The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Popular History Of England From the
Earliest Times To The Reign Of Queen , by François Guizot and Henriette Guizot de Witt

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Title: A Popular History Of England From the Earliest Times To The Reign Of Queen Victoria; Vol 3

Author: François Guizot
        Henriette Guizot de Witt

Release Date: April 29, 2020 [EBook #61971]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Don Kostuch

[Transcriber's note: This production is based on]

Execution Of King Charles.


A Popular History Of England

From the Earliest Times
To The Reign Of Queen Victoria

M. Guizot

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

Authorized Edition


Vol. III

Publisher's Logo: ALDI DISCIP ANGLVS

New York
John W. Lovell Company

150 Worth Street, corner Mission Place


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


Table Of Contents.

XXII. James I. (1603-1625) 9
XXIII. Charles I. and his Government (1625-1642) 42
XXIV. Charles I. and the Civil War. 92
XXV. Charles I. and Cromwell. Captivity, Trial, and Death of the King. 157
XXVI. The Commonwealth and Cromwell (1649-1653) 199
XXVII. Cromwell Protector (1653-1658) 247
XXVIII. Protectorate of Richard Cromwell (1658-1659) 282
XIX. The Restoration of the Stuarts (1659-1660) 293
XXX. Charles II. (1660-1685) 342
XXXI. James II. and the Revolution (1685-1688) 396



History Of England,

Vol. III.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.

The Gunpowder Plot Discovered.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Sir Walter Raleigh.


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.


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.


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."


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."


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.


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.


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.

Assassination Of Buckingham.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Queen Henrietta Maria.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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!"

Death of Hampden.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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."


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.

Battle Of Marston Moor.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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.

"Will You Go Upon Your Death?"


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.

Fairfax Kissing The King's Hand.


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."


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.


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."


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.


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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.

Portrait Of Lord Fairfax.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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."


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."


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.

King Charles' Children.


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."


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.


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.


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."


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."


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."


ed 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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."


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."


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.


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?"


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.

Cromwell Dismissing The Long Parliament.


"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."


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."


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."


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."


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.


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."


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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?"


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.


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."


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.


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. …


"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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Cromwell At The Death-bed Of His Daughter.


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.


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.


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.

Richard Cromwell.


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?"


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."


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."


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.


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."


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.


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.

Charles II.


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.


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.


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.

Portrait Of Monk.


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."


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.



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.


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.

Lambert confronted by Colonel Morley.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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."


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."


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.


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.


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.


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.'"

Effacing The Inscriptions.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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.

Charles At The House Of Lady Castlemaine.


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."


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.


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."


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.


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."


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.


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.'"


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.]


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.


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.

Portrait Of Monmouth.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Lord Russell's Trial.


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."


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.


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.


"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.


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.

James II.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!"


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.


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.


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.


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.

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


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.


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."


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.


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.


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."


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.


"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."


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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."


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.


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."


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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."


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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Earliest Times To The Reign Of Queen , by François Guizot and Henriette Guizot de Witt


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