Eusebius Andrews (Royalist)

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Eusebius Andrews (died 1650) was an English royalist.

Andrews was of a good family "but inconsiderable estate" in Middlesex, was secretary to Arthur Capell, 1st Baron Capell of Hadham and a barrister (probably of Lincoln's Inn). Early in the civil war he joined the king's army; but on the surrender of Worcester in 1645, despairing of the success of his cause, he returned to the private practice of his former profession. He did not acknowledge the party in power, either by compounding for his "delinquency", or by subscription to the covenant and the tests which succeeded it.

But his course of life, however retired, could not escape the vigilance of the Puritan rulers, his actions, for years together, being as well known to the council of state "as if they had kept a diary for him". John Barnard, a major formerly under his command, was his frequent visitor, and "obtruded upon his acquaintance" two cavaliers, Captain Holmes and John Benson, a copying clerk under Rushworth who proposed to take advantage of the discontent of the dismissed parliamentary officers, and of their repentant desire to serve the young king.

Royalist engagement[edit]

It was suggested that Andrews should go to Cambridgeshire, to ascertain whether an old plan of his for the surprise of the Isle of Ely were still feasible; but this project was abandoned on the failure of the royalist movements in Scotland and Ireland. An ordinance having passed that all who had not taken the prescribed tests should leave London, Andrews prepared to quit England, and was in treaty with Sir Edward Plowden for some land in New Albion, when Barnard persuaded him to remain, on pretence of a rising to be headed by "persons of quality" in Kent, Dorset and Buckinghamshire. Andrews was induced to subscribe this new royalist "engagement", and to endeavour to draw in Sir John Gell, of Hopton, who was known to be influential and disaffected. But Gell, though protesting his loyalty, was too wary to commit himself; and Andrews, finding that the whole scheme was a delusion, prepared to carry out his former resolution of leaving the country, when he was arrested at Gravesend on 24 March 1650.

Arrest[edit]

Barnard had been the spy of the council, and had only delayed the arrest of Andrews that other cavaliers might be, through him, decoyed to a like ruin. On his arrival in London, Andrews was examined by President Bradshaw, Sir Henry Mildmay, and Thomas Scot, with a view of extorting admissions to be used against others. Disappointed in this, they committed him to the Tower of London on a charge of treason in endeavouring to subvert the government; and the evidence of this design was furnished by the "Narrative" he had himself handed in. Andrews charged Bradshaw with setting spies to trepan him, and Bradshaw acknowledged and defended the practice. Andrews was kept close prisoner for sixteen weeks. As prisoners then had to bear their own expenses, "his score for necessaries was swollen beyond his ability to discharge", and "his friends were not permitted to visit or relieve him" (a few persons were allowed to see him on law business only in the presence of the lieutenant).[1] Having vainly petitioned the council four times for a pardon or a speedy trial, he addressed the same prayer to the parliament. The answer was his arraignment before the high court of justice on 16 August, where the attorney-general, Edmund Prideaux, urged his condemnation on the evidence of his own "Narrative".

Execution[edit]

Andrews demurred to the jurisdiction of the tribunal, as a mere court-martial, not a court of record—‘having power only to condemn, not to acquit’—and established in contravention of Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, and the promise made by the parliament not to interfere with the ordinary course of justice. Prideaux replied ‘that they were not at leisure to take notice of his law cases, but only of his confession,’ and the inevitable condemnation followed. Andrews had in the meantime again petitioned parliament, but a resolution was passed (19 August) that his confessions and examination having been transmitted to the high court, "it was not fit to interfere further". The usual sentence in treason cases was, however, altered to beheading, and he was executed on Tower Hill the 22 of August 1650. Andrews met his fate with firmness, kissing the axe (probably that used on the king and Lord Capel), hoping to meet his former masters that day in the presence of the Saviour, and thanking those in power for their courtesy in awarding him a mode of death suitable to his quality. He gave the executioner three pounds (£3)- all he had — as a fee and his last words were, "Lord Jesus, receive me!". His head was struck off at a blow.

Aftermath[edit]

Of the other persons concerned—Barnard, rewarded with money and promotion, found his true deserts when, four years later, he was hanged at Tyburn for robbery; Ashley was condemned but pardoned; Benson was hanged; Sir John Gell was found guilty of misprision of treason, and so escaped with life, though his estate was forfeited, and he imprisoned till April 1653.[2] Some writers have asserted that Andrews, by his demonstration of the illegality of the high court, practically abolished it. But it was too serviceable an instrument to be parted with, and he was by no means its last victim. A detailed account of his death was published by his friend Francis Buckley. It is curious to note that this narrative was reproduced, almost word for word, in a pamphlet professing to relate the particulars of the execution of James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby in October 1651.

References[edit]

  1. ^ State Papers, Dom. 1650
  2. ^ Athenæ Oxon. (ed. Bliss), iii. 561

 "Andrews, Eusebius". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.