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things the Lord hath wrought for this commonwealth and for his people; and yet I am unwilling to be silent, but, according to my duty, shall represent it to you as it come to hand.
“The battle was fought with various success for some hours, but still hopeful on your part, and in the end became an absolute victory, and so full a one as proved a total defeat and ruin of the enemy's army, possession of the town, our men entering at the enemy's heels, and fighting with them in the streets with very great courage. We took all their baggage and artillery. What the slain are I can give you no account, because we have not taken an exact view, but they are very many, and must needs be so, because the dispute was long and very near at hand, and often at push of pike, and from one defence to another. There are about six or seven thousand prisoners taken here, and many officers and noblemen of very great quality. Duke Hamilton, the Earl of Rothes, and divers other noblemen ; I hear the Earl of Lauderdale, many officers of great quality, and some that will be fit subjects for your justice.
“We have sent very considerable parties after the flying enemy; I hear they have taken considerable numbers of prisoners, and are very close in pursuit. Indeed I hear the country riseth upon them everywhere; and I believe the forces that lay, through Providence, at Bewdley, and in Shropshire and Staffordshire, and those with Colonel Lilburn, were in a condition as if this had been foreseen, to intercept what should return.
“A more particular account than this will be prepared for you as we are able. I hear they had not many more than a thousand horse in their body that fled; and I believe you have near four thousand forces following, and interposing between them and home; what fish they will catch, time will declare. Their army was about sixteen thousand strong, and fought ours on the Worcester side of Severn almost with their whole, whilst we had engaged about half our army on the other side, but with parties of theirs. Indeed it was a stiff business; yet I do not think we have lost two hundred men. Your new-raised forces did perform singular good service; for which they deserve a very high estimation and acknowledgment; as also for their willingness thereunto, forasmuch as the same hath added so much to the reputation of your affairs. They are all despatched home again ; which I hope will be much for the ease and satisfaction of the country; which is a great fruit of these successes.
“The dimensions of this mercy are above my thoughts; it is, for aught I know, a crowning mercy. Surely, if it be not, such a one we shall
have, if this provoke those that are concerned in it to thankfulness; and
; the Parliament to do the will of him who bath done his will for it, and for the nation; whose good pleasure it is to establish the nation and the change of the government, by making the people so willing to the defence thereof, and so signally blessing the endeavours of your servants in this late great work. I am bold humbly to beg, that all thoughts may tend to the promoting of his honour who hath wrought so great salvation; and that the fatness of these continued mercies may not occasion pride and wantonness, as formerly the like hath done to a chosen nation; but that the fear of the Lord, even for his mercies, may keep an authority and a
people so prospered, and blessed, and witnessed unto, humble and faithful; and that justice and righteousness, mercy and truth may flow from you, as a thankful return to our gracious God.”
While Cromwell—the great Captain who sheathed his sword at Worcester—was thus writing solemnly to the Parliament, King Charles, in various disguises was endeavouring to effect his escape from England. He quitted Worcester at about three o'clock in the afternoon and without halting travelled about twenty-six miles in company with fifty or sixty of his friends. To provide for his safety, he thought it best to separate himself from his companions; and he left them without communicating his intentions to any of them. By the Earl of Derby's directions, he went to Boscobel, a lone house on the borders of Staffordshire, inhabited by one Penderell, a farmer. To this man Charles entrusted himself. The man had dignity of sentiments much above his condition; and though death was denounced against all who concealed the king, and a great reward promised to any one who would betray him, he professed
and maintained unshaken fidelity. He took the assistance of his four brothers, equally honourable with himself; and having clothed the king in a garb like their own, they led him into a neighbouring wood, put a bill into his hand, and pretended to employ themselves in cutting fagots. Some nights he lay upon straw in the house, and fed on such homely