« PreviousContinue »
a commanding force under Lieutenant-General Monk in Scotland.
This account I thought my duty to speed to you; and rest,
Your most humble servant,
The Scots found no Presbyterian-Royalists, no Royalists Proper to speak of, nor any Discontented Interest in England disposed to join them in present circumstances. They marched, under rigorous discipline, weary and uncheered, south through Lancashire; had to dispute their old friend the Bridge of Warrington with Lambert and Harrison, who attended them with horse-troops on the left; Cromwell with the main Army steadily advancing behind. They carried the Bridge at Warrington; they summoned various Towns, but none yielded; proclaimed their King with all force of lungs and heraldry, but none cried, God bless him. Summoning Shrewsbury, with the usual negative response, they quitted the London road; bent southward towards Worcester, a City of slight Garrison and loyal Mayor; there to entrench themselves, and repose a little.
Poor Earl Derby, a distinguished Royalist Proper, had hastened over from the Isle of Man, to kiss his Majesty's hand in passing. He then raised some force in Lancashire, and was in hopes to kindle that country again, and go to Worcester in triumph :— but Lilburn, Colonel Robert, whom we have known, fell upon him at Wigan; cut his force in pieces:1 the poor Earl had to go to Worcester in a wounded and wrecked condition. To Worcester, and, alas, to the scaffold by and by, for that business. The Scots at Worcester have a loyal Mayor, some very few adventurous loyal Gentry in the neighbourhood; and excitable Wales, perhaps again excitable, lying in the rear: but for the present, except in their own poor Fourteen-thousand right-hands, no outlook. And Cromwell is advancing steadily; by York, by Nottingham, by Coventry and Stratford; 'raising all the County
* Newspapers (in Cromwelliana, pp. 107-8).
Militias,' who muster with singular alacrity;-flowing towards Worcester like the Ocean-tide; begirdling it with 'upwards of Thirty-thousand men.' His Majesty's royal summons to the Corporation of London is burnt there by the hands of the common hangman; Speaker Lenthall and the Mayor have a copy of it burnt by that functionary at the head of every regiment, at a review of the Trainbands in Moorfields. London, England ge
nerally, seems to have made up its mind.
At London on the 22d of August, a rigorous thing was done : Reverend Christopher Love, eloquent zealous Minister of St. Lawrence in the Jewry, was, after repeated respites and negotiations, beheaded on Tower Hill. To the unspeakable emotion of men. Nay the very Heavens seemed to testify a feeling of it,— by a thunderclap, by two thunderclaps. When the Parliament passed their vote, on the 4th of July, That he should die, according to the sentence of the Court, there was then a terrible thunderclap, and darkening of daylight. And now when he actually dies, directly after his beheading,' arises thunderstorm that threatens the dissolution of Nature! Nature, as we see, survived it.
The old Newspaper says, It was on the 22d August, 1642, that Charles late King erected his Standard at Nottingham: and now on this same day, 22d August, 1651, Charles Pretender erects his at Worcester; and the Reverend Christopher dies. Men may make their reflections.-There goes a story, due to Carrion Heath or some such party, That Cromwell being earnestly solicited for mercy to this poor Christopher, did, while yet in Scotland, send a Letter to the Parliament, recommending it; which Letter, however, was seized by some roving outriders of the Scotch Worcester Army; who reading it, and remembering Uxbridge Sermon, tore it, saying, "No, let the villain die!"after the manner of Heath. Which could be proved, if time and paper were of no value, to be, like a hundred other very wooden myths of the same Period, without truth. Guarda e passa. Glance at it here for the last time, and never repeat it more!—
Charles's Standard, it would seem then, was erected at Worcester on Friday the 22d, the day of poor Christopher's death.
1 Bates, ii. 122; Whitlocke, p. 492; see also Commons Journals, vii. 6 (23 August, 1651).
On which same Friday, about sunrise, our Messenger' (the Parliament's) 'left the Lord General at Mr. Pierpoint's House,'William Pierpoint, of the Kingston Family, much his friend,the House called Thoresby near Mansfield;' just starting for Nottingham, to arrive there that night. From Nottingham, by Coventry, by Stratford and Evesham, to the southeast side of Worcester,' rallying Country forces as we go, will take till Thursday next. Here at Stratford on the Wednesday, eve of that, is a Letter accidentally preserved.
DUBITATING Wharton, he also might help to rally forces; his name, from Upper Winchington in Bucks,' or wherever he may be, might do something. Give him, at any rate, a last chance.— Tom Westrow,' here accidentally named; once a well-known man, familiar to the Lord General and to men of worth and quality; now, as near as may be, swallowed forever in the NightEmpires;-is still visible, strangely enough, through one small chink, and recoverable into daylight as far as needful. A Kentish man, a Parliament Soldier once, named in military Kent Committees; indisputably sat in Parliament too,' though the Official Lists say nothing of him. Above all, he was the Friend of poor George Wither, stepson of the Muses; to whom in his undeserved distresses he lent beneficent princely sums; and who, in poor splayfooted doggrel,-very poor, but very grateful, pious, true, and on the whole, noble,-preserves some adequate memory of him for the curious.2 By this chink Tom Westrow and the ancient figure of his Life, is still recoverable if needed.
Westrow, we find by good evidence, did return to his place in
1 Husbands; Commons Journals, v. 356, iv. 691, &c.
2 Westrow Revived: a Funeral Poem without Fiction, composed by George Wither, Esq.; that God may be glorified in His Saints, and that &c. &c. (King's Pamphlets, 12mo, no. 390: London, 1653-4, dated with the '3 January'): unadulterated doggrel; but really says something just ;by no means your insupportablest poetic' reading, as times go!
LETTER CLXVII., STRATFORD-ON-AVON.
Parliament;'-quitted it too, as Wither informs us, foreseeing the great Catastrophe ; and retired to country quiet, up the River at Teddington. Westrow and the others returned: Wharton continued to dubitate ;-and we shall here take leave of him. 'Poor 'foolish Mall,' young Mary Cromwell, one of
my two little
Wenches,' has been on a visit at Winchington, I think ;— thanks to you and the dear Lady' for her.
For my honoured Lord Wharton: These.
Stratford-on-Avon, 27th August, 1651.
I know I write to my Friend,-therefore give me leave to say one bold word.
In my very heart: Your Lordship, Dick Norton, Tom Westrow, Robert Hammond have, though not intentionally, helped one another to stumble at the Dispensations of God, and to reason yourselves out of His service!—
Now again' you have opportunity to associate with His people in His work; and to manifest your willingness, and desire to serve the Lord against His and His people's enemies. Would you be blessed out of Zion, and see the good of His people, and rejoice with His inheritance, -I advise you all in the bowels of love, Let it appear you offer yourselves willingly to His work! Wherein to be accepted, is more honour from the Lord than the world can give or hath. I am persuaded it needs you not,—save as your Lord and Master needed the Ass's Colt, to shew His humility, meekness and condescension: but you need it, to declare your submission to, and owning yourself the Lord's and His people's!2
If you can break through old disputes,-I shall rejoice
''Admitted to sit;' means, readmitted after Pride's Purge: Commons Journals (vii. 27, 29), 10 October, 1651.
2 Grammar, in this last clause, lost in the haste: 'Ass's Colt' is 'Beast' in orig.
if you help others to do so also. Do not say, You are now satisfied because it is the old Quarrel;-as if it had not been so, all this while!
I have no leisure; but a great deal of entire affection to you and yours, and those named here,'-which I thus plainly express. Thanks to you and the dear Lady, for all loves, and for poor foolish Mall. I am in good
earnest thankful;' and so also
Faithful friend and most humble servant,
Charles's Standard has been floating over Worcester some six days; and now on Thursday, 28th of August, comes in sight Cromwell's also; from the Evesham side; with upwards of Thirty-thousand men now near him; and some say, upwards of Eighty-thousand rising in the distance to join him if need were.
* Gentleman's Magazine (London, 1814), lxxxiv. p. 419.