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GOFFE AND WHALEY, THE REGICIDES. In the year 1658, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, died, after he had seen his own mighty power, and the unrivalled ascendancy he had long maintained in the English Government, sink into the grave before the influence of an adverse party. That party, proceeding in direct hostility to the claims of his son Rich. ard, who was soon proclaimed Lord Protector, and determining to place Charles II. upon the throne rendered vacant twelve years before by the ignominious execution of his father, recalled him from exile, and procured a new parliament evidently friendly to his interests. Fired with resentment against those who were instrumental in the late royal execution, and hoping to frighten into submission, by their promptitude and decision, any faction which might be rising to supplant the new king, his friends in power on his return in 1660, doomed to death ten of the judges who were most active on the trial; and so far did they carry their vengeance that three who were dead, (among whom was Cromwell bimself,) were dragged from their graves, bung and buried under the gallows. Among those sentenced to the block were Col. Edward Whaley and Gen. William Goffe. Both of them had been distinguished officers under the Lord Protector, and when he was in the meridian of his glory, enjoyed to a high degree his friendship and confidence. Whaley was also cousin to Cromwell, and father in law to Goffe. Previous, however, to the accession of Charles II. discerning from the complexion of the new parliament, that the restoration must inevitably take place, and perceiving with certainty that they could bare little to expect from the mercy of that prince, should they fall into his hands, they deemed it expedient to retire for a short time, at least, into voluntary exile. Accordingly they sailed for the American colonies, and arrived at Boston, July, 1660; and in various parts of New England were secreted, for a period of sixteen or seventeen years, from accidental discovery and royal search.
Upon their first arrival in Boston, they made no secret of their names or characters, but appeared openly in the streets and at public meetings, and were treated with the utmost kindness and hospitality by the inhabitants. While there, one of them is said to have taken occasion to shew his dexterity in the following singular man
ner. A foolish braggadocio coming into Boston, with the intent to 46 astonish the natives," erected a stage and publicly walked it for a number of days, challenging any one to fence with him at swords. At leogth, one of the judges, probably Goffe, attired as a rustic; taking a cheese in one hand, and a mop sufficiently besmeared in a dirty puddle of water in the other, went out to meet the Philistine. Upon his mounting the stage, the fencing master contemptuously ordered bim off_Goffe stood his ground--his antagonist made a pass at him to drive him away--the former received the blow in his cheese, and drew the mop lightly over the latter's countenance. A second and a third thrust was made, but the shield of the judge received and beld the sword, each time, long enongh for him to draw his mop over the face of bis antagonist. Seizing his broad sword the poor gentleman would have taken vengeance for the insult, had not Goffe intimidated him by a threat. The knight of the mop, still unknown, immediately beat a precipitate retreat, and left the gladiator to sneak off to his infinite mortification and the great entertainment of the people.
In a few months the act of indemnity came over, by which it appeared that Goffe and Whaley were doomed to immediate death. Deeming it imprudent to remain any longer in Boston, lest they should be arrested, they privately withdrew to New Haven, March, 1661. Arriving there, their dignity and rank commanded the respect and secured the friendship of a great part of the colony. In a few days, however, news of the king's proclamation reaching New Haven, they were obliged to abscond. They then went ten miles distant, to Milford, in the day time, and returned to the Rev. Mr. Davenport's at night, where they lay hid for thirty days. In the mean time news bad gone to England, that two of the regicides were in the American Colonies. A royal order to arrest and secure them immediately came over to Boston. Two zealous loyalists, Kellond and Kirk, were commissioned by the Governor of Massachusetts, to scour the country in the pursuit. Having searched the towns in the Massachusetts and New Haven Colonies, they arrived at the house of Deputy Gov. Leet, at Guilford, eighteen miles from New Haven, May 11th. They showed bim a copy of the royal orders for the arrest, and demanded aid to carry them iato effect. The Governor, who was a warm friend to the judges, after having detained them as long as he was able, consistently with his pretended zeal for their errand, sent them to New Haven without any warrant whatever. On their way thither they heard a sur
mise, that the delinquents lodged in the house of Rev. Mr. Daverport; and that Gov. Leet, whatever he might pretend to the contrary, was in the secret. They immediately returned to Gov. Leet, and demanded a warrant for their arrest. He then delayed a whole day, ostensibly that he might consult with the other magistrates, and sent an express to Mr. Davenport's to inform the judges of his guests. They immediately took refuge with William Jones, Esq. for a few days, and afterwards in a mill, near that gentleman's house. The next day, Kellond and Kirk went to New Haven with Gov. Leet, where, calling a council of the Magistrates, they peremptorily demanded a search warrant, with threats in case of noncompliance. The magistrates, being generally warm friends to the judges, at first, refused; but upon further reflection, convinced that this stand was too gross a violation of the royal edict, and fearing, lest they should draw down upon themselves the indignation of the English government for aiding and abetting in the escape of traitors to his Majesty, they put a warrant into the hands of the marshal. He, soon after, met the exiles near a bridge, a little distance from the town, and attempted to take them; but they stood on the defence with cudgels, and soon drove him off. hile he was gone after assistance they bid under the bridge, and when the pursuers had passed over their heads, and gone beyond, they quietly returned to their hiding place in the mill. This meeting was probably procured by the magistrates, to show that they had endeavored to apprehend them. A general search was then commenced and prosecuted by the commissioners with great industry ; but the friends of the judges succeeded in rendering it ineffectual. They once happened to be at Mrs. Eyers' when the officers came thither on their errand. Seeing them coming, she ushered her guests out at the back part of the house a few steps, and when they returned, hid them in a closet, the door of which, when shut, could not be distinguished from the ceiling. The pursuers coming up, asked if the regicides were in the house. She replied that they had been there, but had just gone in another direction. The commissioners not waiting to scan the tale, followed the false scent, leaving their game safe, and Mrs. Eyers guiltless, as she thought of prevarication.
A short time afterwards they took up their residence on West Rock,* on the summit of wbich, was a cave peculiarly fitted for
A perpendicular cliff, rising three hundred feet, a little distance from New Haven.
concealment. Here they remained for a few days perfectly secure, supported by the liberality of Mr. Sperry, until a huge catamount passing their cave one night, looked in, and seemed by his prowling and growling to meditate an invasion. As soon as he had walked off, the trembling judges resolving to surrender at discretion, evacuated their cave and fled down the mountain to Mr. Sperry's. They however soon found refuge in another cave prepared for them by their friends. In this manner they finally suco , ceeded in eluding the search of the commissioners, who returned to Boston bitterly complaining of the men with whom they had to deal: and especially reprobating the conduct of Gov. Leet, and Mr, Gilbert. These gentlemen began now to be justly alarmed, and their intrepidity in the protection of their friends to fail, lest his Majesty should revenge bimself for such contempt of his authority. The Regicides generously determined to deliver themselves up to the officers of justice rather than that those, who had so long shielded them from persecution the most unrelenting and search the most scrutinizing, should be in the end endangered on their account. The moment therefore, they understood that Gov. Leet began to fear the issue, they repaired to him, and offered to deliver themselves into the hands of the Sheriff. He, however, had them concealed in his cellar until he could consult with his friends in the secret: who concluded that if the magistrates were to assemble, and issue a warrant to scour the town, accompanied with a flaming proclamation to the inhabitants to assist in the search, a surrender would be unnecessary. Gov. Leet and Mr. Gilbert therefore, immediately shielded themselves behind this procedure, which threw all the responsibility on Mr. Davenport. A deep politician and crafty manager, as well as a pious and excellent divine, . this gentleman then resolved to put into requisition the most unwearied assiduity, together with all his characteristic firmness and subtility to preserve those, whom he looked upon as unfortunate and injured individuals.
The search was then prosecuted with greater vigilance than ever, during which, they lay quietly hid in their cave and in the closet of Mrs. Eyers. It soon became very apparent that Mr. Davenport was the only man in the colony yet in the secret, since all others had withdrawn their friendship and protection. He, true to his friends and unshaken in what he considered to be a just and righteous cause, would neither suffer them to yield themselves to public authority, nor that authority to arrest them. At last by appear
ing openly in N. Haven a number of times, cautiously but designed ly, they happily succeeded in freeing Mr. Davenport from the suspicion which the royalists entertained against him.-Unfortunately their new retreat was in a few weeks discovered by a party of Indians in hunting ; but before the alarm could be given and an arrest attempted, they retired and hid in the woods.
At the approach of winter it became necessary for them to find a new residence, where they could enjoy concealment united with comfort. Such a one Mr. Davenport found for them in the house and family of Mr. Tomlin, of Milford. In an unfrequented apartment of that gentleman's house, they lived for two years without even going into the orchard, and so secret was every thing preserved in relation to them, that the magistrates of New Haven could never obtain the least information of their abode : and as bas been remarked, Gov. Leet's apparent vigilance had effectually secured him, and their late appearance in New Haven, Mr. Davenport, from royal suspicion. Wbile they were in this retreat, a ludicrous balad, ridiculing the judges of Charles, came from Eogland, which the servant girls, who were engaged over head, learned to sing. This song they frequently repeated, to the great diversion of Whaley and Goffe, the objects of the satire. lo this connexion may be introduced an incident illustrative of Mr. Davenport's sagacity. A short time before Kellond and Kirk came to New Haven, he preached a sermon from this text. Isaiah XVI, 13, 14. Take council; execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noon day; hide the out casts; betray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee. Moab be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler. We must at least give the reverend gentleman the credit of consistency in action and principle.
In 1664, the king's commissioners arrived at Boston, with particular instructions to seek for the regicides ; in consequence of which it became necessary for them to find a new asylum. The Rev. Mr. Russel, of Hadley, on Connecticut river, then the westeromost settlement in Massachusetts colony, consented to receive them. Accordingly we find them, after having wandered about, "destitute, afflicted, tormented," " in the mountains, dens and caves of the earth,” for three years, finally living under the hospitable roof of this faithful minister. Here, and at the house of P. Tilton, Esq. unknown to every one in the village, except the respective familics of these gentlemen, they lay buried in the most profound concealment for more than sixteen years.