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Lord Strafford's Warning






In the Rev. John Mastin's _History of Naseby_ is cited a story of an
apparition that was supposed to have appeared to Charles the First at
Daintree, near Naseby, previous to the famous battle of that name.

The army of Charles, says the historian, consisting of less than 5000
foot, and about as many horse, was ordered to Daintree, whither the King
went with a thorough resolution of fighting. The next day, however, to
the surprise of Prince Rupert and all the rest of the army, this design
was given up, and the former one of going to the north resumed. The
reason of this alteration in his plans was alleged to be some presages
of ill-fortune which the King had received, and which were related to
me, says Mr Mastin's authority, by a person of Newark, at that time in
His Majesty's horse. About two hours after the King had retired to rest,
said the narrator, some of his attendants hearing an uncommon noise in
his chamber, went into it, where they found His Majesty sitting up in
bed and much agitated, but nothing which could have produced the noise
they fancied they had heard. The King, in a tremulous voice, inquired
after the cause of their alarm, and told them how much he had been
disturbed, apparently by a dream, by thinking he had seen an apparition
of Lord Strafford, who, after upbraiding him for his cruelty, told him
he was come to return him good for evil, and that he advised him by no
means to fight the Parliament army that was at that time quartered at
Northampton, for it was one which the King could never conquer by arms.
Prince Rupert, in whom courage was the predominant quality, rated the
King out of his apprehensions the next day, and a resolution was again
taken to meet the enemy. The next night, however, the apparition
appeared to him a second time, but with looks of anger assuring him that
would be the last advice he should be permitted to give him, but that if
he kept his resolution of fighting he was undone. If His Majesty had
taken the advice of the friendly ghost, and marched northward the next
day, where the Parliament had few English forces, and where the Scots
were becoming very discontented, his affairs might, perhaps, still have
had a prosperous issue, or if he had marched immediately into the west
he might afterwards have fought on more equal terms. But the King,
fluctuating between the apprehensions of his imagination and the
reproaches of his courage, remained another whole day at Daintree in a
state of inactivity. The battle of Naseby, fought 14th June 1645, put a
finishing stroke to the King's affairs. After this he could never get
together an army fit to look the enemy in the face. He was often heard
to say that he wished he had taken _the warning_, and not fought at
Naseby; the meaning of which nobody knew but those to whom he had told
of the apparition which he had seen at Daintree, and all of whom were,
subsequently, charged to keep the affair secret.





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