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during the whole remainder of that fatal yeareven when winter had set in with its most keen severity—the arms of Cromwell swept like a hurricane over the western and the midland counties. No leader could compete with him on terms of vantage or equality-no forces stand against him in the field-no town or garrison resişt his prowess. Chief after chief was beaten in detail; stronghold upon stronghold surrendered, or was stormed sword in hand ; till, to conclude the whole, Winchester and the longdisputed post of Basing-house were taken; and Astley, on the 21st of March-the sole commander of the King's, now at the head of any power-suffered so total a defeat, at Stow-onthe-Wold, being himself made prisoner with sixteen hundred of his men, that he said frankly to his captors, “My masters, you have done your work, and may go play, unless you please now to fall out amongst yourselves.”
His fortunes in the field being thus utterly disastrous, after some fruitless efforts at negotiation
with the parliament, and with the independent leaders-negotiations marked by all his usual chicane and insincerity-on the fifth day of May, Charles threw himself into the quarters of the Earl of Leven, then besieging Newark.
How the Scots dealt with their unhappy monarch-who, whatsoever were his faults, undoubtedly confided in their honour--the world knows, for it has become a brand of national reproach. Treated from the first moment, when they found he would not guarantee their covenant, and promise to establish presbyterian rule throughout the land not as a prisoner merely, but with indignity and insult, how Judas-like they sold him to the parliament, and gave him up to Skippon like a mere thing of merchandise, on payment of two hundred thousand pounds, is history. But not so that it was several times in the unfortunate King's power to escape to France or Holland, but that the menacing and angry letters of his false queen, who had her own peculiar reasons for Her pride
dreading a reunion with her injured husband at this moment, prevented him till it was all too late, and in effect consigned him to the block.
That the uxorious and weak King was mainly prompted to the war by the ill counsels of his adulterous spouse is evident. her education-her hereditary prejudices--her selfwill-nay, her very birth itself, made it but natural that she should aim at arbitrary power, and urge her husband, himself obstinate as weak, to that insane and suicidal policy which ultimately proved his ruin. But that, herself in safety, she should with cool determined infidelity insist on his remaining among his deadly enemies, when hope was itself at an end, would seem incredible, were it not fixed beyond a doubt by the existence of her threatening letters, and his heart-broken answers.
Immediately on his surrender to the parliament, he was removed to Holmby Castle, where he remained in close though honourable custody, served and attended as a King, and suffered to indulge in all his favourite recreations, though strictly watched, and vigilantly hindered from any secret correspondence with his friends, and even interdicted from communion with ministers of the episcopalian church.
At this very time there was in progress a desperate struggle between the presbyterians and the army. The former, having already utterly suppressed episcopacy through the realm, proceeded with the sternest and most bigoted intolerance of persecution against all sects, papist or protestant, clearly demonstrating their resolution to subject the whole kingdom to a system of church-governanee connected with the state, under the presbyterian form, as fully organized as that which they had just put down, and ten times more obnoxious to domestic freedom-ten times more rigid, fierce, inquisitorial and tyrannical.
Against these measures the independents, who although a minority in both houses, were formidable from the talents of the leaders, the
enthusiasm of the mass, the real justice of their cause, and above all from the fact that they possessed the power of the sword, the army being almost unanimously in their favour, offered all constitutional opposition — but to no purpose. Petition after petition was presented, only to be contemned and disregarded. Just at this moment it was rumoured, and — as was shortly proved-most truly, that the parliament was now preparing to disband the army without payment of its long arrears, and then to reenlist it, under presbyterian officers, for the conquest of rebellious Ireland-a plot most cunningly devised, could it have been effected, for wresting their ascendancy from Ireton and Cromwell, and rendering themselves unquestioned masters of the state.
This instantly gave rise to mutinies the most alarming—the army organized itself into political divisions; the privates, under their adjutators, elected two from every regiment the officers forming a superior council and