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( Cromwell to Col. Robert Hammond. a ) - Sir William Clarke, The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 2 
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, 1894). 4 vols.
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(Cromwell to Col. Robert Hammond.a )
Knottingley Novembr 6, 1648.
I trust the same spirit that guided thee heertofore, is still wth thee; looke to thy hearte, thou art where temptations multiply. I feare least our freinds should burne their fingers, as some others did not long since, whose hearts have aked since for it. Howe easy is it to finde arguments for what wee would have; how easy to take offence at things called Levellers, and run into an extremity on the other hand, medling with an accursed thing.a Peace is only good when wee receave it out of our father’s hand, its dangerous to snatch it, most dangerous to goe against the will of God to attayne it. Warre is good when lead to by or father, most evil when it comes from the lusts that are in our members. Wee waite upon the Lord, who will teach us and leade us whether to doing or suffering.b Tell my brother Herne I smyled at his expression concerning my wise freinds opinion, who thinks yt the inthroneing the King wth presbitery brings spirituall slavery, but wth a moderate episcopacy workes a good peace. Both are a hard choice. I trust ther’s no necessity of either except, or base unbeliefe and fleshly wisdome make it so; but if I have any logick it will be easier to tirañize haveing that hea likes and serves his turn, then what you knowe and all beleeve hee so much dislikes. But as to my brother himselfe, tell him indeede I thinke some of my freinds have advanced too farre, and neede make an honoble retreate, Scotts treaties haveing wrought some perplexities; and hindering matters from going so glyb as otherwise was hoped, especially taking in some doubts that Sr Roger and brother Fountayne are also turned Presbiterians. Deare Robin, tell brother Herne that wee have the witnesse of or consciences that wee have walked in this thing (whatsoever surmizes are to the contrary) in plainnesse and godly simplicity, according to or weake measure, and wee trust or dailyb businesse is to approve or consciences to Godward, and not to shift and sharke,c wch were exceeding basenesse in us to do, haveing had such favor from the Lord, and such manifestations of his prsence, and I hope the same experience will keepe theird hearts and hands from him, against whome God hath so witnessed,e though reason should suggest things never so plausible. I pray thee tell my Bro: Herne thus much from mee; and if a mistake concerning our complyance wth presbitery perplex an evill businesse (for so I accompt it), and make the wheeles of such a chariott goe heavy, I can be passive and lett it goe, knowing that inocency and integrity looses nothing by a pacient waiting upon the Lord. Our papers are publique; let us be judged by them. Answersf do not involve us. I professe to thee I desire from my heart, I have prayed for it, I have waited for the day to see union and right understanding between the godley people (Scotts, English, Jewes, Gentiles, Presbns, Independents, Anabaptists, and all). Our Brs of Scotland (really Presbiteriansa ) were our greatest enemies. God hath iustified us in their sight, caused us to requite good for evil, caused them to acknowledge it publiquely by acts of state, and privately, and the thing is true in the sight of the sunne. It is an high conviction upon them. Was it not fitt to be civell, to professe love, to deale with cleernesse wth them for removeing of preiudice, to aske them what they had against us, and to give them an honest answere? This wee have don, and notb more. And heerin is a more glorious worke in our eyes then if wee had gotten the sacking and plunder of Edinbr, the strong Castles into or hands, and made conquestc from Tweed to the Orcades; and wee can say, through God wee have left by the grace of God such a witnesse amongest them, as if it worke not yetd there is that conviction upon them that will undoubtedly bear its fruit in due time. Tell my bro: Herne, I beleeve my wise friend would have had a conquest, or if not, things put in a ballance;e the first was not very unfeazible, but I thinke not Christian, and I was commanded the contrary by the two houses; as for the later by the providence of God it is perfectly come to passe, not by our wisdome, for I durst not designe it, I durst not admitt of so mixed, so lowe a consideration, wee were lead out (to the praise of or God be it spoken) to more sincere, more spirituall considerations; but I said before the Lord hath brought it to a ballance; if there be any dangerous disproportion it is that the honest party (if I may wthout offence so call them) in my apprehension are the weaker, and have manifold difficulties to conflict wthall, I wish our unworthynesse heere cast not the scale both there, and heere the wrong way. I have but one word more to say. Thy freinds, deare Robin, are in heart and in profession what they were, have not dissembled their principles at all. Are they not a little justified in this, that a lesser pty of a Parliament hath made it lawfull to declare the greater part a faction, and madea the Parliament null, and call a newe one, and to do this by force, and this by the same mouths yt condemned it in others. Thinke of the example and of the consequence, and lett others thinke of it too, if they bee not drenched too deepe in their oneb reason and opinions. Robin, be honest still. God keepe thee in the midest of snares. Thou has naturally a valiant spirit. Listen to God, and hee shall encrease it upon thee, and make thee valiant for the truth. I am a poore creature that write to thee, the poorest in the worke,c but I have hope in God, and desire from my heart to love his people, and if thou hast opportunity and a free heart, lett me heere from thee howe it is wth thee. This bearer is faithfull, you may be very free to communicate wth him; my service to all my freinds, and to my deare brother Herne whome I love in the Lord, I rest.
Thy true & faithfull friend
(Addressed) For the hoble Collonell Robert Hammond Governor of the Isle of Wight.
(Endorsed in another hand) 9br 6n 1648.
A letter from L. G. C.
(Lower down) Cromwell lost (?) letters.
[a ]A copy of this letter is contained in vol. xvi. of the Clarke Papers at Worcester College, where it is signed “Heron Brother,” and no indication is given of the person to whom it was sent. I concluded it from internal evidence to be written by Cromwell to Robert Hammond. Some letters from Cromwell to Hammond were mentioned in the Report of the first Historical MSS. Commission, p. 116, as being in the possession of the Marquis of Lothian. Mr. Gardiner at my request examined these letters last summer, and has kindly supplied me with copies of them. Two are now printed in the Preface. The third was identical with the letter in vol. xvi. of the Clarke Papers, but as the copy in the Newbattle MSS. gave an obviously better text I have printed it here in place of the copy given by Clarke. Differences between the two versions, simple variations in the spelling and punctuation excepted, are marked in the notes. The Newbattle version seems to me to be a copy also, and not an original. Compare with this letter Cromwell’s letter of Nov. 25, 1648, to Hammond, letter lxxxv. in Carlyle’s collection. Carlyle assumes the latter to have been written from “Knottingley near Pontefract,” where the letter printed here was written. “Dear Robin” is the term by which Cromwell, Ireton, and other intimate friends usually address Hammond. In this letter Cromwell also makes use of the names which he sometimes employed in his correspondence with Vane and one or two others. “Brother Heron” is the younger Vane. “Brother Fountayne” is Cromwell himself. (See Nickolls, Original Letters and Papers addressed to Oliver Cromwell, 1743, pp. 78, 84). “Sir Roger” seems to have been one of Cromwell’s companions in Scotland, possibly Lambert or Hesilrige. Hesilrige and Cromwell had just been entertained at Edinburgh by the Argyle party (see Whitelock, Memorials, ed. 1853, ii., 422, 432). Cromwell defends himself against the charge of granting too favourable terms to the Scots, or as he puts it “turning Presbyterian.” The “wise friend” is probably Pierrepont, as Mr. Gardiner suggests. Pierrepont and Vane were both now at Newport, as two of the Commissioners sent by Parliament to negotiate with the King. Both were probably in daily intercourse with Hammond. “It appears from this letter,” writes Mr. Gardiner, “that Cromwell had heard that a party amongst the Independents, including Vane, Pierrepont, and Hammond, in their alarm at the thorough-going reforms demanded by the Levellers, were anxious to come to an understanding with the King on the basis of moderate episcopacy and toleration. It was to this state of opinion that he now addressed himself. (Great Civil War, iv. 248.)
[a ]Compare the letter of Nov. 25. “Dost thou not think this fear of the Levellers (of whom there is no fear) ‘that they would destroy nobility,’ has caused some to take up corruption, and find it lawful to make this ruining hypocritical agreement? Hath not this biassed even some good men?”
[b ]Compare letter II. in Carlyle’s collection: “If here I may honour my God, either by doing or suffering, I shall be most glad.”
[a ]“He,” i.e. the King.
[b ]“Day of businesse,” Clarke MS.
[c ]I should suggest “shirke” instead of “sharke.”
[d ]“thy heart,” Clarke MS.
[e ]The King; compare the letter of Nov. 25. “This man against whom the Lord hath witnessed.”
[f ]“Answers,” i.e. the answers made by the Scots to Cromwell’s declarations. “Cromwell,” suggests Mr. Gardiner, perhaps refers to the answer made by the Committee of Estates on Oct 6, in which they speak of “these covenanted kingdoms.”
[a ]“Our brothers of Scotland really presbyterians,” i.e. not men like the Presbyterian leaders in England professing Presbyterianism for a political purpose.
[b ]“and noe more.” Clarke MS.
[c ]“made a conquest.” Clarke MS.
[d ]“as if it worke not yet (by reason the poore soules are soe wedded to their governement) yett their is that conviction,” etc. Clarke MS.
[e ]i.e. A mixed government established in which the Argyle and Hamilton parties would counterbalance each other.
[a ]“and made a parliment null and called a new one.” Clarke MS.
[b ]“if thay bee not drencht too deepe in theere owne reason and opinion.” Clarke MS.
[c ]“world.” Clarke MS.
[d ]None of the writing or signature of the letter is in Cromwell’s hand.