Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

some

King's guides : and the master of the house, on his return home, was astonished to find his table surrounded by unknown guests, whose gaiety exceeded the bounds of “ decent hilarity.” The King's cropped hair, and the reproof which he administered to the honest squire for a casual oath, redoubled his surprise ; he bent towards his brother-in-law, and asked if that fellow were not round-headed rogue's son.” The colonel assured him that his suspicions were unfounded, upon which he sat down at table with his guests, and gaily drank the King's health “in a good glass of beer, calling him brother Roundhead.”

On the following day, the 14th of October, they proceeded to Brighthelmstone, where they were to meet the master of the promised vessel, and the merchant who had engaged it for them. They all supped together at the village inn ; during the meal, the captain, Anthony Tattersall, scarcely once took his eyes off the King; and after supper he took the merchant aside and told him “ that he had not dealt fairly with him ; for though he had given him a very good price for carrying over that gentleman, yet he had not been clear with him ;-for," said he," he is the King, and I very well know him to be so.” The merchant assured him that he was mistaken, but he answered : “No, I am not; for he took my ship, together with other fishing vessels at Brighthelmstone, in the year 1648, when he commanded his father's fleet; but be not troubled at it, for I think I do God and my country good service in preserving the King, and

grace of God, I will venture my life and all for him, and set him safely on shore, if I can, in France.” At about the same time, at another part of the room, the innkeeper came up to the King, who was standing by the fire, with his hand resting on the back of a chair, and kissed his hand suddenly. “God bless you wheresoever you go!" he said; I Then a little fishing village, now the large town of Brighton.

by the

“I do not doubt, before I die, to be a lord, and my wife a lady." Charles laughed, and went into another room, putting full trust in his host; and at five o'clock on the morning of the 15th of October, the King and Lord Wilmot were on board a little vessel of sixty tons, which only waited for the tide to leave Shoreham harbour. As soon as they were at sea, Captain Tattersall came into the cabin where the King was lying, fell on his knees, kissed his hand, and protesting his entire devotedness, suggested that, in order to prevent all difficulty, he should himself persuade the crew, who imagined that they had embarked for the English port of Poole, to sail towards the coast of France, by representing himself to them as a merchant in debt, who was afraid of being arrested in England, and wished to recover some money that was owing to him at. Rouen. Charles willingly acceded to this proposition, and tried to ingratiate himself so thoroughly with the sailors, that they joined him in requesting the captain to turn aside from his course in favour of his passengers. The weather was fine and the wind favourable, and at one o'clock in the afternoon of the 16th of October, the ship's boat landed the King and Lord Wilmot in the little port of Fécamp.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

[No sooner was all danger from without over than the

victors quarrelled among themselves. The Parliament wished to break up the army, and the army in return resolved to drive out the Parliament if it did not consent to dissolve itself, and enable a fresh House of Commons to

be chosen. Quarrels, however, arose over the bill introduced for this purpose, and Cromwell forcibly carried out the army's threat.]

.

The House was on the point of coming to a vote ; Vane 1 had insisted with such warmth and earnestness on passing the bill, that Harrison 2 had deemed it necessary “most sweetly and humbly” to conjure his colleagues to pause before they took so important a step. Cromwell left Whitehall in haste, followed by Lambert and five or six officers; and commanded a detachment of soldiers to march round to the House of Commons. On his arrival at Westminster, he stationed guards at the doors and in the lobby of the House, and led round another body to a position just outside the room in which the members were seated. He then entered alone, without noise, “clad in plain black clothes, with grey worsted stockings," as was his custom when he was not in uniform. Vane was speaking, and passionately descanting on the urgency of the bill. Cromwell sat down in his usual place, where he was instantly joined by St. John, to whom he said, “ that he was come to do that which grieved him to the very soul, and that he had earnestly with tears prayed to God against. Nay, that he had rather be torn in pieces than do it; but there was a necessity laid upon him therein, in order to the glory of God, and the good of the nation.” St. John answered, “ that he knew not what he meant; but did pray that what it was which must be done, might have a happy issue for the general good ;” and so saying, he returned to his seat.

Vane was still speaking, and Cromwell listened to him with great attention. He was arguing the necessity of

i Sir Harry Vane, a leading statesman of the Long Parliament. 2 General Harrison. 3 Oliver St. John, who had taken a leading part in the Parliament.

proceeding at once to the last stage of the bill, and with that view, adjured the House to dispense with the usual formalities which should precede its adoption. Cromwell, at this, beckoned to Harrison. “Now is the time,” he said ; “I must do it !” “Sir," replied Harrison, anxiously, “ the work is very great and dangerous.” “You say well,” answered Cromwell, and sat still for another quarter of an hour. Vane ceased speaking ; the Speaker rose to put the question, when Cromwell stood up, took off his hat, and began to speak. At first he expressed hinuself in terms of commendation of the Parliament, and its members, praising their zeal and care for the public good ; but gradually his tone changed, his accents and gestures became more violent; he reproached the members of the House with their delays, their covetousness, their self-interest, their disregard for justice. “You have no heart to do anything for the public good,” he exclaimed ; “your intention was to perpetuate yourselves in power. But your time is come! The Lord has done with you! He has chosen other instruments for the carrying on His work, that are more worthy. It is the Lord hath taken me by the hand, and set me on to do this thing." Vane, Wentworth, and Martyn 4 rose to reply to him, but he would not suffer them to speak. “You think, perhaps,” he said, “that this is not parliamentary language; I know it; but expect no other language from me.” Wentworth at length made himself heard ; he declared that this was indeed the first time that he had ever heard such unbecoming language given to the Parliament; and that it was the more horrid, in that it came from their servant, and their servant whom they had so highly trusted and obliged, and whom, by their unprecedented bounty, they had made what he was.” Cromwell thrust his hat upon his head, sprang from his seat into the

4 Henry Martyn, one of the judges of the King.

centre of the floor of the House, and shouted out, “ Come, come, we have had enough of this ; I'll put an end to your prating—Call them in !” he added briefly to Harrison; the door opened, and twenty or thirty musketeers entered, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Worsley.

“You are no Parliament,” cried Cromwell ; “I say, you are no Parliament ! Begone! Give way to honester men.” He walked up and down the floor of the House, stamping his foot, and giving his orders. “Fetch him down," he said to Harrison, pointing to the Speaker, who still remained in his chair. Harrison told him to come down, but Lenthall refused. “Take hirn down,” repeated Cromwell; Harrison laid his hand on the Speaker's gown, and he came down immédiately. Algernon Sidney 5 was sitting near the Speaker. “Put him out,” said Cromwell to Harrison. Sidney did not move. “Put him out,” reiterated Cromwell. Harrison and Worsley laid their hands on Sidney's shoulders, upon which he rose and walked out. “This is not honest,” exclaimed Vane; “it is against morality and common honesty !” “Sir Harry Vane! Sir Harry Vane !” replied Cromwell; "you might have prevented this extraordinary course; but you are a juggler, and have not so much as common honesty. The Lord deliver me from Sir Harry Vane !” And, amidst the general confusion as the members passed out before him, he flung nicknames in the face of each. “Some of you are drunkards !” he said, pointing to Mr. Challoner ; “some of you are adulterers !” and he looked at Sir Peter Wentworth; “some of you are corrupt unjust persons !” and he glanced at Whitelocke and others.

He went up to the table on which the mace lay, which was carried before the Speaker, and called to the soldiers, “What shall we do with this bauble ? here, take it away.”

5 Afterwards put to death under Charles the Second. PART II.

« ZurückWeiter »