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turbed to write his letters, it being a mail day, until five or six o'clock. About that hour it was his custom to come out from his bed-chamber to go to evening prayers; and half an hour after that to go to supper, when Colonel Whalley set guards about his bed-chamber, as his Majesty usually retired early.
On the day in question, accordingly, Colonel Whalley came as usual at about five o'clock into the anteroom next to the King's bed-chamber, where he found the Parliamentary Commissioners and bed-chambermen assembled, waiting for his Majesty. What then ensued had best be told in Colonel Whalley's own words, extracted from his report to the House of Commons: “I asked them,” he said, "for the King; they told me he was writing letters in his bed-chamber. I waited there without mistrust till six of the clock; I then began to doubt, and told the bed-chambermen, Mr. Maule and Mr. Murray, I wondered the King was so long a-writing; they told me he had (they thought) some extraordinary occasion. Within half an hour after Í went into the next room to Mr. Oudart, and told him I marvelled the King was so long a-writing. He answered, he wondered too, but withal said, the King told him he was to write letters both to the Queen and Princess of Orange, which gave me some satisfaction for the present. But my fears with the time increased, so that when it was seven of the clock, I again told Mr. Maule I exceedingly wondered the King was so long before he came out. He told me he was writing, and I replied, possibly he might be ill, therefore I thought he should do well to see, and to satisfy both myself and the House, that were in fear of him. He replied, the King had given him strict commands not to molest him, therefore durst not, besides he had bolted the door to him. I was then extreme restless in my thoughts, lookt oft in at the key-hole to see whether I could perceive his Majesty, but could not; prest Mr. Maule to knock very oft, that I might know whether his Majesty were there or not, but all to no purpose. He still plainly told me he durst not disobey his Majesty's commands.”
While these discussions were going on outside the King's room, the decisive step had already been taken some time; for as soon as the shades of the dark November evening THE KING'S FLIGHT FROM THE PALACE.
had fallen, King Charles left his chamber accompanied only by Colonel Legge, and, passing through the room called Paradise,” went by the private passage to the riverside.
Here he was met by Berkeley and Ashburnham, and in their company probably crossed the river in a boat to the Surrey side, where they all took horse, and proceeded in the direction of Oatlands, and thence towards Southampton.
In the meanwhile, Colonel Whalley's anxiety as to the King increasing, he went at about eight o'clock to Mr. Smithsby, Keeper of the Privy Lodgings, desiring him to go along with him the back way, through the Privy Garden, to the Privy Stairs, where he had sentinels stationed. To resume Whalley's narrative: “We went up the stairs, and from chamber to chamber, till we came to the next chamber to his Majesty's bed-chamber, where we saw his Majesty's cloak lying on the midst of the floor, which much amazed me. I went presently back to the Commissioners and bedchambermen, acquainting them with it, and therefore desired Mr. Maule again to see whether his Majesty was in his bedchamber or not; he again told me he durst not. I replied, that I would then command him, and that in the name of the Parliament, and therefore desired him to go along with
He desired I would speak to the Commissioners to go along with us. I did. We all went. When we came into the room next the King's bed-chamber, I moved Mr. Maule to go in. He said he would not, except I would stand at the door. I promised I would, and did. Mr. Maule immediately came out, and said, the King was gone. We all then went in, and one of the Commissioners said, 'It may be the King is in his closet.' Mr. Maule presently replied and said he was gone. I then, being in a passion, toid Mr. Maule, I thought he was accessory to his going ; for that afternoon he was come from London, it being a rare thing for him to be from Court. I know not that he hath been two nights away since I came to wait upon his Majesty.”
When there was no longer any doubt that the King had fled, the greatest excitement prevailed throughout the palace, and Whalley at once sent parties of horse and foot to search the lodge in the park and Ashburnham's house at Ditton, while he forwarded despatches to Fairfax and Crom
well at the headquarters at Putney, to apprise them of what had happened.
On the King's table he found three letters—one addressed to the Parliamentary Commissioners, one to be communicated to both Houses of Parliament, and another to himself, which was as follows:
“Hampton Court, 11 November, 1647. “ COLONEL WHALEY,
“I have been so civilly used by you and Major Huntingdon, that I cannot but by this parting farewell acknowledge it under my hand; as also to desire the continuance of your courtesie, by your protecting of my household stuffe and moveables of all sorts, which I leave behind me in this house, that they be neither spoiled or embesled : only there are three pictures here which are not mine, that I desire you to restore ; to wit, my wives picture in blew, sitting in a chaire, you must send to Mistris Kirke [one of the Queen's dressers] ; my eldest daughter's picture, copied by Belcam, to the Countess of Anglesey, and my Lady Stannop's picture to Cary Rawley (Carew Raleigh-Sir Walter's son]. There is a fourth which I had almost forgot, it is the original of my eldest daughter (it hangs in this Chamber over the board next to the chimney), which you must send to Lady Aubigny. So, being confident that you wish my preservation and restitution, I rest,
“CHARLES R. “P.S.-I assure you it was not the letter you shewed me to-day, that made me take this resolution, nor any advertisement of that kinde. But I confess that I am loath to be made a close prisoner, under pretence of securing my life. I had almost forgot to desire you to send the black grew bitch to the Duke of Richmond.”
This letter, while showing how ready Charles was to acknowledge any little attention or kindness, betrays at the same time how constitutionally impossible it was for him to understand facts, and to appreciate his real position. It is almost pathetic to note the way in which he writes of his much cherished works of art and articles de vertu (under the designation “household stuffe and moveables”), as if they were in truth still his, and as if he would shortly re-enter into possession of them all again.
Everyone else, of course, appreciated the deep significance of the step Charles had chosen to take; and the excitement both in London and at the headquarters of the army at Putney, when the news became known, was very great. Among the chief officers of the army the feeling was not unmingled with one of gratification that things had at CHARLES AND THE HOUSE OF COMMONS. 233
last been brought to a crisis. Cromwell, immediately on receiving the intelligence, rode over post-haste to Hampton Court to learn the particulars for himself; and, as soon as he had conferred with Whalley, sat down and indited a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons, informing him of the King's flight.
The tone in which Cromwell spoke of Charles's escape, taken with the sending of the warning letter to Whalley, confirms the suspicion that he was not unprepared for what occurred, if, indeed, he had not connived at it and tried to bring it about. Certain it is that the continued residence of the King at Hampton Court had begun to grow very embarrassing to him, and Marvell the poet, his friend and panegyrist, actually commends him for his cleverness in entrapping Charles into this injudicious act.
As to Charles's Letter or Declaration to the Parliament, which Cromwell inclosed to the Speaker, it was a somewhat lengthy and elaborate document, vindicating the step he was taking, and expatiating on the position of affairs. It was, in fact, an appeal to public opinion against the usage to which he had been subjected by the Parliament and the army, and it shows how confident he seems to have been that he would be able to retreat to some place of secrecy, whence he might begin, in safety, once more bargaining with, and at the same time intriguing against, his enemies.
These documents, together with Cromwell's own letter to the Speaker, were read when the two Houses met next day -Friday, November 12th-and measures were at once taken to prevent the King's flight to foreign parts by ordering all the ports to be closed and embargo to be laid upon all ships; while it was declared to be an offence punishable with loss of estate and life, for anyone to detain the King's person, and not to reveal the fact to both Houses of Parliament.
The House of Commons met again on Saturday the 13th, when “Colonel Whalley was called in and gave a particular relation of all the circumstances of the King's going away from Hampton Court.” He also handed in the warning letter from Cromwell, which he had shown to Charles. The House then ordered “that Colonel Whalley do put in writing the said relation, and set his hand to it, and that he do leave a copy of the said letter from Lieutenant-General Cromwell.”
Whalley accordingly drew up and presented to the House "A More Full Relation of the manner and circumstances of His Majesties departure from Hampton Court,” the document from which we have largely quoted above. In it he vindicates himself against any blame for the King's going away (“for I cannot term it an escape,” he says, “ because he never was in custody as a prisoner ") by laying stress on the fact that the most eminent officers in the army all agreed that he “could no more keep the King if he had a mind to go than a bird in a pound. I was not to restrain him from his liberty of walking, so that he might have gone whither he had pleased; neither was I to hinder him from his privacy in his chamber, or any other part of the House, which give him an absolute freedom to go away at pleasure. The House is vast, hath 1,500 rooms, as I am informed, in it, and would require a troop of Horse upon perpetual duty to guard all the outgoings. So that all that could be expected from me, was to be as vigilant over the King as I could in the daytime; and when after Supper he was retired into his Bed-chamber, to set sentinels about him, which I constantly performed, as is well known to the Commissioners and others.”
From Oatlands, as we have said, Charles and his companions made their way to the Isle of Wight, and at the very time that the Commons were hearing Whalley's narrative of his escape from the palace, he had already surrendered himself to Colonel Hammond, the Governor of the Island, and was lodged in Carisbrook Castle as a prisoner of State, though he was still treated with some deference and respect.
While Charles was still confined at Carisbrook, there broke out the Second Civil War, a memorable episode of which was the Royalist rising that took place at Kingstonon-Thames, under the Earl of Holland, at the beginning of the month of July, 1648. The mustering of their force of some six hundred horse, not a mile from Hampton Court, doubtless excited a deep interest in the palace, which must have been intensified when Holland was gallantly joined in his rash enterprise by the young Duke of Buckingham and his brother, Lord Francis Villiers, "a youth," as Clarendon