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Some memorials of John Hampden : his party and his times online

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' commander in an army, and proffered him such a place in
' his army, if he would go with him ; but he modestly refused
' it. However, the said Prince fairly performed his promise,
' and would not suffer a pennyworth of the goods in the
' house to be taken from them ; and so departed.' *

Prince Rupert rejoined the King at Shrewsbury, where he
remained fill (lie preparations were completed for taking the
field with the whole army. He now returned with the
advanced guard. Worcester was held for the King, and
Rupert was moving along the Severn in the direction of that
city, in order to relieve the garrison, which was threatened by
the Earl of Essex.

On the 19th of September, he sent a flag of truce, with a
message, to the Lord-General, who was then at Northampton
preparing to march upon Worcester. He reproached him
with his treasons, questioned him as to his intended line of
inarch, whether on Worcester or Coventry, and offered to give
him the meeting, with the best army each could provide, on
Dunsmore Heath. Essex was not tempted by this proposal
of the Prince's to allow the King's army to advance in front
of Birmingham, Coventry, and Warwick, (thus effectually
cutting off these towns from all relief,) nor to allow an enemy,
superior to him in the numbers and equipment of his cavalry,t
to choose the place of meeting on an open heath, and in the
midst of a country abounding with forage, of which the
Prince stood much in need.J The offer was such as might
have been expected from a chieftain of twenty-three, witli a
brilliant division of above five thousand newly raised horse ;
but not such as was likely to be accepted by an experienced
general, whose advantage consisted in infantry, in artillery
(which, in those days, was a cumbrous weapon, not easily to
be wielded in the open field against cavalry,) and in the extent
of friendly district in his rear. Nor, probably, was he without
his suspicions that the time expended in arranging the terms
of this challenge, might be employed by the King in strength-
ening and relieving Worcester. ' Whereupon, his Excellency
' returned answer, that the manner of his raising those forces
' that were then with him ready to march under his command

* Viccars Parl. Chron. Continuation of Special and Remarkable
Passages Gibson's Additions to Camden. Monument of Mr. Abbott iii
Caldecot Church.

t Clarendon Hist. Reb. : Ibid.


f was a thing not now to be disputed on between them, the
' occasions and legality thereof being already determined by
' both Houses of Parliament ; neither had he undertaken that
f command with any intent for to levy forces or to make war
' against his Majesty's Royal person ; but to obtain a peace
' between his Sacred Majesty and his Great Council of Parlia-
' ment, and all the rest of his Majesty's faithful, dutiful, and
' most loyal subjects, against any persons whatsoever that
( should oppose and resist the same ; and that he feared not to
' meet the prince in any place that he should appoint or make
' choice of.' * But, meanwhile, he put his army in march for
Worcester. He was again accompanied from Northampton,
as he had been from London, along several miles of road, by
the principal gentry of the neighbourhood, and by crowds
of people, with great rejoicings, and loud expressions of

The Lord-General now established himself in Worcester ;
and he lost no time in issuing his orders of war in the form of
a speech at the head of his army. He desired them to take
notice of what on his honour he promised to perform, and
what he should expect from them.

' I do promise, in the sight of Almighty God, to undertake
' nothing but what shall tend to the advancement of the true
' Protestant religion, the securing of his Majesty's Koyal person,
' the maintenance of the just privileges of Parliament, and the
' liberty and property of the subject. Neither will I engage any
1 of you into any danger, but I will, in my own person, run an
' equal hazard with you, and either bring you off with honour, or,
' (if God have so decreed) fall with you, and willingly become a
' sacrifice for the preservation of my country. Likewise I do pro-
' raise that my ear shall be open to hear the complaint of the poorest
' of my soldiers, though against the chiefest of my officers, neither
' shall his greatness (if justly taxed) gain any privilege ; but I shall
* be ready to execute justice against all, from the greatest to the
' least. Your pay shall be constantly delivered to your commanders,
' and, if default be made by any officer, give me timely notice, and
' you shall find speedy redress. I shall now declare what is your
' duty towards me, which I must likewise expect to be carefully
c performed by you. I shall desire all and every officer to endeavour

* Prince Robert's Speech to the Earl of Essex, and his Excellency's
Answer thereunto from Northampton, on Monday, Sept. 19. King's Coll.,
Brit. Mus.


' by love and affable carriage to command his soldiers ; since what
' is done for fear is done unwillingly, and what is unwillingly
' attempted can never prosper. Likewise 'tis my request that you
' be very careful in the exercising of your men, and bring them to
' use their arms readily and expertly, and not busy them in prac-
c tising the ceremonious forms of military discipline ; only let them
' be well instructed in the necessary rudiments of war ; that they
' may fall on with discretion, and retreat with care ; how maintain
' their order, and make good their ground. Also I do expect that
1 ail those which voluntarily engaged themselves in this service
' should answer my expectation in the performance of these ensuing
' articles.

' 1 . That you willingly and cheerfully obey such as by your own

* election you have made commanders over you,

' 2. That you take especial care to keep your arms at all times
' fit for service, that upon all occasions you may be ready, when the
c signal shall be given by the sound of drum or trumpet, to repair
' to your colours, and so to march upon any service, where and when
' occasion shall require.

' 3. That you bear yourselves like soldiers, without doing any
1 spoil to the inhabitants of the country ; so doing you shall obtain
' love and friendship, where, otherwise, you will be hated and com-
' plained of, and I, that should protect you, shall be forced to punish
' you according to the severity of law.

' 4. That you accept, and rest satisfied with, such quarters as
' shall fall to your lot, or be appointed you by your quarter-master.

' 5. That you shall, if appointed for sentries or perdues, faith-

* fully discharge that duty ; for, upon fail thereof, you shall be sure
' to undergo a very severe censure.

' 6. You shall forbear to prophane the sabbath, either by being
' drunk, or by unlawful games ; for whosoever shall be found
' faulty must not expect to pass unpunished.

' 7. Whosoever shall be known to neglect the feeding of his
c horse with necessary provender, to the end that his horse be
' disabled or unfit for service, the party for the said default shall
' suffer a month's imprisonment, and afterwards be cashiered, as
c unworthy the name of a soldier.

' 8. That no trooper, or other of our soldiers, shall suffer his
c paddee to feed his horse in the corn, or to steal men's hay, but
' shall pay, every man, for hay 6d. day and night, and for oats
' 2s. the bushel.

' Lastly, that you avoid cruelty. For it is my desire rather to
' save the lives of thousands than to kill one ; so that it may be
' done without prejudice. These things faithfully performed, and
' the justice of our cause truly considered, let us advance with a


* religious courage, and willingly adventure our lives in the defence
' of the King and Parliament.' *

On the 22nd of September, while the army was on its
march, a skirmish was fought, which both parties agreed in
calling the battle of Worcester. Improperly so named ; for it
was but affattair of outpostsln which a few hundred men were
engaged, and it was not fought at Worcester, but about four
miles from that city, at Powick Bridge, upon the river Team,
But both parties were equally eager to announce to the country
that a battle had been fought, and equally well determined to
claim the result of it as a victory to themselves ; each giving
very inflated accounts of their enemy's superiority in numbers)
and of the decisiveness of their own success. All the diurnals,
proclamations, and intelligencers, which issued from either side
to spread the news, were remarkably unscrupulous on this
point. The exaggerations seem to be very evenly balanced.
The real issue of the engagement was, (no very uncommon
event in the beginning of these wars,) that the one party was
beaten back in the field, and the other, immediately after,
retired in a panic, leaving the post which they had to defend
to an adversary who had given no proof of being able to take
it. Ludlow, however, in his memoirs, appears to give the
most honest and credible evidence, inasmuch as he speaks very
frankly of the misconduct on his own side, and owns the
defeat. This, compared with Clarendon's, and correcting the
misrepresentations of other more detailed accounts, gives
a tolerably intelligible view of the affair.

About ten troops of the Parliament's regular horse, and six
of dragoons,f under the command of Colonel Browne and
Colonel Sandys, being in all about five hundred, made good
their passage of the bridge, and, drawing up in a meadow on
the left of the road, established themselves there till the next
day, waiting the support of the main body, and, apparently,
little expecting to be attacked ; for they had placed themselves

* King's Pamphlets British Mus.

{ The dragoons are, in these accounts, always distinguished from the
horse. They were troops who acted with the regular cavalry, but often
on foot, and sometimes mounted behind the horsemen in advance or
retreat. They were armed with long swords, like the troopers ; but they
also carried matchlocks, and are supposed by Dr. Meyrick to have derived
their name from the locks of the carbines of the first dragoons having the
representation of a dragon's head, with the lighted match borne in its jaws.


with a narrow bridge and an unfordable river behind them.
To lead them into further disadvantage, the enemy dispatched
a messenger, disguised, with a false report that Sir William
Balfore, lieutenant-general in chief of the Parliament's cavalry,
was in force on the other side of the city. The messenger
delivered orders, as from Balfore, that, upon the firing of a
cannon, which was to be his signal of onset, they were to
advance upon the lanes nearer the city, to stop and capture
the flying garrison. Soon after this, some of the enemy's
dragoons shewed themselves on the road, and, Colonel Sandys
having mounted for the attack, the whole body, contrary to
Nathaniel Eiennes's and Captain Wingate's advice, (who
would, at ail events, have waited for the signal,) pushed
forward. But, though they had not given time for the enemy's
ambush to be thoroughly formed, they soon discovered that
they had been mistaken in supposing those in front to be
beaten men leaving the town. For, while engaged with the
dragoons, they suddenly found themselves attacked on both
flanks by infantry, who opened a severe fire, and then charged
them with their pole-axes. Nathaniel Fiennes, on whose {
reputation for personal courag*"there never was a just stain, /
(however unfurnished he was with the firmness befitting the j
higher responsibilities of the military profession), behaved with '
great valour. He instantly supported the advanced party,
and, with his own hand, pistolled the officer commanding the
enemy's horse. Then, breaking through them, he forced them
over the hedges among their own infantry. But Sandys was
mortally wounded, and taken. At length, pressed by fresh
troops, (llupert and Maurice being both in the field with
about 1600 men,) the Parliamentarians retired in confusion
across the bridge, hotly pursued, and with great loss.*
Edmund Ludlow was with the advanced guard of the main
army, being then in the Lord-General's body-guard of gentle-
men, at Parshot, on the way from Northamptonshire. ' The
' body of our routed party,' says he, ' returned in great
1 disorder to Parshot, at which place our life-guard was
' appointed to quarter that night ; where, as we were marching
' into the town, we discovered horsemen riding very hard
' towards us, with drawn swords, and many of them without

* Viccare's Par!. Chron. Ludlow's Memoirs. Clarendon Hist. Reb.
Kingdome's Weekly Intelligencer. Continuation of Special and Remark-
able Passages, from Monday the 3rd, till the 5th of October.


' hats, from whom we understood the particulars of our loss,
( not without improvement, by reason of the fear with which
' they were possessed, telling us that the enemy was hard by
' in pursuit of them ; whereas, it afterwards appeared, they
' came not within four miles of that place. Our life-guard
' being, for the most part, strangers to things of this nature,
( were much alarmed with this report ; yet some of us,
' unwilling to give credit to it till we were better informed,
' offered ourselves to go out upon a further discovery of the
f matter but our captain, Sir Philip Stapylton, not being
' then with us, his lieutenant, one Bainham, an old soldier
' (a generation of men much cried up at that time), drawing
' us into a field, where he pretended we might more advantage-
' ously charge if there should be occasion, commanded us to
' wheel about. But our gentlemen, not yet well understanding
' the difference between " wheeling-about " and " shifting for
' " themselves," their backs being now towards the enemy whom
' they thought to be close in the rear, retired to the army in a
' very dishonourable manner, and the next morning rallied at
' the head-quarters, where we received but cold welcome from
' the General, as we well deserved/

The next day the garrison of Worcester retired on its way
to Shrewsbury, though the King was advancing to their relief,
with a force, which, together with theirs, outnumbered Essex's
whole army. They took with them Wingate, whom they had
made prisoner in the fight, and (as Yiccars says), ' it was
' credibly reported, most barbarously and basely made him ride
' naked, though a Member of Parliament, and a pious worthy
' gentleman/ How far this special case may be true, with its
somewhat whimsical aggravations, is not perhaps very much
worth serious inquiry.* Eupert, generally known at that
time under the name of the Prince Robert, and among the
Parliamentarians, by no very forced conceit, under that of ' the
' Prince Robber/ had not served at the head of a regiment in
Germany, without acquiring, and encouraging very abund-
antly and freely among his horsemen, the insolent and cruel

* A very different account is given of the subsequent treatment -which
he received. ' Captaine Wingate is used like a gentleman by the Cavaliers ;
' and the printed pamphlets doe much injury that expresse any hard usage
' of him by them. Give the devill his due, and doe soe to the Cavaliers
in this thing.' Special Passages. From the llth to the 18th of


spirit of partisan warfare. Particular instances of this sort,
it is true, were treasured up by the Parliamentary chroniclers,
to serve as general examples of the conduct of the opposite
party ; but it is equally true, that Rupert's general conduct in
these respects subjected him, more than once, to a check in
the published orders of the King, and that, wherever he
appeared, the war was usually marked with great ferocity and
excess. His generous conduct to Mrs. Purefoy, after the
surrender of Caldecot House, appears, indeed, as a solitary

Lord Essex now took possession of Worcester.

On the 29th of September, a struggle took place in the
Guildhall, on the election of the Lord Mayor of London;
those of the Livery who were secretly attached to the Court
proposing Sir John Cordwell, but the Parliamentarians carrying
the election of Alderman Pennington by a very large majority ;
an event as injurious to what remained of the King's interest
in the city, as the attempt had been unwise. It exasperated,
if possible still more, the already inflamed spirits of the
citizens; and it did so in a manner which only gave them
a public triumph, and exposed to danger the opposing minority,
who had thus displayed themselves as a party, and proved at
once their own weakness and the utter hopelessness of their
further progress there.

The Parliament, however, resumed a tone of moderation.
Though their cause was already in arms throughout the
country, it had not yet been committed in open field against
the King in person. While a hope remained of avoiding this
extremity, every effort to delay it was a duty. And this
justice, at least, must be done to the Parliament's motives in
this delay, that every day was increasing the King's means in
men, in military stores from abroad, and in the influence of his
name and of those of his supporters ; while the preparations
made by the Houses, and by their generals, were complete, and
not likely to be further extended. They, however, instantly
dispatched another petition for peace, setting forth the distrac-
tions of the country, protesting against the machinations of
the secret cabinet, particularly in respect of the dreadful
massacres still flagrant in Ireland, and of the open menace of
an incursion of the Irish rebels, and of troops from Germany
and Denmark ; and ending with what Viccars terms a ' most


' just redargution of the malignants' foul and false slanders
' on the Parliament/

To this proposition forwarded by Essex to the King, and pray-
ing also safe conduct and free access for himself to his Majesty,
this brief and haughty answer was returned : ' That his Majesty
< would receive any petition that should be presented to him
' from his Parliament, and give free access to those that should
' bring the same ; but that he would not receive any petition
e from the hands of any traitor/ In one short intemperate
sentence thus casting back at once every approach to a treaty,
and rendering all further proposition, as affairs then stood,
entirely hopeless. For, besides the unnecessary violence of
recalling, at such a moment, to the Parliament's remembrance
that the person in whom they had voted their clu'ef confidence
had been proclaimed a traitor, it showed them the impossibility
of procuring access to the King for any other person entrusted
with a similar project of accommodation ; almost every one of
those leading members of either House to whom such project
or petition could be with benefit confided, being precluded
under the same proscription from appearing in the Royal

On this a resolution was passed, that e for his Majesty to
' make such a distinction of his Parliament, that he would
' receive no petition from the hands of such whom he accounts
' traitors, he did therein abridge them of the greatest privilege
' of Parliament that can be, and in effect refuse to receive any
' petition from them at all. For that his Majesty, by pro-
( claiming the Earl of Essex and his adherents to be traitors,
' hath, in these words, comprehended both the Houses of
' Parliament, which is not only against the privileges of
' Parliament, but also against the fundamental laws of the
f land/ It was therefore also voted, ' that the Earl of Essex
' should go forward in raising forces according to his instruc-
' tions, and lay by the said petition which was to have been
' presented to his Majesty ; and that the Lord-General should
' advance his army/

Nor did the mischief rest here. The Lord Mohun and the
Earl of Bath had returned their summonses to the Parliament,
denying it to be a free Parliament, and alleging that they had
the King's warrant for not obeying its commands. The Lord
Capel had also, at the same time, given commission to the


Marquis of Hertford to apply all his rents in the west to the
maintaining of the war against the Parliament. Again, then,
the Parliament proceeded with these three Lords as it had done
with the eleven who had first left Westminster for York ; and,
in order to retaliate upon the King a petulant course which
showed no better in the imitation, voted them to be capital
delinquents, and that their estates should be placed in commis-
sion for the public service of the Commonwealth. The lands
and estates, also, of all convicted Papists, and Popish recusants,
(the common unjust resource of the English Government on
all such occasions of need,) were voted to be sequestered, and
their persons to be secured.*

Meanwhile, it appears that Hampden was incessantly and
variously occupied in all the affairs of the war. We find him
in Northampton, at the head-quarters of the-Earl of Essex,
and leading his brigade in the general advance of the army
upon Worcester ; but, several times was he journeying to and
fro between Northampton and London, to hold counsel with
the Parliament, and to assist at the Committee of Public
Safety ; and, a very few days before the advance, he was
dispatched to take the command at Aylesbury, where the
magazines of the county lay, and towards which, it seems, that
parties of the Earl of Northampton's division were moving by
circuitous routes, occasionally laying waste the country round,
and threatening to force the new raised and unconnected bodies
of volunteers who guarded the London road in Essex's rear.
On the 16th, supported by Holies, he commanded in a severe
skirmish at a short distance from the town of Aylesbury, in
which many were slain, and the cavaliers were repulsed and
pursued, the prisoners being sent to Buckingham and Wycombe
jails. A requisition was instantly sent to London for troops
to reinforce the garrison of Aylesbury. Hampden and Holies,
however, did not pause upon their advantage, but pursued the
beaten party in the direction of Oxford, from which city they
dislodged the Lord Byron, and followed him into the Vale of
Evesham, where, on the 21st, they brought him to action, and
dispersed his force. They then rejoined Lord Essex's army
upon its entry into Worcester. f

The war had by this time assumed a more determinate
object and system, and its operations were conducted on a

* Yiccars Parl. Chrou. t Special Passages, Sept. 23 and 24.


larger scale. Hitherto, ignorant of the amount of each other's
strength, doubtful of the extent of each other's views, and
irresolute as to their own, and each looking daily for some
decisive proposal of accommodation to be made from the
adverse side, both parties had contented themselves with
uncombined enterprises and encounters, which had, for the
most part, sprung from local causes rather than from any
which could materially expedite the great issue of the conflict.
But the natural consequences of these uncombined enterprises
and encounters now began to appear. Neighbouring posts
were strengthened and multiplied, in order to give support to
the scattered parties in the field. Extensive lines of commu-
nication were formed, and the armies on both sides drew in
their detachments to move on points. The King, who had
now advanced from Shrewsbury and Ludlow, having manoeu-
vred for some days with skill and success in the neighbour-
hood of Worcester, was enabled, suddenly putting himself in
march to the eastward, to effect a junction with Lord North-
ampton's division. It was now about the middle of October.
His army was collected in a body of near twenty thousand
men, and a large part of it on Essex's flank was actually
covering one of the main roads to the metropolis, where the
Parliament sat protected only by the train-bands of the city,
and by some half-formed and undisciplined levies which still
remained to guard the stores of the midland counties, and
which might have been either forced or passed. The flanking
roads on both sides were circuitous and bad. Essex's commu-
nications extended from Worcester, through part of Oxford-
shire, into Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, and
Middlesex. But the line was too much extended ; it was
weak, and easy to be broken through in almost any part. The

Online LibraryGeorge Nugent Grenville NugentSome memorials of John Hampden : his party and his times → online text (page 35 of 45)