Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/494

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A HISTORY OF SURREY Parliament and desired the general to give orders that no affront should be offered in the future to the countrymen by the soldiers, lamenting the injury done to their petitioners and the shedding of so much Chris- tian blood of their county. The Commons meanwhile ordered their committee in the county to prevent tumultuous meetings, and desired the Corporation not to allow any large bodies of men henceforth to pass through the City. 1 Surrey was ripe for a rising when on May 23 Kent was up in arms against the Parliament and army. There were nearly simultaneous risings in North Wales and in the north of England in anticipation of a Scotch invasion. The rest of the south-east was not ready. On the night of May 3 1 and June i Fairfax stormed Maidstone. The Kentish coast was much of it in the hands of the Royalists still, but the main body of their remaining forces marched from Rochester by the road, which Fairfax in his advance had left open, towards London. They crossed the river by boats, picked up some sympathisers near London and marched into Essex, where Fairfax following them hard brought them to a stand at Colchester. Defeated in an attempt to carry Col- chester as he had carried Maidstone he had to sit down before the place for a regular siege. While he with the best of the army in the south was so occupied, and while Cromwell and Lambert were engaged in Wales and the North, an opportunity was given for a rising to be pre- pared in Surrey and Sussex. By the influence of the queen the Earl of Holland had been appointed to command the Royalist troops in England. He was truly representative of a great deal of English feeling but totally unfitted to command. He represented English feeling in that he was a former supporter of the Parliamentary cause and supposed to be specially accept- able to the Presbyterians. But he was a vacillating and feeble politician and no soldier. He had nominated an incompetent commander, the Earl of Norwich, to the Kentish Royalists, who had mismanaged the cause in Kent and was now practically superseded by Sir Charles Lucas, Lord Capel and Sir George Lisle in Colchester. Holland himself was preparing for a rising in the neighbourhood of London so openly that ft scarcely needed the ample information of spies to put the Parliament upon its guard.* The Executive Board at the time was the Committee of Derby House, which was a board of members mostly Independents who had superseded the Committee of Both Kingdoms when the latter was broken up by sending away the Scotch members. They were daily informed that Holland was buying horses and raising men. His house in London was frequented by dangerous characters. He had engaged the services of Major Dalbier, a German officer, who had served Count 1 Whitehcke Memorials. 8 Yet Holland at his trial had the face to pretend that he stumbled into a rising by accident. ' I was brought by a suddaine accident into a partie that as suddainely was disperst.' He tried to argue that he was not the general. He certainly did little of the duties of one. (See Clarke Papers, Worcester Coll. MSS. 70, fol. 256 and seqq.) Had his judges known their Falstaff they might have answered, ' Rebellion lay in his way and he found it.' 416