Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

THE RIW < PUBLIC LIBRARY

AUTOR, LANOX

TYLDEN FOUNDATIONS

England-Charles II in Scotland

1065

The dead King left six children-Charles, Prince of Wales, born in 1630; James, Duke of York, born three years later; Henry, who died young; and three daughters - Mary, Elizabeth, and Henrietta. Mary married Prince William of Nassau, Stadholder of Holland. It is remarkable that both of the older sons afterward became kings of England, as also did the son of Mary. The daughter Elizabeth died in 1650, a prisoner held by the Parliamentarians, in Carisbrooke Castle. The daughter Henrietta Maria, born in 1644, married the French prince, Philip, Duke of Orleans.

The Royalists in Ireland proclaimed Prince Charles, King, and Cromwell went thither to quell the uprising. He made a cyclone campaign, his fanatical soldiers showing no more mercy than so many Apaches, and in the space of nine months he had so nearly crushed the revolt that he left his son-in-law, Ireton, to finish the work, while he passed over to Scotland to stamp out the rebellion there. Young Charles had reached that country and been received as King, but Cromwell attacked the Scots at Dunbar, September 3, 1650, and routed them "horse, foot, and dragoons." While the great general was still engaged in subduing Scotland, Charles led his army across the border and pressed on as far as Worcester, where Cromwell overtook and defeated him on the anniversary of the victory at Dunbar. Charles made his escape, but three of his leading supporters were executed, Parliament having declared all his adherents rebels and traitors.

Cromwell yearned to get hold of Charles, and offered a reward of a thousand pounds for his capture. It seemed impossible for the prince to save himself,

and he never could have done so but for the aid of devoted friends. He entrusted his life at different times to scores of persons, not one of whom betrayed him. Once with his hair cropped close, and dressed as a peasant, he lay in Boscobel wood; and again, hidden by the thick branches of a huge oak, he peeped through the leaves and saw the Parliament soldiers hunting here and there and passing under the tree, without once suspecting that the prize they sought was crouching only a few feet above their heads. His friends. could not have been tempted to betray him by the offer of the kingdom itself.

When he had tramped until he was footsore, he was lifted upon the horse of a miller and helped on his way. Not daring to remain long at the house of the friend to whom he was taken, he left in the disguise of a servant to a gentlewoman, who rode behind him on a pillion, as was the fashion. He and his friend, Lord Wilmot, sailed in a collier from the small fishing-town of Brighton. The master recognized him, but willingly risked his own life. After passing many more dangers the prince landed in Normandy, where even the powerful arm of Cromwell was not long enough to reach him. Meanwhile the war in

Scotland was brought to a successful conclusion by General George Monk, one of Cromwell's officers.

It was at this time that John Milton, the famous poet who wrote "Paradise Lost," was made secretary of Cromwell's Council of State. He became the defender of the Puritan cause with the pen, as the Protector was with the sword. These two great men were possibly personal friends before either had achieved fame, and we can imagine them visiting each other as simple country gentlemen. At any rate, they seem to have understood each other from the start, and there was never any jar in their political relations.

War broke out with Holland in 1652, and was noted for the resolute strife between the great Dutch sailors, Martin Tromp and Michael de Ruyter, on one hand and Admiral Robert Blake on the other. Tromp, having defeated Blake, sailed through the Channel with a broom at his masthead, as an intimation of the manner in which he had swept the seas of the British. But Blake had his revenge. Tromp was slain in a naval battle in 1653, and peace was made with dejected Holland the following year.

Cromwell had urged the need of calling a Parliament which should represent the country and provide the necessary reforms. Some of the members were distrustful of him, suspecting that he wished to place the crown on his own head. When, in 1653, a bill came up for calling a new Parliament of four hundred members, it declared that the present members should retain their seats, with the right to reject such newly elected members as they saw fit. Cromwell believed this was a device of the Rump Parliament to retain power, while that body was equally suspicious of him.

The leading member of the House was young Sir Harry Vane, who had made an excellent governor of the colony of Massachusetts. Feeling that there was imminent danger of the country falling into the power of Cromwell as military dictator, Vane urged with all the earnestness in his power, that the bill should be passed without delay. Cromwell never hesitated in such crises. With a squad of soldiers he strode to the building and, leaving them at the door, entered the House and sat down to watch what was being done. He could not restrain himself long, and, springing to his feet, charged the Commons with misgovernment and the abuse of their power. As he talked, his anger rose, until exclaiming, "You are no Parliament!" he called in his soldiers, had them pull the presiding officer from his seat and tumble him out of doors. The other members scrambled after, amid the dictator's vigorous epithets. When all were gone, Cromwell locked the door, thrust the key into his pocket, and went home, feeling, perhaps, that he had performed only his simple duty.

The old Parliament out of the way, Cromwell called a new one to his own liking. It had one hundred and thirty-nine members, and was nicknamed the

[graphic][merged small]
[blocks in formation]
« ÎnapoiContinuă »