Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
By Lucy Hutchinson (16201681)
From Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson
THE COLONEL having set things in order in the country, had an intent to have carried his family that winter with him to London; when just that week he was going, news was brought that Lambert had once more turned out the parliament, and the colonel rejoiced in his good fortune that he was not present.
Lambert was exceedingly puffed up with his cheap victory, and cajoled his soldiers; and, before he returned to London, set on foot among them their old insolent way of prescribing to the parliament by way of petition.
The parliament, after the submission of the army, had voted that there should no more be a general over them, but, to keep that power in their own hands, that all the officers should take their commissions immediately from the Speaker. The conspiracy of the army, to get a leader in their rebellion, was laid, that they should petition for generals and such like things as might facilitate their intents. Among others that were taken in arms against the parliament, Lord Castleton was one of the chief heads of the insurrection. Him Lambert brought along with him in his coach, not now as a prisoner, but unguarded, as one that was to be honoured. The parliament hearing of this, sent and fetched him out of his company and committed him to prison, and then the armys saucy petition was delivered, and, upon the insolent carriage of nine colonels they were by vote disbanded. Lambert being one of them, came in a hostile manner and plucked the members out of the house; Fleetwood, whom they trusted to guard them, having confederated with Lambert and betrayed them. After that, setting up their army court at Wallingford-house, they began their arbitrary reign, to the joy of all the vanquished enemies of the parliament, and to the amazement and terror of all men that had any honest interest: and now were they all devising governments, and some honourable members, I know not through what fatality of the times, fell in with them. When Colonel Hutchinson came into the country some time before Lamberts revolt, Mr. Robert Pierrepont, the son of the late Colonel Francis Pierrepont, sent friends to entreat the Colonel to receive him into his protection. Upon the entreaty of his uncle he took him into his own house, and entertained him civilly there, whilst he writ to the Speaker, urging his youth, his surrender of himself, and all he could do in favour of him, desiring to know how they would please to dispose of him. Before the letters were answered Lambert had broken the parliament, and the colonel told him he was free again to do what he pleased; but the young gentleman begged of the colonel that he might continue under his sanctuary, till these things came to some issue. This the colonel very freely admitted, and entertained him till the second return of the parliament, not without much trouble to his house, of him and his servants, so contrary to the sobriety and holiness the colonel delighted in, yet for his fathers and his uncles sakes he endured it about six months.
Some of Lamberts officers, while he marched near Nottinghamshire, having formerly served under the colonels command, came to his house at Owthorpe and told him of the petition that was set on foot in Lamberts brigade, and consulted whether they should sign it or no. The colonel advised them by no means to do it, yet notwithstanding, they did, which made the colonel exceedingly angry with them, thinking they rather came to see how he stood affected, than really to ask his counsel. When Lambert had broken the House, the colonel made a short journey to London to inform himself how things were, and found some of the members exceedingly sensible of the sad estate the kingdom was reduced unto by the rash ambition of these men, and resolving that there was no way but for every man that abhorred it to improve their interest in their countries, and to suppress these usurpers and rebels. Hereupon the colonel took measures to have some arms bought and sent him, and had prepared a thousand honest men, whenever he should call for their assistance; intending to improve his posse comitatus when occasion should be offered. To provoke him more particularly to this, several accidents fell out. Among the rest, six of Lamberts troopers came to gather money, laid upon the country by an assessment of parliament, whom the colonel telling that in regard it was levied by that authority, he had paid it, but otherwise would not; two of them only who were in the room with the colonel, the rest being on horseback in the court, gave him such insolent terms, with such insufferable reproaches of the parliament, that the colonel drew a sword which was in the room to have chastised them. While a minister that was by held the colonels arm, his wife, not willing to have them killed in her presence, opened the door and let them out, who presently ran and fetched in their companions in the yard with cocked pistols. Upon the bustle, while the colonel having disengaged himself from those that held him, was run after them with the sword drawn, his brother came out of another room, upon whom, the soldiers pressing against a door that went into the great hall, the door flew open, and about fifty or sixty men appeared in the hall, who were there upon another business. For Owthorpe, Kinolton, and Hickling, had a contest about a cripple that was sent from one to the other, but at last, out of some respect they had for the colonel, the chief men of the several towns were come to him, to make some accommodation, till the law should be again in force. When the colonel heard the soldiers were come, he left them shut up in his great hall, who by accident thus appearing, put the soldiers into a dreadful fright. When the colonel saw how pale they looked, he encouraged them to take heart, and calmly admonished them for their insolence, and they being changed and very humble through their fear, he called for wine for them, and sent them away. To the most insolent of them he said, These carriages would bring back the Stewarts. The man, laying his hand upon his sword, said, Never while he wore that. Among other things they said to the colonel, when he demanded by what authority they came, they showed their swords, and said, That was their authority. After they were dismissed, the colonel, not willing to appear because he was sheriff of the county, and had many of their papers sent him to publish, concealed himself in his house, and caused his wife to write a letter to Fleetwood, to complain of the affronts had been offered him, and to tell him that he was thereupon retired, till he could dwell safely at home. To this Fleetwood returned a civil answer, and withal sent a protection, to forbid all soldiers from coming to his house, and a command to Swallow who was the colonel of these men, to examine and punish them. Mrs. Hutchinson had sent before to Swallow, who then quartered at Leicester, the next day after it was done, to inform him, who sent a letter utterly disowning their actions, and promising to punish them. This Mrs. Hutchinson sent to show the soldiers who then lay abusing the country at Colson; but when they saw their officers letter they laughed at him, and tore it in pieces. Some days after he, in a civil manner, sent a captain with them and other soldiers to Owthorpe, to inquire into their misdemeanours before their faces; which being confirmed to him, and he beginning to rebuke them, they set him at light, even before Mrs. Hutchinsons face, and made the poor man retire sneaped1 to his colonel; while these six rogues, in one weeks space, besides the assessments assigned them to gather up, within the compass of five miles, took away violently from the country, for their own expense, above five-and-twenty pounds.