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Lucy Hutchinson (1620–1681). Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson. 1906.

The Life of John Hutchinson: 1648

In the meantime, some months before, when the king had laid the design of the second war with the Scots, and had employed all his art to bring the English presbyters to a revolt, and was now full of hopes to bring about his game, and conquer those who had conquered him, while he was amusing the parliament with expectations of a treaty, he privily stole away from Hampton Court, by the assistance of Ashburnham and Berkley, no man knew whither; but these wise men had so ordered their business, that instead of going beyond seas, which was his first intent, he was forced to give himself up to Hammond, governor of the Isle of Wight, who immediately gave notice to the parliament, and they sent him thanks for his fidelity, and ordered that the king should be honourably attended and guarded there in Carisbrook Castle. The parliament were again sending him propositions there, when they received a letter from him, urging that he might come to a personal treaty at London. Hereupon the two houses agreed on four propositions to be sent him, to pass as bills; upon the passing of which they were content he should come to a personal treaty for the rest. The four propositions were, 1st. That a bill should pass for the settling the militia of the kingdom. 2ndly. That all oaths, declarations, etc., against the parliament and their adherents should be called in. 3rdly. That the lords made by the great seal at Oxford, should not be capable of sitting in the house of peers thereby. 4thly. That the parliament may have power to adjourn, as the two houses think fit. The Scotch commissioners opposed the sending these bills to the king, and urged his coming to a personal treaty at London. The king, understanding their mind and the factions in London, absolutely refused to sign them. Wherefore the houses, debating upon the king’s denial, at length these votes were passed by both houses, on the 17th day of January:—That they would make no more addresses nor applications to the king. That no person whatsoever should make address of application to him. That whoever should break this order, should incur the penalty of high treason. That they would receive no more messages from the king, and that no person should presume to bring any to either house, or any other person. Upon these votes the army put forth a declaration promising to stand by the houses in them, which was signed by the general and all his officers, at Windsor, January 19th, 1647. But in May following, first tumults began in London; then the Surrey men came with a very insolent petition, and behaved themselves so arrogantly to the parliament, killing and wounding some of the guards, that a troop of horse was fetched from the Mews, and was forced to kill some of them before they could quiet them. After this, the parliament were informed of another insurrection in Kent, coming under the face of a petition, and sent out General Fairfax with seven regiments to suppress them, who pursued them to Rochester. A great company of these Kentish men were gotten together about Gravesend, with fifteen knights, and many commanders of the king’s army to head them; who, although they were more in number than Fairfax his men, yet durst not bide his coming. Some of them went to Dover Castle and besieged it, but the general sent out Sir Michael Livesey, who happily relieved that place and raised the siege; others went to Maidstone, and a few kept together about Rochester. The general himself went to Maidstone, where two thousand of them were gotten into the town, and resolved to keep it; whom the general assaulted, and with difficulty entered the town, and fought for every street, which were barricaded against him and defended with cannon. Yet at length he killed two hundred, and took fourteen hundred prisoners. Four hundred horse broke away to an army of their friends, bigger than Fairfax’s, who saw the town taken, yet had not the courage to engage against the general for the relief of it, but after they saw his victory dispersed. The Lord Goring then having rallied about two thousand of these Kentish men, led them to Greenwich, from whence he sent to try the affections of the Londoners; but while he stayed there expecting their answer, some troops of the army came, upon the sight of whom, he and his men fled, the Kentish men, most of them to their own houses; himself, with about five hundred horse, getting boat, crossed the Thames into Essex, where the Lord Capel with forces out of Hertfordshire, and Sir Charles Lucas with a body of horse at Chelmsford, joined him; to whom, in a short time, divers that had been the king’s soldiers, with many Londoners, and other malignants flocked in. General Fairfax, with part of his forces crossed the Thames at Gravesend, and sending for all the rest out of Kent and London, pursued the enemies, and drove them into Colchester, where he besieged them, and lay before them three months. At last, hearing of the defeat of Duke Hamilton and the Scots, and others of the king’s partisans, and being reduced to eating horse-flesh, without hopes of relief, they yielded to mercy. The general shot Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle to death upon the place, and reserved Goring, Capel, and others, to abide the doom of the parliament. While Fairfax was thus employed in Kent and Essex, Langhorne, Powell, and Poyer, celebrated commanders of the parliament side, revolted with the places in their command, and got a body of eight thousand Welshmen, whom Colonel Horton, with three thousand, encountered, vanquished, routed, and took as many prisoners as he had soldiers; but Langhorn and Powell escaped to Poyer, and shut up themselves with him in Pembroke Castle, a place so strong that they refused all treaty; and thereupon were besieged by Lieutenant-general Cromwell, to whom at length, after some months’ siege, it was surrendered at the conqueror’s mercy. In divers other countries, at the same time, there were several insurrections and revolts; but those of the parliament party, as if they had lost courage and conscience at once, could no more behave themselves with that valour, which had before renowned them; and were slain or taken, losing the places they had betrayed to their old companions, whose fidelity was crowned with success everywhere. Among the rest, Colonel Gilbert Biron was risen, with other gentlemen of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, and had gotten together about five hundred horse; wherewith, after he failed of his hopes of corrupting, the governor of Nottingham, they intended to go and join themselves with others that were up in other countries; and this was so suddenly and secretly done, that they were upon their march before the rising was suspected. The governor of Nottingham had not time enough to send a messenger to be before them with Colonel Hutchinson at his house, and therefore shot off a piece of cannon; which Colonel Hutchinson hearing as he sat at dinner, and believing some extraordinary thing to be in it, commanded horses to be made ready, and went to Nottingham; but met the messenger who came to give him notice of the enemies’ approach. The news being sent home in haste, his arms and writings, and other things of value, were put in a cart and sent away; which was not long gone before the enemy marched by the house, and keeping their body on a hill at the town’s end, only sent a party to the house to fetch them what provisions of meat and drink they found there; besides which, they took nothing but a groom with two horses, who having ridden out to air them, fell into their mouths, because he could not be readily found when the rest of the horses were sent away. The reason why no more mischief was done by the cavaliers to his family, at that time, was partly because Colonel Gilbert Biron had commanded not to disturb them, if he were not there, and partly because they were so closely pursued by the Lincolnshire troops, that they could not stay to take, nor would burden themselves with plunder, now they saw it unlikely to get off without fighting. This they did the next day at Willoughby within three miles of Owthorpe, and were there totally routed, killed, and taken by a party under Colonel Rossiter’s command, by whom Colonel Biron was carried prisoner to Belvoir Castle. There being in distress, although he was an enemy, and had dealt unhandsomely with Colonel Hutchinson, in endeavouring to corrupt one for whom he was engaged, yet the colonel sent him a sum of money for his present relief, and after procured him a release and composition with the parliament. The greatest of all these dangers seemed now to be in the north, where Duke Hamilton’s faction being prevalent in Scotland, he had raised an army, and was marched into England. Sir Marmaduke Langdale and Glenham having already raised some men in those parts, whom Lambert, with the assistance of some Lincolnshire forces, joined to his Yorkshire brigade, kept in play; but they reserved themselves to join with Hamilton. Argyle and others of the Kirk party protested against him and many of the ministers cursed his attempt, but were silenced for it, although God heard them. The presbyterians in London secretly prayed for his success, and hardly could the house of lords be brought to join with the house of commons in voting all the English traitors, that should join with the Scots, which yet at the last they did.

Colonel Hutchinson having been about this time at London, and wanting a minister for the place where he lived, and for which he had procured an augmentation, repaired to some eminent ministers in London, to recommend a worthy person to him for the place. They, with a great testimonial, preferred a Scotchman to him, whom the colonel brought down; but having occasion to be with the committee at Nottingham, to take order for the security of the county in these dangerous times, while he was out the man made strange prayers in the family, which were couched in the dark expressions; but Mrs. Hutchinson, understanding them to be intended for the prosperous success of those who were risen against the parliament, and of his nation that were coming to invade ours, told her husband at his return, that she could not bear with nor join in his prayers. The next day, being the Lord’s day, the colonel heard his sermon, which was so spiritless and so lamentable, that he was very much vexed the ministers should have put such a man to him; withal he publicly made the same prayers he uttered in the family for the success of the Scots; whereupon, after dinner, the colonel took him aside, and told him that he had done very sinfully to undertake an office to which he was so ill gifted, and desired him to depart in peace again the next day, and to forbear any further employment in his house. The man at first was very high, and told the colonel he was there by authority of the parliament, and would not depart; the colonel then dealt high with him, and told him he would declare to them the expressions of his prayers, and so confounded the man, that he besought him to have pity, and confessed that he was fled from his own country for having been of Montrose’s party; and that covetousness, against his conscience, had drawn him to dissemble himself to be of the parliament’s principles, but that God had judged him for his hypocrisy, and withdrawn his Spirit from him, since he practised it; and submitted himself to go quietly and silently away, begging it as a favour of the colonel, that he would permit him so to do. He did it with such a counterfeit sorrow and conviction, that the colonel being of a most placable nature, freely forgave him, and set him not away empty, for he had fifteen pounds for only a fortnight’s service; yet this rogue, before he went out of the country, went to the presbyters at Nottingham, and told them his conscience would not permit him to stay in the colonel’s house, because he and his wife were such violent sectaries, that no orthodox man could live comfortably with them; and this scandal those charitable priests were ready to receive and more largely spread it. They themselves, with divers of their zealous disciples, whom they had perverted, among whom were Colonel Francis Pierrepont, Captains Rosse, White, Chadwick, and many others, were watching opportunity to break their covenant and rise against that parliament, under which they had served and sworn to assist, till all delinquents, as well greater as less, were brought to condign punishment.

At London things were in a very sad posture, the two factions of presbytery and independency being so engaged to suppress each other, that they both left off to regard the public interest; insomuch, that at that time a certain sort of public spirited men stood up in the parliament and the army, declaring against these factions and the ambition of the grandees of both, and the partiality that was in these days practised, by which great men were privileged to do those things which meaner men were punished for, and the injustice and other crimes of particular members of parliament, rather covered than punished, to the scandal of the whole house. Many got shelter in the house and army against their debts, by which others were defrauded and undone. The lords, as if it were the chief interest of nobility to be licensed in vice, claimed many prerogatives, which set them out of the reach of common justice, which these good-hearted people would have equally to belong to the poorest as well as to the mighty; and for this and such other honest declarations, they were nicknamed Levellers. Indeed, as all virtues are mediums, and have their extremes, there rose up afterwards with that name a people, who endeavoured the levelling of all estates and qualities; which these sober Levellers were never guilty of desiring, but were men of just and sober principles, of honest and religious ends, and therefore hated by all the designing self-interested men of both factions. Colonel Hutchinson had a great intimacy with many of these; and so far as they acted according to the just, pious, and public spirit which they professed, owned them and protected them as far as he had power. These were they who first began to discover the ambition of Lieutenant-general Cromwell and his idolaters, and to suspect and dislike it. About this time, he was sent down, after his victory in Wales, to encounter Hamilton in the North. When he went down, the chief of these levellers following him out of the town, to take their leaves of him, received such professions from him, of a spirit bent to pursue the same just and honest things that they desired, as they went away with great satisfaction, till they heard that a coachful of presbyterian priests coming after them, went away no less pleased; by which it was apparent he dissembled with one or the other and by so doing lost his credit with both.

When he came to Nottingham, Colonel Hutchinson went to see him, whom he embraced with all the expressions of kindness that one friend could make to another, and then retiring with him, pressed him to tell him what thought his friends, the levellers, had of him. The colonel, who was the freest man in the world from concealing truth from his friend, especially when it was required of him in love and plainness, not only told him what others thought of him, but what he himself conceived; and how much it would darken all his glories, if he should become a slave to his own ambition, and be guilty of what he gave the world just cause to suspect, and therefore he begged of him to wear his heart in his face, and to scorn to delude his enemies, but to make use of his noble courage to maintain what he believed just, against all great opposers. Cromwell made mighty professions of a sincere heart to him, but it is certain that for this and such like plain dealing with him, he dreaded the colonel, and made it his particular business to keep him out of the army; but the colonel never desiring command to serve himself but his country, would not use that art he detested in others, to procure himself any advantage.

At this time Colonel Thornhagh marched with Cromwell, and at his parting with Colonel Hutchinson, took such a kind leave of him, with such dear expressions of love, such brotherly embraces, and such regret for any rash jealousies he had been wrought into, that it took great impression in the colonel’s kind heart, and might have been a presage to him that they should meet no more, when they parted with such extraordinary melting love; but that Colonel Hutchinson’s cheerful and constant spirit never anticipated any evil with fear. His prudence wanted not foresight that it might come, yet his faith and courage entertained his hope, and that God would either prevent, or help him to bear it.

This summer the revolt was not greater at land than at sea. Many of the great ships set the vice-admiral on shore, and sailed towards Holland to Prince Charles: to whom the Duke of York was come, having, by his father’s advice, privately stolen away from London, where the parliament had received and treated him like a prince, ever since the surrender of Oxford. To reduce these revolted ships, and preserve the rest of the navy from the like, the Earl of Warwick was made lord high admiral of England. But at the same time his brother, the Earl of Holland, who had floated up and down with the tide of the times, rose also against the parliament, and appeared in arms, with the young Duke of Buckingham and Lord Francis Villars, his brother, and others, making about five hundred horse, at Kingston-upon-Thames. Here some of the parliament troops, assailing them before they had time to grow, they were totally routed and dispersed. The Lord Francis Villars was slain; the Earl of Holland, flying with those he could rally, was fought with at St. Neots, Dalbier and others of his associates slain, and himself taken prisoner and carried to Warwick Castle. Buckingham fled, and at last got beyond seas, with a blot of base ingratitude and treachery, which began then to appear, and hath since marked out all his life. For these two lords being pupils, and under the king’s tuition, were carried with him to Oxford, where they remained till the rendition of the place; and then coming to London, in regard they were under age, had all their father and mother’s great estates, freely, without any sequestration or composition; and while they enjoyed them, their secret intentions of rising being discovered to the parliament, the parliament would not secure them, as some advised, but only sent a civil warning to the duke, minding him how unhandsome it would be, if the information should prove true. Whereupon the duke protested he had no such intention, but utterly detested it, making all the expressions of just gratitude to them that could be; and yet, within very few days after, openly showed himself in arms, to tell the world how perfidious a hypocrite he was; for which the parliament exempted him from pardon, and ever after detested his name, as one that rose only to fall into contempt and obloquy.

And now was Cromwell advanced into Lancashire, where Lambert, retreating after the invading Scots, joined with him and made up an army of about ten thousand; which were but few to encounter five-and-twenty thousand, led by Hamilton, Langdale, and other English joined with them. Yet near Preston, in Lancashire, they fought, and Cromwell gained an entire victory, about the end of August, and had the chase of them for twenty miles, wherein many fell, and many were taken prisoners. Hamilton himself, with a good party of horse, fled to Uttoxeter, and was there taken by the Lord Grey. But, in the beginning of this battle, the valliant Colonel Thornhagh was wounded to death. Being at the beginning of the charge on a horse as courageous as became such a master, he made such furious speed to set upon a company of Scotch lancers, that he was singly engaged and mortally wounded, before it was possible for his regiment, though as brave men as ever drew sword, and too affectionate to their colonel to be slack in following him, to come time enough to break the fury of that body, which shamed not to unite all their force against one man: who yet fell not among them, but being faint and all covered with blood, of his enemies as well as his own, was carried off by some of his own men, while the rest, enraged for the loss of their dear colonel, fought not that day like men of human race; but deaf to the cries of every coward that asked mercy, they killed all, and would not a captive should live to see their colonel die; but said the whole kingdom of Scotland was too mean a sacrifice for that brave man. His soul was hovering to take her flight out of his body, but that an eager desire to know the success of that battle kept it within till the end of the day, when the news being brought him, he cleared his dying countenance, and said, ‘I now rejoice to die, since God hath let me see the overthrow of this perfidious enemy; I could not lose my life in a better cause, and I have the favour from God to see my blood avenged’. So he died, with a large testimony of love to his soldiers, but more to the cause, and was by mercy removed, that the temptations of future times might not prevail to corrupt his pure soul. A man of greater courage and integrity fell not, nor fought not in this glorious cause; he had also an excellent good nature, but easy to be wrought upon by flatterers, yet as flexible to the admonitions of his friends, and this virtue he had, that if sometimes a cunning insinuation prevailed upon his easy faith, when his error was made known to him, notwithstanding all his great courage, he was readier to acknowledge and repair, than to pursue his mistake. Colonel Thornhagh’s regiment, in the reducing of the garrison forces, had one Major Saunders (a Derbyshire man, who was a very godly, honest, country gentleman, but had not many things requisite to a great soldier) assigned them for their major, and with him he brought in about a troop of Derbyshire horse; but the Nottinghamshire horse, who certainly were as brave men as any that drew swords in the army, had been animated in all their service by the dear love they had to their colonel, and the glory they took in him, and their generous spirits could not take satisfaction in serving under a less man, which they all esteemed their major to be. But remembering their successes under Colonel Hutchinson, and several other things that moved them to pitch their thoughts upon him, the captains addressed themselves to Cromwell, and acquainted him with the discouragement and sorrow they had by the death of their colonel, for whom nothing could comfort them, but a successor equal to himself; which they could not hope to find so as they might in the person of Colonel Hutchinson, with whose worth and courage they were well acquainted, and he was now out of employment. The only difficulty was, whether he would accept the command which they hoped to prevail in, if he would oblige them by sending to Lord Fairfax, to stop all other ways that might be thought of for disposing it, till they could know whether Colonel Hutchinson would accept it, for which they had prepared a messenger to send to his house. Cromwell, with all the assentation imaginable, seemed to rejoice they had made so worthy a choice, and promised them to take care the regiment should not be disposed of till they received Colonel Hutchinson’s answer; whereupon the captains severally wrote to Colonel Hutchinson, with most earnest entreaties, that he would give them leave to procure a commission for him to conduct them, which the lieutenant-general had already promised to send for, if he pleased to accept it.

The colonel, though he had more inclination at that time by reason of the indisposition of his health to rest, yet not knowing whether the earnest desires of his countrymen were not from a higher call, writ them word that he preferred the satisfaction of their desires before his own, and if the commission came to him to be their leader, he would not refuse it, though he should not do anything himself to seek any command. Meanwhile Cromwell, as soon as the Nottinghamshire men had imparted their desires to him, sent for Saunders and cajoling him, told him none was so fit as himself to command the regiment; but that the regiment thought not all of them so, but were designing to procure themselves another colonel, which he advised him to prevent, by sending speedily to the general, to whom Cromwell also writ to further the request, and before the messenger came back from Owthorpe procured the commission for Saunders. When it came, he used all his art to persuade the captains to submit to it, and to excuse himself from having any hand in it; but they perceived his dissimulation, and the troops were so displeased with it, that they thought to have flung down their arms; but their captains persuaded them to rest contented till the present expedition was over. But they had not only this cheat and disappointment by Cromwell, but all the Nottingham captains were passed over, and a less deserving man made major of the regiment. The new colonel and major made it their business to discountenance and affront all that had showed any desire of Colonel Hutchinson, and to weary them out, that they might fill up their rooms with Derbyshire men; but as soon as they got to London, all that could otherwise dispose of themselves, went voluntarily off; and the rest that were forced to abide, hated their commanders, and lived discontentedly under them. The reasons that induced Cromwell to this, were two: first, he found that Colonel Hutchinson understood him, and was too generous either to fear or flatter him; and he carried, though under a false face of friendship, a deep resentment of the colonel’s plain dealing with him at Nottingham. He had besides a design, by insinuating himself into Colonel Saunders, to flatter him into the sale of a town of his called Ireton, which Cromwell earnestly desired to buy for Major-general Ireton, who had married his daughter; and when at last he could not obtain it, in process of time, he took the regiment away from him again. Colonel Hutchinson was not at all displeased that the regiment was not given to him, but highly resented it that the men were ill used for their affections to him; and was sorry that this particular carriage of Cromwell’s gave him such a proof of other things suspected of him, so destructive to the whole cause and party, as it afterwards fell out.

Sir Marmaduke Langdale, after the rout of Hamilton, came with two or three other officers to a little alehouse which was upon Colonel Hutchinson’s land, and there was so circumspect, that some country fellows, who saw them by chance, suspecting they were no ordinary travellers, acquainted Mr. Widmerpoole, who lived within two or three miles, and had been major to the colonel in the first war: whereupon he came forth, with some few others, and sent down to the colonel to acquaint him that some suspicious persons were at the lodge. The colonel, hearing of it, took his servants out, and was approaching near the house, when Major Widmerpoole, being beforehand in the house, had given Langdale some jealousy that he might be surprised; therefore one of his company went out to fetch out his horses, which were stopped for the present, and they seeing the colonel coming up towards them, rendered themselves prisoners to Major Widmerpoole, and were sent to Nottingham Castle, where they continued some months, till at last Langdale finding an opportunity, corrupted one of the guard, who furnished him with a soldier’s disguise, and ran away with him. The major, who had been baffled by these persons, if the colonel had not come in, had all the booty, which the colonel never took share of anywhere: but the major thinking the best of his spoils justly due to him, presented him with a case or two of very fine pistols, which he accepted.

About this time, the gentlemen that were commissioners for the king at Newark, fell into disputes one with another; nor only so, but suits were commenced in the chancery upon this occasion. One Atkins, and several other rich men at Newark, when that garrison began to be fortified for the king, lent certain sums of money for the carrying on of that work, to the commissioners of array, for which those gentlemen became bound to the Newarkers. After the taking of that town by the parliament, they, with other persons, coming in within the set time, were admitted to composition. Having been so cunning as to put out their money in other names, they ventured to leave out these sums, believing they were put into such sure hands, that it would never be discovered. Mr. Sutton, Sir Thomas Williamson, Sir John Digby, Sir Gervase Eyre, the Lord Chaworth, Sir Thomas Blackwell, Sir Roger Cowper, Sir Richard Biron, and others, had given bond for this money, which Mr. Sutton, presenting to the king, as a sum that he had raised to signalize his loyalty, the king, to reward him, made him a baron. The whole sum thus taken up for the king’s service, was eight or ten thousand pounds; fifteen hundred of it, that was lent by Atkinson, being demanded, would have been paid, but they would not take the principal without the interest. Sir Thomas Williamson was openly arrested for it in Westminster Hall; upon which Mr. Sutton and he, being madded, put in a bill in chancery against Atkinson and others praying that they might set forth to what ends and uses this money was lent to the said gentlemen, etc., etc.

The parliament had made a law, that all estates of delinquents, concealed and uncompounded for, should be forfeited, one half to the state, and the other half to the discoverer, if he had any arrears due to him from the parliament, in payment of them. There were clerks and solicitors, who in those days made a trade of hunting out such discoveries, and making them known to such as had any arrears due to them. Colonel Hutchinson at that time had received no pay at all. One of the clerks of that committee, which was appointed for such discoveries, sent him word that two officers of the army were upon this chancery bill, endeavouring to make a discovery of certain concealed moneys in Nottinghamshire, which being his own country, he thought might be more proper for him. Colonel Hutchinson, who had never any mind to disadvantage any of the gentlemen of the country, demurred upon this information, and did nothing in it, till some came to him, intimating a desire of my Lord Lexington’s, that the colonel would pitch upon that for the payment of his arrears, that so they might fall into the hands of a neighbour, who would use them civilly, rather than of a stranger. After that the colonel was thus invited by the gentlemen themselves, to pitch upon this money, he waived all the rest, and only entered as his discovery that money which these townsmen of Newark had lent, and upon full search and hearing at the committee, the money was found to be forfeited money, and the debtors were ordered to pay it into the committee, and Colonel Hutchinson had also an order to receive his arrear from that committee of Haberdashers’ Hall. Hereupon Sir Thomas Williamson and Lord Lexington, who being the men of the best estates, were principally looked upon for the debt, applied themselves to Colonel Hutchinson, begging as a favour that he would undertake the management of the order of sequestration given out upon their estates; and would also oblige them, by bringing in several other gentlemen, that were bound to bear proportionable shares. The colonel, to gratify them, got the order of sequestration, and brought them to an accommodation, wherein every man, according to his ability, agreed upon an equal proportion; and the gentlemen, especially Mr. Sutton, acknowledged a very great obligation to the colonel, who had brought it to so equal a composition among them; and then, upon their own desires, the order of sequestration was laid upon their estates, but managed by one of their own bailiffs, only to free them from inconveniences that otherwise would have come upon them. Some of them made use of it to get in arrears of rent, which they knew not how else any way to have gotten, and for which at that time they pretended the greatest sense of gratitude and obligation imaginable. The colonel also procured them days of payment, so that whereas it should have been paid this Michaelmas, 1648, it was not paid till a year after; and for these, and many other favours on this occasion, he was then courted as their patron, though afterwards this civility had like to have been his ruin. And now, about Michaelmas, 1648, he went to attend his duty at the parliament, carrying his whole family with him, because his house had been so ruined by the war that he could no longer live in it, till it were either repaired or new built. On coming to London, he himself fell into his old distemper of rheumatism with more violence than ever, and being weary of those physicians he had so long with so little success employed, he was recommended to a young doctor, son to old Dr. Rudgely whose excellence in his art was everywhere known; and this son being a very ingenious person, and considering himself, and consulting with his father, believed that all the other physicians who had dealt with him had mistaken his disease; which he finding more truly out, in a short space perfectly cured him of the gout, and restored him, by God’s blessing on his endeavours, to such a condition of health as he had not enjoyed for two years before. When he was well again to attend the house, he found the presbyterian party so prevalent there, that the victories obtained by the army displeased them; and so hot they grew in the zeal of their faction, that they from thenceforth resolved and endeavoured to close with the common enemy, that they might thereby compass the destruction of their independent brethren. To this end, and to strengthen their faction, they got in again the late suspended members; whereof it was said, and by the consequence appeared true, that Mr. Hollis, during his secession, had been in France, and there meeting with the queen, had pieced up an ungodly accommodation with her; although he were the man that when at the beginning, some of the soberer men, who foresaw the sad issues of war and victory on either side, were labouring an accommodation, openly in the house said, ‘he abhorred that word accommodation’. After these were gotten in again, and encouraged by the presbyterian ministers and the people in the city, they procured a revocation of the votes formerly made, with such convincing reasons publicly declared for the same, why they had resolved of no more addresses to be made to the king. And now nothing was agitated with more violence than a new personal treaty, with honour and freedom; and even his coming to the city, before any security given, was laboured for, but that prevailed not. Such were the heats of the two parties, that Mr. Hollis challenged Ireton, even in the house; out of which they both went to fight, but that one who sat near them overhead the wicked whisper, and prevented the execution of it.

Amidst these things, at last a treaty was sent to the king, by commissioners, who went from both houses, to the Isle of Wight; and although there were some honourable persons in this commission, yet it cannot be denied, but that they were carried away by the others, and concluded, upon most dangerous terms, an agreement with the king. He would not give up bishops, but only lease out their revenues; and upon the whole, such were the terms upon which the king was to be restored, that the whole cause was evidently given up to him. Only one thing he assented to, to acknowledge himself guilty of the blood spilt in the late war, with this proviso, that if the agreement were not ratified by the house, then this concession should be of no force against him. The commissioners that treated with him had been cajoled and biassed with the promises of great honours and offices to every one of them, and so they brought back their treaty to be confirmed by the houses; where there was a very high dispute about them, and they sat up most part of the night: when at length it was voted to accept his concessions, the dissenting party being fewer than the other that were carried on in the faction. Colonel Hutchinson was that night among them, and being convinced in his conscience that both the cause, and all those who with an upright honest heart asserted and maintained it, were betrayed and sold for nothing, he addressed himself to those commissioners he had most honourable thoughts of, and urged his reasons and apprehensions to them, and told them that the king, after having been exasperated, vanquished, and captived, would be restored to that power which was inconsistent with the liberty of the people, who, for all their blood, treasure, and misery, would reap no fruit, but a confirmation of bondage; and that it had been a thousand times better never to have struck one stroke in the quarrel, than, after victory, to yield up a righteous cause; whereby they should not only betray the interest of their country and the trust reposed in them, and those zealous friends who had engaged to the death for them, but be false to the covenant of their God, which was to extirpate prelacy, not to lease it. They acknowledged to him that the conditions were not so secure as they ought to be; but in regard of the growing power and insolence of the army, it was best to accept them. They further said, that they enjoying those trusts and places, which they had secured for themselves and other honest men, should be able to curb the king’s exorbitances; and such other things they said, wherewith the colonel, dissatisfied, opposed their proceedings as much as he could. When the vote was passed, he, telling some men of understanding, that he was not satisfied in conscience to be included with the major part in this vote, which was contrary to their former engagements to God, but thought it fit to testify their public dissent, he and four more entered into the house-book a protestation against that night’s votes and proceedings. Whether it yet remains there, or whether some other of them got it out, he knew not, but he much wondered after the change and scrutiny into all these things, that he never heard the least mention of it.

By this violent proceeding of the presbyterians they finished the destruction of him in whose restitution they were now so fiercely engaged, for this gave heart to the vanquished cavaliers, and such courage to the captive king that it hardened him and them to their ruin. On the other side, it so frightened all the honest people, that it made them as violent in their zeal to pull down, as the others were in their madness to restore, this kingly idol; and the army, who were principally levelled and marked out for the sacrifice and peace-offering of this ungodly reconciliation, had some colour to pursue their late arrogant usurpations upon that authority which it was their duty rather to have obeyed than interrupted; but the debates of that night, which produced such destructive votes to them and all their friends, being reported to them, they the next morning came and seized about of the members as they were going to the house, and carried them to a house hard by, where they were for the present kept prisoners. Most of the presbyterian faction, distasted at this insolence, would no more come to their seats in the house; but the gentlemen who were of the other faction, or of none at all, but looked upon themselves as called out to manage a public trust for their country, forsook not their seats while they were permitted to sit in the house. Colonel Hutchinson was one of these, who infinitely disliked the action of the army, and had once before been instrumental in preventing such another rash attempt, which some of the discerning and honest members having a jealousy of, sent him down to discover. When he came, going first to commissary Ireton’s quarters, he found him and some of the more sober officers of the army in great discontent, for that the lieutenant-general had given order for a sudden advance of the army to London, upon the intelligence they had had of the violent proceedings of the other party, whereupon Cromwell was then in the mind to have come and broke them up; but Colonel Hutchinson, with others, at that time persuaded him that, notwithstanding the prevalency of the presbyterian faction, yet there were many who had upright and honest hearts to the public interest, who had not deserved to be so used by them, and who could not join with them in any such irregular ways, although in all just and equitable things they would be their protectors. Whereupon at that time he was stayed; but having now drawn the army nearer London, they put this insolent force upon the house. Those who were suffered to remain, not at all approving thereof, sent out their mace to demand their members, but the soldiers would not obey. Yet the parliament thought it better to sit still and go on in their duty than give up all, in so distempered a time, into the hands of the soldiery; especially there having been so specious a pretext of the necessity of securing the whole interest and party from the treachery of those men, who contended so earnestly to give up the victors into the hands of their vanquished enemies. Many petitions had been brought to the parliament from thousands of the well-affected of the city of London and Westminster and borough of Southwark, and from several counties in England, and from the several regiments of the army, whereof Colonel Ingoldsby’s was one of the first, all urging them to perform their covenant, and bring delinquents, without partiality, to justice and condign punishment, and to make inquiry for the guilt of the blood that had been shed in the land in both wars, and to execute justice; lest the not improving the mercies of God should bring judgments in their room.

Then also a declaration to the same purpose was presented to the house from the Lord General Fairfax and his council of officers, and strange it is how men who could afterwards pretend such reluctancy and abhorrence of those things that were done, should forget they were the effective answer of their petitions.