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[ Letters from a correspondent in London to a friend in the Army. ] - Sir William Clarke, The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 1 
The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, Secretary to the Council of the Army, 1647-1649, and to General Monck and the Commanders of the Army in Scotland, 1651-1660, ed. C.H. Firth (Camden Society, 1901). 4 vols.
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[Letters from a correspondent in London to a friend in the Army.]
London, 28th March, 1647.
I pray tell the Comptroller,a that it is the opinion of freinds heere that the Generall doe send to the severall Regiments the order of the House of Commonsb to hinder the promoting of the Petition, and also the Copie of the Petition, but in noe kind to expresse any thing in that order which may anger the Souldiers,c and only to desire the officers to observe the order of the House of Commons and to be carefull in the same.
It is likewise the opinion of freinds heere that all our freinds doe not say any thing to hinder the Souldiers to goe with the 17 undertakers, for they doe but watch to gett advantage of any in our Army that shall give out speaches to hinder the Souldiers for going. But yet they doe all thinke this, that it may be told them, that most of those 17 undertakers doe not meane to goe to Ireland but only to drawe their men upp to the sea side and never meane to goe, as Colonell Fortescue, Colonell Harvey, Colonell Sheffeild, Sir Robert Pye, Lievtennant Colonell Jackson.
All our freinds heere doe thinke these 17 undertakers will prove very knaves in their designes and therefore that wee doe lett them goe on quiettly. Thursday is the day to name the Generall that shall goe for Ireland. Bee carefull to whome you speake, for Finchera is there but for a Spie.
London, 30 March, 1647.
I have write to the Generall, that the Lords have voted to send for him to the Parliamentb (I thinke the Lords are all madd). Lett every man fitt himselfe with patience, for hee shall have a tryall to the purpose. Tell Mr. Saltmarshc now is the tyme of tryall; since these warrs began there was never such a tryall of Men.
London, 30 March, 1647.
Yesterday the House satt very late in the night about the Army. They have voted all those that had any hand in the Petition to be proceeded against as Enemies to the State, and have sent for Commissary Generall Ireton, Colonell Hammond, Lieutennant Collonell Hammond, Collonell Lilborne, and Lieutennant Colonel Pride to appeare before the House.d They have likewise sent for Major Generall Skippon privately to come with all speed to the Army.a They have likewise ordered that those foote that are to bee transported shall have one moneths pay of their Arreares and a fortnights advance when they are on shippboard, and the Horse to have a moneths pay when they are over, and this to be performed, but when, they must not question.b There is likewise orders to be given imediately for the seperatting of the Forces intended for Ireland from those that are intended to be disbanded some miles distance, for feare those that intend not for that service should pollute the other, and all this bussinesse ariseth from an information that one of the Army gave to Colonell Harley which the House will not divulge.
London, 30 March, 1647.
Much adoe there was on Satturday last at the House about your Army. The Cittizens grumble vilely and will be satisfied with nothing but that you be presently disbanded, and they say nor will they trust you to goe for Ireland with your own Commanders unlesse first the Army be purg’d of Sectaries as they call them. A great stirr is made about the Petitionc (term’d Independant) to which hands were getting in London, and some were committed about it, but Major NAd is againe discharged upon Baile, nor will the Petition I understand be thus stifled; but (tis said) the Petitioners or a great company of them will attend the House dayly to have their Petition restored, and that they may be allowed the libertie as others to make knowne their grievances, or otherwise they will appeale to the Kingdome in Generall. The Petition of your Army is likewise much talked of, some for it, and others against it. Some have been suspended in London for preaching being not ordained, yet they preach notwithstanding, as Mr. Knowles,a &c. One thing more much talked of in London, both new and strange newes, Mr. William Sedgwick, brother to Obediah, is lately come to London from the Isle of Ely, and prophesies that the World will be at an end within foureteene dayes, Christ then comeing to Judgment, and that Christ appeared to him in his studdy the last weeke at Ely and told him soe much. Severall Ministers went to discourse with him the Last Lords day but he refused to enter into argumentation with any of them further then this, that it was reveal’d unto him the World would be at an end within few dayes: thus much is talked of in London generally, but withall they say hee is distempered in minde, and say others, for soe much as he discourses he talkes very sencibly.
Since the writing of the former I understand that the Commons satt all the day yesterday and untill tenn at night in further debate of your Army; and it was strongly aimed at, to say noe further, to have the whole Army presently disbanded, and upon the result of it was voted that your Army both the Horse and foot should be disbanded, excepting only three Regiments of Horse,b vizt. Collonell-Gen. Pointz, Collonell Bethells, and Collonell Copley’s. You may see by this how the tyde turnes, and how soone all the soe lately much admired services of your Army are forgotten. Nay the Cittizens or many of them have raised a new aspersion against you, that you are all at this present in armes and stands upon your guard at the Head Quarters at Walden, and this is the great talke at this present and soe confidently reported. I did not my selfe knowe what to thinke of it, as conceiving in truth you had just cause soe to doe; but I went to the Secretarya and hee assured mee the contrary, and I have not been backward to tell some of the chiefe Ringleaders their errors in reporting it.
[a ]Captain Richard Deane, Comptroller of the Ordnance. Peacock, Army Lists, ed. 2, p. 101.
[b ]March 27. Commons’ Journals, v., 127.
[c ]The petition is given in the Old Parliamentary History, xv., 342, and in The Journals of the House of Lords, ix., 114. According to Waller the petition was drawn up about March 22, and then presented to the Convention of officers. Vindication, p. 51. The same day an engagement was drawn up and signed by 29 officers undertaking to serve in Ireland. They are probably the ‘undertakers’ referred to.
[a ]Quarter-Master-General of the Horse; v. Waller’s Vindication, p. 51, and Sprigge, Anglia Rediviva, ed. 1854, pp. 60, 218.
[b ]Lords’ Journals, ix., iii.
[c ]John Saltmarsh, a leading Independent preacher; see Fuller’s Worthies, ed. 1811, ii., 519; Hanbury, Historical Memorials, iii., 74, 167; Rushworth, vii., 944.
[d ]The letters which led to this vote are printed in the Lords’ Journals, ix., 115; the declaration against the petitioners was drawn up by Holles: see Ludlow’s Memoirs, ed. 1751, p. 74, and Waller’s Vindication, p. 62. This Declaration, passed March 29, was erased by vote of June 3, 1647. Commons’ Journals, v., 129, 197. It is printed in the Old Parliamentary History, xv., 344.
[a ]Skippon was summoned from Newcastle on March 29, and voted by the Commons to command the forces destined for Ireland, with the title of Field-Marshal (April 2). This vote was agreed to by the Lords on April 6. Commons’ Journals, v., 133; Lords’ Journals, ix., 122. He accepted the command with considerable reluctance, and resigned it on July 21, 1647. Lords’ Journals, ix., 138, 158, 348; Commons’ Journals, 129, 156, 176.
[b ]27 March, 1647, when Clotworthy delivered the report of the Commissioners sent to the Army. Commons’ Journals, v., 127.
[c ]This petition is printed in the Lords’ Journals, ix. 82; see also Godwin, Commonwealth, ii. 277.
[d ]Major Tulidah: see Lilburne’s Rash Oaths unwarrantable, 1647, p. 35.
[a ]Hanserd Knollys.
[b ]Commons’ Journals, v., 128; Godwin’s Commonwealth, ii., 285. The vote was that these three regiments should be part of the 5,400 horse to be still maintained.
[a ]The Secretary was John Rushworth, Secretary to the General. This letter I take to be written by Gilbert Mabbott, once Rushworth’s servant, one of the persons who regularly supplied news-letters to the army, and a familiar acquaintance of William Clarke’s. He was most likely the writer of the three previous letters also.