Page:Behemoth 1889.djvu/163

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B. Cromwell had power enough now to restore the King. Why did he it not?

A. His main end was to set himself in his place. The restoring of the King was but a reserve against the Parliament, which being in his pocket, he had no more need of the King, who was now an impediment to him. To keep him in the army was a trouble; to let him fall into the hands of the Presbyterians had been a stop to his hopes; to murder him privately (besides the horror of the act) now whilst he was no more than lieutenant-general, would have made him odious without furthering his design. There was nothing better for his purpose than to let him escape from Hampton Court (where he was too near the Parliament) whither he pleased beyond sea. For though Cromwell had a great party in the Parliament House whilst they saw not his ambition to be their master, yet they would have been his enemies as soon as that had appeared.—To make the King attempt an escape, some of those that had him in custody, by Cromwell’s direction told him that the adjutators meant to murder him; and withal caused a rumour of the same to be generally spread, to the end it might that way also come to the King’s ear, as it did.

The King, therefore, in a dark and rainy night, his guards being retired, as it was thought, on purpose, left Hampton Court and went to the sea-side about Southampton, where a vessel had been bespoken to transport him, but failed; so that the King was forced to trust himself with Colonel Hammond, then governor of the Isle of Wight; expecting perhaps some kindness from him, for Dr. Hammond’s sake, brother to the colonel and his Majesty’s much favoured chaplain. But it proved otherwise; for the colonel sent to his masters of the Parliament, to receive their orders concerning him. This going into the Isle of Wight was not likely to be any part of Cromwell’s design, who neither knew whither nor which way he would go; nor had Hammond known any more than other men, if the ship had come to the appointed place in due time.