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EARL OF DERBY.
Among the sufferers for king Charles the first, none cast greater lustre on the cause than this heroic lord, who seems to have been actuated by a true spirit of honour and disinterestedness. Some contracted great merit from their behaviour in that quarrel; the conduct and brave death of this lord were but the conclusion of a life of virtue, accomplishments, and humanity.
“The History and Antiquities of the Isle of Man (his own little kingdom), with an Account of his own Proceedings and Losses in the civil War; interspersed with sundry Advices to his Son."
It was not completed as he intended it, but is published as he left it in Peck's Desiderata Curiosa,
But what did him greater honour, was the spirited answer he sent to Ireton, who made him large offers if he would deliver up the island to him. Though that letter has been printed more
• Vol. ii. lib. 11.
than once, such a model of brave natural eloquence cannot be thought tedious.
“ I received your letter with indignation, and with scorn return you this answer, that I cannot but wonder whence you should gather any hopes that I should
you, treacherous to my sovereign ; since you cannot be ignorant of my former actings in his late majesty's service, from which principles of loyalty I am no whit departed. I scorn your proffers; I disdain your favour; I abhor your treason; and am so far from delivering up this island to your advantage, that I shall keep it to the utmost of my power to your destruction. Take this for
final answer, and forbear any farther solicitations; for if you trouble me with any more messages of this nature, I will burn the paper and hang up the bearer. This is the immutable resolution, and shall be the undoubted practice of him, who accounts it his chiefest glory to be his majesty's most loyal and obedient subject, “ From Castle-town, this
DERBY." 12th of July, 1649."
3 In a collection of letters printed by Bickerton, 1745, p. 10; and in another in two volumes by Dodsley, 1755, vol. i. p. 190. There are some slight variations in the two copies, and the former by mistake supposes the letter sent to Cromwell instead of Ireton. [So does Collins; who says the copy of this letter was found in the study of sir Thomas Roe, embassador to the Ottoman Porte, &c. Sir Thomas, however, died in 1644.]
[Mr. Reed has enabled me to state, that in 1649 was published,
“ A Declaration of the Right Honourable James, Earle of Derby, Lord Stanley Strange, of Knocking, and of the Isle of Man, concerning his Resolution to keep the Isle of Man for his Majesties Service against all Force whatsoever; together with his Lordship’s Letter, in Answer to Commissary-general Ireton.” 4to.
James, seventh earl of Derby, was the son of earl William, and the nephew of earl Ferdinando, before noticed ~; and was highly distinguished by his hospitality, courage, loyalty, and tragical end. He was so esteemed in his country, that when he was directed, in 1642, to assemble his friends in the county of Lancaster, he had an appearance on three heaths near Bury, Ormskirk, and Preston, of twenty thousand men cach. At this time, it was resolved to erect the royal standard at Warrington; by a fatal change of .councils, however, the place was altered to that of Nottingham, and the opportunity lost of benefiting by the great interest of this family. The earl was afterwards sent back to raise his dependents; but in the interim the tide of loyalty turned, numbers determined to stand 'nenter, and others embraced the opposite party.
Still he raised three troops of horse at his own expense, and delivered them to the king, to be com
• See vol. ii. p. 45.
manded as he thought proper. He returned to the county, then possessed by the enemy, took Lancaster and Preston by storm, and fortified his house at Latham, which afterwards found such long employ, under his brave countess, to the parliament army. His valour never shone so bright as at his defeat in Wigan-lane, in his attempt to restore the son of his sovereign in 1651; for with only six hundred horse he maintained a fight of two hours against three thousand troops, led on by the determined Lilburne 3. In this action he is reported to have received seven shot on his breastplate, thirteen cuts on his beaver, five or six wounds on his arms and shoulders, and two horses killed under him ; yet he made his way with some few of his men towards Worcester, in order to join his royal master 4. On September 3, in the same year, at the fatal battle of Worcester, he was taken prisoner; and the treatment he met with was such as might be expected from a vindictive, ungenerous enemy; with whom his very virtues were strong pleas against mercy.
He was taken under promise of quarter, yet was carried before a court martial at Chester, who not only condemned him to death, regardless of the officer's honour to whom he surrendered, but had even the barbarity to send him to Bolton, a town of his own, to be executed; where he fell with the piety of a Christian, and the firmness of a soldier,
3 Pennant's Tour to Alston-moor, p. 35. * Hist. of Cbaries the Second's Preservation, P.5,
on April 1, 16515.. Collins has given a detailed and affecting account of this heroic earl's behaviour and speech on the scaffold, from a manuscript in the Derby family, drawn up by Mr. Bagaley, his attendant '.
Peck has printed, in his Desiderata Curiosa, lib. xi. p. 18,
“ The History and Antiquities of the Isle of Man, by James, Earl of Derby, and Lord of Man: with an Account of his many Troubles and Losses in the civił War, and of his own Proceedings in the Isle of Man, during his Residence there in 1643. Interspersed with large and excellent Advices to his Son, Charles, lord Strange, upon many curious Points. From the Original (all of his Lordship’s own Hand-writing) in the Hands of the Hon. Roger Gale, Esq.”
5 Charlotte, daughter to Claude, duke de la Tremouille, the congenial counterpart of this gallant peer, behayed with exemplary prudence, dexterity, and honour; and her defence of Latham-house for a whole month against an army of two thousand men, may be ranked among the bravest actions of those times. She formed her garrison, appointed her officers, and commanded in chief during the whole siege, till it was raised by her loyal lord. Having in the course of her command received a summons to surrender from colonel Rigby, she replied, in the spirit of her husband, “ Tell that insolent 'rebel Rigby, that if he presumes to send another summons within this place, I will have the messenger hanged up at the gates.” This circumstance is commemorated by a picture at Knowsley, in Lancashire. See Peck, Desid. Cur. lib. xi. p. 44, and Pennant, ut sup. Mr. Granger mentions her as the last person in the British dominions, who yielded to the republican party.
See also the Somers' Tracts, Coll, II. vol. ii. p. 507.