Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/220

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
 

the field desperately wounded. The king then evacuated Chester and retired to Newark, where he arrived with Gerard on 4 Oct., and fixed his headquarters for the winter. Gerard was dismissed the king's service before the end of the month for taking part with Rupert and some other cavaliers in a disorderly protest against the supersession of Sir Richard Willis, the governor of the place (‘Iter Carolinum,’ in Somers Tracts; Symonds, Diary, Camd. Soc.; Parliament's Post, 23–30 Sept. 1645; Perfect Diurnal, 29 Sept.–6 Oct. 1645; King's Pamphlets, small 4to, vol. ccxxvii. Nos. 18, 21, 24–6; Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. 454 a, 9th Rep. App. 435–6; Carte, Ormonde Papers, i. 338; Baker, Chron. 364; Warburton, Memoirs of Prince Rupert, iii. 206–7). Gerard now attached himself closely to Rupert's party, which consisted of about four hundred officers. They established themselves at Worton House, some fourteen miles from Newark, and made overtures to the parliament with the view of obtaining passes out of the country. Parliament, however, required that they should take an oath never again to bear arms against it. The cavaliers therefore temporised, being really anxious for a reconciliation with the king on honourable terms. They were ordered to the neighbourhood of Worcester by parliament, and there remained during the winter, but early in the following year returned to their allegiance and the king at Oxford. There Gerard raised another troop of horse, with which he scoured the adjoining country, penetrating on one occasion as far as the neighbourhood of Derby, where he was routed in a skirmish. At one time he seems to have been in command of Wallingford, but when the lines of investment began to be drawn more closely round Oxford he withdrew within the city walls, where he seems to have remained until the surrender of the place (24 June 1646). He probably left England with Rupert, as we find him at the Hague on 27 Dec. 1646 (True Informer, 31 Oct. 1645; Mercur. Britann. 27 Oct.–3 Nov. 1645; Perfect Passages, 28 Oct. 1645, 21 Feb. 1645–6; Contin. of Special Passages, 31 Oct. 1645; Perfect Diurnal, 19 Nov. 1645, 10 Feb. 1645–6; Mod. Intell. 21 Nov. and 13 Dec. 1645, 24 Jan. 1645–6, 27 Dec. 1646; Wood, Annals of Oxford, ed. Gutch, ii. 477; Perfect Occurr. 2 May 1646). From this time until the Restoration his movements are very hard to trace. He was at St. Germain-en-Laye in September 1647 with Rupert, Digby, and other cavaliers. He was appointed vice-admiral of the fleet in November 1648, and on 8 Dec. passed through Rotterdam on his way to Helvoetsluys to enter on his new duties. In April 1649 he was at the Hague as gentleman of the bedchamber to the king. He apparently belonged to the ‘queen's faction,’ which was understood to favour the policy of coming to an understanding with the commissioners from the Scottish parliament, who were then at the Hague, but were denied an audience by Charles. In October of the same year he was with Charles in Jersey when the celebrated declaration addressed to the English people was published, and he was a member, and probably an influential member, of the council which advised the king to treat with the Scottish parliament as a ‘committee of estates.’ He returned with the king to the Hague, where this policy was put in execution. On 18 March 1649–50 Hyde writes from Madrid to Secretary Nicholas praising Gerard somewhat faintly as a ‘gallant young man’ who ‘always wants a friend by him;’ to which Nicholas replies on 4 May that Gerard is ‘the gallantest, honestest person now about the king, and the most constant to honourable principles.’ In the following November (1650) Nicholas writes to Gerard that he has the commission appointing him general of Kent, but that the fact must be kept secret ‘because the king in his late declaration promised the Scots to grant none.’ In March 1650–1 Gerard left the Hague for Breda in attendance on the Duke of York, who was anxious to avoid certain ‘things called ambassadors,’ as Nicholas scornfully terms the Scottish envoys. In the following November he was in Paris, where he seems to have remained for at least a year (Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. App. 275, 547, 5th Rep. App. 173; Carte, Ormonde Papers, i. 93, 155, 338, 426; Whitelocke, Mem. 349; Baillie, Letters, Bannatyne Club, iii. 8; Harris, Life of Charles II, p. 74; Clarendon State Papers, iii. 13; Nicholas Papers, Camden Soc., 171, 199, 279; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1651–2, p. 3; Egerton MSS. 2534 ff. 117, 127, 2535 f. 483). On 13 May 1652 he was appointed to the command of the corps of life guards then being raised. In 1653 he went to Utrecht, where Dr. Robert Creighton [q. v.] ‘wrought a miracle’ upon him. He remained there through part of 1654, was present at the siege of Arras, serving under Turenne as a volunteer in August of that year (Gualdo Priorato, Hist. del Ministerio del Cardinale Mazarino, ed. 1669, iii. 319), and then returned to Paris, where he divided his energies between quarrelling with Hyde, intriguing on behalf of Henrietta Maria, and instigating his cousin, John Gerard, to assassinate the Protector. The plot, to which the king appears to have been privy, was discovered, and John Gerard was beheaded in the