Oliver Cromwell.

Oliver Cromwell's letters and speeches : with elucidations (Volume 3) online

. (page 5 of 25)
Online LibraryOliver CromwellOliver Cromwell's letters and speeches : with elucidations (Volume 3) → online text (page 5 of 25)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

brigade, Colonel Overton's brigade, and the remaining two
regiments of horse should bring up the cannon and rear.
The time of falling-on to be by break of day : but through
some delays it proved not to be so ; ' not' till six o'clock in
the morning.

The Enemy's word was, The Covenant ; which it had
been for divers days. Ours, The Lord of Hosts. The Major-
is Lambert, Fleetwood, Whalley.


General, Lieutenant-General Fleetwood, and Commissary-
General Whalley, and Colonel Twistleton, gave the onset;
the Enemy being in a very good posture to receive them,
having the advantage of their cannon and foot against our
horse. Before our foot could come up, the Enemy made
a gallant resistance, and there was a very hot dispute at
sword's point between our horse and theirs. Our first foot,
after they had discharged their duty (being overpowered
with the Enemy), received some repulse, which they soon
recovered. For my own regiment, under the command of
Lieutenant- Colonel Goffe and my Major, White, did come
seasonably in ; and, at the push of pike, did repel the stout-
est regiment the Enemy had there, merely with the courage
the Lord was pleased to give. Which proved a great amaze-
ment to the residue of their foot ; this being the first action
between the foot. The horse in the mean time did, with a
great deal of courage and spirit, beat back all oppositions ;
charging through the bodies of the Enemy's horse and of
their foot ; who were, after the first repulse given, made by
the Lord of Hosts as stubble to their swords. Indeed, I
believe I may speak it without partiality : both your chief
Commanders and others in their several places, and soldiers
also, were acted 16 with as much courage as ever hath been
seen in any action since this War. I know they look not to
be named ; and therefore I forbear particulars.

The best of the Enemy's horse being broken through and
through in less than an hour's dispute, their whole Army
being put into confusion, it became a total rout ; our men
having the chase and execution of them near eight miles.
We believe that upon the place and near about it were about
Three-thousand slain. Prisoners taken : of their officers you
have this enclosed List ; of private soldiers near Ten-thou-
sand. The whole baggage and train taken, wherein was

18 ' actuated/ as we now write it.


good store of match, powder and bullet ; all their artillery,
great and small, thirty guns. We are confident they have
left behind them not less than Fifteen-thousand arms. I
have already brought in to me near Two-hundred colours,
which I herewith send you. 17 What officers of theirs of
quality are killed, we yet cannot learn; but yet surely divers
are : and many men of quality are mortally wounded, as
Colonel Lumsden, the Lord Libberton and others. And,
that which is no small addition, I do not believe we have
lost twenty men. Not one Commission Officer slain as I
hear of, save one Cornet; and Major Rooksby, since dead
of his wounds ; and not many mortally wounded : Colonel
Whalley only cut in the handwrist, and his horse (twice shot)
killed under him ; but he well recovered another horse, and
went on in the chase.

Thus you have the prospect of one of the most signal
mercies God hath done for England and His people, this
War : and now may it please you to give me the leave of
a few words. It is easy to say, The Lord hath done this.
It would do you good to see and hear our poor foot to go
up and down making their boast of God. But, Sir, it's in
your hands, and by these eminent mercies God puts it more
into your hands, To give glory to Him; to improve your
power, and His blessings, to His praise. We that serve you
beg of you not to own us, but God alone. We pray you
own His people more and more ; for they are the chariots
and horsemen of Israel. Disown yourselves ; but own your
Authority; and improve it to curb the proud and the in-
solent, such as would disturb the tranquillity of England,
though under what specious pretences soever. Relieve the

17 They hung long in Westminster Hall ; beside the Preston ones, and still others
that came. Colonel Pride has been heard to wish, and almost to hope, That the Law-
yers' gowns might all be hung up beside the Scots colours yet, and the Lawyers'
selves, except some very small and most select needful remnant, be ordered peremp-
torily to disappear from those localities, and seek an honest trade elsewhere ! (Walk-
er's History of Independency.)


oppressed, hear the groans of poor prisoners in England.
Be pleased to reform the abuses of all professions : and if
there be any one that makes many poor to make a few rich, 18
that suits not a Commonwealth. If He that strengthens
your servants to fight, please to give you hearts to set upon
these things, in order to His glory, and the glory of your
Commonwealth, * then' besides the benefit England shall
feel thereby, you shall shine forth to other Nations, who
shall emulate the glory of such a pattern, and through the
power of God turn-in to the like !

These are our desires. And that you may have liberty
and opportunity to do these things, and not be hindered,
we have been and shall be (by God's assistance) willing to
venture our lives ; and ' will' not desire you should be pre-
cipitated by importunities, from your care of safety and
preservation ; but that the doing of these good things may
have their place amongst those which concern wellbeing, 19
and so be wrought in their time and order.

Since we came in Scotland, it hath been our desire and
longing to have avoided blood in this business ; by reason
that God hath a people here fearing His name, though de-
ceived. And to that end have we offered much love unto
such, in the bowels of Christ ; and concerning the truth of
our hearts therein, have we appealed unto the Lord. The
Ministers of Scotland have hindered the passage of these
things to the hearts of those to whom we intended them.
And now we hear, that not only the deceived people, but
some of the Ministers are also fallen in this Battle. This
is the great hand of the Lord, and worthy of the considera-
tion of all those who take into their hands the instruments
of a foolish shepherd, to wit, meddling with worldly poli-
cies, and mixtures of earthly power, to set up that which

18 ' Many of them had a peek at Lawyers generally" (says learned Bulstrode in
these months. appealing to posterity, almost with tears in his big dull eyes !).

19 We as yet struggle for being; which is preliminary, and still more essential.


they call the Kingdom of Christ, which is neither it, nor, if
it were it, would such means be found effectual to that end,
and neglect, or trust not to, the Word of God, the sword
of the Spirit ; which is alone powerful and able for the set-
ting-up of that Kingdom ; and, when trusted to, will be
found effectually able to that end, and will also do it ! This
is humbly offered for their sakes who have lately too much
turned aside : that they might return again to preach Jesus
Christ, according to the simplicity of the Gospel ; and then
no doubt they will discern and find your protection and

Beseeching you to pardon this length, I humbly take
leave ; and rest, Sir, your most obedient servant,


Industrious dull Bulstrode, coming home from the Council
of State towards Chelsea on Saturday afternoon, is accosted on
the streets, 'near Charing Cross,' by a dusty individual, who
declares himself bearer of this Letter from my Lord General ;
and imparts a rapid outline of the probable contents to Bul-
strode's mind, which naturally kindles with a certain slow solid
satisfaction on receipt thereof. 20


LETTER CXXXIX., for Sir Arthur, did not go on Monday
night : and finds now an unexpected conveyance ! Brand,
Historian of Newcastle, got sight of that Letter, and of this
new one enclosing it, in the hands of an old Steward of the
Haselrigs, grandfather of the present possessor of those Docu-
ments, some half- century ago ; and happily took copies.
Letter CXXXIX. was autograph, 'folded up hastily before the
ink was quite dry ; sealed with red wax :' of this there is
nothing autograph but the signature ; and the sealing-wax is

Newspapers (in Cronnveliiana, pp. 87-91).
2 Wlutiocke (ad edition), p. 470 (7th Sept.).


For the Honourable Sir Arthur Haselrig, at Newcastle or
elsewhere: These. Haste, haste.

SlR, Dunbar, 4th September 1650.

You will see by my Enclosed, of the zd of
this month, which was the evening before the Fight, the
condition we were in at that time. Which I thought fit on
purpose to send you, that you might see how great and how
seasonable our deliverance and mercy is, by such aggra-

Having said my thoughts thereupon to the Parliament,
I shall only give you the narrative of this exceeding mercy; 21
believing the Lord will enlarge your heart to a thankful con-
sideration thereupon. The least of this mercy lies not in
the advantageous consequences which I hope it may pro-
duce; of glory to God and good to His People, in the prose-
cution of that which remains ; unto which this great work
hath opened so fair a way. We have no cause to doubt but,
if it shall please the Lord to prosper our endeavours, we
may find opportunities both upon Edinburgh and Leith,
Stirling-Bridge, and other such places as the Lord shall lead
unto. Even far above our thoughts ; as this late and other
experiences gives good encouragement.

Wherefore, that we may not be wanting, I desire you,
with such forces as you have, Immediately to march to me
to Dunbar ; leaving behind you such of your new Levies as
will prevent lesser incursions : for surely their rout and
ruin is so total that they will not be provided for any thing
that is very considerable. Or rather, which I more in-
cline unto, That you would send Thomlinson with the Forces
you have ready, and this with all possible expedition ; and
that you will go on with the remainder of the Reserve,

21 Means tlie bare statement. In the next sentence, ' The least lies not,' is for
The not least lies.


which, upon better thoughts, I do not think can well be
done without you.

Sir, let no time nor opportunity be lost. Surely it's pro-
bable the Kirk has done their do. 22 I believe their King
will set-up upon his own score now ; wherein he will find
many friends. Taking opportunity offered, it's our great
advantage, through God. I need say no more to you on
this behalf; but rest, your humble servant,


My service to your good Lady. I think it will be very
fit that you bake Hard-bread again, considering you increase
our numbers. I pray you do so. Sir, I desire you to pro-
cure about Three or Four score Masons, and ship them to
us with all speed : for we expect that God will suddenly put
some places into our hands, which we shall have occasion
to fortify.*

To the Lord President of the Council of State: These.

MY LORD, Dunbar, 4th September 1650.

I have sent the Major-General, with six
regiments of horse and one of foot, towards Edinburgh ;
purposing (God willing) to follow after, tomorrow, with what
convenience I may.

We are put to exceeding trouble, though it be an effect
of abundant mercy, with the numerousness of our Prisoners;
having so few hands, so many of our men sick; so little
conveniency of disposing of them ; 23 and not, by attendance

" ' doo' in orig.

Brand's History of Newcastle, ii. 489. In Brand's Book there follow Excerpts
from two other Letters to Sir Arthur ; of which, on inquiry, the present Baronet of
Nosely Hall unluckily knows nothing farther. The Excerpts, with their dates, shall
be given presently.

- 1 The Prisoners : sentence ungrammatical, but intelligible.

VOL. Ill E


thereupon, to omit the seasonableness of the prosecution
of this mercy as Providence shall direct. We have been
constrained, even out of Christianity, humanity, and the
forementioned necessity, to dismiss between four and five
thousand Prisoners, almost starved, sick and wounded ; the
remainder, which are the like, or a greater number, I am
fain to send by a convoy of four troops of Colonel Hacker's,
to Berwick, and so on to Newcastle, southwards. 24

I think fit to acquaint your Lordship with two or three
observations. Some of the honestest in the Army amongst
the Scots did profess before the fight, That they did not
believe their King in his Declaration; 25 and it's most evident
he did sign it with as much reluctancy and so much against
his heart as could be : and yet they venture their lives for
him upon this account ; and publish this ' Declaration' to
the world, to be believed as the act of a person converted,
when in their hearts they know he abhorred the doing of it,
and meant it not.

I hear, when the Enemy marched last up to us, the Minis-
ters pressed their Army to interpose between us and home ;
the chief Officers desiring rather that we might have way
made, though it were by a golden bridge. But the Clergy's
counsel prevailed, to their no great comfort, through the
goodness of God.

The Enemy took a gentleman of Major Brown's troop

24 Here are Brand's Excerpts from the two other Letters to Sir Arthur, spoken of

in the former Note : ' D unbar, $tk Sept. 1650 After much deliberation, we

' can find no way how to dispose of these Prisoners that will be consisting with these
' two ends : to wit, the not losing them and the not starving them, neither of which

would we willingly incur, but by sending them into England.' (Brand, ii. 481.)

Edinburgh, gthSept. 1650 I hope your Northern Guests are come to you by

this time. I pray you let humanity be exercised towards them : I am persuaded it
will be comely. Let the Officers be kept at Newcastle, some sent to Lynn, some to
'Chester.' (Ibid. p. 480.) (Note to Third Edition), Letters complete, in Ap-
pendix, No. 19.

A frightful account of what became of these poor 'Northern Guests' as they pro-
ceeded 'southwards;' how, for sheer hunger, they ate raw-cabbages in the 'walled
garden at Morpeth,' and lay in unspeakable imprisonment in Durham Cathedral, and
died as of swift pestilence there : In Sir A rtkur Haselrigs Letter to the Council of
State (reprinted, from the old Pamphlets, in Parliamentary History, xuc. 417).
M Open Testimony against the sins of his Father, see antea, p. 34.


prisoner, that night we came to Haddington ; and he had
quarter through Lieutenant- General David Lesley's means ;
who, finding him a man of courage and parts, laboured with
him to take up arms. But the man expressing constancy
and resolution to this side, the Lieutenant-General caused
him to be mounted, and with two troopers to ride about to
view their gallant Army; using that as an argument to per-
suade him to their side ; and, when this was done, dismissed
him to us in a bravery. And indeed the day before we
fought, they did express so much insolency and contempt ot
us, to some soldiers they took, as was beyond apprehension.
Your Lordship's most humble servant,


WHICH high officialises being ended, here are certain glad
domestic Letters of the same date.


For my beloved Wife Elizabeth Cromwell, at the Cockpit:

MY DEAREST, Dunbar, 4th September 1650.

I have not leisure to write much. But I
could chide thee that in many of thy Letters thou writest
to me, That I should not be unmindful of thee and thy little
ones. Truly, if I love you not too well, I think I err not
on the other hand much. Thou art dearer to me than any
creature ; let that suffice.

The Lord hath showed us an exceeding mercy: who
can tell how great it is ! My weak faith hath been upheld.
I have been in my inward man marvellously supported ;
though I assure thee, I grow an old man, and feel infirmities
of age marvellously stealing upon me. Would my corrup-

* Newspapers (in Cromivelliaiia, p. 91).


tions did as fast decrease ! Pray on my behalf in the latter
respect. The particulars of our late success Harry Vane or
Gilbert Pickering will impart to thee. My love to all dear
friends. I rest thine, OLIVER CROMWELL.*


For my loving Brother Richard Mayor, Esquire, at Hursley :


DEAR BROTHER, Dunbar, 4th September 1650.

Having so good an occasion as the imparting
so great a mercy as the Lord has vouchsafed us in Scotland,
I would not omit the imparting thereof to you, though I be
full of business.

Upon Wednesday 26 we fought the Scottish Armies. They
were in number, according to all computation, above Twenty-
thousand; we hardly Eleven -thousand, having great sick-
ness upon our Army. After much appealing to God, the
Fight lasted above an hour. We killed (as most think)
Three-thousand; took near Ten-thousand prisoners, all their
train, about thirty guns great and small, besides bullet, match
and powder, very considerable Officers, about two-hundred
colours, above ten-thousand arms; lost not thirty men.
This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.
Good Sir, give God all the glory ; stir up all yours, and all
about you, to do so. Pray for your affectionate brother,


I desire my love may be presented to my dear Sister, and

* Copied from the Original by John Hare, Esq., Rosemont Cottage, Clifton.
Collated with the old Copy in British Museum, Cole MSS. no. 5834, p. 38. ' The
' Original was purchased at Strawberry-Hill Sale' (Horace Walpole's), 'soth April
' 1842, for Twenty-one guineas.'

215 'Wedensd.' in the Original. A curious proof of the haste and confusion Crom-
well was in. The Battle was on Tuesday, yesterday, 3d September 1650; indis-
vi.- Tuesday ; anc i }, e ; s now writing on Wednesday!


to all your Family. I pray tell Doll I do not forget her nor
her little Brat. She writes very cunningly and compliment-
ally to me; I expect a Letter of plain dealing from her.
She is too modest to tell me whether she breeds or not. I
wish a blessing upon her and her Husband. The Lord
make them fruitful in all that's good. They are at leisure
to write often ; but indeed they are both idle, and worthy
of blame.*


A PIOUS Word, shot off to Ireland, for Son Ireton and the
' dear Friends' fighting for the same Cause there. That they
may rejoice with us, as we have done with them : none knows
but they may have ' need' again ' of mutual experiences for re-

' To Lieutenant-General Ireton, Deputy-Lieutenant of Ireland:


SlR, Dunbar, 4th September 1650.

Though I hear not often from you, yet I
know you forget me not. Think so of me ' too ;' for I often
remember you at the Throne of Grace. I heard of the
Lord's good hand with you in reducing Waterford, Dun-
cannon, and Catherlogh : 27 His Name be praised.

We have been engaged upon a Service the fullest of
trial ever poor creatures were upon. We made great pro-
fessions of love ; knowing we were to deal with many who
were Godly, and ' who' pretended to be stumbled at our In-
vasion : indeed, our bowels were pierced again and again ;
the Lord helped us to sweet words, and in sincerity to mean
them. We were rejected again and again ; yet still we
begged to be believed that we loved them as our own souls;

* Harris, p. 513 ; one of the Piisejr stock, the last now but three.
"" ' Catherlogh' is Carlow : Narrative of these captures (ipth August 1650) in a
Letter from Ireton to the Speaker (Parliamentary History, xix. 334-7).


they often returned evil for good. We prayed for security: 28
they would not hear or answer a word to that. We made
often appeals to God ; they appealed also. We were near
engagements three or four times, but they lay upon advant-
ages. A heavy flux fell upon our Army; brought it very
low, from Fourteen to Eleven thousand : Three-thousand
five-hundred horse, and Seven-thousand five-hundred foot.
The Enemy Sixteen-thousand foot, and Six-thousand horse.

The Enemy prosecuted the advantage. We were neces-
sitated ; and upon September 29 the 3d, by six in the morn-
ing, we attempted their Army : after a hot dispute for
about an hour, we routed their whole Army; killed near
Three-thousand; and took, as the Marshal informs me, Ten-
thousand prisoners; their whole Train, being about thirty
pieces, great and small ; good store of powder, match and
bullet; near Two-hundred Colours. I am persuaded near
Fifteen-thousand Arms left upon the ground. And I be-
lieve, though many of ours be wounded, \ve lost not above
Thirty men. Before the Fight our condition was made very
sad, the Enemy greatly insulted and menaced ' us ;' but the
Lord upheld us with comfort in Himself, beyond ordinary

I knowing the acquainting you with this great handi-
work of the Lord would stir-up your minds to praise and
rejoicing; and not knowing but your condition may require
mutual experiences for refreshment ; and knowing also that
the news we had of your successes was matter of help to our
faith in our distress, and matter of praise also, I thought
fit (though in the midst of much business) to give you this
account of the unspeakable goodness of the Lord, who hath
thus appeared, to the glory of His great Name, and the
refreshment of His Saints.

S3 Begged of them some security against Charles Stuart's designs upon England,
'ij ' yber' he writes


The Lord bless you, and us, to return praises ; to live
them all our days. Salute all our dear Friends with you, as
if I named them. I have no more ; but rest, your loving
father and true friend, OLIVER CROMWELL.*

We observe there are no regards to Bridget Ireton, no news
or notice of her, in this Letter. Bridget Ireton is at London,
safe from these wild scenes ; far from her Husband, far from
her Father : will never see her brave Husband more.


DUBITATING Wharton must not let 'success' too much sway
him ; yet it were fit he took notice of these things : he, and
idle Norton whom we know, and Montague of Hinchinbrook,
and others. The Lord General, for his own share, has a better
ground than ' success ;' has the direct insight of his own soul,
such as suffices him, such as all souls to which ' the inspira-
tion of the Almighty giveth understanding,' are or may be
capable of, one would think !

For the Right Honourable the Lord Wharton : TJiese.

MY DEAR LORD, Dunbar, 4th September 1650.

Ay, poor I love you ! Love you the Lord :
take heed of disputing ! I was untoward when I spake last
with you in St. James's Park. I spake cross in stating * my'
grounds : I spake to myjudgings of you; which were : That
you, shall I name others ? Henry Lawrence, Robert Ham-
mond, &c., had ensnared yourselves with disputes.

I believe you desired to be satisfied ; and had tried and
doubted your ' own' sincerities. It was well. But upright-
ness, if it be not purely of God, may be, nay commonly is,
deceived. The Lord persuade you, and all my dear Friends !

* Russell's Life ofCronewell (Edinburgh, 1829; forming vols. 46, 47 of Cansta-
tlSs Miscellany), ii. 317-19. Does not say whence ; Letter undoubtedly genuine.


The results of your thoughts concerning late Transac-
tions I know to be mistakes of yours, by a better argument
than success. Let not your engaging too far upon your own
judgments be your temptation or snare : much less ' let'
success, lest you should be thought to return upon less
noble arguments. 30 It is in my heart to write the same
things to Norton, Montague and others : I pray you read
or communicate these foolish lines to them. I have known
my folly do good, when affection has overcome 31 my reason.
I pray you judge me sincere, lest a prejudice should be
put upon after advantages.

How gracious has the Lord been in this great Business !
Lord, hide not Thy mercies from bur eyes !

My service to the dear Lady. I rest, your humble ser-


OF these Letters, the first Two, with their Replies and Ad-
juncts, Six Missives in all, form a Pamphlet published at Edin-
burgh in 1650, with the Title : Several Letters and Passages
between his Excellency the Lord General Cromwell and the Go-
vernor of Edinburgh Castle. They have been reprinted in

Online LibraryOliver CromwellOliver Cromwell's letters and speeches : with elucidations (Volume 3) → online text (page 5 of 25)