Part 5 out of 6
enclosures, where we could not follow them, killed about 100 of them,
and took 250 prisoners, with all their horses, and came that night to
Leicester. When we came to Leicester, and had taken up our quarters,
Sir Marmaduke Langdale sent for me to sup with him, and told me
that he had a secret commission in his pocket, which his Majesty had
commanded him not to open till he came to Leicester; that now he had
sent for me to open it together, that we might know what it was we
were to do, and to consider how to do it; so pulling out his sealed
orders, we found we were to get what force we could together, and a
certain number of carriages with ammunition, which the governor of
Leicester was to deliver us, and a certain quantity of provision,
especially corn and salt, and to relieve Newark. This town had been
long besieged. The fortifications of the place, together with its
situation, had rendered it the strongest place in England; and, as it
was the greatest pass in England, so it was of vast consequence to the
king's affairs. There was in it a garrison of brave old rugged boys,
fellows that, like Count Tilly's Germans, had iron faces, and they had
defended themselves with extraordinary bravery a great while, but were
reduced to an exceeding strait for want of provisions.
Accordingly we received the ammunition and provision, and away we went
for Newark; about Melton Mowbray, Colonel Rossiter set upon us, with
above 3000 men; we were about the same number, having 2500 horse, and
800 dragoons. We had some foot, but they were still at Harborough, and
were ordered to come after us.
Rossiter, like a brave officer as he was, charged us with great fury,
and rather outdid us in number, while we defended ourselves with all
the eagerness we could, and withal gave him to understand we were
not so soon to be beaten as he expected. While the fight continued
doubtful, especially on our side, our people, who had charge of the
carriages and provisions, began to enclose our flanks with them, as
if we had been marching, which, though it was done without orders, had
two very good effects, and which did us extraordinary service. First,
it secured us from being charged in the flank, which Rossiter had
twice attempted; and secondly, it secured our carriages from being
plundered, which had spoiled our whole expedition. Being thus
enclosed, we fought with great security; and though Rossiter made
three desperate charges upon us; he could never break us. Our men
received him with so much courage, and kept their order so well, that
the enemy, finding it impossible to force us, gave it over, and left
us to pursue our orders. We did not offer to chase them, but contented
enough to have repulsed and beaten them off, and our business being to
relieve Newark, we proceeded.
If we are to reckon by the enemy's usual method, we got the victory,
because we kept the field, and had the pillage of their dead; but
otherwise, neither side had any great cause to boast. We lost about
150 men, and near as many hurt; they left 170 on the spot, and carried
off some. How many they had wounded we could not tell; we got seventy
or eighty horses, which helped to remount some of our men that had
lost theirs in the fight. We had, however, this advantage, that we
were to march on immediately after this service, the enemy only to
retire to their quarters, which was but hard by. This was an injury to
our wounded men, who we were after obliged to leave at Belvoir Castle,
and from thence we advanced to Newark.
Our business at Newark was to relieve the place, and this we resolved
to do whatever it cost, though, at the same time, we resolved not to
fight unless we were forced to it. The town was rather blocked up than
besieged; the garrison was strong, but ill-provided; we had sent them
word of our coming to them, and our orders to relieve them, and they
proposed some measures for our doing it. The chief strength of the
enemy lay on the other side of the river; but they having also some
notice of our design, had sent over forces to strengthen their leaguer
on this side. The garrison had often surprised them by sallies, and
indeed had chiefly subsisted for some time by what they brought in on
Sir Marmaduke Langdale, who was our general for the expedition, was
for a general attempt to raise the siege, but I had persuaded him off
of that; first, because, if we should be beaten, as might be probable,
we then lost the town. Sir Marmaduke briskly replied, "A soldier ought
never to suppose he shall be beaten." "But, sir," says I, "you'll get
more honour by relieving the town, than by beating them. One will be
a credit to your conduct, as the other will be to your courage; and if
you think you can beat them, you may do it afterward, and then if you
are mistaken, the town is nevertheless secured, and half your victory
He was prevailed with to adhere to this advice, and accordingly we
appeared before the town about two hours before night. The horse drew
up before the enemy's works; the enemy drew up within their works, and
seeing no foot, expected when our dragoons would dismount and attack
them. They were in the right to let us attack them, because of the
advantage of their batteries and works, if that had been our design;
but, as we intended only to amuse them, this caution of theirs
effected our design; for, while we thus faced them with our horse, two
regiments of foot, which came up to us but the night before, and
was all the infantry we had, with the waggons of provisions, and 500
dragoons, taking a compass clean round the town, posted themselves on
the lower side of the town by the river. Upon a signal the garrison
agreed on before, they sallied out at this very juncture with all the
men they could spare, and dividing themselves in two parties, while
one party moved to the left to meet our relief, the other party fell
on upon part of that body which faced us. We kept in motion, and upon
this signal advanced to their works, and our dragoons fired upon
them, and the horse, wheeling and counter-marching often, kept them
continually expecting to be attacked. By this means the enemy were
kept employed, and our foot, with the waggons, appearing on that
quarter where they were least expected, easily defeated the advanced
guards and forced that post, where, entering the leaguer, the other
part of the garrison, who had sallied that way, came up to them,
received the waggons, and the dragoons entered with them into the
town. That party which we faced on the other side of the works knew
nothing of what was done till all was over; the garrison retreated in
good order, and we drew off, having finished what we came for without
fighting. Thus we plentifully stored the town with all things wanting,
and with an addition of 500 dragoons to their garrison; after which we
marched away without fighting a stroke.
Our next orders were to relieve Pontefract Castle, another garrison
of the king's, which had been besieged ever since a few days after the
fight at Marston Moor, by the Lord Fairfax, Sir Thomas Fairfax, and
other generals in their turn. By the way we were joined with 800 horse
out of Derbyshire, and some foot, so many as made us about 4500 men in
Colonel Forbes, a Scotchman, commanded at the siege, in the absence of
the Lord Fairfax. The colonel had sent to my lord for more troops, and
his lordship was gathering his forces to come up to him, but he was
pleased to come too late. We came up with the enemy's leaguer about
the break of day, and having been discovered by their scouts, they,
with more courage than discretion, drew out to meet us. We saw no
reason to avoid them, being stronger in horse than they; and though we
had but a few foot, we had 1000 dragoons, which helped us out. We had
placed our horse and foot throughout in one line, with two reserves
of horse, and between every division of horse a division of foot, only
that on the extremes of our wings there were two parties of horse
on each point by themselves, and the dragoons in the centre on foot.
Their foot charged us home, and stood with push of pike a great while;
but their horse charging our horse and musketeers, and being closed
on the flanks, with those two extended troops on our wings, they
were presently disordered, and fled out of the field. The foot, thus
deserted, were charged on every side and broken. They retreated still
fighting, and in good order for a while; but the garrison sallying
upon them at the same time, and being followed close by our horse,
they were scattered, entirely routed, and most of them killed. The
Lord Fairfax was come with his horse as far as Ferrybridge, but the
fight was over, and all he could do was to rally those that fled, and
save some of their carriages, which else had fallen into our hands. We
drew up our little army in order of battle the next day, expecting the
Lord Fairfax would have charged us; but his lordship was so far from
any such thoughts that he placed a party of dragoons, with orders to
fortify the pass at Ferrybridge, to prevent our falling upon him in
his retreat, which he needed not have done; for, having raised the
siege of Pontefract, our business was done, we had nothing to say to
him, unless we had been strong enough to stay.
We lost not above thirty men in this action, and the enemy 300, with
about 150 prisoners, one piece of cannon, all their ammunition, 1000
arms, and most of their baggage, and Colonel Lambert was once taken
prisoner, being wounded, but got off again.
We brought no relief for the garrison, but the opportunity to furnish
themselves out of the country, which they did very plentifully. The
ammunition taken from the enemy was given to them, which they wanted,
and was their due, for they had seized it in the sally they made,
before the enemy was quite defeated.
I cannot omit taking notice on all occasions how exceeding serviceable
this method was of posting musketeers in the intervals, among the
horse, in all this war. I persuaded our generals to it as much as
possible, and I never knew a body of horse beaten that did so: yet I
had great difficulty to prevail upon our people to believe it, though
it was taught me by the greatest general in the world, viz., the King
of Sweden. Prince Rupert did it at the battle of Marston Moor; and had
the Earl of Newcastle not been obstinate against it in his right wing,
as I observed before, the day had not been lost. In discoursing this
with Sir Marmaduke Langdale, I had related several examples of the
serviceableness of these small bodies of firemen, and with great
difficulty brought him to agree, telling him I would be answerable
for the success. But after the fight, he told me plainly he saw the
advantage of it, and would never fight otherwise again if he had any
foot to place. So having relieved these two places, we hastened by
long marches through Derbyshire, to join Prince Rupert on the edge of
Shropshire and Cheshire. We found Colonel Rossiter had followed us at
a distance ever since the business at Melton Mowbray, but never cared
to attack us, and we found he did the like still. Our general would
fain have been doing with him again, but we found him too shy. Once
we laid a trap for him at Dovebridge, between Derby and
Burton-upon-Trent, the body being marched two days before. Three
hundred dragoons were left to guard the bridge, as if we were afraid
he should fall upon us. Upon this we marched, as I said, on to Burton,
and the next day, fetching a compass round, came to a village near
Titbury Castle, whose name I forgot, where we lay still expecting our
dragoons would be attacked.
Accordingly, the colonel, strengthened with some troops of horse from
Yorkshire, comes up to the bridge, and finding some dragoons posted,
advances to charge them. The dragoons immediately get a-horseback, and
run for it, as they were ordered. But the old lad was not to be caught
so, for he halts immediately at the bridge, and would not come over
till he had sent three or four flying parties abroad to discover the
country. One of these parties fell into our hands, and received but
coarse entertainment. Finding the plot would not take, we appeared and
drew up in view of the bridge, but he would not stir. So we continued
our march into Cheshire, where we joined Prince Rupert and Prince
Maurice, making together a fine body, being above 8000 horse and
This was the best and most successful expedition I was in during this
war. 'Twas well concerted, and executed with as much expedition and
conduct as could be desired, and the success was answerable to it. And
indeed, considering the season of the year (for we set out from Oxford
the latter end of February), the ways bad, and the season wet, it
was a terrible march of above 200 miles, in continual action, and
continually dodged and observed by a vigilant enemy, and at a time
when the north was overrun by their armies, and the Scots wanting
employment for their forces. Yet in less than twenty-three days we
marched 200 miles, fought the enemy in open field four times, relieved
one garrison besieged, and raised the siege of another, and joined our
friends at last in safety.
The enemy was in great pain for Sir William Brereton and his forces,
and expresses rode night and day to the Scots in the north, and to the
parties in Lancashire to come to his help. The prince, who used to be
rather too forward to fight than otherwise, could not be persuaded to
make use of this opportunity, but loitered, if I may be allowed to say
so, till the Scots, with a brigade of horse and 2000 foot, had joined
him; and then 'twas not thought proper to engage them.
I took this opportunity to go to Shrewsbury to visit my father, who
was a prisoner of war there, getting a pass from the enemy's governor.
They allowed him the liberty of the town, and sometimes to go to his
own house upon his parole, so that his confinement was not very much
to his personal injury. But this, together with the charges he had
been at in raising the regiment, and above L20,000 in money and plate,
which at several times he had lent, or given rather to the king, had
reduced our family to very ill circumstances; and now they talked of
cutting down his woods.
I had a great deal of discourse with my father on this affair; and,
finding him extremely concerned, I offered to go to the king and
desire his leave to go to London and treat about his composition, or
to render myself a prisoner in his stead, while he went up himself.
In this difficulty I treated with the governor of the town, who very
civilly offered me his pass to go for London, which I accepted, and,
waiting on Prince Rupert, who was then at Worcester, I acquainted him
with my design. The prince was unwilling I should go to London;
but told me he had some prisoners of the Parliament's friends in
Cumberland, and he would get an exchange for my father. I told him
if he would give me his word for it I knew I might depend upon it,
otherwise there was so many of the king's party in their hands, that
his Majesty was tired with solicitations for exchanges, for we never
had a prisoner but there was ten offers of exchanges for him. The
prince told me I should depend upon him; and he was as good as his
word quickly after.
While the prince lay at Worcester he made an incursion into
Herefordshire, and having made some of the gentlemen prisoners,
brought them to Worcester; and though it was an action which had not
been usual, they being persons not in arms, yet the like being my
father's case, who was really not in commission, nor in any military
service, having resigned his regiment three years before to me, the
prince insisted on exchanging them for such as the Parliament had
in custody in like circumstances. The gentlemen seeing no remedy,
solicited their own case at the Parliament, and got it passed in
their behalf; and by this means my father got his liberty, and by the
assistance of the Earl of Denbigh got leave to come to London to make
a composition as a delinquent for his estate. This they charged at
L7000, but by the assistance of the same noble person he got off for
L4000. Some members of the committee moved very kindly that my father
should oblige me to quit the king's service, but that, as a thing
which might be out of his power, was not insisted on.
The modelling the Parliament army took them up all this winter, and
we were in great hopes the divisions which appeared amongst them might
have weakened their party; but when they voted Sir Thomas Fairfax to
be general, I confess I was convinced the king's affairs were lost and
desperate. Sir Thomas, abating the zeal of his party, and the mistaken
opinion of his cause, was the fittest man amongst them to undertake
the charge. He was a complete general, strict in his discipline, wary
in conduct, fearless in action, unwearied in the fatigue of the
war, and withal, of a modest, noble, generous disposition. We all
apprehended danger from him, and heartily wished him of our own side;
and the king was so sensible, though he would not discover it, that
when an account was brought him of the choice they had made, he
replied, "he was sorry for it; he had rather it had been anybody than
The first attempts of this new general and new army were at Oxford,
which, by the neighbourhood of a numerous garrison in Abingdon, began
to be very much straitened for provisions; and the new forces under
Cromwell and Skippon, one lieutenant-general, the other major-general
to Fairfax, approaching with a design to block it up, the king left
the place, supposing his absence would draw them away, as it soon did.
The king resolving to leave Oxford, marches from thence with all his
forces, the garrison excepted, with design to have gone to Bristol;
but the plague was in Bristol, which altered the measures, and changed
the course of the king's designs, so he marched for Worcester about
the beginning of June 1645. The foot, with a train of forty pieces of
cannon, marching into Worcester, the horse stayed behind some time in
The first action our army did, was to raise the siege of Chester; Sir
William Brereton had besieged it, or rather blocked it up, and when
his Majesty came to Worcester, he sent Prince Rupert with 4000 horse
and dragoons, with orders to join some foot out of Wales, to raise the
siege; but Sir William thought fit to withdraw, and not stay for them,
and the town was freed without fighting. The governor took care in
this interval to furnish himself with all things necessary for another
siege; and, as for ammunition and other necessaries, he was in no
I was sent with a party into Staffordshire, with design to intercept
a convoy of stores coming from London, for the use of Sir William
Brereton; but they having some notice of the design, stopped, and went
out of the road to Burton-upon-Trent, and so I missed them; but that
we might not come back quite empty, we attacked Hawkesley House, and
took it, where we got good booty, and brought eighty prisoners back to
Worcester. From Worcester the king advanced into Shropshire, and took
his headquarters at Bridgnorth. This was a very happy march of the
king's, and had his Majesty proceeded, he had certainly cleared the
north once more of his enemies, for the country was generally for him.
At his advancing so far as Bridgnorth, Sir William Brereton fled up
into Lancashire; the Scots brigades who were with him retreated into
the north, while yet the king was above forty miles from them, and all
things lay open for conquest. The new generals, Fairfax and Cromwell,
lay about Oxford, preparing as if they would besiege it, and gave
the king's army so much leisure, that his Majesty might have been at
Newcastle before they could have been half way to him. But Heaven,
when the ruin of a person or party is determined, always so infatuates
their counsels as to make them instrumental to it themselves.
The king let slip this great opportunity, as some thought, intending
to break into the associated counties of Northampton, Cambridge,
Norfolk, where he had some interests forming. What the design was,
we knew not, but the king turns eastward, and marches into
Leicestershire, and having treated the country but very indifferently,
as having deserved no better of us, laid siege to Leicester.
This was but a short siege; for the king, resolving not to lose time,
fell on with his great guns, and having beaten down their works, our
foot entered, after a vigorous resistance, and took the town by storm.
There was some blood shed here, the town being carried by assault; but
it was their own faults; for after the town was taken, the soldiers
and townsmen obstinately fought us in the market-place; insomuch that
the horse was called to enter the town to clear the streets. But this
was not all; I was commanded to advance with these horse, being three
regiments, and to enter the town; the foot, who were engaged in the
streets, crying out, "Horse, horse." Immediately I advanced to the
gate, for we were drawn up about musket-shot from the works, to have
supported our foot in case of a sally. Having seized the gate, I
placed a guard of horse there, with orders to let nobody pass in
or out, and dividing my troops, rode up by two ways towards the
market-place. The garrison defending themselves in the market-place,
and in the churchyard with great obstinacy, killed us a great many
men; but as soon as our horse appeared they demanded quarter, which
our foot refused them in the first heat, as is frequent in all
nations, in like cases, till at last they threw down their arms, and
yielded at discretion; and then I can testify to the world, that fair
quarter was given them. I am the more particular in this relation,
having been an eye-witness of the action, because the king was
reproached in all the public libels, with which those times abounded,
for having put a great many to death, and hanged the committee of
the Parliament, and some Scots, in cold blood, which was a notorious
forgery; and as I am sure there was no such thing done, so I must
acknowledge I never saw any inclination in his Majesty to cruelty, or
to act anything which was not practised by the general laws of war,
and by men of honour in all nations.
But the matter of fact, in respect to the garrison, was as I have
related; and, if they had thrown down their arms sooner, they had had
mercy sooner; but it was not for a conquering army, entering a town by
storm, to offer conditions of quarter in the streets.
Another circumstance was, that a great many of the inhabitants, both
men and women, were killed, which is most true; and the case was thus:
the inhabitants, to show their over-forward zeal to defend the town,
fought in the breach; nay, the very women, to the honour of the
Leicester ladies, if they like it, officiously did their parts; and
after the town was taken, and when, if they had had any brains in
their zeal, they would have kept their houses, and been quiet, they
fired upon our men out of their windows, and from the tops of their
houses, and threw tiles upon their heads; and I had several of my men
wounded so, and seven or eight killed. This exasperated us to the last
degree; and, finding one house better manned than ordinary, and many
shot fired at us out of the windows, I caused my men to attack it,
resolved to make them an example for the rest; which they did, and
breaking open the doors, they killed all they found there, without
distinction; and I appeal to the world if they were to blame. If the
Parliament committee, or the Scots deputies were here, they ought to
have been quiet, since the town was taken; but they began with us,
and, I think, brought it upon themselves. This is the whole case, so
far as came within my knowledge, for which his Majesty was so much
We took here Colonel Gray and Captain Hacker, and about 300 prisoners,
and about 300 more were killed. This was the last day of May 1645.
His Majesty having given over Oxford for lost, continued here some
days, viewed the town, ordered the fortifications to be augmented,
and prepares to make it the seat of war. But the Parliament, roused at
this appearance of the king's army, orders their general to raise the
siege of Oxford, where the garrison had, in a sally, ruined some of
their works, and killed them 150 men, taking several prisoners, and
carrying them with them into the city; and orders him to march towards
Leicester, to observe the king.
The king had now a small, but gallant army, all brave tried soldiers,
and seemed eager to engage the new-modelled army; and his Majesty,
hearing that Sir Thomas Fairfax, having raised the siege of Oxford,
advanced towards him, fairly saves him the trouble of a long march,
and meets him half way.
The army lay at Daventry, and Fairfax at Towcester, about eight miles
off. Here the king sends away 600 horse, with 3000 head of cattle, to
relieve his people in Oxford; the cattle he might have spared better
than the men. The king having thus victualled Oxford, changes his
resolution of fighting Fairfax, to whom Cromwell was now joined with
4000 men, or was within a day's march, and marches northward. This
was unhappy counsel, because late given. Had we marched northward
at first, we had done it; but thus it was. Now we marched with a
triumphing enemy at our heels, and at Naseby their advanced parties
attacked our rear. The king, upon this, alters his resolution again,
and resolves to fight, and at midnight calls us up at Harborough to
come to a council of war. Fate and the king's opinion determined the
council of war; and 'twas resolved to fight. Accordingly the van, in
which was Prince Rupert's brigade of horse, of which my regiment was a
part, counter-marched early in the morning.
By five o'clock in the morning, the whole army, in order of battle,
began to descry the enemy from the rising grounds, about a mile from
Naseby, and moved towards them. They were drawn up on a little ascent
in a large common fallow field, in one line extended from one side of
the field to the other, the field something more than a mile over, our
army in the same order, in one line, with the reserve.
The king led the main battle of foot, Prince Rupert the right wing of
the horse, and Sir Marmaduke Langdale the left. Of the enemy Fairfax
and Skippon led the body, Cromwell and Rossiter the right, and Ireton
the left, the numbers of both armies so equal, as not to differ 500
men, save that the king had most horse by about 1000, and Fairfax most
foot by about 500. The number was in each army about 18,000 men. The
armies coming close up, the wings engaged first. The prince with
his right wing charged with his wonted fury, and drove all the
Parliament's wing of horse, one division excepted, clear out of the
field; Ireton, who commanded this wing, give him his due, rallied
often, and fought like a lion; but our wing bore down all before them,
and pursued them with a terrible execution.
Ireton seeing one division of his horse left, repaired to them, and
keeping his ground, fell foul of a brigade of our foot, who coming up
to the head of the line, he like a madman charges them with his horse.
But they with their pikes tore him to pieces; so that this division
was entirely ruined. Ireton himself, thrust through the thigh with
a pike, wounded in the face with a halberd, was unhorsed and taken
Cromwell, who commanded the Parliament's right wing, charged Sir
Marmaduke Langdale with extraordinary fury, but he, an old tried
soldier, stood firm, and received the charge with equal gallantry,
exchanging all their shot, carabines and pistols and then fell on
sword in hand. Rossiter and Whalley had the better on the point of
the wing, and routed two divisions of horse, pushed them behind the
reserves, where they rallied and charged again, but were at last
defeated; the rest of the horse, now charged in the flank, retreated
fighting, and were pushed behind the reserves of foot.
While this was doing the foot engaged with equal fierceness, and for
two hours there was a terrible fire. The king's foot, backed with
gallant officers, and full of rage at the rout of their horse,
bore down the enemy's brigade led by Skippon. The old man, wounded,
bleeding, retreats to their reserves. All the foot, except the
general's brigade, were thus driven into the reserves, where their
officers rallied them, and bring them on to a fresh charge; and here
the horse, having driven our horse above a quarter of a mile from the
foot, face about, and fall in on the rear of the foot.
Had our right wing done thus, the day had been secured; but Prince
Rupert, according to his custom, following the flying enemy, never
concerned himself with the safety of those behind; and yet he returned
sooner than he had done in like cases too. At our return we found
all in confusion, our foot broken, all but one brigade, which, though
charged in the front, flank, and rear, could not be broken till Sir
Thomas Fairfax himself came up to the charge with fresh men, and then
they were rather cut in pieces than beaten, for they stood with their
pikes charged every way to the last extremity.
In this condition, at the distance of a quarter of a mile, we saw the
king rallying his horse, and preparing to renew the fight; and our
wing of horse coming up to him, gave him opportunity to draw up a
large body of horse, so large that all the enemy's horse facing us
stood still and looked on, but did not think fit to charge us till
their foot, who had entirely broken our main battle, were put in order
again, and brought up to us.
The officers about the king advised his Majesty rather to draw off;
for, since our foot were lost, it would be too much odds to expose the
horse to the fury of their whole army, and would but be sacrificing
his best troops without any hopes of success. The king, though with
great regret at the loss of his foot, yet seeing there was no other
hope, took this advice, and retreated in good order to Harborough, and
from thence to Leicester.
This was the occasion of the enemy having so great a number of
prisoners; for the horse being thus gone off, the foot had no means
to make their retreat, and were obliged to yield themselves.
Commissary-General Ireton being taken by a captain of foot, makes the
captain his prisoner, to save his life, and gives him his liberty for
his courtesy before.
Cromwell and Rossiter, with all the enemy's horse, followed us as far
as Leicester, and killed all that they could lay hold on straggling
from the body, but durst not attempt to charge us in a body. The
king, expecting the enemy would come to Leicester, removes to
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, where we had some time to recollect ourselves.
This was the most fatal action of the whole war, not so much for
the loss of our cannon, ammunition, and baggage, of which the enemy
boasted so much, but as it was impossible for the king ever to
retrieve it. The foot, the best that ever he was master of, could
never be supplied; his army in the west was exposed to certain ruin,
the north overrun with the Scots; in short, the case grew desperate,
and the king was once upon the point of bidding us all disband, and
shift for ourselves.
We lost in this fight not above 2000 slain, and the Parliament near
as many, but the prisoners were a great number; the whole body of foot
being, as I have said, dispersed, there were 4500 prisoners, besides
400 officers, 2000 horses, 12 pieces of cannon, 40 barrels of powder,
all the king's baggage, coaches, most of his servants, and his
secretary, with his cabinet of letters, of which the Parliament
made great improvement, and basely enough caused his private
letters--between his Majesty and the queen, her Majesty's letters to
the king, and a great deal of such stuff--to be printed.
After this fatal blow, being retreated, as I have said, to
Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire, the king ordered us to divide;
his Majesty, with a body of horse, about 3000, went to Lichfield, and
through Cheshire into North Wales, and Sir Marmaduke Langdale, with
about 2500, went to Newark.
The king remained in Wales for several months; and though the length
of the war had almost drained that country of men, yet the king
raised a great many men there, recruited his horse regiments, and got
together six or seven regiments of foot, which seemed to look like the
beginning of a new army.
I had frequent discourses with his Majesty in this low ebb of his
affairs, and he would often wish he had not exposed his army at
Naseby. I took the freedom once to make a proposition to his Majesty,
which, if it had taken effect, I verily believe would have given a new
turn to his affairs; and that was, at once to slight all his garrisons
in the kingdom, and give private orders to all the soldiers in every
place, to join in bodies, and meet at two general rendezvous, which I
would have appointed to be, one at Bristol, and one at West Chester.
I demonstrated how easily all the forces might reach these two places;
and both being strong and wealthy places, and both seaports, he would
have a free communication by sea with Ireland, and with his friends
abroad; and having Wales entirely his own, he might yet have an
opportunity to make good terms for himself, or else have another fair
field with the enemy.
Upon a fair calculation of his troops in several garrisons and small
bodies dispersed about, I convinced the king, by his own accounts,
that he might have two complete armies, each of 25,000 foot, 8000
horse, and 2000 dragoons; that the Lord Goring and the Lord Hopton
might ship all their forces, and come by sea in two tides, and be
with him in a shorter time than the enemy could follow. With two such
bodies he might face the enemy, and make a day of it; but now his men
were only sacrificed, and eaten up by piecemeal in a party-war,
and spent their lives and estates to do him no service. That if the
Parliament garrisoned the towns and castles he should quit, they would
lessen their army, and not dare to see him in the field: and if they
did not, but left them open, then 'twould be no loss to him, but he
might possess them as often as he pleased.
This advice I pressed with such arguments, that the king was once
going to despatch orders for the doing it; but to be irresolute in
counsel is always the companion of a declining fortune; the king was
doubtful, and could not resolve till it was too late.
And yet, though the king's forces were very low, his Majesty was
resolved to make one adventure more, and it was a strange one; for,
with but a handful of men, he made a desperate march, almost 250 miles
in the middle of the whole kingdom, compassed about with armies and
parties innumerable, traversed the heart of his enemy's country,
entered their associated counties, where no army had ever yet come,
and in spite of all their victorious troops facing and following him,
alarmed even London itself and returned safe to Oxford.
His Majesty continued in Wales from the battle at Naseby till the 5th
or 6th of August, and till he had an account from all parts of the
progress of his enemies, and the posture of his own affairs.
Here we found, that the enemy being hard pressed in Somersetshire by
the Lord Goring, and Lord Hopton's forces, who had taken Bridgewater,
and distressed Taunton, which was now at the point of surrender,
they had ordered Fairfax and Cromwell, and the whole army, to march
westward to relieve the town; which they did, and Goring's troops were
worsted, and himself wounded at the fight at Langport.
The Scots, who were always the dead weight upon the king's affairs,
having no more work to do in the north, were, at the Parliament's
desire, advanced southward, and then ordered away towards South Wales,
and were set down to the siege of Hereford. Here this famous Scotch
army spent several months in a fruitless siege, ill provided of
ammunition, and worse with money; and having sat near three months
before the town, and done little but eaten up the country round them,
upon the repeated accounts of the progress of the Marquis of Montrose
in that kingdom, and pressing instances of their countrymen, they
resolved to raise their siege, and go home to relieve their friends.
The king, who was willing to be rid of the Scots, upon good terms, and
therefore to hasten them, and lest they should pretend to push on the
siege to take the town first, gives it out, that he was resolved with
all his forces to go into Scotland, and join Montrose; and so having
secured Scotland, to renew the war from thence.
And accordingly his Majesty marches northwards, with a body of 4000
horse; and, had the king really done this, and with that body of horse
marched away (for he had the start of all his enemies, by above a
fortnight's march), he had then had the fairest opportunity for a
general turn of all his affairs, that he ever had in all the latter
part of this war. For Montrose, a gallant daring soldier, who from
the least shadow of force in the farthest corner of this country, had,
rolling like a snowball, spread all over Scotland, was come into
the south parts, and had summoned Edinburgh, frighted away their
statesmen, beaten their soldiers at Dundee and other places; and
letters and messengers in the heels of one another, repeated their
cries to their brethren in England, to lay before them the sad
condition of the country, and to hasten the army to their relief. The
Scots lords of the enemy's party fled to Berwick, and the chancellor
of Scotland goes himself to General Leslie, to press him for help.
In this extremity of affairs Scotland lay when we marched out of
Wales. The Scots, at the siege of Hereford, hearing the king was gone
northward with his horse, conclude he was gone directly for Scotland,
and immediately send Leslie with 4000 horse and foot to follow, but
did not yet raise the siege. But the king, still irresolute, turns
away to the eastward, and comes to Lichfield, where he showed his
resentments at Colonel Hastings for his easy surrender of Leicester.
In this march the enemy took heart. We had troops of horse on every
side upon us like hounds started at a fresh stag. Leslie, with the
Scots, and a strong body followed in our rear, Major-General Poyntz,
Sir John Gell, Colonel Rossiter, and others in our way; they pretended
to be 10,000 horse, and yet never durst face us. The Scots made one
attempt upon a troop which stayed a little behind, and took some
prisoners; but when a regiment of our horse faced them they retired.
At a village near Lichfield another party of about 1000 horse attacked
my regiment. We were on the left of the army, and at a little too
far a distance. I happened to be with the king at that time, and
my lieutenant-colonel with me, so that the major had charge of the
regiment. He made a very handsome defence, but sent messengers for
speedy relief. We were on a march, and therefore all ready, and the
king orders me a regiment of dragoons and 300 horse, and the body
halted to bring us off, not knowing how strong the enemy might be.
When I came to the place I found my major hard laid to, but fighting
like a lion. The enemy had broke in upon him in two places, and had
routed one troop, cutting them off from the body, and had made them
all prisoners. Upon this I fell in with the 300 horse, and cleared
my major from a party who charged him in the flank; the dragoons
immediately lighting, one party of them comes up on my wing, and
saluting the enemy with their muskets, put them to a stand, the other
party of dragoons wheeling to the left endeavouring to get behind
them. The enemy, perceiving they should be overpowered, retreated in
as good order as they could, but left us most of our prisoners, and
about thirty of their own. We lost about fifteen of our men, and
the enemy about forty, chiefly by the fire of our dragoons in their
In this posture we continued our march; and though the king halted
at Lichfield--which was a dangerous article, having so many of the
enemy's troops upon his hands, and this time gave them opportunity to
get into a body--yet the Scots, with their General Leslie, resolving
for the north, the rest of the troops were not able to face us, till,
having ravaged the enemy's country through Staffordshire, Warwick,
Leicester, and Nottinghamshire, we came to the leaguer before Newark.
The king was once more in the mind to have gone into Scotland, and
called a council of war to that purpose; but then it was resolved by
all hands that it would be too late to attempt it, for the Scots and
Major-General Poyntz were before us, and several strong bodies
of horse in our rear; and there was no venturing now, unless any
advantage presented to rout one of those parties which attended us.
Upon these and like considerations we resolved for Newark; on our
approach the forces which blocked up that town drew off, being too
weak to oppose us, for the king was now above 5000 horse and dragoons,
besides 300 horse and dragoons he took with him from Newark.
We halted at Newark to assist the garrison, or give them time rather
to furnish themselves from the country with what they wanted, which
they were very diligent in doing; for in two days' time they filled
a large island which lies under the town, between the two branches of
the Trent, with sheep, oxen, cows, and horses, an incredible number;
and our affairs being now something desperate, we were not very
nice in our usage of the country, for really if it was not with a
resolution both to punish the enemy and enrich ourselves, no man can
give any rational account why this desperate journey was undertaken.
'Tis certain the Newarkers, in the respite they gained by our coming,
got above L50,000 from the country round them in corn, cattle, money,
and other plunder.
From hence we broke into Lincolnshire, and the king lay at Belvoir
Castle, and from Belvoir Castle to Stamford. The swiftness of our
march was a terrible surprise to the enemy; for our van being at a
village on the great road called Stilton, the country people fled
into the Isle of Ely, and every way, as if all was lost. Indeed our
dragoons treated the country very coarsely, and all our men in general
made themselves rich. Between Stilton and Huntingdon we had a small
bustle with some of the associated troops of horse, but they were soon
routed, and fled to Huntingdon, where they gave such an account of us
to their fellows that they did not think fit to stay for us, but left
their foot to defend themselves as well as they could.
While this was doing in the van a party from Burleigh House, near
Stamford, the seat of the Earl of Exeter, pursued four troops of
our horse, who, straggling towards Peterborough, and committing some
disorders there, were surprised before they could get into a posture
of fighting; and encumbered, as I suppose, with their plunder, they
were entirely routed, lost most of their horses, and were forced to
come away on foot; but finding themselves in this condition, they got
in a body into the enclosures, and in that posture turning dragoons,
they lined the hedges, and fired upon the enemy with their carabines.
This way of fighting, though not very pleasant to troopers, put the
enemy's horse to some stand, and encouraged our men to venture into a
village, where the enemy had secured forty of their horse; and boldly
charging the guard, they beat them off, and recovering those horses,
the rest made their retreat good to Wansford Bridge; but we lost near
100 horses, and about twelve of our men taken prisoners.
The next day the king took Huntingdon; the foot which were left in the
town, as I observed by their horse, had posted themselves at the foot
of the bridge, and fortified the pass, with such things as the haste
and shortness of the time would allow; and in this posture they seemed
resolute to defend themselves. I confess, had they in time planted a
good force here, they might have put a full stop to our little army;
for the river is large and deep, the country on the left marshy, full
of drains and ditches, and unfit for horse, and we must have either
turned back, or took the right hand into Bedfordshire; but here not
being above 400 foot, and they forsaken of their horse, the resistance
they made was to no other purpose than to give us occasion to knock
them on the head, and plunder the town.
However, they defended the bridge, as I have said, and opposed our
passage. I was this day in the van, and our forlorn having entered
Huntingdon without any great resistance till they came to the bridge,
finding it barricaded, they sent me word; I caused the troops to halt,
and rode up to the forlorn, to view the countenance of the enemy, and
found by the posture they had put themselves in, that they resolved to
sell us the passage as dear as they could.
I sent to the king for some dragoons, and gave him account of what I
observed of the enemy, and that I judged them to be 1000 men; for I
could not particularly see their numbers. Accordingly the king ordered
500 dragoons to attack the bridge, commanded by a major; the enemy had
200 musketeers placed on the bridge, their barricade served them for
a breastwork on the front, and the low walls on the bridge served
to secure their flanks. Two bodies of their foot were placed on the
opposite banks of the river, and a reserve stood in the highway on the
rear. The number of their men could not have been better ordered, and
they wanted not courage answerable to the conduct of the party. They
were commanded by one Bennet, a resolute officer, who stood in the
front of his men on the bridge with a pike in his hand.
Before we began to fall on, the king ordered to view the river, to see
if it was nowhere passable, or any boat to be had; but the river being
not fordable, and the boats all secured on the other side, the attack
was resolved on, and the dragoons fell on with extraordinary bravery.
The foot defended themselves obstinately, and beat off our dragoons
twice, and though Bennet was killed upon the spot, and after him his
lieutenant, yet their officers relieving them with fresh men, they
would certainly have beat us all off, had not a venturous fellow, one
of our dragoons, thrown himself into the river, swam over, and, in the
midst of a shower of musket-bullets, cut the rope which tied a great
flat-bottom boat, and brought her over. With the help of this boat, I
got over 100 troopers first, and then their horses, and then 200 more
without their horses; and with this party fell in with one of the
small bodies of foot that were posted on that side, and having routed
them, and after them the reserve which stood on the road, I made up
to the other party. They stood their ground, and having rallied the
runaways of both the other parties, charged me with their pikes, and
brought me to a retreat; but by this time the king had sent over 300
men more, and they coming up to me, the foot retreated. Those on the
bridge finding how 'twas, and having no supplies sent them, as before,
fainted, and fled; and the dragoons rushing forward, most of them were
killed; about 150 of the enemy were killed, of which all the officers
at the bridge, the rest run away.
The town suffered for it, for our men left them little of anything
they could carry. Here we halted and raised contributions, took money
of the country and of the open towns, to exempt them from plunder.
Twice we faced the town of Cambridge, and several of our officers
advised his Majesty to storm it. But having no foot, and but 1200
dragoons, wiser heads diverted him from it, and leaving Cambridge
on the left, we marched to Woburn, in Bedfordshire, and our parties
raised money all over the country quite into Hertfordshire, within
five miles of St Alban's.
The swiftness of our march, and uncertainty which way we intended,
prevented all possible preparation to oppose us, and we met with no
party able to make head against us. From Woburn the king went through
Buckingham to Oxford; some of our men straggling in the villages for
plunder, were often picked up by the enemy. But in all this long march
we did not lose 200 men, got an incredible booty, and brought six
waggons laden with money, besides 2000 horses and 3000 head of cattle,
into Oxford. From Oxford his Majesty moves again into Gloucestershire,
having left about 1500 of his horse at Oxford to scour the country,
and raise contributions, which they did as far as Reading.
Sir Thomas Fairfax was returned from taking Bridgewater, and was sat
down before Bristol, in which Prince Rupert commanded with a strong
garrison, 2500 foot and 1000 horse. We had not force enough to attempt
anything there. But the Scots, who lay still before Hereford,
were afraid of us, having before parted with all their horse under
Lieutenant-General Leslie, and but ill stored with provisions; and if
we came on their backs, were in a fair way to be starved, or made to
buy their provisions at the price of their blood.
His Majesty was sensible of this, and had we had but ten regiments of
foot, would certainly have fought the Scots. But we had no foot, or so
few as was not worth while to march them. However, the king marched
to Worcester, and the Scots, apprehending they should be blocked
up, immediately raised the siege, pretending it was to go help their
brethren in Scotland, and away they marched northwards.
We picked up some of their stragglers, but they were so poor, had been
so ill paid, and so harassed at the siege, that they had neither money
nor clothes; and the poor soldiers fed upon apples and roots, and ate
the very green corn as it grew in the fields, which reduced them to
a very sorry condition of health, for they died like people infected
with the plague.
'Twas now debated whether we should yet march for Scotland, but two
things prevented--(1.) The plague was broke out there, and multitudes
died of it, which made the king backward, and the men more backward.
(2.) The Marquis of Montrose, having routed a whole brigade of
Leslie's best horse, and carried all before him, wrote to his Majesty
that he did not now want assistance, but was in hopes in a few days
to send a body of foot into England to his Majesty's assistance. This
over-confidence of his was his ruin; for, on the contrary, had he
earnestly pressed the king to have marched, and fallen in with his
horse, the king had done it, and been absolutely master of Scotland
in a fortnight's time; but Montrose was too confident, and defied them
all, till at last they got their forces together, and Leslie with his
horse out of England, and worsted him in two or three encounters, and
then never left him till they drove him out of Scotland.
While his Majesty stayed at Worcester, several messengers came to him
from Cheshire for relief, being exceedingly straitened by the forces
of the Parliament; in order to which the king marched, but Shrewsbury
being in the enemy's hands, he was obliged to go round by Ludlow,
where he was joined by some foot out of Wales. I took this opportunity
to ask his Majesty's leave to go by Shrewsbury to my father's,
and, taking only two servants, I left the army two days before they
This was the most unsoldier-like action that ever I was guilty of, to
go out of the army to pay a visit when a time of action was just at
hand; and, though I protest I had not the least intimation, no, not
from my own thoughts, that the army would engage, at least before they
came to Chester, before which I intended to meet them, yet it looked
so ill, so like an excuse or a sham of cowardice, or disaffection to
the cause and to my master's interest, or something I know not what,
that I could not bear to think of it, nor never had the heart to see
the king's face after it.
From Ludlow the king marched to relieve Chester. Poyntz, who commanded
the Parliament's forces, follows the king, with design to join with
the forces before Chester, under Colonel Jones, before the king could
come up. To that end Poyntz passes through Shrewsbury the day that the
king marched from Ludlow; yet the king's forces got the start of him,
and forced him to engage. Had the king engaged him but three hours
sooner, and consequently farther off from Chester, he had ruined him,
for Poyntz's men, not able to stand the shock of the king's horse,
gave ground, and would in half-an-hour more have been beaten out of
the field; but Colonel Jones, with a strong party from the camp, which
was within two miles; comes up in the heat of the action, falls on in
the king's rear, and turned the scale of the day. The body was, after
an obstinate fight, defeated, and a great many gentlemen of quality
killed and taken prisoners. The Earl of Lichfield was of the number of
the former, and sixty-seven officers of the latter, with 1000 others.
The king, with about 500 horse, got into Chester, and from thence into
Wales, whither all that could get away made up to him as fast as they
could, but in a bad condition.
This was the last stroke they struck; the rest of the war was nothing
but taking all his garrisons from him one by one, till they finished
the war with the captivating his person, and then, for want of other
business, fell to fighting with one another.
I was quite disconsolate at the news of this last action, and the
more because I was not there. My regiment wholly dispersed, my
lieutenant-colonel, a gentleman of a good family, and a near relation
to my mother, was prisoner, my major and three captains killed, and
most of the rest prisoners.
The king, hopeless of any considerable party in Wales, Bristol being
surrendered, sends for Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice, who came
to him. With them, and the Lord Digby, Sir Marmaduke Langdale, and a
great train of gentlemen, his Majesty marches to Newark again, leaves
1000 horse with Sir William Vaughan to attempt the relief of Chester,
in doing whereof he was routed the second time by Jones and his men,
and entirely dispersed.
The chief strength the king had in these parts was at Newark, and the
Parliament were very earnest with the Scots to march southward and to
lay siege to Newark; and while the Parliament pressed them to it, and
they sat still and delayed it, several heats began, and some ill blood
between them, which afterwards broke out into open war. The English
reproached the Scots with pretending to help them, and really
hindering their affairs. The Scots returned that they came to fight
for them, and are left to be starved, and can neither get money nor
clothes. At last they came to this, the Scots will come to the siege
if the Parliament will send them money, but not before. However, as
people sooner agree in doing ill than in doing well, they came to
terms, and the Scots came with their whole army to the siege of
The king, foreseeing the siege, calls his friends about him, tells
them he sees his circumstances are such that they can help him but
little, nor he protect them, and advises them to separate. The Lord
Digby, with Sir Marmaduke Langdale, with a strong body of horse,
attempt to get into Scotland to join with Montrose, who was still in
the Highlands, though reduced to a low ebb, but these gentlemen are
fallen upon on every side and routed, and at last, being totally
broken and dispersed, they fly to the Earl of Derby's protection in
the Isle of Man.
Prince Rupert, Prince Maurice, Colonel Gerard, and above 400
gentlemen, all officers of horse, lay their commissions down, and
seizing upon Wootton House for a retreat, make proposals to the
Parliament to leave the kingdom, upon their parole not to return again
in arms against the Parliament, which was accepted, though afterwards
the prince declined it. I sent my man post to the prince to be
included in this treaty, and for leave for all that would accept of
like conditions, but they had given in the list of their names, and
could not alter it.
This was a sad time. The poor remains of the king's fortunes went
everywhere to wreck. Every garrison of the enemy was full of the
Cavalier prisoners, and every garrison the king had was beset with
enemies, either blocked up or besieged. Goring and the Lord Hopton
were the only remainders of the king's forces which kept in a body,
and Fairfax was pushing them with all imaginable vigour with his whole
army about Exeter and other parts of Devonshire and Cornwall.
In this condition the king left Newark in the night, and got to
Oxford. The king had in Oxford 8000 men, and the towns of Banbury,
Farringdon, Donnington Castle, and such places as might have been
brought together in twenty-four hours, 15,000 or 20,000 men, with
which, if he had then resolved to have quitted the place,
and collected the forces in Worcester, Hereford, Lichfield,
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and all the small castles and garrisons he had
thereabouts, he might have had near 40,000 men, might have beaten
the Scots from Newark, Colonel Jones from Chester, and all, before
Fairfax, who was in the west, could be able to come to their relief.
And this his Majesty's friends in North Wales had concerted; and, in
order to it, Sir Jacob Ashby gathered what forces he could, in our
parts, and attempted to join the king at Oxford, and to have proposed
it to him; but Sir Jacob was entirely routed at Stow-on-the-Wold, and
taken prisoner, and of 3000 men not above 600 came to Oxford.
All the king's garrisons dropped one by one; Hereford, which had stood
out against the whole army of the Scots, was surprised by six men and
a lieutenant dressed up for country labourers, and a constable pressed
to work, who cut the guards in pieces, and let in a party of the
enemy. Chester was reduced by famine, all the attempts the king made
to relieve it being frustrated.
Sir Thomas Fairfax routed the Lord Hopton at Torrington, and drove him
to such extremities, that he was forced up into the farthest corner of
Cornwall. The Lord Hopton had a gallant body of horse with him of nine
brigades, but no foot; Fairfax, a great army.
Heartless, and tired out with continual ill news, and ill success,
I had frequent meetings with some gentlemen who had escaped from
the rout of Sir William Vaughan, and we agreed upon a meeting at
Worcester, of all the friends we could get, to see if we could raise
a body fit to do any service; or, if not, to consider what was to be
done. At this meeting we had almost as many opinions as people; our
strength appeared too weak to make any attempt, the game was too far
gone in our parts to be retrieved; all we could make up did not amount
to above 800 horse.
'Twas unanimously agreed not to go into the Parliament as long as our
royal master did not give up the cause; but in all places, and by all
possible methods, to do him all the service we could. Some proposed
one thing, some another; at last we proposed getting vessels to carry
us to the Isle of Man to the Earl of Derby, as Sir Marmaduke Langdale,
Lord Digby, and others had done. I did not foresee any service
it would be to the king's affairs, but I started a proposal that,
marching to Pembroke in a body, we should there seize upon all the
vessels we could, and embarking ourselves, horses, and what foot
we could get, cross the Severn Sea, and land in Cornwall to the
assistance of Prince Charles, who was in the army of the Lord Hopton,
and where only there seemed to be any possibility of a chance for the
remaining part of our cause.
This proposal was not without its difficulties, as how to get to the
seaside, and, when there, what assurance of shipping. The enemy, under
Major-General Langhorn, had overrun Wales, and 'twould be next to
impossible to effect it.
We could never carry our proposal with the whole assembly; but,
however, about 200 of us resolved to attempt it, and [the] meeting
being broken up without coming to any conclusion, we had a private
meeting among ourselves to effect it.
We despatched private messengers to Swansea and Pembroke, and other
places; but they all discouraged us from the attempt that way, and
advised us to go higher towards North Wales, where the king's interest
had more friends, and the Parliament no forces. Upon this we met, and
resolved, and having sent several messengers that way, one of my men
provided us two small vessels in a little creek near Harlech Castle,
in Merionethshire. We marched away with what expedition we could, and
embarked in the two vessels accordingly. It was the worst voyage sure
that ever man went; for first we had no manner of accommodation for so
many people, hay for our horses we got none, or very little, but good
store of oats, which served us for our own bread as well as provender
for the horses.
In this condition we put off to sea, and had a fair wind all the first
night, but early in the morning a sudden storm drove us within two or
three leagues of Ireland. In this pickle, sea-sick, our horses rolling
about upon one another, and ourselves stifled for want of room, no
cabins nor beds, very cold weather, and very indifferent diet, we
wished ourselves ashore again a thousand times; and yet we were not
willing to go ashore in Ireland if we could help it; for the rebels
having possession of every place, that was just having our throats cut
at once. Having rolled about at the mercy of the winds all day, the
storm ceasing in the evening, we had fair weather again, but wind
enough, which being large, in two days and a night we came upon the
coast of Cornwall, and, to our no small comfort, landed the next day
at St Ives, in the county of Cornwall.
We rested ourselves here, and sent an express to the Lord Hopton, who
was then in Devonshire, of our arrival, and desired him to assign us
quarters, and send us his farther orders. His lordship expressed a
very great satisfaction at our arrival, and left it to our own conduct
to join him as we saw convenient.
We were marching to join him, when news came that Fairfax had given
him an entire defeat at Torrington. This was but the old story over
again. We had been used to ill news a great while, and 'twas the less
surprise to us.
Upon this news we halted at Bodmin, till we should hear farther; and
it was not long before we saw a confirmation of the news before our
eyes, for the Lord Hopton, with the remainder of his horse, which he
had brought off at Torrington in a very shattered condition, retreated
to Launceston, the first town in Cornwall, and hearing that Fairfax
pursued him, came on to Bodmin. Hither he summoned all the troops
which he had left, which, when he had got together, were a fine
body indeed of 5000 horse, but few foot but what were at Pendennis,
Barnstaple, and other garrisons. These were commanded by the Lord
Hopton. The Lord Goring had taken shipping for France to get relief a
few days before.
Here a grand council of war was called, and several things were
proposed, but as it always is in distress, people are most irresolute,
so 'twas here. Some were for breaking through by force, our number
being superior to the enemy's horse. To fight them with their foot
would be desperation and ridiculous; and to retreat would but be
to coop up themselves in a narrow place, where at last they must be
forced to fight upon disadvantage, or yield at mercy. Others opposed
this as a desperate action, and without probability of success, and
all were of different opinions. I confess, when I saw how things
were, I saw 'twas a lost game, and I was for the opinion of breaking
through, and doing it now, while the country was open and large, and
not being forced to it when it must be with more disadvantage. But
nothing was resolved on, and so we retreated before the enemy. Some
small skirmishes there happened near Bodmin, but none that were very
'Twas the 1st of March when we quitted Bodmin, and quartered at large
at Columb, St Dennis, and Truro, and the enemy took his quarters at
Bodmin, posting his horse at the passes from Padstow on the north, to
Wadebridge, Lostwithiel, and Fowey, spreading so from sea to sea,
that now breaking through was impossible. There was no more room for
counsel; for unless we had ships to carry us off, we had nothing to do
but when we were fallen upon, to defend ourselves, and sell victory as
dear as we could to the enemies.
The Prince of Wales seeing the distress we were in, and loth to
fall into the enemy's hands, ships himself on board some vessels at
Falmouth, with about 400 lords and gentlemen. And as I had no command
here to oblige my attendance, I was once going to make one, but my
comrades, whom I had been the principal occasion of bringing hither,
began to take it ill, that I would leave them, and so I resolved we
would take our fate together.
While thus we had nothing before us but a soldier's death, a fair
field, and a strong enemy, and people began to look one upon another,
the soldiers asked how their officers looked, and the officers asked
how their soldiers looked, and every day we expected to be our last,
when unexpectedly the enemy's general sent a trumpet to Truro to my
Lord Hopton, with a very handsome gentlemanlike offer:--
That since the general could not be ignorant of his present condition,
and that the place he was in could not afford him subsistence or
defence; and especially considering that the state of our affairs were
such, that if we should escape from thence we could not remove to
our advantage, he had thought good to let us know, that if we would
deliver up our horses and arms, he would, for avoiding the effusion of
Christian blood, or the putting any unsoldierly extremities upon us,
allow such honourable and safe conditions, as were rather better than
our present circumstances could demand, and such as should discharge
him to all the world, as a gentleman, as a soldier, and as a
After this followed the conditions he would give us, which were as
follows, viz.:--That all the soldiery, as well English as foreigners,
should have liberty to go beyond the seas, or to their own dwellings,
as they pleased; and to such as shall choose to live at home,
protection for their liberty, and from all violence and plundering
of soldiers, and to give them bag and baggage, and all their goods,
except horses and arms.
That for officers in commissions, and gentlemen of quality, he would
allow them horses for themselves and one servant, or more, suitable
to their quality, and such arms as are suitable to gentlemen of such
quality travelling in times of peace; and such officers as would go
beyond sea, should take with them their full arms and number of horses
as are allowed in the army to such officers.
That all the troopers shall receive on the delivery of their
horses, 20s. a man to carry them home; and the general's pass and
recommendation to any gentleman who desires to go to the Parliament to
settle the composition for their estates.
Lastly, a very honourable mention of the general, and offer of their
mediation to the Parliament, to treat him as a man of honour, and one
who has been tender of the country, and behaved himself with all the
moderation and candour that could be expected from an enemy.
Upon the unexpected receipt of this message, a council of war was
called, and the letter read; no man offered to speak a word; the
general moved it, but every one was loth to begin.
At last an old colonel starts up, and asked the general what he
thought might occasion the writing this letter? The general told him,
he could not tell; but he could tell, he was sure, of one thing, that
he knew what was not the occasion of it, viz., that is, not any want
of force in their army to oblige us to other terms. Then a doubt was
started, whether the king and Parliament were not in any treaty, which
this agreement might be prejudicial to.
This occasioned a letter to my Lord Fairfax, wherein our general
returning the civilities, and neither accepting nor refusing his
proposal, put it upon his honour, whether there was not some agreement
or concession between his Majesty and the Parliament, in order to a
general peace, which this treaty might be prejudicial to, or thereby
be prejudicial to us.
The Lord Fairfax ingenuously declared, he had heard the king had made
some concessions, and he heartily wished he would make such as would
settle the kingdom in peace, that Englishmen might not wound and
destroy one another; but that he declared he knew of no treaty
commenced, nor anything passed which could give us the least shadow
of hope for any advantage in not accepting his conditions; at last
telling us, that though he did not insult over our circumstances, yet
if we thought fit, upon any such supposition, to refuse his offers, he
was not to seek in his measures.
And it appeared so, for he immediately advanced his forlorns, and
dispossessed us of two advanced quarters, and thereby straitened us
We had now nothing to say, but treat, and our general was so sensible
of our condition, that he returned the trumpet with a safe-conduct for
commissioners at twelve o'clock that night; upon which a cessation of
arms was agreed on, we quitting Truro to the Lord Fairfax, and he left
St Allen to us to keep our headquarters.
The conditions were soon agreed on; we disbanded nine full brigades of
horse, and all the conditions were observed with the most honour and
care by the enemy that ever I saw in my life.
Nor can I omit to make very honourable mention of this noble
gentleman, though I did not like his cause; but I never saw a man of
a more pleasant, calm, courteous, downright, honest behaviour in my
life; and for his courage and personal bravery in the field, that we
had felt enough of. No man in the world had more fire and fury in him
while in action, or more temper and softness out of it. In short, and
I cannot do him greater honour, he exceedingly came near the character
of my foreign hero, Gustavus Adolphus, and in my account is, of all
the soldiers in Europe, the fittest to be reckoned in the second place
of honour to him.
I had particular occasion to see much of his temper in all this
action, being one of the hostages given by our general for the
performance of the conditions, in which circumstance the general did
me several times the honour to send to me to dine with him; and was
exceedingly pleased to discourse with me about the passages of the
wars in Germany, which I had served in, he having been at the same
time in the Low Countries in the service of Prince Maurice; but I
observed if at any time my civilities extended to commendations of his
own actions, and especially to comparing him to Gustavus Adolphus, he
would blush like a woman, and be uneasy, declining the discourse, and
in this he was still more like him.
Let no man scruple my honourable mention of this noble enemy, since
no man can suspect me of favouring the cause he embarked in, which
I served as heartily against as any man in the army; but I cannot
conceal extraordinary merit for its being placed in an enemy.
This was the end of our making war, for now we were all under parole
never to bear arms against the Parliament; and though some of us did
not keep our word, yet I think a soldier's parole ought to be the most
sacred in such case, that a soldier may be the easier trusted at all
times upon his word. For my part, I went home fully contented, since
I could do my royal master no better service, that I had come off no
The enemy going now on in a full current of success, and the king
reduced to the last extremity, and Fairfax, by long marches, being
come back within five miles of Oxford, his Majesty, loth to be cooped
up in a town which could on no account hold long out, quits the town
in a disguise, leaving Sir Thomas Clemham governor, and being only
attended with Mr Ashburnham and one more, rides away to Newark, and
there fatally committed himself to the honour and fidelity of the
Scots under General Leven.
There had been some little bickering between the Parliament and the
Scots commissioners concerning the propositions which the Scots were
for a treaty with the king upon, and the Parliament refused it. The
Parliament, upon all proposals of peace, had formerly invited the king
to come and throw himself upon the honour, fidelity, and affection of
his Parliament. And now the king from Oxford offering to come up
to London on the protection of the Parliament for the safety of his
person, they refused him, and the Scots differed from them in it, and
were for a personal treaty.
This, in our opinion, was the reason which prompted the king to throw
himself upon the fidelity of the Scots, who really by their infidelity
had been the ruin of all his affairs, and now, by their perfidious
breach of honour and faith with him, will be virtually and mediately
the ruin of his person.
The Scots were, as all the nation besides them was, surprised at the
king's coming among them; the Parliament began very high with them,
and send an order to General Leven to send the king to Warwick Castle;
but he was not so hasty to part with so rich a prize. As soon as the
king came to the general, he signs an order to Colonel Bellasis, the
governor of Newark, to surrender it, and immediately the Scots decamp
homewards, carrying the king in the camp with them, and marching on, a
house was ordered to be provided for the king at Newcastle.
And now the Parliament saw their error, in refusing his Majesty a
personal treaty, which, if they had accepted (their army was not yet
taught the way of huffing their masters), the kingdom might have been
settled in peace. Upon this the Parliament send to General Leven to
have his Majesty not be sent, which was their first language, but be
suffered to come to London to treat with his Parliament; before it
was, "Let the king be sent to Warwick Castle"; now 'tis, "To let his
Majesty come to London to treat with his people."
But neither one or the other would do with the Scots; but we who knew
the Scots best knew that there was one thing would do with them, if
the other would not, and that was money; and therefore our hearts
ached for the king.
The Scots, as I said, had retreated to Newcastle with the king, and
there they quartered their whole army at large upon the country;
the Parliament voted they had no farther occasion for the Scots, and
desired them to go home about their business. I do not say it was
in these words, but in whatsoever good words their messages might
be expressed, this and nothing less was the English of it. The Scots
reply, by setting forth their losses, damages, and dues, the substance
of which was, "Pay us our money and we will be gone, or else we won't
stir." The Parliament call for an account of their demands, which the
Scots give in, amounting to a million; but, according to their custom,
and especially finding that the army under Fairfax inclined gradually
that way, fall down to L500,000, and at last to L400,000; but all the
while this is transacting a separate treaty is carried on at London
with the commissioners of Scotland, and afterwards at Edinburgh, by
which it is given them to understand that, whereas upon payment of the
money, the Scots army is to march out of England, and to give up all
the towns and garrisons which they hold in this kingdom, so they are
to take it for granted that 'tis the meaning of the treaty that they
shall leave the king in the hands of the English Parliament.
To make this go down the better, the Scotch Parliament, upon his
Majesty's desire to go with their army into Scotland, send him for
answer, that it cannot be for the safety of his Majesty or of the
State to come into Scotland, not having taken the Covenant, and this
was carried in their Parliament but by two voices.
The Scots having refused his coming into Scotland, as was concerted
between the two Houses, and their army being to march out of
England, the delivering up the king became a consequence of the
thing--unavoidable, and of necessity.
His Majesty, thus deserted of those into whose hands he had thrown
himself, took his leave of the Scots general at Newcastle, telling him
only, in few words, this sad truth, that he was bought and sold. The
Parliament commissioners received him at Newcastle from the Scots, and
brought him to Holmby House, in Northamptonshire; from whence, upon
the quarrels and feuds of parties, he was fetched by a party of horse,
commanded by one Cornet Joyce, from the army, upon their mutinous
rendezvous at Triplow Heath; and, after this, suffering many violences
and varieties of circumstances among the army, was carried to Hampton
Court, from whence his Majesty very readily made his escape; but not
having notice enough to provide effectual means for his more effectual
deliverance, was obliged to deliver himself to Colonel Hammond in the
Isle of Wight. Here, after some very indifferent usage, the Parliament
pursued a farther treaty with him, and all points were agreed but
two: the entire abolishing Episcopacy, which the king declared to be
against his conscience and his coronation oath; and the sale of the
Church lands, which he declared, being most of them gifts to God and
the Church, by persons deceased, his Majesty thought could not be
alienated without the highest sacrilege, and if taken from the uses
to which they were appointed by the wills of the donors, ought to be
restored back to the heirs and families of the persons who bequeathed
And these two articles so stuck with his Majesty, that he ventured
his fortune, and royal family, and his own life for them. However, at
last, the king condescended so far in these, that the Parliament voted
his Majesty's concessions to be sufficient to settle and establish the
peace of the nation.
This vote discovered the bottom of all the counsels which then
prevailed; for the army, who knew if peace were once settled, they
should be undone, took the alarm at this, and clubbing together in
committees and councils, at last brought themselves to a degree
of hardness above all that ever this nation saw; for calling into
question the proceedings of their masters who employed them, they
immediately fall to work upon the Parliament, remove Colonel Hammond,
who had the charge of the king, and used him honourably, place a
new guard upon him, dismiss the commissioners, and put a stop to the
treaty; and, following their blow, march to London, place regiments of
foot at the Parliament-house door, and, as the members came up,
seize upon all those whom they had down in a list as promoters of the
settlement and treaty, and would not suffer them to sit; but the rest
who, being of their own stamp, are permitted to go on, carry on the
designs of the army, revive their votes of non-addresses to the
king, and then, upon the army's petition to bring all delinquents to
justice, the mask was thrown off, the word all is declared to be
meant the king, as well as every man else they pleased. 'Tis too sad
a story, and too much a matter of grief to me, and to all good men, to
renew the blackness of those days, when law and justice was under the
feet of power; the army ruled the Parliament, the private officers
their generals, the common soldiers their officers, and confusion was
in every part of the government. In this hurry they sacrificed their
king, and shed the blood of the English nobility without mercy.
The history of the times will supply the particulars which I omit,
being willing to confine myself to my own accounts and observations.
I was now no more an actor, but a melancholy observator of the
misfortunes of the times. I had given my parole not to take up arms
against the Parliament, and I saw nothing to invite me to engage on
their side. I saw a world of confusion in all their counsels, and I
always expected that in a chain of distractions, as it generally falls
out, the last link would be destruction; and though I pretended to no
prophecy, yet the progress of affairs have brought it to pass, and I
have seen Providence, who suffered, for the correction of this nation,
the sword to govern and devour us, has at last brought destruction by
the sword upon the head of most of the party who first drew it.
* * * * *
If together with the brief account of what concern I had in the
active part of the war, I leave behind me some of my own remarks
and observations, it may be pertinent enough to my design, and not
unuseful to posterity.
1. I observed by the sequel of things that it may be some excuse to
the first Parliament, who began this war, to say that they manifested
their designs were not aimed at the monarchy, nor their quarrel at
the person of the king; because, when they had in their power, though
against his will, they would have restored both his person and dignity
as a king, only loading it with such clogs of the people's power as
they at first pretended to, viz., the militia, and power of naming
the great officers at court, and the like; which powers, it was never
denied, had been stretched too far in the beginning of this king's
reign, and several things done illegally, which his Majesty had been
sensible of, and was willing to rectify; but they having obtained the
power by victory, resolved so to secure themselves, as that, whenever
they laid down their arms, the king should not be able to do the like
again. And thus far they were not to be so much blamed, and we did
not on our own part blame them, when they had obtained the power, for
parting with it on good terms.
But when I have thus far advocated for the enemies, I must be very
free to state the crimes of this bloody war by the events of it. 'Tis
manifest there were among them from the beginning a party who aimed
at the very root of the government, and at the very thing which they
brought to pass, viz., the deposing and murdering of their sovereign;
and, as the devil is always master where mischief is the work, this
party prevailed, turned the other out of doors, and overturned all
that little honesty that might be in the first beginning of this
The consequence of this was, the Presbyterians saw their error when
it was too late, and then would gladly have joined the royal party to
have suppressed this new leaven which had infected the lump; and this
is very remarkable, that most of the first champions of this war who
bore the brunt of it, when the king was powerful and prosperous, and
when there was nothing to be got by it but blows, first or last, were
so ill used by this independent, powerful party, who tripped up
the heels of all their honesty, that they were either forced by ill
treatment to take up arms on our side, or suppressed and reduced by
them. In this the justice of Providence seemed very conspicuous, that
these having pushed all things by violence against the king, and by
arms and force brought him to their will, were at once both robbed
of the end, their Church government, and punished for drawing their
swords against their masters, by their own servants drawing the sword
against them; and God, in His due time, punished the others too. And
what was yet farther strange, the punishment of this crime of making
war against their king, singled out those very men, both in the
army and in the Parliament, who were the greatest champions of the
Presbyterian cause in the council and in the field. Some minutes, too,
of circumstances I cannot forbear observing, though they are not very
material, as to the fatality and revolutions of days and times. A
Roman Catholic gentleman of Lancashire, a very religious man in his
way, who had kept a calculate of times, and had observed mightily the
fatality of times, places, and actions, being at my father's house,
was discoursing once upon the just judgment of God in dating His
providences, so as to signify to us His displeasure at particular
circumstances; and, among an infinite number of collections he had
made, these were some which I took particular notice of, and from
whence I began to observe the like:--
1. That King Edward VI. died the very same day of the same month
in which he caused the altar to be taken down, and the image of the
Blessed Virgin in the Cathedral of St Paul's.
2. That Cranmer was burnt at Oxford the same day and month that he
gave King Henry VIII. advice to divorce his Queen Catherine.
3. That Queen Elizabeth died the same day and month that she resolved,
in her Privy Council, to behead the Queen of Scots.
4. That King James died the same day that he published his book
5. That King Charles's long Parliament, which ruined him, began the
very same day and month which that Parliament began, that at the
request of his predecessor robbed the Roman Church of all her
revenues, and suppressed abbeys and monasteries.
How just his calculations were, or how true the matter of fact,
I cannot tell, but it put me upon the same in several actions and
successes of this war. And I found a great many circumstances, as to
time or action, which befell both his Majesty and his parties first;
Then others which befell the Parliament and Presbyterian faction,
which raised the war;
Then the Independent tyranny which succeeded and supplanted the first
Then the Scots who acted on both sides;
Lastly, the restoration and re-establishment of the loyalty and
religion of our ancestors.
1. For King Charles I.; 'tis observable, that the charge against the
Earl of Strafford, a thing which his Majesty blamed himself for all
the days of his life, and at the moment of his last suffering, was
first read in the Lords' House on the 30th of January, the same day of
the month six years that the king himself was brought to the block.
2. That the king was carried away prisoner from Newark, by the Scots,
May 10, the same day six years that, against his conscience and
promise, he passed the bill of attainder against the loyal, noble Earl
3. The same day seven years that the king entered the House of Commons
for the five members, which all his friends blamed him for, the same
day the Rump voted bringing his Majesty to trial, after they had set
by the Lords for not agreeing to it, which was the 3rd of January
4. The 12th of May 1646, being the surrender of Newark, the Parliament
held a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing, for the reduction of the
king and his party, and finishing the war, which was the same day five
years that the Earl of Strafford was beheaded.
5. The battle at Naseby, which ruined the king's affairs, and where
his secretary and his office was taken, was the 14th of June, the same
day and month the first commission was given out by his Majesty to
6. The queen voted a traitor by the Parliament the 3rd of May, the
same day and month she carried the jewels into France.
7. The same day the king defeated Essex in the west, his son, King
Charles II., was defeated at Worcester.
8. Archbishop Laud's house at Lambeth assaulted by the mob, the same
day of the same month that he advised the king to make war upon the
9. Impeached the 15th of December 1640, the same day twelvemonth that
he ordered the Common Prayer-book of Scotland to be printed, in order
to be imposed upon the Scots, from which all our troubles began.
But many more, and more strange, are the critical junctures of affairs
in the case of the enemy, or at least more observed by me:--
1. Sir John Hotham, who repulsed his Majesty and refused him
admittance into Hull before the war, was seized at Hull by the same
Parliament for whom he had done it, the same 10th day of August two
years that he drew the first blood in that war.
2. Hampden of Buckinghamshire killed the same day one year that the
mob petition from Bucks was presented to the king about him, as one of
the five members.
3. Young Captain Hotham executed the 1st of January, the same day that
he assisted Sir Thomas Fairfax in the first skirmish with the king's
forces at Bramham Moor.
4. The same day and month, being the 6th of August 1641, that the
Parliament voted to raise an army against the king, the same day and
month, _anno_ 1648, the Parliament were assaulted and turned out of
doors by that very army, and none left to sit but who the soldiers
pleased, which were therefore called the Rump.
5. The Earl of Holland deserted the king, who had made him general of
the horse, and went over to the Parliament, and the 9th of March
1641, carried the Commons' reproaching declaration to the king; and
afterwards taking up arms for the king against the Parliament, was
beheaded by them the 9th of March 1648, just seven years after.
6. The Earl of Holland was sent by the king to come to his assistance
and refused, the 11th of July 1641, and that very day seven years
after was taken by the Parliament at St Neots.
7. Colonel Massey defended Gloucester against the king, and beat
him off the 5th of September 1643; was taken after by Cromwell's men
fighting for the king, on the 5th of September 1651, two or three days
after the fight at Worcester.
8. Richard Cromwell resigning, because he could not help it, the
Parliament voted a free Commonwealth, without a single person or House
of Lords. This was the 25th of May 1658; the 25th of May 1660, the
king landed at Dover, and restored the government of a single person
and House of Lords.
9. Lambert was proclaimed a traitor by the Parliament April the 20th,
being the same day he proposed to Oliver Cromwell to take upon him the
title of king.
10. Monk being taken prisoner at Nantwich by Sir Thomas Fairfax,
revolted to the Parliament the same day nineteen years he declared for
the king, and thereby restored the royal authority.
11. The Parliament voted to approve of Sir John Hotham's repulsing
the king at Hull, the 28th of April 1642; the 28th of April 1660, the
Parliament first debated in the House the restoring the king to the
12. The agitators of the army formed themselves into a cabal, and held
their first meeting to seize on the king's person, and take him into
their custody from Holmby, the 28th of April 1647; the same day,
1660, the Parliament voted the agitators to be taken into custody, and
committed as many of them as could be found.
13. The Parliament voted the queen a traitor for assisting her
husband, the king, May the 3rd, 1643; her son, King Charles II., was
presented with the votes of Parliament to restore him, and the present
of L50,000, the 3rd of May 1660.
14. The same day the Parliament passed the Act for recognition of
Oliver Cromwell, October 13th, 1654, Lambert broke up the Parliament
and set up the army, 1659, October the 13th.
Some other observations I have made, which, as not so pertinent, I
forbear to publish, among which I have noted the fatality of some days
to parties, as--
The 2nd of September: The fight at Dunbar; the fight at Worcester; the
oath against a single person passed; Oliver's first Parliament called.
For the enemy.
The 2nd of September: Essex defeated in Cornwall; Oliver died; city
works demolished. For the king.
The 29th of May: Prince Charles born; Leicester taken by storm; King
Charles II. restored. Ditto.
Fatality of circumstances in this unhappy war, as--
1. The English Parliament call in the Scots, to invade their king, and
are invaded themselves by the same Scots, in defence of the king whose
case, and the design of the Parliament, the Scots had mistaken.
2. The Scots, who unjustly assisted the Parliament to conquer their
lawful sovereign, contrary to their oath of allegiance, and without
any pretence on the king's part, are afterwards absolutely conquered
and subdued by the same Parliament they assisted.
3. The Parliament, who raised an army to depose their king, deposed by
the very army they had raised.
4. The army broke three Parliaments, and are at last broke by a free
Parliament; and all they had done by the military power, undone at
once by the civil.
5. Abundance of the chief men, who by their fiery spirits involved the
nation in a civil war, and took up arms against their prince, first or
last met with ruin or disgrace from their own party.
(1.) Sir John Hotham and his son, who struck the first stroke, both
beheaded or hanged by the Parliament.
(2.) Major-General Massey three times taken prisoner by them, and once
wounded at Worcester.
(3.) Major-General Langhorn, (4.) Colonel Poyer, and (5.) Colonel
Powell, changed sides, and at last taken, could obtain no other favour
than to draw lots for their lives; Colonel Poyer drew the dead lot,
and was shot to death.
(6.) Earl of Holland: who, when the House voted who should be
reprieved, Lord Goring, who had been their worst enemy, or the Earl of
Holland, who excepting one offence, had been their constant servant,
voted Goring to be spared, and the Earl to die.
(7.) The Earl of Essex, their first general;
(8.) Sir William Waller;
(9.) Lieutenant-General Ludlow;
(10.) The Earl of Manchester;
--all disgusted and voted out of the army, though they had stood the
first shock of the war, to make way for the new model of the army, and
introduce a party.
* * * * *
In all these confusions I have observed two great errors, one of the
king, and one of his friends.
Of the king, that when he was in their custody, and at their mercy,
he did not comply with their propositions of peace, before their army,
for want of employment, fell into heats and mutinies; that he did not
at first grant the Scots their own conditions, which, if he had done,
he had gone into Scotland; and then, if the English would have fought
the Scots for him, he had a reserve of his loyal friends, who would
have had room to have fallen in with the Scots to his assistance,
who were after dispersed and destroyed in small parties attempting to
While his Majesty remained at Newcastle, the queen wrote to him,
persuading him to make peace upon any terms; and in politics her
Majesty's advice was certainly the best. For, however low he was
brought by a peace, it must have been better than the condition he was
The error I mention of the king's friends was this, that after they
saw all was lost, they could not be content to sit still, and reserve
themselves for better fortunes, and wait the happy time when the
divisions of the enemy would bring them to certain ruin; but must
hasten their own miseries by frequent fruitless risings, in the face
of a victorious enemy, in small parties; and I always found these
effects from it:--
1. The enemy, who were always together by the ears, when they were let
alone, were united and reconciled when we gave them any interruption;
as particularly, in the case of the first assault the army made upon
them, when Colonel Pride, with his regiment, garbled the House, as
they called it. At that time a fair opportunity offered; but it was
omitted till it was too late. That insult upon the House had been
attempted the year before, but was hindered by the little insurrection
of the royal party, and the sooner they had fallen out, the better.
2. These risings being desperate, with vast disadvantages, and always
suppressed, ruined all our friends; the remnants of the Cavaliers were
lessened, the stoutest and most daring were cut off, and the king's
interest exceedingly weakened, there not being less than 30,000 of
his best friends cut off in the several attempts made at Maidstone,
Colchester, Lancashire, Pembroke, Pontefract, Kingston, Preston,
Warrington, Worcester, and other places. Had these men all reserved
their fortunes to a conjunction with the Scots, at either of the
invasions they made into this kingdom, and acted with the conduct and
courage they were known masters of, perhaps neither of those Scots
armies had been defeated.
But the impatience of our friends ruined all; for my part, I had as
good a mind to put my hand to the ruin of the enemy as any of them,
but I never saw any tolerable appearance of a force able to match the
enemy, and I had no mind to be beaten and then hanged. Had we let them
alone, they would have fallen into so many parties and factions, and
so effectually have torn one another to pieces, that whichsoever party
had come to us, we should, with them, have been too hard for all the
This was plain by the course of things afterwards; when the
Independent army had ruffled the Presbyterian Parliament, the soldiery
of that party made no scruple to join us, and would have restored the
king with all their hearts, and many of them did join us at last.
And the consequence, though late, ended so; for they fell out so
many times, army and Parliament, Parliament and army, and alternately
pulled one another down so often till at last the Presbyterians who
began the war, ended it, and, to be rid of their enemies, rather than
for any love to the monarchy, restored King Charles the Second, and
brought him in on the very day that they themselves had formerly
resolved the ruin of his father's government, being the 29th of May,
the same day twenty years that the private cabal in London concluded
their secret league with the Scots, to embroil his father King Charles
[Footnote 1: General Ludlow, in his Memoirs, p. 52, says their men
returned from Warwick to London, not like men who had obtained a
victory, but like men that had been beaten.]
p. 1. The preface to the first edition, which appeared in 1720, was
written by Defoe as "Editor" of the manuscript. The second edition
appeared between 1740 and 1750, after the death of Defoe. (He was
probably born in 1671 and he died in 1731.) In the preface to that
edition it was argued that the Cavalier was certainly a real person.
p. 2, l. 35. "Nicely" is here used in the stricter and more uncommon
sense of "minutely." This use of words in a slightly different sense
from their common modern significance will be noticed frequently;
cf. p. 8, l. 17 "passionately," p. 18, l. 40 "refined," p. 31, l. 18
p. 3, l. 3. Charles XII the famous soldier king of Sweden died in 1718.
p. 3, l. 31. Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, was one of the staunchest
supporters of Charles I, and Chancellor under Charles II. His _History
of the Rebellion_ is naturally written from the Royalist standpoint.
This statement concerning "the editors" can only be intended by Defoe
to give colour of truth to his story of the manuscript.
p. 10, l. 17. England had been nominally at war with Spain since the
beginning of the reign of Charles I. Peace was actually made in 1630.
p. 12, l. 3. A pistole was a gold coin used chiefly in France and
Spain. Its value varied but it was generally worth about fifteen or
p. 14, l. 5. Cardinal Richelieu, one of the greatest statesmen of
the seventeenth century, was practically supreme in France during the
reign of Louis XIII.
p. 14, l. 16. The cause of the war with Savoy is told at length on
page 23. Savoy being the frontier province between France and Italy it
was important that France should maintain her influence there.
p. 14, l. 18. Pinerolo was a frontier fortress.
p. 14, l. 36. The queen-mother was Mary de Medicis who had been regent
during the minority of Louis XIII.
p. 15, l. 3. The Protestants or Huguenots of Southern France had been
tolerated since 1598 but Richelieu deprived them of many of their
p. 15, l. 21. In 1625 when England was in alliance with France English
ships had been joined with the French fleet to reduce la Rochelle, the
great stronghold of Protestantism in Southern France.
p. 16, l. 7. The Louvre, now famous as a picture gallery and museum,
was formerly one of the palaces of the French Kings.
p. 17, l. 16. The Bastille was the famous prison destroyed in 1789 at
the outbreak of the French Revolution.
p. 18, l. 13. In the seventeenth century Italy was still divided into
several states each with its own prince.
p. 18, l. 22. Susa was another Savoyard fortress.
p. 19, l. 17. A halberd was a weapon consisting of a long wooden shaft
surmounted by an axe-like head.
p. 21, l. 30. The Cantons were the political divisions of Switzerland.
p. 23, l. 7. Casale, a strong town on the Po.
p. 25, l. 14. A dragoon was a cavalry soldier armed with an infantry
firearm and trained to fight on foot as well as on horseback.
p. 27, l. 25. Saluzzo a town S.E. of Pinerolo.
p. 29, l. 12. This truce prepared for the definite "Peace of
Cherasco," April 1631, which confirmed the Duchy of Mantua to the Duke
of Nevers but left only Pinerolo in the hands of the French.
p. 31, l. 12. This refers to the Treaty of Baerwalde, 1631, by which
Gustavus Adolphus promised to consider the interests of the French
(who were the natural enemies of the Empire).
p. 31, l. 16. In 1628 the Duke of Pomerania had been obliged to put
his coast line under the care of the imperial troops. In attacking it
therefore in 1639 Gustavus Adolphus was aiming a blow at the Emperor
and obtaining a good basis for further conquests.
p. 31, l. 25. _Gazette_ is the old name for _newspaper_.
p. 33, l. 12. Bavaria was the chief Catholic State not under the
direct government of the Emperor. Maximilian, its elector, was
appointed head of the Catholic League which was formed in 1609 in
opposition to the Protestant Union which had been formed in 1608.
p. 33, l. 20. By the end of the sixteenth century the Turks had
advanced far into Europe, had detached half of Hungary from the
Emperor's dominions and made him pay tribute for the other half.
During the seventeenth century, however, they were slowly driven back.
p. 33, l. 37. In 1628 the two Dukes of Mecklenburg had been "put to
the ban" by the Emperor for having given help to Christian of Denmark
who had taken up the cause of the Protestants.
p. 34, l. 10. Gustavus Adolphus had been at war with Poland from 1617
p. 34, l. 30. This was not a treaty of active alliance. Both John
George of Saxony and George William of Brandenburg were Protestant
princes but they were at first anxious to maintain neutrality between
Sweden and the Emperor. The impolitic action of Ferdinand drove them
to join Gustavus Adolphus in 1631.
p. 34, l. 33. The German Diet was the meeting of the German princes
to consult on imperial matters. Ratisbon is one of the chief towns of
p. 35, l. 17. The story of Magdeburg is told on p. 42.
p. 36, l. 1. Count Tilly was a Bavarian General of genius who had been
put at the head of the forces of the Catholic League in 1609.
p. 36, l. 31. The Protestant Union formed in 1608 had been forced to
dissolve itself in 1621.
p. 37, l. 5. Wallenstein is one of the greatest generals and the most
interesting figure in seventeenth century history. A Bohemian by birth
he fought for the Emperor with an army raised by himself.
p. 37, l. 16. The Conclusions of Leipsic are described on p. 39.
p. 38, l. 29. The King of Hungary was Ferdinand (afterwards Ferdinand
III) son of Ferdinand II. The "King of the Romans" was a title
bestowed on the person who was destined to become Emperor. (The Empire
was elective but tended to become hereditary.)
p. 39, l. 39. The Peace of Augsburg, 1555, had been intended to settle
the differences between the Lutherans and Catholics but it had left
many problems unsolved.
p. 42, l. 21. The Protestant bishopric of Magdeburg had been forcibly
restored to the Catholics in 1629. In 1631 the citizens of their own
accord, relying on Swedish help, declared against the Emperor.
p. 47, l. 40. Torgau, a strongly fortified town in Saxony.
p. 57, l. 37. The Prince of Orange at this time was William II who
married Mary, daughter of Charles I.
p. 59, l. 3. Except for the date, which should be 17th of September,
and the numbers on both sides which he exaggerates, the Cavalier's
account of the battle of Leipsic is fairly accurate.
p. 61, l. 39. Cuirassiers were heavy cavalry wearing helmet and
cuirass (two plates fastened together for the protection of the breast
p. 65, l. 10. _Crabats_ is an old form of _Croats_ the name of the
inhabitants of Croatia.
p. 66, l. 38. _Rix dollar_ is the English form of _Reichsthaler_ or
p. 67, l. 6. "Husband" is here used in the sense of "thrifty person."
p. 69, l. 18. A ducat was a gold coin generally worth about nine
p. 70, l. 29. This passage describes the conquest of the string of
ecclesiastical territories known as the "Priest's Lane."
p. 71, l. 23. A partisan was a military weapon used by footmen in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and not unlike the halberd in
p. 73, l. 10. "Bastion" is the name given to certain projecting
portions of a fortified building.
p. 78, l. 23. The Palatinate (divided into Upper and Lower) was a
Protestant state whose elector, the son-in-law of James I, had been
driven out by the Emperor in 1620.
p. 79, l. 11. _Reformado_: A military term borrowed from the Spanish,
signifying an officer who, for some disgrace is deprived of his
command but retains his rank. Defoe uses it to describe an officer not
having a regular command.
p. 81, l. 15. Frederick, Elector Palatine, had been elected King by
the Protestants of Bohemia in opposition to the Emperor Ferdinand. It
was his acceptance of this position which led to the confiscation of
his Palatinate together with his new kingdom.
p. 81, l. 24. James I had, after much hesitation, sent in 1625 an
expedition to the aid of the Elector, but it had miscarried. Charles I
was too much occupied at home to prosecute an active foreign policy.
p. 81, l. 35. The Elector died in the same year as Gustavus Adolphus.
His son Charles Lewis was restored to the Lower Palatinate only, which
was confirmed to him at the end of the war in 1648.
p. 82, l. 3. The battle of Nieuport, one of the great battles between
Holland and Spain, was fought in 1600 near the Flemish town of that
name. Prince Maurice won a brilliant victory under very difficult
p. 82, l. 30. A ravelin is an outwork of a fortified building.
p. 86, l. 16. It was the attempt in 1607 to force Catholicism on the
Protestants of the free city of Donauwoerth which led to the formation
of the Protestant Union in 1608.
p. 87, l. 9. The Duringer Wald.--Thuringia Wald.
p. 97, l. 29. Camisado (fr. Latin Camisia=a shirt) is generally used
to denote a night attack.
p. 98, l. 4. Note the inconsistency between this statement of the
Cavaliers interest in the curiosities at Munich and his indifference
in Italy where he had "no gust to antiquities."
p. 99, l. 7. Gustavus Adolphus had entered Nuremberg March 1631.
Wallenstein was now bent on re-taking it.
p. 100, l. 29. The Cavalier's enthusiasm for Gustavus Adolphus leads
to misrepresentation. The Swedish king has sometimes been blamed for
failing to succour Magdeburg.
p. 101, l. 23. Redoubts are the most strongly fortified points in the
temporary fortification of a large space.
p. 107, l. 13. The Cavalier glosses over the fact that Gustavus
Adolphus really retreated from his camp at Nuremberg, being
practically starved out, as Wallenstein refused to come to an
p. 110, l. 38. Though the honours of war in the battle of Luetzen went
to the Swedes it is probable that they lost more men than did the
p. 113, l. 37. The battle of Noerdlingen was one of the decisive
battles of the war. It restored to the Catholics the bishoprics of the
South which Gustavus Adolphus had taken.
p. 114, l. 39. The title "Infant" or "Infante" belongs to all princes
of the royal house in Spain. The Cardinal Infant really brought 15000
men to the help of the Emperor.
p. 116, l. 37. The King of Hungary had succeeded to the command of the
imperial army after the murder of Wallenstein in 1634.
p. 119, l. 34. The treaty of Westphalia in 1648 ended the Thirty
Years' War by a compromise. The Emperor recognised that he could have
no real authority in matters of religion over the states governed
by Protestant princes, North Germany remained Protestant, the South,
p. 120, l. 11. This statement is an anachronism. Prince Maurice of
Nassau the famous son of William the Silent died in 1625.
p. 120, l. 39. The Netherlands belonged to Spain in the seventeenth
century but revolted. The Northern provinces which were Protestant won
their independence, the Southern provinces which were Catholic (modern
Belgium) submitted to Spain on conditions.
p. 121, l. 19. The siege of Ostend, then in the hands of the Dutch,
was begun in July 1601 and came to an end in September 1604, when the
garrison surrendered with the honours of war.
p. 122, l. 31. In 1637 Laud had tried to force a new liturgy on
Scotland but this had been forcibly resisted. In 1638 the National
Covenant against "papistry" was signed by all classes in Scotland.
In the same year episcopacy was abolished there and Charles thereupon
resolved to subdue the Scots by arms. This led to the first "Bishops'
War" of 1639 which the Cavalier proceeds to describe.
p. 126, l. 4. Mercenaries (soldiers who fought in any army for the
mere pay) were chiefly drawn from Switzerland in the seventeenth
p. 127, l. 38. By the Treaty of Berwick signed in June 1638 Charles
consented to allow the Scotch to settle their own ecclesiastical
affairs. When they again resolved to abolish episcopacy he broke his
word and in 1640 the Second "Bishops' War" took place. It was the
expenses of these wars which forced Charles to call parliament again.
p. 135, l. 34. It was the English Prayer Book with some slight changes
that Laud had attempted to impose on the Scotch.