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The Scottish Commissioners, however, had been convinced by the
reasoning of the English lawyers, and thought it would be better to
wait and collect more proofs. With this conclusion the meeting
broke up " about two o'clock in the morning;" and Whitlocke
" had some cause to believe that at this debate some who were pre-
sent were false brethren, and informed Cromwell of all that had
passed." At all events, Cromwell, though he never mentioned the


subject, seemed to know that Whitlocke and Maynard had done
him a service. 3

The idea of a State prosecution of Cromwell having been
abandoned, his quarrel with Manchester, in its two forms of his
charge against Manchester and Manchester's recrimination upon
him, was left to the ordinary course of process through the two
Houses. Or rather, through the whole of December, it was left to
the course arranged for it by the Commons, the Lords waiting the
result of their conference with that House of December 2nd. It
becomes evident also that the two Houses tended more and more to
opposite moods in the business, the Commons on the whole (not-
withstanding the number of Presbyterians in the House) leaning
somehow to Cromwell, while the Lords were disposed to protect
and abet Manchester.

The state of the business in the Commons immediately after the
proceedings at the conference with the other House had been form-
ally reported (which was done by Mr. Holies, December 4) had been
this : — The Committee, of which Mr. Zouch Tate was chairman,
already entrusted with the duty of investigating Cromwell's charges
against Manchester, was to proceed in that duty, sending for papers,
examining witnesses, &c, all under strict injunction of secrecy, and
never fewer than eight of the Committee to be present. But for
that new form of the business which had been occasioned by
Manchester's exculpation of himself and counter-charge against
Cromwell in the Lords, and by the communication of both to the
Commons at the conference, another Committee had been appointed,
with the significant instruction that they were " to consider whether
the Privilege of this House be broken by the matter of this Report
made by Mr. Holies, and to present to the House some expedient for
putting the same into a way of examination." Eighteen members
had been named for this Committee, December 4, among whom
were Holies and other violent Presbyterians, but also Whitlocke and
Maynard, with St. John, Vane, Hasilrig, and others, naturally
* Whitlocke, ed. 1853, i. 343-348.


favourable to Cromwell ; and the number had been increased,
December 7, by the addition of eighteen more, of different shades
of opinion (Stapleton one of them), and " all the lawyers of the
House." Of this second and larger Committee, already in existence
probably when four at least of its members took part in the private
meeting at Essex House, the chairman was Mr. John Lisle, member
for Winchester.

Through the rest of December we are to conceive the two Com-
mittees more or less busy, each over its appointed work. Of the
proceedings of Mr. Lisle's Committee, which involved the
question of privilege between the two Houses, we hear nothing
through the month ; but of those of Mr. Tate's Committee,
entrusted with the investigation of Cromwell's charges against
Manchester, we do learn something in the document recovered by
Mr. Bruce, and printed in the present volume under the title of
Notes of Evidence against the Earl of Manchester. They are brief
and unconnected memoranda of the evidence given in support of
Cromwell's charges by a number of witnesses that had been called
before the Committee. Cromwell and Waller themselves, it appears,
had been among those witnesses ; but Hasilrig, and such officers in
Manchester's army as Hammond, Ireton, Harrison, Rich, Jones,
Wilson, Hooper, Norton, Pickering, and Desborough, had also been
examined. The particulars to which they testified, and how they
fit into the story of Manchester's alleged " backwardness to all
action," will be gathered best from a perusal of the Notes. So far
as the Notes bear, the evidence had as yet been all on Cromwell's
side, or in support of the prosecution, and there had been no evi-
dence for the defence.

It is not to be supposed, however, that the Earl of Manchester
and his friends were inactive. That the Earl was collecting materials
both for his own defence and for the verification of his counter-
charge against Cromwell appears from the fact that there have
survived among his papers at Kimbolton the two documents, pro-
cured by Mr. Bruce, which are printed in this volume under the



titles Narrative of the Earl of Manchester 's Campaign and State-
ment by an Opponent of Cromwell. It is possible indeed that he
may have had one or both of these in his possession before he made
his charge against Cromwell in the Lords on the 28th of November,
and that they may have supplied him with some of the particulars
included in that charge; but it is as likely that they came to him
after that charge was made and Mr. Tate's Committee and Mr.
Lisle's were exploring the matter for the other House. In either
case, they fall to be noticed here: —

1. Narrative of the Earl of Manchester's Campaign. This, as
we already know, was nothing else than a statement by Man-
chester's Scottish Major-General Crawford, hastening to the rescue
of his chief, and glad of the opportunity of saying his worst at
some length against his old opponent Cromwell. The substance of
it, as far as to Manchester's march from Lincoln, with a view to the
conjunction of his army with those of Essex and Waller in the
west, has already been given ; and it is only necessary now to note
the substance of the rest. It is exactly in the strain of the prece-
ding, the same virulent antipathy to Cromwell breaking out, sentence
after sentence, through the same feeble and confused style of narra-
tion and the same inexpertness in grammar. Manchester to blame
for the incompleteness of the success at Newbury, or for the neglect
of the pursuit of the King's forces after the battle ! Why, Man-
chester had behaved beautifully, and it was Cromwell that was
in both cases the real culprit. It was the horse of the army that
never were where they ought to have been, and never were willing
to do what they might have done ; and to whom was that to be
ascribed but to Cromwell and his under-officers ? Then as to the
return of the King, his relief of Donnington Castle, his safe retreat
without battle again offered to him, and that lame conclusion of the
campaign about which Cromwell and others were now crying out !
All through this tissue of affairs too the backward man had still been
Cromwell, with his precious horse, either out of the way when they
were wanted or reported by him as too weak for action. Major-General


Crawford himself had at one critical moment pointed out to Crom-
well a way in which his horse might have done real service, and he
had declined the hint. And, at the Council of War, where it had
been decided to allow the King to retreat without battle, who had
been the chief advocates of that policy? Why, Sir Arthur Hasil-
rig and Cromwell, the first arguing that the King was too strong
and that a battle with him might be disastrous, and Cromwell
following with " a speech very near a quarter of an hour" to the
same effect. Finally, as to Cromwell's accusation against Man-
chester that he had acted without advice of Councils of War or
against such advice, Crawford would recall one memorable incident.
When letters had come to the Army showing the extreme dissatis-
faction in London with the affair of Donnington Castle and the
poor ending of the campaign, and among these letters an official
one to Manchester and the other commanders from the Committee
of both Kingdoms (No. 69 of the Correspondence), Manchester had
been vexed by nothing so much as by the insinuation, indirectly
conveyed in that letter, that he had not act^d duly by advice of
Councils of War. What had then happened?"

In my Lord of Manchester's lodging in Newbury, in the presence of
my Lord of Manchester, Sir William Balfour, Sir William Waller,
Major-General Skippon, Colonel Barklet, and Major- General Crawford,
Cromwell did say (finding my Lord of Manchester much moved at the
aforesaid letter, after he reads it twice over) that he found nothing in the
letter but what may be written without reflection upon any, and told my
Lord of Manchester : " My Lord, I hold him for a villain and a knave
that would do any man ill offices ; but there was nothing done but what
was justifiable and by the consent of the Council of War," and that there
was nothing done but what was answerable. So upon that Council of
War there was presently thought fit that there should be a letter drawn
and sent to the Committee of both Kingdoms representing the whole con-
dition of the army ; which was referred to be done by Lieut.- General
Cromwell ; which accordingly was done, wherein he gave a full relation


of the weakness of the Army ; which, considering the ways he has gone,
much deserves your notice-taking of it. a

2. Statement by an Opponent of Cromwell. This is an anonymous
document, but reveals itself at once as having been written, for the
Earl of Manchester's use, by some Presbyterian colonel or captain
of his army who had grudges of old standing against Cromwell.
Its peculiarity is that it goes back upon the earlier part of Crom-
well's military career, and furnishes black reminiscences of him
from the first in his own Eastern Counties. In an evil hour in
December 1642, the writer, having property in the Isle of Ely,
which he wanted to make safe from war-risks, had gone to his
neighbour Cromwell, then only a captain of horse in the district, to
ask his advice. The result had been that he had been lured by
Cromwell to set up as a captain of dragoons, raising a troop and
equipping them at his own charge, and actually paying the troop
and his under-officers for ten weeks: "which to this day I have
never received one penny." Thus a captain of dragoons almost in
spite of himself, and with money invested in the concern, he had
continued in the army of the Eastern Association ever since, or at
least till near its late junction with the other armies in the west.
He had thus, of course, had ample opportunities of observing Crom-

a In Manchester's exculpation of himself to the Lords, he also makes a strong
point of Cromwell's voluntary burst in his defence on the occasion here mentioned
by Crawford : " And I must acknowledge that Lieutenant-General Cromwell was
sensible of a contradiction in this pai-tieular; as, when there was but an information
of such a report cast out of London that I had acted without the advice of the
Council of War, he professed that he was a villain and a liar that should affirm any
such thing." It is clear that something of the kind must have happened, however
it is to be reconciled with what followed. Crawford's farther statement, that Crom-
well himself was the draftsman of a letter in the name of the commanders jointly to
the Committee of both Kingdoms explaining the whole state of matters, does not
appear in the Earl's own narrative. If such a letter still exists, it might be impor-
tant. Mr. Brace's collection of copies from the correspondence of the Committee
of both Kingdoms contains no such thing. It stops at No. 69, the letter which so
much vexed Manchester.



well and knowing his principles. He will, therefore, string together
ix few facts. Cromwell, when a colonel, had "made choice of his
officers, not such as were soldiers or men of estate, but such as were
common men, poor and of mean parentage; only he would give
them the title of godly precious men." He had heard Cromwell
often say that " it must not be soldiers nor Scots that must do this
work, but it must be the godly to this purpose." Accordingly he
had packed his own regiment, and then others, with Independents.
" If you look at his own regiment of horse, see what a swarm there
is of those that call themselves the godly: some of them profess
they have seen visions and had revelations." Little better with the
regiments of Colonels Fleetwood, Kussell, Montague, Pickering,
and Rainsborough, " all of them professed Independents entire."
Once, when he, the writer, had done a good stroke of service at
Wisbeach, Cromwell had assumed the credit of it; which was his
general habit. He had once told the writer to " hold his tongue,"
for he " spoke he knew not what." Cromwell had once told him
he would " make the Isle of Ely the strongest place in the world,
and he would out with all the wretches and ungodly men, and he
would place in it godly and precious people, and he would make it
a place for God to dwell in " : " yet at this day the Isle is in no
[better] posture than it was in at the time he came into it ; only it
is become a mere Amsterdam," i. e. a refuge of all sects, where
soldiers occupied the pulpits and the regular ministers dared not
preach. " They frequently rebaptize the people of that Isle." Plenty
of money had passed through Cromwell's hands; there was at Ely,
on the file of letters to the Committee there, one from Cromwell
instructing them " to pay to his wife 51. per week towards her
extraordinaries " (which had been done for a great while, and " I
am sure there is no ordinance of Parliament for that")-, and yet the
writer had never been repaid his advances, but had been put off
with fair words. He had heard Cromwell talk against " lords."
Once, when he was in London, two of Cromwell's troopers and
another man had come to him with a petition to Parliament for


liberty of conscience, already " with a great many of hands and
marks to it," desiring him to si cm it.

I was troubled at it and told them I would have rny hand cut off
before I would set my hand to it, and told them if any nation in the
world were in the ready way to Heaven it was the Scots. They told me
they thought I had been a godly man, but now they perceive what I
was, and went away : ever after Colonel Cromwell did slight me.

The writer had been with Manchester's army at Huntingdon
when the news of Essex's flight from Cornwall and the loss of his
army there arrived; and he can vouch that the Independents of the
army, instead of being cast down, were positively joyful. He hates
the Independents, and " can say by experience, The Lord of Heaven
deliver every honest man out of their hands ! " a

Meanwhile the Lords were becoming impatient over the burial
of the question between Manchester and Cromwell in the silent
procedure of two mere committees of the Commons, Under the
date Monday the 30th December, their Journals contain this
entry : —

A message was sent to the House of Commons by Mr. Serjeant Whit-
field and Mr. Serjeant Fynch, to desire an answer, as soon as it may
stand with their conveniency, touching the conference concerning the Nar-
rative touching the Earl of Manchester's business. Mr. Serjeant Whit-
field and Mr. Serjeant Fynch return with this answer from the House of
Commons : " That they will send an answer concerning the Narrative
touching the Earl of Manchester's business by messengers of their

a The writer of this queer statement might perhaps, by some search, be jet
identified. Can he have been the " Captain Arminger " mentioned in Crawford's
Narrative as one of the officers in Manchester's army opposed to Cromwell and
Independency (p. 60), and who was " outed " by Cromwell just after the march from
Lincoln had begun (p. 61)? If so, can this " Captain Arminger," by some error of
transcript, be the same as the " Captain Margery " of whom we hear in two of
Cromwell's letters of September 1643 (Carlyle's Oromwell , ed. 1857, i. pp. 134-5
and 139-141), when he and Cromwell were still on friendly terms ?


The Commons Journals of the same day exhibit the counterpart
entry, but in words implying that the message of the Lords had
been rather urgent. a The phrase " will send an answer by messengers
of their own " in such intercourse between the two Houses meant
that the House using it was not prepared with an immediate answer,
or with the answer expected ; and this was certainly now the case.
In fact, by this time, the Quarrel between Manchester and Cromwell
had become a far less important thing in the eyes of the Commons,
and of Cromwell himself, than it had been three weeks before. It
had been engulphed in a much larger business, engrossing the
Commons through those three weeks. This was the famous business
of The Self-denying Ordinance.

No one that knows anything of Cromwell needs to be told that
personal enmity was not the motive to his attack on Manchester
That amiable and popular nobleman had simply become, in Crom-1
well's judgment, a type of the lazy and half-hearted aristocratic 1 \y/
generalship that had been the impediment of the Parliamentary
cause hitherto, and that must be removed if the cause were to J
prosper in future. To denounce this style of generalship in one
typical example, to blast it out of the army by the publicity and
terror of one well-directed personal impeachment, was a legitimate
method, were there no other. Seeing no other, Cromwell had
ventured on it, with all the risks; he had, at his own peril, been the
man to bell the cat. But, after all, might there not be another
method, and a less disagreeable one? After he had made his charge
against Manchester, and Manchester had made his countercharge,
and the two Houses were in perturbation over the affair, this is the
question which Cromwell had begun to ask himself. The state
of mind of the House of Commons, as shown in recent votes,
furnished the necessary hint. Had not the House, in its disgust at
the lame ending of the late campaign, referred it to the Committee

a As before, Mr. Brace's MS. copies are my authorities for these entries in the
Journals of the Houses.


of both Kingdoms to revise the whole " posture " of the Armies or
Militia of Parliament, and consider of a new " frame or model " for
the same? Did not this prove that the House was in the humour
for a bold measure? What if one were to drop the prosecution of
'Manchester in particular, and propose that all officers of the army
belonging to either House of Parliament should, not for reasons
personal to any of them, but on grounds of general expediency,
retire from their commands? This would get rid of Manchester; it
would also get rid of Essex, Sir William Waller, and many more ;
it would solve the immediate problem of the English Army ; and
yet it would do so in a way not irritating to the Scots.

Very few days seem to have been spent by Cromwell and his
friends in deliberation on the proposal before it was introduced into
the House. This had been done on the 9th of December, when
Cromwell's charge against Manchester was but a fortnight old. On
that day, the House sitting in grand Committee, and very silent for
some time, as if expecting something unusual, Cromwell himself
had broken the silence. " It is now a time to speak," he had begun,
" or for ever hold the tongue. The important occasion now is no
less than to save a nation out of a bleeding, nay, almost dying,
condition." Then, after some intermediate sentences : —

What do many say, that were friends at the beginning of the Parliament?
Even this, that the members of both Houses have got great places and
commands, and, what by interest in Parliament, what by power in the
army, will perpetually continue themselves in grandeur, and not permit
the war speedily to end, lest their own power should determine with it.
This that I speak here to our own faces is but what others do utter behind
our backs. I am far from reflecting on any. I know the worth of those
commanders, members of both Houses, who are yet in power ; but, if I
may speak my conscience without reflecting upon any, I do conceive, if
the Army be not put into another method, and the war more vigorously
prosecuted, the people can bear the war no longer, and will enforce you
to a dishonourable peace. But this I would recommend to your prudence,
Not to insist upon any complaint or oversight of any commander-in-chief


upon any occasion whatsoever ; for, as I must acknowledge myself guilty
of oversights, so I know they can rarely be avoided in military affairs.
Therefore, waiving a strict inquiry into the causes of these things, let us
apply ourselves to the remedy; which is most necessary. And I hope we
have such true English hearts, and zealous affections towards the general
weal of our mother country, as no members of either House will scruple
to deny themselves, and their our private interests, for the public good,
nor account it to be a dishonour done to them, whatever the Parliament
shall resolve upon in this weighty matter. a

The way having thus been prepared by Cromwell, and the actual
motion having been made by Mr. Zouch Tate, and seconded by
Harry Vane, it was resolved the same day : —

That, during the time of this war, no member of either House shall have
or execute any office or command, military or civil, granted or conferred
by both or either of the Houses of Parliament, or any authority derived
from both or either of the Houses, and that an Ordinance be brought in

The Self-denying Ordinance, so proposed, was duly brought
in. Though opposed by Whitlocke and others, it went through the
House with singular rapidity, and was passed December 19. All
London was astounded. " The House of Commons, in one hour,"
writes Baillie, "has ended all the quarrels which was betwixt
Manchester and Cromwell, all the obloquies against the General,
the grumblings against the proceedings of many members of their
House. They have taken all office from all the members of both
Houses. This, done on a sudden, in one session, with great unanimity,
is still more and more admired by some, as a most wise, necessar,
and heroic action; by others as the most rash, hazardous, and unjust
action as ever Parliament did. Much may be said on both hands." b
Baillie's words are suggestive. They show, for one thing, that the
Self-denying Ordinance, though a Cromwellian measure, must some-
how have had the approval of a large number of the Presbyterians
of the House, and that even the Scots in London were perplexed
a Carlyle's Cromwell, ed. 1857, i. 160-162. b Baillie, ii. 247



about it rather than hostile. They recognise, still more distinctly,
that the Ordinance had been offered by Cromwell and his friends,
and accepted by the rest, as a means of honourably ending and
hushing up the Manchester impeachment and all other personal
quarrels. Cromwell's own words in the House, in preparing the
way for the Ordinance, illustrate this very remarkably. In almost
express terms he asks the House to let him waive his prosecution
of Manchester, retire from the disgusting task of recollecting the
past oversights or delinquencies of any particular person, and join
with them in a larger and better way of attaining the main object.
In passing the Ordinance the House doubtless understood that this
was the implication; and, when they sent it up to the Lords, it was
virtually an appeal to that body whether they would concur in this
method of quashing the Manchester prosecution, with much of the
same sort, or compel the House to continue that prosecution.

In reminding the Commons on December 30 of the Manchester
prosecution, the Lords, who had then the Self-denying Ordinance
before them, had in effect intimated that they would rather see the
prosecution go on than pass the Ordinance. For the Peers, indeed,
the Ordinance was a more terrible test of self-denial than for the
Commons : it was like asking them to superannuate themselves and
abjure the hereditary and historic rights of their order. Neverthe-
less, the Commons waited to see definitely how they would act, and
put off from day to day the reports from Mr. Tate's Committee and
Mr. Lisle's, notwithstanding another request from the Lords for
haste in that matter. On Wednesday, January 15, 1644-5, there
was no longer such reason for delay; for on that day the Lords
rejected the Self-denying Ordinance. On that day, accordingly,
the Commons ordered the Reports to be brought in on Friday. On
Friday they were put off till Saturday, and on Saturday again till

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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 8 of 17)