Letter of Lord Fairfax from York, October 4, 1644.
For the right honourable the Lords and others of the Committee of Both Kingdoms, etc.
MY LORDS,Upon very large testimony of Colonel John Hutchinsons good services, and fidelity unto the Parliament, I sent him a commission for the guarding of the castle at Nottingham, not knowing any at that time of more trust for such an employment: I hear now he is questioned, and that authority I gave him conceived by the committee of that county, either as too much trenching upon their authority, or as not well employed by that person. I never heard anything but very well of the gentleman, both for his discreet carriage and fidelity to the cause. I humbly desire your lordships will be pleased to consider him in that place, and not let him suffer without proof testifying his ill deservings. I am not only a suitor in his behalf but in my own. I have not willingly done, or intend to do, anything which may be prejudicial to the public. Thus waiting your lordships pleasure and commands, I remain, my lords, your lordships most humble servant,
The dispute between the governor and the committee came before the Committee of Both Kingdoms in October 1644, and a sub-committee was at once appointed to consider the business and report to the committee. The sub-committee consisted of Lord Say, Sir Henry Vane the younger, Sir Gilbert Gerrard, Mr Pierrepont, some of the Scotch commissioners, and two lawyers, viz., the Solicitor-General, and the Recorder.(Day Book of the Derby House Committee, October 11, 1644.)
That having heard and considered the several matters in difference between Colonel John Hutchinson, governor, and some of the committee of Nottingham, they do conceive it most conducible to the public good, and the safety of that castle and garrison, that the things objected on either part, by soldiers or others, or that may anyways relate to the said differences, be laid aside, and no further made use of, and that both parties be required to order themselves accordingly.
That for the avoiding of any disputes for the future about the former or the like differences, and for the safe keeping of the said town and garrison, and best employing those forces for the public service, the Committee of Both Kingdoms are to appoint and authorise Colonel John Hutchinson, governor, Colonel Francis Thornhagh, Gilbert Millington, Esq., Major Joseph Widmerpoole, Jervois Piggot, Esq., Captain Charles White and the Mayor of Nottingham for the time being, or the major part of such of them as shall be present in the castle and town, shall be a committee to put in operation these following instructions:
That the governor shall not undertake any design or service against the enemy, (except an opportunity be offered him, or the commander-in-chief whom he sends out, when he is upon any other service or employment, and that then a council of war of those officers in the field advise him to it), without the approbation or consent of the aforesaid persons, or the major part of them as aforesaid.
That the governor shall not send forth any horse or foot out of the garrison, to assist or join with any other county or force upon any other design or service, without the approbation or consent aforesaid.
That the forces so sent forth shall not be commanded back without the approbation and consent as aforesaid, but the orders for sending out and commanding in such forces, after the approbation and consent as aforesaid, shall be signed with the governors hand only.
The managing or carrying on of any design or service, shall be left wholly to the governor, or commander-in-chief whom he shall appoint, after it is agreed and consented to as aforesaid. Except the persons above mentioned, or the major part of them, shall march into the field with them, and then he is to be regulated in the prosecution of any service according to their votes and direction.
Letters to be written from the Committee of Both Kingdoms to the several commanders within the garrison, declaring to them that they have given instructions for the carrying on the affairs of that garrison, which they doubt not will be carefully observed by the governor and those whom they shall concern, and therefore to require them to be obedient from time to time, to such orders as they shall receive from the houses in pursuance of the said instructions.
The same course above mentioned, for the settling the differences between the governor and some of the committee and officers of the garrison, is also to be held (mutatis mutandis), for the settling the differences between Colonel Thornhagh and some of the committee and the officers of the horse.
It is further thought fit that the public table, formerly kept in the castle for the committee and governor, be still continued for them in the same place, until some other course be settled, which is now in consideration.
The malcontents, however, were still dissatisfied, and sent up fresh complaints (January 1645), so that the governor was again summoned to London, and, after some deliberation, a second report was drawn up by the sub-committee, reiterating the instructions formerly given (January 27, 1645).Memoirs, p. 223.
That the order and instructions hereafter mentioned were made by the Committee of Both Kingdoms, the 11th day of November, for the composing the differences between the governor of Nottingham and some of the gentlemen of the committee there, which the committee of both kingdoms found to be at a very great height.
That the governor with divers of the gentlemen of the committee of Nottingham, in pursuance of the said order and instructions, did make their repair to Nottingham, and demeaned themselves as was directed by the said instructions.
That others of the gentlemen of the committee of Nottingham, instead of observing the said order and instructions, made their way to London with complaints against the governor and others, and with desires that an order and instructions might be framed according to propositions offered by them, or else the whole matter to be reported to the House.
It was further ordered by the Committee of Both Kingdoms on February 14th, that the business of Nottingham, with the opinion of this committee concerning it, may be reported to the House. This, however, as we are told in the Memoirs, p. 224, Mr Millington contrived to delay for nearly three months. During this period of delay Colonel Hutchinson remained in London. At length the capture of the bridge and fort obliged the colonel to take the decisive step mentioned in the Memoirs, p. 226, and the House, after hearing his relation, passed an order which was practically a judgment in his favour. The Journals of the House of Commons for April 22, 1645, contain the following entry:
Colonel Hutchinson, governor of Nottingham, was called in; and acquainted the House, that the enemy from the garrison of Newark and the garrisons round abouts, drew out to the number of 1,600 on sabbath-day last; and have possessed themselves of the fort at the bridge, and have put the town into great danger.
Ordered, that the governor of Nottingham be forthwith sent down with order, that the instructions made by the Committee of Both Kingdoms, for the present, may be pursued, and that a letter be written to the committee resident there, to this effect, and to acquaint them, that, upon their last petition, the House had taken the whole matter into consideration. Mr Knightley and Mr Millington are appointed to prepare this letter for Mr Speaker to sign. And Mr Millington is to apply himself to further a reconcilement between the governor and the committee, and a settlement of matters for the present for the safety of the place. And to that end it is ordered, that the governor and those of the committee that are here, do come to the Committee of Both Kingdoms this afternoon, to whom it is referred to make a reconcilement, and to persuade a compliance in the committee of Nottingham to the instructions formerly made by the Committee of Both Kingdoms; and it is left to the Committee of Both Kingdoms, if they shall find that committee to comply, to send them down also.