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"My Lord General sent to them to give us a friendly “ Christian meeting, To discourse of those things which they “ rail against us for; that so, if possible, all misunderstand“ings between us might be taken away. Which accordingly “they gave us on Wednesday last. There was no bitterness “nor passion vented on either side ; all was with modera
tion and tenderness. My Lord General and Major-General “ Lambert, for the most part, maintained the discourse; and, “ on their part, Mr. James Guthry and Mr. Patrick Gillespie.! “ We know not what satisfaction they have received. Sure I “ am, there was no such weight in their arguments as might “ in the least discourage us from what we have undertaken ; “ the chief thing on which they insisted being our Invasion “ into Scotland."?
The Army quitted Glasgow after some ten days; rather hastily, on Wednesday 30th April ; pressing news, some false alarm of movements about Stirling, having arrived by express from the East. They marched again for Edinburgh; - quenched some foolish Town Riot, which had broken out among the Glasgow Baillies themselves, on some quarrel of their own; and was now tugging and wriggling, in a most unseemly manner, on the open streets, and likely to enlist the population generally, had not Cromwell's soldiers charitably scattered it asunder before they went.3 In three days they were in Edinburgh again.
When a luminous body, such as Oliver Cromwell, happens to be crossing a dark Country, a dark Century, who knows what he will not disclose to us! For example: On the Western edge of Lanarkshire, in the desolate uplands of the Kirk of Shotts, there dwelt at that time a worshipful Family of Scotch Lairds, of the name of Stewart, at a House called Allertoun,-a lean turreted angry-looking old Stone House, I take it; standing in some green place, in the alluvial hollows of the Auchter Burn or its tributaries : most obscure; standing lean and grim, like a thousand such ; entirely unnoticeable by History,—had not Oliver chanced to pass in that direction, and make a call there! Here is an account of that event : unfortunately very vague, not written till the second generation after; indeed, palpably incorrect in some of its details ; but indubitable as to the main fact; and too curious to be omitted here. The date, not given or hinted at in the original, seems to fix itself as Thursday, 1st May, 1651. On that day Auchter Burn, rushing idly on as usual, the grim old turreted Stone House, and rigorous Presbyterian inmates, and desolate uplands of the Kirk of Shotts in general, -saw Cromwell's face, and have become memorable to us. Here is the record given as we find it.1
1. Gelaspy' the Sectarian spells; in all particulars of facts he coincides with Baillie. Guthry and Gillespie, noted men in that time, published a “Sum’ of this Interview (Baillie, iii. 168), but nobody now knows it,
? Newspapers (in Cromwelliana, p. 102). ' 3 Ane Information concerning the late Tumult in Glasgow, Wednesday, April 30, at the very time of Cromwell's Removal (in Baillie, jii. 161).
• There was a fifth Son of Sir Walter Stewart, Laird of Allertoun : ‘James; who in his younger years was called “the
Captain of Allertoun,”—from this incident: Oliver Cromwell, Captain-General of the English Sectarian Army, after * taking Edinburgh Castle, was making a Progress through the • West of Scotland; and came down towards the River Clyde near Lanark, and was on his march back, against King Charles the Second's Army, then with the King at Stirling. Being informed of a near way through Auchtermuir, he came with some General Officers to reconnoitre; and had a Guide along.
Coltness Collections, published by the Maitland Club (Glasgow, 1842), p. 9.
• Sir Walter, being a Royalist and Covenanter, had absconded. • As he' Cromwell passed, he called in at Allertoun for a “further Guide; but no men were to be found, save one vale'tudinary Gentleman, Sir Walter's Son,'— properly a poor valetudinary Boy, as appears, who of course could do nothing for him.
He found the road not practicable for carriages ; and upon his return he called in at Sir Walter's House. There ' was none to entertain him but the Lady and Sir Walter's * sickly Son. The good Woman was as much for the King ' and Royal Family as her Husband: but she offered the . General the civilities of her House; and a glass of canary was * presented. The General observed the forms of these times * (I have it from good authority), and he asked a blessing in • a long pathetic grace before the cup went round ;-he drank “ his good wishes) for the family, and asked for Sir Walter ; ' and was pleased to say, His Mother was a Stewart's Daughter, and he had a relation to the name. All passed easy; and our James, being a lad of ten years, came so near as to handle the hilt of one of the swords : upon which Oliver stroked his head, saying, “ You are my little Captain ;” and this was * all the Commission our Captain of Allertoun ever had.
The General called for some of his own wines for himself and other Officers, and would have the Lady try his wine ;
and was so humane, When he saw the young Gentleman so 'maigre and indisposed, he said, Changing the climate might do good, and the South of France, Montpellier, was the place.
Amidst all this humanity and politeness he omitted not, in person, to return thanks to God in a pointed grace after « his repast; and after this hasted on his return to join the * Army. The Lady had been a strenuous Royalist, and her Son a Captain in command at Dunbar ; yet upon this interCertainly incorrect.
* view with the General she abated much of her zeal. She * said she was sure Cromwell was one who feared God, and
had that fear in him, and the true interest of Religion at heart. A story of this kind is no idle digression ; it has • some small connexion with the Family concerns, and shews * some little of the genius of these distracted times.'-And so we leave it; vague, but indubitable; standing on such basis as it has.
LETTER CLXXIII. • For my beloved Wife, Elizabeth Cromwell, at the
Edinburgh, 3d May, 1651.
I could not satisfy myself to omit this post, although I have not much to write; yet indeed I love to write to my Dear, who is very much in my heart. It joys me to hear thy soul prospereth : the Lord increase His favours to thee more and more. The great good thy soul can wish is, That the Lord lift upon thee the light of His countenance, which is better than life. The Lord bless all thy good counsel and example to all those about thee, and hear all thy prayers, and accept thee always.
I am glad to hear thy Son and Daughter are with thee. I hope thou wilt have some good opportunity of good advice to him. Present my duty to my Mother, my love to all the Family. Still pray for
OLIVER CROMWELL.* * Harris, p. 517.
Written the day after his return to Edinburgh. Thy Son and Daughter' are, to all appearance, Richard and his wife, who prolong their visit at the Cockpit. The good old “Mother is still spared with us, to have my duty' presented to her. A pale venerable Figure ; who has lived to see strange things in this world ;—can piously, in her good old tremulous heart, rejoice in such a Son.
Precisely in these days, a small ship driven by stress of weather into Ayr Harbour, and seized and searched by Cromwell's Garrison there, discloses a matter highly interesting to the Commonwealth. A Plot, namely, on the part of the English Presbyterian-Royalists, English Royalists Proper, and all manner of Malignant Interests in England, to unite with the Scots and their King: in which certain of the London Presbyterian Clergy, Christopher Love among others, are deeply involved. The little ship was bound for the Isle of Man, with tidings to the Earl of Derby concerning the affair ; and now we have caught her within the Bars of Ayr; and the whole matter is made manifest!! Reverend Christopher Love is laid hold of, 7th May; he and others : and the Council of State is busy. It is the same Christopher who preached at Uxbridge Treaty long since, That · Heaven might as well think of uniting with Hell. Were a new High Court of Justice once constituted, it will go hard with Christopher.
As for the Lord General, this march to Glasgow has thrown him into a new relapse, which his Doctor counts as the third since March last. The disease is now ague; comes and goes, till, in the end of this month the Council of State, as ordered by Parliament, requests him to return, in the meanwhile, to England for milder air ;? and despatches twoʻLondon Doctors
1 Bates: History of the late Troubles in England (Translation of the Elenchus Motuum; London, 1685), Part ii, 115.
Whitlocke, p. 476 ; Commons Journals (vi. 579), 27 May, 1651.