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Fairfax and the Lifeguard's Colors*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 July 2014

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On Wednesday, 23 February 1647/8, General Sir Thomas Fairfax received a petition from his Lifeguard protesting the terms under which they were ordered to be disbanded. Finding the General unsympathetic, some of the soldiers went to the cornet's lodgings at the Bell in Gray's Inn Lane and carried away the troop colors, hiding them at the Lamb on Snow Hill. The Council of War regarded this act “as a great Disrespect and Dishonor to the General” and interrogated members of the Lifeguard. On Friday, the Council condemned one Master William Clarke to be shot to death for mutiny and disobeying the commands of superior officers. On Saturday, the Lifeguard presented another petition, begging pardon for Clarke and submitting to the General's authority in the most abject terms. Clarke himself also petitioned for pardon, asserting as his motives “the not punctually performing of the Agreement made at Windsor, and to vindicate the General's Honor therein. After some consideration, Fairfax called Clarke in, pardoned him, and set him free.


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Copyright © North American Conference on British Studies 1994

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Footnotes

*

This paper was prepared originally for the 1990 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College Teachers entitled “The Protestant Imagination” and conducted by Professor John N. King at Ohio State University. I thank Professor King, Professor Phoebe Spinrad, and the members of the seminar.


References

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21 Woolrych, , Soldiers and Statesmen, pp. 298-99Google Scholar; Ingram to Fairfax, 21 December 1647, in Clarke Papers, vol. 2, Camden Society Publications, 2nd ser., 54 (Westminster, 1894), pp. 247-48.

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30 Displaying, p. 2; the Solemn Engagement in A Declaration of the Engagements, Remonstrances, Representations (London [2 October] 1647), pp. 2327Google Scholar, commonly called the Army's Book of Declarations.

31 An humble Remonstrance from his Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax and the Army under his Command (St. Albans, 23 June 1647)Google Scholar, in A Declaration of the Engagements, p. 66; Displaying, p. 4.

32 Displaying, pp. 3-4.

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34 Displaying, p. 5.

35 Kingdomes Weekly Post, no. 8 (16-22 February 1647/1648), p. 57Google Scholar; Gentles, , New Model Army, p. 232Google Scholar, citing SP28/51, fols. 134-36.

36 Displaying, pp. 6-7.

37 Heads of Chiefe Passages in Parliment, no. 8, 16-30 February [i. e. 23 February-1 March] 1647/1648, p. 50Google Scholar. In general, arrears from before the new-modeling were greater than arrears from service after (Gentles, , New Model Army, p. 49Google Scholar).

38 Displaying, p. 1.

39 Displaying, pp. 6-7. This petition, with the faulty date 4 February, was released to the mercuries along with an account of the Lifeguard's reception by the Committee of the Army (Perfect Diurnall, no. 239, 21-28 Feb 1647/1648, p. 1925Google Scholar; Heads of Chief Passages, no. 8, [23] Feb-[1 Mar] 1647/1648, pp. 5051Google Scholar; Kingdomes Weekly Intelligencer, no. 249, 22-29 Feb 1647/1648, p. 852)Google Scholar.

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41 Bodleian Library, MS. Clarendon 29, f. 134r.

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43 Bodleian Library, MS. Clarendon 29, f. 134v; Perfect Diurnall, no. 239, 21-28 Feb 1647/1648, p. 1925Google Scholar; Displaying, p. 7; Clarke Mss, 2/4. Secretary William Clarke gives Master William Clarke's lodgings as “the Swan on Snowehill.”

44 Displaying, p. 7; Kingdomes Weekly Intelligencer, no. 249, 22-29 Feb 1647/1648, p. 854Google Scholar; Kingdomes Weekly Post, no. 9, 23 Feb-1 Mar 1647/1648, p. 67Google Scholar.

45 Bodleian Library, MS. Clarendon 29, f. 134r–v.

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47 Displaying, p. 10.

48 Bodleian Library, MS. Clarendon 29, f. 134v.

49 Clarke Mss, 2/4.

50 Displaying, p. 10.

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52 The Hamilton Papers, ed. Gardiner, Samuel Rawson, Camden Society Publications, 2nd ser., 27 (Westminster, 1880), p. 161Google Scholar; Kingdomes Weekly Post, no. 9, 23 Feb-1 Mar 1647/1648, p. 67Google Scholar; Perfect Occurrences, no. 61, 25 Feb-3 Mar 1647/1648, p. 500Google Scholar; Bodleian Library, MS. Clarendon 29, f. 134r–v.

53 Displaying, p. 11.

54 Perfect Occurrences, no. 61, 25 Feb-3 Mar 1647/1648, p. 500Google Scholar.

55 Bodleian Library, MS. Clarendon 29, f. 134v.

56 The full text of the Lifeguard's petition is given in Appendix 1.

57 Displaying, p. 13.

58 Clarke Mss, 2/4; Heads of Chief Passages, no. 8, [23] Feb-[1 Mar] 1647/1648, p. 54Google Scholar; Moderate Intelligencer, no. 154, 24 Feb-2 Mar 1647/1648Google Scholar; Perfect Occurrences, no. 61, 25 Feb-3 Mar 1647/1648, p. 501Google Scholar. The text of the substitute petition is given in Appendix 2.

59 On 24 February, while the Lifeguard were being examined about the colors, Fairfax drafted an order appointing most of the Council of War to meet daily at 9 a.m. to receive petitions to the General (Heads of Chief Passages, no. 8, [23] Feb-[1 Mar] 1647/1648, p. 52Google Scholar). Bulstrode Whitelock says that the General was tired with multiplicity of business and Petitions of London” (Memorials of the English Affairs [London, 1682], p. 293)Google Scholar.

60 Displaying, p. 13.

61 Clarke Mss, 2/4; Gentles, , New Model Army, p. 233Google Scholar; Displaying, p. 13. On Saturday, 4 March, Fairfax pardoned Mallosse and Latham, but left the death sentence on Gethings, who was ultimately spared.

62 Mercurius Aulicus, no. 5, 24 Feb-2 Mar 1647/1648, pp. 2v3rGoogle Scholar; The Hamilton Papers, ed. Gardiner, , p. 161Google Scholar; Bodleian Library, MS. Clarendon 29, f. 134r-v; Clarke Mss, 2/4; Moderate Intelligencer, no. 154, 24 Feb-2 Mar 1647/1648Google Scholar; Perfect Occurrences, no. 61, 25 Feb-3 Mar 1647/1648, p. 501Google Scholar.

63 In his account of his own case. Bray tells Fairfax that “The Regiment it selfe was naturally inflamed…when they forcibly took a way my Colours from me in my Quarters” (A Representation, to the Nation…, British Library, Thomason, E.422.[27.], 13 Jan 1647/1648, p. 13Google Scholar). According to Thomas Venn, “a greater act of Cowardice cannot be found, than to suffer the Colours to be lost,” and the trooper who “shall recover the lost Ensign and bring it away flying” has earned the cornet's place (Military & Maritine Discipline [London, 1672], p. 183)Google Scholar.

64 Perfect Occurrences, no. 61, 25 Feb-3 Mar 1647/1648, p. 505Google Scholar; Mercurius Aulicus, no. 6, 2-9 Mar 1647/1648. p. F4rGoogle Scholar; Clarke Mss, 4/8 (Chequers MS.782, Library at Chequers Court, Buckinghamshire); Clarke Mss, 2/4.

65 Cf. Woolrych, , Soldiers and Statesmen, p. 58Google Scholar; Levy, Leonard W., Origins of the Fifth Amendment (New York, 1968), p. 274fGoogle Scholar.

66 Elton, , The Compleat Body, p. 181Google Scholar; Davies, Edward, The Art of War, and Englands Traynings (London, 1619; Amsterdam, 1968), p. 120Google Scholar; Barret, , Moderne Warres, p. 21Google Scholar.

67 Gentles, , New Model Army, pp. 232-33, 244-45, 248Google Scholar.

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