| This Country of Ours|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|Stories from the history of the United States beginning with a full account of exploration and settlement and ending with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. The 99 chapters are grouped under 7 headings: Stories of Explorers and Pioneers, Stories of Virginia, Stories of New England, Stories of the Middle and Southern Colonies, Stories of the French in America, Stories of the Struggle for Liberty, and Stories of the United States under the Constitution. Ages 10-14 |
THE HUNT FOR THE REGICIDES
 THE Commonwealth of England did not last long. In 1660 King Charles
II was restored. England then became an unsafe abode for all those
who had helped to condemn Charles I to death, and two of those men,
General Edward Whalley and William Goffe, fled to America. They
were kindly received by the Puritans of Boston, and after a time
they moved on to New Haven. But even in America they were not safe,
and Royalist messengers were sent from England to arrest them, and
take them home to be tried.
The Governor of Massachusetts pretended to be very eager to help
these messengers. In reality he did nothing to help, but hindered
them, rather. News of the search for the fugitives soon reached
New Haven, and at once the people there helped them to hide. For
their minister, John Davenport, had bidden them to "hide the outcasts
and betray not him that wandereth."
Goffe and Whalley knew that the people of New Haven would not betray
them. But lest their enemies should gain any inkling of their being
there they left the town and, going to another, showed themselves
openly. Then secretly by night they returned to New Haven.
For a whole month they lay hid there in the cellars of the minister's
house. But soon that refuge became no longer safe, for the men in
search of them had, in spite of their strategy, traced them to New
Haven and set out to arrest them.
One Saturday the Royalists reached Guilford, not sixteen
away. Here they demanded horses from the Governor to take them on
to New Haven. But the Governor had little desire to help them. So
with one excuse after another he put them off until it was too late
to start that night. The next day was Sunday, and it was strictly
against the laws of Puritan New England to ride or drive on Sunday
save to church. So the Royalist messengers, chafing with impatience,
might bribe and command as much as they liked; not a man would stir
a hand to help them till Monday morning.
Meanwhile a messenger was speeding on his way to New Haven to warn
the Parliamentarians. And while their pursuers were kicking their
heels in enforced idleness they slipped away, and found a new hiding
place in a mill some miles off. But even this was thought not to
be safe, and they fled once more, and at length found refuge in a
cave deep in the forest.
So on Monday when at length the Royalists arrived, the birds had
flown. The minister owned that they had been there, but declared
that they had vanished away, no man knowing when or whither.
The Royalists scoured the country far and wide in search of the
fugitives. But their efforts were in vain. They were very much in
earnest, but they were strangers, and they did not know the country.
No one would help them in their search, and at length, very angry
with the people of New Haven, they gave it up and returned to
Then, having spent several months in their cave, the Parliamentarians
crept forth again. For two years they lived hidden in a friendly
house. The King, however, was not satisfied, and after two years
messengers again came out from England, and the search was again
begun, more eagerly than before. Again, however, Goffe and Whalley
were warned, and again they fled to the cave.
Here they lived in safety while the Royalists swept the
round in search of them. But they had many narrow escapes.
Once when they had left the shelter of their cave they were almost
caught. Their pursuers were upon their heels, and to reach the cave
without being taken prisoner seemed impossible. As the two men fled
before their foes they came to a little river crossed by a wooden
bridge. It was their last hope. Instead of crossing the bridge
they crept beneath it, and crouched close to the water. On came
the pursuers. They made no pause. Their horses thundered across
the bridge and galloped away and away, while beneath the fugitives
waited breathlessly. Then when all was quiet again they crept back
to the shelter of their cave.
But at length the cave became a safe retreat no longer, for it
was discovered by the Indians. And the fugitives, afraid lest the
Indians, tempted by the large reward offered, might betray their
hiding-place, resolved to seek another.
By this time the fury of the search for them had somewhat abated
and another minister, John Russell, offered them a refuge in his
house. This minister lived at a place called Hadley. Hadley was
many miles from New Haven. It was a lonely settlement on the edge
of the wilderness, and to reach it about a hundred miles of pathless
forest had to be crossed. But with stout hearts the hunted men
set out. By day they lay hidden in some friendly house, or in some
lonely cave or other refuge. By night they journeyed onward. At
length they reached their new hiding-place.
It was wonderfully contrived. The minister had lately made some
alterations in his house, and in doing so he had made a safe retreat.
In the attic there was a large cupboard with doors opening into
rooms on either side. In the floor of the cupboard there was a trap
door which led down into another dark cupboard below, and from
there a passage
 led to the cellar. So that, should the house be
searched, any one in the upper rooms could slip into the cupboard,
from there reach the cellar, and thus escape. Here the regicides
now took up their abode. And so well was their secret kept that
they lived there for ten or fifteen years, their presence being
unsuspected even by the inhabitants of the little town.
Henceforth the world was dead to them, and they were dead to the world.
They were both soldiers. On many a field of battle,—Gainsborough,
Marston, Naseby, Worcester, and Dunbar,—they had led their men to
victory. They had been Members of Parliament, friends of the Great
Protector, and had taken part in all the doings of these stirring
Now all that was over. Now no command, no power was left to them.
The years went by, dragging their slow length of days, and bringing
no change or brightness to the lives of these two men who lived
in secret and alone. It was a melancholy life, the monotony only
broken by visits from the minister, or a few other friends, who
brought them all the gossip and news of the town. These were but
small matters. But to the two men shut off from all other human
beings they seemed of rare interest.
After ten years Whalley died. It is believed that he was buried
in the cellar of the house in which for so long he had found a
hiding-place. Then, for five years or so more, Goffe dragged out
his life alone.
As one might imagine, the King was not at all pleased with
Massachusetts and New Haven for thus sheltering the regicides; and
in 1665 he suppressed New Haven as a separate colony and joined it
The New Haven people did not like this at all, and they fought
against it with all their might. But at length they gave way and
The King was angry with Massachusetts, too, not only
 for protecting
the regicides, but also because of what is known as the Declaration
of Rights. In this the people of Massachusetts acknowledged the King
as their ruler. But they also made it plain that so long as they
did not make laws which ran counter to English laws they expected
to be let alone. This made King Charles angry, and if it had not
been that he was busy fighting with Holland very likely the people
of Massachusetts would have had to suffer for their boldness at
once. As it was they were left in peace a little longer.
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