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Posts Tagged ‘contemporary comment’

Aulicus berates Parliamentarian pamphlet author

In ECW editor's comment on June 11 at 8:25 pm

Sunday 11 Jun 1643 || The Reader is to be advertised that there came out a London Pamphlet not long agoe, entituled One argument more against the Cavaliers &c. the scope and purpose of which pamphlet is to shew, that those of His Majesties partie (whom they include generally in the name of Cavaliers) employing as they did occasionally, some Churches in the City of Oxford, for receptacles of such Prisoners as were brought from Cyrencester, or for receipt of their tired and wearied souldiers, till they could be otherwise disposed of, are greater prophaners of Churches then the Round-heads are, in that they hold those places of publike worship to be rested with a kind of holinesse, which the Round-heads do not. Which for as much as it reflects on His Sacred Majesty, who is chiefly aimed at, the Author of that foolish Pamphlet may be pleased to know, that His Majestie was so farre from approving any thing which had beene acted in that kind (though unavoidable necessitie was pleaded and pretended for it) that when he heard of the offence and spoile which had beene done unto the Churches; he gave 150l out of his own purse to cleanse and sweeten them, and to repaire whatever had beene broken or defaced upon those occasions. When we see any of them make the like amends, for all or any of those wilfull, horrible and more then barbarous outrages by them committed, upon so many Churches throwout this Realme; we shall returne an Answer to this doubty Argument.  || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)


Earl of Essex rumoured to be giving up his commission

In ECW editor's comment, London on April 11 at 12:08 pm

11 Apr 1643 (Tue) || It was this day reported exceedingly confidently, by some who came from London lately, how it was noised in the Citie, that the Earle of Essex was to leave the place of Generall unto Mr. Hampden, as one more active, and so by consequence more capable of the stile of Excellencie. Which though it proved not so in the event (as it is not likely) yet shews it clearly what an ill opinion the principall mainteiners of this Rebellion have of the said Earle; and with how little confidence the Common Souldiers will be brought to spend their lives under the colours and command of such a Generall, of whom they have so manifested a distrust by their common talke, and whom they have so publickly exposed to contempt and scorn in abusive pictures. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Success of treaty as yet uncertain

In Uncategorized on March 26 at 1:28 pm

Sunday 26 Mar 1643|| It is conceived that if the Treaty take not effect, there will be some great action very shortly, for the Parliaments forces that were on this side Oxford being advanced neere thereunto and Sir William Waller as it is informed having taken Ciciter [Cirencester], and made two Allarams to Oxford, it is thought they will keep Prince Rupert in imployment; but I beseech God that we may have a happy accommodation without the shedding of more blood: we doubt not but the next weeke will produce some good news of further hopes of peace, if the Cavaleers are not too prevalent to crosse the Treaty as they did the Cessation. || A Continuation of Certain Speciall and Remarkable Passages (P)

Aulicus rubbishes claims of panic in Oxford, on the Earl of Essex’s approach

In Oxford on March 25 at 3:48 pm

25 Mar 1643 (Sat) || There came this weeke to towne one of the London Newes-bookes, wherein it is affirmed that on the noise of the Earle of Essex his approach towards Oxon on Sunday sevennight, the whole City was infinitely astonished, and the Ladies and Gentlemen so affrighted, that they knew not where to bestow themselves, insomuch that it was conceived, that if the Lord Generalls forces had approached the City the inhabitants thereof had totally deserted it. But had the foolish fellow seen with what contempt and indignation the tidings of his coming was received by all sorts of people, he would have found that they were onely sorry that he came no neerer, and staied no longer where he was. And for the Gentlewomen and the Ladies they bid mee say, they have heard too much of his excellency to be affraid of him.¹ || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

This last comment sounds suspiciously like a highly personal slight on the Earl of Essex, whose early marriage to Francis Howard was famously dissolved in 1613 after she claimed that he was unable to consummate their marriage.

Aulicus defends Reading governor’s actions

In ECW editor's comment on March 18 at 9:52 am

18 Mar 1642/3 (Sat) || In the beginning of this weeke there came to towne a London Pamphlet, wherein Sir Arthur Aston, the vigilant and valiant Governour of Reading, is stiled a bloud thirsty Papist, and charged to have put to death severall men of the Parliament side, upon suspicion of giving intelligence. Whereas he never put to death but one upon that occasion, which was Boyes the distiller of hot waters. And it appeareth by his owne Confession signed with his hand, and subscribed by sufficient wtnesses, that he was one in all the tumults of London, viz. in that seditious assembly of unruly people crying for justice, against the Earle of Strafford, in that for the Assistance of the five Members against His Majesty, and that in many of those tumults, he had procured others to come down to Westminster: as also that of his own voluntary offer, and at his own charges, he went from London to the Earle of Essex immediately after the battaile of Edge-hill, to carry and bring back intelligence; and that hee after was imployed on the like errands to Winchester, Southampton, Basingstoke, and Reading, where he was discovered and apprehended; and that (contrary to the lawes, His Majesties known commands, and the duty of his allegiance) he had from time to time contributed for aintenance of this Rebellion, Plate, Money, Armes, and Horse. And if all this were not sufficient ground for his execution, let any man that knows what Treason is against the supremee Majesty, in a time of Peace, and what a capitall crime it is to give intelligence to the enemy in time of warre, be a judge betwixt them. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Royalists allegedly take advantageof Devonshire peace treaty

In Devon on March 12 at 3:20 pm

Sunday 12 March 1642/3 || The West hath produced the worst newes this week: An indiscreet Treaty, to the ruine and destruction of the Devonshire men, if not prevented: for while the Hoptonians held them in treaty, they having sent before to Saint Malloes in France for Armes and Ammunition) received a Ship loaden with the same, and prepared all the forces they could, while the Devonians disbanded; and yet to colour their designs the more, tooke the Sacrament to be cordiall in the Treaty: Sir Nich: Slany [Slanning], Master Corridon, and others are the Trators for the Cornish men. The place of treaty is at Exeter, but it is hoped, some that are gone downe will prevent their treaty there. Never was the wise men of Devonshire so overseene in the pursuite of a victory from Modbury to Tavestocke, as they were by being stopt in the mouth with the pretence of a treaty, till the defeated partie had got Armes and men. The example at Bristoll showes, that neither God, Religion, or humanity if the rectitude of their actions, especially if one consider, that of 600. lately released at Oxford of the Gloucestershire men, not 40. have hope of life, so low and weake are they brought by that cruell villanous fellow Smith the Provost-Marshall, by connivence of the superior Officers. || Richard Collings – Kingdome’s Weekly Intelligencer

Refutations of the Royalist arguments concerning Brentford

In ECW editor's comment on November 28 at 6:17 pm

28 Nov 1642 || How is the King made to believe, that not a fourth part of the Parliament stands to their proceedings, whereas 4 parts of 5 doe still continue in the house of Commons, and are imployed by them in the severall Counties of the Kingdome, to doe their commands, all which persons have not onely declared themselves to live and die with the Parliament in this Cause (for the good of the King and Kingdome which they have undertaken)  but have contributed voluntarily, some in money, others in horses of considerable values, and this truth is fit to be made knowne unto the Kingdome, that they be not deluded by such mistakes. || Humphrey Blunden – Speciall Passages and Certain Informations

|| Neither does [the King’s] Declaration concerning the businesse at Brainford satisfie all his people, because it is pretended that he was necessitated to march thither to prepossesse that town to keep his Army from being incompassed by the Earl of Essex his Forces, which were at Windsore, Kingston and Acton, His Majesties Forces being then at Colebrooke, and so pretends, that there was no other meanes to escape, being surrounded: whereas it is most cleer and manifest to all that know these places, that when His Majesty was at Colebrooke, his Forces could not possibly be incompassed by those Forces that lay at Acton, Kingston and Windsore: For His Majesty was at least five miles short of Kingston, and ten miles short of Acton, so that he had free liberty either to have marched back againe, or to have gone towards Uxbridge, or any other townes thereabouts, without coming neer the Parliaments Forces, which were quartered in Brainford for the space of a week before, therefore His Majesty could not at that time prepossesse himselfe of that town, neither can it enter into a reasonable judgement to conceive, that His Majesties Forces coming to Brainford was the way to prevent them from being surrounded, as appeared by their own actions, being forced to flie back againe a great part of the way they came to get to Kingston when they were at Colebrooke. And if they obtained so great a victory at Brainford, against two of the best Regiments of the Parliaments forces as therein is declared, and killed their cheife Commanders, and tooke and sunke 15 peeces of Ordnance, what was the reason that they pursued not the victory, (especially if that the possession of that town, would free them from being encompassed about by the Parliaments forces as is alleadged) but presently fled back againe and left the Ordnance behind then, surely such a victory was very hardly obtained, and such an inlargment from being hemb’d in on every side was very perilous, when that finding themselves in more danger, they durst neither stay in that place which they seeme to make choice of for safety, nor proceed forwards, but were presently put to flight; And although a Gentleman of good quality and great valour lost his life in that service, which was Lieutenant Col. to Col. Hollis, yet was he not Commander in cheif, nor is there such cause to boast of the taking of the Ordnance, or the drowning of some of the Parliaments Souldiers, for the Ordnance were purposely sunke into the Thames by those that had the care and charge of them, that were intrusted to bring them from Kingston for the Parliament, to prevent their being surprised by the Cavaliers, which possessed themselves of none of them but were since taken up againe and are imployed for the Parliament, as many about Brainford and other places can justifie. And those Souldiers that were drowned, were most inhumanely forced into the water, after they had taken them prisoners and bound their hands together, so that there was no way for them to escape.

As for the chiefe motive for occasioning His Majesties Army to advance to Brainford, to avoid being incompassed about by the Earle of Essex his forces, which is said to be, because information was given of the Earle of Essex his advancing from London, with Order vigorously to follow the Kings Army, there be thousands who can justifie, that the very same day that the Kings forces fell upon Colonel Hollis his Rigement at Brainford, (it being Saturday) the said Earle was not advanced, but was at the Parliament when Newes was brought of the fight at Brainford; And it hath bin confessed by some Letters that have beene intercepted, that came out the Kings Army, that they fell upon the Parliaments forces at a great disadvantage, when they were not expected, and the Earle of Essex was in London. || A Continuation of Certain Speciall and Remarkable Passages

Editor Blunden’s comment on county sheriffs

In ECW editor's comment, Surrey, Sussex on November 25 at 11:55 pm

25 Nov 1642 || The new Sheriffes that the King hath nominated, are for the most part Commissioners of Array, Papists, or Delinquents, but are all of them persons of such temper, as will conforme themselves to the service they are designed for, though it be the destruction of the County for which they were chosen, witnesse Mr Fords carriage, the new high Sheriffe of the County of Sussex,¹ who hath possessed himselfe of the city of Chichester by force, whose Father is one of the Soape grand projectors,² and his land voted to make satisfaction to the Common wealth, and therefore his sonne was a fit person to be chosen to disturbe the proceedings of Parliament.

The King hath nominated another Sheriffe in Surrey sutable to the designes of the Cavaliers,³ who hath possessed himselfe of Farnham Castle, and hath raised Posse commitatus e.4to guard the Cavaliers, and enjoynes the County to being in money and plate, and there receives it; it is well knowne his Fortune often depended on Size Ace, and therefore the more fitter companion and instrument for the Cavaliers who are Souldiers of Fortune.5 In another County of the Kingdome like Sheriffes are chosen, men desperate that will (but that Counties beginne to be sensible of the barbarisme and inhumanitie of them, and consequently unwilling to obey) compell obedience to their illegall commands, who will at this day obey the great Seale when the King himselfe is a prisoner, and cannot come to his Parliament; the Lord Keeper of the great Seale,6 Sir and others his servants are subject to the will and command of the Cavaliers, what they like must passe and nothing else. || Humphrey Blunden – Speciall Passages and Certain Informations

¹ Sir Edward Ford
² He had been granted a royal monopoly to make/distribute soap. Monopoly schemes raised money for the Crown, as it received a cut from the “projectors” or monopolists, but were highly unpopular as they led to higher prices, and froze out small manufacturers.
³ Sir John Denham
4 “Posse comitatus” was a legal device available to sheriffs which forced local citizens to assist the authorities, for example in suppressing a riot.
5 “Sice Ace” or “six aces”, is a dicing term. The vocabulary is Old French: dice sides were named ace, deuce, trey, cater, cinque, sice, and a particular throw could bring the player “six aces”. Hence Blunden’s reference to Royalist “soldiers of fortune”.
6 Sir Edward Littleton, who earlier in the year had – of his own free will, despite Blunden’s assertion – defied Parliament and sent the seal to the King at York.

Further details of Brentford skirmish

In Kent, Middlesex on November 16 at 8:16 pm

16 Nov 1642 || The Cavaliers speedily retreated from Brainford, to Hampton Court, and Kingston, where they stayed two dayes, and having intelligence that the Bridge over Thames neere Fulham was finished, and the Earle of Essex ready to march; they left Kingston (almost as miserable a Towne as Brainford) and marched with their Artillery to Oatlands, but they sent out some of their Horse to quarter at Rigate, and parts thereabouts towards Kent, shaping their course for that county, but such was the vigilancy of the Yeoman of Kent, or rather fidelity to themselves and the Kingdome, that they rise up in Armes, seeking to the Parliament and City of London to assist them in opposing the Cavaliers, for that they had seduced his Majesty to violate his faith with God above, (whom he had called to witnesse) and his Parliament here on earth, in breaking the Treaty of Accommodation, and in causing the effusion of so much blood at Brainford, by his Souldiers falling on Colonell Hollis his Regiment in their quarters, and marching 8. miles to take the advantage: But this alone startled not the Kentish men, for they had true information (the example of Brainford is sufficient) that they plunder all manner of persons, friends aswell as others, and that in Brainford they had taken from divers of the inhabitants their goods, from some to the value of 400. pounds, some 300. pounds, some more, some lesse, and from the poorer sort, all that they ever had, leaving them not a bed to lie on, nor apparrell, but what they had on their backs, not a paire of sheetes, nor a piece of bread, and what beere they drunke not, they spilt it in the Cellars, divers families of repute, with their Wives and Children, were reduced to such extreame poverty thereby, that they have begged ever since: And taking divers of the Townsmen (who never opposed them) after they had plundered them, putting them in Irons, and tying others with Ropes, and so led them away like dogs to Oatlands; This cruelty likewise did move the Kentish men (of whom the Parliament had a jealousie) to expresse their resolution to adhere to the Parliament to oppose the Cavaliers, being sensible that the common Souldiers command the Officers, the Officers the Commanders in chiefe, and the Commanders in chiefe command the King, and the King can command nothing but what the Souldiers please, such is the miserable condition he is brought unto, and in him the whole Kingdome; For certainly if the King could have hindered that cruell, barbarous, and unheard of carriage of his Souldiers at Brainford; Duty, Christianity, and common Charity obligeth a Subject to believe the King would not have permitted them to have done it, if it had layen in his power to have hindered it. ¹|| Humphrey Blunden – Speciall Passages and Certain Informations

¹ Blunden was a pioneer of typical ECW newsbook style: rather than blandly or strictly objectively reporting the news, as was the style of early corantos, he drops into editorial mode, offering his own view on the situation. The editor of Mercurius Civicus later took this style to extremes, not only offering his own (often highly agitated) opinion but even making suggestions to the authorities regarding particular social or military issues he thought they ought to tackle.