Abbildungen der Seite


The marquis of Newcastle was entirely lost to the C H A P. royal cause. That nobleman, the ornament of the court and of his order, had been engaged, contrary 1644. to the natural bent of his disposition, into these military operations, merely by a high sense of honour, and a personal regard to his master. The dangers of war were disregarded by his valour; but its fatigues were oppressive to his natural indolence. Munificent and generous in his expence; polite and elegant in his taste; courteous and humane in his behaviour; he brought a great accession of friends and of credit to the party which he embraced. But amidst all the hurry of action, his inclinations were secretly drawn to the soft arts of peace, in which he took delight; and the charms of poetry, music, and conversation, often stole him from his rougher occupations. He chose sir William Davenant, an ingenious poet, for his lieutenant-general: The other persons, in whom he placed confidence, were more the instruments of his refined pleasures, than qualified for the business which they undertook: And the severity and application, requisite to the support of discipline, were qualities in which he was entirely wanting

When prince Rupert, contrary to his advice, resolved on this battle, and issued all orders, without communicating his intentions to him, he took the field, but, he said, merely as a volunteer; and, except by his personal courage, which shone out with lustre, he had no share in the action. Enraged to find that all his successful labours were rendered abortive by one act of fatal temerity, terrified with the prospect of renewing his pains and fatigue, he resolved no longer to maintain the few resources which remained to a desperate cause, and thought that the same regard to honour, which had at first called him to arnis, now required him to abandon a

party Clarendon, vol. v. p. 507, 508.

p. 507, 508. See Warwic,


CHA P. party, where he met with such unworthy treatment. LVII. Next morning early he sent word to the prince that

he was instantly to leave the kingdom; and, without delay, he went to Scarborough, where he found a vessel, which carried him beyond sea. During the ensuing years, till the restoration, he lived abroad in great necessity, and saw, with indifference, his opulent fortune sequestered by those who assumed the government of England. He disdained, by submission or composition, to show obeisance to their usurped authority; and the least favourable censors of his merit allowed, that the fidelity and services of a whole life had sufficiently atoned for one rash action into which his passion had betrayed him.”

Prince Rupert, with equal precipitation, drew off the remains of his army, and retired into Lanca

shire. Glenham, in a few days, was obliged to 16th July. surrender York; and he marched out his

garrison · with all the honours of war. Lord Fairfax, re

maining in the city, established his government in that whole county, and sent a thousand horse into Lancashire, to join with the parliamentary forces in that quarter, and attend the motions of prince Rupert: The Scottish army marched northwards, in order to join the earl of Calender, who was advancing with ten thousand additional forces;" and to reduce the town of Newcastle, which they took by storm: The earl of Manchester, with Cromwel, to whom the fame of this great victory was chiefly ascribed, and who was wounded in the action, returned to the eastern association, in order to recruit

his army:

While these events passed in the north, the king's affairs in the south were conducted with more success and greater abilities. Ruthven, a Scotchman, who


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



had been created earl of Brentford, acted, under the C HA P. king, as general.

The parliament soon completed their two armies commanded by Essex and Waller. . The great zeal of the city facilitated this undertaking. Many speeches were made to the citizens by the parliamentary leaders, in order to excite their ardour. Hollis, in particular, exhorted them not to spare, on this important occasion, either their purses, their persons, or their prayers;' and, in general, it must be confessed, they were sufficiently liberal in all these contributions. The two generals had orders to march with their combined armies towards Oxford ; and, if the king retired into that city; to lay siege to it, and by one enterprise put a period to the war. The king, leaving a numerous garrison in Oxford, passed with dexterity between the two armies, which had taken Abingdon and had inclosed him on both sides. He marched towards Worcester ; and Waller received orders from Essex to follow him and watch his motions; while he himself marched into the west in quest of prince Maurice. Waller had approached within two miles of the royal camp, and was only separated from it by the Severn, when he received intelligence that the king was advanced to Bewdley, and had directed his course towards Shrewsbury. In order to prevent him, Waller presently dislodged, and hastened by quick marches to that town; while the king, suddenly returning upon his own footsteps, reached Oxford ; and having reinforced his army from that garrison, now in his turn marched out in quest of Waller. The two armies faced each other at Cropredy-bridge near Banbury; but the Charwell ran Cropredybetween them. Next day the king decamped, and

bridge. marched towards Daventry. Waller ordered a considerable detachment to pass the bridge, with an

Battle of




Rush, vol. vi. p. 662.

• 3d of June.



CH A P. intention of falling on the rear of the royalists. He

was repulsed, routed, and pursued with considerable loss." Stunned and disheartened with this blow, his army decayed and melted away by desertion ; and the king thought he might safely leave it, and march westward against Essex. That general, having obliged prince Maurice to raise the siege of Lyme, having taken Weymouth and Taunton, advanced still in his conquests, and met with no equal opposition. The king followed him, and having reinforced his army from all quarters, appeared in the field with an army superior to the enemy. Essex retreating into Cornwal, informed the parliament of his danger, and desired them to send an army, which might fall on the king's rear. General Middleton received a commission to execute that service; but came too late. Essex's army, cooped up in a narrow corner at Lestithiel, deprived of all forage and provisions, and seeing no prospect of succour, was reduced to the last extremity. The king pressed them on one side ; prince Maurice on another: sir Richard Granville on a third. Essex, Robarts, and some of the principal officers, escaped in a boat to Plymouth : Balfour with his horse

passed the king's out-posts, in a thick mist, and got 1st Sept. safely to the garrisons of his own party. The foot

under Skippon were obliged to surrender their arms, artillery, baggage, and ammunition; and, being conducted to the parliament's quarters, were dismissed. By this advantage, which was much boasted of, the king, besides the honour of the enterprise, obtained what he stood extremely in need of: The parliament, having preserved the men, lost what they could easily repair.

No sooner did this intelligence reach London, than the committee of the two kingdoms voted

thanks Rush. vol. vi. p. 676. Clarendon, vol. v. p. 497. Sir Ed. Walker, p. 31. Rush. vol. vi. p. 699, &c. Whitlocke, p. 98. Clarendon, vol. v. p. 524,525. Sir Edw. Walker, p. 69, 70, &c.

Essex's forces disarmed.



thanks to Essex for his fidelity, courage, and con-CHA P. duct; and this method of proceeding, no less politic than magnanimous, was preserved by the parliament 1644. throughout the whole course of the war. Equally indulgent to their friends and rigorous to their enemies, they employed, with success, these two powerful engines of reward and punishment, in confirmation of their authority.

That the king might have less reason to exult in the advantages which he had obtained in the west, the parliament opposed to him very numerous forces. Having armed anew Essex's subdued, but not disheartened troops, they ordered Manchester and Cromwel to march with their recruited forces from the eastern association ; and, joining their armies to those of Waller and Middleton, as well as of Essex, offer battle to the king. Charles chose his post at Second Newbury, where the parliainentary armies, under Newbury. the earl of Manchester, attacked him with great vigour; and that town was a second time the scene of the bloody animosities of the English. Essex's 27th Oct. soldiers, exhorting one another to repair their broken honour, and revenge the disgrace of Lestithiel, made an impetuous assault on the royalists; and having recovered some of their cannon, lost in Cornwal, could not forbear embracing them with tears of joy. Though the king's troops defended themselves with valour, they were overpowered by numbers; and the night came very seasonably to their relief, and prevented a total overthrow. Charles, leaving his baggage and cannon in Dennington-castle, near Newbury, forthwith retreated to Wallingford, and thence to Oxford. There prince Rupert and the earl of Northampton joined him, with considerable bodies of cavalry. Strengthened by this reinforcement, he ventured to advance towards the enemy, now employed before Denningtoncastle." Essex, detained by sickness, had not joined

the Rush, vol. vi. p. 721, &c. VOL. VII.



« ZurückWeiter »