Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

who had joined them, found the whole amount to fifteen thou. sand men.* The king, though his camp had been gradually reënforced from all quarters, was sensible that he had no army which could cope with so formidable a force ; and he though it prudent, by slow marches, to retire to Derby, thence to Shrewsbury, in order to countenance the levies which his friends were making in those parts. At Wellington, a day's march from Shrewsbury, he made a rendezvous of all his forces, and caused his military orders to be read at the head of every regiment. That he might bind himself by reciprocal ties, he solemnly made the following declaration before his

whole army.

“ I do promise, in the presence of Almighty God, and as I hope for his blessing and protection, that I will, to the utmost of my power, defend and maintain the true reformed Protestant religion established in the church of England, and, by the grace of God, in the same will live and die.

“ I desire that the laws may ever be the measure of my government, and that the liberty and property of the subject may be preserved by them with the same care as my own just rights. And if it please God, by his blessing on this army raised for my necessary defence, to preserve me from the present rebellion, I do solemnly and faithfully promise, in the sight of God, to maintain the just privileges and freedom of parliament, and to govern, to the utmost of my power, by the known statutes and customs of the kingdom ; and particularly to observe inviolably the laws to which I have given my consent this parliament. Meanwhile, if this , emergence, and the great necessity to which I am driven, beget any violation of law, I hope it shall be imputed by God and man to the authors of this war; not to me, who have so earnestly labored to preserve the peace of the kingdom.

“ When I willingly fail in these particulars, I shall expect no aid or relief from man, nor any protection from above : but in this resolution I hope for the cheerful assistance of all good men, and am confident of the blessing of Heaven.”' of

Though the concurrence of the church undoubtedly increased the king's adherents, it may safely be affirmed, that the high monarchical doctrines, so much inculcated by the clergy, had never done him any real service. The bulk of

* Whitlocke, p. 60.

Clarendon, vol. iii. p. 16, 17. Dugdale, p. 104. .

that generous train of nobility and gentry who now attended the king in his distresses, breathed the spirit of liberty as well as of loyalty; and in the hopes alone of his submitting to a legal and limited government, were they willing in his defence to sacrifice their lives and fortunes.

While the king's army lay at Shrewsbury, and he was employing himself in collecting money, which he received, though in no great quantities, by voluntary contributions, and by the plate of the universities, which was sent him, the news arrived of an action, the first which had happened in these wars, and where he was successful.

On the appearance of commotions in England, the princes Rupert and Maurice, sons of the unfortunate palatine, had offered their service to the king; and the former at that time commanded a body of horse, which had been sent to Worcester in order to watch the motions of Essex, who was marching towards that city. No sooner had the prince arrived, than he saw some cavalry of the cnemy approaching the gates. Without delay, he briskly attacked them, as they were defiling from a lane, and forming themselves. Colonel Sandys, who led them, and who fought with valor, being mortally wounded, fell from his horse. The whole party was routed, and was pursued above a mile. The prince, hearing of Essex's approach, retired to the main body.* This rencounter, though in itself of small importance, mightıly raised the reputation of the royalists, and acquired to Prince Rupert the character of promptitude and courage; qualities which he eminently displayed during the whole course of the war.

The king, on mustering his army, found it amount to ten thousand men. The earl of Lindesey, who in his youth had sought experience of military service in the Low Countries, was general ; Prince Rupert commanded the horse ; Sir Jacob Astley, the foot; Sir Arthur Aston, the dragoons ; Sir John Heydon, the artillery. Lord Bernard Stuart was at the head of a troop of guards. The estates and revenue of this single troop, according to Lord Clarendon's computation, were at 'east equal to those of all tħe members who at the commencement of war voted in both houses. Their servants, under the command of Sir William Killigrew, made another troop, and always marched with their masters.

* Clarendon, vol. iii. p. 25, May, book iii. p. 10.

He was then Lord Willoughby.
Clarendon, vol. ii. p. 41. Warwick, p. 231.

With this army the king left Shrewsbury, resolving to give battle as soon as possible to the army of the parliament, which he heard was continually augmenting by supplies from London. In order to bring on an action, he directed his march towards the capital, which he knew the enemy would not abandon to him. Essex had now received his instructions. The import of them was, to present a most humble petition to the king, and to rescue him and the royal family from those desperate malignants who had seized their persons.* Twc days after the departure of the royalists from Shrewsbury, he left Worcester. Though it be comme

Though it be commonly easy in civil wars to get intelligence, the armies were within six miles of each » other ere either of the generals was acquainted with the approach of his enemy. Shrewsbury and Worcester, the places from which they set out, are not above twenty miles distant; yet had the two armies marched ten days in this mútual ignorance : so much had military skill, during a long peace, decayed in England.+

The royal army lay near Banbury ; that of the parliament, at Keinton, in the county of Warwick. Prince Rupert sent intelligence of the enemy's approach. Though the day was far advanced, the king resolved upon the attack: Essex drew up his men to receive him. Sir Faithful Fortescue, who had levied a troop for the Irish wars, had been obliged to serve in the parliamentary army, and was now posted on the left wing, commanded by Ramsay, a Scotchman. No sooner did the king's army approach, than Fortescue, ordering his troop to discharge their pistols in the ground, put himself under the command of Prince Rupert. Partly from this incident, partly from the furious shock made upon them by the prince, that whole wing of cavalry immediately fled, and were pursued for two miles. The right wing of the parliament's army had no better success. Chased from their ground by Wilmot and Sir Arthur Aston, they also took to flight. The king's body of reserve, commanded by Sir John Biron, judging, like raw soldiers, that all was over, and impatient to have some share in the action, heedlessly followed the chase which their left wing had precipitately led them. Sir William Balfour, who commanded Essex's reserve, perceived the advantage : he wheeled about upon the king's infantry, now quité unfurnished of horse ; and he made great havoc among them. Lindesey,

* Whitlocke, p. 59. Clarendon, vol. üi. p. 27, 28, etc.
+ Clarendon, vol. ii. p. 44.

the general, was mortally wounded, and taken prisoner. His son, endeavoring his rescue, fell likewise into the enemy's hands. Sir Edmund Verney, who carried the king's standard, was killed, and the standard taken; but it was afterwards recovered. In this situation, Prince Rupert, on his return, found affairs. Every thing bore the appearance of a defeat, instead of a victory, with which he had hastily flattered himself. Some advised the king to leave the field; but that prince rejected such pusillanimous counsel. The two armies faced each other for some time, and neither of them retained courage sufficient for a new attack. All night they lay under arms; and next morning found themselves in sight of each other. General, as well as soldier, on both sides, seemed averse to renew the battle. Essex first drew off, and retired to Warwick. The king returned to his former quarters. Five thousand men are said to have been found dead on the field of battle, and the loss of the two armies, as far as we can judge by the opposite accounts, was nearly equal. Such was the event of this first battle fought at Keinton, or Edge Hill.*

Some of Essex's horse, who had been driven off the field in the beginning of the action, flying to a great distance, carried news of a total defeat, and struck a mighty terror into the city and parliament. After a few days, a more just account arrived; and then the parliament pretended to a complete victory. The king also, on his part, was not wanting to display his advantages; though, except the taking of Banbury a few days after, he had few marks of victory to boast of. He continued his march, and took possession of Oxford, the only town in his dominions which was altogether at his devotion.

After the royal army was recruited and refreshed, as the weather still continued favorable, it was again put in motion. A párty of horse approached to Reading, of which Martin was appointed governor by the parliament. Both governor and garrison were seized with a panic, and fled with precipitation to London. The king, hoping that every thing would yield before him, advanced with his whole army to Reading. The parliament, who, instead of their fond expectations that Charles would never be able to collect an army, had now the prospect of a civil war, bloody, and of uncertain event; were further alarmed at the near approach of the royal army, while their

* Clarendon, vol. ül. p. 44, etc. May, book iï. p. 16, etc.
† Whitlocke, p. 61. Clarendon, vol. iii. p. 59.

own forces lay at a distance. They voted an address for a treaty. The king's nearer approach to Colebroke quickened their advances for peace. Northumberland and Pembroke, with three commoners, presented the address of both houses; in which they besought his majesty to appoint some convenient place where he might reside, till committees could attend him with proposals. The king named Windsor, and desired that their garrison might be removed, and his own troops admitted into that castle.*

Meanwhile Essex, advancing by hasty marches, had arrived at London. But neither the presence of his army, nor the precarious hopes of a treaty, retarded the king's approaches. Charles attacked at Brentford two regiments quartered there, and after a sharp action beat them from that village, and took about five hundred prisoners. The parliament had sent orders to forbear all hostilities, and had expected the same from the king; though no stipulations to that purpose had been mentioned by their commissioners. Loud complaints were raised against this attack, as if it had been the most apparent perfidy and breach of treaty. Inflamed with resentment, 'as well as anxious for its own safety, the city marched its trained bands in excellent order, and joined the army under Essex, The parliamentary army now amounted to above twenty-four thousand men, and was much superior to that of the king. I After both armies had faced each other for some time, Charles drew off and retired to Reading, thence to Oxford.

While the principal armies on both sides were kept in inaction by the winter season, the king and parliament were employed in real preparations for war, and in seeming advances towards peace. By means of contributions or assessments levied by the horse, Charles maintained his cavalry ; by loans and voluntary presents sent him from all parts of the kingdom, he supported his infantry : but the supplies were still very unequal to the necessities under which he labored.Ş The parliament had much greater resources for money; and had by consequence every military preparation in much greater order and abundance. Besides an imposition levied in London, amounting to the five-and-twentieth part of every one's substance, they established on that city a weekly assessment of ten thousand pounds, and another of twenty-three thousand

* Whitlocke, p. 62. Clarendon, vol. ii. p. 73. † Whitlocke, p. 62. Clarendon, vol. iii. p. 75. Whitlocke, p. 62.

§ Clarendon, vol. jii p. 87.

« ZurückWeiter »