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( Originally Published Early 1900's )
DEFENDER OF CIVIL FREEDOM
Many able and far-sighted historians, such as Lingard, Bossuet, Hume, and Voltaire, in painting the portrait of Oliver Cromwell, saw in him nothing of a laudable character, though they were forced to recognize his magnificent military genius. By these and others Cromwell has been stamped as an ambitious, crafty usurper, a ferocious tyrant, a hypocritical and cunning traitor. Robert Southey charges Cromwell with a consciousness of guilt and wrongdoing throughout the whole struggle which finally obtained for him sovereign power, and holds him little less guilty than Macbeth. Guizot accuses him of selfishness and holds that his sole object was self-aggrandisement and that his life effort was directed toward founding a dynasty and clutching the sovereignty. "Sup-pose," said Eliot Warburton, "all the letters of the crafty Cromwell had been discovered, what a revelation we should then have had." Finally, as a result of the patience and effort of Thomas Carlyle the correspondence of Cromwell was discovered, and gleaned from public and private archives, and there was a revelation, but not such a revelation as Warburton expected. Carlyle presents in the domestic, political, and military life of Cromwell, based on these letters, the true Cromwell, a man of singular intellect, of consistent integrity, of honest purpose, fear. less, without personal ambition, the champion of the Puritanical faith, the defender of civil freedom, displaying throughout his career the zeal of a fanatic for what he honestly believed to be the right, a great and daring political leader and a soldier, who, though he knew nothing of the military art or the conduct of war until a man of mature years, attained an eminence as a warrior, rivaled by but few names in all history. He was sincere in his religion, possessed of an indomitable will, personal bravery, and singleness of resolve. He was stern and terrible to his enemies. His whole life was dominated by religious conviction, with which he allowed neither mercy nor reason to interfere. Every important act in the life of this human enigma must be charged to this religious fanaticism, regarding himself as he did an instrument in the hands of the Lord to carry out the Divine will, whether by fire and sword or in the councils of the nation. Lamar-tine shows how great fanatics generally spring from sad and sterile countries. - Mohammed sprang from the scorching valleys of Arabia, Luther from the frozen mountains of Lower Germany, Calvin from the somber plains of Picardy, Cromwell from the dismal fens and stagnant marshes of the Ouse.
Cromwell came from an ancient and noble English family. His great uncle was Thomas Cromwell, created Earl of Essex by Henry VIII and after that monarch had established Protestantism in England, was one of the most zealous despoilers of Romish churches and persecutors of Catholic adherents. When this Cromwell became the minister of Henry VIII, he delegated to Richard, one of his nephews, the task of wreaking vengeance upon Catholics and of demolishing their convents and monasteries. Richard was the great-grandfather of Oliver, the Protector. His grandfather, Henry, was known as "The Golden Knight," owing to his great riches, and lived in Lincolnshire on the domain of Hinchinbrook. His manor-house had formerly been a convent from which the nuns had been expelled. Robert, the youngest son of Henry, married Elizabeth Steward (or Stuart), connected with the royal line of Scotland. In some manner the wealth of the family had become reduced. Robert settled upon a small estate in Huntingdonshire, called Ely, where Oliver was born. Amidst the lonely fens where the quiet, winding Ouse pursued its way, his boyhood was spent. His first impressions of the world were, therefore, influenced by the mean nature of the country, with its stunted poplars and willows, its marshy fields, unbroken horizon and poor, scattered cottages. The character of this scene was well calculated to sadden the disposition of the child. Oliver Cromwell was born April 25, 1599, and it is related that when he was four years of age King James I, then on his way to take possession of the English crown, paid a visit to the dwelling of the Cromwells, owing to his relationship with Elizabeth Steward. Thus it was possible for Cromwell to remember in after years having seen at his father's table the father of the monarch he dethroned and beheaded. Oliver attended first the Huntingdon grammar-school and later the University of Cambridge, not far distant from his home. Upon the death of his father in 1617 he left college to aid in the support of his mother and became a second parent to his sisters. At the age of 21 he married Elizabeth Bourchier, the young and beautiful daughter of Sir James Bourchier, of Felsted, in Essex. For ten years subsequent to his marriage he pursued the ordinary life of a country gentleman upon the estate of his father. Like others at this period he was devoutly attached to the comparatively new cause of Puritanic Protestantism. He trembled for his eternal salvation and was impressed with the idea of an early death. Religious melancholy settled upon him and made him its victim.
One of his contemporaries, Warwick, relates that on a particular occasion, while laboring under the weight of this depression, he sent frequently during the night for his physician, from the neighboring village, in order to relieve himself of the terrors which hung over him. He studied the Bible assiduously, sought solitude and meditated upon the sacred words until his piety developed into fanaticism. In the meantime, he was an industrious and frugal farmer, cultivated his fields and attended his flocks. He disposed of a part of his estate and with the proceeds purchased one with more pasture land near the town of St. Ives, a few miles from Huntingdon. His family already consisted of two sons and four daughters. He was at this time thirty-six years of age and his correspondence showed affection for his family, interest in domestic details and more than all else solicitude for the welfare of his soul. He aided by voluntary contributions the work of the Puritan missionaries and in every way encouraged them. His exemplary life and intelligent attention to the interests of the county in which he lived gave him popularity and respect among the people. He gave no evidences of ambition and when the electors of Huntingdon and St. Ives offered him their suffrage, he accepted only from a conscientious feeling that in this manner he could promote the interests of the faith which had laid such a strong hold upon him. It was on March 17, 1627, that he was elected a member of Parliament from his county. Here his public career commences, soon to develop with those political storms which caused a nation to take up arms and consigned a King to the scaffold.
To appreciate the conduct of Cromwell in this position in which destiny had placed him, a passing glimpse at the recently prior events of England and its state at the time when Cromwell so inauspiciously entered upon the scene will be necessary. In the time of Cromwell's great-grandfather, King Henry VIII, in a fit of anger against the Church of Rome, changed the religion of his kingdom. The Roman Catholic faith became a crime and its adherents were the legitimate prey of the King's favorites. A medium between the Catholic Church and the Church of Luther was selected and the Church of England came into being. The change was followed by the right of liberty of conscience and different sects sprung up from this condition of religious anarchy. The people refused to submit to the Church organized by the King, with debauchery and blood for its basis, without a murmur, and the organization of new sects eased the con-science of the Nation, One of the most widely extended of the new sects was Puritanism, and its devotees struggled against the Anglican Church and also against what remained of the proscribed Church of Rome. Through three succeeding reigns religious dissensions formed the chief cause for disturbance. Mary, the Catholic daughter of Henry VIII, favored the return of her subjects to their original faith, Elizabeth, the Protestant daughter of the same king by another wife, persecuted the Catholics, sacrificed Mary Stuart and compelled obedience to the Reformed Church. James the First, son of Mary Stuart, who had received his education in the Protestant faith from Scotch Puritans, was an indulgent monarch, who desired to tolerate both faiths and tried to make the rival sects live in peace together. Then came Charles I, who succeeded to the throne in his twenty-sixth year. He retained in his service the prime minister of his father, the Duke of Buckingham, a man who sought only to satisfy his own aims. The diffidence of Charles gave Buckingham rein to agitate England and embroil the State according to the dictates of his own interest. Thus he caused the King to lessen or increase that relation-ship between the Crown and Parliament which right or tradition attributed to these two powers and thus a spirit of resistance and encroachment on the part of Parliament was created. Buckingham was at last assassinated and the young King attempted to struggle on alone. In a few years the struggles between the Crown and Parliament, augmented by religious more than political factions, reached a crisis. Such was the condition of affairs when Cromwell became a member of Parliament. The only traces of his presence in Parliament for ten years are a few brief addresses made by him at long intervals in defense or in favor of the Puritanic missionaries or against the aspirations of the Anglican Church and of the Roman Catholics. Cromwell sat in three of Charles' Parliaments from Huntingdon, but in the fourth, which met in April, 164o, he was returned from Cambridge. In three weeks it was dissolved and another was called November 3 in which he also sat for Cambridge. Sir Philip Warwick furnishes an interesting picture of Cromwell at this time. "It was in November, 164o," he writes, "that I, who was also a member, and vain enough to think myself a model of elegance and nobility, for we young courtiers pride ourselves on our attire, beheld on entering the House a person speaking. I knew him not; he was dressed in the most ordinary manner, in a plain cloth suit which appeared to have been cut by some village tailor. His linen, too, was coarse and soiled. His hat was without a hatband; his stature was of a good size; his sword stuck close to his side, his countenance swollen and reddish; his voice sharp and untunable; and his eloquence full of fervor, for the subject matter would not bear much of reason, it being in behalf of a libeler in the hands of the executioner. I must avow that the attention bestowed by the Assembly on the discourse of this gentleman has much diminished my respect for the House of Commons." It seems that the man in whose favor Cromwell was pleading was guilty of having dispersed libels against the Queen for dancing "and such like innocent and courtly sports." In the meantime, Cromwell had attracted attention in another manner. King Charles had attempted to replenish his exchequer by laying claim to 9,000 acres of drained land in Huntingdon, a part of the work which was then in progress, and known as Bedford level. Cromwell led the opposition against the claims of the King and for this was long known as "Lord of the Fens." The unpopularity of King Charles was rapidly growing. He was charged with illegal seizure of ship-money, and taxes were weighing heavily upon the people. The so-called "Long Parliament" greatly hastened the inevitable rupture between the King and his discontented subjects. January 19, 1641, a bill was pro-posed which prescribed the calling a Parliament every three years at most. If the King did not convoke one, twelve peers, assembled at Westminster, might do so with-out his cooperation; in default of this, the sheriff and municipal officers were to proceed with the elections. The King protested against delegating the royal prerogative to sheriffs and municipal officers and this made it all the more certain that the bill would pass. The crisis now approached rapidly. The popular party in Parliament drew the lines closer and closer around the Royal power and eventually came the "Grand Remonstrance" which carried in the House after a stormy debate, by a majority, according to Hood, of but nine, and which was concurred in by the upper House. The "remonstrance" was a catalogue of the sins and shortcomings of the King. In royalist eyes such a document had the appearance not only of disloyalty but of treachery. In this light the bishops looked upon it and made a solemn "Protestation" to the upper House. It only served to precipitate matters and ten of the bishops were sent to the Tower for their presumption. The King entered a declaration against the "remonstrance" also, and went to the House with some soldiers to demand the arrest on a charge of treason of some of the most violent agitators Hampden, Pym, Vane, and others. The House defied him and he was compelled to retire in humiliation. The members whom he had intended to arrest had fled temporarily, but quickly returned in triumph. Already, in anticipation of armed resistance to the King, companies and regiments were being formed and armed throughout the kingdom. The King heard the shouts of the populace, "Long live the Parliament," and from his windows in Whitehall could see the people of London arming and forming themselves into military organizations. Thus menaced and trembling for the safety of his Queen and children, the King, on January 12, 1642, left Whitehall and saw it not again until he found himself there a prisoner, and finally left it for the scaffold. King Charles retired to Hampton Court, a solitary, but imposing and strongly fortified country palace some distance from London. If anything was needed to further inflame the people and embolden the Parliament it was this retreat. The Parliament took possession of fortresses and conferred military authority on the ground of protecting the people, and when the King in a proclamation, pronounced against this proceeding, the proclamation was summarily declared void in law. The King, farseeing what was about to transpire, sent Queen Henrietta to the Continent and with the few retainers who had accompanied him to Hampton Court, proceeded to the loyal city of York, taking his children with him. Here the royal army was rallied and the Parliament, representing this act as one of public danger, authorized the raising of an army to oppose that of the King, which consisted of the nobility, to a great extent. The King established his first camp at Nottingham in August, 1642, and began preparations for putting down, what he termed the insurrection.
Meantime, as already stated, the Parliament was also preparing. The Earl of Essex, an experienced, but as developed later, a temporising general, was placed at the head of the Parliamentary forces, which were growing rapidly. These forces had others, also, who made some pretensions to being leaders; least of all among them, at that time, perhaps, was Cromwell, who at the outset was made a captain of horse, as he himself says in one of his letters,"and I did labor to discharge my trust." Thus in the fall of 1642, Oliver Cromwell, a man forty-three years of age, knowing little or nothing about military science or the conduct of war, buckled on his armor and during four succeeding years amazed the world as the greatest figure of this terrible and dramatic civil contest. From among his friends and neighbors in and around Hunting-don, he organized a regiment of men, inspired, like him-self, with religious enthusiasm, the terrible and invincible "Ironsides." Other leaders of the Parliamentary army failed, were beaten, slain. Cromwell alone among them all, never sustained a defeat. On many a tottering field his immortal troop turned the tide and snatched victory out of defeat. Cromwell struck the first as well as the final blows in that fearful struggle. As soon as he had been commissioned Captain he began his victorious career. He seized the magazine at Cambridge, spent his own money in supplying arms and confiscated the Royal University plate. He stopped those who were about to throw their fortunes with the King and disarmed Crown partisans in his vicinity. Before spring came, he had become Colonel of the famous "Ironsides" which he had raised and drilled himself. "I raised such men as had the fear of God before them," he says in a letter, "and made some conscience of what they did, and from that day forward, I must say to you, they were never beaten, and wherever they engaged against the enemy, they beat continually." Forster asserts that had Cromwell's history ceased with the creation of this body of troops, "it would have left a sufficient warrant of his greatness to posterity." This intense piety is shown in every act of his career. Inspired as he was with the conviction that he was doing the service of the Lord as well as of Parliament, he marched fearlessly from victory to victory. After the capture of Worcester and Bristol, he wrote: "This is a fresh favor conferred on us by Heaven. I again repeat, the Lord be praised for this, for it is His work." His dispatches and military notes are filled with this spirit. In narrating the account of the battle of Worcester, he says anyone "must see that there has been no other hand in it but God." After the victory at Preston he writes, "This is a glorious day. God grant that England may prove worthy of, and grateful for His mercies." That this sentiment was not confined to the commander but also to his soldiers, is shown by the following : "While we were digging the mine under the castle Mr. Stapleton preached, and the soldiers showed their compunctions by tears and groans." Carlyle, who gathered the correspondence of Cromwell, gives scores of similar examples. Such was the man and such were the soldiers under him, who began, in the spring of 1643, a series of remarkable achievements scarcely equaled in all the annals of warfare. Hood furnishes a sarcastic allusion to Cromwell and his men, published in a newspaper of the period, by the then celebrated Marchmont Needham, as follows : "As for Noll Cromwell, he is gone forth in the might of his spirit, with all the train of his disciples; everyone of whom is as David, a man of war and a prophet, gifted men all, that resolve to do their work better than the sons of Levi."
The first notable exploit of Cromwell was the capture of the town of Lowestoft, a Royalist stronghold, where he captured a great quantity of valuable war stores. In July, after doing good service in Lincolnshire, he saved the town of Gainsborough from falling into the hands of the Royalist army under the Marquis of Newcastle, who was marching upon it and would have had little difficulty in taking it from the small Parliamentary force under Lord Willoughby. Cromwell took up a position between the town and the advancing army, and after a desperate charge up the sides of a precipitous hill, fell upon the vanguard of the Royalist army under General Cavendish, and although outnumbered three to one, completely routed the enemy, whose loss included their general. While Cromwell had been thus successful, the Parliamentary armies, or Roundheads, as they were called, under other leaders, had suffered reverses in almost every section. In the early autumn the outlook for the Roundheads was extremely dark. At this time the Earl of Manchester was given command of the Eastern Association, in which Cromwell was Colonel. In October, Cromwell joined the division of the Parliamentary army commanded by Lord Fairfax, and on the 11th of that month was fought the sanguinary battle of Winceby. The Royalists were led by Sir John Henderson, and though they made a brave resistance, they could not withstand the terrible charges of the Ironsides and finally broke and fled, while the victors pursued them for miles and indiscriminately slaughtered those who were overtaken. There is no record of any further fighting done by Cromwell during the balance of this year, and in fact it was not until the middle of the following year that the next great battle of the war was fought. This was the battle of Marston Moor. Whitelocke holds that Cromwell's greatness as a military leader was first shown in the battle which saved the town of Gainsborough from falling into the hands of the Royalists, but Hood maintains that his military genius first shone conspicuously on the field of Marston. It was one of the first great critical periods of the struggle. York was in the possession of the Royalists, while all around were scattered the camps of the besieging Puritans under Fairfax, whose forces had but recently been augmented by the arrival of the Scotch Covenanted army under Lesley, a body of 21,000 men. Cromwell had been raised to second in command. York had but a weak garrison and must soon have fallen, but King Charles had written to Prince Rupert, "If York be lost, I shall esteem my crown to be little less," and Rupert, a dashing and daring leader, responded by hastening from the Lancashire hills with 20,000 warriors at his back to save York. On his approach the Parliamentary army was withdrawn to Mars-ton Moor. Had Rupert been satisfied with thus liberating York, the whole history of the war might have changed, but reckless and fiery, he sought battle and was confident of success. He lay with his army outside of York and not far distant lay the Roundheads the Scotch and Cromwell and his praying, psalm-singing Ironsides. Throughout the beautiful, calm summer day of July 2, 1644, but a few scattering shots had been fired between the outposts of the two armies, and on each side it was expected that no considerable conflict would come until the following day. As the evening advanced, clouds began to gather and soon a storm broke upon the scene. It is related by Hood that some of Rupert's men had captured a prisoner belonging to the opposing army and that the Prince had particularly inquired whether Cromwell was there. The prisoner was released, and returning to his own ranks informed Cromwell what had been said by the Prince, among other things having promised that they should have fighting enough. "And," said Cromwell solemnly, "if it please God, so they shall." In the meantime the firing had gradually increased and forward movements began in both armies. Cromwell, who occupied the left of the Scots and the troops under Fairfax, brought his cavalry to the front and became the target for a body of musketeers sent forward by Prince Rupert. At the same time the Royalists suddenly attacked the center of the Parliamentary army and put the Scots to rout. An incessant cannonading was kept up from the Royalist batteries advantageously planted on a height to the rear. The troops of Fairfax began to flee, and that general himself put spurs to his horse, left the field with all possible haste, and reaching Cawood castle, calmly went to bed. Goring, with the Royalist cavalry, was remorselessly cutting down the fugitive soldiers of Fairfax and two-thirds of the field had already been won by the Royalists. But in the midst of it was Cromwell. He saw how fast the enemy was gaining ground and then turned his cavalry toward the terrible batteries. "Charge in the name of the Most High," was his command, and following their intrepid leader the Ironsides poured through the Royalist ranks, cut down the gunners, captured the guns and turned their fire upon the hosts of Prince Rupert, who at that moment still believed himself victor of the field. Then as the Royalists rallied to regain this lost portion of the field, Cromwell charged again, broke and shattered the cavalry of Goring and mercilessly fell upon the cavalry under the immediate command of Rupert himself. The terrible and irresistible work of the Puritans continued until the Royalist army was completely scattered and dispersed. The field was strewn with dead and wounded, 1,500 of Rupert's soldiers were taken prisoners, all of his artillery, tents, and baggage fell into the hands of the victorious Cromwell, together with the standard of Prince Rupert and a hundred others. With what remained of his former magnificent army Rupert retired into York and from there proceeded southward, leaving Newcastle, who had command of the forces which defended York, to shift for himself. But Newcastle, who had advised against engaging the enemy, now deserted his post and went to the seaside and thence to the Continent, leaving York to fall easy prey to the Parliamentary forces. Thus the battle of Marston Moor irretrievably ruined the hopes of success for the King so far as the North was concerned. Just after the battle, on July 5, Cromwell, as soldier and saint combined, wrote one of those letters which gives such clear insight into his character. It was addressed to his brother-in-law, Colonel Valentine Walton, husband of Cromwell's youngest sister, Margaret, and bluntly but feelingly informs them of the death of their son during the battle and recalls that his own son, Oliver, had been but recently slain in battle. In this letter, too, it is seen, that Cromwell takes upon himself not a particle of the credit for the great victory, nor does he in the slightest degree criticise the conduct of his superior officers, who had failed to do their share in the contest. The letter reads in part as follows : "Truly England and the Church of God hath had a great favor from the Lord, in this great victory given unto us, such as the like never was since this war began. It had all the evidence of an absolute victory, obtained, by the Lord's blessing, upon the Godless party principally. We never charged but we routed the enemy. The left wing, which I commanded, being our own horse, saving a few Scots in our rear, beat all the Prince's horse. God made them as stubble to our swords. We charged their regiments of foot with our horse and routed all we charged. The particulars I cannot relate now; but I believe, of 20,000 the Prince bath not 4,000 left. Give glory, all the glory, to God. Sir, God hath taken away your eldest son by a cannon shot. It broke his leg. We were necessitated to have it cut off, whereof he died. Sir, you know my own trials in this way; but the Lord supported me in this that the Lord took him into the happiness we all pant for, and live for."
Nearly half of the kingdom was now in the hands of the Parliamentary party, but here arose an obstacle which for a time prevented and delayed further successes. Many of the nobility, notwithstanding that they had supported and acquiesced in the earlier measures in opposition to the King, began to realize that they had in the headlong rush placed the common people, under the guidance of the House of Commons, upon a footing so nearly equal with that held by themselves that the mastership of the nobility was threatened. They began to show a disposition to coalesce with the Scotch and looked toward a peace with the King, which should fully secure themselves, while not allowing him the power he had previously held and which he had employed as a means of oppression. In the Parliamentary army this nobility was represented by the Earls of Essex and Manchester. They had shown little vigor in their engagements with the troops of the King, and the campaigns of Essex were such absolute failures that he finally disbanded the remnant of his army and fled to London to make his explanations to Parliament. The Earl of Manchester, under whom Cromwell was now serving, showed an equal spirit of indolence. Manchester and Cromwell had been ordered into the West and on October 27 engaged the King's forces at Newbury. The forces of the King were beaten and Cromwell saw that more aggressive measures would have completely crushed the Royalist forces. During the night the King's forces began a retreat and Cromwell implored Manchester to allow him to make a forward movement with his horse and completely overthrow the Royalists. But Manchester persistently refused to grant permission. Again and again Cromwell entreated his superior to pursue the retreating army, but to no avail. In the meantime, the King had removed all his heavy guns and stores into the Castle of Dennington and quietly fell back on Oxford. Twelve days later, having been reinforced by the command of Prince Rupert, the King returned assumed the offensive against Manchester, removed his stores and cannon from the castle and with his army and entire equipment made his way to Oxford while the Parliamentary army looked on without attempting to molest the enemy, in spite of Cromwell's repeated appeals to Manchester to attack. Cromwell is reported to have remarked as a result of this stand by Manchester, "There will never be a good time in England till we have done with the Lords." Manchester and Cromwell quarreled and thenceforth opposed each other. Carlyle says, "Manchester was reported to have said, if they lost this army pursuing the King, they had no other. The King might hang them. To Cromwell and the thorough-going party it had become very clear that high Essexes and Manchesters, of limited notions and large estates and anxieties, who, besides their fear of being beaten utterly, and forfeited and 'hanged,' were afraid of beating the King too well would never end this cause in a good way." Thus the Parliamentary cause was failing in the midst of successes. Added to the obstacles thrown in the way of success by the nobility were the Scots, who had marched into England to aid the Parliament for the purpose of elevating Presbyterianism, while the great party which Cromwell represented was rather given to tolerance in regard to religious matter. Cromwell saw, and advocated a change in the tactics. He was confident that he could bring affairs quickly to an issue. He had grown powerful enough to excite jealousy and both the Presbyterians and the nobility leaders in the army feared him. The result was a conspiracy entered into between the Scots Commissioners and the Lords connected with the army. Whitelocke gives the particulars of this plot, having himself been present when the effort was made to arrange it, and while it does not appear that the intention was to kill Cromwell, still the expression used by the spokes-man of the occasion, the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, at the meeting which was held at the house of Lord-General Essex, was sufficiently broad to include even murder, He simply stated that "Lieutenant-General Cromwell is no friend of ours," referred to him as an "obstacle," and stated that it had been thought requisite that he "may be removed out of the way." Cromwell was defended at the meeting of the conspirators and nothing further was undertaken in the matter. At the same moment Cromwell went before the House of Commons and impeached Manchester with backwardness in attacking the enemy and neglect of the Parliamentary interests. In his turn Manchester charged Cromwell with having stated that it would never be well with England until he, the Earl, was plain Mr. Montague, and that the Scots had crossed the Tweed with no other purpose than to establish Presbyterianism, for which reason, he, Cromwell would as soon draw his sword against them as against the King. This resulted in the passage of the Self-denying Ordinance, which provided that members of Parliament could not serve in the army. This was passed April 3, 1645, the discussions having continued all through the winter. Sir Thomas Fairfax, not being a member of Parliament was elected to have supreme command of the army, but the need of having Cromwell in the field to look after the interests of Parliament is shown by the fact that but twenty days later he was specially exempted from the Self-denying Ordinance and dispatched to join Fair-fax at Windsor. Fairfax had been engaged in remodeling the army and had as yet not commenced engagements against the Royalists. Cromwell, on joining Fairfax, was not invested with any military title, yet he was immediately given command of a body of horse with orders to proceed to the road between Oxford and Worcester and prevent communication between Prince Rupert and the King. He set out on his mission the same evening, April 23, and the following day at Islip Bridge, encountered and defeated 2,000 Royalists. Two days later he engaged the enemy again at Witney and won a victory, and the next day, April 27, defeated another detachment of the Royalists at Bampton Bush. He had on the same day at the battle of Islip Bridge also captured Bletchington. On May 7, the King left Oxford and joined the forces under Prince Rupert. Together they marched northward. On May io Cromwell was ordered to continue his services with the army for another forty days. On the last day of May the forces of the King captured Leicester, and this left the Eastern counties at the mercy of the Royalists. Fairfax and his chief officers now appealed to Parliament to establish Cromwell in his former position in the army, as he was indispensable as commander of the cavalry. On June 13, Cromwell, with 6,000 cavalry, including the illustrious Ironsides, joined the army of Fairfax near Northampton, while the Royalists were drawing together near Leicester. Within a few hours after his arrival, Cromwell with his squadron was already engaged in harassing the rear of the King's army. The following morning, June 14, 1645, the two armies met in deadly conflict on the field of Naseby, a wide open tract between slight elevations, not of sufficient height to be designated as hills, and close to the town of Naseby in Leicestershire. As at Marston field, Cromwell and his Ironsides saved the day and turned defeat into a glorious victory. The Parliamentary army had taken up a strong position. The center was held by Fairfax. On the left Ireton commanded and on the right stood Cromwell with his irresistible cavalry. Prince Rupert made the opening attack at 10 o'clock in the morning of that bright summer day, and fell upon Ireton's division with such fury that he routed it. Fairfax struggled desperately to maintain himself against the onslaught on the center. The charge against Cromwell was directed by Sir Marmaduke Langdale. But here the Royalists recoiled and were so fiercely attacked that they fled in every direction. Cromwell sent three of his squadrons to pursue and keep them from rallying and with his remaining four squadrons went to the aid of Fairfax in the center. Here King Charles commanded in person and tried in vain to rally his men from the charges of the Ironsides. The Royalists could not withstand the-shocks, and at last with thousands cut down and the formation completely shattered, they fled, leaving in the possession of the victors all the artillery, 8,000 stand of arms, and of prisoners, 5,000 foot and 3,000 cavalry. The King's cabinet of letters and the entire baggage of the camp were also taken. From this time on Cromwell conducted a long series of attacks on the towns held by the Royalist forces. With remarkable rapidity he rushed from one victory to another. Everywhere he proved invincible. One town after another fell before him. Leicester was the first, then Bridgewater, Shaftesbury, Bristol, and Devizes. Berke-ley followed, and then he suddenly advanced upon Winchester, which capitulated. Basing Castle was regarded as impregnable, but he beat it to pieces. This was in the early part of October. During the succeeding few months he reduced Salisbury, fought Lord Wentworth at Exeter and captured 500 prisoners, and then poured along Cornwall, driving before him and scattering the last remnants of the Royalist forces. April 22, 1646, he returned to London and was greeted with extraordinary honors by Parliament. Cromwell now had two years of repose from fighting, but during this time he was active with the affairs of Parliament. Negotiations were carried on with the King, who was held a prisoner at Hampton Court. These negotiations were not completely broken off until January, 1648. The King had during the previous November made his escape from Hampton Court and managed to reach the Isle of Wight, where he took refuge in a castle commanded by an officer whom he believed friendly to him. The King believed that he could here negotiate for his restoration to better advantage. But he found himself as much a prisoner as before and the negotiations which he continued to carry on were of little account, owing to the fact that prior to his escape from Hampton Court a message which he had written to his wife, had been intercepted by Cromwell, and had practically sealed the doom of the unhappy King. In this message he stated that while each faction was eager to have him join them, he thought he ought to conclude with the Scotch. His trial was decided upon, and he was conducted from the Isle of Wight to London and lodged in Whitehall. A High Court of Justice had been convened and the King was placed on trial for his life. He refused to defend himself and was found guilty and executed three days later. Cromwell has been condemned for surrendering the King to the scaffold. Lamartine shows that Cromwell's correspondence at this time reveals that he only desired to protect the Nation from monarchial enterprises until religious liberty was too solidly founded to ever again be interfered with by the Romish or Anglican Church.
In March of the year 1648, the Duke of Hamilton had organized a Royalist army in Scotland, and this intelligence stirred the remnants of the cause in England into life, so that uprisings took place in various parts of the kingdom. One of the most serious revolts took place in Wales, and while Cromwell himself hastened there, Lambert was sent to check the progress of Hamilton. Cromwell suppressed the revolt in Wales in a little over two months and then with his army joined Lambert in York-shire. Sir Langdale with 4,000 Yorkshiremen had joined Hamilton's army of 17,000 Scots, and it was not until August 17 that Cromwell came up with the enemy at Preston. He had but 8,000 men, but attacked without hesitation, routed the enemy and for three days pursued the fleeing army, killing 2,000 and taking 10,000 prisoners. He then continued his march across the border and straight to Edinburgh, where he arrived October 4 and was received with every evidence of delight. He was feasted and shown every attention, and after a stay of two days he retraced his steps and reached London early in December. Having disposed of King Charles as already shown, Cromwell was confronted with a new danger. A faction known as the Levelers had sprung up in the army and in some instances had mutinied. Several executions and other decisive measures soon put an end to the Levelers. Early in the year 1649 Parliament turned its attention to rebellious Ireland. In 164o the Catholics of Ire-land had taken advantage of the feebleness of Royal authority and began the perpetration of a series of massacres upon the English colonists and Protestants, which for wanton cruelty and revengeful fury stand without a parallel in the annals of any nation. More than 100,000 are said to have been murdered during this terrible period. In 1649 Dublin and Londonderry were the only places that stood favorable to Parliament. The Marquis of Ormond had aroused the whole country into rebellion and had entered into a union with the Royalists. Parliament decided that the rebels must be suppressed and named Cromwell Lord-Governor of Ireland, with absolute civil and military power. On July 10 Cromwell left London amidst much pomp and ceremony, proceeded to Bristol and thence to Wales, sailing from Milford with an army of 12,000 men. He arrived in Dublin August 18. He at once advanced against Drogheda or Tredagh. "Cromwell," says Lamartine, "converted his victories into massacres and pacified Ireland through a deluge of blood." Hood recites the cruelties committed by the Irish against the Protestants and says, "Let these facts always be borne in mind when we look on Cromwell in Ireland." When Tredagh fell the entire garrison of 3,000 were massacred. After this he met with but feeble resistance. Having captured the fighting Bishop of Ross, who used to say that there was no way of curing the English, but by hanging them, Cromwell had him hanged before the walls of Clonmel in sight of the garrison, which at once capitulated. In the brief space of nine months Ireland was completely reduced to submission. He left Ireton to maintain order and returned to England, arriving in London May 31, 1650. He was received with the wildest demonstrations ever accorded a conqueror and Parliament again expressed its thanks and appreciation. Affairs had at this time grown threatening in Scotland. The Prince of Wales, Charles II, eldest son of the King who had been beheaded, had taken refuge first in Holland and later in the Isle of Jersey to wait for a favorable opportunity to enter England by way of Scotland. The Scotch Parliament offered him the throne of Scotland, demanding of him but one thing, that he should sign the Covenant and adhere to the Presbyterian faith. Their position was this, that if with their aid he could finally be placed on the throne of England, their object of bringing Presbyterian-ism upon England would through him be brought about. Under these circumstances armies were raised in Scotland to oppose the Commonwealth. The English Parliament had offered to Fairfax the command of the expedition against Scotland, but he declined on the ground that his wife was a Presbyterian and he would not fight against them unless they should invade England. Cromwell was then named Lord-General of the Parliamentary armies. This was June 26 and three days later he marched from London at the head of his army. July 23 he crossed the border and five days later encamped at Musselburgh. The Scotch army numbered 27,000 men, that of Cromwell 11,000 horse and foot. Two days after his arrival Cromwell was attacked by the Scotch but easily repulsed them. He waited a month and attempted in every way to bring about an engagement but to no avail, and finally decided to fall back upon Dunbar. The Scotch army managed to head him off and reached the heights above Dunbar in advance. Encamped here, Cromwell writes to Sir Arthur Hazlerig, Governor of Newcastle: "We are here upon an engagement very difficult. The enemy doth block up our way at the Pass at Copperspath through which we cannot go without a miracle." But Cromwell had no doubt but that the miracle would be forthcoming at the proper moment.. His faith had not in the least been dimmed, for further along in the letter he says, "All shall work for good. Our spirits are comfortable, praised be the Lord, though our present condition be as it is." During the wild, wet night of September 2, Cromwell's soldiers held prayer meetings and "kept their powder dry." At the first grey of the morning was fought the terrible battle of Dun-bar. Cromwell and his inspired host fell upon the Scots like a storm and before the sun had scarce come above the horizon, the Scotch army had been cut to pieces, was scattered and flying in all directions. Cromwell called a halt in the carnage and his army sang the 117th Psalm. Out of that army of 27,000, the soldiers of Cromwell had slain outright 3,000, had taken 1o,000 prisoners, captured 200 colors, 15,000 stands of arms, and the entire artillery. The loss to Cromwell's ranks was but twenty men. Cromwell spent the winter at Edinburgh and during the following spring fell ill as a result of the exposures through which he had passed. By June, 1651, he was well enough to again take the field, and dividing his army' into several bodies under command of chosen generals, sent them upon various expeditions against the enemy. In the meantime an army of Scots under young Charles II had invaded England and had found no trouble in taking Worcester, which threw open its gates and received him with all deference. It was first intended to at once march upon London, but the Scotch army determined to remain at Worcester to recuperate and in the interim Cromwell was not idle. He rapidly marched upon Worcester and as he advanced he was constantly joined by bodies of militia so that when he appeared before Worcester he had an army of 30,000 men. The enemy was well intrenched, however, Cromwell himself wrote of the battle, "as stiff a contest, for many hours, on both sides of the river as I have ever seen." The battle was fought on the walls of the town and through the streets on September 3, 1651. The streets were filled with bodies of horses and men, great ruin had been wrought in every part of the city, all of the leading generals were slain or captured and the young King with a few followers fled, reaching after many roman-tic adventures, a refuge on the Continent. The battle of Worcester was the last of Cromwell's career as a warrior. He had left the conclusion of the war in Scotland to General Monk and the country was thoroughly subjugated, and eventually was united to the Commonwealth by Act of Paliament. The great spirits of the Parliament were not at this time a part of the Government. Pym and Hampden and other strong leaders were dead. The famous "Rump" Parliament was fast exhausting the patience of the people. Months were wasted in debate over technicalities, and finally the members concocted a plan to continue themselves continually in office. They had come to the conclusion that Cromwell was too much their master and some of the Republican leaders had practically decided to bring about his fall. Sir Henry Vane, according to Lamartine, was the leader of this contingent and shortly before the blow fell, which put an end to their schemes, he delivered a speech in the House, disputing the intervention of military authority. The applause which followed it was significant. On April 20, 1653, Cromwell was notified that the measure to continue themselves in office was being hurried through the House. Cromwell had been warned before to stop the proceedings, but he had hesitated to act. Now he hesitated no longer. He proceeded to his own place in the House and sat down to listen. The bill was about to be put to the question when Cromwell arose and walked to the desk of the President and began to speak. First he addressed a few quiet words about the services of Parliament in the cause of liberty, then suddenly breaking forth in a fury of wrath, he denounced the body as corrupt and unfit to serve. An attempt to check him was made under the rules of the House. At this his fury increased. He put his hat on, advanced to the middle of the floor, stamped loudly in his rage and, in a voice of thunder, shouted, "You are no longer a Parliament. Make room for better men." On his way to the House, Cromwell had given hasty instructions to General Harrison and that soldier now appeared at the head of thirty veterans of the wars. They surrounded Cromwell with their naked weapons, and at his orders drove or dragged the members from their seats and ejected them. Cromwell himself locked the doors of Westminster Hall and put the keys in his pocket. He was now absolute and sole ruler of England. Later Cromwell selected 140 men to act as a Parliament. They sat for the first time July 4th. Entering too eagerly into the work of reform, they aroused from many quarters a storm of pro-test, and December 12th the body resigned, having first, however, invested Cromwell with the title of Lord Protector of the English Commonwealth. December 16th he was under that title installed at Westminster Hall. He was recognized by the principal courts of Europe. He proceeded at once to establish new ordinances and instituted many worthy reforms calculated to avoid factional strife both in Church and State affairs. In July, 1654, a plot to assassinate him was discovered and the conspirators were promptly apprehended and executed. Don Pantaleon Sa, brother of the Ambassador from Portugal, was on the same day beheaded for the murder of an English-man. Cromwell concluded peace treaties with several of the nations of Europe and called a Parliament which sat September 3, 1654. This Parliament could not agree whether to confirm the reforms which Cromwell had instituted and was soon dissolved. In the summer of 1655, the attention of Cromwell was attracted to the sufferings of the Protestants in the Piedmont valleys in France. He was about to sign a treaty with France, but refused to do so until assured by that Government that the persecutions should cease. Cromwell had also turned his attention to increasing the naval power of England and to protect her commerce. The able Blake had, under the direction of the Protector, cleared the Mediterranean of the barbarian pirates which infested the region. Nearly all of the Barbary States had been compelled to make reparation for misdeeds against English ships and subjects. In 1656 Cromwell made another experiment with a Parliament. It sat September 17th. This Parliament proposed to make Cromwell king. April 13, 1657, in replying to this proposition and refusing it, he says, "I am ready to serve, not as King, but as Constable." June 26, 1657, he was again invested with the Protectorate. The following year he called another Parliament, which met January 20th. February 4th the body was dissolved because the House of Commons was dissatisfied with the House of Peers. But Cromwell's life was rapidly drawing to a close. In August of this year he was seized with a slow intermittent fever. He knew that death was upon him.
That confidence in the power and mercy of God which had caused him to sing Psalms on the field of battle remained with him now as firmly as ever. He spent his last days in agonized prayer. On August 30th he declared in favor of his eldest son, Richard, as his successor. He breathed his last on September 3, 1658, the anniversary of the battle of Dunbar. He died in Whitehall and when his spirit had departed, he was mourned and prayed for and accorded a magnificent funeral. It is -a matter of doubt where the remains of Cromwell were laid to eternal repose. It was announced that he had been buried in the old Abbey and when Charles Stuart came upon the throne, he had what was supposed to be the remains of Cromwell taken up and the head exposed over Westminster Hall. But there is an old story which asserts that the remains were secretly removed after the funeral and consigned to the Thames, in order that no indignity might be offered to the body by his enemies. The illustrious essayist Macaulay, years before the correspondence of Cromwell came to light and Carlyle had prepared his magnificent vindication of the Protector, wrote of Cromwell: "The ambition of Oliver was of no vulgar kind. He never seems to have coveted despotic power. He, at first, fought sincerely and manfully for the Parliament, and never deserted it till it had deserted its duty. But even thus placed by violence at the head of affairs, he did not assume unlimited power. He gave the country a constitution far more perfect than any which had, at that time, been known to the world. For himself, he demanded indeed the first place in the Commonwealth, but with powers scarcely so great as those of a Dutch stadtholder or an American President. He gave to Parliament a voice in the appointment of ministers and left it to the whole legislative authority, not even reserving to himself a veto on its enactments; and he did not require that the chief magistracy should be hereditary in his family. Thus far, if the circumstances of the time and the opportunities which he had for aggrandising himself be fairly considered, he will not lose by comparison with Washington and Bolivar."