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“The Father of Mercies enrich with all blessings of heaven and earth the noble and virtuous Philadelphia, your mother; keep your honour from every evil now and ever; season and govern your young years by His Holy Spirit, and as you increase in days and stature, so may you increase in all sanctifying gifts, and in favour with God and man."
On leaving the University he procured a pass from the King to travel for three years with his younger brother, Thomas, “six servants and £100 in money." “In my youth," he wrote in later life, “I travelled through France and spent some time as a volunteer under the Prince of Orange. I returned to England shortly before the winter of 1631, being commanded to present myself before the King at the annual masquerade, at which he like others took part. In 1632 I married and retired into the country, 150 miles from London, living there continuously, except when the King commanded me to bear a part in a similar masquerade, as he did every year till the breaking out, I think in 1638, of the troubles in Scotland."*
One who was well acquainted with him wrote: “He was one of the handsomest of men, and the greatest beau of his time; he had particularly fine legs and took great delight to show them in dancing. I remember to have seen him in his old age, when those fine legs were shrunk almost to the bone, to point to them in that worn and decrepit condition and say, "Here are the handsome legs which I was so proud of in my youth. See what's the beauty of man that he should take pride in it.'” (“Memoirs of the Marquess," 1715.)
* Letter (translated from the Latin) written by Lord Wharton, October 18th, 1685, and endorsed “Letter to Baron S. [Alexander Freiherr von Spaen, 1619-92, General-Lieutenant in the service of the Elector of Brandenburgh and President of the Government of Cleve and Mark], shewn to him but not left with him.” (From Carte Papers, Bodleian, Vol. 81, No. 576, quoted in the Wharton Collection.) It commences : “Most Noble Lord, -As I have had the honour of conversing with your lordship on my affairs, and my recent withdrawal from England, I hope you will not be offended if I give you a brief recital of those affairs from the time I left the University, and especially in reference to Charles I., Charles II., and the present King (James II.], for what object your lordship's wisdom and friendship may decide. Since, however, it is important to my privacy I would not have this letter reach any hands but yours; with you I may well use an unusual freedom." The whole of what follows in this letter is contained in the extracts given in due order in the following pages.
His first wife, as previously stated, was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Wandesford, of Pickhill, Yorkshire, who died after a brief companionship, leaving him two daughters. His second wife, whom he married in 1637, was Jane, daughter and heiress of Arthur Goodwin, of Upper Winchendon, Buckinghamshire, colonel in the Parliamentary army, who died early in the Civil War (1643). She brought him a good estate and a numerous family.
He attained his majority on April 18th, 1634, and when he should have taken his place in the House of Lords, Charles I., unwilling to concede the claims of Parliament for greater ecclesiastical and political liberty, was endeavouring to carry on his government without a Parliament, and was supported therein by Archbishop Laud and Sir Thomas Wentworth, Lord Strafford. “ The King," as it has been remarked, “gratified the Church with a power to persecute, and the Church gratified the King with an unlimited prerogative.” (“Life of Ambrose Barnes.") All Wharton's sympathies were with the Puritans, and through his alliance with the Goodwins he was brought into intimate relations with John Hampden and other patriotic leaders. The arbitrary procedure of the King and his Ministers had the effect of welding together Puritans and Patriots in determined resistance to oppression in Church and State, and their conflict with Anglicans and Royalists could not long be deferred.
THE BEGINNING OF THE CIVIL WAR, 1642. “ The contest was a struggle to ascertain whether the Crown or the House of Commons was the strongest power in the country.”— PROF. GARDINER.
The attempt to force the Book of Common Prayer upon the people of Scotland roused their Presbyterian zeal; they armed themselves in self-defence and prepared for war with England. “For twelve years," says Wharton, “no elections had been held in the kingdom. In April or May, 1640, the King (in want of supplies] summoned a Parliament to vote for war with Scotland; but finding the members opposed to his views, in three weeks dissolved it (May 5th], and raising an army for the purpose led it to York, about halfway between London and Edinburgh. In November following [the hostile Scots having entered England] he summoned another Parliament (the Long Parliament, November 3rd, 1640], in which I joined those members who were anxious to diminish the inconveniences in politics and innovations in religion occasioned by the infrequency with which Pariiament met. At the first meeting all were in agreement, and some difficulties were removed, but in a few months such disputes arose between the two Houses, that the King decided to withdraw from Parliament, and summoned to his side many of both Houses, and in the Autumn of this year [August 22nd, 1642] open war began.” (Letter to von Spaen.)
Wharton was over twenty-seven years of age when the Long Parliament was called, and he had already begun to take an active part in public affairs. He signed a petition of the Yorkshire gentry (July 28th, 1640) to the Lords of the Council complaining of grievances, and the King sent for him and three or four others, and told them “it was not lawful for them to meet in this manner upon petitions, and charged them never more to do so; he said that if they meddled with it any more he would hang them.” (“Memoirs of Sir Hugh Cholmley”). Bishop Burnet says: “Petitions were sent from the city and some counties to the King praying a treaty with the Scots. The Lord Wharton and the Lord Howard of Escrick undertook to deliver some of these; which they did and were clapt up upon it. A Council of War was held, and it was resolved on, as Lord Wharton told me, to shoot them at the head of the army as movers of sedition. This was chiefly pressed by the Earl of Strafford.” He was also one of the twelve peers who signed a petition (August 28th, 1640) for calling a Parliament, and one of the sixteen Commissioners who met at Ripon (September 3oth) to arrange a treaty with the Scots.
In the Long Parliament he was a zealous supporter of the policy of the Lower House, and was on the Committee of the Lords for drawing up propositions to be presented to the King for laying aside arms and levies, and for appeasing differences between His Majesty and Parliament. Being supposed to be deep in the secrets of the popular leaders, the King proposed to summon him as a witness against the five members of the House of Commons whose attempted arrest (January 3rd, 1642) brought the King and Parliament into direct collision. War became inevitable when Charles I. positively refused to allow Parliament to have a voice in the nomination of the lord-lieutenants of counties, and thereby some control over the Militia, on which its own existence depended. Wharton was nominated by the Commons (February 28th, 1642) Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire in the stead of Lord Strange (second son of Lord Derby), who had been appointed by the King, and directed to submit for approval the names of persons of quality to be his deputy-lieutenants or commanders of the Militia. He was also subsequently appointed to a similar position for Bucks and Westmorland. And it is recorded (May 24th) that he was among the lords that had not absented themselves from the business of the House, as opposed to those who were with His Majesty at Yorkwhence he removed to Nottingham and there set up the royal standard.
Wharton's earnest desire for reconciliation with the King appears in letters which he wrote to Chief Justice Sir John Banks. In one of these (June 14th, 1642) he asks: “Hath all this kingdom no persons prudent enough according to their affection to prevent the ruin coming upon us; or, is it want of industry; or, is it the wantonness of some few interested or unprovided [incompetent] people to pull down more in one day
than the rest can build up in years; or, is it a judgment upon us immediately from the hand of God, for which no natural or politic reason can be given?” In another (July 13th) he says: “I would contribute of what is dearest to me towards a right understanding and mutual confidence betwixt the King and the people."
When the rebellion in Ireland broke out in October, 1641, an English army was raised by subscription under an Act of Parliament, called the Adventurers' Act (February, 1642), for the invasion of Munster, and the subduing of the Irish and acquiring their lands for themselves, and Lord Wharton was made Commanderin-Chief and Lord Governor of Ireland.* The officers were to receive their commissions from the King, but His Majesty was unwilling to grant them, and while the army waited at Bristol ready to embark for Ireland, the war began in England, and they were ordered to turn their arms against the Cavaliers.
Wharton was present at Edgehill fight (October 23rd, 1642) as colonel of a regiment of his own raising, consisting of 1,200 foot and a troop of horse ; but in that action he gained little honour. At a meeting of the Lord Mayor and Common Council of the City of London (October 27th), held for the purpose of encouraging the citizens to raise more money to carry on the war, he frankly stated: “When we had shot two or three pieces of ordnance, they (the Royalists] began to shoot some of theirs; and, truly, not long after, before there was any near excuse, three or four of our regiments fairly ran away; and there were that ran away-Sir William Fairfax's regiment, Sir Henry Cholmley's, my Lord Kimbolton's, and, to say the plain truth, my own."
• Carte Papers, Bodleian Library. Hist. Commission Report, Appendix, i. 25. See also “ List of Field Officers chosen and appointed for the Irish Expedition by the Committee at Guildhall, London, for the regiments of 5,000 foot and 500 horse ; under the Command of Philip Lord Wharton, Baron of Scarborough (Wharton), Lord General of Ireland” (Peacock, 1874). In this list we find these entries : "Foot Companies : Col. General; His Captain : Edward Massey; His Ensigne: Oliver Cromwell." Dame Philadelphia (the mother of Lord Wharton) subscribed £200 to the Adventurers' Fund.