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Second Part

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S.R Gardiner
HISTORY OF THE GREAT CIVIL WAR
Cavaliers and Roundheads
Part 2.
It is the glory of Puritanism that it found its highest work in the strengthening of the will. To be abased in the abiding presence of the Divine Sufferer, and strengthened in the assurance of help from the risen Saviour, was the path which led the Puritan to victory over the temptations v\hich so easily beset him. Then, as ever, it was not in the lap of ease and luxury that fortitude and endurance were most readily fostered, nor was it by culture and intelligence that the strongest natures were hardened. The spiritual and mental struggle through which the Puritan entered on his career of Divine service was more likely to be real with 'hose who were already inured to a hard struggle with the physical conditions of the world, and whose minds were not distracted by too comprehensive knowledge of many-sided nature. The flame which flickered upwards burnt all the purer where the literature of the world, with its wisdom and its folly, found no entrance. It is not in the measured cadences of Milton, but in the homely allegory of the tinker of Elstow, that the Puritan gospel is most clearly revealed.
England, it has been said by one who, in our own days, has exhibited the old Puritan virtues to a world which had well-nigh forgotten them, has been saved by its adventurers — that is to say, by the men who, careless whether their ways are like the ways of others, or whether there may not be some larger interpretation of the laws by which the world is governed than any which they have themselves been able to concei\e. have set their hearts on realising, first in themselves and then in others, their ideal of that which is best and holiest. Such adventurers the noblest of the Puritans were. Many things existed not dreamed of in their theology, many things which they misconceived, or did not even conceive at all: but they were brave and resolute, feeding their minds upon the bread of heaven, and determined within themselves to be servants of no man and of no human system. It was with such as these that Falkland failed to count: and to fail to count with them was to neglect that very quality of self-denying and therefore masterful purpose, the presence of which saves Parliamentary majorities from dwindling into a mere expression of predominant indolence, and the accumulation of knowledge from ministering to the satisfaction of learned drones.
Thus it came about that, whilst the noblest elements on the King's side were favourable to peace, the noblest elements on the side of the Parliament were favourable to war. That it was so was not merely owing to the bitter memories which had been branded on the mind of the Puritan by long oppression. The man of intellect necessarily looks forward to a gradual process of amelioration which can but be checked by the interposition of violence. The man of string moral purpose is no less prompt to think that the evil of the world can be removed or at least diminished by the intervention of power; and in this particular case he had to dread, if Charles regained his authority, not merely the absence of power in his own hands, but its active exercise against himself.
If war there was to be, it was well that it should not be waged entirely on social or political grounds, and, above all, that it should not degenerate, like the troubles of the French Revolution, into a war of classes. It is true that, on the whole, the nobility and gentry took the side of the King, whilst the townsmen and the yeomanry took the side of the Parliament. Yet there were enough of Puritan nobles and gentlemen, and enough of townsmen and yeomen who were not Puritans, to prevent the religious cleft from accurately coinciding with the social cleft.
Of the two parties, the Parliamentary was the more prompt to throw off the delusion that peace was still attainable. Six days before the Royal Standard was unfurled, the Houses had taken care to secure their position in London. On August 16, Isaac Pennington, a vigorous and determined Puritan, was chosen Lord Mayor in Gurney's room, — and the organisation of the City was thus secured for Parliament in spite of the notorious Royalism of the leading merchants. Every effort was made to hinder the transmission of arms and ammunition to the North. The newly raised soldiers, unused to the trammels of discipline, broke into the houses of suspected persons, rifled them of their contents, and often sold their booty for the merest trifle. As might have been expected, the Catholics bore the brunt of this violence; but they did not suffer alone. Two members of Parliament had to complain that they had been plundered by soldiers. At Colchester, the mob, hearing that Sir John Lucas had collected arms and horses, and was about to start with them for the North, broke open his doors, sacked his house, and seized upon his person. At the house of Lady Rivers, who, as a Catholic, was specially obnoxious, property valued at 40,000 was destroyed or carried off. The House of Commons at once despatched two of its members to restore order in Colchester; but, though no further acts of violence were committed, very little of the plunder was recovered.
In Essex Royalists were few. In Kent opinion was more divided. The means taken to secure the county for Parliament were prompt and efficacious.
Dover Castle was surprised on the 21 st. During the next few days a small force visited the places where resistance was most likely to be made, imprisoning suspected Royalists, and carrying off money and arms. The houses of William Boteler and Sir Edward Bering were plundered. At Canterbury, arms and gunpowder were found stored in the deanery. The soldiers broke into the cathedral, battered down the organ, pulled up the communion rails, and carried the table into the centre of the choir. A representation of the Saviour embroidered on a piece of tapestry they hacked out with their knives, and anther carved in stone and placed over the south gate was made a mark for their bullets.
The Houses did what they could to restrain the violence of the soldiers, and threatened them with the penalties of the law. In the immediate neighbourhood of London their efforts met with success, but they failed to secure obedience from troops scattered in country quarters. As it fared with the Parliament, it fared with the King. He, too, was never remiss in giving orders to his followers to aestain from plundering, but the troopai who were scouring the Midlands to collect arms in his name were mo more likely to spare the goods of a notorious Roundhead than soldiers were likely to spare the goods of a notorious airrored alternately the views of the two parties e mastery at his Court.

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