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There the great road then as now crosses the Burn of
Brock; the steep grassy glen, or "broad ditch forty feet
deep," flattening itself out here once more into a passable
slope : passable, but still steep on the southern or Lesley
side, still mounting up there, with considerable acclivity, into
a high table- ground, out of which the Boon Hill, as outskirt
of the Larnmermoor, a short mile to your right, gradually
gathers itself. There, at this "pass," on and above the
present London road, as you discover after long dreary dim
examining, took place the brunt or essential agony of the
Battle of Dunbar long ago. Read in the extinct old Pam-
phlets, and ever again obstinately read, till some light arise
in them, look even with unmilitary eyes at the ground as it
now is, you do at least obtain small glimmerings of distinct
features here and there, which gradually coalesce into a
kind of image for you ; and some spectrum of the Fact be-
comes visible ; rises veritable, face to face on you, grim and
sad in the depths of the old dead Time. Yes, my travelling


friends, vehiculating in gigs or otherwise over that piece of
London road, you may say to yourselves, Here without
monument is the grave of a valiant thing which was done
under the Sun ; the footprint of a Hero, not yet quite un-
distinguishable, is here !

" The Lord General about four o'clock," say the old Pam-
phlets, " went into the Town to take some refreshment," a
hasty late dinner, or early supper, whichever we may call
it; "and very soon returned back," having written Sir
Arthur's Letter, I think, in the interim. Coursing about
the field, with enough of things to order; walking at last
with Lambert in the Park or Garden of Brocksmouth
House, he discerns that Lesley is astir on the Hillside;
altering his position somewhat. That Lesley in fact is
coming wholly down to the basis of the Hill, where his
horse had been since sunrise : coming wholly down to the
edge of. the Brook and glen, among the sloping harvest-
fields there ; and also is bringing up his left wing of horse,
most part of it, towards his right ; edging himself, " shog-
ging," as Oliver calls it, his whole line more and more to
the right! His meaning is, to get hold of Brocksmouth
House and the pass of the Brook there ; after which it will
be free to him to attack us when he will ! Lesley in feet
considered, or at least the Committee of Estates and Kirk
consider, that Oliver is lost; that, on the whole, he must
not be left to retreat, but must be attacked and annihilated
here. A vague story, due to Bishop Burnet, the watery
source of many such, still circulates about the world, That
it was the Kirk Committee who forced Lesley down against
his will ; that Oliver, at sight of it, exclaimed, " The Lord
hath delivered," &c. : which nobody is in the least bound to
believe. It appears, from other quarters, that Lesley ivas
advised or sanctioned in this attempt by the Committee of
Estates and Kirk, but also that he was by no means hard to
advise ; that, in fact, lying on the top of Doon Hill, shelter-


less in such weather, was no operation to spin out beyond
necessity ; and that if anybody pressed too much upon him
with advice to come down and fight, it was likeliest to be
Royalist Civil Dignitaries, who had plagued him with their
cavillings at his cunctations, at his " secret fellow-feeling for
the Sectarians and Regicides," ever since this "War began.
The poor Scotch Clergy have enough of their own to an-
swer for in this business; let every back bear the burden
that belongs to it In a word, Lesley descends, has been de-
scending all day, and " shogs " himself to the right, urged I
believe, by manifold counsel, and by the nature of the case ;
and, what is equally important for us, Oliver sees him, and
sees through him, in this movement of his.

At sight of this movement, Oliver suggests to Lambert
standing by him, Does it not give us an advantage, if we,
instead of him, like to begin the attack ? Here is the
Enemy's right wing coming out to the open space, free to
be attacked on any side ; and the main-battle hampered in
narrow sloping ground, between Doon Hill and the Brook,
has no room to manoeuvre or assist : beat this right wing
where it now stands ; taker it in flank and front with an
overpowering force, it is driven upon its own main-battle,
the whole Army is beaten ? Lambert eagerly assents " had
meant to say the same thing. " Monk, who comes up at
the moment, likewise assents; as the other Officers do,
when the case is set before them. It is the plan resolved
upon for battle. The attack shall begin to-morrow before

And so the soldiers stand to their arms, or lie within in-
stant reach of their arms, all night ; being upon an engage-
ment very difficult indeed. The night is wild and wet;
2d of September means 12th by our calendar: the Harvest
Moon wades deep among clouds of sleet and hail. Who-
ever has a heart for prayer, let him pray now, for the
wrestle of death is at hand. Pray, and withal keep hia


powder dry ! And be ready for extremities, and quit him
self like a man ! Thus they pass the night ; making that
Duubar Peninsula and Brock Rivulet long memorable to
me. We English have some tents; the Scots have none.
The hoarse sea moans bodeful, swinging low and heavy
against these whinstone bays ; the sea and the tempests are
abroad, all else asleep but we, and there is One that rides
on the wings of the wind.

Towards three in the morning, the Scotch foot, by order
of a Major- General, say some, extinguish their matches, all
but two in a company ; cower under the corn-shocks, seek-
ing some imperfect shelter and sleep. Be wakeful, ye Eng-
lish ; watch, and pray, and keep your powder dry. About
four o'clock comes order to my pudding-headed Yorkshire
friend, that his regiment must mount and march straight-
way ; his and various other regiments march, pouring swift-
ly to the left to Brocksmouth House, to the Pass over the
Brock. With overpowering force let us storm the Scots
right wing there; beat that, and all is beaten. Major
Hodgson, riding along, heard, he says, " a Cornet praying
in the night"; a company of poor men, I think, making
worship there, under the void Heaven, before battle joined :
Major Hodgson, giving his charge to a brother Officer,
turned aside to listen for a minute, and worship and pray
along with them ; haply his last prayer on this Earth, as it
might prove to be. But no ; this Cornet prayed with such
effusion as was wonderful ; and imparted strength to my
Yorkshire friend, who strengthened his men by telling them
of it. And the Heavens, in their mercy, I think, have
opened us a way of deliverance ! The Moon gleams out,
hard and blue, riding among hail-clouds ; and over St. Abb's
Head a streak of dawn is rising.

And now is the hour when the attack should be, and no
Lambert is yet here, he is ordering the line far to the right
yet ; and Oliver occasionally, in Hodgson's hearing, is impa


taent for him. The Scots too, on this wing, are awake ;
thinking to surprise us ; there is their trumpet sounding, we
heard it once ; and Lambert, who was to lead the attack, is
not here. The Lord General is impatient ; behold Lam-
bert at last! The trumpets pea 1 , shattering with fierce
clangor Night's silence ; the cannons awaken along all the
line : " The Lord of Hosts ! The Lord of Hosts ! " On,
my brave ones, on !

The dispute " on this right wing, was hot and stiff for
three quarters of an hour. " Plenty of fire, from field-
pieces, snaphances, matchlocks, entertained the Scotch main-
battle across the Brock ; poo" stiffened men, roused from
the corn-shocks with their matches all out! But here on
the right, their horse " with lancers in the front rank,"
charge desperately ; drive us hick across the hollow of the
Rivulet ; back a little ; but the Lord gives us courage, and
we storm home again, horse and foot, upon them, with a
shock like tornado tempests ; break them, beat them, drive
them all adrift. " Sorae fled towards Copperspath, but most
across their own foot. " Their own poor foot, whose
matches were hard'y well alight yet ! Poor men, it was a
terrible awakeniij? for them : field-pieces and charge of foot
across the Brocksburn : and now here is their own horse in
mad panic, trampling them to death. Above Three-thou-
sand killed upon the place : ' I never saw such a charge of
foot and horse," says one ; nor did I. Oliver was still near
to Yorkshire Hodgson, when the shock succeeded. Hodg-
son heard him say : " They run ! I profess they run ! "
And over St. Abb's Head, and the German Ocean, just
then, burst the first gleam of the level sun upon us, " and I
heard Nol say, in the words of the Psalmist, ' Let God arise,
let His enemies be scattered,' " or in Rous's metre,

Let God arise, and scattered

Let all his enemies be ;
And let all those that do him hate

Before his presence flee 1


Even so. The Scotch Army is shivered to utter ruin ;
rushes in tumultuous wreck, hither, thither; to Belhaven,
or, in their distraction, even to Dunbar ; the chase goes as
far as Haddington ; led by Hacker. " The Lord General
made a halt," says Hodgson, " and sang the Hundred-and-
seventeenth Psalm," till our horse could gather for the
chase. Hundred-and-seventeenth Psalm, at the foot of the
Doon Hill ; there we uplift it, to the tune of Bangor, or
some still higher score, and roll it strong and great against
the sky :

O give ye praise unto the Lord,

All nati-ons that be ;
Likewise ye people all accord
His name to magnify !

For great to-us-ward ever are

His loving kindnesses ;
His truth endures for evermore :

The Lord, do ye bless !

And now to the chase again.

The prisoners are Ten-thousand, all the foot in a mass.
* * * Such is Dunbar Battle ; which might almost be
called Dunbar Drove, for it was a frightful rout. Brought
on by miscalculation; misunderstanding of the difference
between substances and semblances; by mismanagement
and the chance of war.


Wednesday, 20th April, 1 653. My Lord General is in
his reception-room this morning, in plain black clothes and
gray worsted stockings; he, with many Officers: but few
Members have yet come, though punctual Bulstrode and
certain others are there. Some waiting there is ; some im-


piitience that the Members would come. The Members do
not come : instead of Members, comes a notice that they
are busy getting on with their Bill [for Parliamentary Re-
form] in the House, hurrying it double quick through all
the stages. Possible, New message that it will be Law in
a little while, if no interposition take place ! Bulstrode
hastens off to the House : my Lord General, at first incred-
ulous, does now also hasten off, nay orders that a com-
pany of Musketeers of his own regiment attend him. Hast-
ens off, with a very high expression of countenance, I think ;
saying or feeling : Who would have believed it of them ?
" It is not honest ; yea it is contrary to common honesty ! "
My Lord General, the big hour is come !

Young Colonel Sidney, the celebrated Algernon, sat in
the House this morning: a House of some Fifty-three. Al-
gernon has left distinct note of the affair ; less distinct we
have from Bulstrode, who was also there, who seems in
some points to be even wilfully wrong. Solid Ludlow was
far off in Ireland, but gathered many details in after-years;
and faithfully wrote them down, in the unappeasable indig-
nation of his heart. Combining these three originals, we
have, after various perusals and collations and consider-
ations, obtained the following authentic, moderately con-
ceivable account.

"The Parliament sitting as usual, and being in debate
upon the Bill, with the amendments, which it was thought
would have been passed that day, the Lord General Crom-
well came into the House, clad in plain black clothes and
gray worsted-stockings, and sat down, as he used to do, in
an ordinary place." For some time he listens to this in-
teresting debate on the Bill ; beckoning once to Harrison,
who came over to him, and answered dubitatingly. Where-
upon the Lord General sat still, for about a quarter of an
hour longer. But now the question being to be put, That
this Bill do now pass, he beckons again to Harrison, says,


" This is the time I must do it ! " and so " rose up, put off
his hat, and spake. At the first, and for a good while, he
spake to the commendation of the Parliament for their pains
and care of the public good ; but afterwards he changed his
style, toui them of their injustice, delays of justice, self-
interest, and other faults," rising higher and higher, into
a very aggravated style indeed. An honorable Member,
Sir Peter Wentworth by name, not known to my readers,
and by me better known than trusted, rises to order, as we
phrase it; says, "It is a strange language this; unusual
within the walls of Parliament this ! And from a trusted
servant too ; and one whom we have so highly honored ;
and one " " Come, come ! " exclaims my Lord General,
in a very high key. " We have had enough of this,"
and in fact my Lord General, now blazing all up into clear
conflagration, exclaims, * I will put an end to your prating,"
and steps forth into the floor of the House, and "clapping
on his hat," and occasionally "stamping the floor with his
feet," begins a discourse which no man can report! He
Ba y S Heavens ! he is heard saying : " It is not fit that you
should sit here any longer ! You have sat too long here for
any good you have been doing lately. You shall now give
place to better men ! Call them in ! " adds he briefly, to
Harrison, in word of command : " and some twenty or
thirty " grim musketeers enter, with bullets in their snap-
hances ; grimly prompt for orders ; and stand in some atti-
tude of Carry-arms there. Veteran men : men of might
and men of war, their faces are as the faces of lions, and
their feet are swift as the roes upon the mountains : not
beautiful to honorable gentlemen at this moment.

" You call yourselves a Parliament," continues my Lord
General, in clear blaze of conflagration : " you are no Par-
liament ; I say, you are no Parliament ! some of you are
drunkards," and his eye flashes on poor Mr Chaloner, aa
official man of some value, addicted to the bottle ; " some of


you ar c ," and he glares into Harry Marten, and the

poor Sir Peter, who rose to order, lewd livers both ; "living
in open contempt of God's Commandments. Following
your own greedy appetites, and the Devil's Command-
ments. 4 Corrupt, unjust persons.' " " And here, I think,
he glanced at Sir Bulstrode Whitlocke, one of the Com-
missioners of the Great Seal, giving him and others very
sharp language, though he named them not " : " Corrupt,
unjust persons ; scandalous to the profession of the Gospel :
how can you be a Parliament for God's People ? Depart,
I say ; and let us have done with you. In the name of
God, go!"

The House is of course all on its feet, uncertain almost
whether not on its head : such a scene as was never seen
before in any House of Commons. History reports with a
shudder that my Lord General, lifting the sacred Mace
itself, said, " What shall we do with this bawble ? Take it
away ! '' and gave it to a musketeer. And now, " Fetch
him do\vn J " says he to Harrison, flashing on the Speaker.
Speaker Lenthall, more an ancient Roman than anything
else, declares, He will not come till forced. "Sir," said
Harrison, ' I will lend you a hand " ; on which Speaker
Lenthall came down, and gloomily vanished. They all
vanished ; flooding gloomily, clamorously out, to their ulte-
rior business, and respective places of abode : the Long
Parliament is dissolved ! " ' It 's you, that have forced me to
this,' exclaims my Lord General : i I have sought the Lord
night and day, that He would rather slay me than put me
upon the doing of this work.' At their going out, some say,
the Lord General said to young Sir Harry Vane, calling
him by his name, that he might have prevented this ; but
that he was a juggler, and had not common honesty. 'O,
Sir Harry Vane, thou with thy subtle casuistries, and ab-
struse hair-splittings, thou art other than a good one, I
think ! The Lord deliver thee from me, Sir Harry Vane !'


All being gone out, the door of the House was locked, and
the Key with the Mace, as I heard, was carried away by
Colonel Otley " ; and it is all over, and the unspeakable
Catastrophe has come, and remains.


CONCERNING this Puritan Convention of the Notables,
which in English History is called the Little Parliament,
and derisively Barebones's Parliament, we have not much
more to say. They are, if by no means the remarkablest
Assembly, yet the Assembly for the remarkablest purpose
who have ever met in the Modern World. The business is,
No less than introducing of the Christian Religion into real
practice in the Social Affairs of this Nation. Christiad Re-
ligion, Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments : such,
for many hundred years, has been the universal solemnly
recognized Theory of all men's Affairs ; Theory sent down
out of Heaven itself; but the question is now that of reduc-
ing it to Practice in said Affairs ; a most noble, surely,
and most necessary attempt; which should not have been
put off so long in this Nation ! We have conquered the En-
emies of Christ; let us now, in real practical earnest, set
about doing the Commandments of Christ, now that there is
free room for us ! Such was the purpose of this Puritan As-
sembly of the Notables, which History calls the Little Par-
liament, or derisively Harebones's Parliament.

It is well known they failed : to us, alas ! it is too evident
they could not but fail. Fearful impediments lay against
that effort of theirs ; the sluggishness, the slavish half-and-
halfness, the greediness, the cowardice, and general opacity
and falsity of some ten million men against it; alas, the
whole world, and what we call the Devil and all his angels,


against it ! Considerable angels, human and other ; most ex-
tensive arrangements, investments to be sold off at a tre-
mendous sacrifice ; in general the entire set of luggage- traps
and very extensive stock of merchant-goods and real and
floating property, amassed by that assiduous Entity above-
mentioned, for a thousand years or more ! For these, and
also for other obstructions, it could not take effect at that
time ; and the Little Parliament became a Barebones's Par-
liament, and had to go its ways again.


To see a little what kind of England it was, and what
kind of incipient Protectorate it was, take, as usual, the fol-
lowing small and few fractions of Authenticity of various
complexion, fished from the doubtful slumber-lakes, and
dust vortexes, and hang them out at their places in the void
night of things. They are not very luminous ; but if they
were well let alone, and the positively tenebrific were well
forgotten, they might assist our imaginations in some slight

Sunday, 18th December, 1653. A certain loud-tongued,
loud-minded Mr. Feak, of Anabaptist-Leveller persuasion,
with a Colleague seemingly Welsh, named Povvel, have a
Preaching-Establishment, this good while past in Black-
Mars ; a Preaching-Establishment every Sunday, which on
Monday evening becomes a National-Charter Convention
as we should now call it ; there Feak, Powel, and Company
are in the habit of vomiting forth from their own inner-man,
into other inner-men greedy of such pabulum, a very flamy
fuliginous set of doctrines, such as the human mind,
superadding Anabaptistry to Sansculottism, can make some
attempt to conceive. Sunday, the 18th, which is two days


after the Lord Protector's Installation, this Feak-Powel
Meeting was unusually large ; the Feak-Powel inner-man
unusually charged. Elements of soot and fire really copi-
ous : fuliginous flamy in a very high degree ! At a time,
too, when all Doctrine does not satisfy itself with spouting,
but longs to become instant Action. " Go and tell your
Protector," said the Anabaptist Prophet, " that he has de-
ceived the Lord's People ; that he is a perjured villain,"
" will not reign long," or I am deceived : " will end worse
than the last Protector did," Protector Somerset who died
on the scaffold, or the tyrant Crooked Richard himself!
Say I said it ! A very foul chimney indeed, here got on
fire. And "Major General Harrison, the most eminent
man of the Anabaptist Party, being consulted whether
he would own the new Protectoral Government, answered
frankly, No"; was thereupon ordered to retire home to
Staffordshire, and keep quiet.

Does the reader bethink him of those old Leveller Cor-
porals at Burford, and Diggers at St. George's Hill five
years ago; of Quakerisms, Calvinistic Sansculottisms, and
one of the strangest Spiritual Developments ever seen in
any country ? The reader sees here one foul chimney on
fire, the Feak-Powel chimney in Blackfriars ; and must con-
sider for himself what masses of combustible materials, no-
ble fuel and base soot and smoky explosive fire-damp, in
the general English Household it communicates with ! Re-
publicans Proper, of the Long Parliament; Republican
Fifth -Monarchists of the Little Parliament; the solid Lud-
lows, the fervent Harrisons: from Harry Vane down to
Christopher Feak, all manner of Republicans find Cromwell
unforgivable. To the Harrison-and-Feak species Kingship
in every sort, and government of man by man, is carnal,
expressly contrary to various Gospel Scriptures. Very hor-
rible for a man to think of governing men ; whether he
ought even to govern cattle, and drive them to field and to


needful penfold, " except in the way of love and persua-
sion," seems doubtful to me ! But fancy a reign of Christ
and his Saints ; Christ and his Saints just about to come,
had not Oliver Cromwell stept in and prevented it!
The reader discerns combustabilities enough ; conflagrations,
plots, stubborn disaffectious and confusions, on the Republi-
can and Republican-Anabaptist side of things. It is the
first Plot-department which my Lord Protector will have to
deal with all his life long. This he must wisely damp down,
as he may. Wisely: for he knows what is noble in the
matter, and what is base in it ; and would not sweep the
fuel and the soot both out of doors at once.

Tuesday, lth February, 1653-4. "At the Ship-Tavern
in the Old Bailey, kept by Mr. Thomas Amps," we come
upon the second life-long Plot-department: Eleven trucu-
lent, rather threadbare persons, sitting over small drink
there, on the Tuesday night, considering how the Protector
might be assassinated. Poor broken Royalist men ; payless
old Captains, most of them, or such like ; with their steeple-
hats worn very brown, and jack-boots slit, and projects
that cannot be executed, Mr. Amps knows nothing of
them, except that they came to him to drink ; nor do we.
Probe them -with questions ; clap them in the Tower for a
while ; Guilty, poor knaves : but not worth hanging : dis-
appear again into the general mass of Royalist Plotting,
and ferment there.

The Royalists have lain quiet ever since Worcester, wait-
ing what issue matters would take. Dangerous to meddle
with a Rump Parliament ; or other steadily regimented
thing ; safer if you can find it fallen out of rank ; hope-
fullest of all when it collects itself into a Single Head.
The Royalists judge, with some reason, that if they could
kill Oliver Protector, this Commonwealth were much en-
dangered. In these Easter weeks, too, or Whitsuii weeks,
there comes "from our Court," (Charles Stuart's Court,)


" at Paris," great encouragement to all men of spirit in
straitened circumstances, A Royal Proclamation " By the
King," drawn up, say some, by Secretary Clarendon ; set-
ting forth that " Whereas a certain base, mechanic fellow,
by name Oliver Cromwell, has usurped our throne," much
to our and other people's inconvenience, whosoever will kill
the said mechanic fellow " by sword, pistol, or poison," shall
have 500 a year settled upon him, with colonelcies in our
Army, and other rewards suitable, and be a made man,
" on the word and faith of a Christian King." A Procla-
mation which cannot be circulated except hi secret; but is
well worth reading by all loyal men. And so Royalist
Plots also succeed one another, thick and threefold through

Online Libraryi00bostFavorite authors in prose and poetry → online text (page 47 of 66)