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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 July 2014
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.
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.
1 Rushworth, John, Historical Collections, vol. 7 (London, 1701), pp. 1006-07, 1009Google Scholar; cf. Perfect Diurnall, No. 239, 21-28 February 1647/1648, p. 1925Google Scholar, and Sir William Clarke Manuscripts 1640-1664 (Brighton, Sussex, 1979, microfilm), ser. 2, vol. 4 (Worcester College vol. CX)Google Scholar.
5 The Clarke Papers, ed. Firth, C. H., vol. 1, Camden Society Publications, 2nd ser., 49 (London, 1891), p. 18Google Scholar.
6 Kishlansky, Mark A., The Rise of the New Model Army (Cambridge, 1979), pp. 64–65Google Scholar; The Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow, ed. Firth, C. H., 2 vols. (Oxford, 1894), 1: 39Google Scholar; Firth, C. H. and Davies, Godfrey, The Regimental History of Cromwell's Army, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1940), p. 44Google Scholar.
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10 Bodleian Library, MS. Clarendon 29, f. 231 r.
12 Mercurius Pragmaticus, No. 3, 28 September-6 October 1647, p. 24Google Scholar [British Library, Burney 14a]; Heath, James, Flagellum (London, 1663), p. 57Google Scholar; Anthony Wood, Fasti (DNB, s.v. “Cromwell, Henry”); Woolrych, Austin, Soldiers and Statesmen (Oxford, 1987), p. 131nCrossRefGoogle Scholar, citing Firth, and Davies, , Regimental History, p. 179Google Scholar.
17 Bodleian Library, MS. Clarendon 30, f. 216r.
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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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29 McLachlan, H. John, Socinianism in Seventeenth-Century England (London, 1951), pp. 172-77, 263-67Google Scholar.
30 Displaying, p. 2; the Solemn Engagement in A Declaration of the Engagements, Remonstrances, Representations (London [2 October] 1647), pp. 23–27Google 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.
34 Displaying, p. 5.
36 Displaying, pp. 6-7.
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,  Feb-[1 Mar] 1647/1648, pp. 50–51Google Scholar; Kingdomes Weekly Intelligencer, no. 249, 22-29 Feb 1647/1648, p. 852)Google Scholar.
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42 Displaying, p. 7.
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.”
45 Bodleian Library, MS. Clarendon 29, f. 134r–v.
46 Displaying, pp. 1, 8; Heads of Chief Passages, no. 8,  Feb-[1 Mar] 1647/1648, p. 51Google Scholar.
47 Displaying, p. 10.
48 Bodleian Library, MS. Clarendon 29, f. 134v.
49 Clarke Mss, 2/4.
50 Displaying, p. 10.
51 Displaying, pp. 10-11; Bodleian Library, MS. Clarendon 29, f. 134v.
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53 Displaying, p. 11.
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,  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,  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. 2v–3rGoogle 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.
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