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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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direct his full fury against him rather than against the Earl, in the

a Rushwonh, v. (;-12-G45.


hope perhaps that, if Crawford were removed, the Earl might resume
his better mind, and be induced to a more active strategy. 3

At last, willingly or unwillingly, the Earl was on the move.
On the 5th of September, the day of Cromwell's letter to Walton
from Sleaford in Lincolnshire, the Earl was at Bourne, still farther
south in the same county, having left Lincoln on the previous day;
and thence he advanced to Huntingdon, where he was on the 8th.
He was still within his favourite region of the Association, but that
he was in motion at all portended something. In fact he had
yielded at last so far to repeated missives from Derby House, in-
forming him that the services of his army were urgently required in
the west, and appointing Abingdon on the borders of Berks and
Oxfordshire as his rendezvous.

The reasons were most serious. Since Marston Moor had secured
the north for the Parliament, the main stress of the war had been
in the Midlands and south-west, where Essex and Waller were the
two Parliamentary generals. After co-operating for some time
against the King in the Midlands, these two generals had separated
in June 1644, Essex persisting in undertaking that expedition
against Prince Maurice and his Royalists in the south-west which
the Parliament had designed for Waller, and Waller remaining in
the Midlands. A kind of defeat sustained by Waller, on the
Oxfordshire border, on the 29th of June (three days before Marston
Moor), had enabled the King to follow Essex into the south-west,
with the intention of joining Prince Maurice, and so crushing Essex
by superior force. Essex, instead of turning back to fight the King,
had been persuaded to push into Cornwall; in which extremely
Royalist county, the King and Maurice having joined their armies,
he found himself cooped up in the month of August in a most
precarious condition. To send Waller for his relief with a newly
equipped army was then the strenuous effort of the Parliament;

a The passages of Cromwell's narrative and of Crawford's more particularly
founded on in this paragraph will be found at pp. 78-83 and pp. 60-62 of the appended


and, as Rupert was sure to move southwards to complicate matters,
it was also a necessary part of their plan that Manchester's army
should, come out of its quarters in the Eastern Counties and follow
Waller's route westward, or at least take his place in the Midlands.
Hence the urgent missives to Manchester in Lincoln, and hence his
march thence southwards, and his presence in Huntingdon on the
8th of September. By that time, however, Essex's fate in Cornwall
had been decided. Before relief could reach him he had been
obliged to make his own escape by sea to Plymouth on his way to
London, leaving his horse under Sir William Balfour to cut their
way eastward as they could, and his foot under Skippon to negotiate
terms of surrender (Sept. 1). This news must have reached Man-
chester in Huntingdon ; whence on the 8th of September he writes
to the Derby House Committee, expressing his condolence over the
sad event. " The Lord's arm," he adds, " is not shortened, though
we be much weakened. I trust he will give us a happy recovery-
I shall, with all the speed I can, march inobservance of your former
orders." Two notes to him from the Committee, dated Sept. 9 and
Sept. 11, show that in their opinion their former orders were still
to be obeyed. The King would now be on his return from
Cornwall to Oxford, and the forces formerly destined for Essex's
relief would now have to oppose the King in his return march.
Let Manchester, therefore, still make westward for Abingdon with
all possible expedition, and let him send the Committee advertise-
ment of his marches as he proceeds !

From Sept. 11, the date of the Committee's last note, to Sept. 22,
there is a gap in the correspondence between them and Manchester.
The information as to what happened in this interval must be sought

The feud in Manchester's army and similar feuds in others had
been greatly distressing Parliament and the Derby House Committee.
" Concerning those differences which your Lordships take notice
to be amongst some of this army," Manchester had written to the
Committee in his letter from Huntingdon, " I hope your Lordships


shall find that I shall take such care as, by the blessing of God,
nothing of the public service shall be retarded." But the Committee
were not content with private references to this subject. On the
I Oth of September they addressed a formal letter, signed by Viscount
Saye and Sele and the Scottish Chancellor Lord Loudoun, to all
" the principal commanders " of the armies, commenting on their
jealousies, and imploring them to lay these aside and act cordially
together Jbr the common cause. a Within three days after that letter
was written, Manchester, Cromwell, and Major-General Crawford,
were all three in London on the business of the schism which had
so long been distracting their particular army. The story is told
most graphically by Baillie, and nothing more is necessary than to
quote his account : —

The most of the officers in the General's [Essex's] and Waller's army,
[writes Baillie on the 16th of September] has open and known quarrels.
Manchester's army is more pitifully divided : it is like to divide us all
incontinent. Manchester himself, a sweet meek man, permitted his
Lieutenant-General Cromwell to guide all the army at his pleasure: the
man is a very wise and active head, universally well beloved, as religious
and stout; being a known Independent, the most of the sojours who
loved new ways put themselves under his command. Our countryman
Crawford was made General-Major of that army. This man, proving
very stout and successful, got a great hand with Manchester, and with all
the army that were not for sects. The other party, finding all their
designs marred by him, set themselves by all means to have him out of
the way, that, he being removed, they might frame the whole army to
their devotion, and draw Manchester himself to them by persuasion, or
else to weary him out of his charge, that Cromwell might be general.
This has been the Independents' great plot by this army, to counter-
balance us [the Scots], to overawe the Assembly and Parliament both to
their ends. At this nick of time, while their service is necessary to
oppose the King, they give in a challenge against Crawford : they require
a Committee of War to remove him. Both the parties writes up here to

a See the Letter, RushwortL, v. 719, 720.


their friends the case : at last Manchester, Cromwell, and Crawford, come
up themselves. Our labour to reconcile them was vain : Cromwell was
peremptor; notwithstanding the kingdom's evident hazard, and the
evident displeasure of our nation, yet, if Crawford were not cashiered,
his Colonels would lay down their commissions. All of us, by my Lord
Manchester's own testimony and the testimony of the ministers in
the ai*my, finds Crawford a very honest and valorous man, in nothing
considerable guilty, only persecuted to make way to their designs on
that army, and by it on the Parliament and kingdom; therefore all
here of our friends resolves to see him get as little wrong as we may.
What the end of this may be God knows. a

Baillie then notes another incident of Cromwell's visit to town as
of surpassing importance : —

While Cromwell is here -the House of Commons, without the least
advertisement to any of us [the Scottish Commissioners in London],
or of the Assembly, passes an order that the Grand Committee of both
Houses, Assembly, and us, shall consider of the means to unite us
[the Presbyterians] and the Independents; or, if that be found im-
possible, to see how they may be tolerate. This has much affected us. b

The gap in Manchester's Correspondence is now sufficiently
accounted for. The Earl, his Lieutenant-General, and his Major-
General, had hurriedly come to London, there to argue out their
differences in person, before the Committee of the Two Kingdoms,
or Committees of the Houses; and Cromwell had been so vehement
against Crawford, and had so many Independents and others on his
side, that the Scots and their Presbyterian friends had to exert
themselves to the utmost in Crawford's behalf. But Cromwell had
turned his brief visit to even larger account. Appearing in his
place in the House of Commons, and advising with some of his
friends there, he had suddenly, and without previous warning, got
the House to pass what came to be called " The Accommodation

a Baillie, ii. 229-230. •> Ibid. 230.


Order," i.e. an order to a great Committee of the Lords and Com-
mons, then in regular conference with the Scottish Commissioners
and a Committee of the Westminster Assembly, to try to compose
the differences between the Presbyterians and the Independents
in the Assembly, and, if they failed in that, to devise some
means for a moderate toleration of dissent under the Church
system that might be established. The date of this order was
Sept. 13. Cromwell himself was the real mover, though St. John
and Yane carried it through the House, and St. John was responsible
for the very cautious wording. " The great shot of Cromwell and
Vane," says Baillie, "is to have a liberty for all religions, without
any exceptions ;" but St. John had thought it judicious not to frame
the order so as to alarm the House by that implication. As it was,
the order was a most disagreeable surprise to the Presbyterians.
The Presbyterian system had not yet been carried completely
through the Assembly itself, much less brought into Parliament;
and here virtually was a Toleration Clause inserted by anticipation
into the Bill for establishing Presbytery when it should come to be
passed. Altogether, Cromwell's hasty visit to London in Sept. 1644
was to be a very memorable matter.

Manchester, Cromwell, and Crawford (not dismissed, after all),
were again away at their posts in the army. On the 22nd of
September the Earl was at Watford; and on the 27th he was still
no farther west than Harefield on the borders of Bucks and
Middlesex, but with Cromwell detached in advance of him. It is
only necessary to read the letters that passed in this week between
him and the Derby House Committee {Correspondence, pp. 27-31)
to see that his visit to London had not increased his zeal for the
service in which he was to take part. That service had now assumed
a definite form. Essex, whose late disaster in Cornwall had been hand-
somely condoned in the general respect for him, was again to be in
command of an army, and Waller and Manchester were to co-operate
with him in such a way as to meet and oppose the King returning
eastwards to Oxford, and frustrate at the same time any movement


of Rupert's. In reality, Essex, sick at heart, was to leave the
conduct of this war to his co-generals, Waller and Manchester.
To march west, therefore, was still the injunction to Manchester from
the Derby House Committee. " Your Lordship was present at
our debates and do know the necessity of this service," they write
to him September 24. Manchester's reply from Harefield on the
25th is characteristic. The bridge at Maidenhead, by which he
meant to pass the Thames, was broken; " this also being the Fast-
day, 1 thought it my duty to seek God ; " but —

Your Lordships may be assured that I shall march as soon as with
any conveniency I can, and therefore I shall desire that favour from
your Lordships that my former observances to your commands may
somewhat prevail in lessening the opinions of my backwardness to obey
your commands. I was present at some of the debates which your
Lordships mention, and your Lordships know what my humble opinion
was. I am still of the same mind — that, if the King be upon his
march, in that condition that I see those armies in, you expose us to
scorn, if not to ruin; but, my Lords, when my sense is delivered, I
shall obey as far as in me lies.

On the 29th of September he is at Eeading, Cromwell's horse-
detachment then to the north of him about Oxford ; and from
Reading he does not budge for more than a fortnight. Again his
correspondence with the Committee (pp. 31-46) is worth study.
One sees his heart back in his own Eastern Association, the hardships
of the various counties of which by the removal of the army beyond
their bounds he represents most carefully ; and, though he is still
profuse in expressions of obedience, he finds excuse after excuse for
not marching farther west. Once (October 2) the Committee are
irritated to this reply : —

Having taken into consideration how prejudicial delays have always
proved to the public service, and how necessary it is that your Lordship
should advance speedily westward, we have thought fit again to renew


our desires to your Lordship to send your horse and foot according to
our former orders ; which we hope you will do with that expedition that
we shall not need to iterate it again to your Lordship.

Notwithstanding this and more to the same effect, a Manchester,
on the 14th of October, was still at Eeading. On the 19th, however,
in consequence of consultation with Waller, and in order to a con-
junction with Essex's army, he was at Basingstoke in Hants, where

a Although the Committee of the two Kingdoms at Derby House was really the
authorised organ of Parliament in war matters and its missives were in effect orders
from Parliament, it is worth noting that the House of Commons itself took notice of
Manchester's dilatoriness at this time. Among Mr. Bruce's jottings of material for
the continuation of his Preface I find two extracts from the Commons Journals
illustrating this fact. On the 8th of October, a propos of a petition from the Com-
mittee of the county of Norfolk representing the danger to which that county and
others of the Eastern Association were liable " from the moving of the Associated
Forces so far westward," the House ordered " That the Earl of Manchester do march
with his forces forthwith into the West,' for the safety of the public, and conse-
quently of each particular county, according to the direction of the Committee of
both Kingdoms ; and that this House will take care of the safety of the county of
Norfolk and the other Associated Counties in like manner as they will of the rest of
the kingdom : And it is referred to the Committee of both Kingdoms to take care
herein, and to send this order to the Earl of Manchester." It was duly sent the same
day (see No. 46 of the Correspondence) ; and Manchester, in his reply to the Com-
mittee next day (No. 47), notices the fact rather tetchily, thus: "I have often
received orders from the House of Commons for my marching westward ; but they
never designed any place to which I should march." This must have been com-
municated to the House; for, on the 10th of October, there was a report there on
the whole subject of the correspondence between the Earl and the Committee, with
a significant note that the first letter to him asking him to expedite his march into
the West had been as far back as August 27th, and the House then renewed its order
that he should advance and join with the Lord General's and Sir William Waller's
forces, referring it to the Derby House Committee to appoint the places of rendezvous.
The Committee did not fix the place themselves, but instructed Manchester to com-
municate Avith the Lord General on the subject (Nos. 48 and 49); and it came at
last to be Basingstoke. In contrast with the entries in the Commons Journals at
this date relating to Manchester are those relating to Cromwell. They are about
a supply of "pistols and holsters," with "heads," "backs," and "breasts," which
Cromwell wanted for his own regiment, and about the mode of raising money for
the same. It is rather interesting to note that the person charged with seeing them
sent down to Cromwell is Colonel Walton.


the siege of Basing House was in progress. The Committee of
Derby House had by this time sent two of their number, the Scottish
Sir Archibald Johnston of Warriston and the English Mr. John
Crewe, to attend the movements of the generals and stimulate them ;
and these two civilians, we find (No. 56), met Manchester at Basing-
stoke. In fact, we are now within sight of the Second Battle
of Newbury.

This battle, so called from Newbury in Berks, where there had
been a battle about a year before, was fought on Sunday the 27th
of October, 1644. The King's army, commanded by himself and
Prince Maurice (.Rupert not having come up), was not nearly so
numerous as the combined armies of the Parliament, commanded,
in Essex's absence, by Manchester and Waller, with Skippon, Sir
William Balfour, Lieutenant-General Middleton, Lieutenant-General
Cromwell, and Major-General Crawford, among the chief officers
under them. The battle lasted three hours, and ended, in the
moonlight, in what was thought a victory for the Parliament, but
of such a kind that the King marched away easily enough to
Wallingford, and thence to Oxford, having previously deposited his
cannon and baggage in Donnington Castle, a strong place holding
out for him close to Newbury. Nothing was done in the way of
pursuit ; Donnington Castle remained untaken ; nay, twelve days
afterwards, when his Majesty returned in full force, Eupert now
with him, to relieve and revictual Donnington Castle and recover
his ordnance and baggage, he was permitted to do so (November 8).
The Parliamentary generals declined also another pitched battle to
which he subsequently dared them on the old Newbury ground,
and let him return to Oxford in leisurely triumph. The war was
then over for the year, the armies on both sides preparing to go into
winter quarters/ 1

The disappointment in Parliament, and in London generally, was
extreme. On the 29th of October the Parliament had ordered
days of commemoration and thanksgiving in the churches for the
a Rush worth, v. 721-730, aud Nos. 59-68 of Manchester's Correspondence.



" great and good success " at Newbury, and for another recent success
in the capture of Newcastle by the Scottish auxiliary army (Octo-
ber 19) ; but the subsequent news, and especially that of the King's
triumph in the Donnington Castle affair, had changed their mood.

My Lord and Gentlemen,

We have received your letters concerning the relief of Donnington
Castle by the enemy, and are very sorry that they met not with that
opposition that was expected from an army that God had blessed lately
with so happy a victory against them :

these opening words of a letter addressed, November 12, by the
Derby House Committee to the Earl of Manchester and his fellow-
commanders (No. 69 of Correspondence), are the prologue to a
great impeachment, in which it is Manchester that is the chief
defendant, and it is Cromwell that steps out to take him by the
throat. The essence of the story as far as to the 25th of November
lies in the following extracts from the Commons Journals, which I
find among Mr. Bruce's miscellaneous jottings, carefully written out,
partly in his own hand, partly in another: —

Nov. 13. Ordered, That the Members of this House that are of the
Committee of both Kingdoms do to-morrow give an account to this
House concerning the carriage of the business at the relieving of Don-
nington Castle near Newbury by the King's forces.

Nov. 14. Sir Arthur Hasilrig a related unto the House the passages of
the whole business concerning the relieving of Donnington Castle by the
King's forces. — Mr. Solicitor [St. John] was ready, for the Committee of
both Kingdoms, to give an account to the House of relieving Donnington
Castle, according to an order yesterday made : But, the House having
formerly received a relation made by Sir Arthur Hasilrig of that business,
Mr. Solicitor proceeded not to his Report.

» He was a member of the Committee of both Kingdoms, had been present at the
Battle of Newbury, and had just been sent to town by Manchester, Waller, and
Sir William Balfour, as joint commanders, to give the Committee "a right under-
standing " of the Donnington Castle business. (See No. 68 of Correspondence.)


Nov. 19. Resolved, &c., That it be referred to the Committee of both
Kingdoms to consider the state and condition of all the armies and forces
under the command of the Parliament, and to put them into such a
posture as may make them most useful and advantageous to the

Nov. 22. Ordered, That the Members of this House that are of the
Committee of both Kingdoms do to-morrow give an account to this
House of the whole carriage and motions of the armies, both near
Donnington Castle, Newbury, Basinghouse, and of the present posture
of them.

Nov. 23. Ordered, That it be referred to the Committee of both King-
doms forthwith to put the armies into such a posture as may keep the line
as large as may be, and may oppose the advance of the King's forces,
and pre vein the enlarging of his quarters: And likewise, upon the con-
sideration of the present state and condition of the armies, as now disposed
and commanded, to consider of a Frame or Model of the whole Militia,
and present it to the House, as may put the forces into such posture as
may be most advantageous for the service of the public. This to be done
notwithstanding any former Ordinance of Parliament.

Same Day. Ordered, and the House doth enjoin, That Sir William
Waller and Lieutenant-General Cromwell do on Monday morning next
declare unto the House their whole knowledge and informations of the
particular proceedings of the armies since their conjunction.

On Monday, the 25th of November, accordingly, both Waller
and Cromwell did, in their places in the House, make the required
statements. What was the nature of Waller's statement is hardly
known; all the interest was centred in Cromwell's. It was a bold
outbreak, at last, of all that he had been thinking about Manchester
for months, and nothing less than a sustained and deliberate im-
peachment of that Earl. The sole accessible record of it hitherto,
however, in the form of a report of Cromwell's speech, has been the
summary given in Kushworth, as follows: —

That the said Earl hath always been indisposed and backward to
engagements, and against ending of the war with the sword, and for


such a peace to which a victory would be a disadvantage ; and hath
declared this by principles express to that purpose, and a continued series
of carriage and actions answerable. That, since the taking of York, as
if the Parliament had now advantage full enough, be hath declined what-
ever tended to further advantage upon the enemy; neglected and
studiously shifted off opportunities to that purpose, as if he thought the
King too low and the Parliament too high,— especially at Donnington
Castle. That he hath drawn the army into, and detained them in, such
a posture as to give the enemy great advantages ; and this before his
conjunction with the other armies [?.e., with Essex's and Waller's just
before Newbury], by his own absolute will, against or without his Council
of War, against many commands from the Committee of both Kingdoms,
and with contempt and vilifying of those commands ; and since the con-
junction, sometimes against the Councils of War, and sometimes per-
suading and deluding the Council to neglect one opportunity with pretence
of another, and that again of a third, and at last by persuading that it
was not fit to fight at all. a

Through Mr. Bruce's diligence, the entire charge of which this is
an abstract has now been recovered and is printed for the first time
in this volume (pp. 78-95). It is entitled "An Accompt of the effect
and substance of my Narrative made to this House for soe much
thereof as concerned the Earl of Manchester" and is doubtless the
reduction to writing immediately by Cromwell himself, in consulta-
tion with his friends, of those parts of his speech which the House
required to have in that shape for further proceedings. 15 The
reader will turn to it with no ordinary interest, and will find it to
be a continuous and scathing criticism, paragraph after paragraph,

a Eushworth, v. 732.

b I cannot agree with the opinion expressed in the last footnote to Cromwell's
Narrative (p. 95), that the "terseness and perspicuity " of the document are

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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 6 of 17)