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intention; the most probable solution is that also which is most creditable to him, and which is imputed to him by those persons who aspersed him most. Hollis and Ludlow, who hated him with as much inveteracy as if they had not equally hated each other, agree in believing that he would willingly have taken part with the king; and that he was deterred from this better course by the fear that the army would desert him. They agree also that when he was certain of this, he, by taking measures for alarming the king, instigated him to make his escape from Hampton Court (November 11, 1647). Concerning his further purpose, there are different opinions. Hollis, who would allow him no merit, supposes that he directed him to Carisbrook because he knew that Hammond might be depended upon as a jailer: Ludlow supposes
that he thought Hammond a man on whom the king might rely; and Hobbes, with
* One of the very few errors which M. Villemain has committed is that of saying that Ashburnham is charged by Clarendon with having betrayed his master on this occasion; whereas Clarendon, though he perceived with what fatal and unaccountable mismanagement they proceeded, entirely acquits him of any intention to mislead the king. M. Villemain writes New York for Newark—from a mistaken etymology, we suppose. These trifling mistakes are pointed out for cor. rection, not from the desire of detecting faults, but in respect for a work of great sagacity, perfect candor, and exemplary diligence-being by far the most able history of Cromwell that has yet been written.
more probability than either, affirms that he meant to let him escape from the kingdom, which, with common prudence on the part of his companions, he might have done, and which, when Cromwell had made his choice to act with the commonwealth's-men, would have served their purpose better than his death.
He did not, however, join them hastily, not from his own feelings, but as if yielding, rather than consenting, to circumstances. Conferences were held between some of the heads of the manyheaded anarchy—members, officers, and preachers -to determine what form of government was best for the nation, whether monarchical, aristocratical, or democratical. The ablest leaders of the presbyterian party had been expelled the house, and some of them driven into exile by the preponderating influence of the army, who availed themselves of the king's presence to obtain that object. These persons, more from their hatred of the independents than from any other principle, would have defended the monarchy, which was now but weakly and insincerely defended by Cromwell and those who were called the grandees of the house and army. Either form of government, they said, might be good in itself, and for them, as Providence should direct; this being interpreted meant that they were ready to support any form which might be most advantageous to themselves. On the other hand, the political and religious zealots insisted that monarchy was in itself an evil, and that the Jews had committed a great sin against the Lord in choosing it; and they, apparently now for the first time, avowed their desire of putting the king to death and establishing an equal commonwealth. Cromwell, who was then acknowledged as the head of the grandees, professed himself to be unresolved; he had learned however the temper of his tools, and with that coarse levity which is one of the strongest features in his character, he concluded the conference by flinging a cushion at Ludlow's head, and then running down stairs ; but not fast enough to pe a similar missile which was sent after him. The next day he told Ludlow he was convinced of the desirableness of what that party had proposed, but not of its feasibleness. The time was now fast approaching when Cromwell could find everything feasible which he desired. A bold accusation was preferred against him in the house of lords by Major Huntington : he affirmed that Cromwell and Ireton had, from the beginning, instigated the army to disobey and resist the parliament; that they had pledged themselves to make the king the most glorious prince in Christendom, while they were making use of him, and had de. clared that they were ready to join with French, Spaniards, Cavaliers, or any who would force the
parliament to agree with him ; that their real object was to perpetuate the power of the army ; that Ireton said, when the king and parliament were treating, he hoped they would make such a peace that the army might, with a good conscience, fight against them both; and that Cromwell had, both in public and private, maintained as his principle that every individual was judge of just and right as to the good and ill of a kingdom; that it was lawful to pass through any
forms of government for attaining his end, and that it was lawful 10 play the knave with a knave. Huntington swore to the truth of these allegations ; Milton impugns his credit, by saying that he afterward besought Cromwell's pardon, and confessed that he had been suborned by the presbyterians. Encouraged by them he probably was; but Huntington's memorial bears with it the stamp of truth, and it is confirmed by Cromwell's whole course of after-life.*
The independent party being the strongest, no advantage was made of these charges, which might otherwise have been deemed ground sufficent for depriving him of his command; and the ill-planned and ill-combined insurrection of the Cavaliers and invasion of the Scotch made him, as M. Villemain observes, too necessary to be
[* Huntington's Complaint, dated 2d Aug., 1648, is printed in Thurloe's state papers, vol. i., pp. 94-97, and in vol. ii., of Maseres' tracts.]
deemed culpable. He marched first into Wales, and brought that crabbed expedition, as it was called, to a successful termination with his wonted celerity. That done, he proceeded against the Scotch, which, to the great furtherance of Cromwell's designs, Fairfax was not willing to do, for Fairfax had a sort of pyebald presbyterian conscience, and strained at a gnat now, after having bolted so many camels. Cromwell had a great dislike of the Scotch as well as a great contempt for them; he perfectly understood what their armies were, having served with them in one campaign, and therefore readily consented to go against them with a very inferior force. That confidence might have been fatal to him, if there had been common prudence in the duke of Hamilton and the other Scotch leaders; but the miserable creatures by whom the counsels of that army were directed chose to expose the English who were with them, instead of supporting them, when, by timely aid, the day might have been won. Cromwell declared he had never seen foot fight so desperately as the north-countrymen under Sir Marmaduke Langdale, at the battle of Preston, where they were so basely left without support They had their reward. Cromwell followed their army, defeated and routed it, more being killed out of contempt, says Clarendon, than that they deserved it by any opposition. He then marched to