lauderdale. The House of Commons was debating on the impeachment
of Lord Arlington. Less honest than Clifford, but like him a
Catholic at heart, Arlington renounced an active part in politics
and entered the household of the king. Lauderdale alone remained
entrusted with the affairs of Scotland, and suffered the
accumulated hatred which fell upon him in consequence of his
indefatigable tyranny.
{365}
The ministry of the Cabal was at an end; with it ended the war
with Holland, which had been burdensome, unpopular, and little
glorious for the arms of England. In vain had Louis XIV. sent to
London the Marquis of Ruvigny, a considerable person among the
French Protestants, and justly esteemed in England. Parliament
desired peace, and refused the subsidies. Charles II. yielded, as
was his habit, to the clearly expressed wishes of the nation;
and, with like conformity to his custom, he reserved his private
opinions and secret manœuvres. "Pity me; do not blame me," he
wrote to Louis XIV. On the 21st of February, 1674, Charles II.
proceeded to Parliament, to announce to the two Houses that he
had concluded with the United Provinces "a speedy peace, in
accordance with their prayer, and he hoped also an honorable and
a durable one." The English and Irish auxiliary regiments,
commanded by the Duke of Monmouth, a natural son of the king,
remained quietly in the service of France. Louis XIV. did not
withdraw his subsidies from his royal dependent.

The ladies who had served as a lien between the two crowns, and
had negotiated the humiliating conditions of the alliance between
the two kings, had died during the ascendency of the ministry of
the Cabal--the Queen Henrietta Maria in the month of August,
1669, in France, where she habitually resided with her second
husband, Lord Jermyn; the Duchess of Orleans, Madame Henrietta,
in June, 1670, at the moment when she had just concluded the
treaty of Dover--the latter not without a suspicion of poison.
{366}
Both were eulogized by Bossuet in the most magnificent language;
both in a measure and with a different degree of responsibility
were fatal to the destinies of England. Monk also had died on the
3rd of January, 1670, as calm before the progress of his malady
as in the face of the enemy. Old and suffering as he was, he had
personally hastened to encounter the Dutch when they entered the
Thames. As they were re-embarking, their bullets whistled in the
ears of the general. His aides-de-camp pressed him to retire. "If
I was afraid of bullets, gentlemen," said Monk, "I should long
ago have quitted this business."

He died erect, turning his head to breathe in silence his last
sigh. "A man capable of great things, though he had no grandeur
in his soul; born at once to command and to obey; sensible,
patient, and brave; attached to his own interest, and yet devoted
in every great position to his duty as a soldier and an
Englishman; without political ambition and not aspiring to govern
his country--he knew how to acknowledge his country's rights, and
to restore to her the government which had become indispensable."

Charles II. had not forgotten the services rendered to him by
Monk; he was neither shocked by his pecuniary greed nor by the
grossness of his manners. He had loaded him with wealth and
honors, and he followed him to the tomb in Henry VII.'s Chapel at
Westminster. The general had never played any political part, and
his death left no void in the direction of affairs, which were
becoming every day more complicated and more violently
conflicting. The court party and the country party divided the
two Houses. Out of doors the country party was strikingly
superior.
{367}
The conviction of this fact alone prolonged the existence of the
Royalist Long Parliament. The time had now gone by when
courtiers, probably with the assent of the king, dared to set
miserable hirelings to mutilate the face of Sir John Coventry, a
prominent member of the opposition in the Commons. From this time
forth the country party took the measure of the royal authority,
and raised its pretensions even to the question of the succession
to the throne. The enthusiasm and the confidence which marked the
first days of the Restoration had given way to sombre
disquietude. It was not with his ordinary exaggeration that Lord
Shaftesbury said, "If the king had had the happiness to be born a
simple gentleman, he might have passed for a man of sense, good
breeding, and good disposition. As a king he has brought his
affairs to such a point that there is not a creature in the
world, man or woman, who can feel the least confidence in his
word or his attachment."

The refusal of the Duke of York to take the test oath, and his
marriage with the daughter of the Duke of Modena, Mary Beatrice,
in 1673, filled the measure of the Protestant anxieties of the
nation. In vain the two daughters of Anne Hyde, who had died in
May, 1671, were publicly reared in the faith and practice of the
Church of England; all feelings of security had departed from
men's minds, and the rumor which began to spread abroad of a
secret treaty, concluded some time before, between King Charles
II. and Louis XIV., increased the suspicions of the people. The
choice which the king made of a new minister served for some time
to reassure men's minds. Sir Thomas Osborne, soon afterwards
raised to the peerage as Earl of Danby, appeared favorable, in
the House of Commons, to the country party.
{368}
He was a Protestant, a thorough Englishman, and without being
over-conscientious or scrupulous, he was yet not absolutely so
wanting in principles as his predecessors in power. Ardently
devoted to the royal prerogative, he endeavored to restore
authority to the hands of the king, by relying not on the court
party, but on the old Cavaliers and the Established Church. One
element of his popularity was his antipathy to the alliance with
France. Before his advent to power he had given as a toast at a
public dinner in the city, "War with France!" The people felt
assured that he would never lend his hand to those transactions
humiliating for the honor of England and her sovereign, of which
no one yet ventured to speak openly. The ambition and the
weaknesses of men sometimes surpass the most gloomy
apprehensions; of this, Danby was destined soon to furnish a
proof.

Like the ministry of the Cabal, the new government began by
making advances to the Dutch. A peace was concluded. Sir William
Temple was charged with the care of foreign affairs, and was
shortly afterwards despatched as an envoy to the Congress of
Nimeguen, there to settle the terms of general peace. But Danby
continually oscillated between the royal and the national policy,
sometimes urging Charles to unite himself with Europe in a war
against France, sometimes lending himself privately to the secret
negotiations with Louis XIV. In the course of the year 1676 a new
convention assured to Charles II. a pension of £100,000 sterling
and the assistance of such French troops as might be necessary in
his dominions.
{369}
The letters of Danby do not permit us to doubt the knowledge that
he had of the situation, if not his connivance at the treaty.
Charles II. undertook to prolong the prorogation of Parliament,
which had endeavored to force upon him an effective action in the
general pacification of Europe. The war on the Continent still
continued when the Houses at length assembled again in 1677. The
Duke of Buckingham and Lord Shaftesbury maintained that the
length of the prorogation amounted to a dissolution, but Danby
was an accomplished master of the art of corruption; he disposed
of the money from France. The country party was defeated in the
House of Commons, and the authors of the proposition for a
dissolution were sent to the Tower, where they were detained for
several months.

Meanwhile the increasing successes of Louis XIV. began to alarm
Danby as they alarmed England. Suddenly looking towards Holland,
he obtained from the king authority to invite William of Orange
to visit London, and negotiating secretly with that prince, he
concluded a marriage between him and the eldest daughter of the
Duke of York, the Princess Mary, whose hand had been previously
offered to William without resulting in the manifestation of any
eagerness on his part for the alliance. The importance of this
concession was keenly felt in Paris. "Louis XIV. sent immediately
for Montague, our ambassador," says Burnet, "who when he came to
Versailles saw the king the most moved that he had ever observed
him to be. He asked him when was the marriage to be made.
Montague understood not what he meant, so he explained all to
him. Montague protested to him that he knew nothing of the whole
matter. The king said he always believed the journey would end in
this, and he seemed to think that our court had now forsaken him.
Lord Danby, who recalled Montague to London, asked him how the
king had received the news of the marriage. The ambassador
answered, 'As he would have done the loss of an army.'"

{370}

In England the joy was great. "The first tokens that I had of the
marriage were the bonfires which were lighted in London," wrote
Louis XIV. The alliance, offensive and defensive, concluded with
Holland, and which at length compelled Louis to recall his
auxiliary regiments, broke for the moment the secret relations
between Louis XIV. and his crowned pensioner. The quarrel was not
of long duration. The understandings constantly maintained
between France and the English Parliament, as with their
sovereign, kept the policy of England in a state of indecision
and inconsistency, which rendered powerful aid to the firm and
resolute conduct of Louis XIV., who was absolute master of his
kingdom, his army, and his finances. "I do not envy the Grand
Seignior, with his mutes and their bowstrings always ready to
strangle according to his pleasure," said Charles II. to the Earl
of Essex; "but I shall never think myself a king as long as those
fellows keep watch on all my actions, interrogate my ministers,
and demand an account of my expenses."

This was just what Parliament had attempted to do. Dreading at
once the prodigality of the king and the growth of his power,
demanding a war with France, and fearing to allow the sums voted
for that purpose to be wasted, or to see troops, raised for the
struggle with Louis XIV., turn their arms against the liberties
of England, the House of Commons endeavored to limit the
application of the sums voted to specific purposes, and required
that an account should be rendered of expenditure. Such arrogance
excited the indignation of the king, and his anger increased the
feeling of alarm.

{371}

As a consequence of treachery and contradictory manœuvres the
king of England ceased to have any weight on the Continent, even
in the quality of mediator, when the general peace was concluded
at Nimeguen. It was signed in July, 1678, under the influence of
the States-General of Holland.

Thenceforth Louis XIV. was the arbiter of Europe. The English
nation had learnt to distrust its king; but he was at the head of
a small army, the subsidies from France were not yet exhausted,
and Lord Danby was menaced in Parliament, over which he had so
long exercised a paramount influence. Convicted of having taken
part in the secret negotiations between Louis XIV. and his
master, he was impeached in the House of Commons in 1678, and
soon afterwards sent to a prison, where he remained until the
death of Charles II. The court dreaded a trial which threatened
to show the comparative innocence of the Lord Treasurer at the
same time that it exposed the king's shame. Lord Shaftesbury was
more eager to obtain the dissolution of Parliament than to bring
his rival to trial. The Parliament of 1661--the "pensioned
Parliament," as it had been nicknamed during the latter years of
its existence--at length succumbed. The new Parliament assembled
on the 6th of March, 1679.

{372}

One thought, one passion alone--terror and hatred of the
Catholics--filled the breasts of the new members. Some months
before the downfall of Lord Danby a terrible and unparalleled
piece of news had overwhelmed the mind of the nation, clouded the
strongest judgments, and impelled the most moderate to violence.
King Charles, while taking a walk in St. James's Park, received
from a certain Captain Kirby, an unknown and insignificant
personage, the revelation of a plot stated to have been hatched
against his life. The informer, Kirby, referred to Dr. Tonge, an
ecclesiastic of the Church of England, and known to some persons
of the court. Tonge affirmed the existence of a great Papist
conspiracy. Letters were seized; the king and the Duke of York
judged them to be forgeries. Tonge produced his principal
witness, Titus Oates, son of an Anabaptist preacher, but in holy
orders, a chaplain in the navy, thence soon dismissed, a convert
to Catholicism, and twice ignominiously expelled from the College
of the Jesuits. As audacious as he was corrupt, he maintained
with effrontery that his relations with the Jesuits had given him
occasion to discover the entire plot; that documents had passed
into his hands; the Pope had assigned the government of England
to the Jesuits, who were spread over all parts of the three
kingdoms in order to labor in the work of the general conversion;
the life of the king was threatened, as well as that of all
obstinate Protestants; the Fire of London had been the work of
the Jesuits; a second fire was preparing for the port of London;
all the ships were to be delivered to the flames; the Pope had
already named the ministers who were to govern England for him.
The good sense of the king, favored by his secret confidence with
regard to the Catholics, enabled him at once to reject this
monstrous tissue of falsehoods and calumnies.
{373}
Some persons, however, were mentioned, and public opinion began
to be excited. The papers of Coleman, who had been occasionally
employed by the Duke of York, were seized at the moment when he
was beginning to burn them. Enough remained to furnish evidence,
not of a plot properly so called, but of the hopes which the
Catholicism of the heir to the throne, as well as the personal
inclinations of the king, had engendered in the Church of Rome.
"We have a great work in hand," wrote Coleman to Father La
Chaise, confessor to Louis XIV.; "it is a question of nothing
less than the conversion of the three kingdoms, and perhaps by
this means of the destruction of that odious heresy which has so
long prevailed over the people of the North. Never have such
hopes been able to flourish since the death of our Queen Mary.
God has given us a prince who has, by a miracle, become ardently
desirous of being the author and the instrument of this glorious
enterprise; but we are certain to meet with so many obstacles and
so much opposition, that it is important to afford us all the
help that one can." Coleman fled the country.

This was more than was wanted to inflame the minds and excite the
fears of all the members of the council, before which Oates and
Tonge appeared. A terrible incident came to add to the public
anxiety and indignation. Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey, a magistrate of
London, who had received the depositions of Titus Oates, and
perhaps even the confessions of Coleman, whose friend he was,
disappeared from his house for some days, then was found murdered
in a ditch not far from the church of St. Pancras. His sword was
plunged into his breast. An attempt was made to represent this as
a case of suicide, but both the medical examination and popular
feeling denounced the murderers.
{374}
The body remained exposed for two days. "Many went to see it,"
says Burnet, "who went away much moved by the sight, and indeed
men's spirits were so sharpened upon it that we all looked on it
as a very great happiness that the people did not vent their fury
upon the Popish about the town." An immense crowd gathered at the
interment of Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey; he was regarded as a martyr
to Protestantism.

The fears of Parliament were as great as those of the people of
London. The king had announced an intention of bringing the
affair before the ordinary tribunals. The Houses of Parliament
had summoned Titus Oates before them; voted him their thanks and
a pension of £1,200 sterling; they indicted all the Roman
Catholic lords named by the renegade; the prisons were crowded
with Papists; for the first time the question of the succession
to the throne was agitated in Parliament. The Duke of York had
ceased to take his place in the Privy Council; this prudent
course secured him an exemption from the general measure which
soon afterwards forbade the Catholic Peers to sit in Parliament.
The Test Act had already excluded Papists from the House of
Commons. The denunciations continued, and to Titus Oates was now
added one Bedloe: the executions commenced; a few obscure
Catholics had already paid with their lives for the terrors of
England when the new Parliament assembled at Westminster.

{375}

The state of parties had undergone an important change. The great
divisions which were destined so long to distinguish opinions in
England, began to appear in the legislature of 1675: the Tories,
under the direction of Lord Godolphin and Lawrence Hyde, second
son of Lord Clarendon, occupying the place of the court party,
and remaining devoted to the royal authority; the Whigs, who had
for their leaders Lord Shaftesbury, Lord Essex, and Lord William
Russell, and forming the country party, more concerned for the
rights of the nation than for the prerogatives of the crown; and
an intermediate group, distinguished under the insulting name of
"Trimmers," inclining, sometimes to the right, sometimes to the
left, according to the impulse of the lively, penetrating, and
critical mind of their chief, Lord Halifax. Lord Sunderland,
clever and unpopular, was as a rule in accord with Halifax.
Nearly all formed part of the new council of thirty members which
Sir William Temple had proposed to the king as a constitutional
experiment. That wise diplomatist also hoped, by thus engaging in
the royal council the Parliamentary leaders, to protect the crown
against the encroachments of Parliament, and to secure in equal
degree the nation against the pretensions of the crown.

The nature of things and the necessities of affairs were not slow
in prevailing over the scheme thus ably planned; the new council
had scarcely entered upon its duties when an inner council began
to direct all its deliberations, and found itself alone in charge
of the government. Sir William Temple, Lord Essex, Lord Halifax,
and Lord Sunderland were the real members. Lord Shaftesbury was
president of the council.

{376}

It was the latter who placed himself at the head of the
Protestant party in Parliament. The nation had become alive to
the danger which threatened its faith as well as its liberties
under the future reign of the Duke of York. The king had in vain
removed his brother, who had retired to Brussels. The House of
Commons solemnly voted his exclusion from the throne. Before the
Bill could be carried to the House of Lords, Charles prorogued
Parliament.

The indignation was profound. "I will bring to the block those
who have advised the prorogation," cried Shaftesbury in a
transport of anger. The chief of the Whigs had, however, on that
day obtained the success of a measure which he had long
cherished; the royal assent had been accorded to the Habeas
Corpus Bill, securing the personal liberty of every English
subject, and the right to be released on bail from the prisons of
detention. This guarantee of the rights rendered sacred by Magna
Charta was hailed with enthusiasm by the people, who justly
attributed the credit of it to the president of the council. This
title was not destined to be long accorded to him. In July, 1679,
the king dissolved Parliament. Some months later he recalled his
brother from Brussels and dismissed Lord Shaftesbury. The friends
of the latter suffered his fate; Lord William Russell, Lord
Cavendish, and Lord Essex retired from the council. Sir William
Temple, disgusted by the failure of his new plan of government,
returned to his country-house to cultivate his beautiful gardens,
which he had never wished to leave. Halifax and Sunderland alone
remained in power. Lawrence Hyde and Sidney Godolphin were soon
associated with them. Under the presidency of the chief of the
Trimmers the power passed once more into the hands of the Tories.
[Footnote 2]

    [Footnote 2: The appellations Whig and Tory were originally
    given to the fanatical Covenanters and Catholic Outlaws in
    Scotland and Ireland. From them they passed to the political
    parties.]

{377}

Up to this time the ministry had kept in its midst, at the head
of the affairs of Scotland, an abettor of tyranny who had already
more than once caused grave embarrassment to the government of
the king. Lord Lauderdale, supported in Scotland by Archbishop
Sharp, had transgressed the limits of Presbyterian patience. In
spite of his ordinances, and of the atrocious penalties by which
he punished offences against them, conventicles multiplied on all
hands. Once already the Archbishop had been threatened by
assassins who failed in their purpose. He pursued them with
pitiless vengeance, exacting from all the landed gentry of the
west an engagement not to tolerate on their estates the forbidden
religious assemblies, or to be present at them themselves. On the
refusal of these gentlemen, they were required "to deliver up
their arms and to keep no horse of greater value than £4
sterling." To this edict, as to the former one, they refused
obedience; at the news of this step the Duke of Lauderdale fell
into such a fit of rage that in full council he turned his
sleeves up to his elbows and swore by Jehovah "that he would know
how to put them in irons again." Halifax obtained the king's
consent to examine for himself the complaints broached against
his minister. "Kings," says Burnet, "naturally love to hear their
prerogative magnified; yet on this occasion the king had nothing
to say in defence of the administration. But when May, the Master
of the Privy Purse, asked him, in his familiar way, what he
thought now of his Lauderdale, he answered, as May himself told
me, that he had objected to many things that he had done against
them, but there was nothing objected that was against his
service." Strange infatuation of a sovereign so long a prey to
the vicissitudes of fortune, but who had not yet learnt that his
interests were inseparable from those of his people.

{378}

The Duke of Monmouth had been charged with the affairs of
Scotland. He arrived there in the midst of a recrudescence of
religious ardor. The Presbyterians felt that Lauderdale was
beaten. They repaired in crowds into the conventicles. Some
wretches carried their rage further. Archbishop Sharp was passing
in his carriage through the environs of St. Andrew's; his
servants were in advance, or following at some distance; he was
alone with his daughter when the carriage encountered a group of
armed fanatics. "Behold the day of the Lord," cried the
Covenanters; "the Eternal has delivered our enemy into our
hands." The archbishop was not deceived. "God have pity upon me!"
he exclaimed to his daughter; "I am lost." The horsemen followed
the carriage; the horses and the postilion were wounded; the
murderers presented themselves at the door of the vehicle. "Come
forth, Judas!" they cried. The old man and his daughter knelt to
implore for mercy. The hatred of their persecutors was too
violent for them to allow their prey to escape; the archbishop
fell pierced by daggers. "Take away your priest," said the
assassins to the terrified servants; and they retired into a
cottage to return thanks to God. The forbidden assemblies had
become so numerous that they were able to repulse the regiments
sent to disperse them. The Covenanters had taken possession of
Glasgow, when the Duke of Monmouth marched against them, on the
22d of June, 1679, at Bothwell Bridge on the Clyde.


[Image]
Portrait Of Monmouth.


{379}

The insurgents were completely defeated, and the massacre would
have been great if the duke had not imposed a limit to the
vengeance of Graham of Claverhouse, already famous, who had once
been conquered by the fanatics. When Monmouth returned to
England, the king remarked to him that if he himself had been
engaged in the affair, he should not have concerned himself so
much about the prisoners. "I do not kill in cold blood," replied
the duke; "that is the work of a butcher." The moderation which
the young duke exhibited in victory may have been politic as well
as charitable and humane. Some fumes of greatness had begun to
mount to his head: he imagined that he foresaw a future hitherto
unhoped for. Moved by personal hostility towards the Prince of
Orange, the cause of which has never been made known, Lord
Shaftesbury, who pursued with ardor his campaign in favor of the
Bill of Exclusion, extended his animosity to the Protestant
children of the Duke of York. A rumor began to spread that the
birth of Monmouth was legitimate, and that the king had secretly
espoused his mother, Lucy Walters. Long unknown, under the name
of James Croft, because he had been confided in his infancy to
the care of Lord Croft, Monmouth had recently married the
daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch, the greatest heiress in
Scotland; he bore his name joined to the title of the Duke of
Monmouth, which the king had given him. Handsome, brave,
thoughtless, he had inspired in Charles II. an attachment of
which the adroit Shaftesbury reckoned upon availing himself in
the rivalry which he sought to establish between the young man
and the Duke of York. When James was recalled from Brussels by
his brother, he required that Monmouth should be stripped of his
appointment and sent back to the Continent.

{380}

Meanwhile the new Parliament had met (October, 1680); it was more
ardently Protestant and patriotic than its predecessors. The
Exclusion Bill was passed by a great majority; for a moment there
was reason to believe that it would be adopted by the House of
Lords. Godolphin advised the king to yield to public feeling; the
Duchess of Portsmouth, the French favorite of Charles, implored
him not to rush upon his ruin. He hesitated for some days,
endeavoring to conclude a bargain with the Legislature. But
mutual distrust was deep-seated and carefully nourished by very
different influences. The royal honor and a remnant of natural
affection mingled with the anger of a sovereign upon whom his
people sought to impose an unjust law. Charles II. adopted his
course, and engaged in a contest against the Exclusion Bill,
being present himself at the sittings of the House of Lords. The
debate was long and violent; more than once hands grasped the
hilts of swords: the eloquence of Halifax prevailed over the
alliance of Shaftesbury, Essex, and the treacherous Sunderland;
the Bill was rejected by a very large majority.

The threatened Catholics were destined to pay for that check to
national and Protestant anxieties. Several small plots,
fictitious or real, were discovered; but the ordinary tribunals
seemed weary of condemnations. It was the House of Lords itself
which pronounced the sentence against Lord Stafford, youngest son
of the old Earl of Arundel, and consequently uncle of the Duke of
Norfolk. "He was a weak, but a fair-conditioned man," says
Burnet.
{381}
Titus Oates and one of his compeers, named Turbervil, accused
Lord Stafford of having plotted the assassination of the king.
The charge had not a shadow of foundation; the viscount was
nevertheless condemned by 55 voices against 31. The royal favor
exempted him from the odious punishment of traitors. Charles II.
was convinced of the innocence of the victims; he had too much
sense to believe in the existence of those plots incessantly
arising which so alarmed England, but his cold selfishness
troubled itself little with the warrants which he signed, or the
lives which he sacrificed to his repose. "The king appeared very
calm, and his mind very cheerful," wrote Algernon Sidney,
"although one might then have thought that he would be
overwhelmed with cares, having no other resource but to dissolve
Parliament, and trust himself to the good pleasure of his
subjects; but the embarrassment in which he was did not seem to
trouble him."

A renewed attempt in the House of Commons in favor of the
Exclusion Bill led to the dissolution foreseen by Algernon
Sidney; and it was a token of the royal intentions that the new
Parliament was convened for the 21St of March, 1681, not at
Westminster, but at Oxford. Charles had concluded with Louis XIV.
a new treaty, kept profoundly secret, by which the king of France
engaged himself to give for the current year a subsidy of two
million livres, which was to be reduced to fifteen hundred
thousand during the three following years. At this price Charles
broke the alliance which he had contracted with Spain for the
maintenance of the treaty of Nimeguen. He returned to his
dependence upon Louis XIV.

{382}

The violence of Shaftesbury and his adherents went on increasing;
it passed the bounds of the national temperament. The sentiments
of passionate loyalty which had hailed the Restoration were not
completely extinguished, and when the leader of the Whigs,
arriving armed at Oxford, affixed to the hats of his domestics
the motto from one of his speeches, "No Popery! no slavery!" the
echo which it occasioned in the hearts of the people was not
powerful enough to sustain him in his audacious designs. The
nation rejected, as he did, Popery and slavery; but it was not
yet disposed to attribute to its king all the sinister views
which Shaftesbury laid to his account. In the last Parliament
Shaftesbury had proposed to deprive the Duke of York, upon his
accession to the throne, of the power to treat with foreign
governments, and to nominate civil and military functionaries. At
Oxford he offered to leave to the heir-apparent the empty title
of king, while entrusting the power to the Prince of Orange as
the representative of the Princess Mary. These various
expedients, more specious and ingenious than practicable, were
insufficient to satisfy the violent passions excited in the House
of Commons. The proposition of Halifax was rejected. On the 26th
of March, a new Exclusion Bill was presented and carried. "On the
28th," says Burnet, "very suddenly and not very decently, the
king came to the House of Lords, the crown being carried between
his feet in a sedan. And he put on his robes in haste, without
any previous notice, and called up the Commons, and dissolved
Parliament." This was the fifth Parliament dissolved by King
Charles II. The Parliament of Oxford was the last which was
convoked during his reign.

{383}

He hastened, however, to reassure the nation, and to explain the
motives of his actions. A royal manifesto was immediately
published, complaining of the undutiful behavior of the three
last Parliaments towards him, and of their disrespectful conduct
in many instances. "Nothing, however," he added, "shall ever
alter my affection to the Protestant religion as established by
law, nor my love to Parliament, for I will still have frequent
Parliaments." The Whigs replied to the royal protestations,
insisting upon the necessity of the exclusion of the Duke of
York; but their passions had blinded them regarding the state of
public opinion. A mass of addresses were presented to the throne,
some ardently Protestant, but assuring the king of their fidelity
and confidence; others asserting the right of the regular
succession to the throne, while a considerable number openly
accepted the doctrine of non-resistance, and absolute submission
to the will of the king. The country gentlemen and the
inhabitants of towns scented in the air the spirit of 1641; the
remembrance of the Civil War had not yet faded from men's minds;
the king found himself once more supported by the national
sentiment; and he believed himself powerful enough to employ it
against his enemies. Proceedings were taken against the men who
had insulted the royal majesty. Fitzharris had written a
seditious pamphlet. College was accused of having endeavored to
corrupt the king's guard; both were condemned and executed. Lord
Shaftesbury, indicted as a suborner of false witnesses, was sent
to the Tower. The sheriffs of London were still Whigs; the Grand
Jury chosen by them triumphantly acquitted Shaftesbury.
{384}
The wretches previously concerned in the proceedings against the
Catholics reappeared in the proceedings against the Whigs. Lord
Howard, arrested for the moment, owed his liberty to the Habeas
Corpus Act. The king determined to release himself from the
trammels imposed upon him by the opinions of the magistrates of
London. By a movement of doubtful legality, it was contrived to
have sheriffs elected who belonged to the Tory party; the latter,
in their turn, chose juries devoted to them. Certain Whig
magistrates were sued, and condemned in enormous damages. The
king prepared his measures against the charters of the city, and
the municipal liberties which everywhere protected the
corporations of towns. A visit of the Prince of Orange did not
suffice to arrest the absolutist reaction. "The Whigs seem to me
in a majority," said the prince to the king, his uncle. "You see
only them," replied Charles.

The Duke of York reappeared in London. During his absence from
the court, he had exercised in Scotland a harsh and perfidious
authority. The rigor to which the Nonconformists had been
subjected had excited the hot-headed. A preacher named Cameron, a
name still remembered among his partisans, had raised the banner
of revolt against a king faithless to the Protestant religion and
the government to which he had sworn. He was killed in an
engagement. His successor, Donald Cargill, was arrested and soon
afterwards executed with a large number of his disciples. Men and
women walked to the scaffold singing songs of triumph. The Scotch
Parliament instituted an oath of submission to the royal
authority, which went so far as to require passive obedience.
Fletcher of Saltoun and Lord Stair demanded the insertion of a
clause for the protection of the Protestant religion.
{385}
The Duke of York would not sanction it under this form. When it
was proposed to dispense with it, Lord Belhaven declared that the
utility of the oath was to exclude Papists from the succession;
he was sent to prison. The Earl of Argyll, son of him who had
been executed at the commencement of the reign, made some
reservation in taking the oath of submission; he was arrested in
his turn. The Duke of York disclaimed on his part any sinister
intention towards him. "God forbid that the life and fortune of
the earl should be imperilled," he said. Yet on the 12th of
December, Argyll was condemned by a jury presided over by the
Marquis of Montrose. He was assured of the royal pardon; but the
earl put no faith in the protestation of his enemies. The Duke of
York refused to grant him an audience. Argyll escaped, disguised
in the attire of the page of his daughter-in-law. Lady Sophia
Lindsay. Condemned, _per contumaciam_, to all the horrors of
the punishment of traitors, his property had been confiscated,
and his children declared unworthy of their inheritance; but the
king, more considerate and wiser than his advisers, returned a
part of his fortune to Lord Lome, the eldest son of the earl. The
latter prudently remained in Holland.

The Duke of Monmouth did not act with the same wisdom. When he
found the Duke of York established at the court, recognized again
as Lord High Admiral and lodged by the king in St. James's
Palace, he regarded as void the promise he had given to remain on
the Continent so long as his rival should govern in Scotland, and
returning to London without the king's permission, was received
with exclamations of joy by the people.
{386}
Leaving the city with a cortege almost regal, he journeyed slowly
through the kingdom, received by the gentry and by deputations
from the towns, mixing with the crowd wherever he went with a
proud but amicable and popular condescension, and saluted on the
road by the enthusiastic cries of "Monmouth! Monmouth!"

This triumphant progress led the imprudent young man as far as
Chester. The chief justice of that city was George Jeffreys,
already known for his violence, his ability, and his
unscrupulousness in the furtherance of his unbridled ambition.
Corruptly attached at that time to the interests of the Duke of
York, he easily found a pretext for arresting the Duke of
Monmouth at Stafford, June, 1682. On being conducted to London,
the duke was immediately liberated, but was held to bail.

Shaftesbury did not put his trust in the Habeas Corpus Act.
Alarmed by the measures which he saw in progress against the
Whigs, he sought refuge in the city. It was an old saying of his
that he "would constrain the king to leave his kingdom quietly;
but as for the Duke of York, he would compel him to wander on the
face of the earth, a vagabond like Cain!" The attitude of the
king, the fears that he entertained for his party and for
himself, the tendency of his restless disposition, again impelled
him to dangerous projects. The national party demanded that
Charles II., in disinheriting his brother, should with his own
hands destroy the monarchy. Charles required that the national
party should at all risks submit to a prince who evidently
aspired to destroy the religion and constitution of the country.
Thus urged on to extremes on one side and the other, the king
decided for despotism; the national party for insurrection.
{387}
In 1682 two statesmen, Lord Shaftesbury and Lord Russell, were at
the head of the contest: Shaftesbury, already old, ambitious,
indefatigable, corrupted by every source of corruption--the
court, the government, and the seductions of popularity;
accustomed from his youth upwards to seek and find his fortune in
intriguing and plotting; bold and supple in mind; sagacious and
fertile in expedients; powerful in influencing men; equally
skilled to render service and to injure, to please and to
irritate; attached nevertheless by pride and foresight to the
Protestant and national party, which was certainly in his eyes
the strongest and the ultimate victor; and determined, in any
event, to preserve his life in order to enjoy the fruit of his
manœuvres or to pursue them afresh: Lord William Russell, still
young, sincere, ardent, inexperienced, endowed with an inflexible
temper, a heart full of faith and honor, conscientious in
conspiring; ready to sacrifice his life for his cause, but
incapable of doing anything indifferently for the sake of success
or for his own safety. The web was woven; Lord Shaftesbury
rallied around him all the malcontents.

The conspirators met occasionally; they were not always the same
persons; they were suspicious of each other, and mutually
concealed the ultimate object of their plans. Russell projected
an armed resistance against the royal tyranny, accepting,
perhaps, in the bottom of his heart, though without avowing it to
himself, the consequences of such a resolution. Shaftesbury saw
his way clearly to his design, and prepared at all cost the
overthrow of the king and the advent of a successor other than
the veritable heir. Some meditated a sudden attack and the
assassination of the king. There were among them some republicans
who cherished their dreams, and also some traitors either already
in the pay of the court or ready to deliver up to it their secret
and their accomplices, in order to withdraw themselves from
peril.
{388}
One day when they were met together, Russell saw enter with
Colonel Sidney and Mr. Hampden, a man whom he despised--Lord
Howard. "What have we to do with that fellow?" he asked of Lord
Essex, his intimate friend, and he desired to retire; but Essex
detained him, having a better opinion of Lord Howard, and not
suspecting that this was the man whose testimony was destined
soon to ruin both.

Lord Howard was already sold to the court. By a lucky accident
Shaftesbury was informed of this circumstance; he immediately
determined to leave England. The order was actually issued for
his arrest when he stealthily left his house, and concealing
himself for some days, embarked at Harwich to take refuge in
Holland, hoping to find with the Prince of Orange an asylum and
an avenger. When chancellor he had violently favored the war with
Holland, and more than once had repeated _Delenda est
Carthago_. On his arrival at Amsterdam he requested permission
to remain there from the burgomaster, who replied, "Carthage, not
yet destroyed, willingly receives the Earl of Shaftesbury within
her walls."

He had forever bidden farewell to England. Two months after his
flight, while his imprisoned accomplices were undergoing their
examination before the judges, the troubled soul and restless
mind of Shaftesbury for the first time found repose. He died on
the 21st of January, 1683.


[Image]
Lord Russell's Trial.


{389}

Lord William Russell was already in the Tower when Shaftesbury
landed in Holland. As he passed under the Traitor's Gate, he said
to his valet, Taunton, "I am sworn against; my enemies will have
my life," And when Taunton expressed a hope that they would not
succeed, "They will have it," Russell repeated, "the devil is
loose."

The conspirators were all arrested. Grey had contrived to escape.
Howard had purchased his life by treason; Essex, troubled to the
very depths of his soul, cut his throat in prison. Algernon
Sidney and Hampden refused to reply to the interrogatories "Seek
elsewhere for evidence against me," answered the republican
Sidney proudly. It was proposed to Baillie of Jerviswood, to save
himself by giving information. "Those who talk to me thus know
neither me nor my country," replied the Scotch gentleman.

Witnesses, true or false, were not wanting to the proceedings.
Several obscure conspirators had already been executed when
Russell was placed at the bar of the Court of the Old Bailey, on
the 13th of July, 1683. He asked for a pen and ink to take notes;
then turning towards the judges, "May I have somebody to write,
and help my memory?" he asked. "Yes, my lord, a servant." "My
wife," he replied, "is here to do it." Lady Rachel Russell rose
to express her assent; all the bystanders knew her virtuous
character, and the passionate attachment which united her to her
husband. She served him as his secretary during the whole time of
the proceedings. When he was condemned it was she again who
pursued without resting every means of obtaining his pardon. "All
me is true," replied the king to Lord Dartmouth; "but it is
equally true that if I do not take his life he will very soon
take mine."
{390}
And as the arrival was announced of the Marquis of Ruvigny, uncle
of Lady Rachel, with a pressing letter from Louis XIV., "I am
well assured that the king, my brother, would not advise me to
pardon a man who would have shown me no quarter," said the king
to Barillon, then ambassador of France at the English court. "I
have no wish to prevent M. Ruvigny coming here, but my Lord
Russell's head will be off before he arrives."

On the 21st of July, 1683, Russell died upon the scaffold. "The
bitterness of death is passed," he said to Tillotson and Burnet,
after embracing his wife for the last time; and showing the watch
which he handed to Burnet, he said, "I have now done with time,
and am going to eternity."

The complications of projects and the various conspiracies served
the purpose of the royal vengeance. A criminal plot, much
exaggerated in its importance, and entered into by obscure men,
which was known under the name of the "Rye House Plot," had been
mixed up, whether involuntarily or intentionally, with the
revolutionary designs of the great lords. Algernon Sidney had
indulged the dream of the return of the Republic; he defended
himself with a degree of ability and self-possession which for a
moment troubled Chief Justice Jeffreys himself. When sentence was
pronounced, Sidney lifted his hand towards heaven: "I implore
Thee, O Lord," he said, "to sanctify my sufferings and not to
impute my blood to this nation or this city. If one day it should
be avenged, let vengeance fall entirely on those who have
unjustly persecuted me in the name of justice." He was executed
on the 26th of November, 1683.
{391}
Several of the conspirators shared his fate. The trial of Hampden
did not take place till the month of February, 1684. Condemned to
imprisonment, he ransomed himself afterwards by payment of a sum
of money. The royal power was thenceforth freed from every
trammel and from all anxiety. The subsidies of Louis XIV.
rendered Charles independent of his people. He refused to summon
a Parliament; the Court of King's Bench declared that the city
had exceeded its privileges; the charter was withdrawn in 1684;
the franchises of all the towns known for their liberal opinions
were abolished, like those of the capital. The Duke of York had
resumed his place in the Privy Council.

While the absolute reaction acquired every day more strength and
audacity, the influence of Lord Halifax with the king diminished.
The minister himself was weary of the struggle which he sustained
in the Council against Lawrence Hyde, created Lord Rochester, who
was devoted to the Duke of York, his brother-in-law. "Life would
be worthless," he exclaimed one day, when they were discussing
the Charter of Massachusetts, "if we had to drag out existence in
a country in which liberty and prosperity were at the mercy of an
absolute master." The Duke of York was irritated by this
language. "How can you keep about you a man nourished on the
worst principles of Marvell and Sidney?" he asked the king.
Charles laughed. More sagacious and prudent than his brother, he
knew how to conquer without needlessly exasperating the
vanquished. Rochester, convicted of malversation while Lord
Treasurer, was transferred from the control of the finances to
the dignified but not lucrative post of President of the Council.
"I have often seen people kicked down stairs," said Halifax; "my
Lord Rochester is the first person that I have ever seen kicked
up."

{392}

The day arrived when the Duke of York was to find himself free to
apply without stint his theories of government. The king seemed
weary and languishing. His humor, habitually cheerful in exile
and in the midst of the crudest misfortunes, had for a short time
past become gloomy. On the 2nd of February, 1685, at the moment
of his rising from bed, the courtiers around him were struck by
his altered looks. His utterance was embarrassed; his
intelligence seemed clouded. A doctor who happened to be at hand
to assist the king in his chemical experiments bled him without
delay. Charles recovered his senses. A second attack soon put an
end to all hope of cure. The Duke of York had already taken
possession of the government. He gave his orders in all
directions. It was the king's favorite, the Duchess of
Portsmouth, who, in the heart of this depraved court, took care
of the soul of the expiring monarch. She apprised Barillon, who
hastened to inform the Duke of York. "It is true," cried James,
"my brother is a Catholic at heart; he will assuredly declare it,
and fulfill the rites of his religion; there is not a moment to
lose." Some difficulty was experienced in procuring a priest. The
Anglican bishops had not delayed so long to press the king to be
mindful of his spiritual welfare. The Archbishop of Canterbury,
Sancroft, and the Bishop of Bath, the pious Ken, had addressed
Charles in the firmest language. "It is time to speak, Sire, for
you are about to appear before a Judge who is no respecter of
persons." The king made no reply.

{393}

The Duke of York at last succeeded in finding a priest; it was a
poor Benedictine monk, named Huddleston, who had saved the king
immediately after the battle of Worcester. Charles had a grateful
remembrance of this circumstance. Huddleston had been excepted by
name from all the proceedings against the Catholics. James
himself introduced him into his brother's chamber. All present
were desired to retire with the exception of the Frenchman, Louis
de Duras, Earl of Feversham, and of the Earl of Bath. They could
count on the fidelity of each other. "Sire," said the duke, "this
holy man once saved your life; he comes to-day to save your
soul." "He is welcome," said the king in a feeble voice. The poor
monk had never fulfilled the holy offices. He had just taken
instructions hurriedly from a Portuguese ecclesiastic in the
suite of the Count de Castelmelhor. When the pious ceremonies
were completed, all the natural children of the king were
admitted to his presence. Monmouth alone was absent. He had
sought his safety in exile; the king did not mention his name.

The queen was in too much trouble and suffering to appear at the
bedside of the dying monarch. She sent her excuses by Halifax,
asking pardon of the king. "Poor woman," murmured Charles, "I ask
hers with all my heart!"

The agony was protracted. The king asked that the curtains might
be drawn, so that he could see once more the light of day. "I beg
your pardon for giving you so much trouble," he said to those who
stood around him; "I am a very long time dying." His utterance
failed him; at noon on the 6th of February, 1685, King Charles
II. expired gently. He was not yet fifty-five years of age.

{394}

"He had received from nature," says Lord Macaulay, "excellent
parts and a happy temper. His education had been such as might
have been expected to develop his understanding, and to form him
to the practice of every public and private virtue. ... He had
been taught by bitter experience how much baseness, perfidy, and
ingratitude may lie hid under the obsequious demeanor of
courtiers. He had found, on the other hand, in the huts of the
poorest, true nobility of soul. ... From such a school it might
have been expected that a young man, who wanted neither abilities
nor amiable qualities, would have come forth a great and good
king. Charles came forth from that school with social habits,
with polite and engaging manners, and with some talent for lively
conversation, addicted beyond measure to sensual indulgence, fond
of sauntering and of frivolous amusements, incapable of
self-denial and of exertion, without faith in human virtue or in
human attachment, without desire of renown, and without
sensibility to reproach. According to him, every person was to be
bought, but some people haggled more about their price than
others. ... Thinking thus of mankind, Charles naturally cared
very little what they thought of him. ... He was a slave without
being a dupe. ... He detested business. ... He wished merely to
be a king such as Louis XV. of France afterwards was." Without
regard for the state of his kingdom, shut up in the selfish
circle of his material pleasures, indifferent to all religion,
hostile to the Puritans from memory of the past, from contempt
for their ridiculous characteristics, and from fear of their
austerity; without faith or rule of conduct; absolutely wanting
in principles and moral sense, he had worn out the respect of the
nation without completely exhausting its affection, for he was
sagacious, prudent, little addicted to hazardous enterprises; and
he had measured with a cool and practical judgment the degree of
oppression which his people were capable of enduring.
{395}
The popular saying did him injustice in affirming that "he never
said a foolish thing, and never did a wise one." He was wise
enough more than once to stop in the path of despotism. His
brother, who had often impelled him in this direction, was now
about to advance to the brink of the abyss. England wept for the
loss of Charles II. Without being fully conscious of the feeling,
she regarded James II. with presentiment and with dread.



{396}

                   Chapter XXXI.

      James II. And The Revolution (1685-1688).

England never loved James II.: she dreaded his religion and that
unfeeling character of which he had so many times given proof.
The shrewd and liberal politicians had made great efforts to
exclude him from the throne; he was nevertheless proclaimed
without tumult and accepted peaceably by the nation. The great
revolution which was to be accomplished under his reign, and
which was to make England forever a free country, had not yet
begun, nor was there any presentiment of its approach.

This drama was to unfold itself slowly, and to display in its
progress successively the tyranny of the king and the resistance
of the nation. At the outset, James II. profited by the absolute
victory obtained by Charles II. in the last years of his reign.
It was an epoch of tranquillity and of good appearances, false at
the foundation, notwithstanding the royal protestations and the
assurances of confidence lavished on the new monarch. Already, in
the month of November, 1685, many disquieting acts and fatal
prognostics began to alarm the friends of liberty; and from this
time we may date the commencement of that progressive tyranny
which was to develop conspiracies and at the same time arouse
lively opposition and legal resistance throughout the country,
both within and without Parliament.


[Image]
James II.


{397}

In the third period of the reign of James II. from July, 1687, to
December, 1688, the nation and the king had evidently broken all
ties: the one aspired without reserve to the absolute triumph of
his will, the other defended proudly its attacked liberties. The
contest ended only with the overthrow of James II. and his flight
from England. It is necessary to follow step by step the episodes
of this great conflict--a conflict unavoidable from the nature of
the monarch who had just taken possession of the crown. To the
far-seeing eye, the accession of James II. was the sure pledge of
tyranny.

The mass of the nation was contented; the disquiet of political
plots had counterbalanced the indignation caused by the Papist
conspiracies, and public sentiment rallied around the throne; the
great national calamities which signalized some years of the
reign of Charles II.--war, pestilence, and fire--did not return
to scourge the people. No hardy innovator among the literary or
philosophical writers threw among the public such brands of
agitation and of discord as Lilburne had scattered in spite of
Cromwell or the Long Parliament. Milton died in 1674, having been
solely occupied since the Restoration with his great poem,
_Paradise Lost_, that masterpiece of religious and
philosophical poetry alone worthy of saluting Dante in his
sublime pilgrimage into the invisible world. The political
pamphlets which had but recently served his cause and which had
placed Milton in the front rank of English prose writers were
eclipsed, if not forgotten, by the brilliancy of that poetical
genius which had kept almost entirely silent during the ardent
contests for liberty. Cowley and Butler were also dead; Otway and
Waller mingled politics with their poetry.
{398}
Hobbes opened the door to a dangerous school of philosophy,
against which Bunyan, a poor laborer and strolling preacher,
defended his country without knowing it, by writing in the depths
of his prison the "_Pilgrim's Progress_," that strange and
profound book destined to take the first rank after the Bible in
the popular libraries of England. Dryden alone occupied a
brilliant position: his verse and prose were elegant, powerful,
rich, and energetic; but personally he was often corrupt, without
principle and without respect for himself or for his fame, as his
pretended conversion to Catholicism subsequently proved. Minds
were contemplative without being active: the revolution and the
Republic had not been propitious to literary development; while
the Restoration had profited by the leisure of Milton, it did not
at first realize his value; it was during a period of
intellectual calm as well as of political quiet that James II.
ascended the throne. The treaty of Ratisbon gave Europe hope for
some relaxation of the ambition of Louis XIV. The Emperor and
Spain had accepted his new conquests, "recognizing" said the
Marquis de la Fare, "that the empire of the French was a
necessary evil to the other nations." After so many and such
cruel blows, a moment of calm seemed to rest upon the world.

James II. was destined ere long to trouble this repose. It seemed
when he ascended the throne that his only desire was to render
his people happy. "They have spread abroad the report that I have
a desire for arbitrary power," said he, February 6th, in the
council which had assembled a few hours after the death of
Charles II., "but it is not the only calumny that they have
invented against me. I will do my utmost to maintain the
government of the State and the Church as I find it to-day.
{399}
I know that the principles of the Church of England are favorable
to monarchy, and that its members have proved themselves true and
loyal subjects; I shall therefore defend and sustain it. I know
also that the laws of England are sufficient to elevate a monarch
as high as I should desire. I have often risked my life to defend
this nation; I shall use the utmost of my power to preserve its
rights and liberties."

This declaration was received with applause. Already the
courtiers of Charles II. seemed to have lost the royal favor.
James II., though as debauched as his brother, did not affect his
license of conduct. "The appearance of the court changed
immediately," wrote Evelyn; "the aspect is more grave and moral,
the new king likes neither buffoons nor scoffers." Parliament was
convoked for the 15th of May.

The elections assured to the Tories an overwhelming majority.
"There are not more than forty members of the House of Commons
that I have not chosen myself," said the king. At the opening of
the session he repeated the promises he had already made before
the council; a word only betrayed the absolute temper of the new
monarch; in demanding that they accord him a fixed revenue for
life, as they had done to the king, his brother, he added, "They
may say to you that the best means of securing the frequent
assembling of Parliament will be to allow me means only according
to your will, and as you may think suitable; speaking today from
the throne, I respond, once for all, to this argument. This will
be a bad plan to adopt with me; the best means of securing
frequent assemblings is to treat me well."
{400}
Parliament voted the subsidies demanded. Already James II. had
performed an act of absolute power in continuing to collect the
custom duties, but recently accorded by the Houses to Charles II.
for life. Even the Whigs did not protest; they trusted to the
sincerity of the king. "We have for the protection of our church
the promise of a king," said a zealous preacher, "and of a king
who never belied his word." So soon were forgotten the perfidy
and faithlessness of the House of Stuart, of which James II. was
soon to show himself a worthy son.

Already some disquieting symptoms began to alarm the far-seeing
politicians. The king had thrown open the doors of his private
chapel, establishing thus at the outset his right of hearing mass
publicly. When Holy Week arrived and the services multiplied,
James required the most considerable personages of his household
to assist him in the ceremonies of his worship. Lord Godolphin,
who was a member of the queen's household, and accustomed to
accompanying her to the chapel, made no resistance. Lord
Rochester, although corrupt and arrogant, had nevertheless been
educated by his father, Lord Clarendon, to show a profound
respect for the Anglican Church; he refused to follow the king to
mass and obtained permission to retire to the country during
Easter. The Dukes of Ormond and Halifax remained in the
ante-chamber. The Duke of Norfolk, recently appointed to carry
the sword of the crown before the king, stopped at the door of
the chapel. "Your father would have gone farther, my lord," said
James. "Yours, who valued mine much, would not have come so far.
Sire," responded the duke. The religious pomps of the coronation,
celebrated after the Protestant ritual, did not suffice to
reassure their minds. Some remarked that the crown was too large
for the head of the king, and was also badly placed upon his
head. The supports of the dais gave way. Superstition, united to
forebodings of evil, began to awaken in the public the first
germs of an increasing restlessness.

{401}

It was nevertheless with a true though confused sincerity that
king James had promised religious liberty to his people. In his
desire to protect the English Church and to allow freedom to the
persecuted Dissenters, James II. had first in view the relief of
the Catholics, so long and so cruelly oppressed. This was
precisely what the Church and the Nonconformists equally feared.
One of the first acts of the king was to open the doors of the
prisons to all those who were detained by questions of
conscience. Scarcely had Parliament assembled when a bill was
presented begging of the crown the rigid enforcement of the laws
against all Dissenters, whoever they might be. James opposed this
measure, which would impose persecution on the Catholics; the
motion was modified. "The House trusts to the oft-repeated
promises of his Majesty to sustain and defend the religion of the
Church of England as established by law, which is more dear to us
than life." The king made no reply to this address; the
persecution of the Scotch Puritans was the only favor that he
granted.

The Scotch Parliament surpassed the English in submission and
zeal. The resources of the hereditary kingdom of the Stuarts were
limited; to the small subsidies which they were able to grant,
the Scotch Parliament added a decree which they believed would
satisfy King James: any preacher in a private meeting, any
preacher or auditor in a public assembly was to be from this fact
alone liable to the penalty of death.
{402}
Persecution was redoubled. Graham of Claverhouse overran the
country at the head of his dragoons, dispersing assemblies and
seizing, even in their homes, suspected persons. A poor carter of
the county of Lanark was shot down in the presence of his wife,
who clasped her terrified children in her arms. The fervent
prayers of the victim already troubled and alarmed Claverhouse.
"The day will come when you will have to render an account of
this to God and to men," cried the unhappy widow. "I will know
well how to account for my actions to men," replied the madman,
"and as for God, I challenge him."

Men and women died with equal courage. A young girl was fastened
to a post in the sea and left for the rising tide to engulf.
"Abjure, abjure!" they cried to her. "Leave me in peace,"
responded she; "I belong to Jesus Christ." The waves swept over
her.

The rigors exercised against the Scotch Presbyterians were not,
however, prejudicial to the king's cause. In England the idea of
liberty of conscience sometimes struck the persecuted. James
himself had been impressed by it when he suffered the penalties
imposed upon those of the Catholic faith. Having acquired power,
he soon forgot the sublime principle, and his people likewise
ignored it. The composition of his council, the want of favor
that he manifested towards certain popular men, the confidence
that he placed in others disliked by the people, occupied the
public mind more seriously than the sufferings of a few
Covenanters revolted from the Episcopal yoke.
{403}
On ascending the throne, James II. had openly announced his
intention of maintaining near his person all the councillors of
his brother; only a small number, however, were his friends. They
soon perceived this. Sunderland and Godolphin had lately voted
for the bill of exclusion that Halifax had defeated by the force
of his eloquence. These two ministers nevertheless were less
suspected by James than the brilliant chief of the Trimmers.

Irrevocably enrolled against the Papacy and tyranny, Halifax was
received by the king with flattering words. "I remember but a
single day in your life, my lord," said James; "it is that on
which you spoke against the Exclusion Bill." He said at the same
time to Barillon: "I know him; I cannot trust him. He shall not
employ his hand in public affairs."

Halifax soon succeeded, as president of the council, Lord
Rochester, who was placed at the head of the finances. The latter
alone shared with the Judge, Jeffreys, the confidence of the
king. His eldest brother, Lord Clarendon, replaced in Ireland the
old Duke of Ormond, a veteran of devotion to monarchy, honored by
all, too sincere in his Protestantism, too independent of
character, to please the government and serve the views of King
James. When he learned of his disgrace, the old servitor of
Charles I. gathered around him at a banquet all the officers of
the garrison at Dublin. He drank the health of the king, raising
with a firm hand his glass filled to the very brim. "I have not
spilled a single drop, gentlemen; my heart is as firm as my hand,
still they accuse me at court of having fallen into my dotage.
Long live King James!" His return to London resembled a triumph;
a crowd of gentlemen claimed the honor of escorting him.

{404}

Although disturbed by the religious and political tendencies of
its king, the English nation regarded with pleasure the proud and
independent attitude that he seemed to assume towards France and
Louis XIV. England had never pardoned Charles II. the sale of
Dunkirk, the treaty of Dover, nor any of the disgraceful bargains
so often negotiated between the two monarchs. A few days after
the accession of King James, Barillon received from his court a
sum of five hundred thousand pounds, destined to be immediately
delivered to the new sovereign. James II. was grateful, and at
first modest and flattering in his language towards the
ambassador of France. He excused himself for having convoked
Parliament without the advice of Louis XIV. "I know that I am
able to do nothing without the protection of the king, and that
it would be a wrong to my brother not to remain always faithful
to France. I will take care that Parliament does not meddle with
foreign affairs. If I see them disposed to act ill, I will send
them about their business." As testimony of his devotion, James
broke the engagements that bound him to Spain for the protection
of the Low Countries. Lord Churchill, the young favorite of the
new king, destined to become known throughout the entire world
under the name of the Duke of Marlborough, was charged with a
solemn embassy to carry to Louis XIV. the homage of the King of
England. "My attachment will endure as long as my life," were the
words used by James II. to the Grand Monarch. He was ignorant as
yet of all the claims to his devotion that Louis XIV. was to
acquire.

{405}

Parliament had scarcely assembled when King James already changed
a little his tone towards France; he had found among his people
more docility and generosity than he had expected; his revenues
were assured to him during his life; he raised his head, assumed
boldly the equality due his rank, and resolved, he said, to
maintain with a firm hand the equilibrium of Europe. When the
Marshal of Lorge came to London to repay the visit of the embassy
of Lord Churchill, James received him, seated and covered, as his
envoy had been received at Versailles. "Our brother the King of
England speaks rather loftily," said Louis XIV. smiling, "but he
nevertheless loves well the guineas." A few months only elapsed
before James II. asked for new subsidies. The resources furnished
him by Parliament were no longer sufficient for his expenses. He
was in the face of an insurrection, and believed himself obliged
henceforth to maintain a standing army--a constant object of
terror in England. The Duke of Argyll and the Duke of Monmouth
lived as exiles in Holland, that refuge for all men driven from
their country on account of their political or religious
opinions. The Duke of Argyll had been there already four years;
the Duke of Monmouth only a few months. They were surrounded by a
certain number of the proscribed of all parties. Their origin and
conditions were diverse--men of law, as Ayloffe and Wade,
compromised in the Whig conspiracies; old Cromwellians like
Rumboldt; gentlemen of the court, as Lord Grey of Wark;
ecclesiastics and pamphleteers, as Ferguson. On the death of King
Charles, the ambitious projects of Monmouth were reawakened. The
restless spirits among the exiles conceived the idea of creating
an insurrection in England, and securing the aid of Monmouth by
dazzling him with the prospect of a crown.

{406}

He had already quitted The Hague; always prudent and circumspect,
William of Orange had given a refuge at his court to the
well-beloved son of Charles II. When James II. ascended the
throne he requested him to withdraw. The conspirators found him
at Brussels. He had retired there with Lady Wentworth, to whom he
was passionately attached, and it was with great difficulty that
they induced him to place himself at the head of the
insurrection. He had little confidence in the enterprise, and
from the beginning had but faint hopes of its success. At the
same time it was determined to make an attempt upon Scotland.

Argyll counted upon the fidelity of his clan; he knew that the
Campbells would sacrifice themselves, to the last man, in his
name and for his cause; he also believed himself assured of the
rising of the persecuted Presbyterians. The two conspiracies, at
first distinct and almost hostile, finally united. They resolved
to make a descent upon the west coast of Scotland. This movement,
headed by Argyll, was to be supported by a descent on England
under the leadership of Monmouth. Ayloffe and Rumboldt
accompanied the Scottish expedition. Fletcher of Saltoun,
republican and aristocrat, eloquent and learned, was to follow
the fortunes of Monmouth. The young chief became encouraged.
Ambitious hopes were awakened in his breast. He received letters
from England urging him to action. "The Earl of Richmond had but
a handful of men when he landed in England two hundred years
ago," wrote Wildman, one of the most dangerous instigators of
this plot; "yet a few days later, after the battle of Bosworth,
he was proclaimed king as Henry VII."
{407}
"True," responded Fletcher of Saltoun, "but Richmond had the
support of the barons and their retainers, while Richard III. had
not at his disposal a single regiment of regular troops." On May
2, 1685, Argyll set sail with a fleet of three small vessels.
King James, informed of the preparations, demanded of the States
of Holland that measures should be taken to prevent the departure
of the expedition. The city of Amsterdam was hostile to the House
of Nassau, and her magistrates took pleasure in thwarting the
plans and wishes of the Prince of Orange, who was very desirous
at this time to maintain amicable relations with his
father-in-law. The Scotch expedition was consequently able to
depart without molestation. On the 6th, Argyll touched at the
Orkney Islands.

The duke was nominally at the head of the expedition, but in
reality the control of the same was in the hands of a commission,
charged to watch and direct it actions. While they were wasting
their valuable time in discussions and quarrels. King James, with
prudent activity, occupied the country adjacent to the territory
of Argyll. He roused the peasantry by his appeals, but the gentry
were either absent or secretly favorable to the invaders;
eighteen hundred men only united themselves to Tarbet. The "fiery
cross" had overrun the country. A manifesto, prepared by James
Stewart, a Scotch lawyer, recalled the grievances of the nation
against King James. It was in the name of the persecuted
Presbyterian Church, so dear to its followers, that the Scotch
were called upon to revolt. Against his better judgment, Argyll
was obliged to divide his little army; he remained in the
Highlands with Rumboldt, while Sir Patrick Hume and Cochrane,
more jealous of their chief than ardent for combat, directed a
small expedition towards the Lowlands. Their expectation was that
the entire people would rise at their approach.

{408}

The conspirators and their friends were deceived concerning the
temper of the persecuted Covenanters; they had no more confidence
in the religious faith of Argyll than in the Papacy of James;
persecuted, hunted, massacred, they hoped only for a miraculous
deliverance; they neither desired nor expected any other; "the
sword of the Lord and of Gideon" appeared alone worthy to save
the Church; they did not recognize these invaders as a holy army
come to their relief. The enthusiasts who had defended their
assemblies with the sword failed to join the army of Cochrane; in
vain the two detachments rejoined the Duke of Argyll at Bute;
disorder only increased, and each day some new defection
diminished the forces of the insurgents. The castle of Ealan
Ghineg, which contained all the provisions and supplies, was
delivered without a blow to the royal troops; their boats having
been captured, a panic seized the insurgents--the most ardent
refused to march on Glasgow, as Argyll desired. A strong
detachment of red-coats appearing on the horizon, both leaders
and followers sought safety in flight. Hume fled to the
Continent; Cochrane was arrested and sent to London; the Duke of
Argyll, after wandering many days about the country, was finally
surrounded by a few straggling militiamen; he endeavored to
defend himself; when captured and bound he disclosed his name to
his countrymen; tears filled their eyes on beholding the
misfortunes of their celebrated chief; but the love of gain soon
caused them to stifle the feelings of compassion, and they led
Argyll to Renfrew.
{409}
The duke was condemned in advance; an unjust sentence of death
had been for a long time hanging over his head. "I know nothing
about Scotch law," said Halifax; "but I am well assured that here
we would not hang a dog on such evidence as they have employed to
condemn the Duke of Argyll." As the prisoner entered the Castle
of Edinburgh, after having passed through the city on foot and
with head uncovered, he received the announcement of his speedy
death; he was threatened at the same time with torture. They
wished at any price to extort from him information concerning his
countrymen; as to who were accomplices or abettors of the
insurrection.

Although indifferent as a military commander, and ill qualified
for a politician, Argyll was firm in prison, bravely confronting
death, solely occupied regarding the evils that he had brought
upon his clan. Disdainful of suffering, piously absorbed in the
thought of soon appearing before his Maker, Argyll inspired with
respect all who approached him. "God has softened their hearts,"
he said; "I did not expect so much kindness." He was not
subjected to the torture. "I have implicated no one," wrote the
duke, the morning of his execution (June 30th), "God, in his
mercy, has marvellously sustained me." He walked to the scaffold,
whence he wrote to his wife, "My heart, God is unchangeable; He
hath always been good and gracious to me; and no place alters
Him. Forgive me all my faults; and now comfort thyself in Him, in
whom only true comfort is to be found. The Lord be with thee,
bless and comfort thee, my dearest, adieu!"

{410}

Rumboldt died several days before his chief. Seized like him by a
band of troops, he fought so valiantly that there scarcely
remained a breath of life in his body. Supported under the gibbet
by two men, he raised his dying voice that he might be heard by
the people: "I die faithful to that which I have believed all my
life," cried he. "I have always detested Papacy and tyranny; I
have always been a friend to limited monarchy, but I have never
believed that Providence sent a handful of men into the world
booted and spurred, to ride, and millions of other beings saddled
and bridled, to be ridden. I desire to bless and magnify God's
holy name that I am not here for any wrong that I have done, but
for adhering to His cause in an evil day. If each hair in my head
were a man, in this quarrel I would venture them all." The drum
of the soldiers drowned his last words. The Rye House plot was
not forgotten in the repentance of the old soldier of Cromwell.
"I have always held assassination in horror!" he said;
nevertheless it was under his roof that they conspired to
ambuscade King Charles and the Duke of York. Ayloffe opened a
vein; he was carried to London and questioned by James himself.
"You will find it to your advantage to be frank with me," said
the king; "you know that it is in my power to pardon you." "It
may be in your power, but it is not in your nature!" replied the
prisoner. Many people were punished in Scotland; a great number
of Campbells were executed without a trial. The Scotch rebels had
not yet suffered the penalties of their rebellion when England
was already agitated by the descent of Monmouth, who landed at
the port of Lyme upon the coast of Dorset.
{411}
Having escaped from Holland like Argyll, by the connivance of the
commissaries of the admiralty at Amsterdam, he had been detained
by bad weather, and it was not until the 11th of June that he
reached the soil of England. The cry was raised, "A Monmouth! a
Monmouth! The Protestant religion!" A declaration of the most
libelous character was read at the market-cross; it was the work
of Ferguson. James was accused of having burned London, having
strangled Sir Edmondbury Godfrey, having cut the throat of Essex,
and having poisoned King Charles. It was for all these crimes
that he was declared to have forfeited his right to the throne,
in the name of the menaced religion. The Duke of Monmouth, who
might have proved his legitimate birth and claim to the crown,
made no pretensions to any title except that of captain-general
of the English Protestants-in-arms against tyranny and Papacy.
The people of the west of England had not forgotten the young man
who had passed triumphantly through the towns and villages so
recently, by the acclamations of the people. The peasants flocked
in large numbers to his standard; about fifteen hundred men had
already assembled around him, when he sent, on the 14th of June,
a detachment against Bridport. The royal troops began to
assemble.

Parliament hurled declaration upon declaration against the
pretensions of Monmouth. King James profited by the alarm of the
Houses to obtain a subsidy; the members withdrew to their homes
to urge the people to remain faithful to the royal cause. The
Duke of Albemarle, son of General Monk, commanded a body of
militia in the west; Churchill and Lord Feversham advanced
against the insurgents at the head of the regular troops.

{412}

Lord Grey was easily repulsed before Bridport, and fled in a
cowardly manner. Fletcher of Saltoun, having killed his adversary
in a quarrel, was obliged on account of the public indignation to
seek refuge on board the boats of the duke, whence he fled to
Hungary, where he fought against the Turks. Nevertheless,
Monmouth advanced continually; Albemarle dared not give him
battle, so many of his troops seemed ill-disposed. The city of
Taunton opened its gates to the insurgents; the population was
wealthy, had been devoted to Parliament during the civil war, and
numbered a great many Nonconformists; the daughters of the best
families came before the duke offering him a standard and a
Bible. He received the holy volume with reverence. "I come," he
said, "to defend the truths contained in this book, and to seal
them, if it must be so, with my blood." Monmouth thus announced
himself "Defender of the Faith"--an integral part of the royal
titles. He soon went further, and on the 20th of June was
proclaimed king at Taunton, not without some repugnance on his
part, history has assured us. In order to avoid the confusion
which must inevitably arise from his name (James II.), the most
of his followers saluted him with the strange title of King
Monmouth. From village to village the proclamation was repeated,
to the great indignation of the partisans of the Princess Mary.
The great lords and country gentlemen failed to join this small
army of rebels.

{413}

The peasants and workmen of the villages were for the most part
without arms; they had begun their undertaking at the wrong end,
as the Vendéan peasants did a hundred years later. Monmouth
lacked money; he meditated a surprise upon Bristol, where he
hoped to find abundant resources; but the king's troops had
already taken possession of that city, on their return through
Wiltshire; the rebels in vain summoned Bath to open its gates.
Obliged to seek refuge at Philips-Norton, into which the Duke of
Grafton had forced an entrance, Monmouth felt his courage
abandoning him; he thought of withdrawing and seeking safety on
the Continent, in place of the glory which he had labored for in
vain. He sought the advice of his adherents: Lord Grey urged him
not to abandon the poor peasants who had risked all for him.
Monmouth gave up his contemplated flight, but was uncertain what
plan of campaign to adopt, wandering from Wells to Bridgewater,
when the royal troops, commanded by Feversham, appeared in view
of the insurgent army. Four thousand men were encamped upon the
plain of Sedgemoor; the duke observing from afar the standards of
the regiment of Dumbarton, but recently so familiar to him. "I
know those men," sadly remarked the young invader; "they will
fight; if I had but them, all would go well."

Feversham was an indifferent general; Monmouth possessed more
than ordinary military talents, but it mattered little that his
positions were well chosen and his night attack well planned; he
commanded men badly armed, inexperienced and undisciplined, and
no matter how great their courage, it was not enough to enable
them to withstand the attack of regular troops and the discharges
of artillery to which they were soon unable to respond.

{414}

Lord Grey's progress being arrested by a trench of whose
existence he was not aware, immediately turned his back to the
enemy. The peasants defended themselves heroically; the miners
from Mendip knocked down all who approached them with the
butt-end of their muskets. They were still fighting when Monmouth
took to flight, abandoning his unfortunate followers. Fifteen
hundred corpses of the rebels strewed the plain, and five hundred
prisoners were taken before the struggle terminated. Two days
later Monmouth fell into the hands of a detachment of soldiers
sent in search of him. "Now," said Barillon, with a sagacity true
but malicious, "all the zealous Protestants will rest their hopes
on the Prince of Orange."

No one hoped for mercy from the king. If Monmouth thought for a
moment that possibly his life might be spared, his interview with
James II. taught him his error. "Remember, Sire, that I am the
son of your brother," cried the unhappy young man, throwing
himself at the feet of the monarch; "it is your own blood that
you shed in shedding mine." "Your crime is too great," coldly
replied the king. The queen, it was said, was even more
hard-hearted. Showing great weakness at first, and apparently
overcome at the thought of death, piteously begging for "life,
only life, life at any price," Monmouth nevertheless recovered
his firmness in the presence of such pitiless resolution. "Very
well," said he at last, "I have nothing more to do but to die."

For an instant, the unfortunate prisoner was cowardly enough to
seek to save his life by abjuring the Protestant faith, of which
he had styled himself the "Defender." Disabused, however, of that
hope, he refused the absolution offered him by the priests of the
royal chapel.


[Image]
"Remember, Sire, I am your Brother's Son."


{415}

The Anglican bishops were not entirely satisfied with his
repentance. They wished to obtain from him a confession of that
doctrine of non-resistance which he had openly violated. The
irregularities of his private life also excited their pious
indignation. The duke at first refused to see his wife; when he
finally received her, their interview was brief and cold. "I die
penitent," repeated Monmouth; and as the bishops accompanied him
to the foot of the scaffold, "I come here not to speak, but to
die," said the young man; "pray for me." The name of the king was
mingled in the episcopal intercessions. "Will you not pray for
the king?" asked one of the clergy. Monmouth remained silent a
moment; then, as if making a great effort, finally said, "Amen."
He turned towards the executioner: "Look well to your axe," said
he, "and do not hack me as you did my Lord Russell." He placed
his head upon the block. Monmouth's appeal disconcerted the
executioner; his hand trembled; blow after blow was struck, and
yet the neck was not severed. The crowd were about to tear him in
pieces when the head of the victim finally fell. The populace
rushed up to dip their handkerchiefs in the blood of the young
duke. Frivolous and superficial, without true courage or personal
valor, he possessed that art of gaining hearts which seems
sometimes independent of all true merit. The peasants of the
western counties long worshipped Monmouth's memory; they refused
to admit that he was dead, and many times impostors passed
through the counties of Dorset and Wilts claiming to be the duke,
miraculously raised from the dead, and were honored and feted.

{416}

Men long remember those for whom they have suffered. Many
peasants of the west had perished on the field of battle, under
the standards of Monmouth; many more were to suffer severely for
their fidelity to him. Already Colonel Kirke, at the head of his
regiment from Tangier, overran the insurgent counties, and his
"Lambs," as his soldiers were called, in remembrance of the
Pascal Lamb--represented on their banner while in Africa--spread
everywhere terror and death. At each toast drunk by the officers,
a rebel prisoner was executed. The toasts were numerous, the
orgies prolonged. The love of money sometimes checked the cruelty
of "the Butcher of Taunton." Those who possessed sufficient
fortune were sometimes allowed to purchase their lives. Around
the inn where Kirke had established his quarters, they waded
ankle deep in blood. The country was depopulated; all those who
were able to gain the coast embarked for America: they fled from
the barbarity of Kirke and from the "justice" of Jeffreys.

Guilford, the Keeper of the Seals, had just died, sadly humbled
and discouraged towards the end of a life of cowardly servility.
King James promised the office to Jeffreys, on his return from
the circuit, which he had just undertaken in the western
counties--a splendid recompense for "The Bloody Assizes." The
great judge resolved to merit the reward.

Naturally cruel and basely corrupt, habitually excited by
continual intoxication, Jeffreys had consecrated to the service
of the worst passions an indomitable energy united to rare
judicial qualifications. He was never pleasing to Charles II.,
who had often employed him at the instigation of the Duke of
York. "This man," said he, "has neither learning, good sense, nor
manners, and more impudence than ten depraved women."
{417}
Under the reign of the hard and cruel James, Jeffreys abandoned
himself without reserve to his savage passions; he was not
contented with condemning, torturing, and inflicting the extreme
penalties permitted by law against his victims, but he also
delighted in taunting the accused, following them with sarcasms
and insults to the very foot of the scaffold. The odious task
with which he was charged after the insurrection of Monmouth
suited his disposition. While at London, Lord Grey, Sir John
Cochrane, and a few others purchased their lives by their
cowardly revelations. The great judge carried from village to
village his bloody tribunal and corps of executioners. Everywhere
cynical and cruel, obliging his victims to confess their guilt in
order to obtain a day's respite, and executing those on the spot
who protested their innocence, he surrounded himself with an
atmosphere of such terror that the people dared not speak in
favor of the condemned. The friends of Lady Lisle ventured,
however, to plead her cause; she was the aged widow of Lord
Lisle, a judge during the reign of Charles I., who was but lately
assassinated in Scotland, whither he had fled. She had given an
asylum to more than one Cavalier during the revolution, and "no
woman in England," she said, "mourned more bitterly the death of
the king."

{418}

Always compassionate, she had concealed a Nonconformist minister
and an advocate compromised in the Rye House plot. Both were
found in her house; she was ignorant, she declared, of what they
were accused; neither of them had been brought to trial, when
Lady Lisle was led before the tribunal of Jeffreys. The witnesses
one after the other were terrified by the violence of the judge.
The jury hesitated, recoiling before the odious sentence that was
expected of them. "What liars these Presbyterians are!" cried
Jeffreys; "show me a Presbyterian and I'll show thee a lying
knave." He threatened to lock up the jury in the hall for the
night if they did not hasten their decision. Lady Lisle was
condemned to be burned. The clemency of the king mitigated the
sentence. The pious woman walked without fear to the scaffold.
Some months later, at London, another woman, of a more humble
condition, animated by the same charitable spirit, suffered at
the stake for assistance she had given to James Burton,
compromised, like the protégés of Lady Lisle, in the plots of
1683. "My fault was one which a prince might well have forgiven,"
said Elizabeth Gaunt as they arranged the straw of her funeral
pile; "I did but relieve a poor family, and lo! I must die for
it." "The people were moved to tears," relates William Penn, the
illustrious founder of Pennsylvania, who was present at the
execution. Loud lamentations arose from the western counties.
Dorsetshire, Wiltshire, Devonshire, and Somersetshire were strewn
with corpses, bristling with gibbets, depopulated by exile,
transportation, and the sale of the condemned, some of whom,
abandoned to the avidity of courtiers, were reduced to slavery in
the West Indies. The ladies of honor of the queen shared the
fines imposed upon the young girls of Taunton, who had made a
part of the deputation sent to welcome Monmouth. Some of the
accused ventured to bring their complaints to the foot of the
throne. The sister of Benjamin and William Hewling, young men of
great promise, presented herself at Whitehall with a petition.
Lord Churchill introduced her. "I wish you well to your suit,"
said he, as they entered; "but do not flatter yourself with
hopes; this marble," and he laid his hand on the chimney-piece,
"is not harder than the king." James was inexorable. The soldiers
wept while leading the young men to the gallows.

{419}

The "campaign of Jeffreys," as the king himself called it, was at
last completed; he returned to London stained with the blood of
his victims, loaded with silent maledictions which weigh even to
this day upon his memory. "The air of Somersetshire is tainted
with death, and one cannot go a step without encountering some
horrible spectacle," wrote Bishop Ken to the king. The assizes of
London were opened, directed against the middle class, still
obstinately rebellious. Many perished; some compromised like
Cornish in the Rye House plot; others convicted for trivial
offences, like the physician Bateman, who was hanged and
quartered for having dressed the wounds of Titus Oates, that
cowardly and cruel instigator of so many crimes, who had received
his terrible punishment at the beginning of the reign of James
II. Religious persecution was added to political persecution.
Never in England were the Nonconformists pursued with such rigor.
Jeffreys received the "seals" as a reward for his zeal. Nearly
four years later, when he was confined in the Tower, trembling
under the popular indignation, Jeffreys protested that he had
never surpassed the orders of his master, but had even softened
their terror. At St. Germain, James threw upon Jeffreys the
overwhelming weight of the "Bloody Assizes." The king and the
judge are equally condemned by posterity.

{420}

The national sentiment sustained James in his struggle against
the insurgents; both Parliament and the Church had demonstrated
their loyalty; but the cruelty of his vengeance revolted their
honest hearts, and disquieted those who feared the future. An
event in France at this time exercised great influence over the
spirit of the nation. Louis XIV., led astray by the dangerous
intoxication of absolute power, seduced and deceived by
flatterers or fanatics, believed himself powerful enough to
impose his will upon the consciences of his subjects. Convinced
that nothing could resist him, and that the work of conversion
was well advanced by preliminary persecutions, he revoked the
Edict of Nantes on the 22d of October, 1685. Already a fugitive
multitude, inundating the Protestant countries, proved to Europe
the religious firmness of the reformed faith, as well as the
little value with which arbitrary sovereigns regard the most
solemn pledges accorded to their subjects. When the rumor of this
intention reached England, Barillon wrote to Louis XIV.: "That
which most vexes the English is, that they see no means of
preventing that which your Majesty has undertaken. They speak
freely in London of what is taking place in France, and many
people think, and even say, that it is in consequence of
England's not being governed by a Protestant king." And again,
some days after the Revocation: "I have spoken to the king in
regard to the language used in his court concerning your Majesty,
and of the impropriety of allowing such freedom of speech. I said
to him that I had not as yet rendered an account of these
proceedings to your Majesty, but I prayed him to repress an
insolence which ought not to be allowed."

{421}

It was not in the power of the English king to stifle this
national sentiment; he was obliged to conform to it in a certain
measure; the fugitive Protestants were received in England, and
their necessities relieved by public charity. I have said that
James II. nourished in his heart certain ideas of religious
liberty; the horror inspired in his people by the persecution
upon the Continent of those of the reformed faith, reanimated in
the heart of the king the desire to relieve his Catholic subjects
of the burdens weighing upon them. More powerful than he had yet
been, deceived by the easy victory gained over the rebels, James
resolved to push forward his triumph. The oppression exercised by
Louis XIV. against his Protestant people interfered with the
plans of James II. in favor of the liberty of the Catholics; the
King of England declared himself free from all engagements with
France. He had just concluded a defensive alliance with the
United Provinces. The policy of Halifax seemed to have great
weight in the royal councils, when, on the 20th of October, 1685,
on the eve of the opening of the session, Halifax suddenly
learned that the king had no further need of his services. James
thus gave to the growing opposition a leader most skillful and
experienced. It was in the name of principles the most dear to
England that the contest was to be waged between the prince and
his subjects. James had announced his intention of repealing the
Act of Habeas Corpus--an act obtained with great difficulty
during the preceding reign, and an object of national pride to
the Tories as well as to the Whigs. He projected an increase of
the standing army, although the troops he already maintained were
a cause of alarm to the most faithful adherents of royalty, even
among old Cavaliers who had so recently seen a Republican army
impose laws upon both Parliament and king.
{422}
Finally, in contempt of the most solemn promises made before his
people at the time of his accession to the throne, he proposed to
open the way to public offices to the Catholics. While waiting
for the repeal of the Test Act, the king had already placed a
number of Catholic officers at the head of his troops. The final
disgrace of Halifax was due to his persevering resistance. He had
formally said, "I will never vote for the abolition of the Test
Act, or the repeal of the Act of Habeas Corpus."

The Habeas Corpus Act has remained one of the guarantees of
individual liberty most justly dear to the English people. The
Test Act has been swept away, as it deserved to be, by the
progress of justice and religious tolerance: each was a part of
the English law, and the king could not violate either without
breaking his oath. The profound distrust that the principles of
the king inspired even in this Parliament, so loyal and devoted,
displayed itself on the day of the opening, when James, in his
speech from the throne, announced the additions that he had made
to the regular army, expressing at the same time his contempt for
the militia, and recalling the weakness they had shown during the
insurrection. "I know well," he added, "that you will find among
the new officers admitted into my service, men who have not taken
the test. They are for the most part personally known to me, and
have given me assurances of their fidelity. Besides, to speak
frankly, after having used them in a moment of danger, I do not
wish them to be disgraced, nor to be myself deprived of their
assistance should a new rebellion render them necessary."
{423}
This was high language: the House of Commons manifested their
disapprobation at once. It proposed the increase of the militia,
offered to the king seven hundred thousand pounds sterling in
place of the twelve hundred thousand demanded by the ministers,
and promised that the Catholic officers already in the army
should be relieved from the penalties legally imposed upon them,
since they could not be lawfully employed without the authority
of Parliament. The censure was respectful, notwithstanding its
firmness. James was irritated by it. In responding to the address
of the Commons he reproached them for their jealousy and
distrust, and said: "However you may proceed on your part, I will
be very steady in all the promises which I have made to you." "I
hope that we are all Englishmen," said John Coke, a noted Tory,
"and that we shall not be frightened from our duty by a few high
words." The House sent the audacious member to the Tower.
Nevertheless, the Lords followed the example of the Commons, and
protested against the irregular nominations in the army. On the
20th of November King James prorogued Parliament until the 10th
of February, resolved to accomplish alone and by his absolute
authority that reform which the public sentiment of his people
refused him.

"The Catholics are not now in accord," wrote Barillon to Louis
XIV.; "the ablest, and those highest in the king's confidence,
know well that this conjuncture is the most favorable that they
may hope for, and that if they allow it to pass by, it may be a
very long time ere another such opportunity returns. The Jesuits
are of this opinion, which is, without doubt, most reasonable,
but the rich and well-established Catholics fear the future, and
apprehend a reaction, which may ruin them. Those nearest the
court of Rome share this opinion."
{424}
Innocent XI. in fact had given to the Nuncio this prudent
counsel: "The safety and advantage of the Catholics depend upon a
reunion of his Majesty with his Parliament." "What a great shame
and outrage this quarrel is!" replied the Nuncio. Italian
sagacity comprehended the advantages of a constitutional policy
to the Catholics, as against the dangers which might arise from
royal favors tainted with illegality.

French artifice in the service of Louis XIV. desired an entirely
different result. The secret intrigues of Barillon and of his
coadjutor Bonrepaux tended to raise the temper of Parliament by
exciting both the religious zeal and absolute temper of the
sovereign. The advances of the court of Spain to the King of
England disquieted France. "The news from Madrid is alarming,"
wrote the king; "they menace us with an alliance between England
and the court of Austria, at the moment the king is assured that
Parliament will no longer embarrass him." "They flatter him with
the hope of holding the balance of power in Europe, and of being
regarded as the only one capable of checking the power and
designs of your Majesty," responded Barillon. The interest of
France was evidently to maintain discord between the King of
England and his Parliament. The narrow obstinacy of James II.,
the inconsiderate zeal of a small fraction of the Catholics, and
the audacious cleverness of the Jesuits, actively served the
views of Louis XIV.

{425}

"I will not make concessions; my father made concessions, and he
was beheaded," often remarked King James. The nation demanded of
the king that he remain faithful to his engagements; he regarded
the fidelity of a prince as a concession, and absolute submission
as the simple duty of the subject. One principle alone remained
to him of his education by the English Church: he admitted the
doctrine of non-resistance, and charged the bishops to
strenuously enforce the same. Already the discourse of the Bishop
of London, Compton, delivered on the 19th of November in the
House of Lords, astonished and irritated him. "The civil and
religious constitutions of the kingdom are in peril," the prelate
had the audacity to say. One resource remained to the king: the
"_dispensing power_," which gave him, he thought, the right
to suspend the action of the penal laws. He resolved to exercise
this power before the reassembling of Parliament.

The policy of the Council favored the development of arbitrary
power. Rochester succumbed beneath the double weight of his
attachment to Protestantism and of a scandalous intrigue that he
had plotted, in order to fortify his influence, by aiding the
favorite of the king, Catherine Sedley. Father Petre, a clever
Jesuit, recently admitted into the closest intimacy with the
king, had succeeded, by his pious exhortations, in bringing about
the dismissal of the favorite; he seconded at the same time the
efforts of the converted Sunderland to supplant Rochester.
Already a solemn embassy had been sent to Rome; at the same time
King James renounced all his foreign projects. "I am in no
condition to trouble myself about what passes abroad," said he to
the Spanish ambassador. "It is my resolution to let foreign
affairs take their course, to establish my authority at home, and
to do something for my religion." The revival of French influence
soon manifested itself.
{426}
A collection ordered for the benefit of the Huguenot refugees
realized a much larger sum than the king desired. "This prince
shows great aversion to them," writes Barillon, "and would gladly
have dispensed with this contribution; for he knows well that the
people most ill disposed towards himself are the most prompt and
willing to give to this cause." The funds passed through the
hands of the royal commissioners, the Chancellor at their head.
As the fugitives presented themselves to receive assistance, "It
is the good pleasure of the king," announced Jeffreys, "that no
charity be given save to those who will receive the sacrament
according to the rites of the Church of England." The Huguenots
were deeply attached to those traditional forms of that church
for which they had suffered so much. "They retired with sad
hearts," wrote Lady Russell to her chaplain, Dr. Fltzwilliam.
Some days later James caused to be burned by the hangman before
the Royal Exchange a writing of the celebrated minister Claude, a
refugee in Holland, entitled, "_The Complaints of the
Protestants, cruelly persecuted in France_." The Chancellor
had not been advised of this concession to the pride of Louis
XIV. Even he was startled, and ventured to protest. James would
not suffer the question to be discussed. "My resolution is
taken," said he; "dogs defend each other when they are attacked:
why should not kings do as much?" The effect upon the public was
very great. "Perhaps your Majesty will not judge this affair to
be as important as it appears here," wrote Barillon; "but nothing
has happened since the accession of the king which has made a
greater impression upon the public mind."

{427}

Twice already the reassembling of Parliament had been postponed.
The king was working upon the magistrates, resolved to obtain an
opinion favorable to the exercise of the "_dispensing
power_." Already several judges and the Solicitor-General had
been dismissed; the affair of Sir Edward Hales, recently
converted to Catholicism, and appointed colonel of an infantry
regiment, was decided in his favor. It was recognized that the
royal authority was sufficient to remove all obstacles. One judge
alone, of moderate reputation, named Street, dissented. The gate
was henceforth open: four Catholic lords--Powis, Bellasyse,
Arundel, and Dover--were admitted into the Privy Council.
Catholic officers, up to that time silently tolerated, now
multiplied in the army. "It is to annul the whole statute law
from the accession of Elizabeth to this day," said the
Attorney-General, Sawyer.

King James was not contented with his legal victory; he wished to
carry into the Church of England the signs of his triumph. "God
has permitted," said he to Barillon, "that all the laws which
have been made for establishing the Protestant religion and
destroying the Catholic will serve presently as a foundation for
what I purpose to do for the true religion." By virtue of the act
of supremacy, ecclesiastics believed to be secretly Catholics
were raised to the vacant bishoprics. "I wished to appoint avowed
Catholics," said James to the Nuncio Adda, "but the time is not
yet come. Parker (the new Bishop of Oxford) is with us at heart;
he will soon lead his clergy." Mass was celebrated every day in
Christ Church, under the direction of John Massey, appointed
dean.
{428}
The preachers of the English Church were prohibited from opening
any controversy. Dr. Sharp, Dean of Norwich and Rector of St.
Giles', a man of great piety and much learning, disobeyed this
injunction. The Bishop of London received an order to suspend
him. Compton hesitated, excused himself, and engaged Sharp to
keep silence.

The Court of High Commission, an ancient power, odious to the
nation, abolished by two acts of Parliament, was re-established
against the Church that it pretended to govern. This court was
presided over by the Chancellor, violent to barbarity even in the
ordinary tribunals, where he was restrained by legal forms--
henceforward unchecked in his authority over those placed
arbitrarily under his jurisdiction. The Archbishop of Canterbury
(Sancroft), appointed by the king, refused to sit; the Bishops of
Durham and Rochester were weak enough to accept their
nominations. The Earl of Rochester cowardly consented to serve,
thereby yielding his influence to the tyranny which menaced the
Church. The Bishop of London was called before the new tribunal.
He had refused to suspend Dr. Sharp; he was, in consequence,
himself suspended from his ecclesiastical functions, and the care
of his vast diocese was confided to the bishops who had consented
to judge him. The magistrates informed the king that it was
impossible to drive Compton from his palace and sequester his
revenues. "We should be obliged to decide against the crown,"
said the great Judge Herbert.

{429}

The same energy was shown through all the kingdom: everywhere
convents were established and Catholic chapels opened; the
council of the city protested against the consecration of a place
of Catholic worship in Lime street. "The men of the long robe are
of the opinion that the thing is illegal," said the Lord Mayor.
He was called before the Privy Council. "Take heed what you do,"
said the king; "obey me, and do not trouble yourself about
gentlemen of the long robe or gentlemen of the short robe." The
people threatened the Catholics; in many places the chapels were
surrounded and the worshippers insulted. The king assembled
troops on Hounslow Heath; a camp was formed there with the
intention of intimidating the capital. The inhabitants of London
repaired thither in crowds, conversing familiarly with the
soldiers. The influence of public opinion became more efficacious
than fear. The troops were gained over by the people. A preacher
named Johnson, more ardent than prudent or judicious, was
condemned to degradation and the lash for having spread abroad in
the army an appeal in defense of Protestantism. The trial and the
punishment carried public indignation to the highest pitch. The
king refused all appeals for clemency. "Mr. Johnson has the
spirit of a martyr," said James, "and it is fit that he should be
one." Some years later William III., in according pardon to an
obstinate Jacobite, said gently, "He has set his heart on being a
martyr, and I have set mine on disappointing him."

The Anglican Church had not sustained Johnson in his virulent and
almost revolutionary attacks; that Church had undertaken a
pacific campaign, boldly defining her principles, and defending
her doctrines by the pens of the most celebrated theologians of
that epoch--Tillotson, Stillingfleet, Sherlock, Prideaux--almost
all distinguished writers, experienced dialecticians, learned and
eloquent divines.
{430}
The defenders of Catholicism were less numerous; most of them had
been educated abroad, far from the "movement of ideas" in
England; their defeat was complete, and public sentiment was
satisfied with the superiority of the champions of Protestantism.
King James resolved to employ more powerful arguments for the
defense and success of his religious convictions. The Scotch
Parliament was convoked for the 12th of February, 1687; it was
there that the monarch wished first to launch the declaration of
his absolute power. The Duke of Queensberry, Lord Treasurer of
Scotland, an obstinate Protestant, had been replaced by the Earl
of Perth, a convert to Catholicism. He was related to Rochester,
whose humiliations and mortifications had finally terminated in
his complete disgrace. The attachment of the son of Clarendon to
the Church of England had triumphed over his ambition for power
and fortune; he had consented to receive the instructions of the
royal chaplains, but was unable to do his part in becoming a
Catholic. The two brothers-in-law of the king, Clarendon and
Rochester, were dismissed at the same time. Clarendon was
replaced in the government of Ireland by the violent Tyrconnel,
an ardent Catholic, Irish by race, character, and prejudice, in
order to establish the royal supremacy in Ireland. "There is work
to be done in Ireland which no Englishman will do," said King
James. Under the rule of Tyrconnel all power passed into the
hands of the Catholics. "We have become the slaves of our
servants," bitterly complained the Protestants; a great number of
the distinguished families left Ireland with Clarendon.
"Tyrconnel is foolish enough to ruin ten kingdoms," openly said
his friends.

{431}

The Parliament of Scotland, submissive by habit and tradition,
admitted without difficulty the "_dispensing power_" of the
king. James comprehended that he would not be able to abolish the
penal laws which weighed upon the Catholics, without at the same
time according effectual relief to the Nonconformists, who
groaned under their rigor. It was with regret that he found
himself so constrained: his repugnance to the Presbyterians was
very great. "I believe that in the depth of his heart the King of
England would be well content if he could leave only the Anglican
and Catholic religions established by law," wrote Barillon to
Louis XIV. The principle of religious liberty, however, was the
only protection of the Catholics; it was in its name that James
proclaimed, at Edinburgh, on the 12th of February, 1687, a
Declaration of Indulgence "by our sovereign authority, royal
prerogative and absolute power." The Catholics and the Quakers
found themselves now for the first time enjoying equal and
complete tolerance. Numerous restrictions, however, still
remained imposed upon the Presbyterians.

The temperament of the English Houses differed from that of the
Scotch Parliament; the Anglican Church, always foremost in their
minds, was directly engaged in the contest. James was prudent,
and endeavored to prepare the way for his declaration before the
opening of Parliament. One after another of the public
functionaries seated in either House, as well as a great number
of important and independent members, were invited to private
audiences with the king, where they were urged, entreated, and
pledged to sustain the measure. Many were bought. Those who
resisted were menaced.

{432}

Closeted thus successively, the members of the House of Commons
convinced James of the opposition that might be expected. On the
4th of April, 1687, the "Declaration of Indulgence" was made
public. It was, however, much more moderate in tone and in form
than that which he had sent to the Scotch Parliament. Addresses
of thanks from Independents, Quakers, Presbyterians, and
Catholics were everywhere quoted and published. "The king is
convinced that conscience ought not to be forced," said the
memorable declaration; "that persecution is fatal to the increase
of population as well as of commerce, and never attains the end
sought by the persecutors." The Dissenting ministers came forth
out of their prisons, and their places of worship were reopened.
The court made great ado over the universal joy and gratitude of
the Nonconformists.

Popular exultation was exaggerated, and confidence was less
general than gratitude. Baxter, Howe, Bunyan, Kiffin, eminent in
their different sects, having a presentiment of a snare, rose
against this abuse of the royal power. The moderate Dissenters
were more disposed to respond to the advances of the Anglican
Church, herself menaced in turn, than to lend their co-operation
to the emancipation of the Catholics. With but few exceptions,
English Protestantism presented a compact front, resolved to
repel the royal seductions, as it had royal violence. Parliament
was dissolved on the 4th of July, 1687.

{433}

On the eve of the same day, the Papal Nuncio, recently made
Archbishop _in partibus_ of _Amasia_, appeared at
Windsor with a most magnificent equipage, and was solemnly
received by the king in public audience. Innocent XI. had treated
Lord Castlemaine, the scandalous ambassador of King James, with
extreme coldness and reserve. In vain had he begged, in the name
of his master, for the authority necessary for the elevation of
Father Petre. As the envoy threatened to leave Rome, the Pope
quietly remarked, "Your excellency is your own master; I hope you
will take good care of your health upon the way." Castlemaine
departed without accomplishing his object. The prudent counsels
of the moderate Catholic party were not listened to in England;
Father Petre was admitted into the council, but a Jesuit could
not become a bishop without the consent of the Pope. Innocent XI.
obstinately refused this. Some great English lords also showed
themselves rebellious to the will of the king. When the Duke of
Somerset was appointed an escort of the Nuncio he declined to
assist at the ceremony. "I am advised that I cannot obey your
Majesty without breaking the law," said he. "I will make you fear
me as well as the law," answered the irritated king; "do you not
know that I am above the law?" "Your Majesty may be above the
law," replied Somerset, "but I am not; and while I obey the law I
fear nothing." Somerset instantly lost his offices at court and
in the army.

Other dismissals and other promotions, at this time, astonished
England. Ardent and anxious, like all innovators, to take
possession of the establishments of charity and education, the
king made an attempt to oblige the administrators of the Charter
House of London to admit invalid Catholics into their hospital.
"An Act of Parliament opposes it," responded the governor. "What
is that to the purpose?" said a courtier. "It is very much to the
purpose, I think," gravely replied the venerable Duke of Ormond;
"an Act of Parliament is, in my judgment, no light thing."

{434}

James demanded from the University of Cambridge the grade of
Master of Arts for a Benedictine monk; upon the refusal of the
authorities, the Vice-Chancellor, Pechell, was called before the
High Commission, brutally reprimanded by Jeffreys, and suspended
from his office. An analogous case, yet more violent, took place
at Oxford during an election for a president of Magdalen College.
The _fellows_ claimed their rights and their independence;
the king wished to impose his candidate upon them. "They shall
feel the whole weight of my hand," said he, angrily, to the
dignitaries of the University. The _fellows_ were deprived
of their revenues, the doors of the president's house were
forced, and the royal candidate was installed. The Catholics took
possession of that endowment, one of the richest at Oxford. The
contest with the Anglican Church was now irrevocably begun. By a
good fortune, such as it had not for many years been favored
with, this Church was henceforth enrolled among the defenders of
the rights and liberties of the English people.

The king ordered new elections, not, however, without disquietude
as to their results. The House of Lords itself appeared hostile,
and the new hopes of maternity which the queen gave, after
numerous accidents, inspired James more than ever with the desire
of finishing a work that might be perpetuated by his successor.
All the lordly tenants of the counties were ordered to
interrogate their subordinates, and to assure themselves of their
electoral intentions. The Catholics and the Dissenters were to
occupy as many as possible of the municipal offices. The king had
badly judged the pride of the great lords: one-half of the
lord-lieutenants peremptorily refused to lend themselves to the
odious service required of them. They were summarily dismissed.
The crown had some difficulty in finding successors.

{435}

No private intimation, no official warning, opened the eyes of
King James, infatuated as he was by his real power and his
imaginary rights; sincerely preoccupied with his fool-hardy
undertaking, he showed neither prudence nor sagacity. "The world
has much exaggerated the ability of his Majesty," said Bonrepaux,
who knew him well and judged him accurately; "he has less mind
than King Charles, without having more virtue."

To the Anglican Church belongs the honor of striking the first
blow in favor of the menaced liberties of England. On the 27th of
April, 1688, the king issued a new Declaration of Indulgence,
repeating and commenting upon those preceding, and announced his
intention of convoking Parliament in the month of November. On
the 4th of May he ordered that this declaration should be read in
all the churches on the 20th.

This manœuvre was clever, yet at the same time fool-hardy. The
Anglican clergy disapproved of the measure, both religiously and
politically; but the delay was brief and the means of
communication difficult, consequently uniformity of action was
deemed impossible. They considered the remoteness, the
feebleness, and the effect of non-resistance; London, however, as
usual, gave the signal for resistance; a reunion of the clergy,
together with a council of bishops, resolved not to yield to the
illegal exactions of the king. The most eminent Dissenters
supported by their counsels the courage of the prelates.
{436}
On the 18th, at Lambeth, the residence of the Archbishop of
Canterbury, a petition was signed by the primate and his
diocesans--the Bishops of St. Asaph, of Ely, of Chichester, of
Bath, of Peterborough, and of Bristol. The Bishop of London,
Compton, the leader of this movement, having been suspended, was
unable to sign. The petition, drawn up by the archbishop himself,
in a style dry, heavy, and confused, exculpated the prelates from
all intolerance as well as from all rebellion. The laws accorded
to the king only the right to _modify_ the ecclesiastical
statutes. The Declaration of Indulgence not being a legal act,
the bishops could not permit it to be read in their dioceses.

The same evening six bishops presented themselves at Whitehall:
the archbishop was ill, and besides his approach to the court had
been interdicted. The Bishop of St. Asaph desired to acquaint
Sunderland with the contents of the petition; the minister
refused to read the document, but he introduced the bishops to
the king. The secret had been rigorously kept. James expected
some objections regarding the form of the Declaration. "This is
my Lord of Canterbury's hand," said the king, opening the paper.
"Yes, Sire, his own hand," was the reply. James read the
petition, and his brow became overcast. "This is a standard of
rebellion," said he at last. The Bishop of Bristol, Sir John
Trelawney, fell upon his knees. "Rebellion!" cried he, "for God's
sake. Sire, do not say so hard a thing of us. No Trelawney can be
a rebel. Remember that my family has fought for the crown.
Remember how I served your Majesty when Monmouth was in the
West."
{437}
"We put down the last rebellion," said Lake, Bishop of
Chichester; "we shall not raise another." "I hope you will grant
us that liberty of conscience which you grant to all mankind,"
said Ken, the pious Bishop of Bath. As was his custom, James
repeated his former remark, "This is rebellion; this is a
standard of rebellion. I will have my Declaration published."
"Sire," answered Ken, "we have two duties to perform--our duty to
God, and our duty to your Majesty. We honor you, but we fear
God." "Have I deserved this?" said the king; "I who have been
such a friend to your Church? What do you do here? Go to your
dioceses and see that I am obeyed. I will keep this paper. I will
remember you that have signed it." "God's will be done," said
Ken. The bishops retired after this pious invocation. The next
morning, through indiscretion or treachery, the petition of the
bishops was everywhere published. The king remained silent. The
following Sunday only four of the clergy of London read the
Declaration. Their congregations rose and withdrew.

Everywhere the provinces followed the example of the capital; a
great number of the bishops sent in their approval of the
petition. In the dioceses where the bishops were inclined to
comply with the royal demand, the majority of the clergy
disobeyed. "I cannot reasonably expect your Honor's protection,"
wrote a poor clergyman of the diocese of the Bishop of Rochester;
"God's will be done. I must choose suffering rather than sin."
The enthusiasm of the people equalled the resolution of the
clergy. "The Anglican Church has risen in public estimation to an
incredible degree," wrote the Dutch minister to the
States-General: "the Nonconformists repeat everywhere that they
would rather endure the penal laws than separate their cause from
that of the prelates."

{438}

The king was troubled; in his blind obstinacy he had not foreseen
the resistance of the Church nor the indignation of the people.
For a moment he inclined towards conciliation. The Chancellor,
however, advised to the contrary; he counselled legal
prosecution. Summoned to appear before the Council upon the 8th
of June, the bishops, carefully instructed by the ablest lawyers,
were prudently reserved. They refused to recognize the order of
appearance before the Court of King's Bench, and intrenched
themselves behind their privileges as peers of the realm. "You
believe everybody rather than me," cried the king, angrily. The
seven bishops were sent to the Tower.

A great multitude crowded after them. "God bless your lordships,"
shouted the people on every side. The soldiers who guarded the
Traitor's Gate fell upon their knees to receive the episcopal
blessing. Their health was drunk throughout the garrison; the
coaches of the first nobles were ranged in double file outside of
the prison; a deputation of Nonconformist ministers was sent to
compliment the bishops. The king sent for these delegates to
reproach them for their ingratitude. "We have forgotten all past
quarrels," responded the Dissenters, "and we are resolved to
stand by the men who stood by the Protestant religion." On the
15th of June, at the opening of the assizes, the bishops were
admitted to bail, and at once returned to their palaces.
Twenty-one peers of the highest rank offered their guarantees;
one of the richest Dissenters claimed the honor of furnishing the
bail for Ken.
{439}
The attitude of the bishops had continued pious and modest as
well as courageous. "Honor the king and remember us in your
prayers," repeated they to the crowd assembled about them. Sir
Edward Hales, the Catholic Governor of the Tower, threatened them
with irons and the dungeon if they came into his hands again. "We
are under our king's displeasure," replied the bishops, "and most
deeply do we feel it; but a fellow-subject who threatens us does
but lose his breath." The Archbishop of Canterbury had great
difficulty in preventing the grenadiers, stationed before his
palace, from lighting bonfires in honor of his return. All
demanded his blessing.

While the bishops were yet in the Tower, upon the 10th of June,
1688, was born at the Palace of St. James, in the midst of
suspicions the most insulting, the unfortunate heir of the
Stuarts, destined to wander about the world for seventy-seven
years, a prey to every misfortune. Throughout all England the
pregnancy of the queen had been questioned, and when the Prince
of Orange despatched his ambassador, Count Zulestein, to
congratulate his father-in-law upon the birth of the Prince of
Wales, the envoy soon wrote to his master that the infant was
generally believed to be supposititious. This public conviction
accorded with the interests of William of Nassau. Soon the
prayers ordered for the little prince, in the chapel of the court
at the Hague, were suppressed. When King James angrily
remonstrated, his daughter assured him that the omission was a
mere neglect, but nevertheless the prayers were never renewed.

{440}

History has judged James II. severely; less distrustful or less
prejudiced than the English people and the Prince of Orange, it
has ceased to question the legitimacy of his son. On the 29th of
June, already at the break of day, the neighborhood of
Westminster Hall was thronged with people; the jury, chosen with
care by the agents of the crown, was assembled in the Court of
King's Bench. They awaited the arrival of the bishops, who came
accompanied by the most distinguished advocates of that day.
Thirty-nine peers of the realm were in the audience. The
discussion was long, close, and often passionate; it turned upon
the right of subjects to present a petition which had not the
character of a _libel_. Two of the judges decided in favor
of the bishops. "The Declaration of Indulgence is null according
to my judgment," said Powell; "and the dispensing power, as
lately exercised, is utterly inconsistent with all law. If these
encroachments of prerogative are allowed, there is an end of
Parliaments. The whole legislative authority would be in the
king. That issue, gentlemen, I leave to God and to your
consciences."

Night had come; the jury retired. "It is very late," wrote the
Papal Nuncio, "and the decision is not yet known. The judges and
the culprits have gone to their homes. The jury remain together.
To-morrow we shall learn the issue of this great struggle."

The consultation was violent. Those who watched upon the stairs
heard confused voices and angry ejaculations. At first nine were
for acquittal. Two of the minority soon gave away; but Arnold
remained obstinate. "Whatever I do," he said, "I am sure to be
half ruined. If I say Not guilty, I shall brew no more for the
king; and if I say Guilty, I shall brew no more for anybody else.
I am not accustomed to reasoning and debating, and my conscience
is not satisfied; I shall not acquit the bishops."

{441}

Austin, a rich country gentleman, earnestly in favor of the
prelates, replied: "If you come to that, look at me. I am the
largest and strongest of the twelve; and before I find such a
petition as this a libel, here I will stay till I am no bigger
than a tobacco pipe." It was six in the morning when Arnold
finally yielded. The court reassembled at ten. "Not guilty,"
announced Sir Roger Langley, the chief of the jury.

Lord Halifax sprang from his seat and waved his hat. At this
signal shouts of joy burst forth in the great hall; these were
repeated by the thousands filling the old palace yard.

The innumerable multitude which filled the adjacent streets sent
back the echo with thundering vehemence; men, usually stern and
cold, gave way to tears of relief and gratitude. The boats which
covered the Thames answered the cheer; the soldiers, encamped on
Hounslow Heath, had just learned the news, as the king, who had
that day visited them, was departing; behind him resounded the
acclamations of the troops. "What means that uproar?" demanded
James. "Nothing," was the answer, "the soldiers are glad that the
bishops are acquitted." "Do you call that nothing?" said James.
And then he repeated what he had muttered in French, upon
receiving the courier sent by Sunderland: "So much the worse for
them."

Notwithstanding his bigoted obstinacy and his sincere illusions,
James II. felt profoundly this defeat; he nevertheless became
more determined in his views and more desperate in his means. The
question of the government of England became a challenge between
the king and his people.
{442}
In the presence of what perils and what rivals did James II. thus
govern? Could he forget the constant menace which the situation
of his son-in-law, the Prince of Orange, presented: the veritable
chief of European Protestantism, as well as of the grand
coalition which was slowly forming itself against Louis XIV.?

Great grandson of William the Silent and of Louise of Coligny,
William of Nassau was born on the 4th of November, 1650, at the
moment when the fortunes of his family had succumbed beneath the
oppression of the republican patriciate of the Province of
Holland. Educated with great care, by John De Witt, who never had
absolute confidence in the destiny of his party, he took an
important part both in war and politics at an early age. When but
twenty-one he saved his country from ruin the most imminent. As
cold in appearance as he was ardent and resolute in reality, he
learned to govern himself before attempting to govern others,
which he did with an ease and power that caused Pope Innocent
XII. to say, "The Prince of Orange is the master of Europe."
Adored by his wife, and a few friends to whom he showed in return
a touching devotion, he received from both evidences of the
sincerest affection; his friend Bentinck cared for him during an
attack of small-pox. "Whether Bentinck slept or not while I was
ill," tenderly remarked the prince, "I know not; but this I know,
that through sixteen days and nights I never once called for
anything but that Bentinck was instantly at my side." For a long
time a misunderstanding had existed between his wife and himself.
{443}
Mary was ignorant of the exclusive rights which her birth
conferred upon her. Dr. Burnet, afterwards Bishop of Salisbury,
after wandering upon the continent, in consequence of the
distrust of King James, had taken up his residence in Holland,
and there charged himself with revealing the cause of the
Prince's indifference and estrangement. The princess sent
immediately for her husband. "I did not know till yesterday,"
said Mary, "that there was such a difference between the laws of
England and the laws of God. But I now promise you that you shall
always bear rule, and, in return, I ask only this: that, as I
shall observe the precept which enjoins wives to obey their
husbands, you will that which enjoins husbands to love their
wives." Henceforth there was perfect accord between the Prince of
Orange and his wife, and no attempts of King James were able to
gain him to his views. "You ask me," said William, "to
countenance an attack on my own religion. I cannot, with a safe
conscience, do it, and I will not; no, not for the crown of
England, nor for the empire of the world."

"My nephew's duty," said the king, "is to strengthen my hands.
But he has always taken a pleasure in crossing me." Dykvelt, the
envoy of William at London, respectfully protested: "You cannot
reasonably expect the aid of a Protestant prince against the
Protestant religion." While defending his master, the astute
Hollander silently and skillfully pursued the work for which he
had been sent to England.

{444}

Since the fall of Monmouth the diverse elements of opposition had
noiselessly gravitated towards the Prince of Orange, a leader
absent and circumspect, prudent an sagacious, well calculated to
maintain a certain accord between the antagonistic forces which
were preparing for resistance in England. In his great project,
for a league of all the European powers against the unbridled
ambition of Louis XIV., England held a prominent place.

Firmly resolved to oppose any undertaking against the power of
his father-in-law, he nevertheless possessed a mind too powerful
and too sagacious not to discern the clouds which were gathering
over the head of the imprudent and obstinate monarch who was
walking blindly to his destruction. Already, upon the return of
Dykvelt, in 1687, the ambassador brought confidential letters
from all the chiefs of the opposition--Halifax, Danby, and even
Lord Churchill, all powerful with Princess Anne, on account of
the singular and romantic friendship that the second daughter of
the king manifested towards his wife, Sarah Jennings, who was as
ambitious and adroit as himself.

"The princess has commanded me," wrote the future Duke of
Marlborough, "to assure her illustrious relatives that she is
fully resolved, by God's help, rather to lose her life than to be
guilty of apostasy. As for me, though I cannot pretend to have
lived the life of a saint, still I shall be found ready, on
occasion, to die the death of a martyr."

The trial of the bishops at the time of the birth of the Prince
of Wales had opened the eyes of the Tories, as the latter event
closed the door to their religious and political hopes. The king
began the persecution of the Anglican Church at the same time
that they lost the consoling prospect of a Protestant succession.
{445}
For the first time since the Restoration, all parties found
themselves united in the same desire, tending towards the same
end. "_Aut nunc, aut nunquam_," said William to Dykvelt when
he learnt of the acquittal of the bishops. He refused even then
to listen to Edward Russell, nephew of the Duke of Bedford, a
distinguished and daring sailor, ardently resolved to avenge the
injuries inflicted upon his house by James II. "I am not
willing," said William to Russell, "to make an attempt upon
England without more distinct assurances than those you bring me
to-day. I know that many who talk in high language about
sacrificing their lives and fortunes for their country would
hesitate when the prospect of another Bloody Circuit is brought
close to them. I want only a few signatures, but they must be
from powerful and eminent men, representing great interests."
When the invitation of the conspirators reached the Hague, it
contained, in cipher, the names of Shrewsbury, Devonshire, Danby,
Lumley, and the Bishop of London, Compton. The vice-admiral,
Herbert, disguised in the garb of a common sailor, carried the
paper to the Prince of Orange. Soon, Henry Sidney, brother of
Algernon Sidney, actively employed in the negotiations between
William and the English politicians, brought him the assurance
that Lord Sunderland himself, loaded with honors by King James, a
convert to the Catholic faith, and victorious over all rivals,
showed favorable inclinations towards the secret designs of the
prince. The moment of action approached; the political plots as
well as the military preparations could no longer remain
concealed; the internal agitation of William, impenetrable to the
vulgar eye, showed forth in all its bitterness when he wrote to
Bentinck, "My sufferings, my disquiet, are dreadful. I hardly see
my way.
{446}
Never in my life did I so much feel the need of God's guidance.
God support you and enable you to bear your part in a work on
which, as far as human beings can see, the welfare of His Church
depends."

In the face of the danger which menaced Louis XIV. as well as
King James, that vigilant monarch had not been deceived; in
England he had in vain repeated his warnings; James was bound
hand and foot to Sunderland. This minister exercised the same
influence over Barillon: both ridiculed the idea of a descent
upon England. The experienced and prudent Prince of Orange--
would he renew the foolish attempt of Monmouth? Louis XIV. sent
Bonrepaux to London authorized to offer a fleet to the queen; a
body of French troops were ready to march into Holland; the Count
of Avaux received instructions to inform the States-General that
the King of France took the English Court under his protection.

So many efforts and so much forethought went for naught before
the blind obstinacy of King James. He haughtily resented all
overtures of Louis XIV. "My good brother," said he to the Nuncio,
"has excellent qualities, but flattery and vanity have turned his
head." He assured the States-General of his amicable sentiments.
"My master is raised, alike by his power and by his spirit, above
the position which France affects to assign to him," said the
Marquis of Albeville, the ignorant and venal ambassador of King
James to the Hague; "there is some difference between a king of
England and an archbishop of Cologne."

{447}

Irritated and wounded, Louis XIV. sent his forces into Germany,
to the assistance of that Archbishop of Cologne, so despised by
James II. The arms of France were once again triumphant, but the
United Provinces had nothing to fear. The States-General adhered
to the policy of their stadtholder; on the 16th of October, 1688,
William appeared before that solemn assembly; he came to bid
farewell to the representatives of his native country. He thanked
them for the kindness which they had shown him during his lonely
childhood, and for the confidence which they had since reposed in
him. He was now leaving them, perhaps forever. If he should fall
in defence of the reformed religion and of the independence of
Europe, he commended his beloved wife to their care. All wept:
William alone, with his indomitable resolution, preserved a calm
exterior--imperturbable and cold to all appearances. To the
hereditary and characteristic device of his house, "I will
maintain," he added the significant words, "_The liberties of
England and the Protestant religion_."

The die was cast, and the contrary winds, which at one time
seemed to threaten the destruction of the expedition, were unable
to arrest, in his progress, the liberator. He set sail from
Helvoetsluys on the 19th of October, on the same day his
manifesto, which had already been forwarded to England, appeared
in Holland. The wrongs of the English nation were firmly yet
moderately portrayed in this paper, the work of the Grand
Pensionary Fagel, translated and abridged by Burnet. Attached to
England by ties of gratitude and of family, the prince did not
believe it his duty to refuse the appeals of the spiritual and
temporal peers, nor the prayers of the English of all ranks and
classes who desired to confide to him the protection of the
national liberties.
{448}
He abjured all thought of conquest. His only object was the
reunion of a free and legal Parliament, charged to decide all
national or individual questions. As soon as England was
delivered from tyranny, the soldiers of the prince would withdraw
from her soil.

The thunderbolt was about to fall upon the head of King James,
and at last his eyes were opened. A disquieting dispatch from
Albeville preceded by a few hours the arrival of the manifesto.
James feigned to be blind to the work of his son-in-law; he threw
into the fire all copies that came into his hands. In the
meantime he multiplied concessions: his haughty spirit bowed at
last before that necessity which his stubborn will had so long
refused to recognize. A solemn declaration promised the royal
protection to the Anglican Church; the Bishop of London was
reinstated. The king no longer insisted upon the admission of
Catholics into the House of Commons. He re-established in their
offices the local magistrates dismissed for their resistance to
his political views; the Court of High Commission was abolished;
the charter of the City of London was restored; the universities
regained their privileges. A strange inquiry, destined to prove
the legitimacy of the Prince of Wales, was instituted before the
Council. One concession alone was obstinately refused--the
_dispensing power_ remained intact. "God has confided it to
me for the good of His people," repeated the king. Everywhere the
Catholic officers retained their positions in the army.

{449}

James II. was accustomed to intrigues; he had often seen them
fomented and baffled. He felt, even in his palace, the breath of
treason. Sunderland was suspected, and the king demanded the
seals. The minister protested his devotion. "Do not, Sire; do not
make me the most unhappy gentleman in your dominions, by refusing
to declare that you acquit me of disloyalty," said he, in an
agitated tone. Lord Preston received the seals. Sunderland
immediately departed for the Hague. The Prince of Orange was no
longer there. On the 4th of November he was in view of the Isle
of Wight, still in fear of an attack by the royal fleet. "This is
not the time to show our bravery, nor to fight if we can avoid
it," said William to Herbert. An error of the pilot carried the
fleet too far to the west. On the 5th, towards midday, the sun
shone forth, and that "Protestant wind," so ardently prayed for
by the waiting and anxious multitudes on shore, finally sprang
up. The Holland fleet rode safely into the harbor of Torbay. The
tempest, which had raged about the ships of William in vain, had
been fatal to the movement of the fleet of James. Lord Dartmouth
was unable to put to sea to intercept the progress of the
invaders. As the storm abated, William of Orange landed upon
English soil. When he began his march towards Exeter, he was
still only surrounded by his countrymen and the English fugitives
who had joined him at the Hague. No new accessions had as yet
made their appearance. The nation hesitated, astonished and
troubled at the aurora of deliverance. The English conspirators
remained immovable.

{450}

King James had called around him the chiefs of the opposition and
the bishops. Halifax and Nottingham had not taken part in the
conspiracy; among the prelates, Compton alone had signed the
appeal to the Prince of Orange; all refused nevertheless to
declare publicly that they blamed the conduct of William. "These
are affairs of state, Sire," said gently the Archbishop of
Canterbury; "your Majesty knows what it has recently cost us to
meddle with affairs of state." James II. had alienated from
himself the Anglican Church, but recently the firmest support of
the throne; her pulpits were silent, and the voices of her
pastors no longer urged the people to the defense of the king.
"As ministers of the Church we will assist you with our prayers,"
said the bishops; "as peers of the realm we will advise you in
Parliament." "Go, my lords, I will urge you no further,"
responded James; "since you will not help me, I must trust to
myself and to my own arms."

Already that standing army, that supreme resource, so carefully
prepared for some time past by the king, seemed to waver in his
hands and almost fail his hopes and expectations. When men
hesitate a moment in a great popular movement, they go into
action with redoubled ardor on account of their first
uncertainty. The gentry of the neighboring counties and the great
lords at the head of their servants and retainers hastened to
Exeter. First, Lord Cornbury, son of Clarendon, and completely
under the influence of the Churchills, led to the prince a part
of three regiments that he commanded. "Oh, God! that a son of
mine should be a rebel," cried dolorously the son of the great
Chancellor, faithful to his master thus far through all the
vicissitudes of fortune. Princess Anne was astonished at the
consternation of her uncle. "Many people are very uneasy about
Popery," said she; "I believe that many of the army will do the
same."
{451}
Some days later Lord Churchill and the Duke of Grafton, at the
head of their troops, joined the Prince of Orange. King James had
advanced as far as Salisbury when he learnt of this unexpected
defection. Everywhere the people rose: the west and the north
were under arms. The unfortunate monarch, fearing that his
communication with London would be cut off, ordered a retreat.
His son-in-law, Prince George of Denmark, quitted him secretly
during the march. Gross in body and stupid in mind, he was
accustomed to respond to all news, whether grave or
insignificant, by a uniform exclamation, in French,
"Est-il-possible?" "What! is 'est-il-possible' gone too?" said
James in the morning, when he learnt of the prince's departure.
"If he was not the husband of my daughter, a good trooper would
have been a greater loss." On arriving at London the king learnt
that the Princess Anne had disappeared as well as her husband.
This blow struck him with consternation. Blind regarding his
family as well as his kingdom, he had not divined the intrigues
that were forming about him, nor the isolation that the
intolerant ardor of his religious faith created. He was
overwhelmed: "God help me!" he said; "my own children have
forsaken me."

On all sides the unhappy king felt himself surrounded by
defection. Even those who yet remained faithful to him had
changed their tone. A deputation from the House of Lords urged
him to open negotiations with the Prince of Orange and to convoke
a free Parliament. He appeared inclined to accept this salutary
advice. "It is very important," said Lord Clarendon, "that the
minds of the people should be relieved from the fear of Popery.
Even now his Majesty is raising in London a regiment into which
no Protestant is admitted."
{452}
"That is not true!" cried James. They endeavored to exact a
promise of amnesty from him. "I cannot do it," he exclaimed, "I
must make examples--Churchill above all; Churchill whom I raised
so high. He and he alone has done all this. He has corrupted my
army. He has corrupted my child. He would have put me into the
hands of the Prince of Orange but for God's special providence.
My lords, you are strangely anxious for the safety of traitors.
None of you troubles himself about my safety." He yielded
nevertheless, and charged Halifax to draw up the royal
proclamation.

Parliament was convoked for the 13th of January, 1689. The
amnesty was without reserve. Commissioners were designated to
treat with the Prince of Orange; the Governor of the Tower, Sir
Edward Hales, was dismissed, and replaced by Skelton, but
recently his prisoner.

So many concessions and so much justice on the part of the king
were only designed to blind the nation. "This negotiation," said
James to Barillon, "is a mere feint. I must send commissioners to
my nephew that I may gain time to ship off my wife and the Prince
of Wales. You know the temper of my troops. None but the Irish
will stand by me; and the Irish are not in sufficient force to
resist the enemy. A Parliament would impose on me conditions
which I could not endure. I should be forced to undo all that I
have done for the Catholics, and to break with the king of
France. As soon, therefore, as the queen and my child are safe, I
will leave England and take refuge in Ireland, in Scotland, or
with your master."
{453}
On the 9th of December, the Prince of Wales and the queen, his
mother, accompanied by three attendants, and under the protection
of the Duke of Lauzun--adventurous and bold as well in London as
in Paris--quitted secretly the palace of Whitehall, crossed the
Thames in an open boat, and hastened on to Gravesend. The next
day the fugitives arrived at Calais; an attendant of Lauzun's
carried the news of their safe arrival to King James. Lords Dover
and Dartmouth, two of the king's most trusted servants, had
peremptorily refused to assist in this escape. "I would risk my
life in defense of the throne," said the admiral, Dartmouth, "but
I will be no party to the transporting of the prince into
France." Only strangers consented to serve the king of England.
Following the announcement of the safety of the royal party came
Lord Halifax with propositions from the Prince of Orange, more
moderate and more conciliatory than were expected. The greatest
names in the kingdom had given their support to William of
Nassau: those who had not crowded to his audiences had
nevertheless united their servitors and retainers for his
service. "What is it that you want?" whispered Halifax in the ear
of Burnet, in the midst of the crowded assembly; "do you wish to
get the king into your power?" "Not at all," said Burnet; "we
would not do the least harm to his person." "And if he were to go
away?" "There is nothing so much to be wished," replied the
ecclesiastic. The observance of the courtiers interrupted the
conversation, but the despatches of Halifax showed the effects of
Burnet's advice. On the night of the 10th of December, King
James, plainly dressed, accompanied only by Sir Edward Hales,
departed secretly from Whitehall, after having thrown into the
fire all the writs for the new Parliament, which had not yet been
sent out.
{454}
In crossing the Thames he flung the Great Seal into the midst of
the stream. Disembarking at Vauxhall, where a carriage awaited
him, he took the road to Sheerness. "I thank you for your
fidelity," wrote he to Lord Feversham, "and I demand that you no
longer expose your life for me by resisting a foreign army and a
nation poisoned by contagion. I seek my safety in flying my
kingdom." When he received this letter, Feversham immediately
disbanded the army, thereby adding a new element of disorder to
the general excitement and turbulent passions that were raging in
the capital, now deprived of its legitimate head. "Call your
troop of guards together," said Rochester to the young Duke of
Northumberland. The peers in London took the power into their
hands, declaring officially their intention to rally around the
Prince of Orange, and to administer the government in his name
until his arrival. All attempts to preserve order, however, were
of no avail. During three days and nights the houses of the
Catholics, as well as their places of worship, were pillaged, the
furniture broken or burned, the plate stolen, and their persons
insulted; the rumor of an Irish invasion redoubled the fury of
the populace. No murder was committed; the Chancellor, Jeffreys,
however, was in great danger.

Carefully disguised, he attempted flight. A man but recently
brought before him recognized that terrible glance of the eye
which had once frozen his blood. He gave the alarm, and the
Chancellor was instantly seized by a mob. Two regiments of
militia, immediately called out by the Lord Mayor, were scarcely
sufficient to protect against the passionate vengeance of the
multitude. The carriage conducted him to the prison of the Tower
where he was soon to die an ignominious and horrible death.

{455}

King James had arrived at Sheerness. The popular passions were
everywhere excited; the sailors were suspicious and disposed to
search everywhere for disguised Catholic priests. James was
arrested, searched, and insulted. "It is Father Petre," cried
one; "I know him by his lean jaws. Search the hatchet-faced old
Jesuit!" Roughly led ashore, the king was soon recognized. This
last check seriously affected his mind. Naturally courageous, as
had been proven in battle, James now piteously begged for a boat
to carry him away. "The Prince of Orange is hunting for my life.
If you do not let me fly now, it will be too late. My blood will
be on your heads."

Led into a tavern, and respectfully treated, still the
unfortunate king felt himself a prisoner in his own realm. "What
have I done?" said he; "what error have I committed?" The
compassion due to a great misfortune closed the mouths of all
bystanders. When the news of the arrest of the king reached
London, the little council that had assumed the government was
thrown into profound consternation. The Archbishop of Canterbury,
Sancroft, who presided, immediately withdrew. Halifax, bitterly
wounded by the role that James had compelled him to play at
Hungerford, where he had sent him with a derisive negotiation,
took his place. Orders were immediately given to send a troop of
the Life Guards, commanded by Feversham, to release the king.
James II., enfeebled in mind and body by the shocks which he had
undergone, was led by his friends to Rochester. He wrote to the
Prince of Orange: "I return to Whitehall, and I desire to confer
with you. The palace of St. James will be prepared for you
Highness."

{456}

The prospects of William were suddenly overcast by the arrest of
the king. He secretly cursed the officious zeal of the sailors.
He was constrained to decide, at once, whether the abdication
should be complete and voluntary, or whether the internal contest
should be prolonged. The prince refused the proposed conference,
and requested James to remain at Rochester. It was too late: the
king was already in London. Compassion, habit, and a reaction
from the past anger, drew a crowd about him as he drove through
the streets; he was saluted by some acclamations.

Acute observers were not deceived. "There have been shouts and
bonfires," wrote Barillon, "but at the bottom the people are for
the Prince of Orange." Always easily deceived, James for a moment
believed in a return of his popularity. He convoked a council,
again summoning some not legally qualified, and blaming severely
those peers who had dared usurp the authority in London.

The Count of Zulestein arrived with the message of the Prince of
Orange; its cold and severe tone disturbed the new-born hopes of
the monarch. "I hope, nevertheless, that my nephew will come to
St. James," said he, after excusing himself for having left
Rochester. "I must plainly tell your Majesty," replied Zulestein,
"that his Majesty will not come to London while there are any
troops here that are not under his orders." Some hours later a
deputation, headed by Halifax, arrived at Whitehall.
{457}
The English soldiers in the service of the States-General already
began to occupy the streets of London; the king was in a bed; the
messengers entered his chamber. "The prince will be at
Westminster to-morrow morning," said they; "he prays your Majesty
to retire to the palace of the Duke of Lauderdale, at Ham." "It
is a cold and unfurnished house," said James, who did not appear
much troubled; "I would like better to return to Rochester." The
permission of William was promptly accorded. The next morning at
ten o'clock the royal barge slowly descended the Thames; all eyes
were dimmed, all hearts were moved. It was a sad spectacle to see
this king, but recently so powerful, compelled to-day, by his own
faults as well as by the determined resolution of his subjects,
to flee that country from which he had been exiled when a child,
and then regained only to lose anew. The joy of deliverance was
at the bottom of all hearts, but compassion and respect were in
the countenance.

Four days later, on the night of the 22d of December, the king,
negligently guarded, pursued by mortal terror, stole out of the
house he occupied at Rochester, accompanied by the Duke of
Berwick. A small skiff was in waiting; before the break of day he
was on board of a smack which was running through the mouth of
the Thames. Four kings of the house of Stuart had for many years,
and under different titles, oppressed England with an unjust
yoke; for the second time and forever, a free people had rejected
them. When the Prince of Orange, who had arrived in London,
received a deputation of lawyers, headed by the venerable Manard,
who, forty-seven years before, had been charged with the
accusation of Strafford, "Mr. Serjeant," said the prince, "you
must have survived all the lawyers of your standing."
{458}
"Yes, Sire," said the old man, "and but for your Highness I
should have survived the laws too." It is to the eternal honor of
the Prince of Orange, as well as of the English nation, that they
defended, without violence and without effusion of blood, those
civil and religious liberties so recently gained by so much
effort and so much crime, worthy of being preserved and defended
by the hero and statesman who was at the same time and by the
same blow to save the independence of Europe, so seriously
menaced by Louis XIV.





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