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ambassador in London to pay over to General Leslie, one of Gustavus Adolphus's old officers, who had been engaged by the assembly, one hundred thousand crowns. This last transaction, however, was kept a profound secret, for the Scotch, when advised to seek the assistance of France and Germany, had indignantly refused, saying the Lutherans of Germany were heretics, and the people of France Papistical idolators; that it became them to seek support, from God alone, and not from the broken reed of Egypt. The preachers thundered from the pulpits against the bishops, and the determination of the king still to force them on the country; and they refused the communion to all who had not signed the Covenant."
"They did indeed," says the writer already quoted, "forward to London another supplication seeking to explain the reason of their conduct. Charles answered this by pouring two armies, one of which he commanded in person, into Scotland. Then came the 'Bishop's war,' the nickname Charles received of Canterbury's Knight,' and the strong measures instantly taken by the Covenanters to resist his double missives of liturgies and leaden bullets. General Leslie was promoted to the command of the troops by the order of Parliament (Scottish) which had now identified itself with the General Assembly. He acted with great energy-summoned troops together by beacon fires as had been done in England in the time of the Spanish Armada-seized on all the fortified places, and erected fortifications around the town of Leith to secure Edinburgh against the king's fleet. When that fleet at last appeared, with five or six thousand troops on board, commanded by the Marquis of Hamilton, the people thronged every avenue, and prevented the soldiers setting foot on shore. Hamilton's mother, a genuine Deborah of the Covenant, came on horseback to meet and if necessary shoot her son, carrying pistols loaded with gold balls for the purpose; and the marquis, partly overpowered by an interview with her on board his ship, and partly frightened at the news of a fight at Kelso in which the Scots were victors, was glad to make his escape.
"Concentrating his forces around a hill to the south-east of Edinburgh, called Dunse-law, Leslie awaited the approach of the king. It was fine, we are told, to see those bold extempore troops, consisting mainly of stout fresh-coloured ploughmen, the blue banner now for the first time unfurled, with the words 'For Christ's Crown and Covenant,' in golden letters stamped on it, floating over their heads-here 'eating their legs of
lamb,' there stretched in their cloaks and blue ribbons, yonder listening to 'good sermons' each morning and evening; and yonder, again, singing psalms in their own tents. Their general enjoyed their affections, and they proved it like all other armies by giving him a nickname; even as Cromwell's soldiers called him 'Old Noll;' Napoleon's the 'Little Corporal;' and as Cæsar's men sang ribald songs about their mighty leader, Leslie's named him the old little crapked soldier; for, like Alexander the Great, Nelson, and Napoleon, his bodily presence was extremely small, composed like theirs, of skin, marrow, bone, and fibre.
"The king feeling, as it were, by instinct, that that blue flag was already fluttering to his destruction, proposed a negociation. A treaty of a vague and unsatisfactory kind was agreed upon, and the general disbanded his troops, retaining, however, his officers upon half-pay. The king was dissatisfied with the treaty, and with the manner in which the covenanters fulfilled their stipulations; he sought, it is said, to entangle their ministers by treachery, but was at last induced to grant them another General Assembly in Edinburgh, August, 1639. Here the 'pacification of Birks,' as the recent truce was called, seemed re-enacted upon another stage. The king's commission sanctioned an act affirming substantially the decisions of the Assembly at Glasgow. The leaders of the Edinburgh Assembly expressed their gratitude and surprise by loyal terms and by streaming tears; and having obtained the consent of the commissioner and the Scotch Privy Council, ordered, alas! in the fulness of their hearts, and in the blindness of their times of ignorance, the Covenant to be subscribed by all classes within the kingdom, under certain formidable pains and penalties. But all, alas! was false and hollow."
In the following year the war between the king and the Scotch broke out. For this the Scots were not unprepared. They had retained in full pay the experienced officers whom they had invited from Germany, and the soldiers who had disbanded on the pacification of Birks returned with alacrity to their colours.
"Leslie," says a popular writer, "was still commander-in-chief, and determined to reduce the castle of Edinburgh before marching south. It was in vain that Charles issued his proclamations, warning them of the treasonable nature of their proceedings; they went on as if animated by one spirit, and determined not only to strike the first blow, but to advance into England instead of waiting to be attacked at home.
early ready or so well
"Charles, on his part, was far from being so served. His plans for the campaign were grand. He proposed to attack Scotland on three sides at once-with twenty thousand men from England, with ten thousand from the Highlands under the Marquis of Hamilton, and with the same number from Ireland under Strafford. But his total want of funds prevented his progress, and the resort to the lawless practices which we have related for raising them, was alienating the hearts of his English subjects from him in an equal degree. It was not till the
dissolution of parliament in July, and the loan of three hundred thousand pounds by the lords, that he dared to issue writs for the number of forces. Thus the Scots were ready for action when he was only preparing for an army.
"In the appointment of the commanders the greatest blunders were committed. The Earls of Essex, Holland, and Arundel, were set aside, which, with personal affronts to Essex, tended to throw those officers into the interest of the opposition. Essex and Holland were at undisguised
hostility with Strafford, and as he was to take a leading part in the campaign, they were kept out of it to oblige him. The Earl of Northumberland was appointed commander-in-chief instead of Arundel, but was prevented by a severe illness from acting; and Strafford was desired to leave Ireland in the charge of the Marquis of Ormond, and take the chief command, which he consented to do, but nominally only as lieutenant to Northumberland.
"Lord Conway was made general of the horse, partly because he had
been born a soldier in his father's garrison of the Brill, and had held several subordinate commands; but still more from the causes which put incompetent generals at the head of our armies now-a-days-court influence. Conway, according to Clarendon, was a very agreeable man in his manners. He was an especial favourite of Laud's, because he could talk well of church affairs, and went with his views and maxims; was thought by Laud a zealous defender of episcopacy; 'whereas,' says Clarendon, 'they who knew him better, knew he had no kind of sense of religion, but thought all were alike.' And the same authority says, 'he
was a voluptuous man in eating and drinking, and of great license in all other excesses, and yet was very acceptable to the strictest and gravest men of all conditions.' In fact, he was a consummate hypocrite and libertine, and a most despicable general. At the same time he was very fond of books, a good reason for making him a professor, but not a general of cavalry; neither was it a much wiser reason for the appointment that, in a court full of faction, where very few loved one another, he alone was domestic with all.'
"Leslie collected his army at Chouseley Wood, near Dunse, his former camp, on the 29th of June, and drilled them there three weeks. He had intrusted the siege of the castle of Edinburgh to a select party, and had the pleasure soon after this period to hear of its surrender to his officers. Meantime, Conway was advancing northward, and soon gave evidence of his gross incapacity, by writing in all his despatches to Windebanke, the secretary of state, 'that the Scotch had not advanced their preparations to that degree, that they would be able to march that year.' But the king, Clarendon says, had much better information, and ought to have distrusted the vigilance of such a commander. Moreover, his soldiers
displayed a most decided aversion to the service. They were evidently leavened with the same leaven of reform as the parliament. They wanted to know whether their officers were papists, and would not be satisfied till they saw them take the sacrament. They laid violent hands,' says May, 'on divers of their commanders, and killed some, uttering in bold speeches their distaste to the cause, to the astonishment of many, that common people should be sensible of public interest and religion, when lords and gentlemen seemed not to be.' 'All these instances of discontent,' says Hume, 'were presages of some great revolution, if the court had possessed sufficient skill to discover the danger.'
"Strafford was so well aware of the readiness of the Scots, and the unreadiness and disaffection of the English soldiery, that he issued strict injunctions to Conway not to attempt to cross the Tyne, and expose his raw and wavering recruits in the open country betwixt that river and the Trent, but to fortify the passage of the Tyne at Newburn, and prevent the Scots crossing. The Scots, however, did not leave him much time for his defences. On the 20th of August, Leslie crossed the Tweed with twenty thousand infantry and three thousand cavalry. He had been strongly advised to this step by the leaders of the English opposition themselves, and the earls of Essex, Bedford, Holland, the lord Say,