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17 and 19. That the King should enter into a stricter alliance with the United Provinces, and the other Protestant states of the continent; and that he should pass a bill for restraining all peers to be made in future from sitting in parliament, unless they should be admitted with the consent of both houses.*
When Charles read these articles (June 2nd), he angrily broke off all further negotiations. The national party expected a refusal; a Committee of Public Safety was immediately appointed committee to govern the kingdom (July 4th); and, after a formal of public demand that Charles should disband his forces, and pointed. return to the capital, which the King refused, unless the parliament disarmed first, all communication ceased, and war was resolved upon.
SECTION IV.-DURING THE CIVIL WAR, 1642-1649.
I. FROM THE COMMENCEMENT OF HOSTILITIES TO THE ALLIANCE OF THE PARLIAMENT WITH THE SCOTS. 45. The raising of the standard. The commencement of general hostilities is said to have been occasioned by the Earl of Essex laying siege to Portsmouth, which was held by Colonel Goring for the King (August 2nd). Charles immediately proclaimed Essex and his officers traitors, unless they returned to their duty within six days. The parliament declared this proclamation a libellous and scandalous paper, on which Charles summoned all his loving subjects north of the Trent, and within twenty miles to the south of that river, to meet him in arms at Nottingham, on the 22nd of August. On the 25th, the royal standard, on which was a hand pointing to a crown, with this motto " give to Cæsar his due," was carried by a guard from the castle into a large field, on the top of a hill which overlooked the town. A retinue of 2,000 men followed the King. As soon as the herald began to read the proclamation, the King took the paper from him and made some corrections in it; at the sound of the trumpet the standard was brought forward, but no one knew where to erect it, nor the precise form of the ancient feudal ceremony by which Charles, as lord paramount, now desired to assemble his vassals. At last they planted it on one of the castle towers, after the example of Richard III., the latest known instance; but that same night the standard was blown down, and when the King was informed of it, he asked why it had been put there, saying it ought to have been set up in an open place, where every one might have approached it, and not in a prison. The heralds therefore took it out of the castle, just outside the park, but when they sought to
* Clarendon's Rebellion, Book V.
plant it, they found the ground mere rock. With their daggers they dug a little hole, in which to fix the staff. but it would not stand, and for several hours they were obliged to hold it up with
46. The Battle of Edgehill. A month after this untoward ceremony, Charles proceeded to Shrewsbury, collecting reinforcements and enforcing contributions as he went, but so adverse to his cause was the country through which he passed, that even the blacksmiths left their homes to avoid shoeing his horses.
Waller, in the meantime, had reduced Portsmouth, and Essex had concentrated his forces in the vicinity of Northampton, whence he set forward, and slowly followed the royal army. His Skirmish right wing, under Hampden, Holles, Say, and others, Dunsmore defeated a royalist force under Lord Northampton on the Dunsmore road, near Southam; and presently afterwards encountered another detachment which was pursued to Oxford. On the 23rd of September, the main army, consisting of about 15,000 men, reached Worcester, where Essex lay inactive for three weeks. Charles, taking advantage of this, determined to advance upon London; and he was already on his third day's in advance march, before his enemies knew of his movement. The London. tidings of his advance filled the capital with terror; but parliament soon adopted measures of defence. Those who had not yet subscribed to the loans, were at once called upon to pay, and those who refused were imprisoned. The suspected were disarmed, and requisitions of every kind took place. Fortifications were hastily raised, a crowd of men, women, and children, working at them with ardour; chains were hung across the streets, barricades were erected, and the trainbands were kept constantly on foot. Essex, however, was now rapidly following the royal forces, and on the evening of the 22nd of October, as he entered the village of Keynton, they halted at Edgecot, a few miles in advance. Although he had left several regiments Edgecot. and part of his artillery behind him, he determined upon an immediate attack-a resolution which the King also adopted the same night. The next morning, which was bright and cold, found the royal army, 10,000 strong, posted on the brow of a range of hills, called Edgehill, from which a clear prospect of the enemy could be had across the plain called the "Vale of the Red Horse." For several hours the two armies quietly confronted each other; the royalists, having a superior position, expecting to be attacked; Essex waiting till his absent regiments should arrive. About noon they grew weary of this terrible suspense;
Essex overtakes him at
and at two o'clock, the King discharged a cannon with his own hand, as the signal for attack. His forces descended The battle. from their position; the Parliamentarians, already in advance, encountered them midway, and the battle became general. Essex, and Lord Lindsey, the royal commander-in-chief, both fought at the head of their respective regiments, pike in hand. Suddenly Prince Rupert made a desperate and impetuous onset, and broke the left wing of the parliamentary army, under the command of Sir James Ramsay. The latter instantly fled, hotly pursued by the prince, as far as Keynton, where he found Hampden's regiment, and the artillery, who drove Rupert back to the battle-field. Here the Royalists were in utter confusion. The parliamentary right and centre having stood firm against all assaults, had charged gallantly in return, captured several guns, and for one moment, had possession of the royal standard, and almost of the King's person. Night alone saved the Royalists from defeat; but although both parties claimed a victory, neither reaped any advantage. Charles, after taking Banbury, turned aside to Oxford; and Essex withdrew to Coventry. About 1,200 men fell in this battle; among them was Lord Lindsey, who was taken prisoner, and died of his wounds.*
47. March of the royal army towards London. The proximity of the royal army alarmed the metropolis, for Prince Rupert scoured and pillaged the whole country, up to the very environs of the city. The parliament, therefore, ordered Essex to come immediately to their protection; they wrote for assistance from Scotland; they formed a new army under the Earl of Warwick; they voted an address to the King; they even submitted to his refusal to receive as one of their deputies, Sir John Evelyn, whom the evening before (November 2nd) he had proclaimed a traitor. The citizens were panic stricken; the popular leaders could not in anywise excite their courage; and, in the meantime, Charles, informed by his partisans of all that was going on, hastened his march, and reached Colnbrook, only fifteen miles from the metropolis. Essex, however, had now reached London by the more eastern road; Kingston, Acton, and Windsor, were all garrisoned for the parliament, and the only open passage to the capital lay through the town of Brentford. Charles, therefore, did not refuse to see the parliamentary commissioners; but while the parley was going on, the royal cavalry under Rupert, suddenly attacked Brentford, and after a sharp action took it. The parliament considered this such a mark of perfidy and blood-thirstiness, + Clarendon's Rebellion, Book VI.
as justified them in breaking off the negotiations. It is very probable, however, that neither party was sincere in these proceedings; the parliament had discovered that the royal army was not so formidable as they had at first apprehended, while there were many about the King, as Clarendon says, who were opposed to the conclusion of a treaty so early. The King's position, indeed, had now become critical. Essex had assembled 24,000 men, and taken up a strong position at Turnham Green; Charles therefore retreated again to Oxford, through Reading.
"We all thought
48. The war in the country generally. one battle would decide it," says Richard Baxter, in his Life, "and we were all much mistaken." The war, indeed, had already become too general for so speedy a conclusion being effected. Each county, town, and hamlet was divided into factions, seeking the ruin of each other; and, while the war in the neighbourhood of London seemed to languish, elsewhere it broke forth spontaneous and energetic, and was openly carried on in each locality by the inhabitants on their own account, without any attention to what was passing at Oxford and London. Already Warlike the country was covered with warlike confederations, tions. freely entered into by the partisans of the respective parties. At first they requested; from the King or the parliament, commissions for their leaders, and power to levy soldiers, impose taxes, and adopt all such measures as they considered necessary to insure success. After this, they acted separately, and almost at their own discretion. The two most important of these confederacies were, the association of the four northern counties for the royal cause; and the Eastern Counties Association, for the The Eastern parliament, comprising Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, Association. Huntingdon, Bedford, Essex, Lincoln, and Hertford. All the other associations fell to pieces in a few months, there being no man of mark amongst them; but this one, through the genius and activity of Cromwell, was able to keep its own borders clear of invasion during the whole course of the war. In default of these local leagues, some influential man would levy a small body of his own, and carry on warfare for his party; while in other places more pacific feelings prevailed for awhile; Yorkshire and Cheshire concluded a regular treaty of neutrality; Devonshire and Cornwall followed their example, agreeing to put down all disturbances within their borders, and to oppose the entrance of the armed forces of either party. These latter associations were The Clubs. called Clubs, and, had the other counties adopted the same policy, the war would soon have terminated. But the Clubs
were left alone, and both parties, ere long, considered them as opposed to their interests, so that these neutral counties were compelled to espouse one or other of the causes.
In the eastern, midland, and south-eastern districts, the most populous and wealthy, the Parliamentary party was strongest; in those of the north, west, and south-west, the preponderance belonged to the King; here, landed property was less divided, industry less active, the higher nobility more influential, and the Roman Catholic religion had more adherents. The parliament had thus this advantage, that the counties devoted to its cause were all contiguous, and formed a strong girdle of defence round London; while the Royalist counties stretched from the Land's End to the extremity of Durham, in a long and of the royal narrow line, which was broken by adverse districts, so that they could not maintain any correspondence, could not act in concert, and only protected the rear of Charles's head quarters at Oxford, a town which lay almost isolated amidst the enemy's territory.*
49. Negotiations for a treaty at Oxford. The year 1643 opened with negotiations for peace at Oxford. The demands of the parliament amounted to fourteen articles, those of Charles were confined to six; but only the first in each class came into discussion. No argument could induce the houses to give up to the King the sole disposal of the military and naval forces; and Charles would not hear of their proposal, that both armies should be disbanded, and that he should return to London. The parliamentary commissioners, the Earl of Northumberland, Holland, Whitelocke, and others, endeavoured, as much as possible, to effect a compromise, and intimated that, if the King would give up the militia, he might save the bishops and the church. reception he gave to this proposition excited in the commissioners a strong hope of success; but the next morning he gave them almost an absolute denial, and said that when he should be in the lawful possession of his revenues, magazines, ships, and forts; when all the members of parliament, except the bishops, should be restored to their seats, and when the two houses adjourned to some place at least twenty miles from London, he would consent to the disbanding of both armies, and would meet his parliament in person (April 12th, 1643). On the receipt of this answer, the commissioners immediately left Oxford (April 15th). The reason assigned for this rancorous and haughty conduct of Charles is so strange, that it would be incredible were it not given upon * Guizot, 172-3; Mrs. Hutchinson's Memoirs; Lingard, X., 80-82.