Page images

there was made a fellow-commoner of Peter-house. The tutor of his college was Mr. Norwich, a person of great learning, and of an amiable disposition. Under this preceptor, he made rapid progress in his studies, received great applause for several public exercises, and obtained a degree as a testimony of his merits. After remaining at college five years, he returned to his father's house at Nottingham. He was now about twenty years old, having hitherto resisted the temptations of youth, and been noted for the sobriety and consistency of his deportment. His father had been for some time married to a second wife, and was surrounded by a youthful and increasing progeny. This circumstance was not altogether agreeable to young Hutchinson, who, however, wishing to avoid any complaints that he might make if he continued at home, adopted the resolution of visiting London. There he entered Lincoln's Inn; but soon found the study of the law so irksome and unpleasant, that he very shortly abandoned it. Soon afterward, in 1638, he entered into the marriage relation with Miss Lucy Apsley, second daughter of sir Allen Apsley, lieutenant of the Tower. She was a young lady of great beauty, parts, and acquirements; and wrote the memoirs of her husband, which have been lately published by a descendant of the family. During two years' leisure that Mr. Hutchinson now enjoyed, he directed his attention to several branches of divinity. In October, 1641, he retired to his seat at Owthorpe, in Nottinghamshire. About this time was perpetrated the Irish massacre, which filled the nation with horror, and preceded those civil commotions and distresses with which Britain was about to be chastised. This massacre, and the conversation which it every where occasioned, led Mr. Hutchinson, to employ his thoughts on the political state of the country: and the result of this inquiry was a persuasion that the cause of the parliamentarians was supported by justice. He, with some others, was requested by nearly all the freeholders and middle classes in his native county, to present a petition to the king, then at York, to return to parliament. Soon afterward he took up arms, though not till necessity compelled him ; for a warrant was issued for his apprehension, and he, with his wife, was obliged to quit home. He accepted the commission of lieutenant-colonel among the forces appointed by the parliament to be raised. He was then engaged, in conjunction with many parliamentarians, in the defence of -Nottingham : and when the troops there quartered were called out to the relief of general Essex, he was appointed, by the committee of that town, to the government of its castle.

In 1643, his father died, having left his personal estate, and all his property that was unsettled at Mr. Hutchinson's marriage, to his second wife and children. The enemies of Col. Hutchinson then seized, by violence, the rents of his tenants, which he was about to receive; and his .estate being sought for by several, promise of it was obtained from the king. In this extremity, though he had supported the garrison chiefly at his own expense, and thus lessened his . pecuniary resources ;, and though he was repeatedly tempted, with the most Aattering promises, to desert his party, he remained inflexibly firm. He adopted the most salutary measures for the protection of the castle and town; but his efforts were frequently rendered abortive by the treachery of some under his command. By them a party of the royalists were one night admitted into the town, but were soon expelled by the prudence and intrepidity of the governor. A few of the committee, wishing to ruin their commander, that they might obtain authority themselves, endeavoured to excite a spirit of discontent among the soldiers and townsmen; and had the effrontery to lay a statement of their pretended grievances before a committee of both nations. The result of this contest was a perfect justification of Col. Hutchinson, and the disgrace of his infamous calumniators. His office had been previously ratified by parliament, who had also intrusted him with the government of the town, and presented him with thanks for his services. While he held these commissions he often distinguished himself for his bravery. At the siege of Shelford, in which was a garrison under the command of colonel Philip Stanhope, eldest son to the earl of Chesterfield, he exposed himself to the greatest dangers, and was the first that scaled the walls. He was also at the siege of Newark, which surrendered to him and his men.

Having been chosen a member of parliament, in the place of his father, he came to London to discharge the duties of his new office. The parliament were at that time divided

by the factions and animosities of the Independents and the Presbyterians. Colonel Hutchinson was soon marked as a strenuous Independent; and, in the controversy between the army and the Presbyterians, he ranked himself with the army. Returning, at the settlement of parliament, to his garrison at Nottingham, he found it consisted only of the castle ; and that all his regiment, except two companies, had been disbanded. This being the case, he resigned his commission, and went, with his family, to live at Owthorpe. His house was almost in ruins, but he then had not money sufficient to repair it. He was, however, earnestly entreated to resume his commission, but in vain; for his health was now rather delicate, and he wished to enjoy a little

peace and retirement. Being again summoned to parliament, he was nominated one of the commissioners for the trial of king Charles I. To this nomination he at first felt considerable reluctance to accede. But being convinced, after mature deliberation, and fervent prayer for direction, that the measure was fully justifiable, he no longer hesitated. Whatever were the motives which induced that assembly to judge and condemn their sovereign, or whatever opinion may be formed of their proceedings, the conduct of colonel H. in that affair was certainly dictated by conscientious principles.

After the dissolution of parliament, he returned to Owthorpe, and devoted his time to the education of his children (who had, besides, the ablest masters ;) to the suppression of disorders in his neighbourhood; and to the administration of justice. He was elected a member of the parliament, summoned April 25, 1660, but was soon suspended, on account of the part he took in the transactions relative to Charles I. ; and his punishment was a sentence of dismissal from the present house of parliament, and of incapacity to sustain any public office, civil or military, for ever.

This sentence must be allowed not to have been very severe ; but he was not permitted to live unmolested. He was accused, without the least shadow of proof, of treasonable designs and practices. His house was pillaged of all his armour, to the value of 1001.; and some pictures that had once belonged to the late king, and which he had purchased in London during the interregnum, to the amount of 10001. or 15001., were wrested from him by an order from the secretary of state. By a warrant from the same secretary, he was seized one Sunday evening, while expounding to his family a portion of the Epistle to the Romans. After undergoing very severe treatment, he was dismissed; but in a short time again apprehended-thrust into a filthy prison, where he fell sick-and commanded by the king to be carried to London in custody. Having with mueh pain arrived there, he was committed to the Tower, and bore several petty examinations. Sir John Robinson, then keeper, a worthless character, was as cruel and hardened as a torturer in the inquisition, and employed every method he could devise of insulting and injuring colonel H.

Under all these multiplied calamities, colonel Hutchinson was patient and submissive. An order at length came for his removal to Sandown-castle, in Kent, whither he was still pursued by the malice and cruelty of his adversaries. He was confined to a dreary, damp room, that was exposed to the piercing air of the sea ; and against the bottom of which the waves dashed in

angry murmurs. In this miserable condition, his wife, who had attended him in all his sufferings, brought some books for his entertainment; but he declared, that if he were to remain in prison all his life, he would read nothing but the Bible. This book, indeed, afforded him divine consolation, so that he said to his disconsolate partner, what reason she had to rejoice that God supported him under his trials, and did not suffer his patience or spirits to fail. He was even thankful for his afflictions, considering them as tokens of his heavenly Father's love, who chastises all his children. Symptoms of disease now began to appear, and he very rapidly grew weaker. In his sickness he was wonderfully cheered by the comforts of religion; and to a person who asked him how he did, he replied, “Incomparably well, and full of faith.” He continued in this happy frame, giving serious advice to those that were around him, and pouring out his desires in ejaculatory prayers. When he was questioned as to the ground of his hope, he said, “There's none but Christ, none but Christ, in whom I have unspeakable joy, more than I can express:" and on the sabbath-day, September 11, 1664, his spirit winged her flight to the regions of everlasting re

pose. Of the political conduct of colonel Hutchinson, various sentiments are entertained, but none question his integrity or piety.



WHATEVER concern the Baptists may be supposed to have had in national affairs, while the unhappy contest was pending between CHARLES I. and his army, it is sufficiently apparent, from what has been seen in the foregoing chapter, that it soon ceased after Cromwell assumed the reins of government, who, when he thought himself well settled, and perceived that it would please the dominant party, began to undermine the sectarians, and in particular to suppress the Baptists. Mr. Baxter charges them with groving insolent both in England and Ireland, after Cromwell's death, and the succession of his son Richard was set aside : and that, joining their brethren in the army, they were every where put in power. He complains of some personal insults and ungenerous treatment, which he received from some who resided near to him, irritated by their remembrance of the opposition he had made to their sentiments, and who, though not many more than twenty, “talked,”

expresses it, “ as if they had been lords of the world."* This spirit of resentment and triumph was soon humbled by the disappointment of hope, and a subsequent series of sufferings.

This appears, in the first instance, from a petition presented to king Charles II. signed by thirty-five, on behalf of many others in Lincolnshire. It stated, that not only their meetings for religious worship were interrupted by the magistrates; and bonds for good behaviour were imposed upon them, for the violation of which, on account of

as he

* His own Life, part 2. p. 206.

« PreviousContinue »