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righteous cause in the world, this war would hardly be second to it; that he had come to ask an account of the innocent blood that had been shed, and bring to an account all who, by appearing in arms, had sought to justify the same; to break the power of a company of lawless rebels, and, by the assistance of God, hold forth and maintain the lustre and glory of English liberty; that such as had been formerly in arms might, by submitting themselves, have their cases presented to the State of England, which no doubt would be ready to take into consideration the nature and quality of their actings, and deal mercifully with them, and so with those who were still in arms; while such as persisted and continued in arms could expect nothing else but what in the providence of God (in what is falsely called the chance of war) might come upon them; that such of the nobility, gentry, and Commons of Ireland, as had been actors in the rebellion, might depend on the protection of their property, liberties, and lives; but that if after all this the people should headily run on after the counsels of their prelates and clergy, and other leaders, he hoped to be free from the misery and desolation, blood and ruin, that should befall them, and that he should rejoice to exercise the utmost severity against them! Cromwell was received at Bristol on his return from Ireland with
royal state. Civic officers, local dignitaries, the troops, multitudes of people turned out to give him welcome-salvoes were fired in his honour-he was the hero of the hour—the man who had smitten Ireland into subjection, and left on that unhappy land “the Curse of Cromwell.” His progress to London was an ovation. Some one remarking what crowds went out to see his triumph, he answered—“But if they came to see me hanged, how many more would there be !"
RN Scotland, after the death of the first Charles, the Prince of
Wales—Charles the Second—was proclaimed King by order of the Scottish Parliament. The young king was at the Hague
when Sir Joseph Douglas brought him intelligence of what had taken place. He immediately quitted Holland, and after passing some time in Paris, went to Jersey, where he learned that his acceptance of the Scottish crown was burdened with certain conditions-conditions not in any way congenial to his humour. It was thought proper that he should separate himself from his dissolute companions, of whom there were many; that he should renounce Episcopacy and swear to the Covenant—in fact, that he should accept all the terms concerning which his father had in the first place offended the Scottish nation. Still Charles was privately assured by the gallant but sanguinary Montrose, and others, that his acceptance of the terms would be merely temporary. The Covenanters represented only a section of Scottish loyalists-a large section, but still not all—and with foreign help much might be done, if Charles should at once become monarch of the land.
So Charles agreed to meet the Commissioners at Breda, and Montrose having been created a marquis and received the George, raised the royal standard in the Highlands, and called upon the clans to rise and defend their king before the Covenanters could sell him to the English as they
had done his father. He exhibited a banner bearing a representation of the beheaded monarch with the inscription, "Judge and avenge my cause, O Lord.” The name of Montrose was associated with many brilliant actions but actions fraught with terror. He was represented by his partizans as a demi-god, and by his enemies as a monster. He was the idol of his soldiers, “his course was brief and bright; but the brightness was that of a blood red comet crossing the shuddering midnight, and not of a calm and steady star.” The few followers who surrounded him when be unfurled his standard for the young king were totally incompetent to
contest with the forces immediately sent against them by the Covenanters. Leslie, the brave old soldier, advanced to oppose him. Strachan, with a body of horse, was sent to check his progress. Montrose was suddenly attacked and completely defeated. Strachan, before the fight, began calling his men around him, and informed them that God had given “the rebel and apostate Montrose into their hands.” He then gave out a psalm, which they sang, and then they dispersed in successive companies, falling in presently with Montrose and making an easy victory. Montrose had his horse killed under him, and though he got another horse and swam across a rapid river, he fled in such haste as to leave behind him his sword, cloak, and newly-acquired star and garter. In the disguise of a peasant he reached the mountains of Sutherland, and found an asylum in the house of Macleod of Assynt, who had formerly served under him. This base man betrayed him into the hands of his foes.
The Covenanters conducted their noble prisoner in triumph to Edinburgh, where he was exposed to the most atrocious insults. After being conducted through the public streets, bound down on a high bench in a cart constructed for the purpose, with his hat off, the executioner accompanying him, and his officers walking two and two in fetters behind him, he was brought before the Parliament. Loudon, the chancellor, in a
, violent declamation reproached him with the murders, treasons, and impieties for which he was now to suffer condign punishment. Montrose, who bore all the indignities with the greatest firmness, and looked down with a noble disdain on the rancour of his enemies, boldly replied, that in all his warlike enterprises he was warranted by that commission which he had received from his or their master, against whose lawful authority they had erected their standard ; that no blood had ever been shed by him but in the field of battle, and many persons were now in his eye-many now dared to pronounce sentence of death upon him, whose life, forfeited by the laws of war, he had formerly saved from the fury of the soldiers; that he was sorry to find no better testimony of their return to allegiance than the murder of a faithful subject, in whose death the king's commission must be so highly injured and insulted; that, as for himself, he scorned their vindictive fanatical rage, and was only grieved at the contumely offered to that authority by which he acted. He was hanged on a gibbet thirty feet high ; his head was afterwards fixed on a spike in the capital, and his limbs sent for exposure in different cities.
The young king hearing the fate of his brave ally and servant, protested
to the Scottish Parliament that he had never authorised him to draw the
“Sire, unless in your soul and conscience you are satisfied, beyond all hesitation, of the righteousness of this declaration, do not subscribe to itno, not for three kingdoms.”
“Mr. Gillespie,” said the king, “I am satisfied, and will therefore subscribe.”
When the news of the young king's reception in Scotland was known in England, active measures were taken to reduce the Covenanters and to banish their chosen sovereign. An army was assembled and the command offered to Fairfax, but declined. Cromwell then consented to accept the command, and immediately commenced his march to the North. The Scotch heard of his advance and David Leslie, with sixty thousand men, prepared to receive him.
On the 22nd of July Cromwell's army crossed the Tweed. They found the whole country through which they marched desolate. It had been laid waste by the Scots to prevent the English obtaining any supplies. The people had fled-all except a few women, who on their knees besought mercy_a report having been circulated that Cromwell had resolved on striking the right hand from every male above sixteen and under sixty, and to pierce with red-hot irons the breast of every woman he could find. It is scarcely necessary there was no truth in the rumour, but it was sufficiently terrible—and not without some show of probability, coupled with Cromwell's recent acts in Ireland—to fill the peasantry with alarm and to drive them before him as sheep before wolves. In the twilight of that July night the beacon fires of Scotland were lighted. Fire answered fire and spread through the land the news of Cromwell's coming. The English saw the red light in the sky, and they knew what it portended—they knew that the Scots were rapidly rising-not only to maintain King Charles, but to preserve their nationality to hold by their Covenant: