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The quarrel between the Earl of Manchester and Oliver Cromwell: an episode of the English Civil War online

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one affecting the Eastern Counties. Lord Kimbolton, Earl of Man-
chester since November, 1642, had not ceased to be a star of the
first magnitude among the few Parliamentarian peers; and he had
been honoured as such in various ways, e.g., in being nominated as
one of the ten peers who were to sit as lay-members in the famous
Assembly of Divines, convened at Westminster, July 1st, 1643,
to advise the Parliament in ecclesiastical matters. His first great
military command, however^ dates from August, 1643. Lord Grey
of Wark having, it appears, hardly satisfied either Cromwell or the
Parliament in the discharge of his duty as head of the Associated
Eastern Counties, the Earl of Manchester, whose connections with
that district were in any case numerous and close, had been pitched
upon as his successor in the post. " Ordered, that my Lord General
(Essex) be desired to grant a commission to the Earl of Manchester
to be Serjeant Major General of all the Forces of the Six Associated
Counties," is the entry in the Commons Journals, under date


August 9, 1643; followed by this entry on the same day, "Resolved,
that the Six Associated Counties shall raise 10,000 foot and
dragoons to withstand the enemy .'' a

Cromwell and the Earl of Manchester had, of course, known each
other well before this time; but their co-operation in the military
service of the Parliament now first properly began. b The Earl was
the commander-in-chief of the Associated Counties; Cromwell was
one of four colonels under the Earl, with the governorship of the
city of Ely just added to his colonelcy. But, whoever were the
other three colonels, the foremost in council and in action was
always Cromwell. This appears amply in the records that remain
of the transactions from August, 1643, to January, 1643-4, in that
section of the Civil War which included the Associated Counties

a The two extracts from the Commons Journals are not directly on my part from
the Journals themselves, but from those sheets of miscellaneous MS. jottings, left by
Mr. Bruce in connection with his unfinished Preface, which seem to me to prove that
he meant, in completing his Preface, to make some such insertions and additions as
have now to be made for him. — D.M.

b A story told by Clarendon in his Life (p. 936, ed. 1843) is worth noting here.
Shortly after the meeting of the Long Parliament, and when Cromwell was a com-
paratively unknown man in it, a question of private grievance came before the
House of Commons, relating to an inclosure of waste lands in the Eastern Counties.
As the lands had been acquired by the old Earl of Manchester, Lord Privy Seal, it
was his interest and that of his son, then Viscount Mandeville or Lord Kimbolton,
to maintain the inclosure : the complainants, on the other hand, were tenant farmers
in the district. Some of them had come up to town as witnesses ; and in a private
committee of the House on the subject Cromwell distinguished himself by mar-
shalling the witnesses, seconding their statements, and seeing them get fair play.
He was so " tempestuous " in his behaviour on the occasion that Mr. Hyde, who
was chairman (i.e. Clarendon himself), had to call him to order and threaten to
report him to the House. In especial he was " rude " to Lord Mandeville. " When,
upon any matter of fact or the proceeding before and at the inclosure, the Lord
Mandeville desired to be heard, and with great modesty related what had been done
or explained what had been said, Mr. Cromwell did answer and reply upon him with
so much indecency and rudeness, and in language so contrary and offensive, that
every man would have thought that, as their natures and their manners were as
opposite as it is possible, so their interest could never have been the same." Man-
deville himself, now Earl of Manchester, does not seem to have remembered this
encounter with Mr. Cromwell half so bitterly as Mr. Hyde did for him.— D.M.


(see Carlyle's Cromwell, i. 132-146, ed. 1857). Much of the work
consisted in urging on the levies of the new forces that had been
ordered ; but the feat of greatest mark was the complete recovery of
Lincolnshire. That county had continued to be the debateable
land between the Parliamentarians of the Eastern Counties and the
Royalists of the North under the Marquis of Newcastle; and the
question was whether Newcastle, who had driven the Fairfaxes into
the very south of Yorkshire and was besieging Lord Fairfax in
Hull, should be able to cross the Humber, annex all Lincolnshire to
the Royalist area, and so break in upon the Eastern Counties, or
whether Manchester, with Cromwell under him, and with the aid
of Sir Thomas Fairfax, who had brought his horse across the
Humber for the purpose, should be able to make Lincolnshire good
and so repel the invasion. It was virtually decided by the Fight of
Winceby, October 11, 1643, in which, mainly by Cromwell's exer-
tions, the Lincolnshire Royalists, and the Northern Royalists who
had broken in to assist them, were utterly beaten. The county
was then cleared of the intruders; and, the Marquis of Newcastle
having raised the siege of Hull and withdrawn farther back into
Yorkshire, it was plain that he had been foiled in his hope of
carrying the stress of the war into the Eastern Counties and would
have to abide it in his own North.

Of what importance this result appeared to the Parliament may
be inferred from this entry in the Commons Journals, Nov. 6, 1643 :
" Ordered, that Sir Peter Wentworth and Sir Anthony Irby do
present unto the Earl of Manchester the thanks of this House in
acknowledgement of the great services done by him to the Common-
wealth." a Thenceforward, in fact, Manchester, though still in
terms of his commission only serjeant-major-general for the Asso-
ciated Counties by deputation from Essex, was regarded as an inde-
pendent general-in chief at the head of one of the sectional armies
of the Parliament, while for Cromwell the consequence was that he

a I find this extract from the Commons Journals in Mr. Brace's miscellaneous
jottings, and I copy it from them. — D.M.


ceased to be merely Colonel Cromwell (though that name is found
occasionally attached to him for some time longer in contemporary
documents) and became Manchester's second, or lieutenant-general,
in the same sectional army. — D.M.]

In January 1643-4 Oliver Cromwell gave clear evidence that
up to that time he had acted in harmony with Lord Manchester.
Himself ever active and fearless in the public service, he was the
plain-spoken exposer of the incompetency of others. Lord Wil-
loughby [of Parham] was the commander (serjeant-major-general
was the official title) of the troops raised by the county of Lincoln
for the Association of the Eastern Counties. He * * * *

[There is a gap here in Mr. Brace's manuscript ; but it is not
difficult to judge how he would have filled it up.

The Parliamentarian Lord-Lieutenant for the county of Lincoln
since the beginning of the war had been Francis, Lord Willoughby
of Parham, already mentioned as one of the six colonels of horse
in Essex's original army. a To strengthen his hands, he had, as
Mr. Bruce has just said, been also commissioned by Essex as
General of the Lincolnshire forces. Hence in the struggle, just
described, between the Northern Royalists and the Parliamentarians
of the Eastern Counties for the possession of Lincolnshire, Lord
Willoughby had been a man of some significance, and Manchester,
Cromwell, and Sir Thomas Fairfax had been brought into relations
with him. b Cromwell, in particular, had found reason for thinking
him a very incompetent person for his post; and, accordingly, when
the immediate business was over, and Cromwell had leisure to run
up to London and appear transiently in his place in Parliament, he
is found " complaining much of my Lord Willoughby, as of a
backward general, with strangely dissolute people about him, a
great sorrow to Lincolnshire, and craving that my Lord Manchester
might be appointed there instead." c This was on the 22nd of

» See Rushworth, v. 108-109, and p. x. ante. — D.M.

b Rush worth, v. 280.— D.M.

c Carlyle's Cromwell, i. 146, ed. 1857.— D.M.


January, 1643-4 ; and on that very clay, it appears from the Com-
mons Journals, it was ordered by the Commons " that the Lord
General (Essex) be desired to grant the Earl of Manchester a
commission to be Major General of co. Lincoln." 11 In other words,
Lord Willoughby was deprived of the military command of Lin-
colnshire, and, by the addition of that county to the six Asso-
ciated Eastern Counties, the Association over which Manchester
presided, and in which Cromwell was his Lieutenant- General, was
extended over seven counties. Willoughby fiercely resented his
disgrace, and even sent a challenge to Manchester. Various entries
in the Lords and Commons Journals, in February 1643-4, show
that the two Houses interfered to compose matters, and that Crom-
well was regarded as the mainspring of the affair. b Altogether,
Mr. Bruce is quite justified in citing the affair as a distinct proof
that in January, 1643-4, there was a thoroughly cordial under-
standing between Manchester and Cromwell. There are other proofs
to the same effect. In fact, Cromwell had hitherto found Man-
chester a chief with whom he could get on, because, in all essentials,
he could manage him.

Farther to supply the missing links at this point of Mr. Bruce's
narrative, we must extend the view a little : — Essex, as generalis-
simo for Parliament, had remained characteristically sluggish
throughout the year 1643. The siege and capture of Reading in
April, and a successful march westwards in August and September
for the relief of Gloucester, followed by something like a victory
over the King's main army in the first Battle of Newbury
(Sept. 20), had been the sum of his exploits in that year. Discon-
tented with such barren strategy, though full of respect for Essex,

a This quotation from the Commons Journals is from Mr. Bruce's own jottings. —

b In Mr. Bruce's miscellaneous jottings I find several extracts from the Lords
Journals relating to Willoughby's dispute with Manchester. They need not lie
reproduced here ; but they show Mr. Bruce's care in collecting materials for the
perfection of his Preface. — D.M.



it had become the policy of Parliament more and more to distribute
the responsibility among the leaders of sectional armies, nominally
deriving their commissions from Essex, but really with inde-
pendent powers and chances. About the time when the Earl of
Manchester had been set up in his serjeant-major- generalship or
command-in-chief in the Eastern Counties (Aug. 1643), Essex had
been persuaded, though not without some difficulty and show of
offended dignity, to grant a similar major-generalship, in the form
of the command-in-chief of a new army to be raised by the Lon-
doners, to his rival Sir William Waller. a Thus at the close of
1643 and beginning of 1644 one may say that there were four
Parliamentary armies in England, besides garrisons and local forces
— Essex's own main army ; Waller's, raised or to be raised, also for
action chiefly in the south and west ; Manchester's, of the seven
Associated Eastern Counties; and the army of the Fairfaxes in the
north. But by the end of January 1643-4, lo! a fifth army avail-
able. It was no other than that auxiliary army of Scots which had
been applied for in the preceding August. All arrangements
having been made with the Scottish Government, and the two
nations having sworn a strict alliance on the basis of the Solemn
League and Covenant, binding them to mutual defence and the
endeavour after a uniformity of religion and Church government,
this army had at last entered England, wading through the snow,
21,000 strong, with the Earl of Leven for its chief, and Lieutenant-
General William Baillie and Major- General David Leslie next in

With the advent of the Scottish army came, almost necessarily,

a This incident also had been noted by Mr. Bruce, probably for use in his Preface
had he perfected it. I find among his jottings several extracts from the Commons
Journals, from July to Sept. 1643 inclusively, relating to the proposition of a
separate command for Sir William Waller and to Essex's reluctance in the matter
from personal pride or from jealousy of Waller. At length, it is reported (Sept. 28),
Essex is pacified, and handsomely assures the House that he " will begin upon a new-
score, and give Waller the best encouragement he can," — D.M.


a new modification of the system of the war, trenching farther on
the powers of Essex. Two independent nations being now con-
joined in a common enterprise, it was thought fitting that there
should be a central body consisting of representatives of both, to
direct the generals and correspond with them ; and this was provided
by the institution (Feb. 16, 1643-4) of what was called the Com-
mittee op both Kingdoms. It consisted, for the English Parlia-
ment, of seven selected Peers and fourteen selected Commoners, and,
for the Scottish Government, of four Commissioners that had
accompanied the Scottish army. Essex, Manchester, Sir William
Waller, and Cromwell were of the English part of this Committee,
and the same compliment was paid to others in military posts; but,
as effectively the Committee was to have its habitat in London
and to issue its directions thence, the working core of it was to be
a small quorum, chiefly of civilians (six from the two English
Houses, but always with two Scots present), who could be resident
in London and in daily communication with Parliament. As Dei by
House, in Cannon Row, Westminster, became the meeting-place of
this Committee, it received the name of the Committee at
Derby House; and under this name, as well as under the other,
it was, with renewals and modifications from time to time, to be a
very important executive body in England, in the guise of a war-
office, for several years to come. Essex by no means liked, the new
institution, but he had to acquiesce.

The particular army with which we have meanwhile to do is
Manchester's army of the Seven Associated Eastern Counties. It
consisted of about 14,000 foot, horse, and dragoons ; a it had already
acquired great reputation ; and much was expected from it. At its
head was the Earl of Manchester, a popular Puritan nobleman,
forty-one years of age at the opening of 1644; his lieutenant-
general was Oliver Cromwell, three years older. — D.M.J

Such were the persons with whom we have to deal, and such
their relative positions. Manchester was the commander-in-chief,
a Rnshworth, v. 621.— D.M.


Cromwell the second in command: Manchester, described by Bishop
Burnet, in words which singularly confirm and illustrate those of
Clarendon, as " of a soft and obliging temper, of no great depth,
but universally beloved, being both a virtuous and a generous man ; " a
Cromwell, a soldier such as the world was then beginning to know
him, all fire and intensity; never allowing an enemy near him to be
at rest, and carrying on his troops from success to success until they
partook of his own enthusiasm; believing himself to be fighting the
Lord's battles, and doing so at the head of men who held the same
faith and felt the same scorn of danger as himself —

All that the contest calls for, — spirit, strength,
The scorn of danger, and united hearts, —
The surest presage of the good they seek.

Cowpeu. Task, v. 366-68.

In the affairs of tlii3 world it has not yet become possible for the
lion and the lamb to lie down together. It is even less wonderful
that the combination was out of the question in the case of Cromwell
and the Earl of Manchester, inasmuch as the EarPs major-general,
the next officer to Cromwell in command, " helped " his two
superiors, in the language of Mr. Carlyle, " to quarrel." Crawford,
the major-general, was a Scotchman of good descent, and was full of
his country's warm attachment to Presbyterianism and the Covenant.
Cromwell had little affection either for Scotland or its institutions.

[Some additional information seems here desirable, and would
probably have been given by Mr. Bruce.

Notwithstanding the great accession of strength which the
Parliament had received by the coming in of Leven's auxiliary
army of Scots, there was a decided lull of military activity in the
early months of 1644. That army had duly quartered itself in the
north in aid of that of the Fairfaxes : and there were minor move-

a Hist, of Own Time, i. 167, eel. 1823. Baillic terms the Earl " a sweet, meek
man."- Letters, ii. 229.


ments and detached pieces of service of the other armies, including
an expedition of Cromwell westward as far as Gloucester ; but there
were no great operations. The cause may have been that the King,
whom the advent of the Scots had alarmed, was then holding an
Anti-Parliament or Royalist Parliament in Oxford (January 22,
1643_4_ April 16, 1644), and there was talk of a possible peace.
At all events, Manchester had leisure for a while for other duties than
those of his generalship: e.g., for some actual attendances in his place
in the Westminster Assembly, and then for that great business of the
visitation and reformation of the University of Cambridge which
Parliament had assigned to him by special ordinance as a work of
supreme importance within the territories he administered. From
February, through March and April, 1644, he and his chaplains,
Messrs. Ashe and Goode, were at Cambridge, busy in this work, i.e.,
summoning heads and fellows of colleges before them, examining the
states of the colleges, ejecting men of the wrong sort from their
masterships or fellowships, and putting into their places Puritan
ministers and scholars recommended by the Westminster Assembly.
As Cromwell for part of this time was also at Cambridge, he and
Manchester must have been often together, Cromwell looking sym-
pathetically upon Manchester's doings in the University, but in
the main occupying himself with the duties of his lieutenant-
generalship, and getting the army of the Associated Counties ready
for further service in the war when Manchester should resume

By this time, however, there was a third person of influence in
that army, somewhat disturbing the relations that had hitherto
subsisted between Manchester and Cromwell. Since the coming-in
of the Scottish auxiliary army, stray Scots, willing to be employed
in one or other of the English armies proper, had been even more
plentiful than before; and one of these Scots had been picked up
by Manchester, or had been recommended to him, as a lit man
to be his major-general. He was the "Crawford" of whom Mr.
Bruce speaks: Laurence Crawford, of the family of the Crawfords


of Jordan Hill, Kenfrewshire. a He had seen service both abroad
and in Scotland, and it may have been thought that his trained
professional ability would be a useful importation into Manchester's
army, led otherwise only by an English nobleman and an English
gentleman-farmer who had turned soldiers for the nonce. But
from the moment of this importation peace was goue, and the
management of Manchester's army became a very difficult case of
the problem of three bodies. This was largely owing to the peculiar
temperament of Crawford, who " paints himself to us," says
Mr. Carlyle, " as a headlong audacious fighter, of loose loud tongue,
much of a pedant and braggart, somewhat given to sycophancy
too;" b but, as Mr. Bruce has hinted, and as Mr. Carlyle also has
occasion to show, the difference between Crawford and Cromwell
involved questions of theology and ecclesiastical polity then much
agitating the mind of England. Cromwell was a fervid English
Puritan of the largest-hearted type, whose very principle in selecting
his Ironsides was that they should be religious men, having what
he thought " the root of the matter in them," but who, when he
was sure of that, cared little for formal differences, and even valued
liberty of difference. Crawford was a man of the most narrow and
pragmatic type of the Scottish Puritanism of that day, a rigid
believer in strict Scottish Presbytery as the one and only true
religious discipline in the world : by no means a stalwart Dalgetty,
placidly adjusting himself to any medium, but an irascible martinet
for orthodoxy.

Care must be taken, however, not to misapprehend, in connection
with this contrast, Mr. Bruce's phrases " Presbyterianism and the
Covenant," and " Scotland or its institutions." Scotland had then

a Douglas's Baronage of Scotland,!. 430. From Crawford himself we leam that
he joined Manchester's army in February 1643-4: see his narrative among the
documents in this volume, p. 59. Care must be taken not to confound this " Major-
General Laurence Crawford" with another Scottish " Crawford," who will appear
in the course of the story. — D.M.

b Carlyle's OrommeU, i. 150, ed. 1857.— D.M.


two Covenants, distinct in their aims and in their wording — the
National Scottish Covenant of 1638, under the banner of which she
had fought her own quarrel with Charles I., and succeeded in re-
Presbyterianizing herself; and the Solemn League and Covenant of
1643, which, though it was of Scottish origin, was not a peculiarly
Scottish institution, inasmuch as it had been adopted enthusiastically
by the English Parliament as the fittest bond of union between the
two nations, and signed universally by the English Parliamentarians
on the one hand as well as by the Scots on the other. In respect
of the latter, Cromwell, as one of the myriads of Englishmen who
had signed that covenant, was no less a " Covenanter " than Craw-
ford was; nor had any sign appeared yet on Cromwell's part, or
among those he represented, of a desire to disown or repudiate that
covenant. Very distinctly, however, had signs by this time
appeared of a difference in the interpretation of the document.
The Scots viewed it as implying that strict Presbytery, with no
toleration of anything else, was to be set up in England ; they had
sent their auxiliary army into England as an agency to that
end ; and, as the Londoners and the majority of the English
Parliamentarians everywhere had caught the passion for Presby-
terianism, they were in prospect of success. An unascertained
minority of the Parliamentarians, however, had by no means made
up their minds that Scottish Presbytery would be the best form of
established Church government for England, and had very decidedly
made up their minds that, if such an establishment should be set
up, there should be at least a toleration of dissent and liberty for
varieties of worship under it. True, there were phrases in the
Solemn League and Covenant pledging its subscribers to " endeavour
to bring the Churches of God in the three kingdoms to the nearest
conjunction and uniformity in religion," and also to " endeavour the
extirpation o f popery , prelacy, superstition, heresy, schism, and profane-
ness;" but were Englishmen to be tied down already to that Scottish
interpretation of these phrases which would dictate the acceptance
of Scottish Presbytery in all its details as the only " eonj unction


and uniformity " possible, and would propose civil pains and penalties
on all that the Scots called " heretics " or " schismatics" as the only
way of extirpating real "heresy" and real "schism"? Already,
in the beginning of 1644, this difference as to the interpretation of
the Covenant was a growing one; and, when Crawford entered
Manchester's army, he imported into it not only his own peevish
temper but also the Scottish construction of the obligations of the
Covenant. By that construction it was the duty of all in high
command in any of the Parliamentary armies to see that heresy did
not break out in the ranks, and especially that the officers were
orthodox. Hardly, in fact, had Crawford become major-general
in the army of the Eastern Counties, when, as Mr. Bruce goes on
to relate, an instance in point occurred. — D.M.]

The lieutenant-colonel of Crawford's regiment [a Lieutenant-
Colonel Packer. — D.M.] having given him offence [near Bedford,
Manchester and Cromwell being then both at Cambridge. — D. M.]
was placed by him under arrest [and then sent back to Cambridge,
as a suspended officer, until Manchester should be at leisure

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Online LibraryDavid MassonThe quarrel between the Earl of Manchester and Oliver Cromwell: an episode of the English Civil War → online text (page 2 of 17)