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continued sometime in Wales. There he vainly hoped for assistance, and there he received intelligence of the most ominous character, cities and fortresses falling before the victorious arms of the Commons. At the beginning of the year 1646, Newark and Oxford were the only places of any consequence that still held out for the king. The king himself had returned to Oxford, and there he was closely besieged by the united armies of the English and Scotch. Finding himself hard pressed he escaped from Oxford in disguise and wandered from county to county and castle to castle without any fixed or definite purpose.
So King Charles made his way to the Scottish army and resigned himself into the hands of its leaders. The Scots immediately informed the English commissioner residing with them of this extraordinary event, and intelligence was despatched to Parliament. Meanwhile Charles ordered the governor of Newark to surrender to Leven, the Scottish general; Oxford surrendered to Fairfax by a capitulation whose principal articles were that the Duke of York should be granted a suitable convoy from the city of London, where the king's other children then resided, and honorable provision made for him and them; that the princes Rupert and Maurice
with all the monarch's chief friends should be permitted to return to the continent; and that the university should be left in uninterrupted possession of its privileges and immunities.
The surrender of Oxford was the end of the first civil war between the king and the Commons.
As for the Scottish reception of the king, while it was marked by a great show of respect, it soon became a virtual imprisonment. The guard of honour which escorted his royal person simply consisted of so many gaolers, and while every outward sign of loyalty was made, a private understanding was being conducted with the English Parliament, by which, for the sum of two hundred thousand pounds-voted as arrears of pay-the king was to be resigned into the hands of the Commons. No actual mention of the person of the king was made in the articles thus concluded, but it was well understood on both sides. The Lords voted that the king might reside at Newmarket; but the Commons agreed that Holmby House, situate in his own manor of Holmby, would be the fitter place; and the lower house, as was become usual with them, carried the matter their own way.
The resolution thus arrived at was speedily carried into effect. Charles was playing chess-trying manfully to keep his king out of check, when he learned what was intended: he manifested no emotion-lost or won, history saith not, but finished the game; and so in course of time found himself—marvellous spectacle to Europe, yet strange to revolution—a prisoned king, left "in stately seclusion to await the destinies." Six and thirty carts had trundelled down to Northallerton with the money—the Scots had duly counted it and given formal receipt.
The king had been conducted to Holmby by easy stages. Thousands flocked around him, and cries of "God save your majesty," were often heard. It was the practice then for kings sometimes to "touch for the evil," that is, lay their royal hands on persons afflicted with the scrofula, who were straightway expected to recover. On his way to Holmby, Charles performed this ceremony, but whether many or any were healed there is no record. In the solitude of Holmby he amused himself as well as he could with the civilities of the country gentry, playing chess— a game, for which he had a singular fascination-and riding over to Harrowden to play at bowls.
Thus passed away three months, the Commons taking no further notice whatever of the king, the king anxiously expecting to hear something
from parliament. At the end of three months he wrote, making certain propositions as to church government and liberty of conscience, and offering the command of the army to the Parliament for ten years, after which it was to revert to him or his heirs. The Commons would not entertain the proposition.
In Parliament, the Presbyterians and the Independents were, as was usual with them, at loggerheads. The Presbyterians had no liking for Cromwell, Ireton, Blake, Sidney, and others of the same stamp. They were for reducing the army, sending a large part of it to Ireland, and changing the whole condition of things military. The army-deep in arrears of pay-was in no humour to be lightly dealt with, nor to yield its favourites. The Parliament became unpopular. The soldiers took the lead in everything, and would have none to rule over them but tried veterans-Fairfax and Cromwell. The common soldiers, no less than the officers, cried out against the Parliament, and found a warm friend in Oliver.
Whitelock tells us that "On the 30th of April, 1647, whilst the debate on the petition and vindication of the army was going on, Major-general Skippon produced a letter presented to him the day before by some troopers on behalf of eight regiments of the army of horse, wherein they expressed some reasons why they could not engage in the service of Ireland under the present conduct, under the proposed commandership of Skippon and Massey (the latter of whom they did not trust), and complained of the many scandals and false suggestions which were of late raised against the army and their proceedings. That they were taken as enemies; that they saw designs upon them, and upon many of the godly party in the kingdom. That they could not engage for Ireland, till they were satisfied in their expectations, and their just desires granted. Three troopers, Edward Sexby, William Allen, Thomas Shepherd, who brought this letter, were examined in the house touching the drawing and subscribing of it, and whether their officers were engaged in it or not. They affirmed that it was drawn up at a rendezvous of those eight regiments, and afterwards at several meetings by agents or agitators for each regiment, and that few of their officers knew or took notice of it.
"Those troopers being demanded whether they had not been cavaliers, it was attested by Skippon that they had constantly served the Parliament, and some of them from the beginning of the war. Being asked concerning the meaning of some expressions in the petition, especially
concerning 'certain men aiming at sovereignty,' they answered that the letter being a joint act of those regiments, they could not give a punctual answer, being only agents; but if they might have the queries in writing, they would carry them to those regiments, and return their answers. They were ordered to attend the house upon summons."
Every means-but ready money, which was not at hand-were taken to quiet the soldiery, but the Parliament considered it advisable to bring the king nearer to London, lest the troops should seize on his person. This was precisely what they intended to do and what they did. A little after twelve o'clock at night on the 3rd of June, Cornet Joyce, with a party of horse, road up to Holmby. "After surrounding the house," says one of our historians, "with his troop, said to be one thousand strong, he knocked and demanded admittance, telling Major-general Brown and Colonel Graves, that he was come to speak to the king. "From whom?" demanded those officers, awoke from their sleep. "From myself," said Joyce; whereat they laughed. But Joyce told them it was no laughing matter. They then advised him to draw off his troops, and in the morning he should see the commissioners. Joyce replied that he had not come there to be advised by them, or to talk to the commissioners, but to speak to the king; and speak to him he would, and soon. At this threat Brown and Graves bade their soldiers stand to their arms, and defend the place; but the soldiers, instead of that, threw open the doors, and bade their old comrades welcome. Joyce then went direct to the chamber of the commissioners, and informed them that there was a design to seize the king, and place him at the head of an army to put down that under General Fairfax; and that to prevent another war, he was come to secure the person of the king, and see that he was not led into further mischief; for, added the cornet, "there be some who endeavour to pull down king and people, and set up themselves."
"The commissioners desired him not to disturb the king's sleep, but to wait till morning, and they would tell his majesty of his arrival and business. In the morning, Joyce found that Brown had contrived to send off Graves to fetch up the king's guard; and some of his damning blades did say and swear they would fetch a party.' But Joyce—a stout fellow for a tailor, which he had been-did not trouble himself about that, for he knew the guard would not move, as they did not—at length insisted on being admitted to the king himself. According to Joyce's own account, it was ten o'clock in the evening again when he was
ushered, with two or three of his followers, into the royal presence. The soldiers took off their hats, and displayed no rudeness, but a blunt proceeding to business. According to Clarendon, the cornet told the king that he was sorry to have disturbed his sleep, but that he must go with him. Charles asked whither? He said to the army. But where was the army? replied the king. The cornet said they would show him. His majesty asked by what authority they came. Joyce said "by this!" and showed him his pistol, and desired his majesty to cause himself to be dressed, because it was necessary they should make haste. The king sent for the commissioners, who asked Joyce whether he had any order from Parliament?-He said no. From the general?-No. What, then, was his authority?—to whom he gave the same reply as to the king, by holding up his pistol. They said they would write to the Parliament to learn its pleasure, to which Joyce replied, they could do so, but the king meantime must go with him.
"Finding that the soldiers sent for would not come, and that the officers of the guard said that Joyce's troop were not soldiers of one regiment, but drawn from several regiments, and that Joyce was not their proper officer, it was clear that there was a general design in the affair, and the king said he would go with them at six in the morning. At the hour appointed the king appeared on horseback, and found the troop all mounted and ready. The king had overnight demanded of Joyce whether he should be forced to do anything against his conscience, and whether he should have his servants with him; and Joyce replied that there was no intention to lay any constraint on his majesty, only to prevent his being made use of to break up the army before justice had been done to it. Before starting, Charles again demanded from Joyce, in the presence of the troop, where was his commission, enjoining him to deal ingenuously with him, and repeated, "Where, I ask you again, is your commission ?" Here," said Joyce, "behind me," pointing to the soldiers. Charles smiled, and said, "It is a fair commission, and as well written as I have ever seen a commission written in my life; a company of handsome proper gentlemen, as I have seen a great while. But what if I should refuse to go with you? I hope you would not force me. I am your king; you ought not to lay violent hands on your king. I acknowledge none to be above me here but God." He then demanded again whither they proposed to conduct him. Oxford and Cambridge were named, to both of which places Charles objected. Newmarket was next named, and