Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

house sent down terms of accommodation, more moderate than had hicherto been insisted on. It even passed by a majority among the commons, that these proposals should be transmitted to the king. The zealots took the alarm. A petition against peace was framed in the city, and presented by Pennington, the factious mayor. Multitudes attended him, and renewed all the former menaces against the moderate party. The pulpits thundered ; and rumors were spread of twenty thousand Irish who had landed, and were to cut the throat of every Protestant.† The majority was again turned to the other side, and all thoughts of pacification being dropped, every preparation was made for resistance, and for the immediate relief of Gloucester, on which the parliament was sensible all their hopes of success in the war did so much depend.

Massey, resolute to make a vigorous defence, and having under his command a city and garrison ambitious of the crown of martyrdom, had hitherto maintained the siege with courage and abilities, and had much retarded the advances of the king's army. By continual sallies he infested them in their trenches, and gained sudden advantages over them: by disputing every inch of ground, he repressed the vigor and alacrity of their courage, elated by former successes. His garrison, however, was reduced to the last extremity; and he failed not from time to time to inform the parliament that, unless speedily relieved, he should be necessitated, from the extreme want of provisions and ammunition, to open his gates to the enemy,

The parliament, in order to repair their broken condition, and put themselves in a posture of defence, now exerted to the utmost their power and authority. They voted that an army should be levied under Sir William Waller, whom, notwithstanding his misfortunes, they loaded with extraordinary caresses. Having associated in their cause the counties of Hertford, Essex, Cambridge, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincoln, and Huntingdon, they gave the earl of Manchester a commission to be general of the association, and appointed an army to be levied under his command. But, above all, they were intent that Essex's army, on which their whole fortune depended, should be put in a condition of marching against the king. They excited afresh their preachers to furious declamations against the royal cause. They even employed the expedient

* Rush. vol. vi. p. 356.
to Clarendon, vol. ii. p. 320. Rush. vol. vi. p. 588,

of pressing, though abolished by a late law, for which they had strenuously contended.* And they engaged the city to send four regiments of its militia to the relief of Gloucester. All shops, meanwhile, were ordered to be shut; and every man expected, with the utmost anxiety, the event of that important enterprise.

Essex, carrying with him a well-appointed army of fourteen thousand men, took the road of Bedford and Leicester; and though inferior in cavalry, yet, by the mere force of conduct and discipline, he passed over those open champaign countries, and defended himself from the enemy's horse, who had advanced to meet him, and who infested him during his whole march. As he approached to Gloucester, the king was obliged to raise the siege, and open the way for Essex to enter that city. The necessities of the garrison were extreme.

One barrel of powder was their whole stock of ammunition remaining; and their other provisions were in the same proportion. Essex had brought with him military stores; and the neighboring country abundantly supplied him with victuals of every kind. The inhabitants had carefully concealed all provisions from the king's army, and, pretending to be quite exhausted, had reserved their stores for that cause which they so much favored.

The chief difficulty still remained. Essex dreaded a battle with the king's army, on account of its great superiority in cavalry; and he resolved to return, if possible, without running that hazard. He lay five days at Tewkesbury, which was his first stage after leaving Gloucester; and he feigned, by some preparations, to point towards Worcester. By a forced march during the night, he reached Cirencester, and obtained the double advantage of passing unmolested an open country, and of surprising a convoy of provisions which lay in that town. Without delay he proceeded towards London ; but when he reached Newbury, he was surprised to find that the king, by hasty marches, had arrived before him, and was already possessed of the place.

An action was now unavoidable ; and Essex prepared for it with presence of mind, and not without military conduct. On both sides the battle was fought with desperate valor and a steady bravery. Essex's horse were several times broken dy the king's, but his infantry maintained themselves in firm array; and, besides giving a continued fire, they presented an invincible rampart of pikes against the furious shock of Prince Rupert, and those gallant troops of gentry of which the royal cavalry was chiefly composed. The militia of London especially, though utterly unacquainted with action, though drawn but a few days before from their ordinary occupations, yet having learned all military exercises, and being animated with unconquerable zeal for the cause in which they were engaged, equalled on this occasion what could be expected from the most veteran forces. While the armies were en gaged with the utmost ardor, night put an end to the action and left the victory undecided. Next morning, Essex proceeded on his march ; and though his rear was once put in some disorder by an incursion of the king's horse, he reached London in safety, and received applause for his conduct and success in the whole enterprise. The king followed him on his march ; and having taken possession of Reading after the earl left it, he there established a garrison, and straitened by that means London and the quarters of the enemy.

* Rush. vol. vi. p. 292. .

Clarendon, vol. iii. p. 344.

+ Rush. vol. vi. p. 292. Ş Rush. vol. vi. p. 292

In the battle of Newbury, on the part of the king, besides the earls of Sunderland and Carnarvon, two noblemen of promising hopes, was unfortunately slain, to the regret of every lover of ingenuity and virtue throughout the kingdom, Lucius Cary, Viscount Falkland, secretary of state. Before assembling the present parliament, this man, devoted to the pursuits of learning and to the society of all the polite and elegant, had enjoyed himself in every pleasure which a fine genius, a generous disposition, and an opulent fortune could afford. Called into public life, he stood foremost in all attacks on the high prerogatives of the crown; and displayed that masculine eloquence and undaunted love of liberty, which, from his intimate acquaintance with the sublime spirits of antiquity, he had greedily imbibed. When civil convulsions proceeded to extremities, and it became requisite for him to choose his side, he tempered the ardor of his zeal, and embraced the defence of those limited powers which remained to monarchy, and which he deemed necessary for the support of the English constitution. Still anxious, however, for his country, he seems to have dreaded the too prosperous success of his own party as much as of the enemy ; and among his intimate friends

* Rush. vol. vi. p. 293. Clarendon, vol. iii. p. 347.

often after a deep silence and frequent sighs, he would with a sad accent reiterate the word peace. In excuse for the too free exposing of his person, which seemed unsuitable in a secretary of state, he alleged, that it became him to be more active than other men in all hazardous enterprises, lest his impatience for peace might bear the imputation of cowardice or pusillanimity. From the commencement of the war, his natural cheerfulness and vivacity became clouded ; and even his usual attention to dress, required by his birth and station gave way to a negligence which was easily observable. On the morning of the battle in which he fell, he had shown some care of adorning his person ; and gave for a reason, that the enemy should not find his body in any slovenly, indecent situation. “I am weary,” subjoined he, “ of the times, and foresee much misery to my country ; but believe that I shall be out of it ere night." * This excellent person was but thirty-four years of age when a period was thus put to his life.

The loss sustained on both sides in the battle of Newbury, and the advanced season, obliged the armies to retire into winter quarters.

In the north, during this summer, the great interest and popularity of the earl, now created marquis of Newcastle, had raised a considerable force for the king; and great hopes of success were entertained from that quarter. There appeared, however, in opposition to him, two men on whom the event of the war finally depended, and who began about this time to be remarked for their valor and military conduct. These were Sir Thomas Fairfax, son of the lord of that name, and Oliver Cromwell. The former gained a considerable advantage at Wakefield over a detachment of royalists, and took General Goring prisoner: the latter obrained a victory at Gainsborough over a party commanded by the gallant Cavendish, who perished in the action. But both these defeats of the royalists were more than sufficiently compensated by the total rout of Lord Fairfax at Atherton Moor, and the dispersion of his army. After this victory, Newcastle, with an army of fifteen thousand men, sat down before Hull. Hoiham was no longer governor of this place. That gentleman and his son. partly from a jealousy entertained of Lord Fairfax, partly repenting of their engagements against the king, had entered

* Whitlocke, p. 70. Clarendon, vol. ii. p. 350, 351, etc.

into a correspondence with Newcastle, and had expressed an intention of delivering Hull into his hands. But their conspiracy being detected, they were arrested and sent prisoners to London ; where, without any regard to their former services, they fell, both of them, victims to the severity of the parliament.*

Newcastle, having carried on the attack of Hull for some time, was beat off by a sally of the garrison, and suffered so much that he thought proper to raise the siege. About the same time, Manchester, who advanced from the eastern associated counties, having joined Cromwell and young Fairfax, obtained a considerable victory over the royalists at Horncastle; where the two officers last mentioned gained renown by their conduct and gallantry. - And though fortune had thus balanced her favors, the king's party still remained much superior in those parts of England; and had it not been for the garrison of Hull, which kept Yorkshire in awe, a conjunction of the northern forces with the army in the south might have been made, and had probably enabled the king, instead of entering on the unfortunate, perhaps imprudent, enterprise of Gloucester, to march directly to London, and put an end to the war.

While the military enterprises were carried on with vigor in England, and the event became every day more doubtful, both parties cast their eye towards the neighboring kingdoms, and sought assistance for the finishing of that enterprise in which their own forces experienced such furious opposition. The parliament had recourse to Scotland ; the king to Ireland.

When the Scottish Covenanters obtained that end for which they so earnestly contended, the establishment of Presbyterian discipline in their own country, they were not satisfied, but indulged still in an ardent passion for propagating, by all methods, that mode of religion in the neighboring kingdoms. Having flattered themselves, in the fervor of their zeal, that by supernatural assistances they should be enabled to carry their triumphant covenant to the gates of Rome itself, it behoved them first to render it prevalent in England, which already showed so great a disposition to receive it. Even in the articles of pacification, they expressed a desire of uniformity in worship with England; and the king, employing generai expressions, had approved of this inclination as pious and

Rush, vol. vi. p. 275.

† Warwick, p. 261. : Walker, p. 278.

« ZurückWeiter »