Favorite authors in prose and poetry online

. (page 46 of 66)
Online Libraryi00bostFavorite authors in prose and poetry → online text (page 46 of 66)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

try people," and also by " two troops of horse ; " and com-
plain loudly of such treatment ; appealing to all men
whether it be fair. This is the account they give of them-
selves when brought before the General some days after-


* Apr it 20th, 1649. Everard and Winstanley, the chief
of those that digged at St. George's Hill in Surrey, came to
the General and made a large declaration, to justify their
proceedings. Everard said, He was of the race of the
Jews," as most men called Saxon, and other, prop erly are ;
" That all the Liberties of the People were lost by the com-
ing in of William the Conquerer ; and that, ever since, the
People of God had lived under tyranny and oppression
worse than that of our Forefathers under the Egyptians.
But now the time of deliverance was at hand; and God
would bring His People out of this slavery, and restore
them to their freedom in enjoying the fruits and benefits of
the Earth. And that there had lately appeared to him,
Everard, a vision ; which bade him, Arise and dig and
plough the Earth, and receive the fruits thereof. That
their intent is to restore the Creation to its former condi-
tion. That as God had promised to make the barren land
fruitful, so now what they did, was to restore the ancient
Community of enjoying the Fruits of the Earth, and to dis-
tribute the benefit thereof to the poor and needy, and to feed
the hungry and clothe the naked. That they intend not
to meddle with any man's property, nor to break down any
pales or enclosures," in spite of reports to the contrary;
" but only to meddle with what is common and untilled, and
to make it fruitful for the use of man. That the time will
suddenly be, when all men shall willingly come in and give
up their lands and estates, and submit to this Community of

These are the principles of Everard, Winstanley, and the
poor Brotherhood, seemingly Saxon, but properly of the
race of the Jews, who were found dibbling beans on St.
George's Hill, under the clear April skies in 1649, and
hastily bringing in a new era in that manner. " And for
all such as will come in and work with them, they shal]
have meat, drink, and clothes, which is all that is necessary


to the life of man : and as for money, there is not any need
of it ; nor of clothes more than to cover nakedness." For
the rest, "That they will not defend themselves by arms,
but will submit unto authority, and wait till the promised
opportunity be offered, which they conceive to be at hand.
And that as their forefathers lived in tents, so it would be
suitable to their condition, now to live in the same.

" While they were before the General, they stood with
their hats on ; and being demanded the reason thereof, they
said, Because he was but their fellow-creature. Being
asked the meaning of that phrase, Give honor to whom hon-
or is due, they said, Your mouths shall be stopped that
ask such a question."

Dull Bulstrode hath " set down this the more largely be-
cause it was the beginning of the appearance " of an exten-
sive levelling doctrine, much to be " avoided " by judicious
persons, seeing it is "a weak persuasion." The germ of
Quakerism, and much else, is curiously visible here. But
let us look now at the military phasis of the matter ; where
"a weak persuasion," mounted on cavalry horses, with
sabres and fire-arms in its hand, may become a very peril
ous one.

Friday, 20th April, 1649. The Lieutenant-General has
consented to go to Ireland ; the City also will lend money ;
and now this Friday the Council of the Army meets al
Whitehall to decide what regiments shall go on that ser-
vice. "After a solemn seeking of God by prayer," they
agree that it shall be by lot: tickets are put into a hat, a
child draws them : the regiments, fourteen of foot and four-
teen of horse, are decided on in this manner. " The offi-
cers on whom the lot fell, in all the twenty-eight regiments,
expressed much cheerfulness at the decision." The officers
did : but the common men are by no means all of that
humor. The common men, blown upon by Lilburn, and
his five small Beagles, have notions about Engand's new


Chains, about the Hunting of Foxes from Triploe Heath,
and in fact ideas concerning the capability that lies in man,
and in a free Commonwealth, which are of the most alarm-
ing description.

Thursday, 26th April This night at the Bull in Bish-
opsgate there has an alarming mutiny broken out in a
troop of Whalley's regiment there. Wha] ley's men are not
allotted for Ireland : but they refuse to quit London, as they
are ordered ; they want this and that first ; they seize their
colors from the Cornet, who is lodged at the Bull there :
the General and the Lieu tenant- General have to hasten
thither ; quell them, pack them forth on their march ; seiz-
ing fifteen of them first, to be tried by Court-Martial.
Tried by instant Court-Martial, five of them are found
guilty, doomed to die, but pardoned ; and one of them,
Trooper Lockyer, is doomed and not pardoned. Trooper
Lockyer is shot, in Paul's Churchyard, on the morrow. A
very brave young man, they say ; though but three-and-
twenty, " he has served seven years in these Wars," ever
since the Wars began. " Religious," too, " of excellent
parts and much beloved;" but with hot notions as to
human Freedom, and the rate at which the milleianiums
are attainable, poor Lockyer! He falls shot in Paul's
Churchyard on Friday, amid the tears of men and women.
Paul's Cathedral, we remark, is now a Horseguard ; horses
stamp in the Canons' stalls there : and Paul's Cross itself,
as smacking of Popery, where in fact Alablaster cn.e
preached flat Popery, is swept altogether away, and its
leaden roof melted into bullets, or mixed with tin for
culinary pewter. Lockyer's corpse is watched and wept
over, not without prayer, in the eastern regions of the City,
till a new week come ; and on Monday, this is what we see
ad\ ancing westward by way of funeral to him.

" About one hundred went before the Corpse, five or six
in a file; the Corpse was then brought, with six trumpets


sounding a soldier's knell ; then the Trooper's Horse came,
clothed all over in mourning, and led by a footman. The
Corpse was adorned with bundles of Rosemary, one half
stained in blood; and the Sword of the deceased along with
them. Some thousands followed in rank and file : all had
sea-green-and-black ribbons tied on their hats, and to their
breasts : and the women brought up the rear. At the new
Churchyard in Westminster, some thousands more of the
better sort met them, who thought not fit to march thrcugh
the City. Many looked upon this funeral as an affront to
the Parliament and Army ; others called these people ' Lev-
ellers ; ' but they took no notice of any one's sayings."

That was the end of Trooper Lockyer : six trumpets wail-
ing stern music through London streets ; Rosemaries and
Sword half-dipped in blood ; funeral of many thousands in
seagreen Ribbons and black : testimony of a weak per-
suasion, now looking somewhat perilous. Lieutenant-Colo-
nel Lilburn, and his five small Beagles, now in a kind of
loose arrest under the Lieutenant of the Tower, make haste
to profit by the general emotion ; publish on the 1st of May
their " Agreement of the People," their Bentham-Sieyes
Constitution : Annual very exquisite Parliament, and other
Lilburn apparatus ; whereby the Perfection of Human Na-
ture will with a maximum of rapidity be secured, and a
millennium straightway arrive, sings the Lilburn Oracle.

May 9/A. Richard Cromwell is safe wedded ; Richard's
Father is reviewing troops in Hyde Park, " seagreen colors
in some of their hats." The Lieutenant-General speaks ear-
nestly to them. Has not the Parliament been diligent, do-
ing its best ? It has punished Delinquents ; it has voted, in
these very days, resolutions for dissolving itself and assem-
bling future Parliaments. It has protected trade; got a
good Navy afloat. You soldiers, there is exact payment
provided for you. Martial Law ? Death, or other punish-
ment of mutineers ? Well ! Whoever cannot stand Mar-


tial Law is not fit to be a soldier : his best plan will be to
lay down his arms ; lie shall have his ticket, and get his ar-
rears as we others do, we that still mean to fight against
the enemies of England and this Cause. One trooper
showed signs of insolence ; the Lieutenant-General sup-
pressed him by rigor and by clemency : the seagreen rib-
bons were torn from such hats as had them. The humor
of the men is not the most perfect. This Review was on
Wednesday : Lilburn and his five small Beagles are, on
Saturday, committed close Prisoners to the Tower, each
rigorously to a cell of his own.

It is high time. For now the flame has caught the
ranks of the Army itself, in Oxfordshire, in Gloucester-
shire, at Salisbury, where head-quarters are ; and rapidly
there is, on all hands, a dangerous conflagration blazing out.
In Oxfordshire, one Captain Thompson, not known to us
before, has burst from his quarters at Banbury, with a
Party of Two-Hundred, in these same days ; has sent forth
his England's Standard Advanced; insisting passionately on
the New Chains we are fettered with ; indjgnantly demand-
ing swift perfection of Human Freedom, justice on the
murderers of Lockyer and Arnald ; threatening that if a
hair of Lilburn and the five small Beagles be hurt, he will
avenge it " seventy-and-seven fold." This Thompson's Par-
ty, swiftly attacked by his Colonel, is broken within the
week ; he himself escapes with a few. and still roves up and
down. To join whom, or to communicate with Gloucester-
shire where help lies, there has, in the interim, open mu-
tiny, " above a Thousand strong," with subalterns, with a
Cornet Thompson brother of the Captain, but without any
leader of mark, broken out at Salisbury: the General and
Lieutenant-General, with what force can be raised, are
hastening thitherward in all speed. Now were the time for
Lieutenant-Colonel Lilburn; now or never might noisy
John do some considerable injury to the Cause he has at


heart : but he sits, in these critical hours, fast within stone
walls !

Monday, \Uh May. All Sunday the General and Lieu-
tenant-General marched in full speed, by Alton, by Ando-
ver, towards Salisbury ; the mutineers, hearing of them,
start northward for Buckinghamshire, then for Berkshire ;
the General and Lieutenant-General turning also north-
ward after them in hot chase. The mutineers arrive at
Wantage; make for Oxfordshire by Newbridge; find the
Bridge already seized ; cross higher up by swimming ; get
to Burford, very weary, and "turn out their horses to
grass ; Fairfax and Cromwell still following in hot speed,
a march of near fifty miles that Monday. What boots
it, there is no leader, noisy John is sitting fast within stone
walls ! The mutineers lie asleep in Burford, their horses
out at grass ; the Lieutenant-General, having rested at a
safe distance since dark, bursts into Burford as the clocks
are striking midnight. He has beset some hundreds of the
mutineers, " who could only fire some shots out of win-
dows;" has dissipated the mutiny, trodden down the Lev-
elling Principle out of English affairs once more. Here
is the last scene of the business ; the rigorous Court-Martial
having now sat ; the decimated doomed Mutineers being
placed on the leads of the Church to see.

Thursday, 11 th May. "This day in Burford Church-
yard, Cornet Thompson, brother to Thompson the chief
leader, was brought to the place of execution; and ex-
pressed himself to this purpose, That it was just what did
befall him ; that God did not own the ways he went ; that
he had offended the General : he desired the prayers of the
people ; and told the soldiers who were appointed to shoot
him, that when he held out his hands, they should do their
duty. And accordingly he was immediately, after the si<rn
given, shot to death. Next after him was a corporal,
brought to the same place of execution ; where, looking


upon his fellow-mutineers, he set his back against the wall ;
and bade them who were appointed to shoot, ' Shoot ! ' and
died desperately. The third, being also a corporal, was
brought to the same place ; and without the least acknow-
ledgment of error, or show of fear, he pulled off his doub-
let, standing a pretty di.-tance from the wall ; and bade the
soldiers do their duty ; looking them in the face till they
gave fire, not showing the least kind of terror or fearful-
ness of spirit." So die the Leveller Corporals ; strong they,
after their sort, for the Liberties of England ; resolute to
the very death. Misguided Corporals ! But History, which
has wept for a misguided Charles Stuart, and blubbered, in
the most copious helpless manner, near two centuries now,
whole floods of brine, enough to salt the Herring fishery,
will not refuse these poor Corporals also her tributary sigh.
With Arnald of the Rendezvous at Ware, with Lockyer of
the Bull in Bishopsgate, and other misguided martyrs to
the Liberties of England then and since, may they sleep

Cornet Dean who now came forward, as the next to be
shot, expressed penitence ; got pardon from the General :
and there was no more shooting. Lieutenant-General Crom-
well went into the Church, called down the Decimated of
the Mutineers ; rebuked, admonished ; said, the General in
his mercy had forgiven them. Misguided men, would you
ruin this Cause, which marvellous Providences have so con-
firmed to us to be the Cause of God ? Go, repent, and re-
bel no more lest a worse thing befall you ! " They wept,"
says the old Newspaper ; they retired to the Devizes for a
time ; were then restored to their regiments, and marched
cheerfully for Ireland. Captain Thompson, the Cornet's
brother, the first of all the Mutineers, he too, a few days
afterwards, was fallen in with in Northamptonshire, still
mutinous ; his men took quarter ; he liimself * fled to a
wood," fired and fenced there, and again desperately fired,


declared he would never yield alive ; whereupon " a
Corporal with seven bullets in his carbine " ended Captain
Thompson too ; and this formidable conflagration, to the
last glimmer of it, was extinct.

Sansculottism, as we said above, has to lie submerged for
almost two centuries yet. Levelling, in the practical civil
or military provinces of English things, is forbidden to be.
IK the spiritual provinces it cannot be forbidden ; for there
it everywhere already is. It ceases dibbling beans on St.
George's Hill near Cobham ; ceases galloping in mutiny
across the Isis to Burford ; takes into Quakerisms, and king-
doms which are not of this world. My poor friend Dryas-
dust lamentably tears his hair over the intolerance of that
old Time to Quakerism and such like ; if Dryasdust had seen
the dibbling on St. George's Hill, the threatened fall of
" Park-pales," and the gallop to Burford, he would reflect
that conviction in an earnest age means, not lengthy Spout-
ing in Exeter-hall, but rapid silent Practice on the face of
the Earth ; and would perhaps leave his poor hair alone.


THE faults or misfortunes of the Scotch People, in their
Puritan business, are many ; but, properly their grand fault
is this, That they have produced for it no sufficiently heroic
man among them. No man that has an eye to see beyond
ihe letter and the rubric ; to discern, across many consecra-
ted rubrics of the Past, the inarticulate divineness too of the
Present and the Future, and dare all perils in the faith of
that ! With Oliver Cromwell born a Scotchman, with a
Hero King and a unanimous Hero Nation at his back, it
might have been far otherwise. With Oliver born Scotch,
one sees not but the whole world might have become Pun


tan; might have struggled, yet a long while, to fashion
itself according to that divine Hebrew Gospel, to the ex-
clusion of other Gospels not Hebrew, which also are divine,
and will have their share of fulfilment here ! But of such
issue there is no danger. Instead of inspired Olivers, glow-
ing with direct insight and noble daring, we have Argyles,
Loudons, and narrow, more or less opaque persons of the
Pedant species. Committees of Estates, Committees of
Kirks, much tied-up in formulas, both of them : a bigoted
Theocracy without the Inspiration ; which is a very hopeless
phenomenon indeed. The Scotch People are all willing,
eager of heart; asking, Whitherward? But the Leaders
stand aghast at the new forms of danger, and in a vehement
discrepant manner some calling, Halt ! others calling, Back-
ward ! others, Forward ! huge confusion ensues. Con-
fusion which will need an Oliver to repress it ; to bind it up
in tight manacles, if not otherwise ; and say, " There, sit
there and consider thyself a little ! "

The meaning of the Scotch Covenant was, That God's
divine Law of the Bible should be put in practice in these
Nations ; verily it, and not the Four Surplices at Allhallow-
tide, or any Formula of cloth or sheepskin here or else-
where which merely pretended to be it : but then the Cov-
enant says expressly, there is to be a Stuart King in the
business : we cannot do without our Stuart King ! Given
a divine Law of the Bible on one hand, and a Stuart King,
Charles First or Charles Second, on the other: alas, did
History ever present a more irreducible case of equations in
this world ? I pity the poor Scotch Pedant Governors, still
m>re the poor Scotch People, who had no other to follow!
Nay, as for that, the People did get through in the end,
such was their indomitable pious constancy, and other worth
and fortune : and Presbytery became a Fact among them,
to the whole length possible for it ; not without endless re
Fults. But for the poor Governors this irreducible case


proved, as it were, fatal ! They have never since, if we
will look narrowly at it, governed Scotland, or even well
known that they were there to attempt governing it. Once
they lay on Dunse Hill, " each Earl with his Regiment of
Tenants round him," For Christ's Crown and Covenant;
and never since had they any noble National act, which it
was given them to do. Growing desperate of Christ's
Crown and Covenant, they, in the next generation, when
our Annus Mirabilis arrived, hurried up to Court, looking
out for other Crowns and Covenants ; deserted Scotland
and her Cause, somewhat basely ; took to booing and booing
for Causes of their own, unhappy mortals ; and Scotland
and all Causes that were Scotland's have had to go on very
much without them ever since !


THE small Town of Dunbar stands, high and windy, look-
ing down over its herring-boats, over its grim old Castle
now much honeycombed, on one of those projecting rock
promontories with which that shore of the Frith of Forth is
niched and vandyked, as far as the eye can reach. A beau-
tiful sea ; good land too, now that the plougher understands
his trade ; a grim niched barrier of whinstone sheltering it
from the chafings and tumblings of the big blue German
Ocean. Seaward, St. Abb's Head, of whinstone, bounds
your horizon to the east, not very far off; west, close by, is
the deep bay, and fishy little village of Belhaven: the
gloomy Bass and other rock-islets, and farther the Hills of
Fife, and foreshadows of the Highlands, are visible as you
look seaward. From the bottom of Belhaven Bay to that
of the next sea-bight, St. Abb's ward, the Town and its
environs form a peninsula. Along the base of which penin-


gala, " not much above a mile and a half from sea to sea,"
Oliver Cromwell's Army, on Monday, the 2d of Septem-
ber, 1650, stands ranked, with its tents and Town behind
it, in very forlorn circumstances. This now is all the
ground that Oliver is lord of in Scotland. His Ships lie in
the offing, with biscuit and transport for him ; but visible
elsewhere in the Earth no help.

Landward, as you look from the Town of Dunbar there
rises, some short mile off, a dusky continent of barren heath
Hills ; the Lammermoor, where only mountain-sheep can
be at home. The crossing of which, by any of its boggy
passes, and brawling stream-courses, no Army, hardly a
solitary Scotch Packman could attempt, in such weather.
To the edge of these Lammermoor Heights, David Lesley
has betaken himself; lies now along the outmost spur of
them, a long Hill of considerable height, which the Dun-
bar people call the Dun, Doon, or sometimes for fashion's
sake the Down, adding to it the Teutonic hill likewise,
though Dun itself in old Celtic signifies Hill. On this
Doon Hill lies David Lesley, with the victorious Scotch
Army, upwards of Twenty thousand strong ; with the Com-
mittees of Kirk and Estates, the chief Dignitaries of the
Country, and in fact the flower of what the pure Covenant
in this the Twelfth year of its existence can still bring
forth. There lies he, since Sunday night, on the top and
slope of this Doon Hill, with the impassable heath conti-
nents behind him : embraces, as within outspread tiger-
claws, the base-line of Oliver's Dunbar Peninsula ; waiting
what Oliver will do. Cockburnspath with its ravines has
been seized on Oliver's left, and made impassable ; behind
Oliver is the sea ; in front of him Lesley, Doon Hill, and
the heath-continent of Lammermoor. Lesley's force is of
Three-and-twenty thousand, in spirits as of men chasing:
Oliver's about half as many, in spirits as of men chased.
What is to become of Oliver ? . . . .

3 D


The base of Oliver's Dunbar Peninsula, as we have
called it (or Dunbar- Pinfold, where ho is now hemmed in,
upon "an entanglement very difficult"), extends from Bel-
haven Bay on his right, to Brocksmouth House on his left;
" about a mile and a half from sea to sea : " Brocksmouth
House, the Earl (now Duke) of Roxburgh's mansion,
which still stands there, his soldiers now occupy as their
extreme post on the left. As its name indicates, it is the
mouth or issue of a small Rivulet, or Burn called Brock,
BrocJcsburn ; which, springing from the Lammermoor, and
skirting David Lesley's Doon Hill, finds its egress here,
into the sea. The reader who would form an image' to
himself of the great Tuesday, 3d of September, 1650, at
Dunbar, must note well this little Burn. It runs in a deep
grassy glen, which the South-country Officers in those old
Pamphlets describe as a "deep ditch, forty feet in depth,
and about as many in width," ditch dug out by the little
Brook itself, and carpeted with greensward, in the course of
long thousands of years. It runs pretty close by the foot of
Doon Hill ; forms, from this point to the sea, the boundar^
of Oliver's position: his force is arranged in battle-order
along the left bank of this Brocksburn, and its grassy glen ;
he is busied all Monday, he and his Officers, in ranking
them there. " Before sunrise on Monday " Lesley sent
down his horse from the Hill-top, to occupy the other side
of this Brook; "about four in the afternoon," his train
came down, his whole Army gradually came down ; and
they now are ranking themselves on the opposite side of
Brocksburn, on rather narrow ground; cornfields, but
swiftly sloping upwards to the steep of Doon Hill. This
goes on, in the wild showers and winds of Monday, 2nd
September, 1650, on both sides of the Rivulet of Brock.
Whoever will begin the attack, must get across this Brook
nnd its glen first ; a thing of much disadvantage.

Behind Oliver's ranks, between him and Dunbar, stand


his tents; sprinkled up and down, by battalions, over the
face of this " Peninsula " ; which is a low though very un-
even tract of ground ; now in our time all yellow with
wheat and barley in the autumn season, but at that date
only partially tilled, describable by Yorkshire Hodgson
as a place of plashes and rough bent-grass ; terribly beaten
by showery winds that day, so that your tent will hardly
stand. There was then but one Farm-house on this tract,
where now are not a few : thither were Oliver's Cannon
sent this morning; they had at first been lodged "in the
Church," an edifice standing then as now somewhat apart,

at the south end of Dunbar

And now farther, on the great scale, we are to remark
very specially that there is just one other " pass " across the
Brocksburn ; and this is precisely where the London road
now crosses it; about a mile east from the former pass,
and perhaps two gunshots west from Brocksmouth House.

Online Libraryi00bostFavorite authors in prose and poetry → online text (page 46 of 66)