[From Lancashire Worthies, 1874]
[note as chapter is long I have split into 3 sections]
THE "great," the "martyr" Earl of Derby, as he is fondly termed by his admirers, was born at Knowsley on the 31st of January 1607, on which day of the preceding year Guy Fawkes and certain of his associates were executed for their share in the Gunpowder Plot. His father, William sixth Earl, had been a great traveller, and many traditions of Earl William's continental adventures are preserved in popular song. His wife, mother of this our James Stanley seventh Earl of Derby, was the eldest daughter of Edward Vere seventeenth Earl of Oxford, and her mother was a daughter of the politic Cecil, Queen Elizabeth's and Mr Puff's Lord Burghley. Earl William was thirty-two when (in 1594) he succeeded to the title, on the death of his elder brother Ferdinando, the fifth Earl, whose surviving children were three daughters, co-heiresses. They were young when their father died, but their rights, real or alleged, were doubtless stoutly championed by their mother, the Countess Alice, a daughter of Sir John Spencer of Althorpe, ancestor of the great Duke of Marlborough. A few years after the death of her husband she made a second marriage, which secured for herself and her daughters "the best legal advice " in England. In 1600 she became the (third) wife of the famous Lord Chancellor Ellesmere, and it was probably through his efforts and influence that a long series of law-suits, between Earl William and the fifth Earl's widow and daughters terminated in the severance from the Earldom of Derby of five ancient Baronies,when the estates attached to them m, ere transferred to Earl Ferdinando's daughters and co-heiresses. The Stanleys Earls of Derby retained Latham and Knowsley with other ample possessions, but they lost " the Baronies of Strange, of Mohun, Barnwell, Basset, and Lacy, with all the houses, castles, manors, and lands thereto belonging, with several other manors and large estates lying in most counties of England, and many in Wales." 1 The lordship of the Isle of Man was preserved only by purchasing the claims of the Countess Alice and her daughters. Earl William was thus, and by long litigation, considerably impoverished when he came into possession of a dismembered inheritance. With his accession, Fortune seemed wearied of smiling on the Stanleys Earls of'Derby, and resolved that, after a long course of prosperity, they should taste the bitters of adversity. Earl William lost only estates ; Earl James was to lose his head upon the scaffold.
James Lord Strange, as he was called during his father's lifetime, was the eldest of three sons. There is a tradition that after being at school at Bolton he studied at Oxford, but of his education nothing is clearly ascertained beyond the names of his two domestic tutors. One of these was George Murray, a brother of the Richard Murray of the Athol family, whom, as a Scotchman, a gentleman, and (if anything) a High Churchman, King James made Warden of Manchester-a careless, easy-going ecclesiastic, of whom his royal patron had so accurately taken the measure that, it is said, once hearing him give out for his text " I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ," the King made the audible comment-" spiced with an oath ""But the Gospel may well be ashamed of thee!"' Whether the Murray who was Lord Strange's tutor resembled in character his brother, the Warden of Manchester, is not known, but in all probability he was a High Churchman. The other tutor, Charles Erle, or Herle, became afterwards -if he were not already-a staunch Presbyterian, and sat in the Westminster Assembly of Divines as one of the two representatives of Lancashire. He is described as "of graceful and courteous manners." Both of them were suitably rewarded for their connection with the Stanley family. Murray became Rector of Bury, Herle, of Winwick. That may have influenced the religious opinions of his pupil. The seventh Earl of Derby seems to have been a High Churchman in his ecclesiastical politics, but with slightly Puritan tendencies in theology.
He grew up a well-read, thoughtful, serious, and it can be gathered rather an anxious and brooding man - of superior but somewhat limited intelligence. " In after life," says one of his biographers, " Lord Strange attributed some mistakes that he had committed to the want of good instruction' in his youth, but the remark appears rather to refer to the absence of opportunities of cultivating general society, and of acquiring worldly knowledge and an.acquaintance with matters of business than any deficiency ot elementary or religious training."3 It is more probable that he referred to the narrowness of his education, which did not help him when he had to manage men or to lead soldiers. Certainly he enjoyed pretty early in life the "opportunities " aforesaid. According to this very biographer, he was but a minor when in 1625 he was elected Member of Parliament for Liverpool, and when he paid a visit to the Dutch Court at the Hague, then presided over by the Stadtholder-Prince of Nassau, a brother of William the Silent, the great founder of the Dutch Republic. It seems that on paying this visit to Holland Lord Strange had to borrow the money needed to enable him to make the appearance at a.foreign court suitable to a young nobleman of his rank, ancestry, and connections, so considerably had litigation and the loss of a large portion of their hereditary estates crippled the resources of the Derby Earldom. It seems, too, that he went to the Hague to discover the fitness of a marriage projected for him with a wealthy damsel of high rank. " If your estate be good," he wrote long afterwards, with other advice, to his son, " match near home and at leisure ; but if weak or encumbered, marry afar and quickly "-counsel doubtless suggested by his own experience.
The lady chosen for him as a wife by others and by himself was the afterwards famous Charlotte de la Trémoille, daughter of a French nobleman, a distinguished companion-in-arms of Henri Quatre, by whom for his services in the field Claude de la Trémoille was created Duc de Thouars. On the mother's side the young lady, born in 1601, sprang from the princely house of Orange, since the Duchesse de la Trémoille was a daughter of William the Silent, and as became her blended lineage the Countess of Derby that was to be inherited Dutch persistence and French vivacity. The Duc de la Trémoille had embraced the reformed faith - and his wife was of course a staunch Protestant - so that there was no objection on the score of religion to the match between the heir of the House of Derby and the French grand-daughter of William the Silent. Apparently one of the chief promoters of the match was the celebrated and unfortunate Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia, daughter of James I. and mother of that Sophia Electress of Hanover through her descent from whom Queen Victoria now sits on the throne of these realrns. The Queen of Bohemia, it seems, owed her husband-such obligation as it was-to the efforts of the Duc de Bouillon, and he married, as his third wife, a sister of the Duchesse de la Trémoille, with whom and with whose family the Queen kept up a friendly correspondence. When the match between the young people was arranged, Elizabeth of Bohemia and Charlotte herself were at the Hague, and there, also, was a kinsman of Lord Strange's, Sir Edward Vere. The year before Lord Strange started for the Hague to judge for himself of the young ladys attractions or merits, the widowed and wealthy Duchesse de la Trémoille had come to the English Court with her royal relative Henrietta Maria, just married to our Charles I. Doubtless when she was in England she saw Lord Strange, and assured herself of his suitability as a husband for her daughter. He was accomplished, well-principled, "possessing a tall and graceful regular and handsome features, a florid complexion, with a forehead probably capacious and lofty, but which is in all his portraits concealed by overhanging dark hair." 4 In any case, on proceeding to the Hague, he won the hand of Mademoiselle de la Trémoille, with whom he was to receive a dowry of £20,000 On the 26th of June 1626 the marriage came off with great magnificence " in a palace of the Prince of Orange at the Hague in the presence of the King and Queen of Bohemia and many royal and noble personage".
After the wedding, Lord Strange brought his wife to England, and the young couple were received at Court with great heartiness. His return was soon followed by the death of his mother, and by the abdication, so to speak, of his father. " My father," he says, addressing his son long afterwards, "upon the death of my mother, growing infirm and disconsolate, and willing to repose himself from the troubles of the world, purchased a house on the side of the river Dee, near Chester, and retired to it ; reserving to himself a thousand pounds a year for life, and put the rest of his estate and revenue into my hands, which I fear I shall not be so soon able to do with you nor with such latitude of power." By letters patent Lord Strange was associated with old Earl William in the Lieutenancy of Lancashire and Cheshire, and in the Chamberlainship of Chester city. Early in 1628 the Lieutenancy of North Wales was bestowed on Lord Strange, and he was summoned to the House of Lords as " Sir James Stanley de Strange, Chevalier."
Of the life of the newly-married pair in the interval, there are some notices in the published letters of Lady Strange to her mother, the Duchesse de la Trémoille, which show, among other things that-in spite of Earl William's abdication-Lord Strange was a little pinched for ready money. Applications for remittances " on account " of her dowry occur frequently in Lady Strange's letters of this period, but they seem to have met with but indifferent success. In the August of 1627, the year after her marriage, Lady Strange thus writes from Latham to her mother in a letter announcing the anticipated arrival of her first-born :" The time of our stay here is not yet determined, but if the twenty thousand crowns "-an instalment of her dowry" do not come, it will be a hard matter to get away. Your son-in-law "-Lord Strange-" is quite well, thank God, and often goes out hunting. On Monday we are to have a great many people here, for it is our wedding-day, and my husband is going from home for several days with a number of gentlemen. He shows me the utmost affection, and God gives us grace. to live in much happiness and peace of mind." Towards the end of the same year she writes again, after a visit to the old Earl William :-"I wrote you word, madame, that I had seen my father-in-law at Chester, where he always lives-never desiring to go to any of his other houses ; he has been there now for three or four years. He spoke to me in French "-for Earl William was a travelled gentleman-" and said very kind things to me, calling me lady and mistress of the house-a position which he said he wished no other woman to hold ; that I had the law in my own hands entirely. We were very well received in the town ; though we were not expected, many people came to meet us. I told you also, madame, how much I liked Latham House, and that I had every reason to thank God and you for having married me so happily. I do not doubt, madame, that you will do everything in your power with regard to my money ; indeed I expect this from you, and certes, madame, necessity constrains me to importune you in the matter more than I ought ; your goodness emboldens me to do so, and truly my happiness partly depends on it, that I may be able to shut the mouths of some people who do not love foreigners, though, thank God, the best of these wish me no harm "-and with the siege of Latham House the worst of them had to acknowledge that this lady, though a " foreigner," was not unworthy of her adopted country. The " settlements" had delayed the wedding, "because the Duchess-mother would not, on any terms, consent to the marriage, in consequence of an article of the English law, by which, on the death of the husband, the marriage portion of the wife is given up to the relatives of the deceased." The bride's part of the agreement, however, was but laxly performed, and the dowry, at least in full, seems never to have been paid, in consequence of the troubles in France. Nevertheless, Lord Strange behaved with honourable generosity to his wife, who fully appreciated it. Again towards the end of 1627, she writes to her mother :-" I am not without anxiety about many things; but God of His goodness will provide for all. I forgot to tell you, madame, that my husband is on the point of doing that which he is bound in honour to do, though I have never said a word to him about it ; and he has even fixed the sum "-for her jointure-" at two thousand pounds sterling. Although I hope, please God, that I may never need it, yet I shall always feel deep obligation to him. I owe it entirely to his goodness, which makes me still more anxious that he should derive some benefit from my fortune, from which he has, as yet, received so little help. I am sure, madame, that your goodness will see, even better than I do, what need we have for it, and also how happy it would make me to afford some relief to this house upon which I have hitherto brought nothing but expense."
In a few weeks Lady Strange had pleasanter cares to dwell upon, for a son was born to her and an heir to her husband. Communicating the interesting intelligence to her sister-in-law Lady Strange writes :-" I forgot to tell you that he"-the babe-"is dark. I wish you could see the manner in which they swaddle infants in this country, for it is lamentable. Three days after mine was born he was found in the middle of the night sucking his thumb ! Imagine the rest!" He was christened Charles only, after the King, who sent him "two gilt cups," and the proud mamma writes-" to show us special honour he has sent me a very pretty present, which is worth quite two thousand crowns ; the diamonds are very beautiful and are all cut with facets. I did not expect this." In the May of 1628, after the summons to Lord Strange to take his seat in the House of Peers, his lady-wife thus unbosoms herself to one of her correspondents, probably her mother :-" I write this in much trouble, for I fear that my husband must go the day after to-morrow to London. This change is doubly vexatious to me, for the air does not agree with him, but I hope God will preserve him. Our little one is very well, thank God. I have already, in two of my letters, begged you to send me some long frocks, and now I must ask you the same thing again, for he is very strong, thank God, for his age ; and in this country, where they put into robes infants of a month or six weeks old, I am thought out of my senses because I have not yet given him any. I also begged you for some child's caps. I hope these will all come together. It will be an amusement for me in the absence of my boy's father, which I dread greatly, for I have never been so far from him before, and in these times there is always something to fear. God grant that all that is resolved upon in this parliament maybe for his glory, and for the good of the King and the country." 4 The little baby about whose frocks Lady Strange was so anxious, grew to man's estate, underwent many vicissitudes, and was known at last as Charles eighth Earl of Derby.
After all, in that May of 1628 Lord Strange did not go to London and take his seat in the House of Peers. "My Lord," his wife wrote the month after, "was advised not to go to the parliament. Things," she adds, " are in great confusion there. One day everything is broken off, on the next all goes smoothly again. God grant that all may end well." It was the first session of King Charles's third parliament, and the germs of the Civil War were already visible. This was the session in which " Oliver Cromwell, Esquire," made his first appearance on the parliamentary stage as member for Huntingdon and the Petition of Right was wrested from the King, who thereupon angrily prorogued the parliament. It met again in the following January, and Lord Strange took his seat in the House of Peers, carrying with him to London his wife, who, in her staunch Protestantism, was then mourning over the sudden conversion of her brother, the Due de la Trémoille, to the Romish faith. It was a short but stirring and stormy session. After a few months the King dissolved that parliament, and did not summon another for eleven years, during which he raised supplies without the aid of one by levying Ship Money and by other less famous contrivances. His seat taken in the House of Peers, Lord Strange seems for some years to have lived partly in the circle of the Court. His name and that of his wife figure among those of performers in masques of Ben Jonson's played at Court in 1630. His house in Cannon row, a stately mansion built by Earl William, was, we are told, " the resort of distinguished statesmen, foreigners, and scholars., his hospitality, like his fortune, being almost regal."
With the chief courtiers and King's advisers Lord Strange does not appear to have been popular; and perhaps the Protestantism of his French wife may have been a bar to the favour of the Queen, Henrietta Maria, more ready to forgive heresy in Englishwomen than in a countrywoman. Clarendon speaks of Lord Strange as "disobliged by the Court," hinting that he expected, without receiving, from Charles I. the Garter afterwards bestowed on him by Charles II. "He was a man of great honour," Clarendon adds, "and clear courage ; and all his defects and misfortunes proceeded from his having lived so little time among his equals that he knew not how to treat his inferiors, which was the source of all the ill that befell him." The " having. lived so little among. his equals " refers probably to his early withdrawal from Court to his Lancashire estates. The charge that "he knew not how to treat his inferiors" cannot apply to his dealings with his tenantry, since it is evident that he was an excellent landlord. He himself leaves it modestly in doubt whether his great county-influence was due to his ancestry or his own personal popularity. " I was happy in the beginning. of this war," he wrote afterwards, when he had fallen upon evil days, " to have the general applause of my neighbours, as one they would like to follow, as they did my ancestors before me. But whether there was more in their minds to continue a custom or that they loved my name or my person I will not say."
" In the beginning of this war " is an expression that brings us with a sudden leap to the so-called " Great Rebellion." Lord Strange was fulfilling his county-duties as the acting representative of a great family and the owner of large estates ; he was studying, musing, composing anthems, leading the life of a pious and cultivated nobleman, when Laud's high-handed treatment of the Scotch and their resistance to it began to prelude the Civil War. On Sunday, the 23rd of July 1637, Jenny Geddes flung her historic stool at Laud's Edinburgh Bishop, and in the following November the trial of Hampden's Ship-Money case was opened in London. The Scotch were soon in arms, having framed and signed their Covenant, and the Puritanism of England sympathised with the Scotch. The King, on his way northward to suppress the Scotch rebellion, held a Council at York (February 1639), and to this Lord Strange was summoned. He obeyed the summons; but first and at the same time "addressed a stirring appeal, without any delay, to his deputy-lieutenants for military aid, and the service was promptly rendered." Three years more, and Lord Strange was again with the King at York (March 1642), but it was no longer a mere Scotch rebellion that was to be faced. England was on the verge of its great seventeenth-century Civil War. Both sides were arming, and Lord Strange advised that the royal standard should be raised at Warrington in Lancashire. Nottingham, however, was chosen and there on the 22nd of August 1642 the decisive step was taken. The 23rd of October following was the day of Edgehill fight, the first battle of the Civil War.
Meanwhile, by the death of his father (29th September 1642), Lord Strange had become Earl of Derby, and was busy in his own county for the King. His suggestion that the royal standard should be raised at Warrington had been accompanied by magnificent offers of men and money; but Charles's councillors seem to have regarded this unfortunate nobleman with a distrust, which, if of his military capacity, may have been well founded, but, if of his loyalty, was utterly groundless. The first occasion on which the men of Lancashire were ranged on different sides was at a county-meeting held on Preston Moor in June 1642. It was summoned nominally to receive the King's answer to a petition of Lancashire freeholders; but the High Sheriff-a Roman Catholic and a Royalist-took advantage of the opportunity to read proclamations from the King ordering a " commission of array," as the Royalist county-organisation was termed. " For the King, for the King! " was the cry heard from the Royalists; "For the King and Parliament! " was that of the other side, which still clung to the delusion that it was not against the King but against his councillors that the Puritanism of England was rebelling. Each of the two hostile parties, as was usual at that crisis, set to work to secure for itself what military stores were known to be within reach. Lord Derby (then of course merely Lord Strange) marched upon Manchester, as a town with decided Puritan leanings, and demanded the gunpowder and ammunition stored in it. The Parliamentarians made so formidable a show of resistance that he withdrew, after having unsuccessfully proffered a compromise by which the coveted articles were to be placed in the hands of commissioners appointed by both parties. Next, the Royalists of the town invited Lord Strange to a banquet, and to this no objections seem to have been made by the adherents of the parliament It is supposed that the military strength of the retinue which accompanied Lord Strange and his Royalist friends to the place of entertainment excited the suspicions of the Parliamentarians. " Sir Thomas Stanley of Bickerstaff, and Captain Birch of Birch, who happened to be in the town at the time, beat up the train-bands by the sound of drum, and led them to the front of the house where the Royalists were feasting. The accounts differ as to the party which actually began the fray. The Royalists say that the attack was commenced by Sir Thomas Stanley, who fired a pistol shot at his relative, Lord Strange. The Parliamentarians say that Lord Strange ordered his horsemen to attack the train-bands, who were preserving order in the street. On the one side or the other a Stanley seems to have begun the fight, in which Richard Percival, a weaver, was shot by the Royalists-the first person in Lancashire, and, probably in England, who was killed in the Civil War" 6-a statement not without interest. It is curious, moreover, to note that from this anti-Royalist, Sir Thomas Stanley of Bickerstaff, and not from the loyal James Stanley seventh Earl, the modern Earls of Derby for more than a century have sprung. The Sir Thomas Stanley who is said to have fired a pistol at the Royalist Earl James, at Manchester, on the 15th of July, 1642, was himself descended from the second son of George Lord Strange eldest son of Thomas first Earl of Derby, but who died in his father's life-time. Earl James and his predecessors descended from the eldest son of this George Lord Strange. The elder line expired with the death of another James the tenth Earl, grandson of the seventh Earl, and who left no male heir. Whereupon the Earldom of Derby passed to "Sir Edward Stanley of Bickerstaff, in Lancashire, Bart.," and thus a great-grandson of the alleged anti-Royalist hero of the Manchester fray became, in 1736, eleventh Earl of Derby. From him the present Earl of Derby is lineally descended.
This fray at Manchester was grossly exaggerated, and a few weeks after it Lord Strange was impeached for " levying war against the King, parliament, and kingdom," in that " he entered Manchester maliciously and treacherously, with force and arms, and in a hostile and warlike manner, and that he did kill, murder, and destroy Richard Percival, linen-webster." The impeachment, if it did nothing else, doubtless contributed to widen the breach between Lord Strange and Manchester, stimulating him to subdue what was becoming a Parliamentary stronghold, and encouraging its inhabitants to resist to the utmost the Royalist peer and his large following among the Lancashire squirearchy, among his own tenantry and theirs. Puritan Manchester prepared to defend itself against the attack-in-force which it saw to be inevitable, and it began to furbish up its weapons spiritual and carnal. " A spirit of devotion in prayers and singing of psalms rested generally upon persons and families, yea, upon taverns and inns, where it might not put its head formerly." Simultaneously with this outpouring of devotion, drilling and fortifying went on. Among the many soldiers of fortune who had fought in the Thirty Years' War, and who came to England on the chance of employment, when the strife between Charles and his parliament foreboded civil war, was a certain Lieutenant Colonel John Rosworm, and he happened just at this juncture to be in Manchester. He had accepted an offer from the Parliamentary party in Manchester for his services, when a higher bid was made for them by Lord Strange. Rosworm was vexed, as Major Dugald Dalgetty would have been, at his own precipitancy, but, as would not have happened with Major Dugald Dalgetty, he stuck to his employers, and though grumbling all along at what he denounced as their shabby treatment of him, he served them with the utmost fidelity while his services were needed. Through his exertions Manchester was in a state of tolerable defence when with some "two thousand foot, three hundred horse, and six pieces of ordnance," and the flower of the Royalist gentry of Lancashire, Lord Strange appeared before the town on the morning of Sunday, the 25th September 1642, his troops " marching into Salford with their drums beating, their colours flying and their multitude shouting 'For the King! for the King!". Salford bridge and Deansgate were the chief points of the attack, which the Manchester burghers successfully resisted, and by the end of the week Lord Derby, as he now was (his father the old Earl William died at Chester on the 29th, at the crisis of the siege), marched away again with his troops. He had not been able to visit the death-bed of his father, nor was he allowed to do honour to his remains. An express had arrived from Shrewsbury commanding him to proceed thither with his little army to aid the King. This sudden withdrawal of forces raised for the defence of Lancashire is said to have disgusted many of its Royalist gentry and to have cost the King the loss of the county. In any case lost it was, in spite of Lord Derby's subsequent and vigorous efforts after he returned from Shrewsbury. No slight put upon him by the King, or the King's councillors, could shake his loyalty. " There were 3000 good men of my raising," he wrote afterwards, "went forth of Lancashire and other places of my Lieutenancy; and my sorrow to see the King in so bad a condition did make me, and all well-affected to a good cause, to spare no cost or hazard whatever to assist him in his so just a quarrel. So we lent the King all our arms, and he graciously gave his warrant that we might receive as many from Newcastle, for the defence of our countries. But somebody was in fault so that his Majesty's warrant was not obeyed, nor we secured by arms or ammunition. Also his Majesty did allow a sufficient sum of money, which some of his servants kept for other uses. I will not take occasion hereby to fall upon particulars. But this will be justified, that the King had good intent for us, that I have discharged a good conscience in all, and my honour is safe in spite of the worst detractors."
During the winter of 1642-3 Wigan and Warrington were the Royalist strongholds; Manchester and Bolton those of the party of the parliament. With the new year Fairfax arrived in Manchester, and by his instructions Preston was attacked and taken. In February Lord Derby made an unsuccessful attack on Bolton, in March a more successful attack on Lancaster7 proceeding from which town he re-took Preston, with its stores. Another unsuccessful attack of the Earl's on Bolton was followed by an equally unsuccessful attack of the parl ' ianient-forces on Wigan. After the failure of the Parliamentary attack on Wigan, Lord Derby marched from Preston with " eleven troops of horse, seven hundred foot, and infinite of clubmen," and occupied Whalley Abbey. Colonel Assheton of Middleton, the most effective commander whom Lancashire developed during the Civil War, came to the aid of the local Parliamentary levies, and drove Lord Derby out of the Hundred of Blackburn. Pursuing his victory, Assheton marched upon Wigan, chased the dispirited Royalists out of it, followed the retreating Earl of Derby to Preston, and took it. He then pursued the flying Royalists in the direction of Lancaster, and swept them out of the county into Westmoreland. After a triumphal visit to Manchester, he attacked Warrington, the only remaining stronghold in the hands of the Royalists, and soon Warrington surrendered. Liverpool next fell into the hands of the parliament, Homby Castle and Thurland Castle were beleaguered and taken. " By midsummer of 1643," says the jubilant historian of Lancashire Puritanism and Nonconformity, "all the fortified towns and houses of Lancashire, except Latham,were in the possession of the Parliamentarians."
Meanwhile Lord Derby had quitted Lancashire on an errand and to an issue which he has himself thus described:- "Knowing that the Queen was at York with great forces, a part of which might easily reduce our country, and enable us to raise great forces for his Majesty, it was therefore desired by all the gentry that I would go to the Queen, representing their necessities and the great good unto herself and those parts by helping us. Which I did ; leaving yet some considerable forces in Lancashire, under the government of the Lord Molyneux and others of our side, with whom nevertheless is a large story of the great troubles I had with them, as well as with the enemy before I could possibly return. In my absence the enemy possessed themselves of the whole country, saving my house "-Latham-" and Sir John Girlington's"-Thurland Castle-which also was gone, though Lord Derby, writing in the Isle of Man, knew it not. "The misfortune happening at that very time to my Lord Newcastle at Wakefield prevented the Queen's good purposes, who promised me part of those forces. So as the Lancashire troops yet remaining [took.their] journey towards York, conceiving to have found me there. But ill fortune, which seldom comes alone, made now the proverb true. That same time a report was got of some Scots, intending to assist the pretended parliament of England, that they would land in the North, and by the way do their endeavour to get the isle of Man ; which doubtless had been a great inconvenience to his Majesty's affairs for many reasons. Hereupon I was advised to go immediately for the Isle of Man to secure it for his Majesty's service, as well in wisdom to preserve my own inheritance. But I gave no heed to that report, but continued my desire to wait upon the Queen in her journey to Oxford, where his Majesty then was. Meanwhile I received letters from the Isle of Man intimating the great danger there. For that the people had begun the fashion of England in murmuring, and by some damned spirit had been taught the same lessons as I have known in London, to come in tumultuous manner, desiring new laws, a change of the old; that they would have no bishops; pay no tithes to the clergy. They despised authority, and rescued some committed by the governor for such insolent behaviour and the like. It was also feared that they had discovered themselves thus far, thereby to invite some stranger into the island. It was bruited also that a ship of war I then had for defence in this isle was taken by parliament-ships; which proved true. All these [things] considered, it behoved me to prevent the mischief betimes, both for his Majesty's service and mine own good. Her Majesty and those with her rightly weighed the danger, as witness my Lord Goring, Lord Digby, Lord Jermyn, Sir Edward Dering, and many more. All were of opinion that my coming hither was necessary, and accordingly I did. Thus far have I digressed from my intended discourse to take off that objection if I were asked, when every gallant spirit had engaged himself for King and country, why I left the land, so wicked as to desert the cause, so simple as to become a neuter, and many such-like questions. For all which I have given some reason, which may easily content myself, who remember well all the forenamed circumstances. How others may be pleased herewith I know not, I rather think these short relations may more puzzle their minds if any chance to see this but you, my son, who are bound to believe well of your father," and for him, afterwards eighth Earl of Derby, his Lordship wrote the "History of the Isle of Man " from which these " explanations " are extracted. " But I am bound to be thankful to the Almighty that so well you understand yourself and me. But, I thank God, I fear none.who understands me, or understands me not," a proud statement for nobleman or for man of any kind to make.8
When departing to the Isle of Man, in the June of 1643, Lord Derby left his Countess at Latham, of the famous siege of which she was soon to become the heroine. The possibility of an attack on the only Lancashire stronghold remaining in Royalist hands must have been foreseen. Doubtless, both before and after the departure of Lord Derby to the Isle of Man, the fortifications of Latham were strengthened, and stores of provisions and ammunition were collected in it, against the day when the Parliamentarians should assault the ancient seat of the Stanleys, rebuilt by Thomas the first Earl about the year 1496, and so congenially to the taste of that old time that Henry VII. is said to have modelled on it his new palace at Richmond in Surrey. The Latham of 1643, since replaced by a modern structure, "was a quaint-looking building, almost a town of itself, encircled by high outer walls, two yards in thickness, strengthened by seven lofty towers, besides two lesser ones, and the great square 'eagle tower' rising over all in the centre of the castle. It was surrounded by a wide moat, and had a strong gate-tower and drawbridge." Summer had become autumn, and autumn, winter, when in the January of 1654, on the arrival of Fairfax, then Lord-General of .the parliament's army, it was resolved at a council of war held in Manchester that Latham should be summoned to surrender, and force be resorted to if the summons were not obeyed.
On the 28th of February 1644, a Parliamentary force of 3,000 men, commanded by Lancashire colonels of strong Puritan convictions, was within two miles of Latham, garrisoned by three hundred men under the orders of six Lancashire gentlemen of good family. The negotiations for the surrender began with the arrival of a parliament-officer at Latham, bearing a letter from Fairfax and an offer of mercy from the parliament to Lord Derby if he would submit. Fairfax asked, in courteous terms, for surrender on conditions to be made known afterwards. Lady Derby was anxious to gain time for preparation and provisioning, and replied," she much wondered that Sir Thomas Fairfax should require her to give up her Lord's house without any offence on her part done to the parliament, desiring that in a business of such weight, which struck both at her religion and her life, and that so nearly concerned her Sovereign, her Lord, and her whole posterity, she might have a week's consideration to resolve the doubts of conscience and to have advice in matters of law and honour." The week asked for was refused by Fairfax, who, however, invited the Countess to an interview with him and his officers at a house of Lord Derby's, not far from Latham. " Say to Sir Thomas Fairfax," was the high-spirited lady's answer to the invitation, " that notwithstanding my present position, I do not forget either the honour of my Lord, or of my own birth, and that I conceive it more knightly that Sir Thomas Fairfax should wait upon me than I upon him." The upshot was a compromise, according to which two of the Parliamentary officers were allowed an interview with the Countess at Latham. Astute preparations were made for their reception. The ramparts were manned; the cannon unmasked; soldiers lined the court through which the two officers entered the great hall. Here sat the Countess of Derby, with two daughters by her side and surrounded by her women. When Fairfax's military delegates approached she gave them, with queenly dignity, a sign to be seated. The proposals which they bore were that Latham, with all the arms and ammunition contained in it, should be surrendered. The Countess and her household were to be allowed to go whither they pleased, and " the Countess for the present, until the parliament be acquainted with it, shall have allowed her for her maintenance all the lands and revenues of the Earl her husband within the Hundred of Derby, and the parliament shall be moved to continue this allowance." Lady Derby replied, with a quiet scorn of rebuff, that she rejected these conditions, "as being in part dishonourable and in part uncertain; adding withal, she knew not how to treat with them who had not power to perform their own offers till they had first moved the parliament; telling them that it were a more sober course first to acquaint themselves with the pleasure, of the parliament, and then to move accordingly; but for her part she would not trouble the good gentlemen, to petition for her ; she would esteem it a greater favour to be permitted to continue in her present humble condition." The "good gentlemen " do not seem to have argued the point, but they addressed her some remonstrances on the error of her ways and of those of her friends and household. " I shall know how to take care of my ways and those of my house," was Lady Derby's lofty rejoinder. " You would do well to do as much for your ministers and agents of religion who go about sowing, discord and trouble in families, whose unbridled tongues do not spare even the sacred person of his Majesty," and one of whom, indeed, had been lately preaching at her Ladyship " in the parish church of Wigan " from the text in Jeremiah Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow shoot at her; spare no arrows; for she hath sinned against the Lord." According to this zealous revered gentleman her Ladyship was Babylon, and he announced that he reserved for the text of the sermon to be preached on the downfall of Latham the verse following that so ingeniously applied : "Shoot against her round about: she hath given her hand; her foundations are fallen her walls are thrown down."
The reverend gentleman had to wait some time before delivering his second sermon, though further negotiations failed and the investment of Latham began again. The influence of friends and neighbours was brought to bear upon the Countess by Fairfax, who probably was by this time disinclined to push a woman-and such a woman-to extremities. All was in vain. Fruitless, too, was his final expedient to bring her to terms, the transmission to her of a letter from her husband to himself, asking him to allow the Countess and her children to leave Latham, " considering the roughness and inhumanity of the enemy . . . not knowing by reason of his long absence either how his house was provided with victuals and ammunition, or strengthened for resistance. He was therefore desirous to leave only the hardy soldiers for the brunt, if it seems good," he significantly added, " to my wife." Lady Derby was unmoved, and her reply displayed her own high spirit in combination with the submissiveness of a wife. She thanked Sir Thomas Fairfax for his courtesy, informing him that she "would willingly submit herself to her Lord's commands, and therefore willed the General to treat with him ; but till she was assured that such was his Lordship's pleasure she would neither yield up the house nor desert it herself, but wait for the event according to the will of God."
The siege of Latham has been often described, and its story need not be retold in detail. The besiegers dug their trenches and erected their batteries ; the garrison fired at them by day, and made sorties, generally effective, by night. In the first week of March (1644) Fairfax was sent to Yorkshire, by no means regretting the change of scene and air. The siege of Latham was left in the hands of his cousin, Sir William Fairfax, aided by Colonels Assheton and Rigby. Its conduct was virtually intrusted to the last-mentioned, Alexander Rigby, the Puritan member for Wigan, a lawyer transformed into a colonel, and said to harbour a personal hostility to Lord Derby.9 Under him the besiegers made little way in reducing Latham, and none at all in diininishing the steady ardour of the garrison, or in dispiriting the dauntless Countess who was the life and soul of the defence. The most promising achievement of the assailants was the erection of one " very strong battery, wherein they placed a large mortar-piece sent them from London, from which they cast about fifty stones of fifteen inches diameter into the house, as also grenadoes of the same size, alias bomb-shells ; the first of which falling near the place where the Lady and her children with all the commanders were seated at dinner, shivered all the room, but hurt nobody." The day after Fairfax's departure, Rigby resolved on a grand attack with this terrible mortar and his other artillery, and so sure was he of success that on the 25th of April he sent a messenger to the Countess, calling on her to " surrender at discretion Latham, with all and everything that it contained, before two on the clock the next day." When the messenger arrived the Countess, surrounded by her officers, was in the court-yard. She read the letter and "then," says the chronicler of the siege, himself among the garrison, " calls for the drum and tells him that a due reward for his pains is to be hanged up at her gates ; but, says she, ' thou art but the foolish instrument of a traitor's pride ; carry this answer back to Rigby' (with a noble scorn tearing the paper in his sight), I and tell that insolent rebel he shall neither have persons, goods, nor house. When our strength and provision are spent we shall find a fire more merciful than Rigby's, and then, if the providence of God prevent it not, my goods and house shall burn in his sight; and myself, children, and soldiers, rather than fall into his hands, will seal our religion and loyalty in the same flame ;' which being spoken aloud in her soldiers' hearing they broke out into shouts and acclamations of joy, all closing with this general voice, ' We will die for his Majesty and your honour ! God save the King ! "'
The crisis had arrived, as the Countess well knew, when she used this language of defiance bordering on desperation. It was resolved that a strenuous effort should be made to capture the terrible mortar, previous attempts to spike it having failed. The day after Rigby's summons to surrender, at four in the morning, a sortie was made, and made successfully. On the very day for which Rigby had issued invitations to his friends in the neighbourhood to come and witness the finale of the siege, the great mortar was brought in triumph into the court-yard to the feet of the delighted Countess, who " immediately ordered her chaplain to be called, and gathered her household together in the chapel to return thanks to God." From the time of this achievement of the besieged despondency fell on the besiegers. Their ranks were thinned by desertion, while the garrison redoubled its efforts to harass them. A portion of the besieging force was summoned on duty elsewhere, and in a letter which he wrote on the 1st of May to the Deputy-Lieutenant of Lancashire, Rigby thus dolefully sketched his situation. " We are obliged," he said, "to drive them "-the garrison-" back as often as five or six times in the same night. These constant alarms, the strength of the garrison, and the numerous losses we have had, oblige the soldiers to guard 'the trenches sometimes two nights running, and always the whole of the two nights; my son does this duty, as well as the younger officers. And for my own part I am ready to sink under the weight, having worked beyond my strength." Rigby's complaints procured him some additional force, but all was in vain. Before the end of May it was intimated to Lady Derby that the original conditions of surrender asked by her would be granted. "Let that insolent fellow Rigby," was her reply, "send me no more propositions, or his messenger shall be hanged at my gates."
And help, effective help, was at hand. After having quieted the malcontents among the Manxmen by tact and conciliation, Lord Derby left the island and was at Chester in the March of 1644, doing his best to procure succour.for his Countess. His chief hope was in Prince Rupert, who, as son of the Queen of Bohemia, was a kinsman of his wife's, and who alone of the Royalist generals was making head against the parliament's forces. "Sir," Lord Derby wrote to the Prince from Chester on the 7th of March 1644, " I have received many advertisements from my wife of her great distress and imminent danger unless she be relieved by your Highness, on whom she doth more rely than on any other whatsoever, and all of us consider well she hath chief reason so to do. I was in hope to have seen your Highness here yesterday, being you were so resolved when last I had the honour to wait upon you. But not now knowing any certainty of your coming hither, and my Lord Byron and others most unwilling to stir hence, with any forces towards her, without your Highness's special direction, I do take the boldness to present you again my most humble and earnest request in her behalf, that I may be able to give her some comfort in my next. I would have waited on your Highness this time, but I hourly receive little letters from her10, who haply a few days hence may never send me more." On the 23d of March the leading Royalists of Chester addressed a memorial to Prince Rupert (among the signatures to which is that of " Richard Grosvenor," ancestor of the present Marquis of Westminster) on behalf of the lady whom they styled "your very heroic kinswoman." After referring to her gallant, and so far successful, resistance the memorialists go on to say :-" But she hath wasted much of her ammunition and victual, which must needs hasten the sadness of her Ladyship's condition, or render her captive to a barbarous enemy, if your Highness's forces do not speedily relieve her ; in contemplation whereof, as also of the happy effects of her gallantry, who, by this defence, hath not only diverted a strong party of the Lancashire forces from joining with those who would endeavour to interrupt your Highness's march and retreat, or otherwise might have joined in one body to have annoyed us here in the division of your forceswe are, therefore, all bold (with an humble representation) to become suitors to your Highness for your princely consideration of the noble Lady's seasonable and speedy relief, in which (besides her particulars) we conceive the infinite good of all these Northern parts will be most concerned, and his Majesty's service very much advanced."
Two months, however, passed before the prayer of the memorial was complied with. It was not (Clarendon hints) until Lord Derby offered the bribe of a levy of 2,000 men and of " a considerable sum of money" that Charles resolved on the relief of Latham, and " sent his permission and approbation to the Prince, hoping that he would be able to despatch the service in Lancashire and return with his notable recruits to Oxford." On the 25th May (1644) Rupert entered Lancashire by Stockport bridge, and there defeated, with a loss of 800 men, a Parliamentary force attempting to bar his way. With Rupert thus making a successful entry into Lancashire, it would have been imprudent any longer to prosecute the siege of Latham. It was raised at midnight on the 27th, and Rigby threw himself into Bolton, " the Geneva of Lancashire Puritanism," on which Rupert and Lord Derby were marching with 8,000 men. Scarcely had Rigby entered Bolton when, on the afternoon of the 28th, the Royalist army appeared on the moors, by which the town was surrounded, and the tables were turned on the Puritan lawyer-colonel. His force is said to have consisted of " about two thousand soldiers, and five hundred townsmen armed chiefly with clubs." The Royalists were flushed with their recent success, and Lord Derby, especially, was stirred by resentment for all that had been suffered by his Countess and friends at Latham. Rigby's men, however, made a desperate resistance, and before they were driven back into the town, from which they seem to have sallied to confront the enemy outside its dilapidated walls, " three hundred men, including the colonel and major," of Rupert's own regiment of infantry, were slain by the stubborn Puritans. The storm of the town followed. The assault on it was led by Lord Derby himself, " with two companies of his old soldiers, then under the command of Colonel Tyldesley, and with a handful of men, consisting principally of his own Latham tenantry who had been daily on parade there." In less than half an hour, after much fierce and confused fighting, the town was in the hands of the Royalists, and Rigby on his way to Blackstone Edge, to take refuge at Bradford. Lord Derby's gallantry on thisday,or rather the circumstances under which it was exhibited, proved most disastrous to him afterwards, when he was a prisoner in the hands of his foes. The Cavaliers seem to have given no quarter to the soldiers of the parliament, though, possibly through Lord Derby's exertion of his influence, they showed a little more mercy to the townspeople. But " the Bolton massacre," as it has been called, was never forgiven while he lived, and if the historian of Lancashire Nonconformity is forced to admit that " the Puritan accounts are undoubtedly exaggerated," Lord Derby's admiring biographer makes on the other hand the candid avowal: "There can be no doubt there was too great an extermination of life on that sad day."11 The future, however, was concealed from view, and Lord Derby felt nothing but joy when, on the evening of the same day on which Bolton had been stormed, he and Prince Rupert made a triumphal entry into Latham, and the heroine of the siege reaped the reward of her gallant resistance.
This was on the 28th of May 1644. During the subsequent month Prince Rupert was capturing Liverpool and, after his usual fashion, harrying Lancashire, which seems once' more to have submitted to the King and his representative, Lord Derby. Towards the end of June, accompanied by Lord Derby, "Prince Rupert," says Carlyle, " with an army of some 20,000 fierce men, came pouring over the hills from Lancashire, where he had left harsh traces of himself, to relieve the Marquis of Newcastle, who was now, with a force of 6,000, besieged in York by the united forces of the Scots under Leven, the Yorkshiremen under Fairfax, and the associated counties under Manchester and Cromwell." "On hearing of his approach," adds this historian, "the Parliament-General raised the siege, drew out on the Moor of Marston, some four miles off, to oppose his coming. He avoided them by crossing the river Ouse; relieved York, Monday, 1st July, and might have returned successful, but insisted on Newcastle's joining him and going out to fight the Roundheads. The battle of Marston Moor, fought on the morrow evening, Tuesday, 2d June 1644, from seven to ten o'clock, was the result-entirely disastrous for him." At this battle of Marston Moor, the very bloodiest of the whole Civil War, Lieutenant-General Cromwell commanded the left wing of the Parliamentary army, and attacked with his mounted Ironsides Prince Rupert's horse, who fled routed before those terrible men of God and of war. Lord Derby is said to have been at Marston Moor, fighting bravely, and " to have rallied his men three times," but in vain. There was nothing for it but a retreat into Lancashire, which, after the defeat of Rupert, was found no longer tenable for the King.
Having in the interval, no doubt, strengthened and revictualled Latham, Lord Derby sent his Countess and family to that safe refuge, the Isle of Man, where she arrived on the 30th of July, and was probably soon joined by her husband. Nearly eighteen months elapsed, and not only was Lancashire once more lost to the King but, after a long siege and various intricate negotiations with Lord Derby in the Isle of Man, Latham surrendered to the parliament on the 2d December 1645. The second was not so picturesque a siege as the first, but the garrison of Latham did their duty to the last, only capitulating when starvation stared them in the face, and at the express command of the King. Latham was dismantled and gutted by the relentless foe, and in the general devastation, it is supposed, most of the old papers of the Stanley family were destroyed. When Lord Derby, in the Isle of Man, heard the sad news, he collected a series of texts applicable to the occasion and inserted them, according to his pious wont, in a book of " Private Devotions " which has been preserved and printed. The extracts from the Bible are headed:-" A Meditation which I made when the Tidings were brought to me of the Delivery up of Latham House to the Enemies after a long siege ; my Servants having kept the same very handsomely till all the Provisions were spent. Also I had other ill news of the affairs in England," the battle of Naseby, the storm of Bristol, with other events disastrous to the royal cause and preluding the close of the first Civil War. Among the texts written down by Lord Derby on hearing of the fall and sack of Latham are such as these :" Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised Thee, is burned with fire ; and all our pleasant things are laid waste.-Isaiah lxiv. ii. I have forsaken mine house; I have left mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul to the hand of her enemies. - Mine heritance is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me.--Jerem. xii. 7, 8. The corrmorant and the bittern shall possess it .. the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it : the line of confusion is stretched upon it, and the stones of emptiness. -Isaiah xxxiv. i i. An habitation it is for dragons, and a court for owls. The satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech-owl takes her rest there. -Isaiah xxxiv. 113, 14."
For four or five years-years of comparative tranquillity and happiness-Lord Derby remained in his island-kingdom, hearing only in the distance the shock of civil war, and giving hospitable shelter to Royalist- fugitives from the mainland. His residence was Rushen Castle, "founded by Danish Vikings in the tenth century, the royal abode of the Scandinavian Kings of Man for near three-hundred years," and standing on "the western margin of Castletown Bay, where the waters of the Silverburn, flowing past Rushen Abbey, fall into the sea." When, a year or two previously, he " first came into the blessed Isle of Man"-as he calls it in his diary-at the bidding of the Court, to repress movements which, if successful, might have lost the island to the King, he had by tact and firmness, redressing grievances here, punishing the stubborn there, restored peace and quietness among the excitable and turbulent population of Celtic blood with a dash of Norse. On returning to it, he amused himself by applying to the little affairs of his little kingdom the maxims of statecraft which he had picked up in his reading, and of these proceedings he has left a formal record in his " History and Antiquities of the Isle of Man," written probably during his second residence. His means were limited, since his English estates had been sequestrated by the parliament, which had also excepted him from any act of amnesty ; otherwise he might have carried out some of the schemes which he cherished for the, improvement of the island, with its promising situation if sterile soil. In this " History of the Isle of Man," written partly in the form of a letter to his son, he thus states his views in regard to the " development of its resources " :" This isle will never flourish until some trading be. And though you may invite strangers or natives to be merchants, yet never anything will be done to purpose till yourself do lead. Iknd therefore get some sum of money; as God willing, I shall. For I rather will sell land in England than miss so excellent a design. There is no doubt but hereby you may grow rich yourself and others under you. Your people may be set a-work, that in short time you will have no beggars. Where one soul is now will be many. Every house almost will become a town. Every town as a city. The island full of ships, &c. This country," he adds, " is so seated as I cannot conceive but all this is very feasible. When I go on the Mount you call Baroull, and but turning me round can see England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, I think shame so fruitlessly to see so many kingdoms at once (which no place, I think, in any nation that we know under heaven, can afford such a prospect), and to have so little profit by them." Elsewhere in the same work he speaks of a plan of a loftier kind than any for the promotion of mere industry and trade:-"I had a design, and God may enable me, to set up a University, without much charge (as I have contrived it), which may much oblige the nations round about us. It may get friends unto the country, and enrich this land, of which some share in time will come to the Lord's purse," the purse, that is, of the Lord of the Island. " This certainly would please God and man. But of this I shall tell you more when it pleases the Lord to settle me again in mine own; " an aspiration which Heaven did not grant.
Thus, planning, governing, fortifying, and always reading, writing, and thinking, Lord Derby passed his time the Isle of Man. The arrival of a new Royalist fugitive11, -an annual horse-race (to which has been traced the origin of the Derby itself 12), or other festivity under the patronage of the little Court of Rushen, would vary the monotony of insular existence, and such an incident as the seizure of a Commonwealth bark in the June of 1650 was quite an event to the secluded Earl and his household. To this last episode we owe a rather curious little picture of the straits to which the Derby household, cut off for the most part from communication with the mainland, was reduced for want of clothing. The captured vessel's freight included a quantity of mercer's wares belonging to one Massey of Warrington. According to the subsequent depositions of two of the crew, when the owners petitioned parliament to be compensated for their losses, "the cloths, silks, and taffetas, and other goods found in the ship, were soon disposed of in the Earl's own house, or made into garments for the commander's gentlewomen." It was further testified that " in the house, or castle, wherein the said Earl "of Derby-" lives and keeps his court of guard, he"-the deponent-" saw about twenty-three tailors all busy at work, making garments out of Massey's goods for the half-naked servants and others of the household." 13 But in spite of this, and of other little troubles of the kind, Lord Derby enjoyed the repose of his second residence in the Isle of Man. In his book of " Private Devotions," and close by the sorrowful " meditation " on the fall and spoiling of Latham, already quoted, there is from the same pious hand "A Prayer," which might be more properly styled "A Thanksgiving," for mercies vouchsafed in the island to its devout possessor. " O Lord," he says in it, " I thank thee for this island which bath been to me a very blessed and happy place of retreat from the storms and inconveniences of war, which many better than myself have suffered in the three kingdoms about us. I give thee thanks, O Lord I never enough can thank thee, O Lord for preserving my soul from the trouble and danger of taking the many oaths that have been pressed on very many against their consciences, and for which divers of thy servants have suffered martyrdom. O Lord, I thank thee for the plentiful seasons we have had, by which I have not only fed and clothed myself and family, but have relieved many strangers which have been distressed. O Lord, thou hast given me much honour here, therefore whilst I live and have a being I will, to the utmost of my power, give thee glory. . . . Let me never forget thy great goodness, O my God, having made me so exceedingly happy with a blessed wife and with many, sweet and hopeful children ! "
Some of these " sweet " children had troubles of their own during their father's second and last stay in the Isle of Man, and one of them was not so "hopeful " as could have been wished, especially as he was the eldest son and heir to the Earldom which he afterwards inherited. About a year after his father and mother's arrival in it, Charles Lord Strange " stole away" from the Isle of Man to his aunt, the Duchesse de la Trémoille in Paris, and his conduct then and afterwards added much to the anxieties of his poor mother, who had cares enough upon her hands. In the February of 1647, we find this intrepid woman herself leaving her husband and their island-refuge to do what she could for the interests of Lord Derby, whose estates, as already mentioned, had been sequestrated and whose name was one of those in the parliament's list of persons excluded from amnesty. After raising, or trying to raise, a little money in Lancashire, she proceeded to London, and did not return to the Isle of Man until the spring of 1648. She arrived in England just after the surrender of the King by the Scotch to Fairfax and the parliament. When she left it Charles was a close prisoner at Carisbrook. During the interval, the old quarrel between the parliament and the King was complicated by the defection of the City and of leading Presbyterians from the Puritan cause, forcing Cromwell and the army into an attitude of hostility to former friends and allies, who now cried out for peace with Charles. Such a troubled time of political transition, to end ere long with the appearance of Charles on the scaffold at Whitehall, was not favourable to negotiations and appeals like those of Lady Derby, whose letters to her sister-in-law, during this stay in London, are indeed more full of public affairs than of her own.
Some of these letters give a lively picture of the impression produced on her orthodox mind by the vagaries of Puritanism and by other and non-Puritan developments of English spiritualism, which " the liberty of unlicensed printing " was fostering. " As for my husband and myself," Lady Derby writes, " all that relates to religion is, thank God, so thoroughly engraved on our hearts that nothing with His grace can take it away. If the parliament had for their end religion and the glory of God, as you think they have, they would not act with the cruelty and injustice which characterise all they do. As for religion, they have so deceived the people that now-when they perceive their errors and groan under the burden of their tyranny-even those who have been the most attached to their cause deplore our misery and their own. They would find it hard to tell you their creed when there are as many religions as families. The test is publicly maintained; books printed which deny the Holy Ghost, and the persons known to have produced them not punished ; the cornmandments of God and the confession of faith disregarded ; the Lord's Prayer neglected, and not thought necessary to be said - the sacraments administered according to the fancy of the person administering ; the ministry neglected -every one who thinks he is able to preach, even women, may do so without any examination ; baptism is thought nothing of and not administered to children; and worse things, which make all who have any religion left shudder to see it so abused."15 In subsequent letters, written after her return to the Isle of Man, but some extracts from which may as well be given here, she reverts to the subject of the spiritual licence of the time, her sister-in-law having apparently been led to fancy that it was conducive to the spread of the " evangelical" principles of French Protestantism.
"Dear sister," says Lady Derby, "if you had the least notion of the truth, you would change your opinion. The sects of which you speak increase daily, and it makes one's hair stand on end to think of it. The Koran is printed with permission. 'It is common to deny both God and Jesus Christ, and to believe only in the Spirit of the Universe. I am not repeating from report, I have heard these blasphemies; as for baptism they make a joke of it. I assure you the hearts of those who have any religion left bleed to talk of these things." Again-" I hope, dear sister, that my letters have shown you the truth, and the designs they have in England with regard to religion, and permit me to say that nothing has ever so grieved me as to see that you entertained a belief so opposed to what is professed in England and other places where these monsters have power. Not a week passes but some of their people are here"-in the Isle of Man-" and to hear the blasphemies they utter is almost beyond belief, and how they pervert the Scriptures, declaring that whatever wickedness is done by the elect is done by the inspiration of the spirit they call Holy; and that every one may serve God after his own fashion ; that Christ and his apostles had some light, but that they were come to restore religion, and that there was more error in the Presbytery"-the Presbyterians-" than in the Church of England under the government of bishops. I declare that what I am writing is the least extravagant of their doctrines, in which one can perceive no foundation, since they change their fancy, and provided nothing is said against their tyrannical government, every kind of vice the most monstrous and of heresy the most execrable and unheard of is endured. I am assured that if this goes on in a few years the Catholic religion will be openly professed in England: it is now very freely tolerated, and the votaries of this religion live peaceably and enjoy their property." Once more, and to conclude
-"I received a letter yesterday from a person of credit, who has always been of their party "--the party in power" who tells me that one of their ministers, whose name she gave me, and the place where he preached, had said and maintained openly in church fhat there was no greater Divinity than himself, and as he was not God therefore there could be no God. Some one complained of it to the governor of the town; but the man was not punished, and nobody seemed to consider it strange. If you understood English, I would send you the letter. One of our people, who returned from Scotland a short time ago, had seen many sorcerers burned, who all declared that they were always present with Cromwell when he fought ; and others in England, near Newcastle, say the same thing, our doctor being present at the time; and there is a sorcerer now in prison in Edinburgh who affirms that he was present when Cromwell renounced his baptismal vow" 16-and good, brave, clear-headed Lady Derby believed this nonsense !
During that sojourn in England the Countess of Derby contrived to do something for her children, but found lierself forced to return to the Isle of Man without having procured any improvement in her husband's position. In the September of 1647, a fifth part of the income arising from such of Lord Derbys English estates as had not passed into the hands of other owners was allotted to the Countess and her children, and charged on the Manor of Knowsley. Thither two of the daughters, Catherine and Amelia, were forthwith sent by their father, and the military officer intrusted by the parliament with the care of Knowsley received orders from Fairfax to quit the house. Lady Derby returned to the Isle of Man in the March of 1648. Before another year had elapsed, Charles was executed at Whitehall. Everywhere the rule of the Commonwealth was accepted except in Ireland and in the Isle of Man. During the same month of July 1649, in which Cromwell started to "pacify" Ireland sword in hand-Lord Derby was summoned by Cromwell's son-in-law Ireton to surrender the Isle of Man into the hands of the Commonwealth-authorities. He was offered as a reward for conipliance the peaceable possession of "half of his estate." The offer was a tempting one, but Lord Derby rejected it in the well-known letter, the style and spirit of which roused the enthusiasm of Horace Walpole himself. Thus ran Lord Derby's reply to " Commissary- General Ireton " :-" Castletown, JULY 12, 1649.-Sir,-I received your letter with indignation and scorn, and return you this answer, thatl cannot but wonder whence you should gather any hopes from me that I should, like you, prove treacherous to my Sovereign, since you cannot but be sensible of my former actings in his late Majesty's service; from which principles of loyalty I am no whit departed. I scorn your proffers, disclaim your favour, and abhor your treason, and am so far from delivering up this island to your advantage that I will keep it to the utmost of my power and your destruction. Take - this for your final answer, and forbear any further solicitations, for if you trouble me with any more messages on this occasion I will burn the paper and hang the bearer. This is the immutable resolution, and shall be the undoubted practice, of him who accounts it his chiefest glory to be His Majesty's most loyal and obedient servant, DERBY."
This was the first offer of amnesty and partial restoration of his estates which had been made to Lord Derby, and he rejected it. A later one was that made by Fairfax under circumstances not very creditable seemingly to the Lancashire representatives of the Commonwealth. Two of Lord Derby's daughters, the Ladies Catherine and Amelia, had entered upon the occupation of Knowsley, and were drawing the allowance conceded them by the parliament, when they were seized and thrown into prison by Colonel Birch, the governor of Liverpool " a small town called Liverpool " Lady Derby designates it when describing the event in a letter to her sister-in-law in France. '. No reason is given for this," she adds, " but we hear it is because they are thought to be too much liked, and that people were beginning to make applications to the parliament in the hope that their father might come to terms, of which I see no chance. They are kept so strictly that no one about them is allowed to go the distance of even six miles from their residence." Further on, the anxious and naturally-aggrieved mother says:-" We hear that they are bearing it bravely, and I have no doubt this is true of the eldest; but my daughter Amelia is delicate and timid, and is undergoing medical treatment. They are in a wretched place, ill-lodged and in a bad air ; but these barbarians think of nothing but carrying out their damnable designs, which could not be worse if all Hell itself had invented them." Complaints were made on the subject to Fairfax, who had always behaved to the young ladies like a gentleman, but his reply to the indignant father was " that if his Lordship would deliver that island "-the Isle of Man" to the parliament's commands, his children should not only be set at liberty but he should peaceably return to England and enjoy one moiety of all his estates." "To which," according to Seacome, his Lordship returned this answer : " That he was greatly afflicted for the suffering of his children ; that it was not the course of great and noble minds to punish innocent children for their father's offences; that it would be a clemency in Sir Thomas Fairfax either to send them back to him or to Holland or to France ; but if he could do none of these things, his children must submit to the mercy of God Almighty, but should never be redeemed by his disloyalty,." The time was at hand when fear of their father was to release the young ladies from this unjust and unjustifiable detention.
* Private Devotions and Miscellanies of .James Seventh Earl of
Derby, A'G., with a Prefatory Memoir and an Appendix of.Documents,
edited by the Rev. F. R. Raines, M. A., F. S.A., Honorary Canon of
Manchester, Vicar of Milnrow, and Rural Dean, 3 vols. (Manchester,
1867), forming part iii. of the Stanley Papers, printed for the
The Lady of Latham, being the Life and Original Letters of Charlotte de la Tremoille Countess of Derby, by Madame Guizot de Witt (London, 1869);
The Great Stanley: or, James Seventh Earl of Derby and his noble Countess, Charlotte de la Trimoille, in their Land of Man : a Narrative of the Seventeenth Century, by the Rev. J. G. Cumming, M.A., F.G.S., Incumbent of St John's, Bethnal Green, London, &c., &c. ;
Seacome's House of Stanley ;
Clement R. Markham's Life of the Great Lord Fairfax;
Eliot Warburton's Rupert and the Cavaliers;
Halley's Lancashire Puritanism;
Rushworth's Historical Collections, &c., &c.
1 Seacome, P. 97.
2 Halley, i. 224
3 Raines, i. v.
4 Raines, i. viii.
5 Madame de Witt, pp. 25-34.
6 Halley, i. 329.
7 ' In Eliot Warburton's Mentoirs of Prince Rupert and the Cavaliery (London, 1849, ii. 143), is given a letter of Lord Derby's, describing this achievement, one, it will be seen, in which the element of harshness was decidedly conspicuous. "Preston, March 2, 1642 "-old style, 1643 in the new-" When I came before the town "-Lancaster-" I summoned it in his Majesty's name, and the Mayor (as I heard), counselled by the commanders for the parliament made me so slight an answer, after I expected it for a whole day, that I, enraged to see their sauciness against so good a Prince, made bold to burn the greatest part of the town, and in it many of their soldiers, who defended it very sharply for two hours. But we beat them into the castle, and I, seeing the town clear from all but smoke, spared the remainder of that town, and laid siege unto the castle. There was no woman or child suffered, or any but those who did bear arms, for so I gave directions to my soldiers, except some three or four that I think as likely to be killed by them. Having got some advantage (which was the first that I had ever had since these unhappy times) I thought well to slip on to Preston," &c., &c.
8 History of the Isle of Man in Stanley Papers, part iii. vol. iii. PP. 7-10.
9 " Alexander Rigby of Goosnargh was one of the most active members of the Long Parliament, as well as one of the most zealous defenders of the Puritan interest in Lancashire. Although his estate was not large he was connected by birth and marriage with many of the best families of the county, and his uncommon abilities gave him great influence over them all. His activity was unwearied; his energy irrepressible. Scarcely a man in those exciting times did as much work as this untiring lawyer, statesman, magistrate, and colonel. Although Ralph Assheton was the acknowledged commander of the Parliamentary army in Lancashire, Alexander Rigby was head and heart and hand and almost everything else of importance. There was no borough in Lancashire of which it was more difficult for a Puritan to gain the representation than 'malignant Wigan,' yet Rigby, leaving the easier work of representing the neighbouring borough of Preston to the less-daring or less-energetic men, defied all the malignancy of Wigan, was its representative in the Long Parliament, and never forgot in the unexpected triumph of his friends the malignancy of the other half of his constituents. It is said of him that lie sat on more committees than any other member of the Long Parliament. Busy as he was in the House of Commons, he was engaged in every important action in Lancashire. I doubt whether any man of his time had so often travelled the long, rough, wearisome road from London to Manchester. He commanded at the siege of Latham, the fight in Furness, the capture of Thurland Castle, and the defence of Bolton. Nominated one of the King's judges, he declined to act why, I know not, but it was probably the only occason in his life in which he declined to do his worst against royalty. Such was one side of his character. On turning to the other, we see him rash, impetuous, rude, haughty, severe, implacable. Although admired by many, he was esteemed by few, loved by none. Some very bad things are said of him, which, I fear, are true ; but the worst is so bad that I hope it is not true, although the evidence against him is very strong. He is said to have contrived a scheme and bargain by which the Royalist masters of three Cambridge colleges, St John's, Queens', and Jesus, were to be sold for slaves to the Algerines. When a judge on circuit he caught the gaol fever of the prisoners at Croydon, and died in 1650. " Halley, i. 310~11. This rather candid estimate is based on a sketch of Rigby's career given in a note, p. 127 of A Discourse of the Warr in Lancashire (vol. lxii. of the Chetham Society's publications), excellently edited by W. Beamont, Esq., whose courtesy the present writer takes this opportunity to acknowledge.
10 Lord Derby has left on record some of the devices by which he was enabled to keep up a correspondence with his beleaguered Countess :" When Latham," he says, " was besieged in the year 1644, my wife, some children, and good friends in it, I did write letters to them in ciphers as much in as little compass as I could. I rolled the same in lead, sometimes in wax, hardly as big as a musket bullet, that in the bearer suspected danger of discovery he might swallow it, and physic would soon find it again. I have writ in fine linen, with a small pen, which hath been sewed to the bearer's clothes, as part of the linings. I have put a letter in a green wound, in a stick, pen, &c."
11 Raines, i. cxi.
12 In a letter to Clarendon, dated from Dublin, January 4, 1645, Digby gives an account of his wanderings after Marston Moor. In it he speaks thus of a sojourn in the Isle of Man with Lord Derby, to whom and to whose interests he had never shown himself particularly friendly or favourable :-" Since my coming out of England I staid a month for a wind at the Isle of Man, which time I cannot think mis-spent, having there received great civility from my Lord of Derby, and had the means of a particular acquaintance with his noble lady, whom I think one of the wisest and generousest persons that I have known of her sex. From thence I and my company were very securely conveyed hither in a light frigate of his Lordship's," &c., &c.-Rushworth, Historical Collections, part iv. vol. i. 129.
13 " It would be somewhat interesting in the present day, when the Derby has attained a world-wide fame, to trace it up to its origin in the little isle in the midst of the Irish Sea, where a party of English noblemen and gentry, exiled from their fatherland, used to assemble together on the 28th of July, to witness the race run by horses bred in the Isle of Man, or in the Calf Island, for the Silver Cup, instituted as a prize by James seventh Earl of Derby. But it may be deemed singular that such a high legal functionary as the Clerk of the Rolls, a Member of the Supreme Council of the Isle, should have been appointed to the office of Steward of the Races. Yet such was the case ; and every person intending to compete had to deposit in his hands for every running horse, mare, or gelding the sum of five shillings towards augmenting the plate for the year following, and one shilling for the Steward for entering their names and engrossing the articles."Cumming's Great Stanley, p. 141 -
14 Raines, i. clix.
15 Madame de Witt, p. 133.
16 Madame de Witt, p. 147.