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his biographer, “a fine, thickset head of hair, kept clean and handsome, which was a great ornament to him,” yet he could not be persuaded to shear his locks to the orthodox basin-shape of the Puritans, nor attend to “such little formalities altogether fitted to their humour," for which determination we are credibly informed he was put out of the pale of the Church by many of the really godly in those days." If the question,
“ not unimportant in these days, should be further propounded, How came his life to be written ? we must let his biographer, his own affectionate wife, answer the question for herself, and by putting two statements together, one at the end, and the other at the beginning of the book, a noble answer is given. While Colonel Hutchinson was lying on his dying bed (if it was worthy of such a civilised appellation), in the dungeon at Sandowne, he sent messages to his absent wife. “Let her,” said he, she is above other women, show herself in this occasion a good Christian, and above the pitch of ordinary women.” Turning now to the commencement of the narrative addressed to her children concerning their father, we read in the light of this dying testament a touching apology for the memoir: “But I that am under a command not to grieve at the common rate of desolate women while I am studying which way to moderate my woe, and if it were possible to augment my love, I can for the present find out none more just to your dear father, nor consolatory to myself, than the preservation of his memory.”
Chivalry compels us to pause for a minute to say a word about Mrs. Hutchinson's account of herself, placed at the commencement of the volume. She was a daughter of Sir Allen Apsley, governor of the Tower, whose family throughout the strife of King and Parliament, were attached to the cavaliers. The recollection of her early years introduces us to an old friend in the
history of those days when the storm brooded on the face of the waters. When Sir Allen was governor of the Tower, Sir Walter Raleigh was one of his prisoners, dreaming at that very time of golden shores in the Western seas. He is introduced to us by Mrs. Hutchinson as addicting himself to chemistry, and “making rare experiments” at the cost of the kind governor's wife, chiefly for the comfort and amusement of the poor prisoners. Mrs. Hutchinson says little about herself; but she was evidently a wonderful woman, shining the more in a day wheu the “education of women” was commonly neglected. The style of her narrative is exquisitely beautiful, and everywhere reveals great breadth of information combined with the most finished taste. We can well believe her statement, that when very young she “ tired her companions" more with her “grave instructions” than their “own mothers," "plucked their babies to pieces,” and kept them in such awe that they were glad when she entertained' berself with elder company. We may pass to her husband with her own most beautiful, though too modest reference to herself, in the only place where she offers any comparison. “All that she was, was him, while he was here; and all that she is now, is at best but his pale shadow."
Every reader of biography carries in his mind some mental outline of the hero. As he peruses the life of Colonel Hutchinson, he will wonder how it is that every time he comes to his name, his pure Saxon figure and graceful gait seem to be present to his eye. He will wonder, at least if he should forget that he has been treated to a portrait of him at the beginning, drawn with wonderful skill, and carrying a far better image in the mind than an engraving on steel. A few phrases will give the reader a “striking likeness” of Colonel Hutchinson, taken from life. “He was
of a middle stature—a slender and well-proportioned shape in all parts ;" his complexion fair ; " his hair of light brown,” softer than the finest silk, curling into loose great rings at the ends ; his eyes
of a lively
grey, " with many becoming motions.' “His forehead was not very high, his nose was raised and sharp, but withal he had a countenance which carried in it something of inagnanimity and majesty mixed with sweetness, that at the same tinje bespoke love and awe in all that saw him.” The physiognomist will not be surprised to find it added that he had a great love for music, and “often diverted himself on a viol,” on which he " played masterly;"" that he shot excellently in bows and guns, and much used them for his exercise ; and that he had great judgment in paintings, graving, sculpture, and all liberal arts." He may, perhaps, be not so prepared to hear that he had the courage of a lion, and that this frail, gentle figure held the keys of Nottingham Castle with a mere handful of men throughout the war, although more than once the fiery troopers of Rupert sat down before it, and the “ bold Newarkers” used every stratagem to take it.
There are so many beautiful little episodes in the narrative in the way of delicately-drawn portraits, that it is a difficult matter to know which to select as a sample of the writer's descriptive powers. The reader, however, will scarcely pardon us if the exquisite little picture of Colonel Hutchinson's mother, who died long before he was able to know her worth, were left out.
"She was a wise and bountiful mistress in her family, a blessing to her tenants and neighbourhood, and had an indulgent tenderness to her infants; but death veiled all her mortal glories in the twenty-sixth year of her age. The stories I have received of her have been but scanty epitaphs of those things which were worthy a large chronicle and a better recorder than I can be. I shall therefore draw again the curtain before an image which I have ventured to look at a little, but dare not undertake to discover to others. One that was present at her death told ine that she had an admirable voice and skill to manage it, and that she went away singing a psalm which this maid apprehended she sung with so much more than usual sweetness as if her soul had been already ascended into the celestial choir."
The manner in which Colonel Hutchinson (then Mr. George Hutchinson) became a partisan of the Parliament, furnishes no doubt an illustration of the way in which circumstances compelled men of spirit to enlist early under either banner, and reveals at the same time how “King Charles the Martyr” found powder and shot for his battles.
It seems that in those days the counties bad trained bands of their own, and a magazine in the principal town under the keeping of the mayor. Mr. Hutchinson happened to stroll into Nottingham, and found the mayor's wife in a state of consternation because the lord-lieutenant, “My Lord Newark,” was come to fetch away the powder left in her husband's trust during his absence. Mr. Hutchinson forthwith proceeded to the Town Hall, where the powder was in process of being weighed out. Asking at the gate, who was above, he was told the lord-lieutenant, the sheriff, and two or three captains. Mr. Hutchinson, addressing himself to my lord, the following dialogue ensued :
“Mr. II. My lord, hearing that there was some question concerning the county's powder, I am come to kiss your lordship’s hands, and to beseech you that I may know what your desires are concerning it?
“ N. Cousin, the king desires to borrow it of the county to supply his great necessities.
“ H. I beseech your lordship, what commission have you to demand this?
“N. Upon my honour, I have a commission from his Majesty, but it is left behind me; but I will engage my honour it shall be repaid the county.
“H. Your lordship’s honour is an engagement would be accepted for more than I am worth, but in such an occasion as this the greatest man's engagement in the kingdom cannot be a satisfaction to the county."
While the dialogue was proceeding, the sturdy men of Nottingham were gathering with angry voices at the hall, and a countryman standing forth, asked his lordship this puzzling question
“Whether if he were to take a journey into a place where probably he might be set upon by thieves and robbers, and having a charge about him, if any friend should ask him to lend his sword, he would part with it and go himself without. My lord, he added, the case is ours; our wives, children, and estates, all depend upon this country's safety."
The end of the matter was, that Mr. Hutchinson and his abettors refused to be "cousined” out of the county powder, and my lord seeing the storm rising, desisted from the
attempt. As he passed out he took Mr. Hutchinson aside and said, “ Cousin I must inform the king of this." So it was that Mr. George Hutchinson, of Owthorpe, a quiet country gentleman, was thenceforward excluded from the number of his gracious majesty's liege subjects. Shortly afterwards a Committee of Defence was formed, and Colonel Hutchinson was appointed governor of the garrison at Nottingham.
In other parts of England Patriots were astir. The inhabitants of St. Ives had already become familiar with strange personages, making their way to the house of Master Oliver Cromwell; and in Buckinghamshire, Hampden having already fought in the Exchequer chamber, was gathering a troop for action in the field.
Nottingham was a most important station to the Parliament, being in the northern route of the troops, and for the same reason most difficult to hold, because large detachments of the king's army often came past and would fain have come in. Very often the town itself was filled with royal troops, when the governor would retire with his small force to the castle which he held to the last, though often assailed with overpowering numbers. This castle offered great advantages for such a defence. Standing upon a rock at one end of the town, it had a most complete command of it. The main tower was high, and not without “ wonder.” Midway up the rock, there was a projection on which bad been built a dove-cot. This quiet nest was pulled down by the governor, who in its stead placed his ordnance to play upon the town. A winding subterranean passage, now almost entirely blocked up, still led to the meadows below, by which, in yet older days, Queen Isabel had been surprised with her paramour.
Very often the little band would assume the offensive, and many a stirring adventure is recorded when some distant Royalist party would be assaulted, or some cavalcade hindered in its northern march.' Three attempts were made to bribe him, but gold and iron alike failed to shake his trust.
No history of the times throws such light on the general condition of the country during the reign of the Long Parliament. The war, as it reads here, seems like some guerilla fight, in which bands of armed men through the country did pretty much as they pleased with their neighbours, so that it is almost difficult to believe that a grand moving faith was actuating the masses. This sort of impression doubtless arises from the desultory character and local peculiarities of the war in its earlier stages.
The want of discipline and centralisation in the Parliamentary army before the days of Cromwell is almost past belief. Colonel Hutchinson was appointed by a Nottingham Committee of Defence, governor of the castle; yet, in the fractious state of affairs, it was the hardest work to maintain his position. He would, perhaps, send an order to the captain of the Nottingham Horse to reconnoitre some distant post of the enemy; but if the said captain did not think it was an advantageous move he would refuse compliance. All the inferior officers followed the same example. Three times did he appeal to London to define his powers as governor, and as many times was the decision either evasive or wanting in due authority as far as Nottingham. If all the officers of the Parliamentary army were situated as Colonel Hutchinson, no man without stern determination and high principles would have held his commission for a single month.
No where does the part that Cromwell played in the civil war appear inore grandly than in this narrative; although the biographer's opinion of his moral qualities was not high This insubordination in the Parliamentary ranks was no doubt the effect of unconsolidated liberty. It is generally so in the first stages of a revolution ; when men first feel their liberty and try to use it, they are unable to act as soldiers under discipline. The only difference between the English revolution and others was, that in these the first inspiration of liberty has generally given rise to uncontrolled excesses; while in that of the English revolution it spent itself in all kinds of crotchety and irresponsible movements.
Now the work of Cromwell was that of a real soldier. There is no doubt that the Parliamentary cause, with its weak central power, must have fallen from the disjointed character of its elements. Cromwell's work was to bring all these disjointed materials into one compact and invincible phalanx. Nothing can be plainer than that when he turned Rupert's wing on Long Marston Moor, he turned the fortune of the war. Colonel Hutchinson's dislike to Cromwell arose from his attachment to the chief men of the Long Parliament. They formed a school of lofty politicians, who ardently longed for a pure republic, and who dreaded every approach to an autocracy. They looked at the country with the eyes of pbilosophers, rather than with the glance of soldiers. The lofty purpose and high moral character of these men attracted Colonel Hutchinson to them; yet we cannot but be surprised when none more bewailed the lack of discipline in the army, to find him finding fault with Cromwell for distributing a “volunteers corps" among the regulars, and not allowing it to retain a separate existence. These volunteer
and captains doing what they pleased, had been the curse of the old army before the "self-denying ordinance."
But we must not fail to remind the reader of a council of war called in Nottingham Castle by the governor, in which the "weapons of warfare were not carnal.” No one would expect in the history of a soldier's life, between the battles of Long Marston Moor and Dunbar, to light upon a baptismal controversy, yet Colonel Hutchinson's theology kept pace
with his politics.
"In the cannoneer's chamber there were found some notes concerning Pædobaptism, which being brought to the governor's lodgings, and his wife having then more leisure to read them than he, having perused them, and compared them with the Scriptures, found not what to say against the truths they asserted, but being young and modest, she thought it a kind of virtue to submit to the judgment and practice of most churches, rather than to defend a singular opinion of her own. She at length communicated her
doubts to her husband, who first searched the Scriptures, and then read all the treatises he could find, and last of all invited all the ministers of the neighbourhood to dinner and propounded his doubt and the ground thereof to them.”
“None of them,” says the narrator, “could defend their practice with any satisfactory reason, but from the tradition of the church, and their main buckler of federal holiness, which Tombs and Denne had excellently overthrown.”
The controversy ended as dinner-table discussions usually do, by each party being confirmed in their own opinion. It reflects no credit on the religious toleration of that day that it is added, “ And now the governor and his wife, notwithstanding that they forsook not their assemblies, nor retracted their benevolences and civilities from them, yet were they reviled by them, called fanatics and Anabaptists, and often glanced at in their public sermons." This stern adherence to principle distinguished his religious as well as political life. A loving band has written concerning him that,
“To number his virtues, was to give an epitome of his life. After he had laid a sure foundation in a simple faith, in the everlasting truths of the gospel, he began to survey the superstructure, and to discover much of the day and stubble' of man's invention in God's worship. Piety seemed the bond of all his other virtues ; there was nothing he durst not do or suffer but sin against God.”
What a beautiful description does his wife give of him as a Christian soldier with all his armour, standing unmoved amid the storms that burst over the land, ready for conflict or death!
“He was never surprised, amazed, nor confounded, with great difficulties or dangers, which seemed rather to animate than distract his spirits. IIe had made up his accounts with life and death, and fixed his purpose to entertain both honourably. A truer or more lively valour, there never was in any man, but in all his actions it went in the same file with wisdom.”
The advent of the Protector closed the period of his public life. He had little sympathy with what he calls Cromwell's “ambitious designs." Taking a house near London, he enjoyed the quiet of family life, and spent his time in educating his children and in promoting the fine arts"insomuch that he became a great virtuoso and patron of ingenuity.”
After the Restoration he remained unflinchingly attached to his first faith. By some oversight or favour he escaped the bloody fate that awaited his compeers, and if he had recanted his former principles, he might have ended his days in peace.
His fidelity, however, marked him out at last as a victim for a slower persecution. After being confined in the Tower, he was removed to Sandowne Castle, on the Kentish coast. For a time he was allowed to walk with his wife, gazing, though a prisoner, at God's own freedom in the wild strife of wind and wave. He took as much delight in the shells that lined the shores as in the engravings that covered the walls of his once quiet home. These quiet days were not long to last. The orders of the Government grew more rigorous; and before long, in the dampest and gloomiest dungeon of the castle at Sandowne, lay the lifeless body of as brave a soldier as took arms in the bloody war of King and Parliament. Among the weeping faces round his hard pallet were those of his two physicians, who long afterwards bore testimony to his holy words in dying moments.
T. E. F.