Page images
PDF
EPUB

place to place as the service did require. The guide did bring us west* ward of the river. I am no seaman, and prosessed my "trouble at1 the tiling, as lean prove, neither knew 1 any port or part of that coast.— When Iwentto general Penn 1 knewnothing but that our guide(as he told me) was on board the vice-admiral, to bring us to the river, till I was told we were past it.

6th.—Marching about, when major-general Haynes advised a nearer way.

My lord, we had not one man amongst us that knew one foot of the way from our landing place to the River Hinc, and therefore no man can fay we went out of our way there; and when we came to the river there was a ford which we searched for, but found none. Colonel Buller (who was ordered by general Penn to stay at the ford for us) marched away against order, and carried the guide with him, which put us ten or twelve miles out of the way; but major-general Haynes and captain Butler were earnest, notwithstanding our men were long tailing, to march to seek Buller, lest he might be cut off; which we did, and no mart knows but we went the nearest way, and I believe there was no other.

My lord, I have briefly given your excellency an account, according a«i the shortness of the time did suggest things to my thoughts, but 1 have something more to add when I have with more deliberation considered the particulars, and therefore humbly desire that this may not be taken, S$ the utmost can be pleaded by, my lord,

Your excellency's very humble and obliged servant, *

Richard Venablei,

I

T Could have spoken more fully and more particularly, but I con* ceived this general answer most rational, and therefore reserved for a trial, if called to it. After this Mr. Eaton came to me again, and desired me to draw a petition, and he would present it to his highness; and my lord Heetwood did promise to assist him in it. Whereupon i drew UiC follow* ing petition, October 23, 1656:

*3

To his highness the tordproteflor of England, Scotland, and Ireland, The Humble Petition Of Richard Venables. Sheweth,

'THAT, upon the signification of your highnessesdispleasure, in his commitmcnt to the tower, he niadc his humble address by petition to your highness, that a confinement to his chamber might only have been inflicted lor sometime; in regard of his present-weakness and many occasions, which much pressed him; but not being delivered, as he humbly conceives, until alter his commitment, he now most humbly implores h, that your highnisses clemency may so far commiserate his sad affliSlion as to grant him so much of enlargement from his imprisonment, that he may be enabled to make use oj some 'means for his health, and may have an opportunity to lay belore your highness the whole services of his behaviour, in the business he hath been so unhappy in; -wherein is he be not able to manifest lie hath behaved himself faithfully, though accompanied with cross providences, he is ready to abide with muck more satisfaction any further or other mark of your displeasure; arid your ^highnesses j avow herein shall oblige your petitioner ever to pray.

t Richard Venables.

m SOME sew days after, Mr. Eaton returned to me, and told me his highness was in great rage upon reading it; and cast it away, saying, I would cast the.blame of all upon him. After this, Mr. Eaton came to me and told me, that there were some surther exceptions against me, to which I gave him my answers, which here followeth:

ObjeSion fiisl.—A proclamation against pillage.

Answer.—I did nothing in that but what was the commissioners order, which by my instructions I was bound to observe; and therefore, though •against my judgment, (which is before cleared), yet was constrained to do it, 1'Cst the neglect should be charged upon me.

ObjcWon second.—Our landing to the westward.
Answer.—1 was no seaman and knew not any port, and must land

where where the seamen would bring me. Myself and ofsicers voted the River Hine; from which place, unless beat off, we resolved not to go, as the votes yet extant will declare; but our guide brought us elsewhere, which was not my sault; that part of the service belonging to the seamen .over whom I had no command.

Objection third.—Our retreat the sirst time after the enemy was beaten.

Answer.—1st. Our men at that instant were sasting forty-eight hours, and both men and horse died of thirst. 2d. They wanted ammunition. Sd. Our guide was slain in the sight. 4th. It was so dark, we could not see a place to aslault. 5th. If we could, we had no ladders. 6th. Had we marched up the river, it was sive miles, through woods, no guide to lead us, and subject to ambushes; and also the town would lie between us and our fleet. The retreat was voted for these reasons by a council of war.

Objection fourth.—The drawing off the mortar-piece.

Answer.— The army had a panick terror upon them, so that the officers said, as soldiers we were bound to go on, but as christians they would not advise it, seeing the soldiers had lost their hearts and always left their officers. The sire-master came in and offered to take the place with the mortar-piece; upon which the officers voted they would not draw oil' before the next day at sunrise. The pioneers would not be drawn, nor any other, though myself and officers did, so long as we could stand on our legs, endeavour to procure men to work for money or any reward, but none would; and captain Hughes resused to play the piece without a breastwork: so that he declining, and no workmen to be got, according to the council's vote, the army sainting for water, were forced to retreat.

ObjeEiion fifth.—My breaking up the commission alone.

Answer.—I sent for the commissioners, and, when no man expected •my continuance in this lise for twenty-four hours, they delayed two days; and then only captain Butler came: so that unless I should have suffered his highneffes service to be prejudiced, the instructions being in my hand, if lost, as possibly they might all have been in consusion; and therefore the necessity of his highneiies service requiring it, I hoped I did that which another neglected for the good of his service.

Mr.

Mr. Eaton told me also he had spoken to his highness concerning mey who said to him, bring a paper from him, and 1 will get the business of his liberty effected; which Mr. Eaton told me, and laid that he thought his highness intended the last paper I gave him, containing my answerto the last objections. Whereupon I drew one for him,'which he delU vered to his highness; which his highness, when he had read it, was displeased with, cast it from him again, saying it was not the paper; and that he observed that time, and ever after, his countenance was changed against me; for he expected a petition acknowledging an error.

Mr. Eaton went to my lord Fleetwood, and mewed him a copy of my petition beforementioned; who told him that would not please, lor it desired a trial, and my lord expected a submission. Whereupon Mr. Eaton came to me and told me all: upon which he concluded I mult die in prison, except I acknowledged a sault, and earnestly pressed me to try what 1 could say. I replied I would never be a knave upon record under my own hand, being innocent. If I had offended, why was Jnotquesloned? He said it would-never be used to my prejudice. Upon> which I writ to his excellency the lord Fleetwood as followetlu

My Lord,

Mr. EATON came to me this morning, and gave me a fad account of (lie dislike conceived against my petition. '1 he reason of my drawing ef it in that form (having none to advise me) was, because 1 thought his highness and council did desire to see me cleared of such aspersions as were by others cast upon me, especially in a printed paper which they were pleased to suppress, and imprison the printers besides I hear lome others do intend a charge against me, and, should I acknowledge myself guilty of what that paper or they say, I should wrong my conscience and cause, and also exclude myself from all other plea in my own defence; but though it has disgusted, yet it was not so intended, and 1 am not a little lorry that it was construed otherwise than what was my aim ar.d end. But what is charged upon me as a sault, viz. my return home9 I shall in that particular throw myself at his highnesses seet, so sar as 1 act: not against conscience (which 1 hope is not delired), and wave all argu» m< nts which 1 all* dge in my own behalf. I do consess my heart didj tun houitewardi, in tegard that, alter near four months trial, 1 grew daily

work

worse and nearer death. Sndly. The great wants of the army, and my unusesulncss there, yet judged I might do more good here. Sdly, The great disorder and wickedness in the army, which, though I endeavoured by all means to suppress, yet, 4thly, The ofsicers were so sar from assisting, that they rather indulged the soldiers, never punishing swearing nor drunkenness, but admonishing. Am most heartily grieved that I should do no better service there, and have olfended his highness by my return, whose service your excellency knoweth I desire to promote, though restrained; and whose prosperity with success to the cause ot God in his management is by none more unseignedly prayed for than, my lord,

Your excellency's very humble obliged^ servant,

Tower, October 26\ 1655. Richard Venables.

I also drew up this ensuing petition. *

To his highness the lord protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The Humble Petition Of Richard Venables. Shew.eth,

THAT your petitioner, being made sensible of your highnesses displeasure, -conceived against him for his return home without your highnesses licence (his distemper depriving him of ability so maturely to consider the thing as the weight of the matter did require), he cannot in conscience but endeavour to remove the grtat prejudice your highness hath contracted against him for that inconsiderate act, but most humbly implores that your highness in clemency would be pleased to commiserate his fad weak condition and sufferings, and to wave your highnesses indignation (occasioned by that indiscreet act) against hi?n, and grant him enlargement from his sad confinement; and, as in duty bound, Me shall not only endeavour, but ever pray, &c.

Richard Venables,

IT is evident this petition owns no sault, save the hand of God upon »e, depriving me of my senses, and that lcame away in that condition;

but

« PreviousContinue »