Page:EB1911 - Volume 12.djvu/428

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GREAT REBELLION 411

proposed to stifle all animosities by the resignation of all officers who were members of either House, a proposal which affected himself not less than Essex and Manchester. The first “self denying ordinance” was moved on the 9th of December, and provided that “no member of either house shall have or execute any office or command . . .,” &c. This was not accepted by the Lords, and in the end a second “self-denying ordinance” was agreed to (April 3, 1645), whereby all the persons concerned were to resign, but without prejudice to their reappointment. Simultaneously with this, the formation of the New Model was at last definitely taken into consideration. The last exploit of Sir William Waller, who was not re-employed after the passing of the ordinance, was the relief of Taunton, then besieged by General Goring's army. Cromwell served as his lieutenant-general on this occasion, and we have Waller's own testimony that he was in all things a wise, capable and respectful subordinate. Under a leader of the stamp of Waller, Cromwell was well satisfied to obey, knowing the cause to be in good hands.

23. Decline of the Royalist Cause.—A raid of Goring's horse from the west into Surrey and an unsuccessful attack on General Browne at Abingdon were the chief enterprises undertaken on the side of the Royalists during the early winter. It was no longer “summer in Devon, summer in Yorkshire” as in January 1643. An ever-growing section of Royalists, amongst whom Rupert himself was soon to be numbered, were for peace; many scores of loyalist gentlemen, impoverished by the loss of three years' rents of their estates and hopeless of ultimate victory, were making their way to Westminster to give in their submission to the Parliament and to pay their fines. In such circumstances the old decision-seeking strategy was impossible. The new plan, suggested probably by Rupert, had already been tried with strategical success in the summer campaign of 1644. As we have seen, it consisted essentially in using Oxford as the centre of a circle and striking out radially at any favourable target—“manoeuvring about a fixed point,” as Napoleon called it. It was significant of the decline of the Royalist cause that the “fixed point” had been in 1643 the king's field army, based indeed on its great entrenched camp, Banbury-Cirencester-Reading-Oxford, but free to move and to hold the enemy wherever met, while now it was the entrenched camp itself, weakened by the loss or abandonment of its outer posts, and without the power of binding the enemy if they chose to ignore its existence, that conditioned the scope and duration of the single remaining held army's enterprises.

24. The New Model Ordinance.—For the present, however, Charles's cause was crumbling more from internal weakness than from the blows of the enemy. Fresh negotiations for peace which opened on the 29th of January at Uxbridge (by the name of which place they are known to history) occupied the attention of the Scots and their Presbyterian friends, the rise of Independency and of Cromwell was a further distraction, and over the new army and the Self-denying Ordinance the Lords and Commons were seriously at variance. But in February a fresh mutiny in Waller's command struck alarm into the hearts of the disputants. The “treaty” of Uxbridge came to the same end as the treaty of Oxford in 1643, and a settlement as to army reform was achieved on the 15th of February. Though it was only on the 25th of March that the second and modified form of the ordinance was agreed to by both Houses, Sir Thomas Fairfax and Philip Skippon (who were not members of parliament) had been approved as lord general and major-general (of the infantry) respectively of the new army as early as the 21st of January. The post of lieutenant-general and cavalry commander was for the moment left vacant, but there was little doubt as to who would eventually occupy it.

25. Victories of Montrose.—In Scotland, meanwhile, Montrose was winning victories which amazed the people of the two kingdoms. Montrose's royalism differed from that of Englishmen of the 17th century less than from that of their forefathers under Henry VIII. and Elizabeth. To him the king was the protector of his people against Presbyterian theocracy, scarcely less offensive to him than the Inquisition itself, and the feudal oppression of the great nobles. Little as this ideal corresponded to the Charles of reality, it inspired in Montrose not merely romantic heroism but a force of leadership which was sufficient to carry to victory the nobles and gentry, the wild Highlanders and the experienced professional soldiers who at various times and places constituted his little armies. His first unsuccessful enterprise has been mentioned above. It seemed, in the early stages of his second attempt (August 1644), as if failure were again inevitable, for the gentry of the northern Lowlands were overawed by the prevailing party and resented the leadership of a lesser noble, even though he were the king's lieutenant over all Scotland. Disappointed of support where he most expected it, Montrose then turned to the Highlands. At Blair Athol he gathered his first army of Royalist clansmen, and good fortune gave him also a nucleus of trained troops. A force of disciplined experienced soldiers (chiefly Irish Macdonalds and commanded by Alastair of that name) had been sent over from Ireland earlier in the year, and, after ravaging the glens of their hereditary enemies the Campbells, had attempted without success, now here, now there, to gather the other clans in the king's name. Their hand was against every man's, and when he finally arrived in Badenoch, Alastair Macdonald was glad to protect himself by submitting to the authority of the king's lieutenant. There were three hostile armies to be dealt with, besides ultimately-the main covenanting army far away in England.

The duke of Argyll, the head of the Campbells, had an army of his own clan and of Lowland Covenanter levies, Lord Elcho with another Lowland army lay near Perth, and Lord Balfour of Burleigh was collecting a third (also composed of Lowlanders) at Aberdeen. Montrose turned upon Elcho first, and found him at Tippermuir near Perth on the 1st of September 1644. The Royalists were about 3000 strong and entirely foot, only Montrose himself and two others being mounted, while Elcho had about 7000 of all arms. But Elcho's townsmen found that pike and musket were clumsy weapons in inexperienced hands, and, like Mackay's regulars at Killiecrankie fifty years later, they wholly failed to stop the rush of the Highland swordsmen. Many hundreds were killed in the pursuit, and Montrose slept in Perth that night, having thus accounted for one of his enemies. Balfour of Burleigh was to be his next victim, and he started for Aberdeen on the 4th. As he marched, his Highlanders slipped away to place their booty in security. But the Macdonald regulars remained with him, and as he passed along the coast some of the gentry came in, though the great western clan of the Gordons was at present too far divided in sentiment to take his part. Lord Lewis Gordon and some Gordon horse were even in Balfour's army. On the other hand, the earl of Airlie brought in forty-four horsemen, and Montrose was thus able to constitute two wings of cavalry on the day of battle. The Covenanters were about 2500 strong and drawn up on a slope above the How Burn[1] just outside Aberdeen (September 13, 1644). Montrose, after clearing away the enemy's skirmishers, drew up his army in front of the opposing line, the foot in the centre, the forty-four mounted men, with musketeers to support them, on either flank. The hostile left-wing cavalry charged piecemeal, and some bodies of troops did not engage at all. On the other wing, however, Montrose was for a moment hard pressed by a force of the enemy that attempted to work round to his rear. But he brought over the small band of mounted men that constituted his right wing cavalry, and also some musketeers from the centre, and destroyed the assailants, and when the ill-led left wing of the Covenanters charged again, during the absence of the cavalry, they were mown down by the close-range volleys of Macdonald's musketeers. Shortly afterwards the centre of Balfour's army yielded to pressure and fled in disorder. Aberdeen was sacked by order of Montrose, whose drummer had been murdered while delivering a message under a flag of truce to the magistrates.

26. Inverlochy.—Only Argyll now remained to be dealt with. The Campbells were fighting men from birth, like Montrose's own men, and had few townsmen serving with them. Still there were enough of the latter and of the impedimenta of regular

  1. The ground has been entirely built over for many years.