by an improvised court-martial, and then, having generously allowed them to dice for their lives, caused the loser to be shot out of hand in front of his comrades. After that there was no servant of the Lord or friend of the people who would be hardy enough to cavil at an order of his Lieutenant-General. The New Model had been taught to know its master, and the lesson been cheaply bought at the price of one man's blood.
But Cromwell too had had his lesson. It had after all been touch and go, and with his intuitive commonsense, he must have divined how fatal it would be to set himself against the grain of sentiment in the army. No wise man will bank on bringing off the same miracle twice. Cromwell had scotched the power of the Agitators, but while they could outbid him with their offer of the King's head on a charger, they would always have a potentially winning advantage over him. Mutiny may be put down by terror, but it can only be insured against by goodwill. And Cromwell, in the depths of his being, knew on what terms the goodwill of the army was to be secured. But they were terms he had again and again--and never more strongly than recently--ruled out as unthinkable--"it would be accounted a most horrid act." Cromwell was not the man to charge his soul with blood-guilt. But Cromwell was the Lord's servant, and if the Lord liked to authorize this or any other act--His will would have to be obeyed in all humility.
His will? Under the circumstances there might be a case for enquiry.
THE CONVERSION OF CROMWELL
IT might have been pleaded in defence of Jack Ashburnham that if the King had been really determined to make his escape overseas, the disclosure of his whereabouts to Hammond and his going with him to Carisbrooke would in all probability have proved no bar to his doing so before November was out. It seemed as if the hopes he had reposed in Hammond were going to be fulfilled. Every mark of outward respect was shown to him. There was no apparent question of putting him under restraint. He was lodged in the best rooms in the Castle, was allowed to send for his
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Publication information: Book title: King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649. Contributors: Esmé Wingfield-Stratford - Author. Publisher: Hollis & Carter. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1950. Page number: 232.
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