Monday, April 9, 2012

Naseby/Royal Charles


9th April, 1655. I went to see the great ship newly built by the usurper, Oliver, carrying ninety-six brass guns, and 1,000 tons burden. In the prow was Oliver on horseback, trampling six nations under foot, a Scot, Irishman, Dutchman, Frenchman, Spaniard, and English, aswas easily made out by their several habits. A Fame held a laurel over his insulting head; the word, God with us.

John Evelyn’s diary shows the author in front of what must be the Naseby, so named after the usurper Oliver Cromwell’s victory at the Battle of Naseby, in 1645.  This ship was later, in 1660, renamed the HMS Royal Charles.  Cromwell figures in Walter Scott’s “Woodstock”, as indicated in the preface to that work:

‘Since it hath pleased the Almighty God, out of his infinite mercy, so to
make us happy, by restoring of our native King to us, and us unto our
native liberty through him, that now the good may say, _magna temporum
felicitas ubi sentire quoe velis, et dicere licet quoe sentias_, we
cannot but esteem ourselves engaged in the highest of degrees, to render
unto him the highest thanks we can express. Although, surpris'd with
joy, we become as lost in the performance; when gladness and admiration
strikes us silent, as we look back upon the precipiece of our late
condition, and those miraculous deliverances beyond expression. Freed
from the slavery, and those desperate perils, we dayly lived in fear of,
during the tyrannical times of that detestable usurper, Oliver Cromwell;
he who had raked up such judges, as would wrest the most innocent
language into high treason, when he had the cruel conscience to take
away our lives, upon no other ground of justice or reason, (the stones
of London streets would rise to witness it, if all the citizens were
silent…’

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