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of the day. The king, perceiving the battle wholly lost, was obliged to abandon the field to his enemies, who took all his cannon, baggage, and above five thousand prisoners. From this fatal blow the king never after recovered; his army was dispersed, and the conquerors made as many captives as they thought proper. Among the other spoils taken on this occasion, the king's cabinet was seized, in which was contained all his private correspondence with the queen. The letters were shortly after published by the command of the parliament, who took a vulgar and brutal pleasure in ridiculing all those tender effusions which were never, drawn up for the public eye. The battle of Naseby put the parliamentarians in possession of almost all the strong towns of the kingdom— Bristol, Bridgewater, Chester, Sherborn, and Bath. Exeter was besieged; and all the king's troops in the western counties being entirely dispersed, Fairfax pressed the place, and it surrendered at discretion. The king’s interests seemed going to ruin in every quarter. The Scotish army, which, as has been said, took part with the parliament, having made themselves masters of Carlisle, after an obstinate siege, marched to the southward, and laid siege to Hereford. Another engagement followed between the king and the parliamentarians, in which his forces were put to the rout by colonel Jones, a thousand of his men made prisoners, and five hundred slain. Thus harassed on every side, he retreated to Oxford, which in all conditions of his fortune had been steady to his cause; and there he resolved to offer new terms to his victorious pursuers. Nothing could be more affecting than the king's situation during his abode at Oxford. Saddened by his late melancholy disasters, impressed with the apprehensions of such as hung over him, harassed by the murmurs of those who had followed his cause, and stung with sorrow for his incapacity to relieve them, he now was willing to grant the parliament their own terms, and at any rate to procure a reconciliation. He therefore sent them repeated messages to this purpose; but they did not deign to make him the least reply. At last, after reproaching him with the blood spilt during the war, they told him that they were preparing some bills, to which if he would consent, they would then be able to judge of his pacific inclinations. In the mean time Fairfax was approaching A. D. with a powerful and victorious army, and was 1646. taking the proper measures for laying siege to Oxford, which promised an easy surrender. To be taken captive and led in triumph by his insolent subjects, was what Charles justly abhorred; and every insult and violence might be dreaded from the soldiery, who had felt the effects of his opposition. In this desperate extremity, he embraced a measure which, in any other situation, might justly lie under the imputation of imprudence and indiscretion. He resolved to give himself up to the Scotish army, who had never testified such implacable animosity against him, and to trust to their loyalty for the rest. That he might the better conceal his design from the people of Oxford, orders were given at every gate of the city for allowing three persons to pass. In the might, the king, accompanied by doctor Hudson and Mr. Ashburnham, took the road towards London, travelling as Ashburnham's servant. He, in fact, came so near London, that he once entertained some thoughts of entering that city, and of throwing himself on the mercy of the parliament. At last, after passing through many cross-roads and by-ways, he arrived at the Scotish camp before Newark, and discovered himself to lord Leven, the general.
The Scots, who had before given him some general assurances of their fidelity and protection, now seemed greatly surprised at his arrival among them. Instead of bestowing a thought on his interests, they instantly entered into a consultation upon their own. The commissioners of their army sent up an account of the king's arrival to the parliament, and declared that his coming was altogether uninvited and unexpected. In the mean time, they prevailed upon the king to give directions for surrendering all his garrisons to the parliament; with which he complied. In return for this condescension, they treated him with very long sermons among the ecclesiastics, and with the most cautious reserve, but very different from respect, among the officers. The preachers of the party indeed insulted him from the pulpit; and one of them, after reproaching him to his face with his misconduct, ordered that psalm to be sung which begins,
“Why dost thou, tyrant, boast thyself, Thy wicked deeds to praise?” The king stood up, and called for that psalm which begins with these words, “Have mercy, Lord, on me, I pray, For men would me devour.”
The audience accordingly sang this psalm in compassion to majesty in distress.
The parliament being informed of the king's captivity, immediately entered into a treaty with the Scots, about delivering up their prisoner. The Scots had, from their first entrance into England, been allowed pay by the parliament, in order to prevent their plundering the country: much of this, however, remained unpaid, from the unavoidable necessities of the times;
and much more was claimed by the Scots than was really due. Nevertheless, they now saw that this was a convenient time for insisting on their arrears; and they resolved to make the king the instrument by which this money was to be obtained. After various debates upon this head between them and the parliament, in which they pretended to great honour, and insisted upon many punctilios, they agreed, that upon payment of four hundred thousand pounds they would deliver up the king to his enemies: and this was cheerfully complied with. An action so atrocious may be palliated, but can never be defended: they returned home, laden with plunder, and the reproaches of all good men. From this period to the despotic government of Cromwell, the constitution was convulsed with all the agitations of faction, guilt, ignorance, and enthusiasm. The kingly power being laid low, the parliament attempted to assume the reins; but they were soon to submit in turn to the military power, which, like all democracies, was turbulent, transient, feeble, and bloody.
CHARLEs I. (Continued.)
THE king being delivered over by the Scots to the parliamentary commissioners, he was conducted under a guard to Holdenby Castle in Northamptonshire. They treated him in confinement with the most rigorous severity, dismissing all his ancient servants, debarring him from all visits, and cutting off all communication with his friends and family. The civil war was now over; the king had absolved his followers from their allegiance, and the parliament had now no enemy to fear, except those very troops by which they had extended their overgrown authority. But in proportion as the terror of the king's power diminished, the division between the independents and the presbyterians became more apparent. The majority in the house were of the presbyterian sect; but the majority of the army were staunch independents. At the head of this sect was Cromwell, who secretly directed its operations, and invigorated all its meaSUIreS. Oliver Cromwell, whose talents now began to appear in full lustre, was the son of a private gentleman of Huntingdom; but being the son of a second brother, he inherited a very small paternal fortune. He had been sent to Cambridge; but his inclinations not at that time turning to the calm occupations of elegant literature, he was remarkable only for the profligacy of his conduct, and the dissipation of his paternal fortune. It was, perhaps, his poverty that induced him to fall into the opposite extreme shortly after; for, from being one of the most debauched men in the kingdom, he became the most rigid and abstemious. The same vehemence of temper which had transported him into the extremes of pleasure, now distinguished his religious habits. He endeavoured to improve his shattered fortunes by agriculture; but this expedient served only to plunge him into farther difficulties. He was even determined to go over and settle in New England; but was prevented by the king's ordinance to the contrary. From accident or intrigue, he was chosen member for the town of Cambridge, in the long parliament; but he seemed at first to possess no talents for oratory, his person being ungraceful, his dress slovenly, his elocution homely, tedious, obscure, and embarrassed. He made up, how