Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

CHAP. III.
of his Manner of Life and Conversation in the Country,

Oliver, being come down into the country, and growing stur. dy, and of man's stature, frequented all manner of wild company, Who but he at any match or game whatsoever, where he would drink and roar with the rudest of his companions? And when his money, which he had sparingly from his mother, who yet kept the purse, failed him, he would make the victuallers trust him, to such a ruin of his credit and reputation, he being as famous for his ranting and his scores, as after, for his prayers and victories, that the ale-wives of Huntingdon, if they saw him coming, would set up a cry, Here comes young Cromwell, shut up the doors, and so keep him out. But he had better success in the war, for then there was no shutting of him out, no garison or castle, or strength whatsoever, was sufficient to debar him. But that may be impu. table to the luck of his former atchievements, fortune being tied at his girdle, and keeping a constant tenor with him; for, at this age, he would make nothing of beating of tinkers, and such masty fellows at quarter-staff, or any such weapon they would chuse; so that he was dreaded by all the ale-drinkers, as well as ale-wives of the country.

CHAP. IV. Ilow Oliver was reclaimed from these lewd courses, and how he joined himself to the preciser sort, and became an

Hypocritical Convert. By these debauched courses of life, and regardless thoughts how the world went, as long as drink and company could be had, no matter how nor where; he had so endangered his small estate and patrimony, and was so far in debt, that he was forced to retire himself, and get out of the way, and live privately, for fear of pri. vate arrests and judgments, which were brought against him. In this solitary condition, he had time to bethink himself of his condition; and having nothing else to do, having played a part at Cambridge, to personate another at home, seeming very pensive and melancholy, and much reserved in his talk and discourse; which, from vain, and frivolous, and wild speeches, was now altered into serious, and modest, and grave language, and sober expression; which, accommodated and set forth with a more staid and solemn aspect and gesture, made him appear to be another kind of person, having run from the one extreme to the other, from stark naught, to too good; and it will be a question whether, by the first he were more destructive to himself, or by the latter, more pernicious to his country.

This humour soured him at last into a precise puritanism, with whom his zealous design was to ingratiate himself; who increasing every day, and being grown to a headstrong faction, he doubted not, but if time should serve, which his daring spirit (if he had

[ocr errors]

not a familiar) told him was a coming, to be principal person among them, and howsoever, to make up his decays on his for. tunes, by the kind-hearted supplies and loans of the brotherhood, who were very proud of such a proselyte.

In a short time after, he had learned to pray, and attained a very ready faculty therein, which he made ro nicety to manifest upon all occasions, both in their publick and private meetings; so that he was looked upon by those of his . godly party, as their chiefest ornament, and by the rest of the world, as a strange won. der. This artificial devotion did not only then advantage him, but served him thereafter through the whole course of his life, and was the main ingredient of all his policies and successes. A friar was an ass to him for saying of prayers, he was able to give him two for one with his beads and by rote, and out-strip him extempore.

CHAP. V. How Oliver, being noted for his pretended Sanctity, was chosen a Burgess of Cambridge for the Long-Parliament; and,

the Wur breaking out, was made a Captain of Horse. By this sanctimonious Vizor, and manifested zeal for reforma, tion, which was then in every man's mouth, he was looked upon :is the fittest instrument to promote it in the parliament, which the king had called in 1640, to redress the grievances of the state and church, and to supply his necessities; and, therefore, the puritan faction, and his relations by marriage, as Mr. Goodwin, and also Hambden of Buckingham, Jaboured, in election of burgesses for the town of Cambridge, to have him chosen, The town was generally infected with the same disease, and therefore it was no hard matter to effect it. Sitting in parliament, as a member, he quickly saw which way the stream went, and therefore resolved to run one of the first with it; and therefore helped out the noise and cry for privilege, proving a great stickler against the prerogative, and, to that end, endeavouring to widen the breach; and made way, by male-pertness of tumults, against the king's person and court; in. somuch that he became conspicuous and noted for his aversion to the government. The flame of those inward burnings now breaking out, and because of his influence in his country, and his bold, confident spirit, he was courted with a commission (which he aca cepted) under the Earl of Essex, the parliament's general, and was made a captaio of a troop of horse.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

CHAP. VI.

Of the Exploits Cromwell did, in the beginning of the War. HAVING raised his troop, he marched not presently with the ross and main body of the army, but was ordered to continue ibout his own country, that so his own enterprises might be the better observed, and he taken notice of ; so that he was a rising

man from the very first beginning of our civil confusions. The first service that he appeared in, was the seizure of Sir Henry Co. nisby, the sheriff of Hertfordshire, when, in a gallant contempt of the parliament, he was proclaiming the commission of array at St. Alban's, and sending him, and other gentlemen, his assistance, to London ; which sudden and meritorious exploit of his was well resented, and highly commended by the parliament. His next piece of diligence was the like seizure of Sir John Pettus, and forty gentlemen more, of the county of Suffolk, who were forming a party for the king, and securing them; by which means, he broke the neck of any future design in that, or the next county of Norfolk, for the royal interest; so that he had brought all the eastern part of England to the parliament's subjection, by a blood. less and easy conquest. But his other victories, which were prin. cipally ascribed to him, though they were joined with him, were very sanguineous, and fatally cruel.

As his last home employment, he was ordered to purge and to inspect the University, wherein he proceeded with so much rigour against that place of his own nurture, &c. it was conceived he would at last as mercilesly use his mother, then bleeding England. Which work being over, and unhappily effected, Cromwell was the only man; his prudence, fortune, and valour every where applauded and extolled, and he reputed for one of the most eminent and able commanders in the parliament's army.

It was time, therefore, now to shew him abroad, having armed, disciplined, and paid his men so carefully, that there was no doubt of their prevailing upon any equal enemy, and under the conduct of so vigilant and wary a leader, whose only aim it was to keep up his reputation to greater undertakings. Therefore, in order to a conjunction and assistance of the Scots, who were entered England, he was made lieutenant-general to the Earl of Manchester, who had raised his army out of the associated counties, as Cambridge, Huntingdon, Bedford, Suffolk, &c. Those armies being joined, and mastering the field (the Marquis of Newcastle, who opposed them, retreating into York) they resolved to besiege that city: To the relief whereof, Prince Rupert came, and forcing them to draw off from their league, he gave them battle on Marston-Moor, July 2, 1644. In the beginning of the fight, Prince Rupert had utterly discomfited the right wing of the army, where Sir Thomas Fairfax and the Scots horse stood, and disordered the main body of the foot, so that the day was given for lost, the Scots running and throwing down their arms; when Cromwell, with his Curassiers, and the rest of my Lord Manchester's horse, who were placed in the right wing, fell with such force and fury upon the Lord Goring's brigades on the right, that they presently broke them in pieces, and following their success, before the prince re. turned, obtained a compleat victory, killing no less than fivethousand men, gaining their camp, bag and baggage; and, as the price of all, the city, of York. Hence he acquired that terrible

name of Ironsides, his troops being reported unvulnerable and unconquerable. By this defeat, he lifted up himself to those great titles and places he went through afterwards.

CHAP. VII.

1

Continuance of his Successes against his Sovereign and his Forces; his treacherous and disloyal dealing with his Majesty.

The next field we find him in, was that of the second Newberry, October 27, 1644, where, with the same felicy and valour, he had the better, on that part of the field, where he fought, and contributed mainly to that piece of a victory the parliament forces had there; when, to cloud and damp this rising martialist, he was articled against by his superior officers, for some miscarriages and practices in the army, to the hinderance of the service, which was indeed his ambitious insinuation into the affection of the soldiery; but this was never prosecuted, his friends, the grandees of the Independent party, interposing and justifying him, for a godly, expert, and valiant commander.

This Independent faction was now grown too crafty, and had supplanted their brother of Presbytery, by new modelling the army, turning out most of Essex's officers, and dismissing all members of parliament from their several commands therein ; among which number, Cromwell should have been included, but his partisans wroughtso, that he was continued for forty days, and, those expired, longer, and longer, eren till the war ended. By this said model Sir Thomas Fairfax was made Lord General, and Cromwell, after some time, Lieutenant General, being the only man looked upon able to carry on the Independent interest. The first action he engaged in, in this quality, was his routing of the queen's regi. ment and some other troops (come from Worcester to fetch the king from Oxford, then designed to be besieged in the beginning of the year 1645) at Islip Bridge; then his immediate summoning and taking Blechindon House, April 24, where after, as he was designing a stratagem upon Faringdon House, he was set upon by as vigilant a commander as himself, the Lord Goring, and received a smart brush, and the only one throughout the war; which now hastening to an end, at the fatal Naseby, he was called from out of the Isle of E!y (whither he had been lately sent to secure it, it being thought the king would have turned his now successful arms thitherward) to assist the general, who, by his letters to the parliament, had desired it. That unfortunate day the 14th of June, 1646, owes its dismalness to the fortune of this rebel, whose troops alone could glory in that atchievment; for the left wing of that army, where Ireton, his son-in-law, commanded, was absolutely routed, and the main body sorely distressed; so that Crom. well alone assured that victory.

So ended the first war, with the praises and triumphs of this man of war, adored and worshiped by his party, who stuck not to blaspheme God and his Scriptures, attributing all those Ho

sanna’s, and psalms, and songs of deliverance and victory to this their champion, in effect, making a meer idol of him ; which pha. natick religious veneration he missed not to improve, though, for the present, he covered his ambition with modesty and humility, ascribing all things, in a canting way of expression, to the goodness and omnipotence of God, which he frequently and impiously abused, intituling it to all his wicked and villainous designs and actions.

The war thus ended, and the king having escaped their swords, and so the main rub yet lay in the way to his projected sovereignty; he resolved by treachery to ruin him. To this purpose, that he might render the king indisposed to the terms and propositions of the parliament, which were hard and unreasonable enough besides, he pretended to the king, that the army should take his part, and declare for him ; as on the other side (in the parliament house, and privately in the army, telling them that the king's design of peace and agreement was only to get them disbanded, and then hang them for their rebellion) he exasperated them against the king, adding that God had hardened his heart against any composure, and had rejected him; and when all this would not do, but that the people every day more and more were undeceived, and he conceived a fear, they might rescue the king from Hampton-court, and bring him to London, which the king and all good men desired; he contrived another wicked device to the king's final overthrow, by scaring him with the adjutators' (such were two selected, out of each company and troop) conspiracy to assassinate him, and so making him fly to the Isle of Wight, a distant and sure prison, from whence he never came but to his death. The king a while before was not ignorant of these treacherous arts of Cromwell, seeing nothing performed, as to substance, of whatever he promised, and, therefore, did roundly tax him with his faithlesness; who, at the upshot, told the king, that he did misconstrue his words, or else he remembered no such matter; and that, if it were so, yet it were no time to perform them, till the discipline of the army was recovered, and those adjutators in a capacity to be ques. tioned, who were now most outrageously and uncontroulably vio. lent against his person and government, with many more such flams and delays, and traiterous fallacies.

The king being in prison at Caresbroke Castle in the said isle, by the juggling of Cromwell with Hammond the governor (brother to one of the king's most affected chaplains) an ungrateful fellow, who owed himself to the king's bounty, several fresh attempts were made for his restitution ; that, which particularly concerned this Oliver, was the Welch insurrection at Pembrokc, which town, in July, after a brave defence, was surrendered to him; and the Scots invasion under Duke Hamilton, whose army, to which were joined some three thousand English under Sir Marmaduke Langdale, he totally defeated at Preston in Lancashire, on the 17th of August (and not long after the General Fairfax took in Colchester, which had stood out three months in expectation of relief from

« ForrigeFortsæt »