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where deeds were enacted that “were productive of greater results than any since the battle of Hastings.” It was not my first visit, and I hope it will not be my last Year by year for twenty years and more I have wandered over those cold clay uplands, and walked by the furrows where the plowshare has turned up the buried treasures of the past, and have saved now a bullet, and anon a piece of silver-plated armour with the crest of a cavalier upon it, and have seen the dog-roses bloom and the harvests ripen over the graves of the dead. And now, with my reader's kind consent, I would fain guide his thoughts to the same spot, and point out as well as my pen can do the events of that day of renown, June the 14th, 1645.
The village of Naseby stands in the centre of England upon a range of hills that are reputed to form the highest table-land in the country. Such is the elevation of the ground that two rivers here take their rise and flow the one to the east and the other to the west of England, the Nen emptying itself into the Wash, and the Avon into the Severn at Tewkesbury. The “peaceable old hamlet” of Naseby, as Carlyle calls it, has, "perhaps five hundred souls ; clay cottages for labourers, but neatly thatched and swept, smiths' shop, beer-shop, all in order; forming a kind of square, which leads off, north and south, into two long streets: the old church, with all its graves, stands in the centre."
The inhabitants are proud of their village, its position, healthfulness, and history. They tell how some of the natives have attained literally to a second childhood. “One of them,” says a local historian," a farmer, named Corby,at seventy years of age, had an entirely new and regular set of teeth cut, which grew to a proper size, and continued firm to his death ; so good, to use his son's expression, that he would quarrel with his family for the crusts.” The crusty old fellow died in the 94th year of his age.
Another of the traditions of Naseby is somewhat startling. It records that on one occasion two women of the village quar, relled, and from words they had proceeded to blows, when a man who had been shot at the battle of Naseby came out of a grave in the churchyard and separated them. And the tradition is not only strange, but true. For it appears that one Humphrey Thompson, who had been shot on the field-but not killed—was subsequently appointed sexton, and that while digging a grave
-though not his own-he came out and separated the combatants.
A walk of a mile along the Naseby and Sibbertoft road, up and down three short sharp hills, brings us to the battle-field, Here we may pause for a moment to recall the events that immediately preceded the conflict. On the 1st of June, 1645, the
King took Leicester by assault. Meanwhile Fairfax was besieging Oxford, where the ladies of the court had sought refuge, and the King resolved to march to the relief of that loyal city. Accordingly, he marched through Market-Harborough and Daventry, and arrived at the latter on the 7th. The loyal garrison at Oxford, however, had made a sally, had destroyed the works of the besiegers, and were no longer in danger; upon hearing which Charles resolved to retire upon Leicester. Fairfax followed; abandoned the siege of Oxford; and passed through Stony Stratford by easy marches in pursuit. The King fell back, but so leisurely that, confident of “the divinity that doth hedge a king," he solaced himself with “hunting," while his men drove “large herds of cattle" before them. On the 12th the armies came in sight, the chief forces of the
being encamped about Burrough Hill near Daventry, and here an out-post affair took place. At three o'clock the blazing huts of the royal army proclaimed that the King was on the move, and soon afterwards they were in full retreat on Harborough. Meanwhile Cromwell had been appointed Lieutenant-General of cavalry, had mustered his men, and at six that morning he joined with 600 Ironsides. A "mighty shout” arose, says Milton, when the “ invincible lieutenant” arrived ; and Fairfax, who had looked somewhat pale of late, resumed his wonted alacrity, and " his soldiers saw in his cheerful countenance the promise of victory.”
It was the afternoon before the battle. The army of the King was still retiring in good order on Leicester : the advanced guard was already at Harborough, and a picket of Rupert's Life Guards, who formed the rear, was at Naseby. They had unsaddled their horses, spread their viands, called for good cheer, and were drinking the health of the King in joyous reckless mood. But look! Do they not see yonder band of horsemen stealing up the hill-side from the south? Do they not see that solitary skirmisher, standing high up in his stirrups, peering through the trees, and beckoning the rest to come on? In a moment a volley is heard, and Ireton's troopers dash up the broad street. The onslaught is terrible; the resistance feeble ; only a few escape to tell the tale. One of them, however, rode hotly to Lubenham, and brought the tidings. A court-martial was summoned, and Rupert advised that the army should press on to Leicester, where reinforcements awaited them. But Charles did not like retreat; and, unaware that Cromwell had joined Fairfax, he resolved to make a stand, and to revenge that “surprise of an out-post at Naseby." The advanced forces were ordered back and deployed along the ridge on Naseby Field called Dust Hill; while the Parliamentary army hastened up from the south, and defiled through the village ; and during that summer night their watchfires could be seen, and their psalms could be heard, from the opposite ridge, and almost within gunshot of the King's forces. We map now glance at the exact disposition of the armies.
The battle of Naseby is unlike nearly all other great conflicts in this respect, that a witness might from almost any point of the field have watched every important evolution. The two hills on which the armies stood faced each other, and gently sloped towards the plain called the Broadmoor, which lies between. The Parliamentary army had its back to Naseby, and was commanded by General Fairfax. The centre consisted of pikemen and strong bodies of horse, under Colonels Montague, Pickering, Waller, and others, and rested on Red Hill, a small body of musketeers being thrown out in front. The right wing was chiefly composed of cavalry, under Cromwell, and occupied Lodge Hill; while the left, also of horsemen, was under Ireton, and was posted on the slope of what is now called Rutput, or Rupert Hill. The centre of the King's army was commanded by Lord Ashley. There the royal standard floated gaily, and there the famous blue regiments of the Life Guards were massed around the person of the sovereign. The right wing was under the fiery Prince Rupert; the left-chiefly the Northern horse under Sir Marmaduke Langdale. A few pieces of artillery were posted between the columns on either side, but they took no decisive share in the contest. Twenty thousand of the bravest of England's sons stood face to face in battle array on that fair summer morning. The broad uplands, unbroken by hedge or ditch, lay around them. The wind blew freshly from the northwest, the thyme was fragrant beneath the trampling of foot and hoof, and the gorse was bright with golden blossoms.
The battle begins. Behind the old black-thorn hedge, on the extreme left wing of the Parliamentary army, some musketeers and some of O’Key's dragoons dismounted, have been posted. A few of Rupert's cavaliers skirmish within range, and the temptation is not to be resisted. Shots are fired. Rupert orders a squadron to silence the musketeers. Ireton sends a brigade of cavalry to their support. The evolution breaks his wing of the army, and Rupert resolves to make the most of the event. His whole line prepares to charge. Rupert throws himself a dozen of yards in front of his men, waves high his sword, and shouts the war cry, “ Charge !” The whole line moves—at the trot, at the gallop. “Charge !" cries the Earl of Northampton, and the stern Prince Maurice and hot Sir William Vaughan re-echo the summons. Onward they sweep down the hill, "scarf and feathers waving, lovelocks floating in the breeze, horses' heads tossing, fighting with the rein, and sabres glittering in their riders' gauntleted grasp,"* while the men rend the air with their watchword"Queen Mary."
Ireton is not unprepared. He rallies his Roundheads, who shout, “ God is our strength," and meets the charge. But though his musketeers empty many a saddle, and the riderless horses dash wildly up the valley and from the field, he cannot stay that resistless onset. Gathering fresh momentum at every stride, that wave of iron and blood sweeps everything before it. Ireton is wounded in the face. His troopers are beaten and dispersed, or killed. Far over the wide plain, almost behind Naseby itself, the conquering cavaliers press on. But the completeness of their victory brings about their defeat. Disordered and scattered with success they reach the waggon train within which Bartlett is posted, and summon him to surrender. A withering volley is the answer, and Rupert recoils, and returns to see how the fortunes of the day are going.
But he returned too late. True, he had defeated Ireton, and the Parliamentary left wing had gone; but events had not tarried in his absence. Cromwell had reversed the scene. Between Oliver and Sir Marmaduke Langdale was some uneven ground-a warren, and a marsh. Sir Marmaduke advanced, the Northern horse became entangled in the bog, and before they could extricate themselves the Ironsides were upon them, and swept them as chaft before the wind. Up the hill, away to the right, down the rugged vallies, on nearly to Market-Harborough, the battle raged. But Cromwell did not repeat the error of Rupert. Those six hundred men were “the best mounted, best armed, and best disciplined cavalry in Europe:” and when the rout of their enemy was perfect, their general had them well in hand for any needed service. And they were wanted.
The two wings of both armies had disappeared from the field when Charles advanced his centre. But just when he was becoming hotly engaged, and the balances were wavering as to which should win, Cromwell returned to the field and launched the whole weight of his terrible horsemen on the King's left flank. In vain the King's Foot and Life Guards rallied around their sovereign ; in vain the Newark horse and the blue regiments struggled against defeat; in vain the pikemen stubbornly held their ground; in vain Charles resolved to head one more charge. The victory was won. Many a Royalist, as Major Whyte Melville declared, might have used the words of the ballad, “The Cavalier”;-.
* Major Whyte Melville.
" Then spear and sword' was our battle word, and we made their
helmets ring, Shouting like madmen while we struck, ‘For God and for the King ! But though they snufiled psalms, to give those rebel knaves their due, When the roaring shot poured thick and hot they were stalwart men
and true." Lord Camwarth grasped the bridle of the King's charger, and exclaimed : “ Will you go upon your death in an instant?" and led the horse and his pale rider from the field. But though Charles was not a coward, we fain would ask: What man there was in all that array who would have taken Cromwell's bridle, and turned his horse away?
It is urged against the victors, that in that retreat even women were slain. It must, however, be allowed that among the camp followers of the Royal army there were above a hundred Irishwomen, “with long skean-knives, about a foot in length,” which, says Thomas Carlyle, “they knew well how to use;" and it is to be feared that they shared the miseries of that general rout. On that fatal day the Royalists lost some 800 in killed and wounded, and the Parliamentarians rather more. The latter, however, captured some 4,000 prisoners, 200 waggons, and 12 cannon, besides smaller pieces. But the moral effect of that defeat was greater than the material loss, for among the spoils was found the King's carriage, with a cabinet and royal letters. And there it was discovered that, despite all his fair words towards his subjects, Charles was at that time arranging to secure the aid of foreign armies, with which to suppress the liberties of Englishmen. His enemies saw “what the word of a King was worth,” and that compromise and conciliation were impossible; and there were some who, in the exasperation of that disclosure resolved, that what the sword had begun, the axe should finish.
F. S. W.
At a time when attention is so widely and usefully directed to the important subject of Christian beneficence, when the “duties of property,” in the broadest sense, have come to be more than ever considered and enforced, it may not be unsuitable to say a few words upon the pecuniary relations of churches and their pastors,
The charge will lie against well-nigh all the Christian denominations, that the bulk of their working clergy are very inadequately sustained; so that a class in which an honourable and manly independence is of the highest and most essential import