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Other men, in what profession foever, have generally advanced very slowly, or by some other means than pure merit, to the highest dignities. But this was not Cromwell's case : his advances from a captain to a lieutenant-general were so sudden, that they could not but surprise all that were witnesses to them. His securing the town of Cambridge, when the college-plate was upon the point of being sent to the king at Oxford, and his taking Sir Thomas Connesby, high-sheriff of Hertfordshire, just as he was going to St. Albans, to proclaim the parliament-cominanders all traitors, were such actions as procured him the thanks of the house, and soon afær recommended him to the dignity of a colonel. In this post, having raised a thousand horse by his own interest, he obstructed the levies for the king in Cambridgeshire, Effex, Suffolk, and Norfolk, with incredible diligence : he also defeated the project of a counter-association on the king's fide, contrived by Sir John Pettus and others, by surprising the parties in the town of Leftoff, and seifing all their provisions and stores : then, going to convoy some ammunition from Warwick to Gloucester, he by the way took Hisden-house, made Sir Alexander Denton, the owner, and many others, prisoners, obtained a large booty, and gave an alarm to Oxford itself.
$. 2. Being now made lieutenant-general to the earl of Manchester, he levy'd more forces. With these marching towards Lincolnshire, he disarmed the parliament's enemies by the way, relieved captain Wray, who was distressed by the Newarkers, made a great flaughter, and took three troops. Afterwards meeting with twenty-four of the king's troops near Grantham, he with seven troops only
entirely routed them, Lord Willoughby of Parham having got possession of Gainsborough for the parliament, colonel Cavendish was sent by his brother, the earl of Newcastle, with a great party of horse, to summon it. Cromwell attacked him with only twelve troops, near the town;
and though Cavendish had three times the number of men, and prodigious advantage of fituation, his party was entirely routed, and himself
killed, among a great number of other officers. “ This, says Whitelock, was the beginning of Cromwell's great fortunes ; and now he began to appear in the world. He had a brave regiment of horse of his countrymen, most of them freeholders, and freeholders fons, who upon matter of conscience engaged in the quarrel under Cromwell. And thus being well armed within, by the satisfaction of their own consciences, and without
* At a general muster in 1644, no men appeared so full, and well armed, and civil, as colonel Cromwell's horse did.
Late says, that “ Cromwell used them daily to look after, fced, and dress their horfes, and, when it was necesary, to lie together on the ground; and besides taught them to clean and keep their arms bright, and have them ready for service i to chuse the best armour, and to arm themselves to the best advantage. Trained up in this kind of military exercise, they excelled all their fellow-foldiers in feats of war, and obtained more victories over the enemy. These were afterwards preferred to be commanders and officers in the army, and their places filled up with lusty strong fellows, whom he brought up in the same strictness of discipline."
But the fulleft and best authority for what is here advanced, may be found in Cromwell's own words, as quoted by the Reverend Mr. Peck from his conference on the parliament's defiring him to take on him the title of king. “ I was a person that from my firit employment was suddenly preferred and lifted up
from lesser trusts to greater. From my first being captain of a troop of horse, I did labour, as well as I could, to discharge my trust; and God blessed me, as it pleased him. I had a very worthy friend then, Mr. John Hampden, and he was a very noble person, and
by good iron arms, they would as one man stand firmly, and charge desperately." He was obliged, however, after this victory, to retreat the same night to Lincoln ; which he did in good order, and marched the next day to the earl of Manchester at Bofton. Colonel Cavendish's troops rallying, after the death of their leader, and joining the earl of Newcastle, Cromwell thought it not prudent to engage against such prodigious odds ; so drew off with all the conduct of an experienced general.
His next action was against Sir John Henderson, an old commander, at the head of eighty-seven troops.
They I know his memory is very grateful to all. At my first going out into this engagement, I saw our men were beaten on every hand : I did indeed ; and defired him that he would make fome additions to my lord Essex's army of some new regiments; and I told him it would be serviceable to him in bringing such men in, as I thought had a spirit that would do fomething in the work. Your troops, said I, are most of them old decayed ferving-men and tapfters, and such kind of fellows ; and their troops are gentlemens sons, younger fons, and persons of quality : and do you think that the spirit of such base and mean fellows will ever be able to encounter gentlemen, that have honour, and courage, and resolution in them ? You must get men of a spirit, and (take it not ill what I fay) of a spirit that is likely to go on as far as gentlemen will go ; or else I am sure you will be beaten ftill. I told him so. He was a wife and worthy perfon, and he did think that I talked a good notion, but an impracticable one. I told him, I could do fomewhat in it. And I raised such men as had the fear of God before them, and made some conscience of what they did. And from that day forwards they were never beaten, but whenever they engaged against the enemy, they beat continually.” Peck's memoirs of the life and actions of Oliver Cromwell, p. 52. in the 320tes.
They met near Horn-castle, at a place called Windsby-field. Here Cromwell was in great danger, having his horse killed in the first shock, and being struck down again as he attempted to rise. But his good fortune ftill protected him ; in about an hour the royalists were routed, the lord Widdrington, Sir Ingram Hopton, and other persons of quality, with about fifteen hundred soldiers and inferior officers, were left dead on the field, very few being loft on the parliament side. Many prisoners, arms, and horses, were taken ; and it was in consequence of this victory, that the earl of Manchester made himself master of Lincoln.
§. 3. Soon after this followed the battle of Marston
The parliament army, under the ear of Manchester, lord Fairfax, and general Leven, had been obliged by prince Rupert to raise the fiege of York. His highness, not contented with this advantage, refolved to give them battle, and accordingly came up with them at the above-mentioned place. In the engagement, the left wing of the royal army, commanded by the prince in person, put to flight the parliament's right wing, and in it the said three generals. But the prince pursuing them too far, Cromwell, who commanded the left wing, found means to draw over the victory to his side, and get the whole honour of it to himself. He engaged clofely the earl of Newcastle, who had before only cannonaded at a distance, and. the action on both sides was warm and desperate. The horse having discharged their pistols, flung them at each other's heads, and then fell to it with their swords. But after a very obstinate dispute, Cromwell's superior genius prevailed, and the king's right wing was totally routed. And now the prince returning with his victorious party, was also charged at unawares, and entirely defeated, by the reserve of Cromwell's brigade.
In this action, above four thousand of the king's forces were slain, and fifteen hundred taken prisoners, among whom were above a hundred persons of distinc
tion, and considerable officers. All their artillery, great number of small arms, and much ammunition, together with the prince's own standard, were also taken : the parliamentarians losing not above three hundred men. The whole glory of it is universally ascribed to Cromwell, who, according to some, was abfent when Manchester, Fairfax, and Leven, were put in confufion, being gone off to have a wound dressed, which he received at the first charge : but returning to his post, he shewed what good sense united with valour could do ; for by his own prowess he infpired the troops with fresh courage, and immediately gave a new turn to the fortune of the day. For his behaviour in this memorable battle, which was fought on the second of July 1644, Cromwell gained the name of Ironfides, alluding to his invincible bravery, and the impenetrable strength of his troops. The €onsequences on the king's fide were, diffenfion and separation between the prince and his confederates, and soon after the surrender of the city of York, by Sir Thomas Glemham.
I am very fenfible that Sir William Dugdale, in his short view of the late troubles, and lord Hollis, in his memoirs, have accused Cromwell of egregious cowardice, the former in the battle of Edge-hill, and the latter in this battle of Maríton-moor : but as they both do it only on hearsay, and were besides profersed enemies of our commander, and as all the concurrent and subsequent facts and circumstances, in particular his great reputation from this time, entirely contradict and overthrow every calumny of that nature, it is certainly needless to use any other means to wipe off their afperfions.
§. 4. In fact Cromwell began now to be so very much taken notice of, that some dreaded, other, envy’d, and all admired him. It is reported, that the character given of him to the king by archbishop Williams, made such an impression on his majesty, that he was heard to say, “ I would some one would