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arrogance, ambition, of those presumptuous spirits, whose aim is to engage the king in their interest, as if his crown, and their desperate fortunes, were cast in one balance, and must stand or fall together! There is not a corner of his dominions where some good man does not groan under the oppressions of the time."
"But shall not good men groan worse, when bad men, like ignorant mountebanks, advise remedies more grievous than the disease? It cannot be, but that the laws which secure the subject, should insensibly moulder away, when that part of them which should defend the King, is trodden down."
"We must set the King free from the Court parasites, who would be thought to stand affected to his fortunes, while it is their own only they seek; not unlike, (as I heard Master Selden say the other day), the legionary soldiers of Germanicus-fortunam meum potius quam me sequuntur."
"Well, son," "exclaimed the Knight," the time is full of peril, full of sad presages of misery to the kingdom, if the Almighty God do not in a miraculous way prevent them; and every man must look into his conscience for the part he will act. Mine own
"Is to gird up the loins of your resolution," interrupted his son with great warmth," and do a deed of courage! The parliament, I tell you, must prevail; and we, in serving them, shall best serve ourselves."
"I shall wait upon events," replied his father," which is ever safer than meeting them. When the time comes, that I am commanded to surrender this garrison, then will I determine, according to the time. Meanwhile, I will assure the Parliament, in absolute sincerity of heart, that I will do everything for the King's honor and the good of the Commonwealth.”
Young Hotham was ill satisfied with this declaration; but he forbore to urge further, his own views of the trust confided to his father by the Parliament. For himself, with all the ardor of youth, which kindles at the first approach of stirring enterprise, and with all the recklessness of inexperience, which neither examines the beginning, nor perceives the end, of what it undertakes, he had set up his rest to redress the grievances of his country. Without any of the fanatical humor of the times, for he neither "sought the Lord," at every turn, nor professed to pray and fight with equal zeal, there was no measure of extremity, no bold encroachment upon the royal prerogative, (made under the pretence of asserting that which was becoming a thousandfold more arbitrary, ambiguous, and comprehensive-the "privilege of Parliament,") which had not his hearty support. Sir John, on the contrary, though a Commonwealth's-man, and ready, as he had shewn on many occasions, to run personal hazards for the popular cause, was suspected of having so much leaning towards the Court, that if there came an open rupture between the King and the Parliament, he would adhere to the former.
The probabilities of this event taking place, or rather, the growing certainty that it could not be much longer averted, rendered the possession of Hull, (where large stores of arms and ammunition had been collected in aid of the war with Scotland the preceding year,) of the utmost importance to whichever party could succeed in holding it. The Parliament had early taken measures for preventing its falling into the King's hands, who sent the Earl of Newcastle with letters to the municipal authorities requiring that the keys of the place should be committed to him; but they, more inclined to favor the Parliament than the King, contrived to baffle the Earl's mission, and in the end to surrender the garrison to Sir John Hotham, who held it in the King's name under an authority derived from the two houses. Meanwhile, the breach between the King and the Parliament becoming every day wider, the apprehensions of the latter for the safety of Hull, (especially after Charles had taken up his abode at York,) grew so strong, that they came to the resolution expressed in the order of which young Hotham had been the willing bearer.
Nor was this the only order with which he was provided; though it was. the only one he made known for the present The Parliament's jealousy of Sir John was too hazardous a feeling to be indulged in the actual posture of their affairs, as it might provoke him to declare at once for the King, and place Hull, with all its warlike stores, in his hands. They sent the son, therefore, whom they knew they could trust, to be a spy upon the father, and they furnished him with secret authority to assume the command, upon any emergency which, in his judgment, might require such a step.
This contemplated emergency could be no other than the suspicion, or actual proof, of Sir John's want of fidelity to the Parliament. Yet he did not hesitate to accept a commission, (which it was hardly possible he could be called upon to execute, without placing his father's life in jeopardy,) from the enthusiasm of his zeal for a cause which was already beginning to divide families, embroil kindred, arm brother against brother,* stifle the holiest feelings of our common nature, and drench the smiling plains of fair England with the blood of her own clildren.
It did not appear likely, however, that the emergency would arise. Sir John punctually fulfilled his instructions, and used great diligence in raising the neighbouring train-bands, till he had a body of nearly one thousand men at arms gathered within the walls. These he placed under the command of Captain Lowinger, a Dutchman, to train and discipline; who laboured so indefatigably in the work, that at the end of a few weeks Sir John felt no hesitation in assuring the Parliament of the perfect safety of the place.
Captain Lowinger was a brave soldier, and had seen much service; but he was a most thrasonical fellow; eternally bragging of the feats he had performed, and of those he would perform, should he ever draw his sword again. He had served under Sir John when he himself was serving in the Low Countries; and at the battle of Prague gallantly exposed his own life, to save that of the Knight, who was not unmindful of the obligation. Though a Dutchman, he was as lank and lean as a shotten herring, with a long, meagre, tawny face which might have passed for that of famine. His small grey eyes were almost sunk into his head; and the bridge of his nose having been carried away (as he said) in a desperate conflict hand to hand with a Hungarian pikeman, (whom he killed after a mortal strife of two hours, in the presence of the whole army,) the end of it turned up with a formidable fierceness of cock. He always wore a steeple hat, with a very narrow brim; was somewhat partial to dirty linen; carried the pummel of his sword much in front; talked hoarse, swaggered, stared, swore by his red whiskers, (a colour which the Spanish proverb avers, betokens "no good quality in cat or dog,") and specially delighted in recounting what he considered the great action of his life-storming a certain fort in Bohemia.
Sir John studiously avoided any declarations, public or private, by which it could be positively known whether he was to be reckoned among the King's friends or the Parliament's; always mingling (as the latter did in their petitions, addresses, and declarations), the utmost reverence for the royal person, with whatever escaped him in favor of "laws, liberties, and religion," the watchwords of the popular party.
But the crisis was rapidly approaching, when this ambiguous loyalty would no longer serve him. The King, driven from London by the increasing inso
*This was not merely figuratively true. Ludlow, in his Memoirs, (I. p. 93) describing the siege of Warder Castle, where he himself commanded, says, "the besiegers had ten killed by shot and stones in the storm, and divers wounded; amongst the former was one Hilsdeane, who, a little before he expired, said he saw his brother fire that musquet by which he received his mortal wound, which might probably be, his brother being one of those who defended that breach where he, attempting to enter, was shot ;" but, adds the stern republican, “ if it were so, he might justly do it by the laws of God and man, it being done in the discharge of his duty and in his own defence."
lence and turbulence of the excited multitude, had removed with his court and family to York; and it was generally believed, (or what was the same thing to those who said they believed it-industriously reported), that his chief object in proceeding northward was to concert measures for obtaining possession of Hull.
Both parties were equally suspicious of each other; both equally sensible of the dismal consequences that must flow from their first direct collision; and both, therefore, equally desirous of avoiding it. The King wrote to the Parliament, from York, on the 8th of April, 1642,* that he intended going to Ireland, to chastise the rebels, and for that purpose should arm a guard for his own person, (consisting of two thousand foot, and two hundred horse), "from his Magazine at Hull." The Parliament, on the other hand, presented an humble and dutiful petition to him, for leave," to move the Magazine at Hull to the Tower of London," as it could be kept there at much less charge, and could be thence transported to Ireland with much more convenience. The King replied, that if any of those arms were really designed for Ulster or Leinster, where the rebellion most raged, the conveyance would be far easier, and more expeditious, from Hull than from London, and complained bitterly that they had kept out of Hull, "a person of honour, fortune and unblemished reputation," whom he had sent, (the Earl of Newcastle), and committed the town and fort, without his consent, to the hands of Sir John Hotham.
Such was the posture of affairs when, on the 22d April, 1642, the Duke of York, a youth about ten years of age, accompanied by his cousin, the Prince Charles Elector, and a suitable train, unexpectedly arrived in Hull, for the purpose, as was alleged, of seeing the place. They were received with all the state and ceremony due to their illustrious rank, and entertained by the Mayor at as sumptuous a banquet as the shortness of the notice would allow. The two princes, with some of their principal attendants, slept at Sir John's house; and his wife, the Lady Grace, proud of having under her roof the son and nephew of her Sovereign, whom too many of his rebellious subjects were now despitefully harassing, could scarcely refrain from tears of joy as she stood in their presence. Sir John, too, felt that honest pride of heart, which is apt to be kindled on such an occasion. He praised the beauty of the royal boy, admired his graceful ease and dignified affability, his pregnant wit and shrewd humor, and prophesied if ever he came to the throne, Eng land would be governed by a wise and noble monarch. Even his son partook of these generous feelings; though he had his suspicions that the visit had been contrived for an end not yet apparent.
These suspicions he poured into his father's private ear, as they parted for the night.
"I could as soon believe," said he, "the King loves his Parliament, (which he will do when the child loves the rod) as that this coming of the Duke is not the forerunner of some subtle design, that we shall rue, if we be not vigilant to mar it."
"Tut-tut!" exclaimed his father, "tis a gracious boy-as innocent of guile as Heaven itself."
"The boy is gracious," answered his son; "and, as you say, guileless;
* It may be necessary, in order to avoid an apparent confusion of dates, to observe, that the computation here adopted is that which assigned the beginning of the year to the 25th of March; the customary mode of reckoning at the timeand down to a much later period; for in the year 1732-3, no less than three different denominations of the year of our Lord were affixed to three state papers which were all published in one week, namely, His Majesty's Speech, dated 1732-3-the address of the House of Lords 1732, the address of the House of Commons 1733. In 1667 there were two Easters in one year, the first on the 25th April and the second on the 22nd of March. In consequence of these different computations, it is not unusual, among other absurdities, to find in old writers that the same person died on the same day of the month two years successively.
his tender years constrain us to think so; but is he not accompanied by his cousin, the Prince Charles Elector, whose wiles and faction have purchased for him the people's hatred? Is he not dangerous here? Note, too, the kind of persons that swell their train; sworn enemies of the Parliament, and fit instruments, therefore, to do the business of the Court.”
"But what can they do?"
“Nothing—save by your means.”
“And what means of mine are they like to have?" rejoined his father indignantly.
"The best-so long as you take counsel from the belief that they intend nothing, and can do nothing."
"Enough. I know my office. Good night."
"One word more," said his son hastily, as he laid his hand upon his father to stay him.—“ Counsel, without resolution and execution, is but wind. I am one who build more upon a good man's word than a bad man's bond;-give me then your's, that you will to-morrow morning require the Duke, the Prince, and their followers, to proceed on their journey, or else take measures to prevent them, till I go up to the Parliament and return with their instructions. Remember your own favorite maxim—the saying of our late Queen's wisest minister—“ the taking or the losing of an opportunity is the gaining or losing of great fortunes.'
"Shame upon thee, my son! since when, I pray you, hath it beseemed an English gentleman to play the uncivil or the traitorous host? Bid them hence! Blistered be my tongue, ere it shall utter so disloyal an affront! And for the treachery you advise, of putting force upon them, even could you clearly show me the right I have to do so, I could not show myself the honor I should reap from doing it.”
"Your right,” replied his son haughtily, nettled by this rebuke, “is the public safety."
"Pish! The public safety is marvellously ill served, when it is served by that which private honesty cannot justify. But, as I would not have your sleep disturbed with dreams of plots, you shall understand that our royal guests intend departing to-morrow evening. I have the assurance of it from themselves."
To-morrow evening ! ” exclaimed young Hotham significantly. "It were better to-morrow noon."
"It cannot be."
“Why then, to-morrow may prove a busy day with us, perchance; and since you are determined not to meet events, we must e'en try to shape them, when they come.”
"And they intend setting forth again to-morrow evening."
"It is odds, I think, but their father and uncle will pay them a visit first.” "And if he should?"
At this moment the Lady Grace entered the room, and the father and son bade good night; but there was something in the tone of both, which told they had been engaged in angry discourse. She would fain have known about what, when they were alone in their chamber: but Sir John put her gently off, by declaring he was too drowsy to talk.
The next morning he and his son accompanied the two princes to Beverley, about four miles from Hull, to view a curious relic that had been the subject of their conversation the preceding night. It was an old stone seat, which stood on the right side of the altar in the Minster, and was said to have been brought from Dunbar. A rudely carved Latin inscription, expressed that this seat was called the " Freed-Stoole, or Chair of Peace; to
which if any criminal flee, he shall have full protection." The Duke of York read it aloud, with good emphasis, and then, seating himself on the stone, he exclaimed with a sigh, (such as might have been expected from riper years than his), looking steadfastly at his cousin as he spoke, “Ah me!—I think my father's enemies have all been here!"
"Your father's enemies?" replied young Hotham, who was standing near the Duke.
"Aye," replied the princely boy, at the same time jumping gaily up, and taking his cousin's arm to proceed to the Virgins' tomb, (an ancient monument erected over the bodies of two virgin sisters who had been benefactors of the town), "Aye-the Parliament-but I do not understand what 'tis all about, not I-only the Parliament's a rogue they say."
His cousin patted him on the head, and bade him not prate; the courtiers shrugged their shoulders, exchanged significant looks, and smiled; Sir John felt awkward; and his son, (if the knitting of his brow and flushing of his cheek spoke him truly), as wrathfully, as if he himself had been called a rogue. He could not even refrain from muttering in his father's ear, though at the imminent hazard of being overheard, "This is your gracious boy, as innocent of guile as Heaven itself!"
When they had surveyed all the monuments, not forgetting those of the gallant Piercies, Earls of Northumberland, they set forth on their return to Hull. As they approached the garrison, they saw coming towards them, at full speed, like one who was the bearer of hasty news, a horseman, followed by two or three others of evidently inferior rank. Presently, he was near enough to be recognised, and then, one of the Duke's attendants exclaimed, "As I live, Sir Lewis Dives! Wherefore comes he in such haste ?"
The next moment he reached the head of the cavalcade, and dismounting, to do reverence to the royal persons who were of it, he inquired eagerly for Sir John Hotham.
The Knight, advancing, courteously announced himself.
"I have the King's commands to say he will dine with you to-day." "Dine with me!"
“His Majesty,” continued Sir Lewis Dives," who is scarcely four miles behind, and who sent me to be the herald of his gracious intention, will be here within this hour."
"The King-his Majesty-coming to dine with me, and within this hour," stammered the astonished Knight-" I am overpowered-unworthy so great an honor
"Does the King come alone, Sir Lewis?" interrupted young Hotham. "Alone!" echoed Sir Lewis, as he surveyed the speaker with an eye of scorn. "These are times, forsooth, for sacred Majesty to be unattended. He has his guard of loyal gentlemen with him; true-hearted Englishmen, who are proud in the permission to follow his royal person."
"And they amount to some fifty or a hundred I suppose?" continued young Hotham.
"To some thrice that number," replied Sir Lewis; or it may be, more.' "And wherefore comes the King here, thus attended-thus on the sudden too?"
"Demand these things of himself, when he comes," replied Sir Lewis sternly. "I am the humble bearer of his will only; and do not lift my audacious thoughts to reach its meanings."
While this dialogue was passing, Sir John, who had recovered from his first confusion, was earnestly conversing with the Prince Elector, who seemed both surprised and indignant at the tenor of his observations. In the end, however, nothing was resolved upon except to quicken their return, and the whole party entered Hull at full gallop, young Hotham preceding them by several minutes, and spreading the report, as he rode along, that the King was coming to take possession of the town.
The news passed from mouth to mouth with the rapidity of lightning.