Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

of Leith, and holds a general council of officers, who approve of his measures against the insolence of the English army, and engage to adhere faithfully to him in the prosecution of them. Before, however, going the length of shedding the blood of their old friends, some of them did desire an admonition might be sent to the English officers; and though, by the wise and honester part, this motion was secretly condemned, as sounding an alarm before matters were ripe, yet was it agreed that, to shew all proper tenderness, letters of admonition should be forth with despatched. Same time, moreover, they write to the Speaker, to know from authority whether the House had not been forced; to Lambert and Fleetwood, to apprize them of the intelligence that had been received in Scotland, and announce the resolution of the Scotch army to uphold the civil authority; and to the army in Ireland, as well as to many individuals and garrisons in England, to invite them to a concurrence with the general's views. The answers to these invitations were not favourablecould not see what end the General proposed-did not think the offence of their brethren in England needed so sharp a remedy-craved leave, therefore, to object and propose a pacific way of settling the differences existing.

The General did not despond. He published several papers on the nature and object of the controversy now on foot, which were no small comfort to his own troops, and reduced his adversaries to many shifts and evasions in their

Their letters of expostulation they took care to send by the hand of cunning and popular men, who were instructed to try the fidelity of the General's officers. Of this sort of vermin came many both from England and Ireland.

A considerable fleet was riding in the Downs, at this period. To them, the General writes an account of his proceedings; trusting that his name is not altogether forgotten among the brave souls with whom he had formerly fought and conquered; but the fleets being then under the command of persons ill-affected to the cause he had espoused, his letters meet with a cold reception. But when the weather changed, and it began to clear up in the North, they had then the Northstar to guide them, and could tack to their advantage.

By these refusals of aid and countenance, on behalf of the Irish army-garrisons in England and the fleet, was the insolence of the officers whom the general had displaced, and who had liberty given them to wind up their accounts, mightily increased. To their side they drew over many officers still in command, who began to compare the present advantages of security and payment of arrears upon laying down their commissions, with the probable dangers of an enterprize, to which

answers,

all around appeared hostile. These, however, did the General give to understand that he must distinguish between officers whom he had himself displaced, and whose demands he would therefore satisfy, and those who voluntarily laid down their commissions; he could not pretend to furnish them with the money wanting to pay his own troops; they might seek their arrears of those to whom they were going; and thus gets he rid of about one hundred and forty ill-disposed officers, and introduces sure and faithful men in their room.

To keep two doors open into England, the General had secured Berwick, and now he despatches Captain Deane with his troop to secure Carlisle ; but the honest captain, instead of getting the garrison, had like to have lost himself; for the governor held him in treaty till he had seduced his whole troop, who forsook their captain and entered the town.

Notwithstanding the general kept his face steadfastly set towards England, he was resolved to have an eye also behind him to watch over Scotland ; in order that they of the English army might have no cause to complain, that he had given up the country which had been entrusted to his keeping. As so many chains to keep the loyal Scots in slavery, there had been built, under the usurpation, at a charge of above £300,000, four citadels at Leith, Ayr, St.Johnston's, and Inverness; fortifications so regular, as perhaps all Europe could not shew better. In these, and in Sterling, Dumbarton, and Edinburgh Castles, he resolved to leave four of the ten regiments of foot then in Scotland, and to march southward with the remaining six.

About this time, October the 24th, the messenger sent from the general council of officers arrives in London, with the letters before spoken of to the Speaker, Fleetwood, and Lambert, which had been printed at Edinburgh ; and with a “ declaration to the gathered churches,” which he was desired to print in London, that it might not incense the “ presbytery of Scotland, who would have been offended thereat." of this declaration to the gathered churches the purport was, “ that they should be assured of their liberties, both civil and spiritual;" a declaration judged necessary, inasmuch as there were many officers, both of the English and Scottish armies, that were menibers of those churches; for, in those times, "good honest men of parishes” were scarcely capable of employment; and this assurance of the free enjoyment of their principles, by shewing that the war was intended not against creeds and doctrines, but against the ambition of the greatEnglish officers, did not a little conduce to the success of the whole affair.

At these letters and papers, was the pretended authority then existing under the name and title of a Committee of Safety, strangely amazed; for they could not dream of such a

your own side.

danger from the North. Much did they marvel whence these designs should come into the General's head; and more, that he had conceived them at so critical a moment when their armies were divided. But these preaching and professing saints were mistaken in their man; and, though they could prophesy, had not the gift of discerning. They thought him a mere ignorant soldier; but, like Junius Brutus, he did conceal himself, and took the best of times to redeem his country; so that they were forced to come to school to him, to learn policy, and (but that they were unteachable on that head) honesty tooma hard lesson, and not easily learned by old sinners. As fears and crimes are ever wakeful, this alarm breaks their rest and keeps them in consultation all night.“ They always doubted that this cloud, that had hovered so long on the hills of Scotland, would in the end pour down a sad shower.” Fearing to rouse the lion, they first fall upon fair means; and, on the second of November, two persons of eminence arrived at Edinburgh, appointed to use their interest to persuade the General to an agreement; but this was throwing oil on the flame; for their persuasions were but the effects of fear, and were so interpreted. However, the General consented to treat, seeing that, in civil wars, it is not safe to reject advances to a reconciliation, lest you lose ground with

Business multiplying on the General's hands, though he had all along used the good advice and pains of his friends, he now resolves to constitute a committee of the oldest and most eminent colonels of his army, to whom he consigns the task of preparing answers to all letters from the general councils of officers in England and Ireland. This was no light duty, as there was a council of officers at London, another at Newcastle, and another in Dublin, so that letters poured in upon them: but they of the English army in Scotland well understood that their enemies were gifted brethren-skirmishers with the pen and the tongue, wherein they in England and Ireland were better skilled than in arms. It would be raillery not unpleasant to print the papers exchanged on both sides; for like two women, that in scolding call each other, and are perhaps neither of them mistaken, they accused one another of treason; and traitors, indeed, had too many of them been, both to God and “the best of kings.” Nevertheless, the General's pen-men played their parts well, dealing in all things generously and faithfully, so that little need had we of arms abroad, when we had so good counsel at home.

And now that we were facing about in politics, needs must we begin to use the old methods; so that the general had his privy-council, which was this committee, and his great council, which was all the commissioned officers in the army. A pleasant sight it was to see the General at the end of a long table

ܪ1

in a room full of officers, putting the question, (as many as consent to the motion, hold up your hands;) and then an ensign making a long speech against it, who was but started from a corporal the other day; but all this and more did the general suffer for thegood of all and for amor patriæ. Let those who think he was not long enough in “declaring," recollect what the Admiral Colignie used to say of an army of volunteers, how that it was a horrible thing to have to command them. Howbeit, by the prudence and artifice of those he trusted, did the General obtain by persuasion all he desired; for “though he was good at driving,"' yet was he now obliged to lead gently.

Great care was taken to catechise the soldiers well in the “ first rudiments” of their duty, and to spirit men into an understanding and sense of the quarrel ;* for it was more than probable that ours of the Scotch arny would with difficulty be brought to fight against them of the English army ; and it was much to be feared they would, on the contrary, run over one to another. Therefore, to fix the soldiery, all endeavours were used, and good sergeants and corporals appointed, who are the eyes and tongues of their several companies, and have opportunity to observe the inclinations of the privates, as well as to make impression upon their minds.

To them were private directions given, that they should take occasion upon their guards to enter into discourse on the justness and necessity of the "engagement;" and because they might not be able orators, diverse“ printed papers” were put into their hands, setting forth the obligation of every Englishman to oppose the tyranny of the army under Lambert; and, among these, a dialogue between a soldier of the Scottish army and a soldier of the English army, in which the whole quarrel was stated. Also, every week, was an officer (who was guilty of a little wit) appointed to write a Gazette; and this and the rest were dispersed among the soldiers and read upon the guard.

All this time, the English army kept up a battery by messengers and letters and expostulations; being a fardle of such pretended godliness as might make a man tremble but to read. Those of our officers to whom the care of these matters appertained, though they laughed in their sleeve at those godly pretences, yet thought fit to pay them in their own coin, and “ with the Cretans to play the Cretans.”

Among those that came from England were some so villa

* The doctor means here only the quarrel with Lambert and the English officers, not the king's quarrel with the Parliament; for whether at this time the king was or was not in the General's “belly,” as some said, he certainly was not at all in his mouth. ment so often spoken of, as taken by Monk and his army, was only an engagement to support the civil against the military power,

The engage

nous, that the gallows had been but their due, who poisoned a great part of our horse, of which we had but few to spare, being in all but four regiments, and these wanting their full numbers. And now they resolve to run away in whole troops; and Robinson, a captain of dragoons, lately preferred to the pay of horse, and therefore thought fit to be trusted on the Borders to watch others, ran away with his troop to Newcastle; though they had just received back, breast, and pot in token of their new dignity of troopers. Twistleton's regiment, also, refused service; but these being quartered in convenient places were happily dismounted, and red-coats put upon their horses. Hard shifts were these, though the foot stood firm, and swore they would fight without the horse. Not many of those, I ween, that now censure the General's long silence, but would have thought it wisdom at this time to dissemble a little ; for the grand objection of the silly fellows that ran away, was, “that the King was in his belly”; wherein were they not far amiss, for, “sure I am, he was in his heart.”

The Independent Churches, thankful for the army's declaring for liberty of conscience and security, take upon them to be mediators, and send down Mr. Caryll and Mr. Barker, in the capacity of ministers of Christ and messengers of the church, to endeavour after unity and the prevention of blood-shed. They did not disgrace their office; deporting themselves with prudence, and not intermeddling in affairs, whether public or private; and I wish all others had come upon the same errand, or, having come, had so deported themselves. The General, who had always a reverence for such as were called” ministers of Jesus Christ, conferred frequently with them in private, and even gave them a public audience before some of the most intelligent of his officers, and such as understood the arts and subtleties of these kind of people, who were apt to mix politics with religion, a method which I wish be not now too much in fashion. Mr. Caryll spoke long and well; but were I to attempt to repeat the particulars of his discourse, I must invent them; which, though it be after the example of the ancients, who take too much liberty of this kind, to shew their own wits rather than the truth of story, I shall crave leave to dispense with. But the minister coming at length to charge all the blood that should be shed upon the General, the latter could not forbear interrupting him, and replied with so much reason and conscience, that the auditors, and even the objector himself, acknowledged themselves satisfied.

About this time, also, came down Major-General Morgan, sent on the part of Lambert, whose heart ached at the thought of a war with the General, whom he always feared and never loved, to dissuade the latter from fulfilling his engagement.

« НазадПродовжити »