King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649

By Esmé Wingfield-Stratford | Go to book overview

I
THE TRAIN IS LAID

AFTER the departure of the Parliamentary Commissioners events swept to a climax. Now that Ireton had succeeded in formally committing the army to the programme of revolution and regicide embodied in his Army Remonstrance, he and the dynamic group who were its effective sponsors did not intend to let the grass grow beneath their feet. And behind Ireton, distant, enigmatic, loomed the greater figure that was in every. one's thoughts. When did Lieutenant-General Cromwell intend to make his entrance on the stage? For what part had he cast himself in this last act of the royal tragedy? For by that, as all must have hoped or feared, the issue was likely to be determined.

The question, even in the light of our present knowledge, is not too easy to answer. It is by no means certain that Cromwell could have given any definite answer himself. He was still in Yorkshire, side-tracked by his own choice in work that would have been more appropriately deputed to a subordinate, that of starving out the isolated Cavalier garrison at Pontefract--who, he reports, "are resolved to endure to the utmost extremity, expecting no mercy, as indeed they deserve none."

Whatever else might be doubtful about the Lieutenant-General's mood at the time, it was marked by a blood-thirstiness that only differed from that of his son-in-law as fire differs from ice. That conditional order to massacre the 4,000 prisoners at Preston had been no isolated outburst. On the same day that the Remonstrance was presented to Parliament we have a furious letter of his, written to two Members of the Commons, about a certain Sir John Owen, who had led the rising in North Wales, and instead of sharing the fate of Lisle and Lucas had been let off with a sentence of banishment and a fine--it is like the roar of a wild beast baulked of its prey.

It is five days after this, the day the Commissioners left Newport,

-287-

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King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xiii
  • I - The Clinch 1
  • I - The Court at Oxford 3
  • 3 - Newark and Cheriton 7
  • 4 - A Desperate Situation 11
  • 5 - Adieu! 16
  • 6 - The King's Strategy 19
  • 7 - A Night March 21
  • 8 - Rupert's Flank March Through Lancashire 25
  • 9 - The Relief of York and Cropredy Bridge 30
  • 10 - Marston Moor--The Challenge 33
  • II - Marston Moor--The Decision 36
  • 12 - The Escape of the Queen 50
  • 14 - Second Newbury and the Cavalier Recovery 54
  • 15 - Artist as General 58
  • II - Defeat 71
  • I - Tertium Quid 73
  • 3 - "Three Things I Will Not Part With" 76
  • 4 - The Liquidation of the Primate 81
  • 5 - A Foredoomed Negotiation 88
  • 6 - An Irish Imbroglio 92
  • 9 - Prelude to Naseby 97
  • 10 - Naseby 102
  • 12 - The King's Cabinet Rifled 112
  • 13 - The King Takes His Stand 116
  • 15 - Meeting and Reconciliation 124
  • 16 - Last Days at Oxford 130
  • 17 - Hobson's Choice 141
  • III - Captivity 149
  • I - Confidence Trick 151
  • 2 - Third Degree at Newcastle 155
  • 4 - "Barbarously Baited" 159
  • 5 - Foreshadowing Martyrdom 162
  • 6 - A King for Cash 168
  • 7 - Holdenby Backwater 171
  • 8 - The Mutiny of the New Model 173
  • 9 - The Commission of Cornet Joyce 178
  • 10 - The King at Newmarket 189
  • 15 - The Fall of London 203
  • 16 - Cromwell on the Turn 208
  • 17 - A Darkening Prospect 219
  • 18 - Escape from Prison 224
  • 21 - The Engagement with the Scots 232
  • 22 - The Trap Shuts 244
  • 24 - Escape Barred 247
  • 26 - Jane Whorwood 256
  • IV - Martyrdom 285
  • I - The Train is Laid 287
  • 3 - Hurst Castle and Pride's Purge 295
  • 4 - Journey to Windsor 299
  • 6 - Conspiracy to Murder 301
  • 7 - High Court of Justice 308
  • 8 - By What Authority? 313
  • 13 - Cromwell Takes Charge 344
  • 14 - Preparation for Death 348
  • 16 - "Cruel Necessity" 354
  • Appendices 369
  • Index 381
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