Page:Behemoth 1889.djvu/152

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the loss of one great battle, he lost all he had formerly gotten, and at length his life.—The new modelled army, after consultation whether they should lay siege to Oxford, or march westward to the relief of Taunton (then besieged by the Lord Goring, and defended by Blake, famous afterwards for his actions at sea), resolved for Taunton; leaving Cromwell to attend the motions of the King, though not strong enough to hinder him. The King upon this advantage drew out his forces and artillery out of Oxford. This made the Parliament to call back their general, Fairfax, and order him to besiege Oxford. The King in the meantime relieved Chester, which was besieged by Sir William Brereton, and coming back took Leicester by force; a place of great importance, well provided of artillery and provision.

Upon this success it was generally thought that the King’s party was the stronger. The King himself thought so; and the Parliament in a manner confessed the same, by commanding Fairfax to rise from the siege, and endeavour to give the King battle. For the successes of the King, and the divisions and treacheries growing now amongst themselves, had driven them to rely upon the fortune of one day; in which, at Naseby, the King’s army was utterly overthrown, and no hope left him to raise another. Therefore after the battle, with a small party he went up and down, doing the Parliament here and there some shrewd turns, but never much increasing his number.

Fairfax in the meantime first recovered Leicester, and then marching into the west, subdued it all, except only a few places, forcing with much ado my Lord Hopton (upon honourable conditions) to disband his army, and with the Prince of Wales to pass over to Scilly; whence not long after they went to Paris.

In April, 1646, General Fairfax began to march back to Oxford. In the meantime Rainsborough, who besieged Woodstock, had it surrendered. The King therefore, who was now also returned to Oxford, from whence Woodstock is but six miles, not doubting but that he should there by